How should people of faith face victims?

From:Voice of Longquan     Author:Ven. Master Xuecheng     Time:2015-03-15 09:36:47
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As members of the big family of human being, religious believers should take on more responsibilities for comforting people in distress.

Religions generally originate from people's reverential fear towards the unknown, including the nature and the law of the cosmos. Human beings, in facing these elements, are so insignificant that they feel helpless when natural disasters strike. With highly advanced science and technology, we have developed the belief to the utmost that human beings can conquer nature. Although certain damages by natural disasters can be minimized through predictions and remedial measures taken afterwards, the results of our positive endeavors have been greatly reduced by human interference with nature and their subsequent disasters. And consequently, human beings today are suffering no less at all from natural disasters than people in the past. As members of the big family of human being, religious believers should take on more responsibilities for comforting people in distress.

First of all, people of faith should start with relieving the immediate and actual miseries of the victims. People lose, within a short time, all their material necessities for survival in the relentless and devastating disasters, undergoing afflictions both physically and mentally. The first priority at such a time is to rebuild their homes, cure the wounded, and help bring their life back to normal. People of faith may call on many believers to do whatever they can to help those in the disaster-struck areas. In this process they come to establish a trustworthy relationship with people who suffer, thus laying the foundation for the ensuing relief work.

Secondly, people of faith should put emphasis on healing the psychological traumas of calamity victims. It is much harder for them to get recovered from the traumas than to have their physical wounds healed or their homes and livelihood restored. Some victims have gone through horrors from disasters they had never experienced and some have endured the agony of losing families and friends. Most of the psychological traumas will be buried deep in their hearts, which, if not properly treated, will become lifelong problems, posing great threats to their happiness for the rest of their lives. Religions, with their insight into life and a transcendental understanding of time and space, are usually capable of offering people spiritual refuge and harbor. Therefore, people of faith are entrusted with the responsibility for healing the psychological traumas of people afflicted with disasters, which may be too much a burden for non-believers to bear.

Thirdly, people of faith should expect to help victims build an entirely new life. The victims are afflicted both physically and mentally with disasters. People of faith are responsible for not only rendering them help to cure the traumas they are undergoing, but also for helping them create a new life. Disasters make people suffer, but more importantly, they also help them grow. Those who live a life without difficulties and hardships can hardly gain profound wisdom. But when they have experienced sufferings they have never had, they may come to understand life profoundly, and be able to see through life and become less attached to it, thus getting to know what is truly valuable in life.

Finally, people of faith should aim at achieving a mutual growth with the victims. Those in distress are normally regarded as being disadvantaged and vulnerable, waiting to be taken care of, while people of faith may unconsciously consider themselves in the position of help-givers. In fact, both the help-givers and the help-receivers in this process are equal. Those who offer help should feel as grateful as those who receive help, because it is the act of giving a helping hand that makes the help-givers more aware of the value of their lives, and the sense of being valuable determines one's happiness. Therefore, people of faith should harbor gratitude from beginning to end, for they are also helping themselves through helping others.

Natural disasters are what human beings dread and try their best to prevent from happening. However, not all the outcome of natural disasters is negative. Disasters may awaken us to the value of peace so that we will do whatever we can to safeguard it. Disasters also make us realize that it is such a beautiful thing to be alive and healthy, enabling us to appreciate the seemingly common life more than ever. What is more, they can generate, in the minds of people, a true feeling of sympathy when finding someone anywhere belonging to any ethnic group suffering calamities. It is this precious sympathy that makes human beings genuinely realize that the fates of all mankind are so much closely intertwined.

Speech of Ven. Xuecheng at the Symposium on World Interreligious Gathering of Prayer for Peace in Commemoration of the 25th Anniversary of the Religious Summit Meeting on Mount Hiei on August 3, 2012.


Editor:Li Jing
Tags:faith, religion, victim

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