His Holiness the Dalai Lama Offers Prayers for Quake-hit Japan
[Saturday, 12 March 2011, 2:31 p.m.]
| His Holiness the Dalai Lama (centre) during a prayer service in Dharamsala, India, in 2010/File
In a letter sent on 12 March to H.E. Naoto Kan, the Prime Minister of Japan, His Holiness the Dalai Lama expressed his shock and sadness on hearing the news of yesterday’s earthquake and subsequent tsunami in Japan.
DHARAMSALA: His Holiness offered his prayers for those who have lost their lives and offered his sympathy and condolences to their families and others affected by it.
He expressed that we must all be grateful that the Japanese Government's disaster preparedness measures have prevented the death and destruction from being much worse.
Finally, as a Buddhist monk who daily recites the Heart Sutra, His Holiness felt it would be very good if Japanese Buddhists were to recite the Heart Sutra on this occasion. Such recitation may not only be helpful for those who have lost their precious lives, but may also help prevent further disasters in the future. Prayers to recite the Heart Sutra one hundred thousand times were being organized in Dharamsala for this purpose.
Around 2:46 pm a strong earthquake shook Tokyo city. Epicenter of the earthquake is believed to be around northeast Japan of Miyagi prefecture. The 8.9 magnitude earthquake was followed by major tsunami around the east coast of Japan. The earthquake and the tsunami brought a lot of damage to the lives and properties with more than 1000 confirmed death, and many still missing. Tsunami virtually swallowed a town; many lost their homes and are sheltered in temporary shelters.
The damage in Tokyo city was mild compared to Miyagi and Iwate prefectures. But the earthquake sent the Tokyoite rushing in panic. Office files, equipments, books and the goods in the shelves went haphazard and crashed on the floors. In Shunjuku city of Tokyo, people poured out and crowded at Shinjuku Gyoen Park for safety from where the people watched in horror the skyscrapers in pendulum motion. All train services came to a halt, people crowded for bus and taxi. Roads were jammed, telephone and mobiles stopped working. The streets were full of people trying to find their way out to their homes. Many had to walk for more than four to five hours to home.
Overall damage to the nation is great, fires destroyed dwellings and properties. Many are rendered homeless. The government has confirmed the safety of its nuclear stations, and is doing its best to rehabilitate the people and bring normalcy. Starting from United States, many countries have promised relief fund and services.
--Some of the reports are contributed by Tsewang Gyalpo Arya, Office of Tibet, Tokyo