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Home News Room Letters from Master Cheng Yen Master Cheng Yen’s Letter of Condolence After Gas Explosions in Kaohsiung

Master Cheng Yen’s Letter of Condolence After Gas Explosions in Kaohsiung

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Late at night on July 31, in Kaohsiung city, there occurred devastating gas explosions. They began just before midnight; they caused a fierce fire and the hearts of people trembled with fear and anxiety. According to the latest figures, more than 20 people lost their lives and over 280 were injured.

Life is impermanent. The Tzu Chi members of Kaohsiung had only just finished their emergency work after the crash of the TransAsia Airlines plane in Penghu; they immediately went to work again after the gas explosions. In the early morning of August 1, the volunteers split into groups and visited 16 city hospitals to comfort the wounded and their families; they also went to the funeral home to comfort the relatives of the deceased, where they chanted Buddhist prayers. They then set up ten service centers, where they provided tea and medical care. During that first day, they provided a total of 5,362 hot meals.

After the explosions, Master Cheng Yen paid great attention to what was happening. She felt great sadness and anxiety. She asked everyone not only to provide comfort to those affected but also to be careful and attentive of their own safety: be vigilant for the disasters of the world. She prayed that everyone would turn their fear into blessings and their wounds into Great Love. Let us work together, support each other and pray for a world without disasters.

Here is the full text of her letter (translated)

My beloved fellow citizens:

The world is impermanent; the land is fragile. In the night of July 31, Taiwan time, there were violent gas explosions in Kaohsiung. By the next day, more than 20 people had lost their lives and over 280 were injured. Many homes were destroyed. In the face of this tragedy, I felt deep sorrow.

Immediately after the accident, all the Tzu Chi volunteers in the Kaohsiung district were mobilized and started the work of comforting those in need. We in Hualien set up a command center and collected information via the Internet. I feel deeply that everyone on this earth is a member of my own family. The grief I feel in my heart I find hard to put into words. Nothing is certain in life. Our volunteers had only just finished their service for the victims of TransAsia Airways plane in Penghu – now this terrible explosion happened. It affected an area covering three square kilometers and spread terror and panic among those living there. I share your feelings.

Before the explosions, there was news of gas leaks. Many police and firemen went to the scene to deal with them, to seal off the danger zone; they put themselves at the place of greatest danger, in the hope of averting an accident. But the explosions happened one after another. Those police and firefighters in the front line bore the brunt of the explosions -- many were killed and injured. I feel deep sadness for them; they died in the line of duty, protecting the lives and safety of the public. I salute them with the deepest respect.

I also wish to thank the Tzu Chi members of Kaohsiung. As soon as they heard the news, they immediately moved into action. They stayed close to the families of the wounded and the deceased and treated them like members of their own family. The accident occurred at midnight; the members divided into teams and went to the scene, the hospitals and other places. They show care and love, embracing each family member who was struggling with his pain and grief. By 3.30 the next morning, the members were serving hot food and tea for the rescue workers, the wounded and their families. When I saw them do this work of care and concern and the medical teams go into the disaster area to look after the health of everyone, I felt deep gratitude from the bottom of my heart.

I cannot be there in person but I thank Tzu Chi volunteers went in with the spirit of ‘going to the front line and accompanying people until the very end’ in a spirit of Great Love. They are comforting every wounded heart. Today the members of Tzu Chi are bringing a heart full of sincerity and with both hands offering the purest consolation. All the masters of the Jing Si Abode are praying with Tzu Chi members around the world with sincere hearts and asking for blessings and that you may return to your normal life as soon as possible. We pray that the anxieties of everyone may turn into blessings, their wounds into Great Love. Let us work together, support each other and pray for a world without disasters.

Shih Cheng Yen,
founder of the Taiwan Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation
August 1, 2014

復航澎湖空難證嚴上人慰問信全文 (In Chinese)

" Learn to remain undisturbed in the tumult of people and events. Remain at peace within even when busy and occupied. "
Jing-Si Aphorism

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