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Buddhists and Christians meet for talks in Rome

Discussions aim to build peace as Asian tensions simmer

Alessandro Speciale, Vatican City
Vatican City

May 8, 2013

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A conference in Rome has called for Buddhists and Christians to work together to dispel “prejudice” and mutual “suspicions,” and work towards building peace.

The conference comes at a time when tensions and incidents of violence between Buddhists and other faiths are growing throughout Asia.

It also comes 10 years after the first major meeting of Buddhist and Catholic leaders, and was held at Rome's missionary university, the Urbaniana, on Monday.

The meeting was preceded by two minutes of silent prayer, followed by the lighting of a traditional lamp of faith by the representatives of the two faiths.

The gesture was a symbol of the common desire to “dispel hatred and the darkness of ignorance and suspicions, healing the wounds of the past,” according to Father Indunil Kodithuwakku, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue.

“Ignorance, fear, hostility, prejudice, individualism, exclusions and violence spread the seed of division throughout the world,” remarked the president of the Vatican office for interfaith relations, Cardinal Jean Louis Tauran.

The cardinal called for “thought, words and acts” that contribute to fostering peace and “overcoming prejudice.”

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