Office of the Press Secretary
May 20, 2016


Statement by the President on the Celebration of Vesak

Michelle and I extend our warmest wishes to Buddhists in the United States and around the world in their celebration of Vesak, a day honoring the birth, enlightenment, and passing of Buddha. During this season, we reflect on Buddha’s universal teachings of peace, service, and recognition of common humanity — shared values that also bind us all as Americans. This occasion gives us an opportunity to commemorate the many contributions of Buddhists to our progress and to recommit ourselves to building a brighter future for all communities, cultures, and religions. As we come together in hope for wisdom, courage, and compassion, our family sends our best wishes during this season.

John Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
May 19, 2016


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.