Message to Buddhists for Vesakh 2007

 This year's Message to Buddhists for the Feast of Vesakh has been issued by the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue. The Message is signed by Cardinal Paul Poupard and Archbishop Pier Luigi Celata, respectively president and secretary of the pontifical council. Followers of the Theravada Buddhist tradition in Sri Lanka, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar will celebrate Vesakh, a moveable feast which marks important events in the life of Gautama Buddha, on 2 May. In other countries where the Mahayana Buddhist tradition isfollowed (China, Japan and Korea), the events of his life are celebrated on different days. The Message for Vesakh 2007 - published in English, Italian and French, and entitled 'Christians and Buddhists: educating communities to live in harmony and peace' - begins: "Building a community requires concrete gestures which reflect the respect for the dignity of others. ... Yet, there are people today who still need to learn about others and other people's beliefs in order to overcome prejudices and misunderstandings." "Education for peace is a responsibility which must be borne by all sectors of society. Of course, this starts in ordinary homes where the family, the fundamental pillar of society, strives to transmit traditional and sound values to children by a deliberate effort to inform their consciences. The younger generations deserve and indeed thrive upon value-based education which reinforces respect, acceptance, compassion and equality." With reference to the communications media, the Message states: "The media's power to shape minds, especially of the young, cannot be underestimated. While the irresponsible elements within it are increasingly being recognized for what they are, it is also the case that much good can be effected through quality productions and educational programs. When people working within the media exercise their moral conscience, it is possible to dispel ignorance and impart knowledge, preserve social values, and portray the transcendental dimension of life which arises from the spiritual nature of all people." Source: VIS

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