Translated by Diana Chang
The new coronavirus epidemic continues with upwards of 63,949 confirmed cases of 2019-nCoV on China’s mainland.
Upholding the teachings of Dharma Master Cheng Yen to be self-disciplined and respectful of all, Tzu Chi volunteers across the nation have initiated special prayer gatherings to send their love and hopes for recovery to those affected.
Beginning on February 1st, Tzu Chi branches across the USA held the daily prayer, and encouraged a vegetarian diet during this period. Jackson Chen, the CEO of Tzu Chi USA, inspired individuals to practice a vegetarian diet in support of the patients within the affected areas, as well as to reduce the risk of contracting animal-borne illnesses, and limiting the impact humanity has on the environment. Starting at 1:30 PM, Tzu Chi’s branches and office locations pray for five minutes each day. Tzu Chi USA’s National Headquarters in Los Angeles initiated the daily prayer with more than 30 staff members and volunteers participating. Additionally, in the Greater Los Angeles area, the service centers at El Monte and Cerritos also responded to the daily prayers to share their blessings.
Those at Tzu Chi Academy in New Jersey gathered together on February 2nd to deliver good thoughts through their prayers as well. Hands together in front of their chests, they prayed that patients with the new coronavirus around the world would soon have a vaccine available and can thus be treated. This also served as an opportunity to teach students effective tips for personal hygiene, such as proper hand-washing, and how these steps can help decrease the spread of respiratory viruses.
These prayer gatherings form a resonance of love from across the USA — including those from New York, Washington D.C., Chicago, North California, and Hawaii — as they began the noontime prayer this week. Through different time zones, individuals are connected by their good intentions, mindfulness and love.
Ever since the outbreak of the new coronavirus, Master Cheng Yen, the founder of the Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation, and Tzu Chi members around the world have been closely monitoring the status of the epidemic, and keenly feel the fear and helplessness from the people impacted.
Master’s teachings remind us “To maintain a vegetarian diet, and to respect all sentient beings.” Additionally, “if we are concerned about our health, don’t share food or drinks with the same utensils to avoid contamination.”
In addition to the daily prayer, Tzu Chi USA launched a fundraising campaign at the end of January: “Providing Relief During the New Coronavirus Outbreak.” The campaign will allow Tzu Chi to deliver crucial medical supplies to affected areas in China, bringing relief and safety to dedicated healthcare professionals, patients, and residents.
Love and compassion truly does transcend borders. Help us make a difference in the world during this difficult time by giving hope to those in need today.