Our Condolences on the death of Sultan Qaboos of Oman (12 January 2020)


It was with great sadness that the Milarepa Foundation of Chile and the Laudato Si’ International Group heard about the death of Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said of Oman. Sultan Qaboos ruled Oman since 1970 and brought Oman to prosperity and peace, using wisely national resources for the prosperity of his people. In the area of interfaith dialogue and the knowledge of Islam he was at the forefront welcoming international leaders in the area of interfaith dialogue to Oman. The Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque (Arabic: جَامِع ٱلسُّلْطَان قَابُوْس ٱلْأَكْبَر‎, romanized: Jāmiʿ As-Sulṭān Qābūs Al-Akbar) is the main mosque in the Sultanate of Oman, located in the capital city of Muscat. It stands as a glorious place of worship to which all non-Muslim who visit Oman are invited to visit, see https://sultanqaboosgrandmosque.com/

Personally, it was with great sadness that I communicated our condolences to Sheikh Mohammed Al-Hinai, a Laudato Si’ Fellow from Oman, who studied at the CSRP in Scotland. Our visits to Oman together showed how much he and his family relied on the unity that Sultan Qaboos had provided to Oman, and our prayers and visits to the mosque together were occasions of great comfort to our families. The Al-Hinai family has been, indeed a great support since the beginning of the Milarepa Foundation and Laudato Si’ International and their sense of hospitality a great tribute to Oman and the reason of my own fondness for Oman and all things Omani. The directors and members of the Milarepa Foundation extend our condolences to the people of Oman and especially to our friends HE Sheikh Mahmood bin Zahir bin Ghusun Al Hinai, HE Abdulaziz bin Abdullah bin Zahir Al Hinai, and to our dear Laudato Si’ Fellow Sheikh Dr Mohammed Al-Hinai, currently working at the Diwan of Royal Court.

We wish success, health and prosperity to the new Sultan Haitham bin Tariq Al Said.

Mario I. Aguilar


COP25-SCAC Santiago, Chile December 2019

The United Nations Climate Change Conference 25 was to take place in Santiago, Chile from 2-13 December 2019. However, due to the violence that started in Chile in October the meeting was moved to Madrid. However, a significant number of Chilean organisations decided to remain in Chile and to run a parallel international session in Santiago. Fundación Milarepa for the dialogue with Asia was one of them and hosted researchers from the Centre for the Study of Religion and Politics (CSRP) of Scotland, Dr Ann Mitchell, and the Secretary General of Laudato Si’ International Dr James Morris, also a CSRP Associate Researcher based in Japan.

The main conference session took place on Wednesday 11 December hosted by Fundación Milarepa at a corporate building in the financial district of Santiago. Speakers on Laudato Si’, dialogue, religion and politics, ecology in Colombia and Japan, and contemporary Chile delivered substantial papers. Members of the interfaith movement in Chile were also present. Speakers included Marcela Arévalo (Fundación Milarepa), Jorge Cuché (Fundación Milarepa), Ivonne Bell (Fundación MIlarepa), Professor Tony Lang of the University of St. Andrews who spoke via skype, Dr Ann Mitchell (CSRP, Laudato Si’), and Dr James Morris (CSRP, Laudato Si’). The session was chaired by Professor M.I. Aguilar, director of the CSRP.

On Thursday 12th December there was a meeting of Laudato Si’ Fellows and members at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel. In parallel meetings, the developments of a new Foundation, Health without Borders (Salud Sin Fronteras), were discussed with the medical advice of Dr Camila Foncea, a Chilean odontologist and lecturer at the Catholic University, and the international coordination of Professor Aguilar. Impact in research, aid to local communities, and international cooperation were the key areas that will bring together the new Foundation with the CSRP, Laudato Si’ International, universities in the UK, Chile, and Japan, and with research and education programs on dialogue and health, religion and politics in Chile, Colombia, India, Mexico, Ruanda, and Somaliland.

Research cooperation and action within communities, as well as a full publishing program will continue to prepare for the COP26 in Glasgow in November 2020. Indeed, during 2020 the cooperative research team of the different organisations will meet at the annual meeting of the European Academy of Religion (Bologna June 2020), and at the conference ‘Diverse Aspects of Dialogue: Religion, Politics, and Health’ at the University of Tsukuba (Japan, October 2020).






