The below message was posted on Facebook earlier today, and I was so touched by it I thought I would pass it along. It is an invitation for a group prayer that took place in Seattle this past Sunday,from Tyler Dewar, who is the translator for Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche:
Although the prayer session has passed it offers some mediatative and healing poses for everyone who continues to pray, with or without a group for those lost and suffering.
As reports continue to come in from the devastating earthquake tragedy and humanitarian crisis, it’s clear that everyone affected by this severe situation is in need of whatever help we can provide.
If you have already donated to relief efforts, that is wonderful. If you haven’t and would like to, information is available here.
But, if you are interested in spiritual practice, there is another way we can help, and the need for it is just as immediate.
NOTE: If you are not a spiritual practitioner, this note is in no way intended as a form of proselytizing! It’s intended for people who already have an interest in stuff like this and are looking for events to come together with like-minded people. Just wanted to make that clear. We Buddhists [or certainly this Buddhist] don’t try to convert people!!!
The Red Cross has estimated that the earthquake has killed 45,000-50,000 people. There have been other estimates that are much higher.
From the perspective of the Buddhist tradition, sudden, catastrophic deaths such as these can often involve tremendous fear, uncertainty, and discomfort for the minds of the beings who have died. According to the founder and principal teacher at Nalanda West, Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche, even merely seeing people who are suffering on the news and the Internet makes a karmic connection between us and them. It is through this karmic connection, and the goodness of our hearts, that we can send aspirations to all affected by this tragedy–and especially to those who have died and are in the midst of the most intense experience of groundlessness.
Our aspirations will definitely help. And help is very much needed. Furthermore, as an article I read recently stated eloquently, “We are not Americans. They are not Haitians. We are all human beings.”
Practicing in groups is more powerful.
At the suggestion of one of our great resident teachers, Acharya Lhakpa Tsering, we will begin with the practice of Amitabha (a figure of Buddhist iconography, traditionally invoked in meditations for the dead), which will be dedicated especially to those who have lost their lives. We will follow this with a practice of Tara (a deity associated with the principle of unhesitant and effective altruistic action), which will be especially dedicated to those who have survived the earthquake but are suffering due to trauma, hunger, lack of shelter, and so on.
We will also offer readings and the space for all attendees to make their own personal aspirations for Haiti in the warm company of others.
All of the practices will be in conducted English. Simple instructions for all the meditations we do will be provided. If you have friends who would like to express their kinship with the people of Haiti by coming to this event, please invite them.
For more information on our umbrella organization please visit Nalandabodhi.