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Great compassion: 11,000 Buddhists chant for peace

The Star / Buddhist Channel, Jan 16, 2005

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia -- 11,000 Malaysian Buddhists and over 300 monks gathered at the Stadium Negara last night for a Dharma Assembly of Blessing for Tsunami victims. The congregation was believed to be the largest Buddhist gathering in the country in recent memory.

Malaysian Buddhist Association (MBA) president Ven Seck Jit Heng said the event was organised to pray for peace for Malaysia and also for the tsunami victims.

?The victims need love, care and compassion to give them hope to continue living, rebuild their lives and face the cruel reality with courage,? he said.

Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting said the gathering would facilitate the healing process among all who had been affected by the tragedy.

?This is a time when we strengthen our conviction to spread love and compassion among the people,? he said.

The Chief Venerable of Malaysia Ven. Dr K Sri Dhammananda gave a short discourse, saying that it was a fallacy to blame external powers (such as God) for the massive calamity caused by the devastating tsunami. He said that there was a need to understand the true nature of existence, especially of human existence.

"Life, human life and the earth are guided by natural laws. They decay, disappear and born over and over again, dictated by a never ending cosmic cycle. Disaster takes place from time to time because basic elements like water, earth, wind and fire are always in a constant flux, and needs to find a balance. That is why the Buddha said that a human life is dukkha, because he/she is also subject to such a flux, he advised."

The venerable appealed to all human beings to cultivate compassion and maintain kindness as a means to learn to live with such a flux.

Later, Ong, who is also MCA president, later handed over on behalf of MBA two RM200,000 cheques to representatives from the Indonesian and Sri Lankan embassies for tsunami victims in their countries.

NV Multi Corporation Bhd managing director Datuk David Kong also handed over RM50,000 for the National Disaster Relief Fund and another RM50,000 for the event.

The night proceeded with chanting from the three major schools, led by the Theravada tradition, followed by the Tibetans and lastly the Mahayana school. The 11,000 strong crowd followed the chants in unision, with echoes of "Om Mani Padme Hung" and "Namo Amituofo" reverbrating loudly within the enclosure of the massive geodesic dome.

It is said that with pure intention, such a one pointedness of purpose and intention have the power to send thoughts of loving kindness across all spheres of existence - above, below and across.

Nevertheless, the night belonged to Malaysian Buddhists, who dedicated themselves to radiate loving thoughts to all those suffering, especially in the affected areas of Sri Lanka, Aceh, Phuket and India. It demonstrates that the local Buddhists know their priority, and will come together and work as one when needed. It is the Bodhicitta within and this augurs well for Buddhism in the country. - BC

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