Buddhists pray for safety of Australians amidst bushfires

Buddhists pray for safety of Australians amidst bushfires

‘Buddha Dharma will alleviate pains and sorrows”

The sufferings of Australians ravaged by the bushfires and the death of people and almost a billion animals, birds and other species is heart-rending, Manshin, the Venerable Abbess of Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Temple in Flatbush, East Auckland, has said.

Speaking at the Annual Reunion Dinner 2020 held at the Temple last evening (Saturday, January 11, 2020), she said that while the Reunion was a happy occasion bringing together hundreds of people of diverse cultures, languages and faiths, it was also “appropriate to pray for the unfortunate brothers and sisters who are our neighbours in Australia.”

“May Lord Buddha bring rains to end the bushfires destroying life and property in Australia. Our heart goes to the people there. We are sure that their misery will end soon,” she said.

Abbess Manshin also prayed for the victims of disasters and wars around the world, wishing that these miseries will cease disappear.

“In the past year, countries around the world not only faced extremities in weather conditions but also extreme violence and hatred.

“After many years of silence under the destruction by humankind, the Earth, which we have placed the most reliance for our survival, is now protesting,” she said.

Compassion of Buddha 

The Abbess’ speech, titled, ‘Dharma Talk,’ reinforced the teachings of Buddha and His followers.

As the top of the animal kingdom, humankind should have appreciated each other and worked together to overcome these natural disasters. However, wars and natural disasters have forced many refugees to seek asylum in Europe, she said.

“Looking at these life changing international calamities, it is really difficult to reconcile these events with the wisdom of humankind. We sincerely wish that we are able to utilise the compassion of the Buddha Dharma to dispel these pains and sorrows. We also hope that the intrinsic quality of love and peace in everyone will be released. With a heart filled with gratitude and appreciation, let us love each and every one on Earth and treasure our natural resources. With a heart filled with selflessness and equality, let us accept and care for those who are suffering,” she said.

Among the other speakers at the event were Race Relations Commissioner Meng Foon, Taiwan Economic and Cultural Office Director General Jeff Liu, Councillors Sharon Stewart and Adele White and Buddha’s Light International Association (BLIA) Northland President Lintao Yu.

Path to Happiness

Abbess Manshin said that the theme of the new Chinese Year, commencing on January 25, 2020 (Year of the Rat) has been designated by Fo Guang Shan Founder Venerable Master Hsing Yun as ‘Every Journey in this World is a Path to Happiness.’

“In today’s world, technological and medical advances have prolonged the human lifespan. However, such advances have also led to increasing estrangement and apathy among people. More and more people are feeling the lack of happiness and peace in their lives. I hope you will take the essence of ‘Happiness and Peace’  to your homes and spread it across the world, apply it to your daily lives, and be free from sorrow, worries, suffering, and trouble,” she said.

Some challenges

What is the purpose of our existence in this world? Is it to find happiness? Or to experience suffering? Of course, most people would say, “Happiness!”

“In reality, how many people actually enjoy happiness and peace? What we hear and see most often are the wails of grief over the catastrophes of this world. These include natural disasters and man-made calamities such as war, violence, famine, poverty, and various stresses and anxieties experienced in everyday life. Very few people think of life as truly happy,” she said.

Earlier, in a recorded video message, Master Hsing, “We very much treasure the next generation, caring for the legacy of Buddhism. For every Chinese person, while some will claim that their faith is Catholicism or Protestant, Buddhism is in their blood. Buddhism has almost become the religion of the elder generation, I hope that we can pass this invaluable bloodline to the next generation. The hope of Buddhism rests in the future, the next generation!”

He hoped people will leave behind past habitual tendencies and afflictions into the new beginning of the New Year and transform greed, hatred, and ignorance into meditative concentration and wisdom.

“If each day is spent wholesomely, it will surely be at ease, safe, and auspicious,” he said.

Pictures by Vicky Han, Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Temple New Zealand

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