Vietnamese Buddhist: ‘Religions must coexist to solve problems’
By Sophie Peeters & Deborah Castellano Lubov
Among the speakers at the 7th Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions, which was held in Nur-Sultan, was Thich Duc Thien, the Secretary General of the Vietnam Buddhist Sangha.
In an interview with Deborah Castellano Lubov in Kazakhstan, Mr. Thich shares his thoughts on the meeting and the role of religious leaders in solving some of the world’s most pressing questions today and promote peace and dialogue between countries.
Importance of Coexistence
Since this is the first major international event in Kazakhstan since the beginning of the pandemic, Mr. Thich said international gatherings such as these are “very important to resolve some international problems” in order to have more mutual understanding to benefit society.
Religious leaders, he continued, can work together to develop the “tolerance, compassion, and mutual understanding” needed for societies to mutually coexist.
The pandemic, Mr. Thich continued, provided an example of the reality that “we must coexist” and be united in order to solve any problem.
Meeting Pope Francis
Mr. Thich had an opportunity to meet Pope Francis during the gathering for the Congress, saying he was “very happy” to meet the Pope for the first time.
Pope Francis’s presence at the Congress, Mr. Thich said, will help contribute to its success, giving “hope for the people” and the feeling of solidarity, of “working together,” in order to find solutions to benefit others.
The history of the Congress dates back to 2003, in the wake of the September 11th attacks on the United States, and following Pope St. John Paul II's second 'Spirit of Assisi' meeting in 2002.
The Congress included some 100 participants from 50 countries. Six Congresses of religious of world and traditional religions have been held since 2003.
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