Close this search box.


Ahead of Vesak, Catholic Leadership Urges Buddhists to Continue Interfaith Work for Peace

Ven. Somdet Phra Mahathirachan with Cardinal Miguel Ángel Ayuso at a meeting last year. From

Cardinal Ayuso, the Prefect of the Dicastery for Interreligious Dialogue at the Vatican, released a message of greetings to Buddhists on 6 May in honor of Vesak—the most significant festival for Buddhists—which takes place on 23 May this year. The message, titled “Christians and Buddhists: Working together for Peace through Reconciliation and Resilience,” highlights the shared responsibility of Christians and Buddhists in promoting peace, reconciliation, and resilience for the future of humanity.

Addressing escalating conflicts worldwide, Cardinal Ayuso emphasized the urgent need for renewed attention to peace, echoing Pope St. Paul VI’s plea, “Never again war, never again war.” (Vatican News)

Ayuso noted:

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.

(Asia News)

The Cardinal emphasized that lasting peace requires addressing the root causes of conflicts and highlighted the importance of addressing underlying issues that prevent equity and justice in politics, economics, and cultural domains.

Ayuso quoted the late South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu (1931–2021), who said: “Forgiving and being reconciled are not about pretending that things are other than they are. It is not patting one another on the back and turning a blind eye to the wrong. True reconciliation exposes the awfulness, the abuse, the pain, the degradation, the truth.” (Vatican News)

Tutu lived through South Africa’s period of Apartheid, when the country’s white rule enforced strict regulations on all non-white people. He also was a member of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), which sought to expose crimes and human rights violations during Apartheid with the goal of finding forgiveness and reparation in place of prosecution and retaliation.

Reflecting on shared values, Cardinal Ayuso invoked the teachings of the Buddha and St. Paul, emphasizing the power of loving-kindness and the ministry of reconciliation. He cited the late Cambodian monk and peace activist, Ven. Maha Ghosananda (1913–2007), who urged us “to remove the landmines of hatred from our hearts.” (Asia News) Ghosananda had left Cambodia to study in Thailand when the Khmer Rouge regime began its widescale murder of Buddhist monks, intellectuals, and others believed to be a threat to its ideology. When it collapsed, Ghosananda returned as one of only 3,000 Cambodian Buddhist monks still alive out of nearly 30,000 who were alive before the Camobian genocide of 1975–79.

Maha Ghosananda. Photo by Nyana Ponika. From

All of us, Ayuso concluded, “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.” (Vatican News)

See more

For Vesak, Church calls on Buddhists to bear witness that ‘hatred is never appeased by hatred’ (Asia News)
Christians and Buddhists must walk together ‘for the sake of peace’ (Vatican News)

Related news reports from BDG

Buddhists from Thailand Visit Vatican for Interfaith Dialogue
Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation Offers Coronavirus Aid to the Vatican and Beyond
Taiwan’s Fo Guang Shan Plans Interfaith Symposium with Vatican Officials
Buddhist-Christian Colloquium in Thailand Calls for Compassion and Joint Action
Tibetan Buddhism and Carmelite Spirituality to be Featured in Interreligious Encounter in Ávila, Spain 2024

Related features from BDG

Buddhistdoor View: Navigating the Modern Polycrisis Through Interfaith Unity
Buddhistdoor View: Tengri meets the Trinity: Pope Francis’ Visit to Mongolia
Buddhistdoor View: A Buddhist Response to the Vatican’s Vesak Message

Related features from Buddhistdoor Global

Related news from Buddhistdoor Global

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments