Pope Francis met with Buddhists as well as practitioners of Shinto, shamanism, Russian Orthodox Christianity and other religious traditions on Sunday at an interfaith dialogue event in majority-Buddhist Mongolia. In addition to praising the practice of interreligious dialogue, the pontiff cited the words of the Buddha in the Dhammapada during the gathering during the first ever papal visit to this country of 3,4 million people.
Speaking on interfaith dialogue, the pope said it was "not antithetical to proclamation" but rather helped people of diverse religious traditions understand each other: "With humility and in a spirit of service . . . the Church offers the treasure it has received to every person and culture, in a spirit of openness and respectful consideration of what other religious traditions have to offer. (CNA)
“Religious traditions, for all their specificity and diversity, have impressive potential to benefit society as a whole,” he added. (CNA)
Khamba Nomun Khan, supreme leader of Mongolian Buddhists and abbot of Gandan Monastery in Ulaanbaatar, accompanied Pope Francis as he entered the interfaith event, held on Bogd Khan Uu Mountain, overlooking Mongolia's capital.
The Pope cited the Dhammapada twice in his speech, including the verse: "The scent of flowers spreads only in the direction of the wind, the scent of those who live according to virtue spreads in all directions." » (CNA)
Mongolia has a rich religious history. At the turn of the 110th century, it was home to around 000 Buddhist monks and some 700 monasteries. However, under the rule of the Mongolian People's Party, which took power in 1921, many monasteries were destroyed and countless monks were either killed or forced into secular life.
After the democratic revolution of 1990 and the drafting of a new constitution guaranteeing religious freedom in 1992, Buddhism saw a steady comeback.
“May the memory of past sufferings – here I am thinking particularly of Buddhist communities – bestow the strength needed to transform dark wounds into sources of light, senseless violence into wisdom of life, devastating evil into constructive goodness,” said the Pope Francis during the ceremony. Sunday meeting. (CNA)
Earlier this year, His Holiness the Dalai Lama recognized an American-born boy as the 10th Khalkha Jetsun Dhampa (also known as Jebtsundamba Khutughtu) during a ceremony in India.* This recognition continues a lineage of renaissances which date back to 1635 with the birth of the first Jebtsundamba Khutughtu, Öndör Gegeen Zanabazar. The lineage bears the title Bogd Gegeen, emphasizing their status as Mongolia's highest-ranking lamas.
In a speech on Saturday, the Pope hailed the relative stability brought by the Mongol Empire in the XNUMXth century, calling for a similar peace to be established today: "May Heaven grant that today, on this A land devastated by countless conflicts, there may be a revival, abiding by international law, of the condition of what was once Pax Mongolica, that is, the absence of conflict. (PBS)
The interfaith event took place on the third day of Pope Francis' five-day visit to Mongolia. His trip ended Monday with a private mass at the Steppe Arena in Ulaanbaatar in front of almost all of the country's 1 Catholics.
* Dalai Lama recognizes US-born boy as Mongolia's highest-ranking lama (BDG)