A belated posting of the benediction for the service in remembrance of the Pakistan flood victims. This was a formal Buddhist service held on September 21 by the chaplaincy students at University of the West. Venerable Tommy Nyugen opened the service with a Mahayana invocation. Our first chaplaincy graduate, Lt. Somya Malasri, returned to offer a beautiful Pali chanting of the Metta Sutta, with English translation read by Betty Chan. Holly Hisamoto led the group in the Tibetan practice of tonglen.
Each of the seven students (and Somya) participated in their own way, but I single these few out as an interesting example of how an interdenominational Buddhist service may be conducted. We briefly considered whether an interfaith service might be more appropriate, but we decided we wanted to send a strong message that members of specific faith traditions can reach out in their own ways toward members of other traditions. Just because the victims of the floods our Muslim does not mean we should not pray (if you'll permit the word) for them in a Buddhist sense.
I closed the service with the following benediction. Then Irem, our student body president and a practicing Muslim, came forth to tell students how they could help and collect donations for a local mosque whom she is in touch with that is helping directly with humanitarian relief.
Buddhist Benediction for Pakistan, September 21, 2010
We close, once again, with words from the Metta Sutra, the Buddha’s instruction on loving-kindness, and ask that you hold all the suffering victims of the Pakistan floods and other natural disasters in your hearts.
“In gladness and in safety,
May all beings be at ease.
Whatever living beings there may be;
Whether they are weak or strong, omitting none,
The great or the mighty, medium, short or small,
The seen and the unseen,
Those living near and far away,
Those born and to-be-born —
May all beings be at ease!”
Karaniya Metta Sutta: The Buddha's Words on Loving-Kindness, translated from the Pali by The Amaravati Sangha © 2004–2010
May all beings be at ease and may we, as Buddhists, support our brothers and sisters in whatever way we can, wherever they may be, whatever tragedy may befall them, irregardless of color, nation, gender, or religious creed.