The Buddhist Dharma Drum Mountain Foundation held a one-minute silence to mourn the victims of Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar yesterday as part of a prayer service celebrating Buddha’s birthday and Mother’s Day in Taipei.
“On a day celebrating Buddha’s birthday and expressing gratitude to our mothers, let’s all take a minute to show our sympathy for those who lost their lives and those who are still suffering in Myanmar,” said Guo Dong, a Buddhist who attended the ceremony.
He said the foundation’s Social Welfare and Charity Foundation had deployed a team to Myanmar to provide material relief and other humanitarian assistance to the victims.
Myanmar’s military junta has said 23,335 people died and 37,019 are missing after Nargis ripped through the southern part of the country last weekend, while aid workers and foreign officials put the death toll at about 100,000 people.
Australian Broadcasting Co said Myanmar’s pro-democracy opposition had said the death toll was rising daily because of the junta’s stonewalling of relief efforts while the UN said that at least 1 million survivors have not received aid.
Aside from its reflection on the tragedy in Myanmar, the foundation held a fun fair to celebrate Buddha’s birthday and promote social harmony and peace.
The birthday of the Gautama Buddha is traditionally celebrated in East Asia on the eighth day of the fourth month of the lunar calendar, which this year falls on May 12.
In his opening remarks, vice president-elect Vincent Siew (蕭萬長) lauded the foundation for its work.
“It is so meaningful for us to gather together today to celebrate Mother’s Day and Buddha’s birthday,” Siew said.
“Mothers and Buddha share the same values — mercy and compassion,” he said.