Lumbini, Nepal, 31 October 2023


Ladies and gentlemen,

It is an honour to be here in Lumbini – a site of spirituality, serenity, and peace.

And I am deeply moved to have been invited, to be here and to pay tribute to Lord Buddha.

This is a place to reflect on the teachings of Lord Buddha. And to consider what his message of peace, interdependence, and compassion, means in today’s troubled world.

Humanity is at war with nature and at war with itself.

In the Middle East, Ukraine, the Sahel, Sudan and many other places around the world, conflict is raging.

Global rules and institutions are being undermined as human rights and international law are trampled.

Ordinary people – children, women, and men – pay the highest price in appalling loss of life and human suffering.

A record number of people have fled their homes to escape violence, conflict, and persecution.

Poverty and inequality are rife.

And the impacts of the climate crisis are mounting – with floods, fires, and droughts taking lives and destroying livelihoods around the world, including here in Nepal, as I could witness in my two visits today and yesterday.

In these troubled times, my message to the world from the tranquil gardens of Lumbini is simple:

Humanity has a choice.

The path to peace is ours to take.

It is not always an easy one. Challenges may look insurmountable. Problems may feel overwhelming.

But guided by Lord Buddha’s timeless example, I believe it is a vision we can make real through action:

Action to protect the rights and dignity of all;

Action to heal, bridge divides, and build trust and understanding;

Action to make the Sustainable Development Goals a reality, especially for the benefit of the most vulnerable;

And action to end the assault on our planet by rapidly reducing emissions of greenhouse gases and restoring biodiversity.

Across the ages, Lord Buddha’s message of compassion, non-violence and interdependence calls to us all, and inspires us all – reminding us of our common humanity and the connectedness of all things.

Dear Friends,

Peace is more than a noble vision,

It is a rallying cry.

And it is an appeal I make today.

From these sacred gardens, I call on the world to act now for peace.

And I thank you.