What We Can Do to Help Victims of the Disaster in Japan

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By Mary Jaksch

Do you feel helpless when you see a catastrophe unfold like the earthquake and tsunami in Japan?

So many people urgently need support. What can we do to help them?

Here is a list of things you can do:

1. Donate to relief funds

There is a huge need for money in order to fund rescue efforts to find those who are still alive, and care for those who have survived – but have lost family member, friends, and livelihoods. You can donate directly to the Japanese Red Cross.

2. Join All Hands Volunteers

As you can imagine, there will need to be an ongoing effort to help rebuild the devastated countryside. One way to help with the aftermath of the catastrophe is to join or support the All Hands Volunteers. They helped rebuild six villages in Phuket after the Boxing Day tsunami in 2004. (I’ve added my name as a potential volunteer)

3. Make contact with Japanese people in your home town

If you don’t know any Japanese people, contact the Japanese Association in your region. Ask if there is something you can do. Maybe you can cook a meal, or offer a bed for people’s relatives who have fled Japan.

4. Use Loving-Kindness Meditation

There is a way you can connect with those who suffer through loving-kindness meditation. Here is how to do it:

1. Sit quietly with upright posture.
2. Pay tender regard to your breath, flowing in and out.
3. When you are settled, direct your mind to those suffering in Japan and say these phrases silently on your out-breaths (take a few breaths in between each phrase):

May you dwell in the heart;
May you be free from suffering;
May you be healed;
May you be at peace.

If you have relatives or friends in Japan, check out the Crisis Response Page that Google has set up for the Earthquake in Japan.

Please share your thoughts on this terrible disaster in the comments.

{ 8 trackbacks }

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{ 24 comments }

1 Ruben Berenguel March 15, 2011 at 1:47 am

These are tough times for Japan, but a trait of their character is overcoming difficulties. They may need our help right now, but they will rise to the challenge.

As a side note, I’d like to point out the nonsensical fear of nuclear power, after disaster stroke Japan. Nuclear reactors were prepared for Richter 7.5 earthquakes, and the last one was 9 in this scale. This is a logarithmic scale: an earthquake with 5 points is 10 times stronger than an earthquake with 4 points. The fact that the reactors are still up and not crumbled leaking uranium is surprising.

Cheers,
Ruben
Ruben Berenguel´s last blog post ..The Right Posture For Meditation

2 Kala/Embark-LoveTheLifeYouLive March 15, 2011 at 3:22 am

“Non-nonsensical fear?” That makes no sense-a technology that can kill for miles beyond borders, that contaminates our mother the Earth for hundreds (thousands?) of years with deleterious health effects on our children? Fear of it, is not “non-sensical.” Perhaps you can talk to some of the Japanese survivors and explain that their fear is “non-sensical.” We are human beings-we cannot control this VAST power, we cannot build (at this time) to withstand SAFELY, natural disasters.) We need as a planet to explore much less toxic ways to supply our energy. WE NEED to have the will and the strength to explore, develop and build, technologies that do NOT POISON US AND OUR MOTHER THE EARTH.
Kala/Embark-LoveTheLifeYouLive´s last blog post ..Blessing Chant for the Dead &amp Ourselves

3 Ruben Berenguel March 15, 2011 at 3:32 am

Caps were not needed. The problem with nuclear power is concentration of radiation. Uranium is a very common substance in the surface of the Earth, only that the concentration is usually very, very low.

We are in a moment of world economic crisis, and the investment needed to change nuclear power for something else would be impossible to assume. There is no viable way to change those 10MW or 100MW power plants for solar or even less, wind power. Tidal power is promising, but has gone nowhere so far (and a tsunami would have blown it). Geothermal power is not viable world-wide (and can cause earthquakes, as happened a few years ago in Switzerland). Nuclear fusion should be a solution, but it will have (low yield) radiation problems (as many other things in life have), but so far there is no working system. Hydroelectric power is the only good climate-wise huge power generator, but they are not suitable for all places and countries. Coal pollutes a lot more than one “standard” nuclear reactor, natural gas generators pollute less but the costs in infrastructure and rising fuel prices will drive them useless.
Ruben Berenguel´s last blog post ..The Right Posture For Meditation

4 Kala/Embark-LoveTheLifeYouLive March 15, 2011 at 3:17 am

Thank you Mary. I was going to also put the loving-kindness meditation (as I’ve learned it from my Buddhist teachers) on my blog. It opens the heart and allows us to really feel that it could be us and we are all one. I posted a chant see link that is also useful to help souls who have passed. I will look at the Volunteering, which is so beautiful. It’s unlikely that I would be able to go. But from here, (wherever we are) we as Beings of Light can send love, compassion and care and it will be felt. Also truly hope all beings see that nuclear power is not the way to go. It’s absurdly unsave!
Kala/Embark-LoveTheLifeYouLive´s last blog post ..Blessing Chant for the Dead &amp Ourselves

5 Mary Jaksch March 15, 2011 at 10:18 am

Thank you, Kala. It’s good to feel that we are part of a community that cares, and honors both the living and the dead.

6 Tess Giles Marshall March 15, 2011 at 3:34 am

I like this, Mary, it is the feeling of helplessness that so affects us as much as anything. Readers might consider donating to ShelterBox, who do fantastic work helping survivors of disasters all over the world: http://www.shelterbox.org/index.php.
Tess Giles Marshall´s last blog post ..Is education the silver bullet

7 Mary Jaksch March 15, 2011 at 10:18 am

Oh yes, thanks for reminding us of ShelterBox, Tess. They do amazing work.

