Pope Francis: Jesus and the Buddha Were Both ‘Promotors of Nonviolence’

Pope Francis meets with a representative of the Buddhist religion on the occasion of an inter religious meeting in the Clementine Hall of the Apostolic Palace, at the Vatican, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2016. Francis has welcomed a multi-faith delegation at the Vatican, using the occasion to condemn terrorist attacks and …
L'Osservatore Romano/Pool Photo via AP

ROME — Pope Francis told a Buddhist delegation from Mongolia Saturday that Jesus and Buddha shared a common commitment to peace and nonviolence.

“Jesus and the Buddha were peacemakers and promotors of nonviolence,” the pontiff told the delegation of Mongolian Buddhists during a private audience in the Vatican, while also urging an end to violence against the environment.

Jesus himself “lived in violent times” and yet he “marked out the path of nonviolence,” Francis said. Similarly, the “core message of the Buddha was nonviolence and peace” and he taught that the peaceful live happily, “discarding both victory and defeat.”

To be true followers of Jesus today “includes embracing his teaching about nonviolence,” he asserted, whereas Buddha taught that “he indeed is the noblest victor who conquers himself” rather than others.

Peace is the “ardent yearning of humanity today,” Francis said, and “there is an urgent need, through dialogue at all levels, to promote a culture of peace and nonviolence, and to work to that end.”

This dialogue must invite “all people to reject violence in every form, including violence done to the environment,” he said. “Sadly too, there are those who continue to abuse religion by using it to justify acts of violence and hatred.”

As religious leaders deeply rooted in our respective religious teachings, we “have a duty to awaken in humanity the firm resolve to renounce violence and to build a culture of peace,” he declared.

“Mongolia has a long-standing tradition of peaceful coexistence between different religions,” the pope said. “It is my hope and prayer that this ancient history of harmony in diversity may continue in our own day through the effective implementation of religious freedom and the promotion of joint initiatives for the common good.”

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