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Interfaith Dialogue: Light and Truth in Pluralistic Asia

Wednesday, April 11, 2018, 16:46 (IST)

Continuous interfaith dialogue is key to better mutual understanding, tolerance and respect and long term peace and stability, religious leaders from different faiths agreed during a plenary discussion titled "Light and Truth in Pluralistic Asia" held at the Asia Ecumenical Youth Assembly (AEYA) in Manado, Indonesia last week.

"It is when people lose outlook and isolate themselves in their own religion that tension arises. If you don't understand other religions, you don't understand your own," said Dr Zhang Chongfu, professor at the Institute for Daoism and Religious Culture Studies at the Sichuan University in the People's Republic of China.

The common denominator of all major religions is peace, said Dr Mathews George Chunakara, general secretary of the Christian Conference of Asia and the moderator of the debate representing Christianity, adding that "no religion has terrorism and violence in its dictionary."

He recalled an ancient Indian adage: "I believe I have the truth, you believe you have the truth, I respect your truth, so please respect my truth."

A Buddhist monk Dr Phramaha Boonchuay Doojai, from Chiang Mai Buddhist University in Thailand, talked about mutual understanding.

"We need to interact with one another and talk more to each other in order to understand each other and co-exist. But interfaith dialogue is not only about talking, but about actually working together. The aim is the dignity of all human beings," he said.