Korean Catholics and Buddhists on Vesak stress shared commitment to reconciliation and dialogue
by Theresa Hwa-young Kim
Korean Catholic religious leaders offer gifts and best wishes to Buddhist leaders. A monk from Seunwun Temple calls for “new paths to save the world and humanity”. Seoul archbishop says sharing and mercy are essential values for a life of virtue.
Seoul (AsiaNews) – At a time of trials and difficulties, the great religions must promote “true reconciliation and dialogue.” For this reason, it is important “to reconfirm the common mission of Christians and Buddhists who share a deep sense of respect for human life and dignity as well as respect for and responsibility towards nature,” said Mgr Huginus Kim, archbishop of Gwangju and president of the Committee for Promoting Christian Unity and Interreligious Dialogue, in a message he delivered to Rev Beopman, a great Buddhist monk from Seunwun Temple. The Buddhist religious leader thanked the catholic representative, renewing his commitment to work together.

Mgr Kim visited Rev Beopman at Seunwun Temple, in Gochang, Jeulla Province, to celebrate Vesak,  marking 2,600 years since the Buddha’s enlightenment.

The prelate also brought a letter from the Vatican addressed to Korea’s Buddhist believers, and donated a copy of the Bible with a picture of Our Lord’s Last Supper.

Stressing the value of respect for nature and human life, Mgr Kim reiterated the importance of the journey of “reconciliation and dialogue” promoted by the great religions.

The Buddhist leader thanked his guest for the gift, stressing the importance of working together with Catholics to seek “new paths to save the world and humanity” through the “dialogue and practice.”

Rev Beopman offered the archbishop green tea and utensils for its preparation, as well as Jakbeupgwigam, a work published by Seunwun Temple.

On Tuesday, the Buddha’s birthday, Card Nicholas Cheong, archbishop of Seoul, sent a message of best wishes to the Korean Jogye Order, stressing the value of the teachings offered by Buddhism as well as the contribution it has made to the progress of the Korean nation. In modern life, the spirit of “sharing and mercy” is essential for a life of virtue, the prelate said.

Mgr Lazarus You, from the Diocese of Daejun, also brought a message of congratulations during a visit to the head of a Buddhist temple in Gwangsu.

During the friendly exchange, the Catholic representative delivered a letter of best wishes from the Vatican and shared in the joyful spirit of the occasion.