Comfort wounded hearts
Some religious experts believe that religion can provide a kind of special and important medicine that brings relief and solace to victims'wounded hearts, easing their mental suffering.
Chinese religious organizations have set mental health care as the top priority for their disciples.
"We encourage people to be strong, positive and hopeful. It is helpful to put the victims'minds at ease, and we find it useful to try to give them confidence so that they will want to start reconstruction," said Liu Bonian, vice chairman of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association.
In order to help victims to build their health mental, Master Shizhao, who is his fifties and from Lianhua Temple, attended a psychological care giving course organized by Sichuan University. He learned how to diagnose mental illness and how to give suggestions. He has helped hundreds of disciples to keep positive minds along with 23 other monks.
Religious organizations have also paid attention to the children. The Buddhist organization, Beijing Ren Ai Charity Foundation, set up a temporary education center for children during the first week after the earthquake struck Sichuan. This has greatly benefited the children and helped to relax their minds.
Compared with rescue work, reconstruction is a long road that tests the limits of human kindness. Religious organizations remain in Sichuan and their efforts toward care giving are as great as ever.
Religious buildings were seriously destroyed during the earthquake. Current statistics indicate that 40 percent, or 1195 religion sites, partially collapsed, and 106 totally collapsed. Erwang Temple in Dujiangyan, a nationally protected culture heritage site, retained only the building's framework.
Erwang Temple in Dujiangyan, a nationally protected culture heritage site was collapsed in Sichuan earthquake
Religions from around the world have called for urgent reconstruction work on holy sites to retain religious culture and maintain prayer halls. For example, the China Taoist Association has started to rebuild about ten damaged Taoist Temples. Muslim disciples and their creed also caught the public eye. These worshippers can only perform their holy services in mosques but many of them collapsed or were damaged during the earthquake. Fortunately, with the help of the authorities and various social circles, some tent mosques were built for Muslims. These mosques may be the simplest ones in the world, but certainly they are quite special.
Qi Xiaofei said that rebuilding religious sites is a special and difficult task since they are the spiritual home of the devout. He also indicated that temples in mountain regions needed extra help due to their prior poor condition.
(China.org.cn by Wu Huanshu, July 8, 2008)