Vatican calls for Christian-Buddhist cooperation in healing world's wounds
VATICAN CITY CNS – An ever-increasing awareness of humanity's "shared vulnerability" is an invitation for Christians and Buddhists to respond together to the problems facing the world and the soul of each person, said the Vatican's head of interreligious dialogue.
In a letter to the global Buddhist community published April 21 ahead of the Buddhist holiday Vesak, Cardinal Miguel Ángel Ayuso Guixot, prefect of the Dicastery for Interreligious Dialogue, identified the many "grievous wounds" afflicting the world to which Christianity and Buddhism can offer remedies.
The cardinal listed: poverty, discrimination, unjust economic systems, hate fueled by religious and nationalistic extremism and a sense of despair manifested in widespread anxiety and addiction.
"These realities painfully expose our shared vulnerability" and call for "new forms of solidarity shaped by our respective religious traditions," Cardinal Ayuso wrote.
"Increased communication in today's globalized world has made us aware that the problems we face are not isolated; they are the result of tensions and evils that entangle all of humanity," he said. "We are sailing in the same boat."
Vesak, which many Buddhist communities will celebrate May 5 this year, commemorates the birth, enlightenment and death of the Buddha. Such celebrations "can provide needed distance from our everyday routine" to approach life's suffering with renewed insight, said the cardinal.
In his letter, Cardinal Ayuso related the Buddhist teaching of "karuna," compassion toward all people, to the Christian idea of "agape," or selfless love. Embodying those principles, he said, provides an "antidote to the global crises" he identified by "offering comprehensive compassion in response to widespread and interconnected evils."
The cardinal also drew parallels between Pope Francis' appeal to be like the good Samaritan who, by going out of his way to tend to a man beaten by robbers, loved others "concretely, not abstractly," and the Buddha's "emphasis on training the heart."
"When you develop meditation on compassion, any cruelty will be abandoned," he said, quoting the Buddha.
Cardinal Ayuso asked Buddhists to joyfully contribute "to the healing of the wounds of society and the earth, our common home."
"May we all strive to live with greater love and compassion, and work together to build a more just, peaceful and united world," he said.