August 3, 2023
On the rail disaster in Odisha, India
Thaye Dorje, His Holiness the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa, shares the following message concerning the recent rail disaster in Odisha, India.
A transcript of the letter follows:
Dear Dharma friends,
I was deeply saddened when I learned of the tragic train accident that took place in Odisha last Friday. It was the worst rail disaster in over two decades in India, with nearly 300 people dead and over 1,000 injured.
My fervent prayers are dedicated to all the victims of this tragedy – the deceased, the injured and the bereaved alike.
Apart from the train crash, over the past few weeks and months, we have witnessed a host of natural disasters across the world – devastating floods, landslides, cyclones and hurricanes, wildfires, earthquakes: hardly a week goes by without news of such tragedies reaching our ears, not to mention the various man-made disasters, such as wars, mass shootings, terrorist attacks, as well as the ever-escalating climate crisis.
All of these tragedies are causing tremendous suffering to countless sentient beings, humans and non-humans alike, and in the face of such pain and loss we cannot help but experience a sense of grief and helplessness.
However, as practitioners of the Buddha Dharma, we should never give in to hopelessness completely, but rather use such happenings as prompts to deepen our understanding of the Buddha’s teachings, in particular the ephemeral nature of life and the inevitability of death.
If we can use them in this way, such reminders of impermanence can help us accept the condition we are in and lead us to the understanding that our deep-rooted sense of control has always been an illusion. In this way, even the most challenging conditions can become our friends on the path towards liberation.
At the same time, let us think of all those who are experiencing tremendous pain and loss, and let us dedicate our aspirations and our merit to them, so that they may find the peace and happiness they were always yearning for.
Thaye Dorje, His Holiness the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa