Vatican sends greetings to Buddhists for feast of Vesakh

Great Buddha, Kamakura, Japan

Great Buddha, Kamakura, Japan

The Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue has sent a message to Buddhists for the feast of Vesakh, their  most important festival of the year, in which they commemorate major events in the life of Buddha. The message is entitled: 'Christians and Buddhists Respect Human Life as the Basis of Respect for all Beings'.

This year, the feast will be celebrated  on May 21 in Korea and Taiwan, and May 28 in Thailand, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Burma, Malaysia, Laos, Nepal, and Vietnam. Japan already celebrated the feast on March 8.

In the text of the message, signed by the President and Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, respectively Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran and Archbishop Pier Luigi Celata, highlight the particular relevance of the theme of reflection (the environmental crisis) and that efforts of both communities for engaging in interreligious dialogue “efforts of both of our communities to engage in interreligious dialogue have brought about a new awareness of the social and spiritual importance of our respective religious traditions in this area. We recognize that we hold in common a regard for values like respect for the nature of all things, contemplation, humility, simplicity, compassion, and generosity. These values contribute to a life of nonviolence, equilibrium, and contentment with sufficiency.”

After quoting the words of the Holy Father Benedict XVI, the message recalls that “the Catholic Church considers the protection of the environment as intimately linked to the theme of integral human development; and for her part, she is committed not only to promoting the protection of land, water and air as gifts destined for everyone, but also to encouraging others to join the efforts to protect mankind from self-destruction.”

Highlighting the profound respect for human life found in both Christians and Buddhists, the letter says “we encourage efforts to create a sense of ecological responsibility” and reaffirms “our shared convictions about the inviolability of human life at every stage and in every condition, the dignity of the person and the unique mission of the family, where one learns to love one’s neighbour and to respect nature.” After the exhortation: “may we together promote a healthy relationship between human beings and the environment,” comes an appeal to increase efforts “to promote ecological consciousness for serenity and peaceful coexistence.”

Source: Fides

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