Wishes for Our Friends in Distress: “Live Towards the Light”
In the afternoon on March 11, an earthquake of magnitude 9, which was the biggest in the Japanese history of earthquake observation, and tsunami caused a disastrous damage to Eastern Japan, especially to the Pacific Seaboard of Tohoku (North- East) Japan.
Shinran Center immediately set up an emergency support group. They did all they could to inquire about the safety of Shinran followers hit by the earthquake. They also delivered relief supplies to Sendai office, Miyagi prefecture, on March 16.
On March 20 the lecture was held in the 2000-tatami-mat hall as scheduled. One after another Shinran followers around Japan brought blankets, food and so on to the hall. These supplies were delivered to the stricken area by two buses and trucks.
After the earthquake occurred, news about the damage was coming from the leaders of Shinran Center branches in East Japan every minute.
The Northeast area of Japan was particularly affected. Mr. Kida and other local Shinran Center branch leaders gathered at the Sendai office. They collected information, putting the top priority on checking the safety of Shinran followers.
After that, Shinran Center’s head office held a special meeting on the morning of March 15. Takamori Sensei, worried about the safety of Shinran followers said, “We must support them as soon as possible.” He wrote letters of sympathy to many Shinran followers who were in distress.
On the afternoon of March 16, the trucks set for the Tohoku district, containing supplies such as food, clothes, medicine, batteries and so on. It took them nine and half hours to reach the Sendai office because the highway was partly blocked. The Tohoku area branch leader, Mr. Hosokawa Hiroyuki and the video missionary Mr. Akiyoshi Hirotaka, energetically visited Shinran followers’ houses and handed out supplies. On March 17 they also went to Higashi- Matsushima city, Miyagi prefecture, which had disastrous damage, to deliver supplies to the people. One Shinran follower who received the supplies said, “I was moved to tears by a lot of heart-warming food and clothes, though I was spending many days in anxiety.”
The secondary group consisted of four cars. They went to Iwate and Miyagi prefectures and delivered the supplies to Shinran followers and places of refuge. Intermittent aftershocks, the shortage of gasoline, and scheduled blackouts --- all these things have been causing Tohoku and Kanto people many troubles with transportation. Even in such a difficult situation, Shinran followers are encouraging and helping one another. They are heading towards the light every day.
The lecture took place in the 2000 tatami-mat hall as scheduled on March 20. Shinran followers who managed to come from stricken areas were intent on listening to the lecture, saying “Not ‘though,’ but ‘because’ we are in such a disasterous situation, we want to listen to Buddhism.”
Source: The Buddhist Village Times #04 | 2011-, Aids from Shinran Center to Disaster Stricken Area
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