When disasters or crises hit Asian Buddhist countries, I believe that we as Western Buddhists are offered a way to re-pay the gift of dharma that has been shared with us so generously by our dharma brothers and sisters in the East.
Now, the people of Japan are in great need in the wake of the devastating earthquake and tsunami of March 11. Some of my Buddhist blogging colleagues have collected lists of ways to help with the relief efforts in Japan:
- See this post from Adam Tebbe on Sweeping Zen
- John Pappas, aka Jack Daw, of Point of Contact, has posted a collection of photos that illustrate the extent of the disaster, and re-posted an extensive “How to Help” list from USA Today
- Rev. Danny Fisher recommends the Google Crisis Response page, which includes a link to donate to the Japanese Red Cross Society
- The Shambhala Sun Space blog offers this list
- Tricycle Magazine provides this post
If you’re looking for a reputable and respected Buddhist organization to support, I’d highly recommend making a donation to the Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation. Tzu Chi is one of the world’s first socially engaged Buddhist organizations and they have done tremendous relief work at other natural disaster sites, including the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. Tzu Chi has announced that it has set up a command center to prepare for launching relief aid to Japan. You can learn more and make a donation here.