Taiwan: Cardinal in public dialogue with Dalai Lama

Dalai Lama

Dalai Lama

Moral education, interreligious dialogue and global warming were some of the topics that the Dalai Lama and a Catholic cardinal discussed during their meeting on Wednesday in Kaohsiung in Taiwan.

Love and compassion are necessary for inner peace and happiness, said the Tibetan spiritual leader and Cardinal Paul Shan Kuo-hsi during their debate entitled:  "Heaven's Law and Natural Law: Dialogue on Humanity and Nature."

The two religious leaders agreed that the erosion of moral values and materialism has caused distrust among people and damaged relationships in society.

Cardinal Shan, retired bishop of Kaohsiung, is the only religious figure the Dalai Lama met during his four day visit to Taiwan. The exiled Tibetan spiritual leader was invited by seven counties and cities in the south, which was devastated by Typhoon Morakot on  8 August.

More than 1,000 people, including Buddhists and Christians, attended the dialogue,  held in a hall inside the Hanshin Arena shopping complex. The event was organized by a Tibetan religious foundation in Taiwan.

The Dalai Lama said that school education these days focused too much on the material aspects of life rather than moral values. Worldwide, there is a general lack of emphasis on virtues such as love and compassion, he added. He noted that in the West, it was Churches that provided moral education in the past.

Cardinal Shan agreed there is a need to boost moral education, saying human development depends not only on the physical and material, but also on spiritual, ethical and religious values. Taiwan's emphasis on economic and technological advancements has hurt society, he contended.

Both leaders also highlighted the importance of mutual respect in interreligious dialogue. The Dalai Lama said religious believers must show others the meaning of life and the importance of having good values. Cardinal Shan said that in such dialogue, one should not attempt to convert the other person or imply that one's religion is superior to others.

On global warming, Cardinal Shan urged those present to take measures to protect the environment. He led the gathering in praying for God's forgiveness for mankind's exploitation of the Earth.

Before the Buddhist-Catholic dialogue ended, the two leaders took turns to lead the gathering in praying for typhoon victims in Taiwan and world peace.

A 20-member choir from Kaohsiung diocese accompanied Cardinal Shan's prayer with hymns focusing on peace and encouragement of those who are suffering.

Source: UCAN

Share this story