Thailand has set itself the goal of becoming the world’s center of Buddhist activities and studies. The Cabinet has resolved to support the establishment of Thailand as the recognized center for Buddhism.

It assigned the Office of National Buddhism to serve as the core agency in coordinating with the Sangha, as well as related organizations and individuals in working out details of the project. The concept is that, as the world Buddhist center, Thailand will serve as the international coordinating center for Buddhist countries in the overall picture and in terms of information and contact between specific groups.

Three Bouddhas at Wat Jedyod in Chiang Mai
Three Bouddhas at Wat Jedyod in Chiang Mai

In its role as the center for Buddhism, Thailand would hold conferences, seminars, meetings, and training in various Buddhist buildings and temples

which would be equipped with sufficient facilities to accommodate visitors. It will also serve as the center for Buddhist research and studies and an ideal location for spiritual exercise and renewal. The world Buddhist center should attract people inside and outside the country interested in conducting various joint activities.

In this regard, existing buildings, such as auditoriums, museums, libraries, and hostels should be developed in accordance with the management of the world Buddhist center. Meanwhile, the Thai government and various Buddhist organizations are holding a Buddhism promotion week between 18 and 24 May 2013 to mark the “World Day of Vesak,” or Visakha Puja, the holiest day of the year for Buddhists everywhere.

The Day of Vesak falls on the full day of the sixth lunar month, coinciding with 24 May this year. Minister to the Prime Minister’s Office Niwattunrong Boonsongpaisan said that the celebration of Visakha Puja 2013 is meant to pay tribute to Their Majesties the King and Queen and Members of the Royal Family. It is also to commemorate the 100th birthday anniversary of His Holiness Somdet Phra Nyanasamvara, the Supreme Patriarch of Thailand, on 3 October 2013.

Activities planned during the Buddhism promotion week will take place at Buddhamonthon in Nakhon Pathom, Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University in Ayutthaya, Sanam Luang in Bangkok and various temples. An international Buddhist conference will be held on 21-22 May at the United Nations Conference Center in Bangkok. In his message on the occasion of Visakha Puja 2013, His Holiness the Supreme Patriarch of Thailand urged Buddhists to practice Dhamma for peace and happiness for themselves and the country.

He said that the Buddhist principles could be condensed into three major guidelines: to do good, to abstain from bad, and to purify the mind. For the Buddhism promotion week at Sanam Luang ceremonial site, His Majesty the King has presented his personal Buddha relics for the people to pay homage to. Moreover, various Dhamma activities for the new generation have also been organized during the period. Inside Thailand — Thailand Set to Become the World’s Buddhist Center

The Day of Vesak falls on the full day of the sixth lunar month, coinciding with 24 May this year.

The Office of National Buddhism represents the Thai government in organizing various activities to mark the “World Day of Vesak,” or Visakha Puja, from 18 to 24 May 2013.

The Day of Vesak commemorates the birth of the Buddha, his attainment of enlightenment, and his passing away. An extraordinary aspect of the occasion is that the three incidents took place on the same day but different years. In 2013, this significant day coincides with 24 May.

The Buddha taught mutual loving-kindness and forbearance for the sake of peace and happiness in society. Since these principles are shared by the United Nations Charter, the United Nations declared that Visakha Puja was a day of universal significance, and directed that observances be held, as appropriate, at the United Nations Headquarters and other United Nations offices each year.

As host of the World Day of Vesak celebration 2013, Thailand has invited a number of Buddhist leaders and monks from all over the world to join the celebration. Buddhamonthon, a Buddhist religious center in Nakhon Pathom province, is the focal point of the celebration. The Buddhist leaders and monks will join a candle-lit procession at Buddhamonthon on 22 May.

As part of the 10th anniversary of the celebration of United Nations Day of Vesak, Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University, a public Buddhist university in Wang Noi district of Ayutthaya province, will join various organizations in holding an international conference on 21-22 May at the United Nations Conference Center in Bangkok.

The conference focuses on the theme “Education and Global Citizenship: A Buddhist Perspective.” There will be a panel discussion in commemoration of the celebration of the 100th birthday anniversary of His Holiness Somdet Phra Nyanasamvara, the Supreme Patriarch of Thailand, in 2013.

In her message for the United Nations Day of Vesak celebration, Ms. Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, cited education as the best way to build peace from within, by giving everyone the tools they need for self-fulfillment. On a planet under pressure, education is a force to shape new ways of thinking and acting, to build resilient societies able to adapt to change and mitigate its impact. Fostering global citizenship through education is essential for building genuine and lasting peace. It is vital also for laying the foundations for more inclusive and sustainable development.

Meanwhile, a Buddhism week in celebration of Visakha Puja will be held at the Sanam Luang ceremonial site in Bangkok between 18 and 24 May. According to Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister Phongthep Thepkanjana, the Buddhism week is also meant to celebrate the 2,600th anniversary of the enlightenment of the Buddha, or Buddhajayanti.

Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn will preside over the opening of the Buddhism week on 18 May.

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