First and foremost, I would like to wish all Malaysians of the Buddhist faith a Happy Wesak. Wesak commemorates the Birth of Prince Siddharta, his Enlightenment to become the Buddha and the Buddha’s passing attainment of ultimate Nirvana. This thrice sacred day of Buddhists is commemorated on the full moon day of the month of Wesak in the Buddhist calendar.
In Malaysia, Buddhists form the second largest religious group after Islam. The fact that there are so many Buddhist temples and centers in the country is testimony to the freedom of religion in multi-ethnic, multi-religious Malaysia.
All religions stress on the element of helping their fellow humankind. In this respect, I am happy to note that Buddhist groups have come forward to assist their fellow Malaysians in times of natural disasters in the country such as the Kelantan floods in late 2014. It was heart warming to see so many Buddhists reaching out to the mostly fellow Malaysian Muslims and Orang Asli communities who were severely impacted by the floods. Every day of the week, Malaysian Buddhist groups are operating soup kitchens to feed the needy. During the Hari Raya, Chinese New Year, Deepavalli, and Christmas, they also give gift pack containing dry food rations, toiletries, towels, clothes, etc to these needy people. There are several mobile clinics operated by Buddhist groups to bring free medical services to the poor. Several Buddhist groups are also operating old folks homes and orphanages. Buddhists are also the largest group pledging cornea donation in the country, bringing sight to the sightless. They do this as a religious calling, serving all irrespective of race or religion. I must congratulate you for living up to this religious calling selflessly.
Closing up within a religion causes bigotry, breeds extremism and misguided causes in the name of religion. Some even resort to violence in the misguided name of religion. While attempting to spearhead one’s religion through such misguided ways, they only dig the grave of one’s own religion. Mingling well with other religious groups while practicing our own religion well, makes us better religionists when we become better, understanding and respectful Malaysians.