The "Rebuilding Life with Boundless Hope" Forum Organized by DDM

Most Venerable Master Sheng Yen promotes the "Four aggregates of inner peace" ideology to help victims cope with disaster trauma and rebuild their lives.

With the recent devastating natural disasters that have occurred around the world, DDM has been heavily involved in disaster rescue work. Within hours of the incidents, DDM relief teams were dispatched to the calamity areas to offer aid and assistance to the victim and survivors, providing hope and courage for them to rebuild their lives with optimism. On June 1, 2008, the Dharma Drum Mountain Foundation hosted a "Rebuilding Life with Boundless Hope" forum in the Shiming Hall of the Taiwan Cement Corporation Building. Most Venerable Master Sheng Yen, the founder of Dharma Drum Mountain Foundation, along with Taiwan's Vice-President Mr. Vincent Siew, Chairman of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Foundation, Ms. Zhang Shufen, celebrated actor Mr. Jet Li, political and business leaders, and public spokesmen gathered to discuss approaches on how to support disaster victims in re-establishing and rebuilding their lives. In particular, spiritual well-being through the "Four aggregates of Inner Peace" ideology: a peaceful mind, a peaceful body, a peaceful family and a peaceful career, was encouraged by all.

Reflecting on the 9/21 earthquake in Taiwan, the South Asia tsunami, the Burma cyclone and the most recent Sichuan 5/12 earthquake, this series of natural disasters not only caused overwhelming casualties and economic losses, but left the survivors feeling powerless, insecure and vulnerable. Although the international community was quick to provide resources and support, it was only temporary relief. The long and arduous task of rebuilding the livelihoods of survivors, as well as providing psychological counseling, began after the media spotlight had faded.

The forum commenced with rescue workers sharing their experiences of participating in disaster relief, and they presented suggestions and advice on how to improve future disaster relief programs. "We should not rush into disasters, but must use our wisdom. We cannot only use love and compassion, as it will make us do foolish things. Local non-governmental organizations (NGOs) should also integrate efforts from local resources for disaster relief and take into consideration any government planning, or lack thereof, to assist in the affected areas especially those that may have been overlooked," said Jet Li. Ms. Zhang Shufen concurred with Mr. Li's ideologies and added that disaster relief work requires professional planning; monetary donations are relatively easy to obtain, but to maintain continuous care programs for victims is the more challenging and most important task. That is the reason why Ms. Zhang chose to cooperate with Buddhist groups such as Dharma Drum Mountain's professional rescue team in order to help relieve the suffering of the victims and in doing so, acquire knowledge to improve future relief care strategies.

Taiwan Vice-President Vincent Siew talked about the importance of the joint effort between the government and NGOs in the wake of the 9/21 earthquake. In the first hours of the disaster, saving lives was the top priority and professional rescue teams were dispatched to search for survivors and assist victims. Although the government can provide resources and technical equipment, the rehabilitation of post-trauma victims by NGOs, particularly religious organizations, is beneficial in providing spiritual comfort and healing to the victim's soul and mind in order to alleviate the effects of trauma.

(translated by Susan Chen/edited by DDM Australia Editing Team)

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