Pope Francis on Wednesday briefly met a delegation of Buddhists, Hindus, Jains and Sikhs who participated in a one-day conference in the Vatican, and another group of Buddhist monks from Thailand.
Dialogue and cooperation
The Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue on Tuesday organized a conference on the theme, “Dharma and Logos – Dialogue and Cooperation in a Complex Age”, in which some 200 representatives of Dharmic religions that originated in India, and Christians participated.
Meeting the representatives of Dharmic religions ahead of his weekly general audience, the Pope expressed satisfaction at the conference they attended, saying “dialogue and cooperation are essential at a time like our own”, marked by tensions, conflicts and violence.
He said one needs to thank God when “religious leaders actively foster a culture of encounter by offering an example of fruitful dialogue and by working together effectively in the service of life, human dignity and the care of creation.”
In a separate meeting, a delegation of Buddhist monks from Thailand gifted him with a copy of their “Sacred Book translated into today’s language by the monks of Wat Pho Temple.” The Pope thanked them for it saying it is a tangible sign of the generosity and friendship that Buddhists and Catholics have shared for many years.
In this regard, Pope Francis recalled the meeting in the Vatican between Blessed Pope Paul VI and the Venerable Somdej Phra Wanaratana, whose portrait can be seen at the office of the Pontifical Council.
The Pope urged Buddhists and Catholics continue to come closer, “advance in knowledge of one another and in esteem for their respective spiritual traditions, and offer the world a witness to the values of justice, peace, and the defense of human dignity.”