The Gyuto Foundation Tibetan Buddhist Monastery and Learning Center in Richmond Heights, California, has raised more than US$82,000 for emergency medical relief support in India. The appeal, created by Ven. Thupten Donyo, founder and former director of the Gyuto Foundation, ran from 24–27 April so that funds could be quickly sent to the the Tibetan Cancer Society in New Delhi to purchase oxygen concentrators and other urgently needed supplies.
After exceeding the fundraising goal, new donations to the GoFundMe were disabled. “We immediately closed the account so we could send the funds to India so they could buy urgently needed medical equipment like oxygen tanks and air concentrators,” said Ven. Donyo. “This equipment is essential during this pandemic crisis.” (Richmond Standard)
After exceeding the fundraising goal, new donations to the GoFundMe were disabled. “We immediately closed the account so we could send the funds to India so they could buy urgently needed medical equipment like oxygen tanks and air concentrators,” said Ven. Donyo “This equipment is essential during this pandemic crisis.” (Richmond Standard)
A special prayer service (monlam) has been scheduled at the Gyuto Foundation Tibetan Buddhist Monastery and Learning Center on 8 May to provide an opportunity for members of the community to grieve together and to share emotional support. The event will be held outdoors and all are welcome to take part. Coordinators ask that attendees wear masks and practice social distancing. According to Ven. Donyo, His Holiness the Dalai Lama will lead prayers worldwide.
“We decided to do this prayer to share the suffering of people of India,” Ven. Donyo said. “Because India is the second home for over 100,000 Tibetans, including our leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama for over 60 years. Since 1959, the Indian government provided Tibetans shelters, education, and religious freedom, as well as political freedom of movement. If the government of India didn’t support the Tibetans during their difficult time, it will be very difficult to preserve their culture, language, and tradition without a country. If the people of India suffer, Tibetans will suffer the same. Therefore, we are praying for India and people of India. Bay Area Tibetans as well as Tibetans around the world share the sadness of people of India due to the current COVID situation.” (Richmond Standard)
Ven. Donyo continued: “We welcome all our American friends and share the sadness of not only the people of India as well as people who lost their loved ones here in America and around the world because of COVID. During the prayer service we will be doing the prayer service in Tibetan but those American friends can pray from their heart and as follows:
May all beings have happiness and the causes of happiness.
May all beings be free from suffering and the causes of suffering.
May all beings rejoice in the well-being of others.
May all beings live in peace, free from greed and hatred.” (Richmond Standard)
The Gyuto Foundation serves as a gathering spot for many of the Bay Area’s Tibetan community. Its Peace Garden features prayer wheals, walking paths, fountains, and a small playground for children.
Linda Ruiz Lizito, a Gyuto Foundation Peace Garden volunteer and neighbor noted: “My home is only 200 feet from the Gyuto Foundation Monastery and I volunteer in the beautiful Peace Garden there. I see the Gyuto Foundation Monastery as a kind of a big hub for the Tibetan community, it connects them and our community to the people of India and the world. The special prayer service will send much needed healing energy and love to the people of India, who are facing such dangerous times because of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
India is undergoing its largest wave of COVID-19 cases to date, with daily totals peaking recently at just over 400,000, according to data provided by Johns Hopkins University. Total confirmed cases in India reached 19,925,604 as of 4 May, with 218,959 deaths recorded. Experts worry that actual numbers may be much higher because tests are in short supply and where they are available, many people cannot afford them. Hospitals in major cities are overwhelmed and oxygen supplies are frequently exhausted.