Pope Francis urges Buddhists to ‘ecological transition’

ROME — Pope Francis urged a delegation of Cambodian Buddhists to convert this week, not to Christianity, but to environmental responsibility.

In his address to Buddhists at the Vatican on Thursday, the pope did not mention Jesus’ name, but four times he insisted on the need for “ecological conversion” as the common call for both Buddhists and Christians.

“Ecological conversion happens when the human roots of the current environmental crisis are named,” the Pope asserted, and “when true conversion leads to slowing down or stopping trends, ideologies and practices that are hurtful and disrespectful to the Earth.”

This conversion also takes place when “people commit to promoting models of development that heal the wounds inflicted by greed, excessive pursuit of economic profit, lack of solidarity with neighbors and lack of respect for the environment,” he said.

Ecological conversion “calls us to shift gears, to change bad habits to be able to dream, co-create and act together to realize a fair and just future,” he added.

Both Buddhism and Christianity offer a wealth of means to sustain efforts to “cultivate ecological responsibility,” Francis suggested. “By following the principles that the Buddha left as a legacy to his disciples, including the practice of metta, which involves not harming living things, and living a simple lifestyle, Buddhists can achieve compassionate protection for all beings, including the earth, their habitat. “

Christians, for their part, “fulfill their ecological responsibility when, as trusted stewards, they protect creation, the work God has entrusted them to ‘cultivate and keep,'” he said.

In 2015, Francis became the first pope in history to prepare an entire encyclopedia on the subject of environmentalism, in which he claimed that situations of environmental degradation have caused sister earth to “shout and beg for us to take a different course”.

“Doomsday predictions can no longer be met with irony or disdain,” he declared. “We may well leave to future generations debris, desolation and dirt.”

“The pace of consumption, waste and environmental change has stretched the planet’s capacity so much that our modern way of life, unsustainable as it is, can only trigger disasters, such as those that are even now occurring regularly in various areas of the world,” he argued.

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