Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations

Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations

Statement by Mr. Petr Iliichev, Chargé d'Affaires of the Russian Federation to the United Nations, on the occasion of the International Day of Vesak

Venerable Monks,

Deputy Secretary-General,

Acting President of the General Assembly,

Distinguished Co-Chairs,


Ladies and Gentlemen,


Today we gather to celebrate the Day of Vesak, a sacred holiday for millions of Buddhists around the world, the day that unites all Buddhists in their striving for harmony and purity of thoughts. The decision by the General Assembly in 1999 to observe this day internationally marked the history-making importance of Buddhism for development of the human civilization.

Despite the globalization and technological progress the number of challenges and threats in the world have not reduced.
It becomes obvious that technological knowledge itself cannot resolve modern complicated conflicts. Quite often solutions could be found in a different sphere – within eternal moral values and ethical ideals, which are fundamental for humankind. Time proves that the profound truths, which were delivered by Buddha several thousand years ago, are still relevant today and continue to serve humanity as a guidance. In this vein the Spirit of the Vesak holiday is able to motivate us to resolve many pressing issues of the present day in a peaceful way. We all belong to one human family and together we can take action to address global challenges.

As the Vesak Day symbolizes the birth, enlightenment and the end of the Buddha’s life on Earth it reminds us of fluidity of life. That is why it would be regretful to spend our lives in fighting and conflicts, instead of using this opportunity to preserve peace and harmony.

In Russia there are over one million Buddhists with more than
200 Buddhist religious organizations. Buddhism is one of the numerous confessions in our country, where this holiday is observed by the sangha.

Buddhism is practiced over three centuries by indigenous people of our country: Buryats, Kalmyks, Tuvinians and others. In this regard I would like to emphasize Russia’s unique experience in the field of promoting interreligious dialogue. For many centuries Orthodox Christians, Muslims, Catholics, Protestants, Jews and Buddhists of Russia have been coexisting peacefully and developing their Motherland hand in hand, while preserving and disseminating sacred traditions of respect and mutual understanding. Philosophy and spiritual practice of Buddhism greatly influenced national identity, ways of life, traditions and customs of its followers. Buddhist culture became an integral and valuable part of historic and cultural heritage of Russia.

In conclusion I would like to stress that all our deeds and aspirations should be aimed at achieving very simple and clear goals. They should be aimed at enriching both material and spiritual life, since in every field of our activity we need moral principles such as compassion, respect for others, kindness, taking responsibility.

I wish all of us a Happy Vesak Day!