05/06/2024, 17.14
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For Vesak, Church calls on Buddhists to bear witness that ‘hatred is never appeased by hatred’

The Dicastery for Interreligious Dialogue releases a message for the feast marking the birth, enlightenment, and passing of the Buddha. Venerable Maha Ghosanda, a witness to the horrors of the Cambodian genocide, called for the removal of “the landmines of hatred from our hearts.”

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – The Dicastery for Interreligious Dialogue today released a message to Buddhists, ahead of Vesak, the sacred moment that marks the birth, enlightenment, and passing of the Buddha, which will be celebrated on 23 May.

For both Catholics and Buddhists, “reconciliation and resilience are [. . .] the remedies needed for a culture of violence that is often justified as a regrettable but necessary response to aggressive military or terrorist actions.”

Signed by the dicastery’s prefect, Miguel Ángel Card Ayuso Guixot, MCCJ, and secretary, Mgr Indunil Kodithuwakku, the statement cites Paul VI’s “No more war, war never again” plea at the United Nations on 4 October 1965, which is more relevant than ever today.

“We have addressed this issue on several occasions, but the continuing escalation of conflicts worldwide calls for renewed attention to the critical issue of peace and deeper reflection on our own role in overcoming the obstacles standing in the way of its growth.

“In addition to our constant prayers and hopes, the current situation demands of us vigorous efforts. To do our part in bringing an end to the hatred and the desire for vengeance that lead to war, and in healing the wounds that warfare has inflicted on humanity and the earth, our common home, we need to strengthen our commitment to work for reconciliation and resilience.”

Deeply rooted in both the Buddhist and Christian traditions, “Reconciliation and resilience empower us to forgive and seek forgiveness, to love, and to be at peace with ourselves and others, even those who have wronged us.

“Buddha imparted the timeless wisdom that ‘hatred is never appeased by hatred in this world. It is appeased only by loving-kindness’ (Dhammapada, v. 5), while Saint Paul, echoing Jesus’ call for boundless forgiveness (Gospel of Matthew 6:14), exhorts Christians to embrace the ministry of reconciliation initiated by God in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:11-21).”

The message also reminds us of “the timeless wisdom of Venerable Maha Ghosanda, a witness to the horrors of the Cambodian genocide and the inspiration for the Dhamma Yatra Peace Pilgrimage, who urges us ‘to remove the landmines of hatred from our hearts’.”

In his Fratelli tutti encyclical, Pope Francis notes that “reparation and reconciliation will give us new life and set us all free from fear”.

The message ends saying, “All of us are called to rediscover and treasure these values found within our respective traditions, to make better known the spiritual figures who embodied them, and to walk together for the sake of peace.”

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Message to Buddhists for Vesak: Compassion is the antidote to global crises
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Christian communities wishing Buddhists well for Vesak
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