Pope to Buddhists: Promote understanding among ethnic groups to heal conflict wounds

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The pope visited the Kaba Aye Center, one of the most revered Buddhist temples in this area of Asia, to meet with Sangha, the Supreme Council of Buddhist monks in the country.

Before beginning the meeting, the pope removed his shoes as a sign of respect.

Then, the two delegations met in a temple hall, with a luminous image of Buddha positioned at one end.

'The Sangha Mahanayaka State Committee of Myanmar cordially greets the honorable delegates who are led by His Holiness Pope Francis.'

It was a delicate meeting, because many extremist Buddhist monks incite violence against Muslim minorities in Myanmar. For this reason, the pope said the visit was an opportunity to reaffirm the commitment of all religious leaders for 'justice, peace and the fundamental dignity of each human person.' Then, he quoted Buddha.

''Overcome the angry with non-anger; overcome the wicked with goodness; overcome the greedy by generosity; overcome the liar by truth.' May that wisdom continue to inspire every effort to foster patience and understanding, and to heal the wounds of conflict that through the years have divided people of different cultures, ethnicities and religious convictions.'

The pope recalled that when facing the conflicts of the country, religious leaders should help 'each voice be heard' to understand everyone and confront challenges with reciprocal solidarity.

Before leaving, the pope received a golden image of the spectacular pagoda and he gave the president of the monks a futuristic sculpture of a “Dove of Peace.”

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