Francis received, at the Vatican, a delegation of Buddhist monks from Taiwan who are carrying out “an interfaith educational pilgrimage” that “can be a source of great enrichment, offering various opportunities for meeting, mutual learning and appreciation of our different experiences”. . The Pope emphasized that “religions have always had a close relationship with education”.
Mariangela Jaguraba – Vatican News
Pope Francis received in an audience, this Thursday (16/03), in the Sala Clementina, in the Vatican, a delegation of Buddhist monks from Taiwan, representing the United Union of Humanistic Buddhism.
In his speech, the Pontiff recalled Venerable Master Hsing Yun, founding patriarch of Fo Guang Shan Monastery, who died last February, known worldwide for his contribution to humanistic Buddhism. He was also a master of interfaith hospitality.
Promoting the meeting culture
This visit, “designated by you as an educational pilgrimage, is a privileged opportunity for outreach the meeting culture, in which we run the risk of opening ourselves to others, hoping to discover in them friends, brothers and in this way we learn and discover more about ourselves. Indeed, as we experience others in their difference, we are encouraged to step outside of ourselves and accept and embrace our differences.”
An interfaith educational pilgrimage can be a source of great enrichment, offering various opportunities to meet, learn from each other and appreciate our different experiences.
“An educational pilgrimage to the holy places of a religion – such as the one you are making – can also enrich our appreciation of the uniqueness of its approach to the divine,” the Pope said, noting that “works of sacred art in the Vatican and throughout Rome reflect the belief that, in Jesus Christ, God himself made himself a ‘pilgrim’ in this world out of love for our human family.” “For Christians, the God who became one of us in the humanity of Jesus continues to lead us on a pilgrimage of holiness, thanks to which we recover and grow in our likeness to Him and thus become, in the words of St. Peter, “participants of the divine nature,” Francis said.
An oasis of meeting that is needed in our time
The Pontiff then said that “throughout history, the faithful have created temples and sacred spaces as oases of encounter, where men and women can find the necessary inspiration to live well and wisely. In this way, they contribute to the complete education of the human person, involving “head, hands, heart and soul” and thus leading him to experience “the harmony of human integrity, that is, all the beauty of this harmony”.
Such meeting oases are even more necessary in our time, where “the constant acceleration of changes in humanity and the planet is now combined with the intensification of the rhythms of life and work”. This reality also has implications for religious life and culture and requires adequate formation and training of young people in timeless truth and proven methods of prayer and peace building. Here it is important to note it once again “Religions have always had a close relationship with education, accompanying religious activities with educational, school and academic activities. As in the past, so today, with the wisdom and humanity of our religious traditions, we want to be a stimulus for renewed educational action that makes Catholic brotherhood grow in the world.»“.
Finally, the Pope hoped that this educational pilgrimage would lead the Buddhist monks in Taiwan, “guided by the thought of their spiritual master Buddha, to a deeper encounter with themselves and with others, with the Christian tradition and its beauty land, which is our common home. May your visit to Rome be filled with moments of authentic encounter, which may become precious opportunities for growth in knowledge, wisdom, dialogue and understanding.”