Urgent Request for Prayer for Japan
and the Prevention of Nuclear Radiation
Dear Precious Dharma Practitioners,
As you know, Japan recently suffered a massively destructive 9.0 earthquake and tsunami catastrophe. Now there is a rapidly growing nuclear crisis and the possibility of an even greater disaster for Japan and the whole world. Therefore, I urgently request all Dharma Sanghas to immediately focus our prayers from the depth of our hearts 100% on the people of Japan and all beings.
Importance of Prayer
In the Prajnaparamita sutras and Samantabhadra tantra, Buddha said that when there are natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods, tsunamis, or fire, the energy of your Dharma practice at that time increases millions of times and you create immeasurable good karma and greatly benefit all beings. It is a very important time for us to pray sincerely from our hearts.
Starting now and every day here after, please pray in the morning at 10am and in the evening at 8pm your local time, or any time you want, to decrease the suffering and increase the happiness of the people of Japan and the whole world. Please send this message to your friends.
Honoring the Japanese People
Japan is a very generous country and the people of Japan are very dignified and very honest. For example, Japan is experiencing a lot of difficulties with transportation, water, food, and medicine, yet there are no reports of widespread looting or robbery. This is very amazing and I highly respect the Japanese people’s good thinking and good conduct in face of such difficult circumstances.
Also, many people are willingly facing almost certain death by continuing to work on the damaged nuclear power plant. Some may say these people are sacrificing their lives, but actually they are true heroes teaching us the power of compassion and love. We should strongly pray for such good people.
I am very sorry to hear that Japan is experiencing such suffering. Many thousands of people have died, hundreds of thousands have been displaced from their homes, and many family members have been separated from their loved ones. At the same time I am very happy to hear that the Japanese people continue to maintain their dignity and trust in the benefits of good conduct and helping each other. They deserve our prayers and it is the most needed time for our prayers. It is not too late to help them.
Generosity is Wealth and Healing
Even though Japan is a rich country, you should still donate as much as possible according to your capacity, anything you can, to help the Japanese people to recover from this disaster.
Generosity is not merely money. It includes love, healing, and brings great hope for the future. Therefore, you should find a reliable aid organization and support and join their activities by making a donation with love and compassion. Even if you give only one penny with positive thinking it makes a big difference.
We may think of this world as many different, isolated countries. In fact, it is one, deeply interconnected world. If any area has a problem, it is not theirs alone. It is actually everybody’s problem. For example, if there is a nuclear explosion in Japan, the radiation spreads everywhere.
When natural or social disasters increase, we really need to increase our good intention and good conduct. Therefore, these days we should practice positive thinking one thousand times more than before.
We cannot just say, “Oh, this world has so many problems,” and just sink in sadness, worry, or fear. That does not help anybody. If you are afraid of problems, that is a big problem because then you feel helpless to solve the problem. We should directly face problems, find solutions, and act right away. That is how we effectively help ourselves and others.
Generally, helping others is the best way to help yourself. Especially when there is a tragedy, we need to help each other more. By helping each other, you can realize the meaning of life. Sometimes greedy people choose money over the lives of people, but we should always choose the lives of people over money.
How to Deal with Negative Situations
We should recognize and be grateful that we have a precious human life, and that we have many causes and conditions of happiness in this life. A human birth endowed with personal freedom and the opportunity to learn and practice Dharma provides us the ability to intentionally make positive choices. It means we can choose and cultivate positive thinking to benefit others and ourselves. When we do this we go from light to light and realize in ourselves the special meaning of a precious human birth. Of course this life is important, but preparing for a better future life is even more important.
Though human life is precious, it is also very impermanent. We can see this clearly reflected from this tsunami earthquake tragedy in Japan. The short duration of our present lives is a special circumstance, and a special time. Therefore, we should diligently practice renunciation, compassion, faith, love, and wisdom – the way of true happiness, the Buddha Path.
When we hear or see these kinds of tragedies, we can practice positively. We should think of the people who are suffering as if they were our own parents, or our own children. We should have compassion and love for them all and feel the need to help them all, without omitting any.
Whatever negative things we hear of or see, we should know to practice immediately the opposite of those negative forces in our own minds. These kinds of tragedies should be like fuel that we throw into the fire of our own compassion for others.
We should eagerly and altruistically look for ways to help the Japanese people. We should not try to ignore these things or make ourselves nervous worrying about them in a helpless manner. We should practice Dharma more and more.
Request for Prayer Days
I request Dzogchen Sanghas to assemble in one location this Saturday, March 19th and Sunday March 20th (this can be combined with regular Sunday Buddha Path practice.) All Dzogchen Sangha members should each offer at least one candle to the Buddhas of all directions, and practice The Buddha Path. Gather all merit together and dedicate it to help Japan and prevent the spread of nuclear radiation to the world.
We should designate these days as days of prayer for Japan. If individuals cannot assemble this Saturday and Sunday, please do this same practice individually wherever you are.
Not only do we need to pray for Japan, but we must also pray for the countries in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East who are undergoing great turmoil and unrest, as well as other countries who have recently experienced destructive natural disasters like Australia, China, New Zealand, and Brazil.
Once again I request you to send this message to your friends and your mailing list so everyone can pray on the same day.
Guidelines for Saturday and Sunday Practice
This Saturday March 19th is Buddha’s Victory Day of Miracles. Buddha’s sacred days have special auspicious power. On these sacred days, all Buddhist practitioners should practice Dharma the whole day in one location. It is particularly beneficial to pray and recite mantras.
With good intention (bodhicitta), visualize Buddha Shakyamuni and recite Namo Buddhaya 1,002 times.
Then, with good intention (bodhicitta), visualize Avalokiteshvara and recite the mantra of compassion Om Mani Padme Hung Hri 1,000 times.
On Sunday March 20th, it is very good for all Dharma practitioners to gather in one location to recite the Four Noble Truths sixteen times with good intention (bodhicitta). We have designated this year as the year of The Four Noble Truths. You can find the Four Noble Truths text at thebuddhapath.org.
Also, with good intention (bodhicitta), visualize Buddha Padmasambhava and recite Padmasambhava’s mantra: Om Ah Hung Badzra Guru Padma Siddhi Hung 365 times.
With good intention (bodhicitta), visualize Buddha Tara and recite Tara’s mantra: Om Tare Tutare Ture Soha 2,100 times. These mantras are very good for preventing natural disasters.
When you have completed your virtuous practices, dedicate your merit to all beings in all universes, especially the Japanese people. Pray that all beings become Buddha. Always remember our nature is Buddha.
With love and blessings,
Dzogchen Khenpo Choga Rinpoche
Dzogchen Retreat Center
March 14th, 2011
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