12 Buddhist Organizations Working in Nepal

12 Buddhist Organizations Working in Nepal April 27, 2015

Devastation continues in Nepal where the death toll from Saturday’s quake is now over 4000. That number is expected to rise as aftershocks rock already damaged buildings (a friend in Kathmandu reported another one less than an hour ago as of 11 a.m. MST) and information comes in from the many remote villages affected by the quake. “Some of the initial surveys that we’re hearing of from the zones closer to the epicenter talk about total or near total destruction,” said Jeremy Konyndyk, director of the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance for the U.S. Agency for International Development (via CNN). Sure to further complicate aid and recovery efforts, heavy rains are predicted for parts of the area affected by the earthquake. Helicopters, of which Nepal has few, are needed to reach many of the villages most heavily damaged by the quake. More than four million people are in the affected zone.

Want to help? Read this first.

On Saturday I noted several major aid organizations who are actively aiding victims of the Nepal earthquake. Buddhists, who account for around 10% of Nepal’s population, are likewise mobilizing locally and around the world to support aid efforts. Here are a few Buddhist aid organizations you can learn more about and support:

FIRST, two funds have come to my attention where an individual or organization will MATCH donations for a limited time (see below). These are:

  1. The White Feather Foundation: Donate here and Julian Lennon will match your donations through the month of May.
  2. International Medical Corps donations here will be matched by Facebook, up to $2 million.

Now the twelve Buddhist organizations (further additions will go in the comments):

