The United Nations General Assembly observed International Vesak Day on May 16, 2011. Vesak Day celebrates the birth, enlightenment, and death of the Buddha Shakyamuni. In his message to the assembly, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said it was important to remember Buddha's message of tolerance. Representatives of Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Japan, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, Republic of Korea, Thailand and Viet Nam also offered their celebratory comments.
In the afternoon session, Rev. Masamichi Kamiya of Rissho Kosei-kai New York presented a message on behalf of Rissho Kosei-kai. Rev. Kamiya was one of 15 speakers who addressed the session, the Interfaith Dialogue for "Peace, Harmony and Co-Existence." Read Rev. Kamiya's speech.
The Vesak Day event was organized by the Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka, in cooperation with 15 other missions.