The Vatican has issued a letter in recognition of the upcoming Buddhist holiday of Vesak that calls on Catholics and Buddhists to work together to promote “a culture of peace and nonviolence,” The National Catholic Reporter reports.
The letter, issued by the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, is titled “Christians and Buddhists: Walking Together on the Path of Nonviolence,” and is signed by the council’s two leaders, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran and Bishop Miguel Ángel Ayuso Guixot.
“Jesus Christ and the Buddha were promoters of nonviolence as well as peacemakers,” the letter reads. “In spite of these noble teachings, many of our societies grapple with the impact of past and present wounds caused by violence and conflicts.”
The letter quotes the Dhammapada, explaining how the Buddha encouraged all to “Overcome the angry by non-anger; overcome the wicked by goodness; overcome the miser by generosity; overcome the liar by truth.” It ends with an explanation of the many areas in which Buddhists and Catholics can work together to promote nonviolence:
Though we recognize the uniqueness of our two religions, to which we remain committed, we agree that violence comes forth from the human heart, and that personal evils lead to structural evils. We are therefore called to a common enterprise: to study the causes of violence: to teach our respective followers to combat evil within their hearts; to liberate both victims and perpetrators of violence from evil; to bring evil to light and challenge those who foment violence; to form the hearts and minds of all, especially of children, to love and live in peace with everyone and with the environment; to teach that there is no peace without justice, and no true justice without forgiveness; to invite all to work together in preventing conflicts and rebuilding broken societies; to urge the media to avoid and counter hate speech, and biased and provocative reporting; to encourage educational reforms to prevent the distortion and misinterpretation of history and of scriptural texts; and to pray for world peace while walking together on the path of nonviolence.