In Message, Secretary-General Says Buddha’s Belief that Changing Man’s Nature Changes World Offers Insight to Improve Conditions for Planet, Inhabitants
May 1, 2012
Following is UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message for the Day of Vesak, 5 May:
We commemorate this year’s Day of Vesak as the international community enters the final preparations for the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro — a once-in-a-generation opportunity to set the world on a more equitable and sustainable path of development.
Buddhism has much to offer that process. The Buddha’s assertion that, “The way to change the world is to change the nature of man,” offers a critical insight into how to improve conditions for our planet and its inhabitants.
The spirit to care not just for ourselves but for others, based on an awareness of our interlinked fates, lies at the heart of Buddhism — and, indeed, all of the world’s great religions.
These teachings challenge families, communities and nations to act in concert for the advancement of our common well-being. That is the best way to secure individual and collective progress in an interdependent world.
We must also change longstanding assumptions and open our minds to new ideas and possible solutions if we are to address major global threats, from the proliferation of deadly weapons to intolerance and inequality.
I invite Buddhists and people of all traditions to use the occasion of the Day of Vesak to reflect on how we can change our actions to pave the way for a more sustainable future.