8 Rob March 15, 2011 at 3:34 am

Hi Mary, thanks for posting that. I live in West Tokyo and I know that a lot of people here are going to appreciate all the help/support they can get. We got away relatively lightly here in Tokyo, nothing like the devastation caused by the Tsunami that you will have seen on the news. Witnessing events like these, even if from a distance, really puts life into perspective ‘there but for the grace of God go I’ if I remember correctly.

Take care, Rob.

9 Mary Jaksch March 15, 2011 at 10:20 am

Hi Rob, thanks for letting us know that you are ok. Yes – our lives can tip into chaos at any moment. It’s a sobering reminder to be kind to each other, and to lead lives that are meaningful.

10 Alison Kerr | Loving Nature's Garden March 15, 2011 at 4:06 am

Thank you for this Mary. The uncertainty of what to do after a disaster really weighs on the mind. You have provided just the right combination of choices to help us come to grips with our personal decision of what to do.
Alison Kerr | Loving Nature’s Garden´s last blog post ..How to mulch every area of your garden- and why

11 Mary Jaksch March 15, 2011 at 10:29 am

Thanks, Alison.
This morning I signed up for some training of the local Civil Defense team. That’s that the local response team for disasters. We live right on top of a major faultline and I’d like to be trained in order to be able to respond well to emergencies here in New Zealand (and perhaps overseas).

12 Kay March 15, 2011 at 6:09 am

Having lived through the center of the 1995 Great Kobe Earthquake, all the horror of this is present for me and I am doing this metta meditation now…I am glad to have it, for some comfort in this very very hard time for me but more for them…..

13 Mary Jaksch March 15, 2011 at 10:31 am

When you’ve experienced something so dreadful as the Kobe earthquake, you’ll tend to be re-traumatized when something similar happens – even if it happens to others, Kay. Make sure you have good support from your friends or family members. In a way, you too are a victim of this recent tragedy.

14 Christopher Foster March 15, 2011 at 9:16 am

Mary, thankyou for this post. Whatever we can do in a practical sense to help in this terrifying disaster we should certainly do.

I’m caused to meditate hard on the other side of this issue that you also touch on — perhaps even more important ultimately — the need for a calm center in this world. By which I mean in me, since I’m the only one I can take responsibility for.

Blessings to you Mary. I cite your great post in my own post on this same theme.
Christopher Foster´s last blog post ..2 kinds of help needed in this troubled world

15 Mary Jaksch March 15, 2011 at 10:32 am

Thanks, Chris. It’s lovely to build bridges between blogs in order to help people.

16 Marianne March 15, 2011 at 9:56 am

Thank you, Mary. I’ve been glued to my computer since Friday listening, reading and watching this terrible tragedy. I feel heartbroken for everyone this horrific disaster has touched. I’ve been praying and thank you very much for the loving kindness meditation.
Marianne´s last blog post ..Thoughts about the Japan Crisis

17 Mary Jaksch March 15, 2011 at 10:34 am

Yes, tragedies like this bring us all closer together as one big global family, Marianne.

And they make us look at our own life to see how we live it.

18 Betsy at Zen Mama March 15, 2011 at 11:40 am

Thanks Mary for this post. I think we all want to help and are unsure about how to go about it. I love the lovingkindness meditation

19 Debbie Hampton March 15, 2011 at 4:48 pm

I did a tonglen meditation today for Japan. Brings me some peace and makes me feel like I am doing what I can. Hopefully, it contributes some similar energy to the situation. I also made a small monetary donation. My life is no where near perfect, and I am not rich, but I am sure grateful for my abundance and I will do what I can to help.
Debbie Hampton´s last blog post ..LOL

20 Gunja March 18, 2011 at 12:33 am

Thanks Mary..it was really nice to be reminded of some of the ways we can join hands in helping each other instead of just sitting and ruminating over how bads things are…
and special thanks for reminding of the loving kindness meditation (been doing it for about 20 minutes everyday,after reading the post)…and also the donation link(finally found the right place to put the money I’ve been saving for charity)…
thanks so much :)

21 Amy March 18, 2011 at 4:24 pm

What a beautiful post. I love the loving-kindness meditation. I have been keeping the people of Japan in my prayers, but not quite this eloquently. It is good to feel that there is *something* I can do, that might provide a small bit of help.
Thank you for the post.

22 Grace Catley March 19, 2011 at 8:52 pm

Such a simple and heartfelt post.
Thank you Mary.

I have been praying too for the people of Japan and those here in Christchurch, NZ.

THe feeling that many people are turning their attention to those in pain, and breathing out their calm, tender regard is very heartwarming

23 BBQ Singapore March 21, 2011 at 4:59 am

Though we might be insignificant, but i believe a little help can be of great significance towards the ones in need.

God bless Japan and lets pray for them.

Jeffery @
BBQ Wholesale Singapore.

24 Cheri March 30, 2011 at 6:18 am

I keep hearing about U.S.A citizens in Japan leaving in a mass exodus back to the states. And the concern for our citizens. That’s all good. But why not also open our arms to the now homeless Japanese people? Let our country be a safehaven, as the earthquake/tsunami and nuclear disaster, which is now deemed, “grave” is dealt with. Am I missing something here? I’ve heard nothing in regards to an open invitation to come and reside here. Listen if you want to come set up camp in my yard, you’re welcome to. Sequim, WA.

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