Dear Buddhist Friends,
I greet you warmly in your celebration of Vesak Day as you commemorate three significant events in the life of Gautama Buddha, namely, his birth, enlightenment and final nirvana. May you and your families be blessed with deep peace, joy and love.
Buddhists are well known for their cultivation of wholesome values such as loving-kindness and compassion through meditation and enlightenment. Indeed, the world would be a much nicer place to live in if all peoples inculcate such time-honoured values which promote peace and harmonious living.
This emphasis on prayer, mercy and compassion in Buddhism is very much in line with our Christian Faith. Christ Himself spoke extensively on the theme of mercy, compassion and forgiveness.
Continuing with this emphasis of the gospel, Pope Francis has declared this year to be an extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy. By so doing, he invites the whole Catholic Church and, indeed, the whole world to exercise mercy and compassion with respect to our fellowmen and creation.
Through prayer and meditation, Christians come to experience the loving-kindness and compassion of God. Following this encounter with God and enlightened by His love and mercy, Christians extend this compassion to all peoples, regardless of race, language or religion.
Pope Francis believes that such a renewal in the world is all the more needed in these troubled times. More than ever before, the world is witnessing the destruction of humanity and the rape of Mother Earth by atrocious acts of disrespect and violence resulting from greed, selfishness, hatred and anger, lust for power and control.
It behooves us, Buddhists and Christians, to unite even more wholeheartedly in prayer and works of mercy to spread the virtues of loving-kindness, forgiveness and compassion to counter the advancing forces of evil in this world. Such efforts will surely contribute towards safeguarding the peace and harmony enjoyed by all who live in Singapore.
May this year see a further deepening of ties between our Buddhist and Christian leaders and among our communities. May we continue to collaborate and encourage each other in promoting justice, mercy and peace among our peoples and believers of our faiths.
On behalf of the Catholic community in Singapore, I wish you a memorable and spiritually rejuvenating Vesak Day.
Most Rev. William Goh, D.D., STL
Archbishop of Singapore
Msgr. Philip Heng, S.J.
Vicar General (Interreligious Relations)