Australia’s Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, received a beautiful gift from the Nepalese community this week – a Buddha statue and a peace wish letter.
The gift was presented by Lumbini-Kapilvastu Day Movement Global Coordinator Ram Kumar Shrestha and Australia’s Sub-Continent Ministerial Consultative Committee Member Mahendra Lamsal.
Presenting the gift, Mr. Shrestha and Mr. Lamsal told Ms. Gillard that Buddha was born in Lumbini, Nepal and, wishing peace and prosperous development for Australia, the Nepalese community decided to present the Peace symbol Buddha statue to the Prime Minister.
Prime Minister Gillard thanked Australia’s Nepalese community for the gift and the peace wish letter, expressing her happiness for the opportunity to decorate her office with the Buddha peace symbol. Immediately after the presentation, Prime Minister Gillard placed the Buddha statue in her office.
Attending the presentation were Assistant Treasurer and Minister Assisting for Deregulation Hon David Bradbury, Federal MP for Greenway Ms. Michelle Rowland, Vice President at women in film and television NSW Aisha AK (Pakistan), Sub-Continent community leader Harish Velji (India) and Technical Director E Power Australia Pty Ltd. Amrinder Bajwa (India). The team also met with the minister for immigration and citizenship Hon. Chris Bowen.
There were more than 17,000 Nepalese living in Australia in 2009 and by 2011, there were more than 24,500. Many students from Nepal attend Australian universities. In 2007, the most recent year for which we have figures, commencements of students from Nepal increased five times, to 2884 students, with a total of 7569 Nepali students studying in Australia.
Here is the full text of the letter to the Prime Minister, requesting the opportunity to present the peace symbol:
Rt. Hon. Julia Gillard, MP
CANBERRA ACT 2600
19 June 2013
Dear Prime Minister,
On behalf of the Nepalese community living in Australia, we wish to present you and the Australian Government the gift of a Buddha Statue for Parliament House in Canberra.
Buddha is revered as a Messenger of Peace. He is known as the Light of Asia but is also the Light of the World as his message of peace and non-violence has become more relevant as the world today is enduring more violence than ever before. We Nepalese are living in different parts of the world, therefore, have decided to spread the message of the Buddha globally by observing Lumbini-Kapilvastu Day every year as part of the World Peace Movement. We have decided to commemorate Lumbini, the birthplace of Gautam Buddha, by observing Lumbini-Kapilvastu Day as a global holiday in order to spread Buddha’s peace and nonviolence messages and to dismiss misinformation on Buddha’s birthplace all over the world.
“All of us can learn from the Buddha’s spirit of compassion. His timeless teachings can help us to navigate the many global problems we face today. The need for global solidarity may seem like a modern concept, but it is not. More than 2,500 years ago, Buddha taught that nothing exists in isolation, and that all phenomena are interdependent. Just as profoundly, he taught that we cannot be happy as long as others suffer and that when we do reach out, we discover the best in ourselves.” said UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.
We the Nepalese Community, therefore, would like to present you and the Australian government Buddha’s statue wishing Peace in Australia along with its prosperous development.
Ram Kumar Shrestha
Lumbini-Kapilvastu Day Movement Global Coordinator
2/4 Shara Court, Belmont, Vic 3216