Vatican Message: Feast of Vesak: An opportunity for compassion and fraternity

Buddhist Monks In a message for the Buddhist feast of Vesak, the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue invites Buddhists and Christians to promote a culture of compassion and fraternity.

The Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue (PCID) has written a message for the Buddhist feast of Vesak for the past twenty-four years.

The feast of Vesak/Hanamatsuri is an important feast for Buddhists. It commemorates the main events in the life of Buddha. It is celebrated on different days in different countries that practice Buddhism.

This year’s message is entitled: “Buddhists and Christians: Constructing a Culture of Compassion and Fraternity.” It is signed by the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue President, Cardinal Miguel Ángel Ayuso Guixot, and the Council Secretary, Msgr. Kodithuwakku K. Indunil J.

Compassion and fraternity

The message opens with a greeting to all Buddhist communities, and reaffirms the Church’s bond of friendship and collaboration with them. It also recognises the high value given to compassion and fraternity in both religions, and calls for service “to a wounded humanity.”

The message recalls Pope Francis’ meeting with the Supreme Buddhist Patriarch in Thailand last November. On that occasion, the Pope said: “We can grow and live together as good ‘neighbours’ and thus be able to promote among the followers of our religions the development of new charitable projects, capable of generating and multiplying practical initiatives on the path of fraternity.”


The Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue message for Vesak relates the stories of Prince Siddhartha and Saint Francis of Assisi who both shaved their hair and renounced fine clothes to live lives of detachment. Their examples serve as a source of inspiration to “more freely devote ourselves to fostering a culture of compassion and fraternity for the alleviation of human and ecological suffering.”

Buddhist communities are also invited to accompany and support Christians to foster kindness and fraternity. The message prays that interconnectedness may become a source of blessings for all as “everything is related.”


“We believe that to guarantee the continuity of our universal solidarity, our shared journey requires educational process,” reads the message.

To this end, the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue invites Buddhist communities to a global event on 15 October 2020. The theme is “Reinventing the Global Compact on Education.” It aims to rekindle our dedication for and with young people, renewing our passion for a more open and inclusive education.”


The message ends with a prayer for “all those who are affected by the coronavirus pandemic and for those who are caregivers. Let us encourage our faithful to live this difficult moment with hope, compassion, and charity.”


Buddhist Monks
Buddhist Monks


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