Vesak card with
The Vesak season
is on. Shops and pavement stalls are full of Buddhist flags, Vesak
cards and numerous types of decorative material. Every year the
debate is on about the quality of Vesak cards, particularly the
themes and illustrations used for some of them. Protests are made
and the authorities faithfully promise to take action. A year later,
they re-appear with absolutely no action being taken. And the show
of Vesak cards this year, is a novel one released by the Ministry
of Foreign Affairs. 'A journey into Sri Lanka is a journey into
Pure Buddhism', is the theme of the attractive Vesak card. 'The
Journey' is divided into several aspects and artistically illustrated.
Buddhist monuments, Buddhist art, Buddhist meditation, and Buddhist
culture are the aspects featured. The cover is a beautiful blend
of ola books and a sheaf of lotus flowers.
The Vesak card
had been planned in collaboration with the Tourist Board, to attract
tourists to Sri Lanka. The Ministry has distributed the cards through
Sri Lankan missions abroad giving Sri Lankans living abroad an opportunity
to buy them and send to their friends.
The text sums
up the Buddha's teaching thus: "The sublime message of the
Buddha, preached 2500 years ago is a peerless gift to mankind. Its
core elements of Generosity (Alobha), Love (Adosha) and Wisdom (Amoha)
continue to influence the hearts and minds of people all over the
own words, his philosophy could be summarised as: 'To refrain from
doing evil, to indulge in doing good, to cleanse one's mind - this
is the teaching of all Buddhas'.
The card is
the creation of W. M. K. Wijayabandara, the graphic artist with
several international awards to his credit.
To spread the
message of Buddhism during Vesak, the Foreign Ministry has also
published Bhikkhu Bodhi's address at the United Nations on the occasion
of the Vesak celebrations in 2000 when the UN accepted Vesak as
a holiday in its calendar.
Titled 'Buddha and His Message - Past, Present & Future' the
address was well received throughout the world for its lucidity
and simplicity. Bhikkhu Bodhi's explanation of the significance
of Vesak and Buddha's teachings was highly appreciated, particularly
by the non-Buddhists.
diagnosis of the mental defilements as the underlying cause of human
suffering, the teaching shows us the hidden roots of our personal
and collective problems.
a practical path of moral and mental training, the teaching offers
us an effective remedy for tackling the problems of the world in
the one place where they are directly accessible to us: in our own
As we enter
the new millennium, the Buddha's teaching provides us all, regardless
of our religious convictions, with the guidelines we need to make
our world a more peaceful and congenial place to live" was
how Bhikkhu Bodhi concluded his address.
has been done in association with the Buddhist Publication Society,
of which Bhikkhu Bodhi is President. Incidentally, he is now resident
in the USA.