SPEECH: Vesak (Buddhist) 10th May 2017


Vesak (Buddhist)

Mr BURKE (Watson—Manager of Opposition Business) 10-5-2017 (16:50): 

On behalf of Labor I extend my best wishes to Buddhist communities in Australia and around the world for Vesak. Vesak commemorates three significant stages in Buddha's life—his birth, enlightenment and death—and is usually observed during the first full moon in May, but in some regions during the new moon.

The teachings of Buddha encompass principles that foster peace, compassion and the realisation of true happiness. At the heart of these beliefs are the four noble truths, which outline the stages of suffering, its causes, and the path that leads to the end of suffering, or enlightenment. Around the world, colourful lotus lanterns adorn temples and are released into the air. The symbolism of the lotus flower comes from the belief that lotus flowers emerged from the first seven steps Buddha took after his birth.

Over the weekend and this coming week, Buddhist communities around Australia will celebrate Buddha's birthday by making offerings of fruit, flowers and incense at temples, offering prayers and performing the ritual of bathing Buddha in rosewater, to symbolise a fresh start in life. Nan Tien Temple, in Wollongong, holds a two-day festival each year at Darling Harbour that attracts people of all cultures, faiths and backgrounds and unites Buddhists from all traditions in ceremonious celebration, entertaining crowds with music, food from various regions, and the opportunity to share blessings and hope for a brighter future. The festival offers us the opportunity to be guided by the fundamental principles that make up the essence of modern multicultural Australia: peace for all, unity as a nation and acceptance of all. To all those celebrating: happy Vesak.


Tony Burke