"In this sacred journey, we have come to celebrate our unity in diversity and to deny those who see religion as a cause of conflict." In a land that is "very religious and spiritual," the cradle of Theravada Buddhism, "the testimony of religious leaders has a lasting impact on the lives of our people," the Cardinal added.
Cardinal Bo cited the contribution of Buddhism in spreading values such as compassion and mercy: "There are almost 500,000 monks in this country who spread Buddha's message of compassion. There are 70,000 Buddhist Sisters. Other religions such as the Catholic Church have more than 2,500 nuns and 700 priests. Every day, those of us who choose religious life have a great opportunity to spread the message of simplicity, service and sharing."
The Cardinal went on to say that this meeting-pilgrimage, brought together "religious leaders who engage in dialogue and peace, and religious people seeking the good of all".
"Peace is the way, peace is the only way. Let us help one another to heal our wounds," he stressed, recalling that in the Christian tradition, "peace is born of justice and matures in love". "Building and promoting peace is part of our faith traditions. The birth of Christ was announced with the message 'Peace to All Men' and when Jesus was raised from the dead he had only one message for his followers: 'Peace!' "
The Cardinal has also traced the painful passages in Myanmar's history, marked by conflicts, refugees, slavery and oppression. He said that the journey to democracy cannot overlook peace and he repeated: "religions in this country want peace and wish to work with State agencies to build lasting peace."