Created: Wednesday, 21 August 2013
Statement by H.E. Dr. Palitha T.B. Kohona, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations
Commemoration of 2600 Years of Buddhism at the United Nations
Interfaith Dialogue - General Assembly Hall
16th May, 2011, New York
Most Venerable Members of the Maha Sanga
Ladies & Gentlemen,
The Buddha’s message was carried to all corners of India by missionaries and traders. Over the centuries many countries of Asia came under the sublime influence of Buddhism. From Bactria and today’s Afghanistan in the West to the very extremities of the Asian land mass, to Korea and Japan, Buddhism spread rapidly without the assistance of conquering armies. It remains the dominant intellectual and cultural force in many Asian countries to this day. The Buddha clearly said to the Kalamas that no one should accept his message unless convinced that it accorded with reason. My own country, Sri Lanka has been under the influence of Buddhism for over 2300 years while other religions are also represented in our population. The profound impact of Buddhism on the history, the arts, the culture and the attitudes of the people of these countries is evident to this day. The teachings of the Buddha have clearly influenced the daily lives of millions of people in Asia, and increasingly, is a factor in the West.
I hope that this discussion will contribute to advancing the lofty goals of the United Nations. Let us use our religious traditions to advance world peace.