Translated by Diana Chang
The number of confirmed cases of the new coronavirus continues to climb and threaten global health. Thus, on February 2nd, 2020, volunteers from the San Gabriel Valley Service Center joined hands with the utmost sincerity in the hopes that the epidemic will dissipate as soon as possible. Grace Ouyang, a USC medical expert, was invited to raise awareness regarding the situation and share the correct prevention methods for the new coronavirus.
In light of recent developments, Tzu Chi USA’s National Headquarters made the decision to have a special prayer gathering to cultivate blessings in place of the New Year Blessing Ceremonies regularly celebrated across communities. On February 2nd, the San Gabriel Valley Service Center in Los Angeles held one such prayer gathering, encouraging everyone to maintain a vegetarian diet to not only show respect for the lives of all sentient beings, but to also take care of oneself. Everyone brought their good thoughts to the gathering, as well as what they’d accumulated in their bamboo banks in the hopes of helping those in need across China obtain the medical supplies required to help keep communities safe and protected.
In addition to a prayer of love and hope for the patients and medical professionals in the affected areas, Changguang Wu and his family also came with their bamboo banks.
Weiyi Wu, a Tzu Chi Guangzhou volunteer came to the United States to spend time with his family during the Chinese New Year break.
“It was January 17th when I left China. The epidemic seemed to have spread globally after I arrived in the States,” he explained. “I am grateful for the opportunity to pray with the volunteers in America. I hope the outbreak can be brought under control soon. We’re here to gather everyone’s good thoughts and contribute our efforts to keep Mother Earth safe.” He is expected to travel to Guangzhou on February 7th, and return to the community to contribute his efforts along with local Tzu Chi volunteers.
Ruohui Zheng, who just started volunteer training this year, also participated in the prayer. “Today, through the explanations of the medical expert, I learned more about the transmission and prevention of the new coronavirus,” she said. “I’m also honored to have this opportunity to pray for the people in the affected areas. This is what we can do to help at the moment.”
James Chen, the head of the San Gabriel Valley Service Center, expressed hope that this event will go a long way toward raising awareness regarding the new coronavirus for the volunteers. Volunteers can also spread the word about what they learned from this workshop.
With such a large amount of information circulating, misinformation does, unfortunately, make its way into casual conversation. At the moment, however, the progression and information surrounding this new coronavirus should not cause excessive panic in the USA, but one should strive to wisely determine proper preventative measures, including practicing thorough hand-washing. At the event, attendees were inspired by volunteers to participate in Tzu Chi’s fundraising campaign which provides crucial relief during the new coronavirus outbreak. Through these donations, patients and medical professionals on the front lines can obtain much-needed masks and protective overalls to protect themselves, and help prevent the virus from spreading further.
During the SARS outbreak in 2003, Master Cheng Yen encouraged people around the globe to be both cautious and earnest. Tzu Chi had also launched a global campaign to help bring relief during the epidemic, and held multiple “Love for All Blessings” across communities to cultivate good thoughts. Now that this new coronavirus epidemic has occurred, Master Cheng Yen once again delivered a message on February 2nd to promote a “Global Vegetarian Day.” Prayers were additionally held around the world to show support for survivors. The guidance offered reflects “humbleness, dedication, and abstinence” in the hopes that everyone can strive to practice vegetarianism, guard all sentient beings, and stay safe.
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.