Statement by Secretary Kerry on Vesak Day

On behalf of President Obama and the American people, I offer our warmest wishes to all those celebrating Vesak Day.

We wish you a joyous commemoration of the birth, enlightenment, and passing of Siddhartha Gautama, the founder of Buddhism. In honor of Vesak Day, we recognize the contributions to thought, culture, and belief that Buddhism, one of the oldest religions in the world, has made for over 2,500 years.

Vesak is celebrated by diverse Buddhist communities in Asia, here in the United States, and around the world. It is a wonderful time to engage in prayer and reflect on the virtues of wisdom, courage, and compassion. As you gather with family and friends to celebrate Vesak, know that the United States supports the efforts of people of every faith who preach and practice tolerance and respect for all.

May you all enjoy a peaceful and joyful Vesak.