Praying for the suffering: DDM Abbot President gives solace in the wake of the train accident in Yilan

On Oct 21, 2018, a Puyuma Express (普悠瑪) derailed near Xinma Station in Suao, Yilan, (宜蘭蘇澳新馬站), killing at least 18 people and injuring nearly 200.

Venerable Chang-Fa (常法法師), Director of DDM Lanyang Branch Monastery, along with local volunteers immediately went to visit the crash site and gave solace to those sent to hospitals. Volunteers also provided a deathbed chanting service for the deceased, at Suao Branch of Taipei Veterans General Hospital (台北榮總蘇澳分院).

“We mourn for those killed in the accident, who offered themselves as a manifestation of suffering and impermanence. We hope the victims’ families can regain strength and peace of mind through the power of the Dharma.” DDM Abbot President Ven. Guo Huei (果暉法師), together with the former Abbot President Ven. Guo Dong (果東法師), General Secretary of Social Welfare and Charity Foundation Ven. Guo Qi (果器法師), and Vice General Secretary Ven. Chang Sui (常隨法師) visited the hospital and gave their spiritual support by attentively listening to the affected, in the hope of using the Buddhist teachings to empower the victims’ families and the injured to face the aftermath of the tragedy.

Ven. Guo Huei especially visited the designated area for offering solace and expressed his gratitude to the general public, government officials, medical personnel, rescuers, and charitable organizations, for their compassion and empathy in jointly providing aid and care to the people in need. He said that the relatives of the casualties might now be experiencing unspeakable grief, but they could always use some company to help release their emotion. The venerable encouraged the relatives to overcome this difficult challenge by applying the “Four Steps for Handling a Problem: Face it, Accept it, Deal with it, Let it go.” There may be different religious beliefs, but it will always help to calm their minds through prayers, by reciting Amitabha Buddha’s name and transferring the merit to their deceased loved ones.

The Abbot President quoted Master Sheng Yen, founder of Dharma Drum Mountain, as saying, “A bodhisattva is someone who releases people from hardship and suffering; one who has received hardship and suffering itself represents a great bodhisattva.” The victims actually acted as examples of manifestation of the Dharma, reminding us of the fact that much more care is needed in this world. As of now there are still many injured passengers staying in the ICU, Ven. Guo Huei hoped that people in society can all pray for them to soon recover from their critical conditions.

As the deathbed chanting completed at 12 o’clock midnight, Ven. Chang Fa led the relatives to perform the merit-transfer ritual, while giving a Dharma talk to the deceased’s spirits: “Facing sudden death due to this accident, you and your family may feel terrified and find it hard to accept, but please believe that your mission in this life is completed, and so do carry your family’s love and blessings with you, to be reborn into the Heaven or the Pure Land according to your own religious faith.”

After giving solace to all the victims’ families, and providing them with the Great Compassion Water, Buddhist prayer beads, and consolation cards, DDM’s monastics and volunteers also offered to help clean the area’s bathrooms and its surroundings, as another effort to show their care and concern.

As there is high need of blood supply during this urgent period, Ven. Guo Huei urged the pubic to pay attention to the current status of blood supply in the affected area, and be ready to donate blood for emergency needs.

Dharma Drum Mountain expressed that a prayer Dharma assembly will soon be held at the Lanyang Branch Monastery sometime later. DDM invites the public to join the service and pray for blessings to the victims.

Texts: Chang, Tian-Pei (張田沛); Chang, Yao-Chung (張曜鐘)
Photos: Chang, Yao-Chung (張曜鐘); DDM Social Welfare and Charity Foundation (法鼓山慈善基金會)
Translation: Elenda Huang
Editor: Chang, Chia-Cheng (張家誠)

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DDM Abbot President gives solace in the wake of the train accident in Yilan