Made public today was the annual Message to Buddhists for the Feast of Vesakh, issued by the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue. This year Vesakh, the most important Buddhist festivity, is celebrated on 8 April in Japan, on 10 May in Korea, China, Taiwan, Vietnam and Singapore, and on 17 May in Thailand, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Myanmar and Laos.
In the message, which is entitled: 'Seeking Truth in Freedom: Christians and Buddhists live in Peace', Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran and Archbishop Pier Luigi Celata, respectively president and secretary of the pontifical council, note that "in the pursuit of authentic peace, a commitment to seek truth is a necessary condition. ... This human striving for truth offers a fruitful opportunity for the followers of the different religions to encounter one another in depth and to grow in appreciation of the gifts of each".
The English-language text continues: "In today's world, marked by forms of secularism and fundamentalism that are often inimical to true freedom and spiritual values, inter-religious dialogue can be the alternative choice by which we find the 'golden way' to live in peace and work together for the good of all. ... Such dialogue is also a powerful stimulus to respect for the fundamental human rights of freedom of conscience and freedom of worship. Wherever religious freedom is effectively acknowledged, the dignity of the human person is respected at its root; by the sincere search for what is true and good, moral conscience and civil institutions are strengthened; and justice and peace are firmly established".