Chinese religious movements from around the world have contributed much to the relief and reconstruction work after the Sichuan earthquake. Their motto of "seeking harmony without uniformity" has been made a reality.
Many religious sites were transformed into refuges for earthquake victims. Thousands of sufferers flocked to the Arhat Temple in Shifang City, Sichuan, after the powerful earthquake. Shifang Women's and Children's Health Institute also relocated there and 65 babies were born inside the temple as of June 16, 2008. "We even took out meditation seats to make way for delivery beds," said Master Su Quan.
Deputy Director of the State Bureau of Religious Affairs Qi Xiaofei indicated that various religions demonstrated love in their own unique way. They will be remembered by history for their contributions. He also stressed the need for improvement toward understanding and respecting various religious concepts.
Love across the Taiwan Strait
Disaster evokes everyone's love.
Many religious organizations from Taiwan expressed their desire to join in the relief work immediately after the earthquake struck. The Tzu Chi Foundation, the Foundation of Social Improvement, the Fo Guang Shan Temple, Fa-Gu Shan and Chung Tai Shan were among a few of the groups offering help.
Relief teams organized by Tzu Chi, Fo Guang Shan and Fa-Gu Shan went to disaster areas on May 14. Fa-Gu Shan's team consisted of professional medical personnel and Buddhist monks; one of them had served as the former director of the Taipei Veterans General Hospital. Fo Guang Shan's team had more than 60 medical experts; they went to Muyu village in Qingchuan County to help, bringing tents, medicines and foodstuffs. They also donated funds and goods worth 65 million yuan.
Relief workers from Taiwanese religious organizations did not simply help victims: they also helped to strengthen the bonds between Chinese mainlanders and Taiwanese.
Local inhabitants treated the Taiwan workers in a very friendly fashion. Sometimes Buddhist groups found that someone had pre-paid for their purchased goods and farmers invited these guests to go to their private farms to pick vegetables.
Qi Xiaofei indicated that Taiwanese religious organizations had contributed much relief assistance. They were highly efficient during the crucial period after the earthquake struck. "We felt so moved by them," Qi said.
The Chinese government also paid attention to the relief work offered by the Taiwanese religious organizations. One of the state leaders, Jia Qinglin, met domestic and overseas Buddhist and Taoist people including the three groups from Taiwan in Chengdu on May 29.