El Papa Francisco en Japón noviembre 2019

El Papa Francisco llegó a Japón desde Tailandia en medio del viento y la lluvia el 22 de noviembre. La visita muy esperada por los católicos de Japón también lo fue para Francisco que como joven jesuita había soñado con ser asignado a trabajar en Japón.

Reunión con los obispos de Japón 22 de noviembre

A su llegada Francisco tuvo un encuentro con los obispos de Japón. Durante el encuentro les pidió que siguieran defendiendo la vida, especialmente ayudando a los que se sienten cansados por la presión del trabajo, los que contemplan el suicidio y los que sufren bullying. Uno de los aspectos que Francisco recordó fue la inculturación de la vida cristiana desde la llegada de los primeros jesuitas:

La misión en estas tierras estuvo marcada por una fuerte búsqueda de inculturación y diálogo, que permitió el desarrollo de nuevas modalidades independientes a las desarrolladas en Europa. Sabemos que, desde el inicio, se usaron escritos, el teatro, la música y todo tipo de medios, en su gran mayoría en idioma japonés. Este hecho demuestra el amor que los primeros misioneros sentían por estas tierras.Pope Francis and Bishops Japan


Pope Francis leaves Thailand for Japan


Pope Francis has completed a very successful and moving visit to Thailand where he met with the King, with the head of the Buddhist orders, other religious leaders, and celebrated the Eucharist with the Catholic community in Thailand. His interaction was facilitated by Sr Ana Rosa Sivori, an Argentinean Salesian nun, and the Pope’s cousin, who has been working in Thailand for many years. Described by the journalist Eva Fernández as the ‘First Lady of the Visit’ she made possible that Pope Francis could always speak in his native Spanish.

The Pope departed for Japan, in a visit in which nuclear weapons and peace will be at the centre of the visit. This is an important visit for Laudato Si’ International as we will be meeting in Japan in October for an inter-faith conference and the signing of the Declaration for a Shared Humanity, hosted by the Secretary General of Laudato Si’ Dr James Morris.

Pope Francis the King and Sr Ana


New Fellows of Laudato Si’ International

Coinciding with the visit of Pope Francis to Thailand and Japan Laudato Si’ International has elected a group of new fellows. LSI is a group of scholars, public leaders, and educators who adhere to the call of Pope Francis in the encyclical Laudato Si’ for the care of the planet, the solidarity between human beings and creation, and they foster the cause of dialogue between the world religions and the service of the poor and the marginalised. Fellows meet all over the world in order to study, research, enact dialogue, and help a shared understanding among human beings and creation. We welcome and congratulate the following new Fellows:

Carolina Sanz de la Fuente: A Mexican scholar who currently lectures at the ITESM in Mexico City on the field of applied ethics. Her current research is concerned with Artificial Intelligence and Cyborgs: gifts or Idols? She believes that these 21st century’s inventions have put into question the veracity of the Mexican narratives that perpetuate gender inequality. A.I. proves that rational processes are not exclusively male-oriented since it has been proven that computers can perform them more efficiently. Cyborgs prove that our identity is not an unbreakable immanent condition determined by our biological bodies since we can also live in the virtual reality.  Ms Sanz is a member of an international group of researchers working with the Centre for the Study of Religion and Politics of the University of St. Andrews on protest, violence and heritage in Chile, Brazil, Mexico, Rwanda, and India.

Dr Raj Bharath Patta: An Indian Dalit theologian he completed his doctoral studies at the University of Manchester and is currently a minister at the Methodist Church in Manchester. Dr Patta has been at the forefront of dialogue and challenges posed to contemporary India and has been instrumental in discussions on Christianity and Hinduism. As a Laudato Si’ Fellow he is aiding the Salud Sin Fronteras Foundation (Chile) to work in Southern India.

Dr Ann Simpson: A Scottish Scientist with doctoral studies in Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Microbiology with twenty years of experience of work in South America (Colombia and Ecuador). Areas of research include the conservation and recuperation of traditional indigenous knowledge of preservation of the environment and cultural identity, facilitated and supported by two British Council Academic links and two Darwin Initiative awards. She is an associate member of the Centre for the Study of Religion and Politics (CSRP) and, as part of the Darwin Initiative projects led the Scotland Colombia Link between staff of University of St. Andrews, University of Strathclyde and Colombian institutions and communities.

