I appeal to you with an invitation. Many of you are asking me about my opinion towards refugee situation in Europe, therefore I would like to present it to you in my appeal to help. For several days, I have been intensively thinking about how we, a Buddhist society in the Czech Republic and Europe, can contribute in helping the “pilgrims,” who are enduring many hardships on their journey to a better life in Europe. I do not want to write about political issues and attitudes and also ask you to refrain from polemics around them. Thank you. I respect every opinion and difference, if it honors human rights and observes principles of ethics. Thus, my intention is not to dispute, what and how things should be or will be.
However, I would like to reflect on what WE, as individuals, can do now? The question that concerns me, a Buddhist nun, is the issue of humanitarian aid. Therefore I take this opportunity to invite you to contribute. Now I am feeling a strong moral need to help people who are suffering and are in need. Without you, I will hardly be able to make it happen.
During my monastic life, I have seen a few similar situations, because I lived in the war in Sri Lanka for many years. I can, therefore, assure you, that the most pieces of information that you receive through mass media, are very biased, have their own coherent strategy and a much deeper politics behind. Unfortunately, things are always different, than how we are being informed of them. But what the reality is, that there are people out there, who are really going through severe suffering and need any support. So let's think about: “What can we do for these people?” They are already very tired, exhausted, suffer from hunger, cold and extreme lack of basic human needs. I think that, without help, their children soon won’t be able to survive this journey. The need to act and help these people, it is more than certain. Soon, the winter comes, the overall situation does not yet have a solution, and these pilgrims are in a serious life crisis. How we, as people that are cultivating embracing loving kindness and compassion, can contribute to those, who need it?
I am currently, due to monastery renovation and my health condition, forced to cancel autumn mettā meditation course in Prague. On that occasion I wonder - how else should we cultivate mettā (loving kindness) than right here and right now? What are hours spent in meditation, when in reality, we are not able to take the right attitude and act? From my own experience, I know that one would like to help, but one does not know how. I would therefore like us as Buddhists and non-Buddhists to join in this matter and support each other. Regardless of your religion or type of practice. All world religions have one thing in common, and that is helping others and those, who are suffering. These noble qualities of the mind are, what unites us.
I received many phone calls from people, who would like to participate and help. I am very happy and it just confirms that there is not such huge xenophobia in the Czech Republic and Europe as the media are spreading. Please, do not believe everything you hear, what you cannot see with your own eyes and have not direct experience with. Indeed, the truth is always different. Fear of the unknown is a natural, but it is paralyzing us to act and take the right stand.
It is not in my abilities and I do not have the resources to organize this process, but I feel an obligation to try to unite you and take a stand in the whole situation, which would lead to the benefit of other sentient beings. Therefore I address you, my friends, representatives of Buddhist groups, other religions and foundations. I leave it up to you, whether you share this letter and what attitude you assume. But I believe in your qualities of heart and good intention and I believe that together, we can find a solution to help the pilgrims. Thank you!
“Right action also means abstaining from using our bodies unwholesomely and inappropriately. Everyone has the right to live freely; everyone has the right to live peacefully. As human beings, we are entitled to live anywhere in this world. In the early days of civilization, people just freely travelled from one country to another country. In those days, there were no visas and no one to issue them. People simply travelled to a country and settled down. I too can go to any country and say that I am entitled to live in that country, but they will definitely chase me out. They will say: “You have the right to live in Sri Lanka. Not here.” Basically speaking, though impractical these days, as human beings we have the right to live in any country, anywhere in this world. We have the right to a free way of living. We are entitled to live peacefully.
There is nothing wrong in settling down and living in some country. What is wrong though is that after settling down, we declare: “This is my country. This is my place.” What is wrong is the taking on of possession. Thus, Canadians possess their own country, Germans possess their own country, Americans possess their own country, and the English possess their own country. Everyone possesses his or her own country. We are also doing the same thing here in Sri Lanka and fighting. Possessing is unnecessary; possessing is the hindrance. Possessing leads to all the troubles. Everything arises out of possession.”
Bhante Pemasiri Thera
Přeji vám vše dobré. I wish you all the best. Kéž jste šťastni. May you be happy. Kéž vás Trojí klenot ochraňuje. May the Triple Gem bless you.
S mettā bh.Visuddhi
With mettā bhikkhunī Visuddhi