Sitting in the relative safety of Northern California reading the accounts of grief and hope in the aftermath of the South Asian earthquake and tsunami, we would like to respectfully propose a way to get involved in the relief efforts. We can offer a gift that serves not only the physical needs of the body but is aimed at another part of the human experience, the psyche, the spiritual realm of the heart/mind. Often in disaster zones, even after the body is safe, the soul and the psyche still suffer wounds that have not healed.
In that regard we are not strangers to the people in Sumatra, Sri Lanka, the coast of India, Thailand, Malaysia, Somalia—the twelve countries that were hit. We’re all related; there is no fence between our mind right now and the mind of someone who’s buried their three children or seen relatives washed away and don’t know where they are. We can use the simple and profound act of turning our minds and hearts to recitation, to activate the invisible, yet deep spiritual connection and send positive energy, healing blessings and comfort.
The Great Compassion Mantra is a Buddhist blessing that contains Guan Yin Bodhisattva’s heart of kindness and compassion. Guan Yin Bodhisattva is the Awakened Being of Great Compassion, the woman in white who resembles the Blessed Virgin of Catholicism, and whose sacred name: Namo Guan Shi Yin Pusa, has been bringing shelter and refuge to Asian Buddhists for generations. Guan Shi Yin also teaches a mantra, the Great Compassion Mantra, a chant with efficacious effect that people have recited for thousands of years in East Asia to bring auspicious energy, to dispel fear, to transform evil and to heal the heart.
People are welcome to pledge mantra recitations; one is not too few and 108 recitations a day are not too many. This is another way for us to continue the rescue effort, beyond material needs. It’s something we can give and in some ways more direct and longer lasting than money—not that it replaces financial offering but spiritual blessings and prayers are another kind of giving that we often overlook. The relatives in North America and Europe of those killed or missing certainly need comfort and courage. We might recite with the wish to give the good energy to help their healing, to transform negativity, to rescue those from suffering, and to bring blessings and auspiciousness in the midst of darkness.
At our web site (www.drby.net/drive), we will provide an online pledge form, the mantra in Romanized Chinese, Vietnamese, and Sanskrit.
So join the spiritual relief effort! Let’s unite to radiate Guan Yin’s compassionate light to the world. We will recite for 49 days (from 12/26/04 to 2/13/05).