A Buddhist by tradition, U Thant was guest of honour at the premiere of Sri Chinmoy’s play about the life of the Buddha, performed in Harrison, New York, on 25 May 1973. Following are U Thant’s remarks on that occasion:
“Revered and highly esteemed Sri Chinmoy, and brothers and sisters, it is a great privilege to be able to participate in this spiritually rewarding experience. And for this I am most grateful to our esteemed teacher, Sri Chinmoy, for this innovative undertaking. I also feel particularly moved and touched by his very gracious blessing bestowed on me.
“Sri Chinmoy very kindly sent me a copy of the play Siddhartha Becomes the Buddha. I have read it with great interest and with great admiration and profit.
“Of course, it is extremely difficult to depict the important episodes of the life of the Buddha in the course of a few minutes or an hour or so. But I found that Sri Chinmoy has done a most remarkable job in presenting the play in simple language, understandable even to the uninitiated.
“His stress on the basic characteristics of Buddhism— on compassion, love, renunciation, peace—should stimulate the thoughts of leaders of men and leaders of thought everywhere.
“As you all are aware, I was brought up as a Buddhist by tradition, by faith and by practice; and I find myself in complete agreement with Sri Chinmoy in his enunciation of the ethical and moral aspects of Buddhism, which in my view should be the basis for each of us in our search for inner light, in our search for truth.
“Sri Chinmoy in his play also has drawn a very vivid picture of the identity between God and Truth, soul and inner Light, which I very much hope will create an abiding interest in these two great religions—Hinduism and Buddhism—which in many ways constitute the key to all great religions.
“I feel very strongly, as some of my friends know, that only by the practical application of the teachings of great religious leaders, particularly the development of the moral and the spiritual aspects of life as Sri Chinmoy has stressed in the play—love, compassion, tolerance, and the philosophy of live-and-let-live, modesty and even humility–that only with this approach, only with this method, will we all be able to fashion the kind of society we want, a truly moral society, a decent society, a livable society, which is the goal of all great religions.
“I want to thank particularly those friends who are participating in this play. I wish all of you peace of mind and eternal joy, and particularly the inner joy. Thank you very much, Sri Chinmoy.”