Ladies and Gentlemen,
On this auspicious occasion, I would like to express my warm greetings and congratulations to the Community of Sant'Egidio which has worked very hard to hold this valuable gathering of the religious leaders from across the globe here. We gather to disseminate and share the Universal Truth, as richly discovered by our religions which we are practicing, with the human community.
If I am allowed to share a humble wisdom with all of you here, I am deeply of a view that in this modern time the numbers of religious followers are decreasing, day by day, due to various causes, but the most common reasons agreed upon by many scholars is that the religious followers themselves do not practice their own religious teachings honestly as much as they are expected, which they verbally claim to be part of
Religions arise and fall all the time. It simply becomes the tradition of human kind to pick up the newly born one and forget the faded one. However, the values that religions inspire and encourage will not vanish.
The Lord Buddha has clearly taught that religion is like a raft used by human beings to cross from one river bank to the other. It would be a mistake for anyone who already crossed the river to continue their journey with the used raft on their shoulders. Likewise, according to Buddha, the religious practices are not something to cling to but to walk upon and enjoy the happiness born from these right practices.
Unity and harmony must be strongly practiced by all people regardless their beliefs or nationalities because this truth does not personally belong to anyone at all. it is the universal truth which can bring the people from different walks of life together.
It would be very enlightening to remember that we, the human race, came into this planet before the existence of all religions on earth. We are here not for the cause of religion; religions evolve here for the cause of the human beings' happiness. If the practice of any religions cannot bring about happiness to the practitioners, those religions should be forgotten forever.
Religious structures are temporal, Universal Truth is eternal. Structures that are aligned to the truth will last.
Thank You !