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Metta to those affected by Australian Bushfires

On Fri, 10 January, 2020 - 16:18
Aryajaya's picture

Here’s a message from Aryajaya, Shubhavyuha and James from Adhisthana (and also Australia) to those affected by the catastrophic bushfires which have been burning in Australia since late October.

Please join in a collective Metta wave in whatever way you can, wherever you are - not just for the loss but for the courage, bravery and dedication of those fighting the fires, rescuing animals and for all the acts of kindness that have been happening.

You can share what you are doing in the comments below so we can see our collective metta wave making its way to Australia

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parami's picture

thanks for this you three.  at my chapter this morning we had talked about the bushfires and about metta so it was good to see this this afternoon.  such a tragedy.  I will certainly be joining into a wave of solidarity.  Parami

tejasvini's picture

Like so many others, my heart really goes out to all those affected by these fires, human, animal or other organic form.  

Last Friday at 7 pm there was a 3-minute prayer for rain, asking us to imagine sheets of water deluging down, putting out fires, soaking into the ground, preventing fires spreading, bringing relief.  And rain did come to some of the affected areas.  I’ll be doing this again, every Friday until the end of the bushfire season, praying for rain for the affected areas in Australia.  will you join me? 

sucimani's picture

Thanks so much for posting and for the personal video, so moving to watch.

In our chapter meeting last Monday evening we meditated and sent Metta to all those affected by the fires in Australia. 

Sucimani xxx

maitripala's picture

Receiving all metta into our sad hearts here in Australia. Many of us have received open hearted responses of care from other sangha members all around the world checking in with us. Sangha in action. 
I saw a drawing recently depicting a group of traditional superheroes, Superman etc, greeting a tired, ash covered Australian volunteer firefighter with a simple caption “welcome to the club.”
These everyday workers have left their office desks, classrooms, businesses, studies, farms, families  etc and have been on the fire frontline for months. You see their tiny forms in media pictures sometimes in the front of monsterous walls of flame, putting their lives at risk to save others. They have collectively saved thousands of homes and lives.  
Some will struggle to ever fully recover from what they have witnessed during this time on the frontline. Some have lost their lives and left small children and family members at home devastated.

I heard a story of a bush apiarist who, when going back into a burnt landscape to check on his hives, took up the offer of help from young student apiarists. However, these students were so traumatised by the ongoing sound of the cries they heard in the bush of the badly burnt animals that were still alive, the beekeeper had to arrange counselling for them after that day and drop the idea of students helping on further trips. 

I am so grateful for my connection with the three jewels at times like this. The dharma gives a cosmic perspective and meditation practices provide welcome support in the face of this immense suffering, without freezing up completely. I hope our government wakes up to the ‘cries of the world‘ so clearly evident from the people in this country protesting on the streets to the devastated animal populations and the blackened bush.

And whilst Australia faces this tragic event I am also very aware of other significant painful events happening around the world. The tonglen practice sharpens the heart to take what we are experiencing and utilise the tenderising of our own hearts to raise our awareness of others in the world also experiencing catastrophic events.  Metta to all those suffering  
In the face of tragedy we still have the amazing resilience and bravery of everyday human beings that definitely fosters hope. So many instances of love, connection, kindness and generosity are also happening in our blackened countryside. 


parami's picture

lovely, thanks Maitripala.  Much love to you

Prabhakari's picture

Thank you, Maitripala

Dhiramani's picture

Thank you for the words and actions of encouragement.  Somehow it touched a spot that needed to be touched, tears  flow….. grief for what has been lost to the environment, peoples lives and livelihoods, communities, flora and fauna, perhaps a way of life………..I have found myself almost tipping into horrified anxiety,  I want the suffering and destruction to STOP NOW. Of course I have the tools the practices and understanding to help to work through these responses, to allow the grief to come in, be touched by it and to act. I notice people not talking about it much, but I am sure it is in our collective psychi; disbelief, shock, the horror.

2020 a new decade, new beginnings. 

Shantidevi's picture
Thankyou ..that’s a beautiful response. Much appreciated from Melbourne x
Vijayasri's picture

Thank you, I will join the metta wave and let others know. I have been reciting Bhante’s poem ‘Invocation’ with Australia in mind.

