Pope Sends Greeting to Buddhist Leader

Encourages Participants at Interreligious Meeting

VATICAN CITY, AUG. 21, 2007 (Zenit.org).- Peace is as much a gift of God as a duty of each and every person, says Benedict XVI in a message to the Religious Summit Meeting on Mount Hiei, Japan.

The Pope’s message, sent to Kahjun Handa, supreme head of the Tendai Buddhist Denomination, commemorates 20 years of the summit meetings, held this year on Aug. 4. The letter was signed June 23.

The Holy Father recalled in the letter that the encounters were previously convoked by Etai Yamada, the former supreme head Tendai, after he participated in the Day of Prayer for Peace in Assisi called by Pope John Paul II in 1986.

Benedict XVI said the Religous Summit on Mount Hiei, in Kyoto, seeks “to keep the flame of the spirit of Assisi burning.”

“From the supernatural perspective we come to understand that peace is both a gift from God and an obligation for every individual,” he added.

The Holy Father continued: “Indeed the world’s cry for peace, echoed by families and communities throughout the globe, is at once both a prayer to God and an appeal to every brother and sister of our human family. As you assemble on the sacred Mount Hiei, representing different religions, I assure you of my spiritual closeness.

“May your prayers and cooperation fill you with God’s peace and strengthen your resolve to witness to the reason of peace which overcomes the irrationality of violence!”

The Pope said he was “happy that Cardinal Paul Poupard, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, is able to take part in this meeting.”

The encounter concluded with “A Message from Mount Hiei 2007,” a joint statement affirming peaceful religious intent.

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