The sounds in my head go Na Mu Myo Ho Ren Ge Kyo, which means “I devote myself to the Lotus Sutra of Buddha.” A few days ago, I decided to go and live in the Japanese monastery here in Lumbini. It is a beautiful place next to the large World Peace Pagoda (Shanti Stupa).
The schedule here is rigorous, I wake up at 3:30am to clean the prayer hall, then beat a Japanese hand drum to the rhythm and sound of Na Mu Myo Ho Ren Ge Kyo for two hours. Some days we beat the drum and chant walking to the village to offer prayers to the town people and other days I stay in the prayer hall and make offerings to the various statues and relics around the monastery and Pagoda.
The day carries on as such with a few blocks of free time in between prayers. All the while drumming and chanting Na Mu Myo Ho Ren Ge Kyo. But these are all things that I can explain at a later time.
Today, I want to update you on the state of Nepal and the relief efforts here. The Nepal government is requesting donations to be sent through the Prime Minister’s Disaster Relief Fund first. This is a tricky situation as many fear that routing the donations could lead to corruption of siphoning relief fund for political campaigns and also low down efforts. I’m not saying this is a fact, only that it’s a possibility among many others.
There is still a lot of devastation. People continue to be trapped under rubble as the aftershocks. Food and water seems to sufficient in a lot of the areas due to the initial relief efforts, but families have no other means to survive against the cold and rain. Their shelters have been destroyed and buildings that are still standing are precarious. Men, women, and children are sleeping outside to avoid getting hurt by collapsing buildings.
The Japanese monks, an Austrian monk, several Nepali locals (including the local government and police), a dutch woman and myself are working to fund and organize a relief effort that will bring tents, blankets, basic first aid items, umbrellas, flashlights, and other necessities to the villages of Harmi (Gorkha district) and Ilampokhari (Lamjung district). It’s also an opportunity for non-technical volunteers, like myself, to help.
The World Peace Pagoda has already donated $1,000 USD to the effort. The funds are from their own reserves. The monastery typically accepts donations in person only. It is self-sufficient, growing and making much of the items they need on a day-to-day basis. Monks commonly do not have or accept a lot of money as it corrupts and is against many Buddhist beliefs for monks.
The monks have an International saving account where you can deposit money. However, the fastest and most effective way of sending money is directly to me either through PayPal, Venmo, or directly into my bank account (message me for those details). Here I can withdraw the money from an ATM here and buy the goods directly.
I am asking you to donate $25 or $50 to the effort. My PayPal account is alyse (dot) speyer (at) gmail (dot) com. We need a total of $8,000 USD to help the two villages. The more funds we get, the more villages we can help.
We plan to buy the items locally to help support the economy, to quickly attain goods, and to prevent blockages at the airport. This is a grassroots effort. My friend Samuel Le MacKay recently founded the Church of Art and Science. His organization and its partners will act as the NGO and provide receipts and tax documents to you for your records. So please, donate earthquake relief directly to Nepal through Japanese World Peace Pagoda today through my PayPal address: alyse (dot) speyer (at) gmail (dot) com. You can also give money directly to Sam who is based in Los Angeles.
Thank you for your support!