Buddhists and Catholics to promote peace

Catholics and Buddhists should work together to promote peace and non-violence, says the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue.

Both Jesus and Buddha promoted non-violence and were peacemakers, says Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, who is the  Council president.

In a letter marking the Buddhist religious festival of Vesakh addressed to “Buddhist friends”, the Council urged a unified approach from both religions to help create a peaceful world.

Tauran says the letter notes while Catholicism and Buddhism are unique religions, both agree “violence comes from the human heart, and personal evils lead to structural evils”.

If Catholics and Buddhists werre to teach all people the benefits of living a non-violent life, it would involve working together to prevent conflicts and to rebuild broken societies, the letter says.

It would also include urging the media “to avoid and counter hate speech and biased and provocative reporting”.

Ways Catholics and Buddhists can respond to the Council’s invitation include studying the causes of violence and  teaching other Catholics and Buddhists to counter a range of factors that prevent peace and non-violence from flourishing.

The  letter includes quotes from both Pope Francis’s message for this year’s World Day of Peace, and from the Buddhist Dhammapada.

Francis, whose papacy has emphasised disarmament, peacemaking and Christ’s teachings about non-violence is quoted as saying:

“He walked that path [of nonviolence] to the very end, to the cross, whereby he became our peace and put an end to hostility,” he said.

The Buddhist Dhammapada quote says Buddha “also heralded a message of nonviolence and peace.

“[Buddha] encouraged all to overcome the angry by non-anger; overcome the wicked by goodness; overcome the miser by generosity; overcome the liar by truth,” it says.


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