Yesterday, May 26th, 2021, marked the celebration of Vesak, the holiest day in Buddhism. This day commemorates the birth, awakening, and passing of our precious teacher, Shakyamuni Buddha. It is a day on which we remember the kindness of the Buddha and recall the heart of his realization: the unity of emptiness (śūnyatā) and great compassion (mahākaruṇā). It is also a day on which we remember the Dharma taught by the Buddha, the path that leads to perfect freedom from suffering. As followers of the Buddha’s words, we train our minds to become calm, kind, and clear. When the application of a genuine understanding of interdependence combines with the wish to truly benefit others, our minds become noble, and we naturally help our friends, family, and society.
This year, on the day of Vesak, the eminent Buddhist master Kyabje Tarthang Tulku Rinpoche (representing the Vajrayana tradition), along with the Most Venerable Uparatana (representing the Theravada tradition) and Rev. Marvin Harada (representing the Mahayana tradition), offered prayers and each lit an auspicious lamp for the first Vesak ever celebrated in the White House of the United States of America. Wangmo Dixey, President of the International Buddhist Association of America, also lit a lamp on behalf of all American lay Buddhist practitioners. It is inconceivably beneficial that masters of each of the three great traditions of Buddhism have made this offering within the heart of the United States government; and it is a welcome sign for the firm and stable establishment of the unified study and practice of Buddhism in the United States for the long-term.
We, the Buddhists of the United States, along with all of the Buddha’s followers around the world, rejoice greatly and express our deepest gratitude to these masters and the event organizers, the International Buddhist Association of America and the Dharma Into Action Foundation. We also extend our gratitude to the White House for honoring the Buddhist tradition. We pray that the altruistic intent of Shakyamuni Buddha fills the halls of our federal and local governments, and that the light of wisdom and impartial compassion spreads across the United States, bringing peace and abundance to this nation and the entire world.
Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche
Founder and Spiritual Head
Rangjung Yeshe Gomde California, Dharma House NYC,
and Soaring Eagle Retreat Center Colorado
& The Shedrub Mandala U.S. Sangha Members