By Alessandro Speciale
The Vatican has praised Buddhism for instilling the practice of non-violence and compassion in society in its yearly message to mark the Buddhist Vesak holiday.
Vesak, which is celebrated in different Asian countries on several dates from April to June, marks Buddha’s birth, enlightenment and death.
In its annual Vesak message to Buddhists all over the world, the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue reflected on the growing phenomenon of interreligious education.
“Today, more and more in classrooms all over the world, students belonging to various religions and beliefs sit side-by-side, learning with one another and from one another,” it noted.
“Such diversity highlights the need to “educate young people to respect and understand the religious beliefs and practices of others, to grow in knowledge of their own, to advance together as responsible human beings and to be ready to join hands with those of other religions to resolve conflicts and to promote friendship, justice, peace and authentic human development,” it said.
The message stresses that the Buddhist principle calling on men to “refrain from harming others and to live lives of generosity and compassion” is a “practice to be esteemed and recognized as a precious gift to society.”
The message ends with an invitation to pray that “together we will be able to guide young people by our example and teaching to become instruments of justice and peace.”
The message was signed by the council’s president, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, and its secretary, Archbishop Pier-Luigi Celata, and is available in Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, Thai and Chinese on the Vatican website.