Pope Francis Meets with Buddhists and says "...we should work together to cultivate compassion and hospitality for all human beings, especially the poor and marginalized."
ADDRESS OF THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS
TO THE BUDDHIST DELEGATION
OF THE SANGHA ASSEMBLY IN CHETUPHON, THAILAND
Friday, June 17, 2022
It is a great pleasure for me to welcome your Delegation from Thailand, made up of thirty-three eminent Buddhist monks from the Theravada and Mahayana schools, together with sixty lay Buddhists and various representatives of the Thai Catholic Church.
The purpose of your visit is to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the historic meeting of the Most Venerable Somdej Phra Wannarat, the 17th Buddhist Supreme Patriarch of Thailand, with Pope Saint Paul VI, on June 5, 1972. I express my deepest gratitude to Supreme Patriarch Somdej Phra Sri Ariyavongsagatanana IX and the Head of the Supreme Sangha of Thailand for sending Somdej Phra MahaTheerajarn and the Thai delegation to the Vatican to renew our bonds of friendship and mutual cooperation.
On this occasion, I would like to renew the sentiments expressed by Pope Paul VI when he met the Thai delegation fifty years ago: "We have a profound consideration for the spiritual, moral and socio-cultural treasures that have been given to you through your precious traditions. We recognize the values you are custodians of and share a desire for them to be preserved and promoted. We hope for an ever more friendly dialogue and close collaboration between the traditions you represent and the Catholic Church "(Insegnamenti, 1972, X, 604-605).
During these fifty years, we have witnessed a gradual and constant growth of the "friendly dialogue and close collaboration" between our two religious traditions. I remember the visit of the Thai delegation on May 16, 2018, with the translation of an ancient Buddhist manuscript in Pali, preserved in the Vatican Library. And I have joyful memory of my visit to your beloved country, from 20 to 23 November 2019, and the wonderful welcome and hospitality that I received. I also appreciate your friendship and fraternal dialogue with the members of the Dicastery for Interreligious Dialogue and with the Catholic community in Thailand.
At a time when the human family and the Planet are facing multiple threats, friendly dialogue and close collaboration are even more necessary. Unfortunately, from all sides we hear the cry of a wounded humanity and a torn Earth. The Buddha and Jesus understood the need to overcome the selfishness that generates conflict and violence. The Dhammapada summarizes the teachings of the Buddha thus: "Avoid evil, cultivate good and purify your mind - this is the teaching of the Buddha" (Dph 183). Jesus said to his disciples: «I am giving you a new commandment: that you love one another. As I have loved you, so you also love one another "(Jn 13:34). It is our task today to lead our respective faithful to a more vivid sense of the truth that we are all brothers and sisters. And that implies that we should work together to cultivate compassion and hospitality for all human beings, especially the poor and marginalized.
In this spirit, I encourage your efforts to deepen and broaden dialogue and collaboration with the Catholic Church. I thank you again for the kind gesture of coming to the Vatican to commemorate the memorable meeting between our venerable Predecessors. Wishing you a pleasant stay in Rome, I offer you my best wishes for the Conference to be held this afternoon, entitled Friendship between Buddhists and Christians for a culture of encounter, at the Pontifical Urbaniana University.
Upon you and all the inhabitants of your noble country, I invoke an abundance of heavenly blessings. Thank you.
FULL TEXT Source: Vatican.va - Image Screenshot Vatican Media