Thoughts on the Nepal earthquake
On Saturday, Nepal was hammered by the worst earthquake in 80 years. By this evening, the number of dead rose to 4000, according to the New York Times. Thousands of others have been injured and many people are unaccounted for. Historic sites in Nepal - Buddhist temples and shrines - along with homes and businesses were reduced to piles of rubble. There were deaths along the Nepal/China border in both countries; Saturday's horror did not recognize national boundaries. The term catastrophic comes to mind.
On Sunday the 26th, it was my privilege to attend and photograph a Buddhist prayer puja for the victims of the Nepal earthquake. This puja was conducted by Ven. Arjia Rinpoche and the resident monks of the Tibetan Mongolian Buddhist Cultural Center which is located in Bloomington, Indiana.
The puja was attended by a small gathering of Sangha members and visitors who joined the monks in 108 recitations of the Green Tara mantra, "Om Tare Tuttare Ture Soha" ("I prostrate to the Liberator, Mother of all the victorious Ones"). This mantra is a plea for liberation from suffering - not only physical suffering, but spiritual, mental and emotional suffering as well. There could scarcely be a more fitting prayer for those who are suffering in Nepal and China. Monetary gifts were given, which will be sent to a Buddhist monastery in India that will in turn send food, water and medical supplies to the earthquake victims and survivors in Nepal.
A disaster of this magnitude leaves the mind reeling and dumbfounded, searching for answers, searching for words when there are none. At present, the only fitting words which we can offer the victims and families in Nepal and China are Om Tare Tuttare Ture Soha.
(To learn more about the Green Tara Mantra, visit http://www.yowangdu.com/tibetan-buddhism/green-tara-mantra.html ).