Chairs' Letter - April 2021On Fri, 30 April, 2021 - 18:40
Dear Order Members and Friends,
I have asked each of my deputies to contribute to these letters, and it seemed appropriate that Amrutdeep would write this month, from India. Amrutdeep was ordained in 1992 and has been a Public Preceptor for eight years, and I’ve very much enjoyed and appreciated getting to know him as we work alongside each other in the College. He is thoughtful and wise, kindly and ethical, and tireless in his practice of the Dhamma.
From Amrutdeep: the Corona Pandemic in India
The second wave of the Coronavirus in India means that thousands of people are suffering life threatening illness and loss of livelihood. The number of cases has been escalating all over India, and especially in Maharashtra state, over the last four weeks.
In the whole history of the Triratna community this is most horrible and worst period we have ever experienced. Many Order members and Mitras are hospitalised, and many are in home isolation. Trying to get whatever medical help they need. Some of them are really struggling to get oxygen, medicine, injections, or hospital beds. Government hospitals are full and do not have beds available; some private hospitals do have some facilities, but they are so costly. People find themselves so helpless.
Covid positive patients are not allowed to meet their relatives and friends because the virus is spreading so rapidly and is so dangerous, and they might get infected. In these circumstances patients are only in contact with hospital staff and other seriously ill patients, and every day they see people dying before their eyes. Moreover, if they become critically ill they can’t even make contact or even talk to their dear ones, which creates feelings of isolation, fear and anxiety. They lose hope for life and eventually fail to fight the virus, and within a few days they are dead. Such a tragedy.
On the other hand, family members, relatives and friends find themselves helpless and scared; they just can’t do much to save the lives of their family members, and cannot afford all the expenses which are needed.
As a result, we have lost 12 Order members, and many Dhammamitras, within the last three weeks. Nearly every day we have seen the sad news of another death appearing on the Order Information Service. People in the Triratna community are going through grief; they are so shocked and even speechless, and some are emotionally breaking down.
However the Triratna community is also providing lot of emotional help and inspiration by practicing and teaching the Dhamma online. Some are engaged in counselling people psychologically. There are many activities run by different Centers: meditation, puja, rituals, Dhamma talks, retreats, workshops etc. Many Order members worldwide are making a positive contribution to the situation in this way. There are also many examples of Order members and Mitras who are Corona Warriors, who have recovered from the illness and are able to engage in normal life again.
The India Coronavirus relief work team is being so active; raising funds to help provide food, grain, medicine, money etc. to the people most in need. The Abhayaratna Trust in the UK, Subhuti, Padmavajra, London Buddhist Centre, Adhisthana, Padmaloka and Taraloka retreat centres are committed to raising more funds to support our Indian brothers and sisters. Our Western siblings are raising funds as a spiritual practice of Dana but also a deeper sense of friendship and connectedness. Padmavajra delivered an exceptional Dhamma talk to inspire the people in our sangha, and Subhuti gave an excellent talk on ‘Abhayadana’ – the gift of fearlessness.
This is an expression of Avalokiteshvara, the true spirit of our Order and Movement.
I would like to express my appreciation to all of them for their generosity and loving kindness, and also my deep deep gratitude towards all of them.