TAIWAN: The sixth Buddhist-Christian talk in progress

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The sixth Buddhist-Christian talk is taking place in Taiwan from Monday to Thursday on the theme “Christians and Buddhists: Let’s walk together  the Way of Nonviolence”.      

The four day event is being organized by the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue (PCID) and is represented by delegates from 18 countries mostly Asians. 

The Secretary of PCID, Bishop Miguel Ángel Ayuso Guixot opened the inaugural session illustrating the role of the Dicastery since its founding in 1964. For more than fifty  years he recalled,  the PCID has been involved in dialogue and collaboration with Buddhists all over the world.  The first Buddhist-Christian formal talk was held at the Fokuangshan Monastery in Taiwan in 1995 on the theme  “convergences and divergences” between the two religions. The second meeting was held in 1998 at the Asirvanam Benedictine Monastery  Bangalore, India on “word and silence”. The third was held in Tokyo, Japan, in 2002 at Rissho Kosei-kai, on “Sangha in Buddhism and Church in Christianity.” The fourth was  “Interior  Peace, peace among peoples” and was held in Rome in 2013 and the fifth on “Buddhists and Christians together  encourage fraternity” was held in Bodh Gaya, India, in 2015.

The current theme of the assembly is taken from the traditional message that PCID  sends to the Buddhists for the Vesakh festival, which this year emphasized in particular the urgent need to promote a culture of peace and nonviolence.  

“Terrorism is on the increase, as well as the number of people killed in terrorist attacks and most victims are women and children”  said the Bishop. Moreover, in most cases, conflicts cross the frontiers and especially affect the poor countries,  he added. Making a mention of domestic violence especially come across  by women the bishop said that the study of violence is not a simple academic exercise but a matter of life and death.  Some of us come from conflict-torn societies, some others experience the long-term or short-term effects of past wars. Some are victims or witnesses of unreasonable atrocities. In many of our countries, we daily hear the cry of the victims of violence he observed. Yet he said,  uncontrolled nationalism, sexism, racism, caste, ethnic and religious fundamentalism may numb our hearts and blind our eyes to the suffering of so many people, hence the Buddhists and Christians work together  to prevent and defeat violence he concluded.   

More than 1.3 million people around the world die each year because of violence; and about 1.2 billion, or one fifth of the world’s population, are affected by some form of violence or insecurity.

Cardinal P Jean-Louis Tauran, President of PCID will take part in the concluding session of the assembly on Thursday.