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Buddhists commit to the environment on UN Vesak Day

June 19 2008:

A meeting of 600 Buddhist leaders from 90 countries last month emphasised the importance of caring for the natural environment in a major new declaration about Buddhist's role in building a “just, democratic, and civil society”.

Articles 7 and 8 of the 16-article Hanoi Declaration, resolve to:

* affirm that climate change and other forms of environmental damages are already harming human well-being, and that urgent action is required to minimise these changes.

* stress on pursuing active measures to halt the misuse of our natural resources, a modern-life trend which has resulted in ecological imbalances, which increase the threat of climate change and endanger all life on the planet.

Monks at the Hanoi meeting - from the Tipitaka website
It was part of the fifth UN celebration of Vesak (the birth, death and enlightenment of the Buddha) after a UN resolution in 1999 to formally celebrate the sacred day. The first celebrations were held back in the year 2000 at the UN's headquarters in New York. Celebrations were held in Bangkok, Thailand since 2004.

It was the biggest ever Buddhist international event in Buddhism's over 2000 year's long history in Vietnam.

"It's an historical event and moment of pride for the Buddhists and the whole country. Vietnam's Buddhist community is obviously excited about it," said Venerable Dr. Thich Nhat Tu, secretary, International Organizing Committee of the United Nations Day of Vesak (UNDV).

More details from the Tipitaka network website here .

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