“I have always believed, and I still believe, that whatever good or bad fortune may come our way we can always give it meaning and transform it into something of value.” ~ Hermann Hesse
It is still hard for me to think about what happened a few days ago in Nepal. The death toll has climbed to over 3,200. I ask God why He put me so close to the catastrophe and yet removed me from being apart of it at the last moment. He knows that I am looking for this kind of work and danger. I have asked for it. And yet I don’t know whether to go back or to stay in India. I am trying to view it from the perspective there is a reason that I was not there. Maybe I can do better work where I am now than if I were still in Nepal or dead for that matter.
I am very torn at the moment and I just don’t know what to do. I am not used to indecision, but I guess this is just a time for me to be patient and to wait for God to guide me in the right direction. I don’t know if they are even letting people into the country at the moment unless they are with a specific relief organization. Without a doubt, I will be back there when the time is right.
If I were to return, I would perhaps be of some help as I speak Nepali, I am good at construction or deconstruction and “getting my hands dirty”, and I could provide much needed moral support, but I would also be another mouth to feed and would take up another much needed bed or tent, which are in high demand at the moment. They can’t even find enough food or water for those that are there at the moment and it has been less than 48 hours.
When I think about Nepal, I don’t think of it in terms of a few singular friends, or singular places, or experiences. I see Nepal as an image in itself. It is hard to explain. I consider every single Nepali, even those that I have never met, as friends. I see all of their faces as one. It has been a rock of support for me the past five years as I mentioned in my previous posts.
The image I have of Nepal is characterized by pristine-ness, purity, and perfection. It truly takes an “act of God” to shake an image such as this and yet this is what has happened. I know they won’t lose these characteristics, it is just the “image” has been shaken in my own mind and it is difficult to accept at the moment. I just keep telling myself there has to be a reason that I am not there and a reason for it to happen altogether; that Nepal will be a better place in the long-term because of this event.
If one or two people died, or someone lost their home to a landslide, it would be a tragedy of course. This earthquake is the one thing that could have happened that would literally affect the entire country or “image” of Nepal. Why do I not feel the same way when something similar occurs to my own country? Why is it different when it happens to Nepal? Is it because a natural disaster of this magnitude is impossible to affect the entire U.S.? Perhaps because I view the Nepali people with such high regard in terms of their pleasantness, positivity, and purity I feel stronger about this situation. I have never met another population like them. My feeling is “they don’t deserve this.”
At what point do I step back and not allow myself to be too attached? At what point do I move on? At least in the short term? At the moment, I am thinking I will not go back to Nepal even though I want to. To me, there has to be a reason that God didn’t want me there. With that said, I am doing all that I can in my own limited way to help them out.
Yesterday I attended a one day vipassana course at Dhamma Cakka in Sarnath that I had signed up for before the earthquake hit. I dedicated the course and all of the “metta” (love, compassion, and goodwill vibrations) to all the sentient beings of Nepal and the surrounding area. Perhaps, with supreme pure intent and wish, this “metta” will go to the people who need it most. I will continue this practice three times daily for my entire time in India. Perhaps because I am still near Nepal, this practice will be more effective. For those that know how to send or spread “metta” please do so as much as possible.
Financially, on behalf of the readers and donors of this blog, I transferred $200 to various emergency relief funds yesterday afternoon. The faster that they can raise funds, the more lives that will be saved in the immediate term. This will be an ongoing effort for years or decades to come. If I had any more money personally, I would send it all to them. I am sure that I will figure out what more I can do as time goes by. I am adding a new feature on the blog and that is to allow donors to add funds to either the expense account or donation account at their own request. If someone wants all of their dana to go to the expense account or donation account, I will move it either way.
I mentioned yesterday that I am confident that Nepal will be fine and will rebuild itself better than before. The people there are extemely “tough” and this could be a time for them to bridge any divides that have existed in the short or long terms. Furthermore, I have met so many foreign travelers there in the past five years that I am confident they will get the outside support that they so desperately need now and in the future. I will continue to pray that the worst is behind them.
On this page, there are a few links where donations can be sent:
Yesterday’s post with donation links.
List of daily expenses and donations for April 26th, 2015:
Total spent on travel: $5.41
Total spent on food: $1.35
Total spent on room: $1.59
Total: $8.35 + 39.40 = 47.75 divided by 5 days = $9.55 each day.
Donations given to Nepal Disaster Relief funds = 4 x $50 = $200
Donation given to random stranger = 10 Indian rupees
Donation given to Dhamma Cakka Vipassana center = $10
Total = $210.16 + $57.28 = $267.44 divided by five days = $53.49 each day
Expense account = $510.60 – 8.35 = $502.25 (Avg $9.55 each day will last 53 more days)
Donations account = $492.73 – 210.16 = $282.57 (Avg $53.49 each day will last 5 more days)
At 7:30 a.m. sharp they left for Sarnath. The Deer Park is where the Guatama turned the “Wheel of Dharma” by teaching the five sadhus the four noble truths and creating the first sangha of Buddhism.
The tuk-tuk was a little like a bowling ball on pavement that had to be hand-cranked to start every few miles. Luckily, it didn’t knock down any pins. The driver was a nice guy though and anytime the man offered to help, he would not accept it.
On the left-hand side, before the park was reached, an 80-foot statue of the Buddha stood in the distance, welcoming visitors and purifiers into this ancient holy land.
As the gate was finally reached and the fare was paid, the man wondered if he could control his thoughts long enough to meditate. He said a prayer, knocked on the door, and went in with a peaceful feeling inside. The people of Nepal were on his mind.
Om Mani Padme Hum protection mantra for all the beings in Nepal: Om Mani Padme Hum