Field-freshening rain,
White night-rain lingering on in drizzles till the dawn,
Pools of bright silver making, birthing streams
In dry clay river-beds, pour down, O rain,
All day, all night, pour down pour down, O rain,
Pour down…

World-welfaring Compassion,
Void-born Compassion diamond-hard and petal-tender,
Peace to wild heartwaves bringing, birthing love
On the low couch of self, pour down, Compassion,
All day, all night, pour down pour down, Compassion,
Pour down –
Pour down like rain on this compassionless
Lost world…

Pour down, pour down, pour down… 

Dhiramani's picture

wonderful to  be reminded of this poem Vijayasri.  Thank you

Kathryn Lloyd's picture

It’s unimaginable and must be totally terrifying……’Om Maitri Maha Maitri’ 🎶 🎶 🎶 🙏🙏🙏

akasharaja's picture

Although the bush fire catastrophe in Australia is absolutely worthy of our collective attention and Metta, I find myself a bit troubled by this particular appeal when there is so much silent suffering in so many other places in the world as well, the ongoing but largely forgotten atrocities in Syria, for instance, and the loss of 180-odd people in the aircraft shot down over Tehran the other day. I’m sure this wasn’t the intention but it does look a bit like Australia is being singled out because the people affected are wealthy white folk. Is it also the sheer scale of the loss of animal life that has tipped the balance? The Amazon fires didn’t elicit this kind of response in my memory. Now this video has been published it will look like double standards not to do something similar in response to every other catastrophe. And, let’s face it, there are going to be many more. I’m sorry to hit a discordant note here, but feel there’s an important principle at stake.

Dhiramani's picture

Hello Akasaraja, I can understand your concern.  Perhaps we can see it is a reminder of the importance of metta practise, ongoingly in the face of all tragedies?  In Maitripala’s reply she certainly is not seeing this exclusively as suffering in Australia. (see below). Personally I don’t think it is to do with wealthy white folk as you possibly suggest.  I suspect it more to do with unless we are more directly affected by suffering, it can sometimes be a bit remote or abstract. Perhaps I speak for myself that yes that the Amazon burning, atrocities in Syria, Ukraine plane shot down are tragic and “definitely worthly” and generate mettaful response from me. However, I notice it doesn’t have a lasting effect as it’s not on my doorstep.  I am not saying this is the right response, but suspect it is how most humans beings respond. Indeed, a reminder to allow more of  the universality of suffering into my heart.

“And whilst Australia faces this tragic event I am also very aware of other significant painful events happening around the world. The tonglen practice sharpens the heart to take what we are experiencing and utilise the tenderising of our own hearts to raise our awareness of others in the world also experiencing catastrophic events.  Metta to all those suffering”  

Prakashika's picture
Hi Akasharaja It’s human nature to feel more for people and places we know, or for people who are more like us. Hopefully we can use this natural empathy as a stepping stone to developing a more universal metta, rather than see it as unfair favouritism.
Padmadakini's picture

Thank you so much fellow Sangha members and dear friends. Your message bought some tears to the surface which I have been struggling to allow in the face of this reality. I have been writing letters and sending money, calling on my Yidam, meditating, sharing information etc and continuing to find a way to act positively and with love in this catastrophe. And within the context of huge gaps in the responses adn understanding  from our leadership. So filling those gaps with huge waves of metta and mindfulness are such a boon and I am so grateful as Buddhists we have this truth to rely on and enact. But it is hard. I will certainly share your offering with others and finds ways to continue the wave!. Sadhu and much love Padmadakini

saddhanandi's picture

Thanks for this initiative. It’s great to read all the comments posted.

Last weekend I led the Order Metta at Adhisthana and started with the Australian bush fires, and then drew on the Buddha’s metaphor of the world being on fire asking all of us to engage with metta just like an firefighter might engage with the bush in Australia - knowing life was dependant on it.  The shrine room was fairly full, with the resident community and the members of European Chairs Assembly. It was a poignant way to start our bi-annual Chairs meeting.

I’m thinking of you all, over there facing such devastation.

Tamonuda's picture

Hi we had a morning on the heart sutra in Cardiff today and we we started off with dedicating the morning  and meditation to Australia. We will carry this three on throughout the week. Xxxx

dharmavajri's picture

Aryajaya, James and Shubhavyuha, friends from Adhisthana and Australia, I was very moved by your joint reminder of the great suffering caused by the bushfires. I know from experience what comfort and support comes from waves of metta, and in our chapter this afternoon we share remember you and send metta to all those affected by the fires. Love, Dharmavajri