Buddhists, Christians Consider Point of Union

By Miriam Díez i Bosch

ROCCA DI PAPA, Italy, MAY 20, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Buddhists and Christians can find a point of unity and understanding in the Buddhist concept of compassion and the Christian understanding of love, concluded experts at an interreligious dialogue meeting.

The Buddhist and Christian representatives, gathered April 26-30 in Rocca di Papa, near Rome, by the Catholic lay Focolare movement, considered the unifying elements in their respective traditions.

Focolare Father Cinto Busquet spoke with ZENIT about the importance of the meeting: “The sincere and radical openness to the religious experience of the other, on the base of love and compassion lived among us, has permitted being able to have together a shared experience of God, who has illuminated both us Christians and our Buddhist brothers.”

Father Busquet, who has worked for more than 17 years in Japan, said the participants were able to speak freely of their faith experiences.

“Certainly, and following their tradition, our Buddhist friends do not speak of God, but rather of Buddha or Dharma, but both we and they have been able to speak with full liberty of the respective faith experiences, feeling welcomed and profoundly understood by each other in the infinite mystery of God,” he said.

Ryoko Nishioka, from Japan, noted how the meeting was the third of its kind. He said it “had a special significance, since as Buddhists and Christians we have gone deeper into what Buddhist compassion and Christian love mean. I believe that in the practice of this love and understanding, we can find depth.”