We are writing to ask your kind assistance in persuading the White House to recognize the Buddhist holiday of Vesak, which marks the birth, enlightenment, and passing of the Buddha.

We feel blessed to live in a country that is deeply committed to the value of religious pluralism. We feel joy along with our Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and Hindu friends and neighbors as they celebrate holidays which spring from their traditions. And we look forward to feeling the same sense of pride and recognition that they must feel when their faith is acknowledged by the President of the United States.

According to the Pew Research Center there are more than 3.5 million Buddhists in the U.S., making it our country’s third largest religious tradition.

Vesak—in various national forms—has been observed by millions of Buddhists throughout the world for millennia. In 1999, the United Nations recognized it as a major world religious holiday.

To address the historical omission here in the United States, we have convened a committee of Buddhist leaders from diverse traditions represented here in the U.S., as well as interfaith allies, and will soon be submitting a formal request to the White House. We hope to bring with us the voices of many faith leaders in support of our request. In this regard we ask that you join with us by providing a brief letter of support on your organization’s letterhead, addressed to the President of the United States and requesting that Buddhism be accorded the same dignity as other major religious traditions in the U.S. by a similar ceremonial acknowledgement.

Please refer to the attached document for additional information on the Vesak holiday and our efforts to secure its recognition. If you have any questions, please contact us at buddhadharmadc@gmail.com. We look forward to your support on this auspicious matter.

Sincerely yours,

The White House Vesak 2016 Ad Hoc Committee