Dr Eve Parker, Dr James Morris, and Professor M.I. Aguilar, November 2019


Pope Francis’ Message to the People of Japan

On Tuesday 19th November 2019 Pope Francis will start one of his most awaited journeys outside Europe, a journey to Thailand and Japan. Interfaith dialogue will be at the heart of this encounter in lands where the first Jesuits arrived in the 16th Century.

Milarepa Foundation and the Laudato Si’ International Group will follow closely these encounters and daily prayers and good wishes will be offered by all Fellows of Laudato Si’. Christian, Hindu and Buddhist offerings will be a daily occurrence at the hermitages in Chile and Scotland.

Before his journey Pope Francis recorded a message to the people of Japan available at https://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/events/event.dir.html/content/vaticanevents/en/2019/11/18/videomessaggio-giappone.html

In a warm and heart-felt message Pope Francis spoke of the culture of dialogue between the different religions, the beauty of nature in Japan and asserted that ‘Using nuclear weapons is immoral’.


Mensaje del Papa Francisco al pueblo de Japón:

Queridos amigos:

Mientras preparo mi próxima visita a Japón, quisiera dirigirles estas palabras de amistad.

El tema elegido para mi visita es “Proteger toda Vida”. Este fuerte instinto, que resuena en nuestro corazón, de defender el valor y la dignidad de toda persona humana, adquiere una importancia particular ante las amenazas a la coexistencia pacífica que hoy día el mundo tiene que enfrentar, especialmente en los conflictos armados. Vuestro País es muy consciente del sufrimiento causado por la guerra. Junto con ustedes, rezo para que el poder destructivo de las armas nucleares no vuelva a desatarse nunca más en la historia humana. Usar armas nucleares es inmoral.

También saben qué importante es esa cultura del diálogo, de la fraternidad, especialmente entre las diferentes tradiciones religiosas, que pueden ayudar a superar la división, promover el respeto por la dignidad humana y avanzar en el desarrollo integral de todos los pueblos. Confío en que mi visita los aliente en el camino del respeto mutuo y del encuentro que conduce a una paz segura y que dura en el tiempo, que no vuelve atrás. La paz tiene eso de lindo, que cuando es real, no retrocede: se la defiende con los dientes.

También tendré la oportunidad de apreciar esa gran belleza natural que caracteriza vuestra nación, y expresar el deseo compartido de promover, fortalecer la protección de esa vida que incluye la tierra, nuestra casa común y que tan lindo vuestra cultura simboliza con los cerezos en flor.

Sé que hay muchas personas que están trabajando para preparar la visita. Sinceramente les agradezco estos esfuerzos. Y con la esperanza de que los días que estaremos juntos sean ricos en gracia y en alegría, les aseguro mi oración solidaria por todos y por cada uno de ustedes.  Y les pido, por favor, que también recen por mí. Muchas gracias.

18 noviembre 2019


Pope Francis’ Message to the People of Thailand

On Tuesday 19th November 2019 Pope Francis will start one of his most awaited journeys outside Europe, a journey to Thailand and Japan. Interfaith dialogue will be at the heart of this encounter in lands where the first Jesuits arrived in the 16th Century.

Milarepa Foundation and the Laudato Si’ International Group will follow closely these encounters and daily prayers and good wishes will be offered by all Fellows of Laudato Si’. Christian, Hindu and Buddhist offerings will be a daily occurrence at the hermitages in Chile and Scotland.

Pope Francis has recorded a message greeting people in Thailand that is available at http://www.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/events/event.dir.html/content/vaticanevents/en/2019/11/15/videomessaggio-thailandia.html Pope Francis stressed the example of Thailand: “I know that, as a multi-ethnic and diverse nation with rich spiritual and cultural traditions, Thailand has worked hard to promote harmony and peaceful coexistence, not only among its people but throughout the Southeast Asian region. In this world that too often experiences discord, division and exclusion, this commitment to forge a unity respectful of the dignity of every man, woman and child can serve as an inspiration for the efforts that people of goodwill around the world are making to promote a great, true development of our human family in solidarity, in justice and in living in peace”.

Pope Francis will be speaking in Spanish at all events during his visit to Thailand and Japan.


