On 28 June 2007, Sri Chinmoy had the honour of presenting the U Thant Peace Award to Daw Aye Aye Thant, U Thant’s daughter, at Aspiration-Ground meditation garden in Jamaica Hills, New York. Accompanying her was her husband, Tyn Myint-U. Following are excerpts from Aye Aye’s remarks after the presentation:
“It was such a moving, moving experience for me, and I am really very, very grateful to Sri Chinmoy and to all of you. It was such a pleasure to be here tonight, to see a lot of our long-time friends and new friends from the Peace Meditation at the United Nations. It brings back a lot of cherished memories of the time in the evening that we were in Harrison at the premiere of Sri Chinmoy’s play about the life of the Buddha, and a short boat trip that we made for the groundbreaking ceremony of U Thant Island.
“I would like to extend my gratitude to Sri Chinmoy for honouring the memory of my father by recognising individuals for their service to world peace and the betterment of humanity with the U Thant Peace Award. I am greatly humbled to be among such illustrious recipients to receive this award.
“Sri Chinmoy and friends, may I take this opportunity to extend my appreciation to you for your dedication to world peace by advocating the virtues of tolerance, compassion and mutual understanding. These virtues are also reflected in the goal and mission of the U Thant Institute. By reflecting my father’s belief in the need for tolerance and compassion in dealing with global problems, the U Thant Institute has, since its inception, undertaken various programmes to promote increased understanding of our global neighbours and the problems facing them as means to discern the root causes of conflicts.
“My father believed that education played a major role in advancing peace. The Institute’s latest initiative, the Friendship Across Cultures Program, therefore, is connecting middle schools in the United States with schools around the world. This programme will promote intercultural understanding and the value of diversity. Since the mission of the U Thant Institute is to promote a spirit of one world, as envisioned by my father, this programme reflects my father’s vision.
“In the introduction page of the U Thant Peace Award booklet, it says—I quote—’The Award perpetuates the memory of U Thant and his exemplary devotion to peace in both his personal and his political life’. Indeed, in his personal life, for his family, he was a living example of a man of great inner strength, serenity and self-discipline, as he demonstrated during his fight with cancer. His religion, Buddhism, gave him great strength, and among the teachings of Buddha, the ethical aspects of Buddhism greatly influenced him.
“Meditation also helped him in his day-to-day function as the Secretary-General. He practised meditation with great devotion. He believed in the importance of having inner peace through meditation before being able to work for peace. He said, quote, ‘We live in a world of noise, yet our conscience is called the still, small voice. If there is no peace in the world, it is because there is no peace in the minds of men.’ He said we should devote, even for one minute, thoughts of good will and peace by setting aside time each day to communicate with ourselves.
“My father shared with Sri Chinmoy the value of spiritual development as taught in all great religions: the key to creating the peaceful society. I hope we will all find time in our busy lives to listen to our own inner thoughts of peace and good will, and to hear our still, small voices as we work towards the cause of peace and prosperity for our fellow citizens of the world.
“May I wish you all, as my father did in 1973, peace of mind and eternal joy. It is such a moving experience for me to be here today. My father would have been so happy that you all have continued the spiritual journey towards the goal of world peace. Thank you so much.”