VATICAN CITY, 29 APR 2008 (VIS) - Made public today was the annual Message to Buddhists for the Feast of Vesakh, issued by the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue and signed by Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran and Archbishop Pier Luigi Celata, respectively president and secretary of the council.
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.
This year's message - published in English, French and Italian - is entitled "Christians and Buddhists: Caring for the Planet Earth". It indicates that:"Preservation of the environment, promotion of sustainable development and particular attention to climate change are matters of grave concern for everyone. Many governments, NGOs, multi-national companies
"Religious leaders too", the message adds, "are contributing to the public debate. This contribution is of course not just 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.
"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 everyone 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".
The message concludes by expressing the hope that such ideas may be promoted "within our respective communities through public education and our good example in respecting nature and acting responsibly towards our one common planet Earth".::link