DDM sets up post-disaster service stations to help affected people restore peace following the earthquake

A magnitude-6.4 earthquake struck southern Taiwan at 3:57 a.m. on February 6, causing many buildings to collapse. Dharma Drum Mountain Social Welfare and Charity Foundation, together with DDM’s monastics and volunteers in the Tainan area, immediately set up disaster service centers in Yongda Road and at the Kunshan Village Activity Center, near the collapsed buildings, to assist with rescue operations by the military, police, and firefighters and provide tents, flashlights, hot meals, blankets, body warmer packs, and drinking water to the rescue workers and victims. Starting from one day before the Chinese New Year’s Eve, volunteers worked around the clock to provide necessary materials to the disaster areas. At the National Cheng Kung University Hospital, the Chi Mei Medical Center, and in the disaster areas, DDM’s monastics gave out free prayer beads and Great Compassion Mantra Water. They also chanted the Buddha’s name and provided blessings, to console the anxious and grieving families, helping them restore peace in the face of life’s impermanence.

Following the earthquake, monastics and volunteers from DDM’s Tainan branch monastery stopped all their Chinese New Year’s celebration activities to start the care and relief efforts, spending the most challenging time together with the rescue workers and the victims. From 8 a.m. till 6 p.m. every day, monanstics and volunteers chanted the name of Guanyin Bodhisattva and dedicated the merit, providing emotional support for their family members and the injured. DDM’s monastics from Taipei and Kaohsiung also travelled to Tainan to join the effort. On February 8 and 9, from 9 to 11 a.m. a peace-prayer Dharma session was held at the Tainan branch monastery, to offer blessings for the injured and dead, as well as their living family members. At 8 a.m. on February 12, monastics and volunteers attended the memorial ceremony for the victims at Tainan Municipal Funeral Parlor. At 3 p.m. on February 14, after the completion of search and rescue operation, DDM’s abbot president Ven. Gong Dong presided over the “Prayers Service for 206 Earthquake” at the service station in Yongda Road, with firefighters, military personnel, along with more than a thousand other people in attendance. Tainan City vice mayor, Zeng Xuzheng, joined the mantra chanting, together with representatives of the City government and the search and rescue teams. At the end of the service, people applauded the search and rescue members for a long time.

Ven. Guo Dong also paid his respects to all search and rescue team members on behalf of DDM’s monastic and lay sangha, praising their empathy in carrying out the search and rescue operation. Ven. Chang Jia, director of DDM’s Tainan branch monastery, said that the power of faith in prayers service can best calm people’s minds, urging more people to wish the affected all the best, realize the impermanence of life, engender compassion, and pray for those who suffer from the earthquake.

After the prayers service, DDM’s volunteers from the Tainan, Chiayi, and Kaohsiung areas helped clean up the disaster area on their own initiative. They expressed hope that their prayers and clean-up effort can serve to help the affected rebuild their homes and restore their peace of mind. DDM encouraged people to show their care and send their blessings during the service, by transferring the merit to the suffering and to the research and rescue personnel, wishing all of them a calm and peaceful mind in getting through the hard times.

Translated by Frances Liu (劉珮如) and edited by Chiacheng Chang (張家誠)

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