The afternoon of July 27 was dedicated to meetings with a large group of young people, as well as leaders of various spiritual traditions. The venue of these encounters was Pullman Hôtel Royal Casino in Mandelieu-La Napoule, a commune just to the southwest of Cannes.
Throughout his tours of South East Asia and Europe, His Holiness had been meeting with many young people and representatives of various youth groups, and all these encounters had been mutually enriching and inspiring.
The meeting in Pullman Hôtel was no exception: it didn’t take more than a few moments to break the ice, and the ensuing exchange was lively and fruitful and might have continued well into the evening, had it not been for time restraints.
During the following meeting with religious leaders His Holiness expressed his appreciation of their efforts for mutual understanding and cooperation: “I’m truly thankful that this is happening. Please continue this wonderful energy!” He also talked about his own experience with different spiritual traditions during his extensive travels: “It has helped me to understand more about life. No matter what part of the world we are from, no matter how different the languages we speak, but spirituality is somehow naturally there, everywhere. And diverse as the different traditions may be, the fundamental similarity, I think, is that in all the different parts of the world the notion of spirituality is about wanting to find one’s peace not through material accumulation, but through spiritual accumulation. I think that without the different religions in the world that have existed until now the world itself might not have survived – humankind might not have survived.”
The topic of the evening’s conference was “Being Responsible For One’s Life”, and His Holiness gave a succinct explanation of some of the means and methods which might help one to find peace within oneself and engage with the outer world on the basis of compassion and wisdom. He also gave his audience plenty of opportunity to ask questions, and finally came down from the stage to move through the packed hall and shake hands with each and every one of the more than five hundred participants.