Bangkok (Thailand). From 13 to 16 November 2023, the 7th Buddhist-Christian Colloquium was held in Bangkok, at the Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya Buddhist University.

“The ways of compassion (Karuṇā) and charity (Agape) in dialogue for the healing of a wounded humanity and land” was the theme of the event, the fruit of collaboration between the Vatican Dicastery for Interreligious Dialogue, the Catholic Episcopal Conference of Thailand, and the Buddhist University.

It was attended by religious leaders, theologians, and Buddhist and Christian scholars from various countries, including Cambodia, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Singapore, Sri Lanka, South Korea, Thailand, Taiwan, and the United Kingdom. Also present were Sister Anna Grassi and Sister Imelda Barattino of St. Mary Mazzarello Province (THA), representing the Provincial Coordinator of the Missions, Sister Pornphirun Chandenduang, in Rome for a Formation Course.

At the conclusion of the Colloquium, the representatives of the two faiths, in a final Declaration, listed the necessary steps for a common action: from dialogue to cooperation.

The Declaration emphasizes the purpose of reaffirming friendship and mutual understanding, built through dialogue with Buddhist partners around the world and, in particular, in Thailand, noting that the Colloquium “will also identify common actions to heal the wounds of humanity and the planet.”

Starting from a look at the meeting points between the Buddhist value of compassion (Karuṇā) and the Christian idea of charity (Agape), the participants accepted the challenge of confronting the challenges facing humanity today.   Card. Miguel Angel Ayuso Guixot, prefect of the Dicastery for Interreligious Dialogue said, “We recognize that both Buddhism and Christianity share a deep commitment to the welfare of humanity and the Earth. We are aware that our world is wounded in many ways – socially, economically, ecologically – and asks to be healed. In this shared recognition of our collective responsibility, we find common ground that transcends religious boundaries.”

The participants write in the concluding document, “As Buddhists and Christians, we see the Buddha and Jesus as great healers. The Buddha pointed to greed and Jesus pointed to sin as the cause of suffering. At many levels, Jesus and the Buddha have proposed love and compassion as medicine to ward off darkness in the human heart and in the world. Nourished by their respective spiritual teachings, Buddhists and Christians, for thousands of years, have adopted compassionate ways of life to face the suffering of life.”

In this perspective, the Final Document indicates 7 verbs from which to draw a common commitment: to recognize that we all belong to one human family; to dialogue to prevent violence and to heal both the victim and the executioner; to cultivate empathy for the sufferings of others and the environment; to innovate so that the spiritual patrimony of one’s religious traditions may speak to today’s wounded humanity; to educate above all the little ones in the encounter with others; to pray to purify hearts and minds.

At the end of the work, the participants also made the symbolic gesture of planting two trees: a specimen of “ratchaphruek“, the symbol tree of Thailand, and a plant of “payung”, which in Thai means “to support”. It was finally established that the Eighth Buddhist-Christian Colloquium will be held in 2025 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.


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