“Buddhism, in its various forms, realizes the radical insufficiency of this changeable world; it teaches a way by which men, in a devout and confident spirit, may be able either to acquire the state of perfect liberation, or attain, by their own efforts or through higher help, supreme illumination.”
Nostra Aetate, 1965
“Since in the course of centuries not a few quarrels and hostilities have arisen between Christians and Moslems, this sacred synod urges all to forget the past and to work sincerely for mutual understanding and to preserve as well as to promote together for the benefit of all mankind social justice and moral welfare, as well as peace and freedom.
Nostra Aetate, 1965
Dialogue with people of other faiths is a major dimension of the Jesuit commitment to be companions of Jesus and servants of his mission. This mission includes being prepared to live alongside people of other faiths, acting as good neighbours to them, and being prepared to work with them for the common good.
This is especially important for Jesuits in Asia Pacific, which is home to several major religions and cultures – Islam, Buddhism and Confucianism.
For many Jesuits, the dialogue with people of other faiths expresses itself through the dialogue of religious experience - learning how to listen to what others are saying and to enter into their spiritual lives through prayer and conversation.
For a few Jesuits, dialogue means theological exchange. It demands not just face-to-face debate but a life of study and constant reflection on what God may be saying through these other religious traditions.
In Asia Pacific, Jesuits are particularly active in encouraging and promoting religious dialogue between with Buddhists and Christians in Japan, Korea, China, Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia.
We are also building a network that will help us to gain a better understanding of Islam and its role in this region. We engage in dialogue with Muslims in ways that challenge our theological understanding, help us gain greater understanding of religious fundamentalism and support solidarity with Muslims on human rights issues and to foster peace in the region. The effort is spearheaded by a group of Jesuits active in the study of Islam and engaged in solidarity actions with Muslims – Heru Prakosa and Greg Soetomo (Indonesia), Aloysius Mowe (from Malaysia but now resident in Australia), Albert Alejo (Philippines), Dan Madigan (Chair in Islamic Studies at Georgetown University) and Herman Roborgh (Australia).