Touching on the importance of emptying ourselves in order to listen to God and to respect our brothers and sisters, the Holy Father addressed Buddhists in his annual message for the Buddhist Feast of Vesakh.
Vesakh, the main Buddhist celebration, marks three fundamental moments in the life of Gautama Buddha. It is held during the full moon of the month of May because, according to tradition, the Buddha was born, achieved enlightenment, and passed away during this period.
This year's message - published in English, French, and Italian - is entitled "Witnessing to a Spirit of Poverty: Christians and Buddhists in Dialogue." In the message, Benedict XVI recalls that he recently affirmed that there is a "chosen" poverty, "which allows one to tread in the footsteps of Jesus Christ. ... We understand this poverty to mean above all an emptying of self, ... creat[ing] in us a willingness to listen to God and to our brothers and sisters, being open to them, and respecting them as individuals."
The Pope also refers to "a poverty, a deprivation, which God does not desire and which should be fought; a poverty that prevents people and families from living as befits their dignity; a poverty that offends justice and equality and that, as such, threatens peaceful co-existence."
The message closes by thanking Buddhists for their "inspiring witness of non-attachment and contentment. Monks, nuns, and many lay devotees among you embrace a poverty 'to be chosen' that spiritually nourishes the human heart, substantially enriching life with a deeper insight into the meaning of existence, and sustaining commitment to promoting the goodwill of the whole human community."