My heart has been heavy as I’ve been following the news of the earthquake in Nepal and its aftermath. Over 5000 people have been killed and millions of Nepalis have been affected, including over a million who need immediate food assistance. In Kathmandu, half a million tents are urgently needed for people there who have been forced from their homes.
I lived in Buddhist communities in Nepal and India for two years during the years I spent practicing Buddhism. The monastery in which I lived during parts of that time – Kopan Monastery – is outside of the center of Kathmandu. Thankfully, no one there was injured, although there has been significant structural damage and people there are sleeping outside (as are many others in Nepal), fearful of the effect of aftershocks. I understand that half of the houses in Thame, the birthplace of Lama Thubten Zopa Rinpoche, my root teacher during those years, have been completely destroyed.
I read the news reports and I picture the landmarks that are still clear in my mind and the faces of the people I lived with. And I am filled with sadness and the need to respond in some way.
The people there need prayers and also financial support. University of St. Thomas will be holding an interfaith prayer service on the St. Paul campus tomorrow evening at 6:00p.m. Join us if you are in the area. And here and here are suggested ways to contribute to the relief efforts.