The feast of
Vesakh marks important events in the life of Gautama Buddha. In the
Mahayana Buddhist tradition (China, Japan and Korea) these events are
commemorated on different days.
message, entitled " Buddhists and Christians Serving Humanity" reflects
on the nature of love, addressed by Pope Benedict XVI in his first
encyclical, "Deus Caritas Est".
said that "The Pope is convinced that this word, so frequently used and
yet so often misunderstood, needs to have its true meaning restored in
order to become a beacon of light for everyday life".
dialogue”, he continued, “we have come to appreciate the importance
that you Buddhists give to love for one's fellow human beings which is
expressed in the concept of metta, a love without any desire to possess
but only to help others.”
He called this
“a love which is willing to sacrifice self-interest for the benefit of
humanity. So metta, according to Buddhist teaching, is not confined to
benevolent thought, but extends to the performance of charitable deeds,
to the service of one and all. It is indeed a universal benevolence.”
"In this world
where the word love is so often used and misused”, he stressed, “would
it not be useful for Buddhists and Christians to rediscover its
original meaning according to their respective traditions and to share
their understanding with one another?”
“This”, he said,
“would be an encouragement for the followers of both traditions to work
together to build up relations based on love and truth, to promote
mutual respect, to foster dialogue and to further collaboration in the
service of those who are in need".
Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue has sent a
message to the world’s Buddhists, currently celebrating Vesakh, calling
for a mutual respect and cooperation between the two religions in an
effort to reclaim the idea of love, discussed in Pope Benedict’s recent