Christians and Buddhists: Loving, defending and promoting human life

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The Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue has released it’s annual message to the world’s Buddhists to mark the feast of Vesakh.

Vesakh is the Buddhist festival that commemorates the birth, enlightenment, and death of Gautama Buddha and will fall on 24-25 May this year.

Focusing on shared values, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, impresses on both Buddhists and Christians the need to “create a climate of peace to love, defend and promote human life.”

He says:

Dear Buddhist friends, your first precept teaches you to abstain from destroying the life of any sentient being and it thus prohibits killing oneself and others. The cornerstone of your ethics lies in loving kindness to all beings. We Christians believe that the core of Jesus’ moral teaching is twofold; love of God and love of neighbour.

Jesus says: “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you; abide in my love.” And again: “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you” (Catechism of the Catholic Church n. 1823). The fifth Christian Commandment, “You shall not kill” harmonizes so well with your first precept. Nostra Aetate teaches that “the Catholic Church rejects nothing of what is true and holy in these religions” (NA 2). I think, therefore, that it is urgent for both Buddhists and Christians on the basis of the genuine patrimony of our religious traditions to create a climate of peace to love, defend and promote human life.


Use the link in the top right-hand corner of this page to download the full message for Vesakh 2013.