Pope Francis’ Apostolic Journey to Thailand and Japan

Milarepa Foundation and Laudato Si’ International await with great joy and expectation Pope Francis’ journey to Thailand and Japan that will start on 19 November (19-26 November). In Thailand Pope Francis will meet the Supreme Buddhist Patriarch of Thailand at Wat Ratchabophit Sathit Maha Simaram Temple (21 November) and will pay a private visit to His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn ‘Rama X’ at Amphorn Royal Palace (21 November). In Japan Pope Francis will visit Hiroshima and Nagasaki delivering a ‘Message on Nuclear Weapons’ (24 November), and he will pay a private visit to Emperor Naruhito at the Imperial Palace (25 November). Full program of the visit available at http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/travels/2019/outside/documents/papa-francesco-thailandia-giappone-2019.htmlPope Japan

Fundación Milarepa y Alianza Interreligiosa y Espiritual por el Clima (AIEC)

El pasado 6 de octubre la Fundación Milarepa se unió como miembro a la Alianza Interreligiosa y Espiritual por el Clima, grupo que surge para apoyar el cuidado del planeta desde las comunidades que representan a las diferentes religiones en Chile. Vease video del encuentro del 6 de octubre 2019 https://youtu.be/rCHFIaggEZo

La AIEC sacó una declaración el 30 de octubre con el mensaje:

No hay justicia climática sin justicia social y económica”. Se comunicó re-evaluar el proceder de la AIEC en los próximos días. La AIEC se convocó con el objetivo de promover un cambio sistémico, cultural y espiritual que se traduzca en transformaciones económicas y políticas frente a la crisis climática generada por la forma en que vivimos, producimos y consumimos (Acuerdo). Ese cambio se muestra ahora más urgente que nunca y la crisis que vivimos es una oportunidad, un momento kairós, para acelerar ese cambio. La Coordinación cree que el objetivo del AIEC sigue siendo tan válido como siempre. La crisis que estalló en Chile es causada por un sistema socialmente y ambientalmente insostenible. El mismo sistema que genera las injusticias que llevaron al estallido social, genera también al cambio climático, y a su vez el cambio climático está generando una profundización de esta crisis social. La crisis está causada por un sistema extractivista neoliberal, que explota a la tierra y a la gente (especialmente a los pobres) hasta límites insostenibles. 

Reinterpretamos la palabra CLIMA de forma más amplia. Necesitamos enfrentar el cambio climático, y también necesitamos un cambio en el clima social del país. En la crisis percibimos el egoísmo, el individualismo, la falta de valores, la desconexión con nuestros cuerpos y los territorios que el sistema socioeconómico ha generado. Es una crisis social y espiritual: necesitamos “recordar quiénes somos” como seres humanos. Como Coordinación AIEC proponemos un cambio de clima social y espiritual frente a la crisis climática y social.

Pensamos oportuno seguir con la articulación y el espacio creado en la AIEC. Tenemos como religiones la obligación de contener, de crear un clima de diálogo, de respeto por la dignidad humana, directamente conectada al respeto por nuestro entorno. Sentimos que más que nunca necesitamos unirnos como religiones y espiritualidades. Rescatamos la horizontalidad del AIEC: desde las comunidades más que desde los liderazgos religiosos.


Fundación ‘Salud Sin Fronteras Chile’

Entre la violencia y el gas lacrimógeno de las últimas semanas en Santiago, miembros del directorio de la Fundación Milarepa y del Grupo Laudato Si’ International han continuado la planificación para comenzar el trabajo de la nueva Fundación ‘Salud Sin Fronteras Chile’. El directorio agradece especialmente a la Dra Camila Foncea de la Red Salud UC Christus por su intensa labor de coordinación de posibles áreas de investigación y personal, así como el apoyo del Dr Raj Patta (India/UK) y de la Dra Eve Parker (UK) por su asesoría con planes para el posible trabajo de la nueva Fundación en Tamil Nadu y el sureste de la India. Afirmamos que entre la violencia e inestabilidad del país la Fundación Milarepa seguirá coordinando instancias de diálogo y no-violencia mientras que la Fundación ‘Salud Sin Fronteras’ apoyará instancias de investigación sobre políticas públicas de salud, especialmente dentro de los sectores más marginados de la sociedad, así como el diálogo e intercambio entre personal de la salud de Chile, India y países africanos.

Dr Raj Patta