Buddhist-Christian scholars unite to champion compassion for healing


Buddhist and Catholic scholars gathered in Bangkok for the seventh Buddhist-Christian Colloquium, fostering an alliance built on compassion to heal the world’s wounds.

Emphasising the pivotal role of compassion in understanding and addressing global suffering, the scholars issued a joint statement affirming the urgency to mend humanity’s afflictions.

The Vatican’s Dicastery orchestrated the event for Interreligious Dialogue in partnership with the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Thailand and the Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya Buddhist University.

The event drew religious leaders, theologians and scholars from Cambodia, India, Japan, the UK and others.

The colloquium delved into compassion and love as fundamental healing elements for humanity and the planet.

In their joint declaration, the scholars stressed the need for collective action.

They urged collaboration with various sectors, including civil society, governments, media and academic communities.

The purpose is to foster inclusivity and a shared responsibility for a better world.

Cambodia bishop Olivier Schmitthaeusler, underscored the imperative of creating a unified global family where solidarity and mutual understanding erase division.

Venerable Phra Brahmapundit, a prominent Buddhist figure, highlighted the interconnectedness of humanity and the environment.

Stressing the importance of compassion and its inseparable link with “Metta” (loving-kindness) he advocated using these principles to heal both humanity and the planet from human-made afflictions.

Pope Francis and Karuna

Echoing these sentiments, the scholars underscored the significance of empathy in societal and individual realms.

The scholars advocated for compassionate approaches in political and economic decision-making to curb exclusion and foster justice.

Notably, Pope Francis has repeatedly championed the theme of “Karuna” in interfaith dialogues, acknowledging the convergence between the teachings of Buddha and Jesus.

Stressing the need to transcend selfishness and embrace love, the Pope emphasised the teachings of Buddhist-Christian leaders, urging a global movement rooted in compassion, especially for vulnerable communities.

“At a time in which our human family and planet are facing manifold threats, the need for inter-religious dialogue and collaboration are increasingly necessary” Pope Francis said.

“The Buddha and Jesus understood the need to overcome the egoism that gives rise to conflict and violence” said the pope.

“Even though our respective religious teachings invite us to build a culture of compassion, we often turn a blind eye to today’s sufferings.

“We deplore the words and actions that have voluntarily or involuntarily contributed to sow death and destruction, hatred and revenge.

“We need to acknowledge that we belong to one human family and owe everyone equal dignity and respect” the scholars said in their final joint statement.


La Croix International

CathNews New Zealand


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