COLOMBO, May 18 (Xinhua) -- Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena, on Saturday called on all citizens in the island to remain united and work towards a society that is safe and secure as the country celebrated the Vesak festival.
In a statement, Sirisena said all citizens must recollect the teachings of the Lord Buddha to build a society with boundless peace by avoiding all attempts to destroy each other for the greed for power.
"For a society to blossom without fear, danger and mistrust, the Buddha has preached. Hatred will not heal hatred but kindness will heal hatred. It is time we became strong enough to truly, meaningfully and honestly relate this eternal truth," Sirisena said.
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said in a statement the Vesak full moon appeared in the skies as the dark clouds of terror cast a shadow over the nation.
"There is a sense of anxiety and grief throughout society. In such troubling times, the sublime teachings of the Buddha show us the way to unite spiritually and find common purpose in our humanity," the prime minister said.
The Vesak festival is one of the holiest festivals celebrated in Sri Lanka as it marks the birth, enlightenment and passing away of the Lord Buddha.
The days-long celebration gives visitors an opportunity to discover Sri Lanka's religious and cultural traditions.
This year, however, celebrations have been minimized following the deadly terror attacks on Easter Sunday which killed over 250 people and injured over 500.