Print Version    Email to Friend
Message to Buddhist world


VATICAN (SE): In a message to the worldwide Buddhist community, the Vatican stressed the need for religions to work together in creating a culture of nonviolence and peace, especially since religion is much to the fore in today’s world, but often in opposing ways.
Marking the Buddhist feast of Vesakh, which was celebrated on May 3 in eastern Asia and May 10 in southern Asia, the message from the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue says that it is important that Christians and Buddhists work together in many areas in fighting evil in the human heart, promoting peace education and respect for the environment, countering hate speech in the media and rebuilding broken societies.
“While many religious believers are committed to promoting peace, there are those who exploit religion to justify their acts of violence and hatred,” the message from the Vatican says.
“We see healing and reconciliation offered to victims of violence, but also attempts to erase every trace and memory of the other; there is the emergence of global religious cooperation, but also politicisation of religion; and there is an awareness of endemic poverty and world hunger, yet the deplorable arms race continues. This situation requires a call to nonviolence, a rejection of violence in all its forms,” it continues.
The message points out that both Jesus and Buddha were peacemakers and promoters of nonviolence, as Jesus taught that it is in the heart that violence and peace meet and Buddha taught his followers to overcome the angry with non-anger, the wicked with goodness, the miser with generosity and the liar with truth.
“In spite of these noble teachings, many of our societies grapple with the impact of past and present wounds caused by violence and conflicts. This phenomenon includes domestic violence, as well as economic, social, cultural and psychological violence, and violence against the environment, our common home,” the message says.
It adds that violence begets other social evils and as a result, “The choice of nonviolence as a style of life is increasingly demanded in the exercise of responsibility at every level” (Pope Francis to Ambassadors, 15 December 2016).
While recognising the unique nature of the two religions, the Vatican says that they are joined in their dedication to teaching their followers to combat the evil in their hearts, so as to liberate both the perpetrators and victims of violence.
The message, signed by Jean-Louis Cardinal Tauran and Bishop Miguel Angel Guixot, the president and secretary of the Council for Interreligious Dialogue, concludes by wishing Buddhists everywhere a peaceful and joyful feast of Vesakh.
The feast is a time of calling to mind various moments in the life of the Buddha, especially in relation to his birth, enlightenment and death.


More from this section