04/29/2008, 00.00
VATICAN
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Christians and Buddhists should teach good stewardship of the earth

The Pontifical Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue issues a statement on the occasion of Vesakh. In it calls on Christians and Buddhists to promote in the world a culture of respect for creation, one that focuses on sustainable development and climate change.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Christians and Buddhists “can be harbingers of hope for a clean, safe and harmonious world”. They can do so by promoting a culture of respect for creation in the world, one that focuses on sustainable development and climate change

Titled “Christians and Buddhists: Caring for the Planet Earth”,  the message from the Pontifical Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue was sent to the world’s Buddhists on the occasion of Vesakh, the most important Buddhist celebration in which the highlights in the life of the Buddha are commemorated. This year festivities are celebrated from 12 to 18 May.

Signed by the president of the Pontifical Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue, Card Jean-Louis Tauran, and its secretary, Mgr Pier Luigi Celata, the statement says: “As inhabitants of the earth and believers, Christians and Buddhists respect the same creation and have a common concern to promote care for the environment which we all share.”

It goes on to say that “Preservation of the environment, promotion of sustainable development and particular attention to climate change are matters of grave concern for everyone. Many governments, NGOs, multi-national companies, and research and tertiary institutes, in recognizing the ethical implications present in all economic and social development, are investing financial resources as well as sharing expertise on biodiversity, climate change, environmental protection and conservation. Religious leaders, too, are contributing to the public debate. This contribution is of course not just a reaction to the more recent pressing threats associated with global warming. Christianity and Buddhism have always upheld a great respect for nature and taught that we should be grateful stewards of the earth. Indeed it is only through a profound reflection on the relationship between the divine Creator, creation and creatures that attempts to address environmental concerns will not be marred by individual greed or hampered by the interests of particular groups.”

At a practical level Christians and Buddhists can do more to work together on projects and confirm the responsibility that falls on each and every one of us.

“Recycling, energy conservation, the prevention of indiscriminate destruction of plant and animal life, and the protection of waterways all speak of careful stewardship and indeed foster goodwill and promote cordial relations among peoples. In this way Christians and Buddhists together can be harbingers of hope for a clean, safe and harmonious world.”

Lastly the message expresses hope in the possibility of promoting a culture that is respectful of the planet “within our respective communities through public education and our good example”.

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