Last year, I had the pleasure of attending the Wesak Day celebration at Fo Guang Shan Dong Zen Temple in Kuala Langat, where some two thousand devotees came to mark Gautama Buddha’s birth, enlightenment and attainment of Nirvana. I observed at the gathering that many of the values espoused in Buddhism should be embraced by all Malaysians in order to function and live as a real democracy. Regardless of faith, I am certain that all Malaysians desire to strike a harmonious balance with our environment, and seek to resolve human conflicts so that we may live peacefully alongside our brothers of diverse heritage, creed and fortunes. I envision a 1Malaysia that will achieve such goals.
This year, I will be with Buddhist devotees in the Asoka Hall, Maha Vihara in Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur, for what I believe will be a very special occasion. I hope to observe ceremonial proceedings, interact with and ultimately learn more about my fellow Malaysians of Buddhist faith.
While not everyone will be spending this public holiday in the same fashion, I encourage Malaysians to show kindness and humility today, indeed espousing the essence of 1Malaysia, and offer something of value to those who really need it. Such compassion is important as we seek to accept each other better and reach for national unity. It may not be easy, but I like to remind myself that a kind gesture, however small, can go a long way.
May you all have a happy and peaceful Wesak Day.