Perth's Buddhist community prays for MH370

by Amy McNeilage, Sydney Morning Herald, March 30, 2014

Ahead of hundreds of family members potentially descending on Perth to grieve, a Buddhist prayer ceremony was held at Fo Guang Shan Temple on Sunday for missing flight MH370.

Perth, Australia -- The anguished relatives of those on board the missing Malaysia Airlines flight are mostly thousands of miles from where the search for the wreckage is under way off the coast of Western Australia.

<< Sombre: The Chinese Buddhist community in Perth held a special prayer ceremony for the missing passengers of flight MH370 and their relatives and friends. Photo: Amy McNeilage

But their sorrows were deeply felt by the Chinese community in Perth on Sunday, when a few moments were taken during an annual ceremony to honour ancestors to cast their thoughts across the oceans.

At the Fo Guang Shan Temple in Perth, prayers and blessings were offered to the missing passengers, as well as their grieving loved ones.

“We decided to add a special segment to our ceremony, where our devotees and visitors are able to offer a prayer to show their concern and demonstrate their compassion,” Grace Collins, a spokeswoman for the Buddhist temple, said.

The prayer, led by the Venerable Man Ko, asked that the sufferings of the victims were alleviated and that they were returned home safely.

They also asked that the families were blessed with strength so “the hurt in their body and mind may quickly transform from danger into peace”.

It was a significant day for the local Chinese, who were observing Qing Ming, when deceased relatives are honoured, often by visiting and cleaning the place where they rest.

Chinese across the world will participate in the annual tradition, also known as “tomb sweeping day”, over the coming week. For those still waiting to learn the fate of loved ones on flight MH370, the already sombre ceremony will be wrenching.

“Qing Ming is the time that you remember the dead – so if relatives have only just died, that adds to the sorrow," said Professor John Wong, a Chinese history expert from the University of Sydney. “It is a very emotional time.”

The fact that bodies have not been recovered does not necessarily hinder the practice but it does add to the trauma, particularly given there is cultural importance to having the body returned home.

“There is a term for this – and it means, to pay homage to them from a distance,” Professor Wong said. “I won't be surprised if some of the families of the passengers go to the seaside and burn some incense and paper to make some offerings.”

The West Australian Treasurer, Mike Nahan, who is also the Minister for Multicultural Interests, said the Chinese embassy had told the government to expect up to 600 family members to travel to Perth if the wreckage was recovered.

“It is very welcoming that members of the West Australian community have spontaneously offered their houses in assistance,” he said. “There are cultural issues of wanting to see the site – and the site, if it proves to be deep in the southern Indian Ocean, is a very inhospitable and hard to obtain site, but we will work through that.”

We Need Your Help to Train the
Buddhist AI Chat Bot
(Neural Omniscient Robotic-Being for Buddhist Understanding)

For Malaysians who wants to donate in MYR, please use the following account:

Account Name: Bodhi Vision
Account No:. 2122 00000 44661
Bank: RHB
Note: Please indicate your name in the payment slip. Thank you.

Dear Friends in the Dharma,

We seek your generous support to help us train NORBU, the word's first Buddhist AI Chat Bot.

Here are some ways you can contribute to this noble cause:

One-time Donation or Loan: A single contribution, regardless of its size, will go a long way in helping us reach our goal and make the Buddhist LLM a beacon of wisdom for all.

How will your donation / loan be used? Download the NORBU White Paper for details.

For Malaysians who wants to donate in MYR, please use the following account:

Account Name: Bodhi Vision
Account No:. 2122 00000 44661
Bank: RHB
Note: Please indicate your purpose of payment (loan or donation) in the payment slip. Thank you.

Once payment is banked in, please send the payment slip via email to: Your donation/loan will be published and publicly acknowledged on the Buddhist Channel.

Spread the Word: Share this initiative with your friends, family and fellow Dharma enthusiasts. Join "Friends of Norbu" at: Together, we can build a stronger community and create a positive impact on a global scale.

Volunteer: If you possess expertise in AI, natural language processing, Dharma knowledge in terms of Buddhist sutras in various languages or related fields, and wish to lend your skills, please contact us. Your knowledge and passion could be invaluable to our project's success.

Your support is part of a collective effort to preserve and disseminate the profound teachings of Buddhism. By contributing to the NORBU, you become a "virtual Bodhisattva" to make Buddhist wisdom more accessible to seekers worldwide.

Thank you for helping to make NORBU a wise and compassionate Buddhist Chatbot!

May you be blessed with inner peace and wisdom,

With deepest gratitude,

Kooi F. Lim
On behalf of The Buddhist Channel Team

Note: To date, we have received the following contributions for NORBU:
US$ 75 from Gary Gach (Loan)
US$ 50 from Chong Sim Keong
MYR 300 from Wilson Tee
MYR 500 from Lim Yan Pok
MYR 50 from Oon Yeoh
MYR 200 from Ooi Poh Tin
MYR 300 from Lai Swee Pin
MYR 100 from Ong Hooi Sian
MYR 1,000 from Fam Sin Nin
MYR 500 from Oh teik Bin
MYR 300 from Yeoh Ai Guat
MYR 300 from Yong Lily
MYR 50 from Bandar Utama Buddhist Society
MYR 1,000 from Chiam Swee Ann
MYR 1,000 from Lye Veei Chiew
MYR 1,000 from Por Yong Tong
MYR 80 from Lee Wai Yee
MYR 500 from Pek Chee Hen
MYR 300 from Hor Tuck Loon
MYR 1,000 from Wise Payments Malaysia Sdn Bhd
MYR 200 from Teo Yen Hua
MYR 500 from Ng Wee Keat
MYR 10,000 from Chang Quai Hung, Jackie (Loan)
MYR 10,000 from K. C. Lim & Agnes (Loan)
MYR 10,000 from Juin & Jooky Tan (Loan)
MYR 100 from Poh Boon Fong (on behalf of SXI Buddhist Students Society)
MYR 10,000 from Fam Shan-Shan (Loan)
MYR 10,000 from John Fam (Loan)
MYR 500 from Phang Cheng Kar
MYR 100 from Lee Suat Yee
MYR 500 from Teo Chwee Hoon (on behalf of Lai Siow Kee)
MYR 200 from Mak Yuen Chau

We express our deep gratitude for the support and generosity.

If you have any enquiries, please write to: