Political recognition of the Buddhist holiday of Vesak — known also as “Buddha Day” — is piling up this year. In addition to salutes from US President Barack Obama, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, California Governor Jerry Brown, and the United Nations, new formal statements have been issues by New York City Mayor Bill DiBlasio, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, and Maryland Governor Larry Hogan.
DiBlasio’s message is a welcoming statement to the Buddhist Day Parade and Celebration, and reads, in part:
Our city’s Buddhist community has long been a steadfast source of support and spiritual guidance for New Yorkers, and for three decades, the Buddhist Council of New York has been adding to its lasting strength and vibrancy. With a commitment to foster interfaith partnerships and share the traditions of Buddhism with people of all backgrounds and beliefs, BCNY has worked towards a brighter future. Today’s Buddhist Day Parade and celebration of Vesak will not only offer a wonderful opportunity for our residents to gather and practice their faith, but will also promote peace, compassion, and help us the wisdom and teachings of Buddhism to make our city a better place.
Cuomo’s citation, dated May 21, extends best wishes to the Buddhist community, recognizes the contributions of Asian immigrants, and
recognizes that “the Buddhist community adds to the rich fabric of New York City and State, building solid foundations for spiritual growth, and embracing many in need,” and that “New York is an early home to Buddhism in America and, throughout this state Buddhist communities contribute to the welfare of our society in numerous ways, providing comfort, compassion, encouragement, and wisdom for facing life’s challenges and suffering
Hogan’s Governor’s Citation was issued in recognition of the International Buddhist Community of Washington D.C., as a “well-deserved tribute […] for its outstanding work and to honor the Vesak celebration.”