A powerful earthquake struck the Noto Peninsula in Ishikawa Prefecture, Japan, on the afternoon of January 1st, 2024. The aftermath of the quake has left a trail of destruction, with numerous roads collapsing and houses partially crumbling.
As of the afternoon of January 9th, the toll stands at 202 lives lost, and the whereabouts of 102 individuals remain unknown, underscoring the gravity of the situation. Rescue efforts are ongoing to locate and assist those still missing.
The BLIA Osaka Chapter acted swiftly to ensure the safety of its members. Sub-chapter presidents and executives were promptly mobilized to confirm the well-being of their respective members. Simultaneously, they were briefed on the anticipated aftershocks expected in the coming days. Recognizing the urgency of the situation, efforts were intensified to actively assess the pressing need for support and relief materials in the affected areas.
The Chairman, Megumi Shimada from the Taiwan Chambers of Commerce in Hokuriku Region, has played a crucial role in coordinating relief efforts. Her efforts led to the successful establishment of contact and confirmation of the recipient organization for much-needed relief supplies. Following this breakthrough, Venerable Ru Quan, the Superintendent of Osaka FGS Temple, alongside the Osaka Chapter President and Supervisor, swiftly mobilized directors and executives. In a unified effort, they initiated the procurement of essential supplies and launched a donation campaign to support those affected.
Upholding the spiritual principles of Humanistic Buddhism, as advocated by Venerable Master Hsing Yun, " “Cultivate unconditional loving-kindness and universal compassion”," BLIA pledged full support for disaster-stricken areas, aiming to alleviate the suffering of those affected.
Members of the Buddha’s Light community in Osaka have collaborated to pack and organize over 120 boxes of crucial relief supplies. This includes warm packs, toiletries, instant noodles, and bottled water. On the morning of the 9th, a team led by Venerables from Osaka, youth and others, utilized two 10-person vans to deliver these essential items to the evacuation center at Elementary School in Nanao City, Ishikawa Prefecture.
Vice-Chairman of the Nanao City Council, Mr. Nishikawa, expressed gratitude for the relief team's efforts in delivering crucial supplies, a timely aid to alleviate pressing shortages. Venerable Ru Kai inquired about immediate needs, and the Vice-Chairman highlighted a shortage of volunteers for organizing and cooking, as well as concerns about future living conditions for victims. The temple representatives committed to exploring feasible assistance.
The BLIA relief team concluded their efforts by presenting Venerable Master Hsing Yun's New Year calligraphy, “May You Be Free as Cloud and Water, Auspicious and Joyful,” and a publication of the 311 Rescue Documentation. The team also distributed special items, including Fo Guang Shan's Peace Candy, prayer beads, and protective omamori featuring the Six-Character Great Bright Mantra, to residents.
Venerable Ru Quan emphasized the dynamic nature of the world, urging a thoughtful reflection on our connections to ourselves, the world, and our shared existence with the Earth. In light of ongoing challenges, mutual assistance becomes crucial. She prays for the compassionate guidance of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, blessing them with wisdom and peace for both the living and the departed.