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SPEECH: Buddhist Council of NSW – Vesak in Parliament

Ladies and gentlemen, I am so pleased to be here with you all today!

As a true friend of the Buddhist community, today marks a truly important occasion. That is Vesak—the commemoration of the birth, enlightenment and passing of the Buddha. Vesak is something that I look forward to each and every year and I would like to thank the Buddhist Council of New South Wales for extending this warm invite today.

Today we celebrate the importance of compassion and harmony, putting the needs of others ahead of our own. We recognise that these are all things that the Buddha taught during his mission and life, and things that Buddhists across the world stand for today.

I think today, more than ever, the wonderful teachings and legacy of the Buddha are so very important to us here in New South Wales, and must be held in high regard. At a time where division is becoming increasingly on the rise, the teachings of the Buddha remind us that we are stronger together. That no matter your background, we all play an important part in our multicultural society.

Our Buddhist communities and organisations throughout New South Wales have demonstrated this so well over the years. As an umbrella agency for more than 100 Buddhist organisations, the Buddhist Council of NSW has been instrumental in supporting multicultural and multifaith harmony and understanding between different groups. Your legacy is a testament to your hard work and today we have the chance to celebrate.

Buddhists in Australia come from many backgrounds, as we see here today. This is a testament to the multicultural success story that is New South Wales. We are one, but we are indeed many. And of course, events like today help to set an example, not only for the rest of Australia, but for the rest of the world. We all value the hope and opportunity that this amazing state has to offer.

Thank you to all of you here today, you have all helped to promote the success of New South Wales as a multicultural state. You all play an incredibly valuable role in making NSW a great place.

Ladies and gentlemen, I’d like to sincerely wish everyone a happy, peaceful and safe Vesak celebration. It is a privilege and a pleasure to be here today and I wish you every success.

Thank you.