UN chief urges peace from site venerated as Buddha’s birthplace

Philippine Tribune
Philippine Tribune

LUMBINI, Nepal — UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres gave an impassioned plea for peace on Tuesday from a Nepalese site venerated as Buddha’s birthplace, against a backdrop of conflict including in the Middle East, Ukraine and Sudan.

While on his visit to Nepal, Guterres has spoken of the urgent need for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas to end the “nightmare” of bloodshed.

“In the Middle East, Ukraine, the Sahel, Sudan and many other places around the world, conflict is raging,” Guterres said.

“Global rules and institutions are being undermined as human rights and international law are trampled.”

Guterres held prayers at Lumbini in the south of the Himalayan nation, a site he called a place of “spirituality, serenity, and peace.”

The Buddha—who renounced material wealth to embrace and preach a life of non-attachment—founded a religion that now counts more than 500 million adherents.

“This is a place to reflect on the teachings of Lord Buddha. And to consider what his message of peace, interdependence, and compassion, means in today’s troubled world,” Guterres said.

“In these troubled times, my message to the world from the tranquil gardens of Lumbini is simple: Humanity has a choice. The path to peace is ours to take.”

Guterres on Monday visited the Everest region, which is struggling from rapidly melting glaciers, and on Tuesday warned that the “impacts of the climate crisis are mounting”.

“Humanity is at war with nature and at war with itself,” he said.

The Buddha’s birthplace was lost and overgrown by jungle before its rediscovery in 1896, when the presence of a third-century BC pillar bearing inscriptions allowed historians to identify it as Lumbini.

Since then, it has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site and is visited by millions of Buddhists every year. — Agence France-Presse

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