DDM Global News

Dharma Drum Mountain Abbot President Arrived at the Cheng Chung Cheng Fire Scene to Comfort the Victim’s Families

On the early morning of October 14th, a fire broke out in the Cheng Chung Cheng (城中城) Building in Kaohsiung's Yancheng District, causing 46 deaths and 41injuries among the residents. At noon on October 16th, Venerable Guo Huei, Abbot President of Dharma Drum Mountain (DDM), scheduled an immediate visit to the scene of the fire and funeral home, hoping to assuage the pain of the victims' families using Buddhist teachings. Venerable Guo Huei offered condolence money and prayer beads to each of the victims' families, urging the family members to sincerely recite the Buddha's Name and transfer the merits to the deceased, in order to help them gain a better rebirth.

According to Dharma Drum Mountain Social Welfare and Charity Foundation, after learning of the devastating fire that caused a growing number of deaths and injuries, Venerable Guo Huei immediately requested that the Foundation Secretary General, Venerable Chang Shun, rush to the Kaohsiung funeral home to provide post-disaster care and relief, to the family members of the deceased, alongside local volunteers from DDM's Ziyun Monastery. After the tragedy, the Venerables and volunteers of DDM accompanied the families to the morgue to claim the remains of their loved ones. They then led them in reciting Buddhist scriptures and Buddha's name outside the Casket Storage, after which they dedicatedthe merits to the deceased. Among those affected by the fire were families who receive long-term charitable assistance from the foundation and some relatives of DDM's followers. Venerable Chang Tsan, director of Ziyun Monastery, said that when the fire broke out in the early morning, a brother and sister, who are recipients of the Foundation's scholarships, were working the night shift at their part time job in order to improve the family's financial situation. Sadly, their parents died at home during the incident. Upon receiving the shocking news of their parents' death, the siblings took the blame upon themselves. To help them calm their minds and channel the sadness of the loss of their loved ones, Venerable Chang Tsan suggested them to transcribe Buddhist scriptures by hand, or chant Buddha's name and dedicate the merit gained to their deceased parents.

On the morning of October 17th at 9 o'clock, Venerable Guo Qi, Managing director of DDM Branch Monastery Administration-- along with Kaohsiung and Tainan Sangha representatives in addition to more than 200 volunteers from the southern Taiwan--led the Buddhist service dedicated to the victims of the fire disaster, guiding the families of the deceased to sincerely recite the Amitabha Sutra in the hopes that the power of joint practice would allow the deceased to leave their earthly worries behind and have a better rebirth, as well as provide a speedy recovery to the injured. During the Buddhist service, Venerable Guo Qi shared the teaching of DDM's founder, Venerable Master Sheng Yen, stating that those who have passed away will always hope that their surviving loved ones will carry on to live in peace and safety in this world. In order for the deceased to go in peace, the living should strive to stay strong and healthy, chant Amitabha Buddha's name "Amitofuo" as many times as possible, and dedicate the merits to their deceased family members.

Dharma Drum Mountain Social Welfare and Charity Foundation stated that it will continue to work with the Social Affairs Bureau of Kaohsiung City Government to respond to victims' needs and provide companionship and spiritual comfort to those affected by the fire as needed . All the branches of DDM have set up a Memorial Tablet and Spiritual Tablet respectively for the deceased and survivors, and continue to pray for blessings to the victims during morning and evening services. 

Text: Chang Yao-chuang (張曜鐘)
Photos: Dharma Drum Mountain Ziyun Monastery, Dharma Drum Mountain Social Welfare and Charity Foundation 
Translation: Shaila 
Editing: Vicky, Keith Brown