The Uganda Buddhist Centre hosted the Vice President of Uganda His Excellency Edward Kiwanuka Ssekandi on Saturday April 6, 2019 to celebrate the 5th international Buddhist Day. This was the first time for the Centre to host such a prominent leader in the country.
The Most Ven. Bhante Buddharakkhita warmly welcomed the Vice President. Thereafter, a flower was offered to the Vice President by two children of the Uganda Buddhist Centre Peace School.
Upon his arrival, Vice President planted a tree and reminded all of us to plant and preserve trees. He was later led into the temple by Bhante Buddharakkhita, who thanked the Vice President for visiting the temple, and introduced the Centre’s activities to the Vice President. Bhante further expressed that the Buddhist faith was founded on various principles such as peace and respect for all beings and that the Vice President’s visit affirms “our commitment to peace, respect for all humanity and harmony amongst all religions and people”.
Bhante Buddharakkhita called upon the Ugandan government to assist the Buddhist community to extend its humanitarian services in rural areas such as providing safe and clean water, education and livelihood support to rural communities throughout Uganda.
In his speech, the Vice President pressed upon reflection on Buddhist values especially on the conservation of the natural environment. “26 centuries ago, the Buddha asked his followers to not only protect mankind but also protect animals and vegetation”, he said.
Ssekandi assured the Buddhist community that the government of Uganda is committed to environmental conservation and “will continue to enforce policies and regulations that ensure that the country’s forest cover and the rich natural diverse environment endowment is protected for sustainable development.”
The Vice President later in the afternoon joined a 20 member delegation led by Bhante Buddharakkhita to Japan to participate in the 5th International Buddhist Day celebrations as a Chief Guest.
While addressing the Supreme Buddhist leaders in Japan from five continents, the Vice President said that there cannot be meaningful sustainable development without the freedom of individuals to think and act, and this freedom can be guaranteed through peace and tolerance. He applauded the world Buddhist leaders for promoting peace and harmony and extended his invitation to Buddhist leaders to come to Uganda to see the beauty and of the country. Furthermore, he suggested the future World Buddhist Summit should be held in Uganda. He assured them that Uganda is safe and peaceful and will continue to promote freedom of worship for all its citizens.
He emphasized peace as the central pillar of Buddhism and the need for a peaceful co-existence as the component in the socio-economic transformation and development of a society. In his official speech, he conveyed a message of the president of Uganda to the World Buddhist Summit that wished the Summit a grand success and prosperity.
The Vice President attended a press conference where he expressed his gratitude to the World Buddhist Summit for inviting him and his delegations.
As part of the tour, the Vice president visited Hiroshima and offered a flower and wrote a prayer of peace for the victims of A-bomb. He spent his last night at a Seaside Guest House in Okayama.
Most Ven. Bhikkhu Buddharakkhita who led the delegation had just landed two days ago from Hawaii, USA. He travelled with one assistant Mr. Joe Kivumbi Busirike and two journalists from the leading television in Uganda. Bhante was offered a proclamation by the World Buddhist Summit as an outstanding Buddhist leader working tireless to spread Buddhism for the benefit and well-being of all.
Other delegates from Uganda included His Majesty Oyo Kabambi Iguru Rukidi IV, Her Royal Highness Best Kemigisa, Queen Mother of Tooro Kingdom, His Royal Highness Apollo Sansa Kabumbuli II Kamuswaga of Kooki, Her Royal Highness Rebecca Tulituuka and other royal members.