VIS -Vatican Information Service
Vesakh is the principal Buddhist holy day that commemorates the birth, enlightenment, and death of Gautama Buddha. According to tradition, the historical Buddha was born, achieved enlightenment and passed away during the full moon of the month of May; therefore, the date on which Vesakh is celebrated varies from year to year and from country to country. On those days, Buddhists visit local temples to offer the monks food and to hear the teachings of the Buddha, taking special care to meditate and to observe the eight precepts of Buddhism.
This year's message is entitled: “Buddhists and Christians: Together Fostering Fraternity”. Extensive extracts from the text are published below:
The Pope explained that these words help us “when we close ourselves within any form of selfishness or complacency; when we allow ourselves to be seduced by earthly powers and the things of this world, forgetting God and neighbour; when we place our trust in worldly vanities, in money, in success”, and he commented that for us, as for Thomas and Mary Magdalene, “it is not easy to open oneself to Jesus; it is not obvious to accept the life of the Risen Christ and His presence among us”.
“In the eternal 'today' of Holy Thursday, when Christ showed his love for us to the end, we recall the happy day of the institution of the priesthood, as well as the day of our own priestly ordination. The Lord anointed us in Christ with the oil of gladness, and this anointing invites us to accept and appreciate this great gift: the gladness, the joy of being a priest. Priestly joy is a priceless treasure, not only for the priest himself but for the entire faithful people of God: that faithful people from which he is called to be anointed and which he, in turn, is sent to anoint.