President Ranil Wickremesinghe on Friday called on Sri Lankans facing "troubled times" due to the unprecedented economic crisis to unite to rebuild an affluent nation.
In his message on the occasion of Vesak Poya Day, Wickremesinghe, also the cash-strapped country's finance minister, said the timeless philosophy of the Buddha becomes a source of solace.
Vesak Poya Day commemorates the birth, enlightenment, and death of Lord Buddha. The three events in his life are said to have happened on the same date.
The president, in his message, urged the people to rise above all differences and unite in these "troubled times".
“At this juncture of the country’s unprecedented economic crisis, the timeless philosophy of the Buddha becomes a source of solace," he said.
"Therefore, during these troubled times, it is imperative to rise above all differences and join together in unity and service as espoused by the Buddha, to overcome the dangers in pursuing a life of normality," Wickremesinghe said.
Wickremesinghe also granted presidential pardons to 988 inmates serving time for minor offences in the island’s jails on the occasion, the NewsFirst news portal reported on Friday.
The Indian High Commission in Colombo organised a special exhibition on India’s rich Buddhist Heritage as a part of the festivities in Colombo, the state-run Daily News newspaper reported.
Wickremesinghe, accompanied by Indian High Commissioner Gopal Baglay, senior ministers and other dignitaries, visited the exhibition at the soft opening of the Vesak Festival, jointly organised by the President’s Secretariat, Prime Minister’s Office and Gangaramaya Temple on Wednesday.
The exhibition displays digital recreations of the fresco paintings from the world-famous UNESCO Heritage Site – the Ajanta caves of India, depicting significant episodes from Lord Buddha’s life and the Jataka tales, the report said.
"As the streets are lit up with lanterns on the sacred #Vesak, we join the festivities in #colombo with a unique exhibit at Seemamalakaya, Gangaramaya Temple. Jataka tales from the world-famous Ajanta caves come to life in these digital paintings. Open for public from today!!" the Indian High Commission here tweeted.
The exhibition, which was also displayed at the first Global Buddhist Summit held in New Delhi from April 20 and 21, is open for public viewing from May 5 to 7, the report said.