Assalamualaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh.
Peace be upon you, Salam Sejahtera dan Salam 1Malaysia!
Chief Reverend K. Sri Dhammaratana, Buddhist Chief High Priest of Malaysia
Yang Berhormat Menteri-menteri dan Timbalan Menteri
Excellencies Ambassadors and High Commissioners
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is indeed a unique opportunity and experience for me to join with so many thousand Malaysian Buddhists to wish you a Happy and Peaceful Wesak. As I understand it, today is the most significant day of the year for nearly 500 million Buddhists the world over. It is a day for them to renew their determination to help the world’s underprivileged and to show their compassion for all living beings.
Ladies and gentlemen,
I understand that the Buddhist religion emphasized taking care and respecting our parents as a great blessing for oneself. Indeed, Islam, Buddhism and the other religions as well, there are many similar spiritual values that are cherished, such as love, care, compassion, selflessness and so forth, which builds our moral framework and character from the individual level right up to the community and the nation as a whole.
This is indeed very important for us as we work towards not only transforming Malaysia in a physical sense but to build a very strong moral fiber and frame work for this nation to progress and to transform itself to be a more successful, harmonious and prosperous nation. Otherwise, we could easily degenerate into an uncaring selfish community which cares little for the well being of others, including our parents and elderly folks.
Ladies and gentlemen,
As you are well aware the primary objective of our government is to realize the 1Malaysia concept which guarantees the right of every citizen to have a sense of belonging and commitment to the country where we think of ourselves as one family. The creation of 1Malaysia is not an option: it is the very core of our strategy of our journey to bring Malaysia to the forefront of the world’s nations. It has always been my firm conviction as well as that of my predecessors that religion plays a vital role in nurturing Malaysians to be sound in body, sound in mind and sound in spirit.
It is therefore important for all right thinking Malaysians to use their wisdom to reach out and understand the right of every citizen to practice his or her religion with dignity and without harassment. As your Prime Minister who has the arduous task of shaping our destiny in the coming years, I urge you to join hands with me to make Malaysia a model of religious tolerance and racial harmony for the rest of the world to follow. Buddhists especially can make known their principle and this is a core principle of the teaching of Buddhism which is to follow the Middle Path which avoids extremism in any form.
We have many challenges facing us today, including the eradication of poverty as well as to transform Malaysia to be a high-income developed nation within 10 years. And for us to face these challenges we must recognize the basic principle of democracy which is that Rights must be balanced with Responsibilities. It is a sad but evident fact that no one can have everything that he or she wants. We have to accept that in order for all of us to be happy sometimes we have to sacrifice some things for the common good. This can be achieved if we learn to see the difference and this is very fundamental, the difference between our needs and our wants. This is encapsulated in one of Buddha’s teachings which is Contentment is the Highest wealth. If all Malaysians learn the virtue of contentment and eradicate greed and envy then there will be no reason why we cannot achieve great success as a nation.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Let me re-iterate how happy I am to be with you as you celebrate Wesak. I come in the spirit of respect for your beliefs and practices. I am quite aware of the tremendous contributions that Malaysian Buddhists have made towards this nation. Under the guidance and leadership of The Most Venerable K. Sri Dhammaratana, Chief High Priest of Malaysia, I am confident that I will be able to rely on the support of Buddhist community in Malaysia, a key component towards realizing our dream of a truly undivided “1 Malaysia”. I urge all Malaysians to follow the example of wisdom and compassion in action—to come together to help all living beings regardless of their ethnicities or their religious beliefs.
I am happy to see that the people assembled here represent different beliefs and there are even those here who are not Buddhists but have gathered here in the spirit of harmony to show their respect for one of humanity’s greatest teachers—Gautama Buddha. His teachings on Patience, Tolerance and Understanding have mould the cultures of untold numbers of human beings not only in Asia but in other parts of the world. I sincerely hope that this goodwill and understanding will prevail in all our activities and that Malaysians will continue to be an example to the world with regards to religious tolerance, understanding and as we move forward with the spirit of 1Malaysia and together we can count on Malaysia to be a truly great nation that we can be proud of.
I wish all Buddhists a very very happy Wesak Day.
Selamat Hari Wesak