.- The Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue sent its annual Message to Buddhists for the Feast of Vesakh. The letter stated the importance of environmental concerns and spoke of Christians and Buddhists uniting to care for the earth.
Vesakh, the main Buddhist festivity, 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, Buddha was born, achieved enlightenment and passed away in that period.
The message entitled, "Christians and Buddhists: Caring for the Planet Earth," indicates that the âpreservation of the environment, promotion of sustainable development and particular attention to climate change are matters of grave concern for everyone.â
The letter points out that contribution of religious leaders is not âjust a reaction to the more recent pressing threats associated with global warming. Christianity and Buddhism have always upheld a great respect for nature and taught that we should be grateful stewards of the earth. Indeed it is only through a profound reflection on the relationship between the divine Creator, creation and creatures that attempts to address environmental concerns will not be marred by individual greed or hampered by the interests of particular groups.â
"On a practical level can we Christians and Buddhists not do more to collaborate in projects which confirm the responsibility that falls to each and every one of us? Recycling, energy conservation, the prevention of indiscriminate destruction of plant and animal life, and the protection of waterways all speak of careful stewardship and indeed foster goodwill and promote cordial relations among peoples. In this way Christians and Buddhists together can be harbingers of hope for a clean, safe and harmonious world."
It is the hope that such ideas may be promoted âwithin our respective communities through public education and our good example in respecting nature and acting responsibly towards our one common planet Earth.â