Sri Lankan and Thai Buddhists in South Africa Celebrate Vesak on a Religious Harmony Theme

Seated front row (l-r) Prof. Gamini Gunawardane, High Commissioner of Sri Lanka and Paisit Boonparlit, Chargé d’affaires of Thailand

30 May 2022

The staff of the Sri Lanka Mission in Pretoria, South Africa together with Sri Lankans in Johannesburg participated in the 2022 Vesak celebrations, by special invitation of the Thai Buddhist Temple - Johannesburg Meditation Center (JMC) in Midrand, South Africa on May 15, 2022. The theme of the event was 'religious harmony among multiple faiths'. They commemorated the birth, enlightenment and the passing away of Lord Buddha who taught the vision of internal reconciliation of being human.

The Chief Monk of JMC, Rev. Kitsakol, conducted the religious ceremonies and delivered blessings of Vesak to those gathered. He highlighted the universal applicability of Buddha’s preaching based on the four noble truths and extended Vesak blessings to people of all religions in the world.

High Commissioner of Sri Lanka, Prof. Gamini Gunawardane, invited to address the gathering, highlighted the long standing Buddhist ties between Sri Lanka and Thailand. He mentioned how this relationship goes back to the introduction of the Sihala Sangha to Thailand in 1425 and the introduction of Siam Nikaya to Sri Lanka in 1753 under Upali Maha Thera from Thailand and Sarankara Thera from Sri Lanka. On the theme of religious harmony, he mentioned how Sri Lanka assures the rights of all religions such as Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam and Christianity, and actively encourages religious harmony. He also read from a “Message for the Feast of Vesak” by the Vatican City’s Pontifical Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue he has received from the Apostolic Nunciature in South Africa, entitled “Buddhists and Christians: Standing Together in Hopeful Resilience”, stating how humanity could become resilient to overcome crises in the world by unearthing Buddhist and Christian spiritual traditions.

The Johannesburg Meditation Center is a branch of Wat Phra Dammakaya chapter of Buddhism in Thailand. This chapter has hundreds of devotees in South Africa and many international missions spreading the message of Lord Buddha worldwide. Recently they opened a branch in Cape Town to serve devotees living in Southern parts of South Africa.

Sri Lanka High Commission in Pretoria, South Africa