Traditional message from the Vatican on the occasion of the Vesakh Buddhist feast

Source: FSSPX News


Cardinal Paul Poupard, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue sent to the Buddhists the traditional good wishes, which this year were entitled: "Buddhists and Christians at the service of mankind" on the occasion of the Vesakh feast.

This year, the Vesakh feast is celebrated between April 8 and May 12, according to the Buddhist traditions. It is the greatest Buddhists feast which commemorates the birth, "illumination" and death of Buddha with ceremonies and processions around the temples.

Recalling the first encyclical of Benedict XVI, Deus Caritas est, the message from the president of the Pontifical Council specifies that "the pope is convinced that it is necessary that this word (love, Ed.), so frequently used and very often misunderstood, be brought back to its real meaning so as to be a beacon for everyday life".

Cardinal Poupard explained that dialogue with the Buddhists made it possible to understand the importance they grant to love of neighbor. According to him, the concept of metta, a love precluding any desire of possession and turned towards the other, is a common point with the Christian love agape. It is a love ready to scarify self-interest, which is not limited to a benevolent thought, but strives to accomplish charitable actions in the service of others. "It is, in truth, a universal goodness" to which is added another Buddhist virtue, karuna, which is a loving compassion for all living creatures, the cardinal stated.

"In this world in which the word love is so often misused and  degraded", Cardinal Poupard wished to encourage Buddhist and Catholic faithful to work together to establish relationships based on love and truth, to foster mutual respect, to promote dialogue and to favor collaboration in the service of the needy.


Editor’s note: Buddhism which is more a philosophy than a religion, declares that the existence of God, just like that of an immortal soul, cannot be known. In this doctrine, existence is the evil, it is evil just to be. Consequently the wise man must abandon all hope and extinguish every desire. He will thus reach a state of void called nirvana. Jacques Maritain said about it: "If Buddhism is now advocated with so much favor in some European circles, it is because all the minds who want to draw from philanthropy a morality of goodness for a world without God are already virtually Buddhist" (Elements of Philosophy).