Buddhists & Catholics Meeting in Vatican

  • The Theme: Suffering, Liberation, and Fraternity
  1. In the words of Pope Francis: “Fraternity is an essential human quality, for we are all relational beings.  A lively awareness of our relatedness helps us to look upon and treat each person as a true sister or brother; without fraternity it is impossible to build a just society and a solid and lasting peace.” (Quoted from Pope Francis’ Message for the World Day of Peace 2014 entitled “Fraternity: The Foundation and Pathway to Peace” (n.1).
  2. About dialogue, Pope Francis said, “Respectful and harmonious exchange of views leads to attitudes of kindness and love which in turn generate authentic and fraternal relationships.”
  3. To Buddhists, the Vesakh Message says: “You are also convinced that the root of all evil is the ignorance and delusion born of greed and hatred, which in turn destroy the bonds of fraternity….As Buddhists and Christians, we live in a world all too often torn apart by oppression, selfishness, tribalism, ethnic rivalry, violence and religious fundamentalism, a world where the ‘other’ is treated as an inferior, a non-person, or someone to be feared and eliminated if possible.”
  4. Therefore, the Vesakh Message states that we are all called “to cooperation with other pilgrims and with people of good will to respect and defend our shared humanity….drawing upon our different religious convictions…to be outspoken in denouncing all those social ills which damage fraternity, to be healers who enable others to grow in selfless generosity, and to be reconcilers who break down the walls of division and foster genuine brotherhood between individuals and groups in society….Our world today is witnessing a growing sense of our common humanity and a global quest for a more just, peaceful and fraternal world….Indeed (in the words of Pope Francis) ‘each one of us is called to be an artisan of peace, by uniting and not dividing, by extinguishing hatred and not holding on to it, by opening paths to dialogue and not by constructing new walls! Let us dialogue and meet each other in order to establish a culture of dialogue in the world, a culture of encounter!’” (Pope Francis’ “To Participants in the International Meeting for Peace,” September 30, 2013)
  5. The Vesakh Message concludes: “Dear Friends, to build a world of fraternity, it is vitally important that we join forces to educate people, particularly the young, to seek fraternity, to live in fraternity and to dare to build fraternity.  We pray that your celebration of Vesakh will be an occasion to rediscover and promote fraternity anew, especially in our divided societies.” 
  6. Therefore, this encounter is historic in that it brings Buddhist and Catholic leaders from all across the United States (East Coast, Midwest, and West Coast) together to dialogue.  They will dialogue about relational ills and the social problems they cause, and look for ways to speak out together against the injustices that cause so much suffering, and how to work together to heal and reconcile our broken world as brothers and sisters in the spirit of fraternity.
  7. Upon their return to the United States, Buddhist and Catholic leaders will try to build on the fraternity inspired by Pope Francis and strengthened in Rome in order to engage their congregations in a fraternal dialogue of collaboration for the good of those in need locally.


  • The Joint Statement


  • Talk in Vatican by Venerable Chang Hwa