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Kanwal Prakash “KP” Singh

(Fund-raising for Victims of Recent Earthquake in China)
Tibetan Mongolian Buddhist Cultural Center - Bloomington, Indiana
Friday, June 6, 2008

The Sikh Scriptures offer a reminder of Unity that threads all Creation:
“Lord: You are The Father and Mother of All Creation,
We are all Your Children.”
All living beings are a part of our extended human family.
All living beings are worthy of love, understanding, and compassion;
No one is outside the Circle of God’s unbound Benevolence,
Therefore, no one should be outside the circle of our prayer and concern.

The Buddhist Scripture Meta Sutra reminds us of our sacred duty:
“One should cherish all life, radiating friendliness over the entire world;
Above, below, and all around, without limit;”

Tonight, we are especially thinking of the people of China affected by the recent massive earthquake and repeated aftershocks. We have seen coverage of the disaster, unimaginable destruction, staggering loss of life, disruption of life and devastation of human spirit; unspeakable pain of losing children and loved ones under mountains of rubble; and images of immense shock and grief. We are seeing shattered dreams amidst the ruins of homes, settlements, and their modest and ancient ways of life.

As an affirmation of our common humanity:
Let in faith, the pain of these earthquake victims be our cause,
Their grief and suffering of survivors, our concern;
The healing of their broken spirit, our passionate resolve, our faith mandate;

With personal and collective goodwill, we must fully engage and help those affected by this natural disaster and the continuing physical and emotional aftershocks. We must stand in solidarity, respond to this yet unfolding enormous tragedy with generosity of spirit, send urgent supplies to the survivors that may provide lifeline to some and reassurance to many that God’s promised comfort and benevolence is at work. The world knows of their deep anguish and mourns their losses. In the farthest and remotest of places, passionate prayers are being made for those engaged in valiant efforts to save lives and the earthquake survivors who find themselves in circumstances that defy description and an easy consolation.

God’s reassurance works through each one of us. Generations before us have provided the time-honored tradition and testimony of offering a hand, an anchor of hope and humanity, to help begin the long process of rebuilding shattered lives and recover from tragic events and deep despair. We are fortunate that today, given the technology of our time, we learn about events in distant and remote places and we can mobilize resources with great speed and efficiency. The world response to the Sichuan Earthquake offers a thoughtful reminder, that in spite of the immense darkness and anguish that fills the reality of the victims in China at this moment, we are with them in spirit with our gifts, friendship, and humanitarian concern as they pick up the pieces of their lives and move forward.

For many, there is not much light in the distance; for others there is reason to hope; and for us, this is a test of our moral accountability to our extended family. Together, we can, and we must, make a difference for them in the name and spirit of our shared humanity. Let us be a lighted candle to dispel darkness, a drop of reassurance in God’s Ocean of Mercy, a messenger of compassion as the universally beloved and Enlightened Teacher and The Buddha of Compassion, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, always reminds us. We must translate this compassion into action, as reminded in the Song of The Monks of Gotamo Buddha:

“And time and again givers will give
And time and again give new gifts
And time and again find new heavens.”

Let us remember the spirit and true lessons of faith, reassure the survivors with urgent and sustained acts of kindness. Those of us who are present tonight, let us carry this message outside the beautiful sanctuary, The Kumbum Chamtse Ling Temple: Field of Compassion, to others that in serving hope, we find ourselves, see a glimpse of The Pure Being and His Ways, and the Light of Divine in each other. When we embrace one another in such a spirit of compassion and understanding with Faith, Hope, and Love personified as Seva (tireless and selfless Service), we find unimagined goodwill and goodness amidst the darkest nightmares that descend and confront our humanity. Let us be that anchor to the people affected by the Sichuan Province Earthquake in their hour of uncertainty as they struggle to make sense of this tragedy and cross the formidable thresholds to a new beginning.


The occasion was the “Interfaith Benefit Service for the Victims of Earthquake in Sichuan Province, China” at the Tibetan Mongolian Buddhist Cultural Center, located a few miles away from the home of Indiana University at Bloomington amidst the rolling hills of Southern Indiana.

The Tibetan Mongolian Buddhist Cultural Center, a complex of beautifully decorated buildings, including the Cultural Center, Kumbum Chamtse Ling Monastery, traditional Buddhist Stupas, Mongolian Nomad Tents and log cabins, and other natural features offer unique learning and spiritual attractions for visitors and pilgrims. The place and its serene environment embody a “Field of Compassion,” an oasis of peace, bliss, spiritual reflection and illumination, and an all-embracing spirit towards all who come in peace, friendship, and with a spirit of fellowship; recognize and celebrate the sanctity of all faiths and sacred traditions that grace and enrich the human spiritual landscape.

One feels surrounded by a rare spiritual energy, a deep sense of kinship, and always an affectionate welcome in the daily prayers for the well-being of all people and our Planet that we share as the human family. His Holiness The 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet, a rare Spiritual Light and Enlightened Teacher, has sanctified this place with has five visits to the area. His Holiness has often reminded us that together all people, cultures, faiths make up the wonderful Tapestry of God’s Love, inlaid with our and His Boundless Compassion, expressed and manifested all around as our collective blessings.

The Interfaith Prayer Service and Fundraising for the victims of the recent earthquake in Sichuan Province, China was a prayer for healing and our humanitarian concern for the victims and survivors. The Service and Ceremonies were rich in symbolism: from the opening prayer, “Lamrim,” by the Tibetan Monks led by Venerable Arjia Rinpoche, the Executive Director of TMBCC, to the prayers and reflections of unity, our shared humanity, each calling upon our sense of generosity towards the suffering of fellow human beings. Other participants included Tony Showa (Native American spirituality), Rabbi Sue Shifron (Jewish faith), KP Singh (Sikh faith - attached), Ikhlas Ahmed and Beenish Chowdry (Muslim faith), and Rev. Barbara Carlton (Unitarian faith). There was a brief musical interlude, a Mongolian song: Enerel, a moment of silence, and a beautiful Prayer of Compassion, “The Four Immeasurables,” recited three times by the entire gathering. Sudaka Koneru, a Board member of TMBCC, served as Master of Ceremony.

The most moving part of the Prayer Service was the slide show and video clips that highlighted the magnitude of the tragedy in which 70,000 people perished and nearly 15 million were dislocated. They showed scenes of utter devastation of towns and villages. The unfathomable grief and struggles of the survivors was simply heartbreaking. There was also testimony of heroic efforts to save lives by the area monasteries, volunteers, and China Red Cross, and an outpouring of help by the world community.

Following the offering of donations to the American Red Cross for their continuing relief efforts, the entire gathering led by the monks and carrying lighted candles walked over the Jangchub Chorten and made three prayer circles around the beautiful Stupa, situated on a raised grassy mound framed by tall trees and flower beds. We felt that our prayers of concern and healing were being sent across the miles of space to Sichuan Province and around the world to those affected by this catastrophic natural disaster and its aftershocks.

Kanwal Prakash “KP” Singh Indianapolis, Indiana USA

Kanwal Prakash “KP” Singh
Indianapolis, Indiana USA






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