  1. Karuna Shechen (Sanskrit: compassion and Tibetan: monastery): Founded by the famous French monk Matthieu Ricard, this organization has been on the ground since 2000 and is prepared to deliver a variety of services to those in need in the area: “All donations received over the next 30 days will be directed towards our relief efforts to help earthquake victims in Nepal. Established in Kathmandu through the Shechen clinic, its mobile medical clinics and camps, Karuna-Shechen has a team of professionals on the ground that is trained and ready to help the victims of  this disaster. Our team is already working to assess the situation and long-term needs to help the local population in the aftermath of this tragedy.” Donate here
  2. Tzu Chi (literally “Compassionate Relief”): a major, and possibly the world’s largest,  international Buddhist aid organization. From Taiwan, they write: “Following the devastating Nepal Earthquake, Tzu Chi’s Disaster Survey and Medical Team will set off to the disaster area on April 27, 2015. In addition to providing emergency medical relief, we will, at this first stage, assess the relief items and subsequent assistance needed by the disaster area. Hopefully, we can convey the care and love from the global community to the disaster area in the shortest time possible.” Read about their efforts here and Donate here
  3. CEBA, the Canadian Engaged Buddhism Association: At their fundraising page they write: “Ven. Metteyya and Metta Family of volunteers are assembling a relief team to help organizations and teams on the ground in Kathmandu already. In Lumbini, our monks and nuns will be doing alms rounds (requesting donations) from the communities there and our other Metta family volunteers are working with other monasteries and temples to collect blankets, medical and first aid supplies, food and water to transport up to Kathmandu for our Metta Family team in Kathmandu to direct the work. On Thursday April 29, Ven. Metteyya is heading back to his homeland to continue with Metta Family’s aid and with what funds we can raise will purchase food, water, blankets medicine etc. and send these truckloads to Kathmandu. Trevor from Calgary will be leaving for Nepal on Friday to continue to help with these efforts.In addition to the aid above, our strategy is going to focus on assisting groups being left out large scale aid such as displaced families of victims at hospitals and aiding help desks set up at hospitals. We also see that we can partner with a few monasteries and youth groups in Kathmandu to make outpost shelters.” Donate here [American friends can donate to Anatta World Health and Education Outreach (CEBA’s sister organization in NJ, can provide tax receipts)]
  4. Lama Phakchok Rinpoche and the Chokgyur Lingpa Foundation. Phakchok Rinpoche writes: “We are contacting everyone to start a fundraising campaign to support those in need. The immediate concern is of course first aid relief, however, after an earthquake there are not only the immediate needs of those injured, there are also concerns of food, water, shelter  and months of re-construction. A team of professionals and volunteers is being formed now and they will inform us what is needed specifically. In the meantime, we can begin by raising funds now! Let’s put our compassion into action.” Donate here
  5. Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche at Ka-Nying Shedrub Ling provides this update: “Due to the many aftershocks, all our monks, nuns, and university students are forced to sleep outside in spite of heavy rains during the night. There is no electricity and the water is becoming scarce. Our main monastery, Ka-Nying Shedrub Ling, is still standing but the buildings have suffered severe damage… In all the affected areas of Nepal and her neighbouring countries there are many projects that need help and our monasteries are keen to assist in search and rescue efforts, rebuilding homes, and assisting those in need. For this we now ask for your help. Please consider making a donation to Shedrub Development Fund.” Donate here
  6. Dhammadharini: an organisation based in California which helps nuns will be collecting donations for the nuns and people in Nepal. They have an established connection with Ven Dhammavijaya and Ven Molini, who founded the Dhamma Moli Project to prevent trafficking of girls in Nepal. All are okay there, but building damage and other relief efforts are sure to require support, which can be offered at the Dhammadharini support foundation (tax deductible), or directly (not tax deductible) via Friends of Dhamma Moli.
  7. Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT): “Donations to this fund will be used to provide for the immediate and long-term needs of Kopan Monastery and Nunnery and other local FPMT centers resulting from the devastation caused by the Nepal earthquake. These needs include food and shelter for more than 800 monks and nuns as well as structural repairs and renovations to buildings at the Monastery and Nunnery that are no longer safe to occupy as a result of the earthquake.In addition, the fund will be used to offer immediate relief and support to other areas in the Himalayan region such as the village of Thame (Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s birthplace) where there has been an incredible amount of destruction. If sufficient funds are raised, grants may also be provided to other carefully vetted organizations providing earthquake relief efforts.” Donate here 
  8. ROKPA International: Rokpa means “friend” or “help” in Tibetan; this organization has worked for 35 years to help people on the margins of society in and beyond Nepal including a home for children there. Writing of the earthquake, ROKPA co-founder Lea Wyler writes: “Just to let you know that our children are ok. All of them were in our dining room saying prayers before lunch when it happened so having had training of what to do , they all ran outside. Since then they have been sitting on your new land opposite the Children’s Home and even cooked there. They will sleep there too as it is not safe to go back in. BJ, ROKPA child, now manager there, has been amazing and immediately after managed to let me see them and greet them through skype. But mostly the contact is cut off. We don’t have any news of some of the older children who were outside and if relatives and friends. I have been getting messages and queries from all over the world. Thank you for your compassion. Many have asked me what they can do now to help: I think at this moment the best you can do is raise funds for us…” Donate here
  9. Tsoknyi Nepal Nuns:  Tsoknyi Rinpoche writes, “I would like to start by helping the village of Chobar, which suffered a lot of damage. I want to help Chobar village first, as its people are physically closest to us. Then we can help other places, we can spread out to surrounding areas. If you want to assist in this way, please send any support funds to Tsoknyi Nepal Nuns foundation [http://www.tsoknyinepalnuns.org/donate] or to your Pundarika organization or supporting organization in your respective countries. The funds will be distributed in appropriate ways. Please specify that the donation is for Nepal Earthquake Emergency Relief.”
    The next three are not (to my knowledge) explicitly Buddhist in affiliation or mission, but are associated with Buddhist principles and/or individuals:
  10. The Seva Foundation: an international organization dedicated to preserving and restoring sight. They have teams on the ground in Nepal and will be devoting efforts to disaster relief. Donate here
  11. Citta (which is Pali and Sanskrit for “heart/mind”): “Citta has developed a holistic and adaptable method we refer to as the HEED model (Health, Education and Economic Development). We connect with these communities, taking into account the lack of access to proper healthcare and educational opportunities as well as weak or nonexistent economic development that can lead a community into a never-ending downward spiral. Citta works to remedy the specific needs of a community, to produce an environment of equanimity and stability and one that provides opportunities and a sense of initiative and pride in its inhabitants.” Donate here
  12. The South Asia Institute, Heidelberg, has established a “Nepal Earthquake Relief Fund Heidelberg.” They write, “Based on our longtime experience in Nepal, we want to provide both instant help and help with a long-­‐term perspective.  Since the earthquake, there have been numerous aftershocks, and even another earthquake just a few hours ago. People across the country, in the cities and the countryside, lack medical help, there are talks about contaminated groundwater in wells, and the human and cultural aftermaths only surface now, and will over the next weeks and months. Increasingly, some help and expertise reaches the sites of disaster.  Since the 1960s, the South Asia Institute has several research activities spread across different disciplines and themes, among which are earthquakes, urbanization, ritual and textual studies, and history. Our branch office, established in 1987, is based in Sanepa, Patan, a part of Kathmandu, and run by Nadine Plachta, M.A. She is one guarantee for the funds to arrive safely. All our contacts are personal. Donate here
Young Tibetan boy monks in traditional robes, pose for a photo, tea break, Sakya Lamdre, side room, Tharlam Monastery of Tibetan Buddhism, Boudha, Kathmandu, Nepal (photo by flickr user Wonderlane, C.C.)
D Young Tibetan boy monks in traditional robes, pose for a photo, tea break, Sakya Lamdre, side room, Tharlam Monastery of Tibetan Buddhism, Boudha, Kathmandu, Nepal (photo by flickr user Wonderlane, C.C.)
And one more ….
Buddhist Global Relief, which was founded by Ven Bhikkhu Bodhi, has an emergency disaster fund. BGR has just announced that they have donated $10,000 to aid organizations on the ground and offer suggestions for others wishing to help out.
Most Buddhists in Nepal are Vajrayana/Tibetan Buddhist practitioners. For them the mantra Om Mani Padme Hum will be used in times of disaster like this, as it calls upon the Bodhisattva of Compassion, Chenrezig (Skt. Avalokiteshvara). Another source of support is Padmasambhava, aka Guru Rinpoche. This prayer comes from Tsoknyi Rinpoche, writing from Nepal:


Dusum Sangye Guru Rinpoche Ngodrub Kundag Dewa Chenpo Shab Barchey Kunsel Dudul Dragpo Tsal Solwa Debso Jingyi Labtu Sol Chinang Sangwey Barchey Shiwa Dang Sampa Lhungyi Drubpar Jingyi Lob

Guru Rinpoche, Buddha of the three times, Lord of all siddhis who is the one of great bliss, Dispeller of all obstacles, wrathful tamer of Mara, We supplicate you; please grant your blessings. Grant your blessings that outer, inner and secret obstacles be pacified And that our intentions be spontaneously accomplished.

And as Nepal is home of several smaller Theravadin communities and practitioners, from Ayya Tathaaloka Bhikkhuni, A Pali Buddhist Compassion Chant:
Dukkha pata ca nidukkha
Bhaya pata ca nibhaya
Soka pata ca nisoka
Hontu sabbe pi panino.
May those in suffering be free from suffering
May those in fear be free from fear
May those in sorrow be free from sorrow
And so too may all be.
As before, please comment below if you know of other organizations actively working on the ground (or simply raising funds to be passed on) in Nepal.

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