“At a time when the human family and the planet are facing multiple threats, friendly dialogue and close collaboration are even more necessary. It is our task today to guide our respective faithful to a more vivid sense of the truth that we are all brothers and sisters. “, Francis said during the meeting with the Buddhist Delegation of Thailand at the Vatican.
Mariangela Jaguraba – Vatican News
Pope Francis received in audience, this Friday (17/06), at the Vatican, the Buddhist Delegation of Thailand, composed of thirty-three eminent Buddhist monks from the Theravada and Mahayana schools, along with sixty lay Buddhists and various representatives of the Church. Thai Catholic.
The purpose of the visit is to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the historic meeting of the venerable Somdej Phra Wannarat, “seventeenth Supreme Buddhist Patriarch of Thailand, with Pope Saint Paul VI on June 5, 1972”. “I express my deep gratitude to the Supreme Patriarch Somdej Phra Sri Ariyavongsagatanana IX and the Chief 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 collaboration,” Francis stressed.
Friendship and fraternal dialogue
The Pontiff took the opportunity to “renew the sentiments expressed by Pope Paul VI when he met with the Thai Delegation 50 years ago: “We have a deep regard for the spiritual, moral and sociocultural treasures that have been given to him through his precious traditions. the values of which you are guardians and we share the desire that they be preserved and promoted. We look forward to an increasingly friendly dialogue and close collaboration between the traditions you represent and the Catholic Church».
Over these fifty years, we have seen a gradual and steady growth of “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 the Pali language, preserved in the Vatican Library. I have a joyful memory of my visit to your beloved country from the 20th to the 23rd of November 2019 and the wonderful hospitality and welcome I received. I also thank you for your friendship and fraternal dialogue with the members of the Dicastery for Interreligious Dialogue and with the Catholic community in Thailand.
Overcoming the selfishness that generates conflict and violence
According to Francis, “at a time when the human family and the planet are facing multiple threats, friendly dialogue and close collaboration are even more necessary.”
Unfortunately, on all sides we hear the cry of a wounded humanity and a torn Earth. Buddha and Jesus understood the need to overcome the selfishness that breeds conflict and violence. The Dhammapada summarizes the Buddha’s teachings as follows: “Avoid evil, cultivate good and purify the mind. This is the teaching of the Buddha». Jesus said to his disciples: “I give you a new commandment: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you also ought to love one another.” It is our task today to guide our respective faithful to a more vivid sense of the truth that we are all brothers and sisters. And that means we must work together to cultivate compassion and hospitality for all human beings, especially the poor and marginalized.
“In that spirit, I encourage your efforts to deepen and broaden dialogue and collaboration with the Catholic Church,” Francis said, thanking the Thai Buddhist Delegation for the courteous gesture of coming to the Vatican to commemorate the memorable meeting between their venerable predecessors. Finally, the Pope recalled the Conference that will take place this Friday afternoon at the Pontifical Urbanian University, entitled Friendship between Buddhists and Christians for a culture of encounter, and wished the Buddhist Delegation of Thailand a good stay in Rome.