Prayers for Earthquake Victims in KIBI
On September 18th, 2011 at approximately 6.10pm, the people of Sikkim, Nepal, Bhutan and scattered regions throughout India were shaken from their evening routines by nature’s fury, when an unprecedented 6.8 magnitude earthquake struck the district headquarters of North Sikkim in Mangan. Though occasional tremors can be felt from time to time in these areas due to the relative youth of the Himalayan range, which continue to grow by about 2 inches every year, a seismic event on this scale has not been experienced by these people of the hills in many generations.
To say that they were caught off-guard would be an understatement. The tremors continued in succession throughout the night and though the tectonic activity has long since subsided, the psychological after shocks are still being felt. At this present moment, the casualty count continues to rise and many areas have been isolated due to land slides and the primitive infrastructure that exists in these remote mountain regions. In some cases, it will be more than a month before any sort of relief or restoration can begin.
Immediately following this tragic events of the previous evening, His Holiness Karmapa Trinley Thaye Dorje issued this statement for all of those affected by this catastrophe:
For this unprecedented event, I offer my deepest prayers of condolence.
May all those who are affected by this tragedy, find peace in their hearts.
May they develop courage for themselves and for others to discover the nature of impermanence and by means of dedication and aspiration, transform their karma for the better.
My best wishes and prayers,
Without delay, His Holiness Karmapa organized a gathering, inviting anyone in Delhi and the surrounding communities who wished to join Him in making aspiration prayers for the deceased and bereaved.
The event commenced September 21st, 2011, at 5pm when His Holiness addressed the multitudes with words of sympathy and inspirational insight. Though the many guests who contributed their prayers and offerings of butter lamps, as is the tradition in Himalayan Buddhism, have since left for their respective homes, the outpouring of spiritual support continues here at the Karmapa International Buddhist Institute in New Delhi at the behest of the Karmapa to recite the prayers of Avalokiteshvara (Tibetan-Chenrezig) “Om Mani Padme Hum” for an uninterrupted period of 24 hours following the scheduled gathering.
In response to the various media who had gathered to witness the occasion, His Holiness provided this explanation as to why we make prayers of aspiration for such an incident.
Making aspiration prayers, for Buddhists, is one of our most important practices. From the Buddhist perspective and understanding, all auspicious and joyous experiences in life come from our aspirations. The more prayers of aspiration are offered the more joyous experiences it brings to people’s lives.
Aspiration prayers support us both in this life and for our future rebirth. The reason why it is essential to our practice and beneficial is because the experience of the external existence is brought about by consciousness. So, every thought that occurs matters to the outcome of the external experience. Aspirations guide the consciousness to a perfect process of the function of mind. It is a path where consciousness is not disturbed by any unnecessary thoughts or actions. The main ingredient in aspirations is the motivation, the intention to benefit others wholeheartedly out of unconditioned mind.
Such a practice can be applied by anyone no matter their culture, religion, philosophy etc.Normally in a tragedy, we are often stunned and dazed. We don’t realize the mental support that we can provide. So, the practice of aspirations is there to benefit others not only temporarily but beyond, as well.
There are many ways to help others, like through means of generosity and such but there are some things that can only really be reached through aspirations, that really soothes those victims who are present as well as those who have passed. Aspirations help those who have passed away to have a peaceful and smooth transition into the next life and give freedom for whichever way they wish to be reborn. The end result of the aspiration practice is that of peace and courage.”
BELOW ARE LINKS TO DIFFERENT NEWS ORGANIZATIONS WHO HAVE COVERED THE EVENT HERE AT KIBI