--DO NOT-- Send Your Relief Money to Japanese Soto-Shu ...

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... for they have announced that 70% will simply be re-donated to the Red Cross (why not just donate directly?), WHILE --30%-- WILL BE USED TO REBUILD THEIR OWN TEMPLES!! 

http://www.shambhalasun.com/news/?p=19987

All this while people are hungry and homeless
They have also been sitting on their thumbs since these events began, doing little more than sending a handful of people to have a 'look-see' up there ... much of that at how their temples are doing! Yes, there are individual priests and groups of priests doing what they can, working morning to night, but nothing on the scale we are seeing from other religious groups. When I wrote them to see if they would open their temples nationwide to refugees, they responded that they would think about it. 

Personally, as the Japanese are quite well off generally as a country, I would strongly suggest looking at organizations like Doctors Without Borders and Save the Children, which help people in like events in countries which are not so well equiped, Haiti and such. 

http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/

http://www.savethechildren.org

However, even within Japan, other Buddhist and non-Buddhist religious organizations are taking real steps to help, and the so-called "New Religions" are taking up the ball .... sending food, water, blankets, toilet paper, toothbrushes, plumbers, carpenters, doctors and dentists (best in coordination with the authorities to prevent oversupply and misdistribution) ... while the established bureaucracies such as the Soto-shu are doing so much less. Read some about the other groups here ...

http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2011/03/2 ... -response/

Read a little more about what the Soka Gakkai is doing here ...

On March 16, Soka Gakkai youth volunteers from Hokkaido, Aomori and Akita prefectures reached the Iwate Culture Center. They met with Soka Gakkai Iwate prefectural youth leader Shun'ichi Tomita to organize the delivery of relief supplies throughout the region, based on requests from the affected areas. On March 15, the first delivery of relief materials reached Otsuchi town in Iwate prefecture which had been out of communication since the earthquake. Otsuchi, located on the coast, had been completely isolated due to the earthquake, tsunamis and fires.
The delivery was made possible due to the efforts of one Soka Gakkai member from Otsuchi, Masaki Takagi, whose own home was completely swept away by the tsunami. He was able to contact the Soka Gakkai Iwate Culture Center after driving 80km to Hanamaki City where he finally found a working phone. On contacting the Iwate Culture Center, Mr. Takagi was able to notify them of conditions in Otsuchi, requesting relief supplies be sent, including blankets, food and water. He also clarified that the roads near the wildfire that had broken out in the area were still accessible and that Otsuchi was reachable.


http://www.sgi.org/news/h-relief/relif2 ... tinue.html


Taiwanese Buddhist group, Buddha's Light International ...

The monastery in Taiwan began loading supplies into vehicles to be transported to the people in the area who had lost homes, possessions, and loved ones due to the earthquake and tsunami.. Medical supplies and food are of the first order, but blankets and creature comforts are also important. Most important, though, is the gentle touch of a caring hand: Someone wiping a tear from a scared child's eye. The compassionate, loving gaze of someone who cares deeply. These heartfelt connections are the elements are not overlooked by Fo Guang Buddhists.


Church World Service ...

CWS's response centers on emergency relief support to at least 5,000 families, about 25,000 individuals, now living at 100 evacuation sites in the northeastern area of Japan - the prefectures of Miyagi, Fukushima, Iwate, Ibaragi and Tochigi. Assistance will include immediately required food items and non-food items through a partnership with the Japan Platform, known by the acronym JPF. CWS will focus on evacuation sites where basic needs of food, water, sanitation, electricity and fuel are not being met. These sites are presently being prioritized and identified by JPF.

The CWS response will include ready-to-eat food to meet calorie requirements of those living in evacuation sites. In addition, the response team will distribute sanitation kits, including napkins and soap to fill significant sanitation and hygiene gaps. Water consumption requirements at evacuation sites will be addressed, and one potential substitute for water could include prepared green tea. Blankets, accessed from sources from within the region, are being prioritized to help protect people from the cold, which is becoming an increasingly dire problem as fuel and gas supplies are running out. In order to maintain radio contact at evacuation sites, batteries will be supplied to support victims receiving vital news on nuclear and radiation related developments, information collection and communications. Gas and fuel supplies will also be provided to evacuation sites.

Relief efforts will be carried out by member non-governmental organizations of the JPF and will be coordinated with other humanitarian agencies as well as local authorities. Assistance will be delivered based upon Sphere minimum standards in terms of calorie consumption requirements, water consumption requirements and appropriate sanitation measures. The CWS Asia/Pacific head of emergencies will be stationed in Tokyo this week to coordinate the response along with CWS team on the ground. Relief items will be accessed within the Asia/Pacific region.


Taiwanese Catholic and Protestant Churches ...

The bishops urged all Christians engaged in the medical field to join rescue teams organised by the government or NGO to help Japan.

According to Taiwan's Central News Agency, the compassion of the Taiwanese population can be seen in the tonnes of material aid that arrived yesterday in Tokyo.

A first batch of 26 tonnes of relief supplies, including coats, masks, blankets, generators and mineral water, arrived at Narita Airport outside Tokyo, whilst another shipment of instant noodles, 298 generators and 200 heaters arrived at Tokyo's Haneda Airport.


"Happy Science" (Science of Happiness), another Japanese "New Religion" ...

Happy Science has established an Emergency Disaster Headquarters and has started various supportive activities in the affected areas, prioritizing our efforts in insuring the safety of the people.

At Happy Science Temples and Local Branches across the world, we are praying from our hearts that people will be relieved of their sufferings. We also pray for the quick recovery of the stricken areas. We have opened up our facilities in these areas to the public as temporary evacuation centers. Happy Science will do all that is possible to provide everyday commodities and any necessary assistance through our volunteers.

Tzu Chi Foundation ...

On March 23, Tzu chi volunteers sent 10 tons of relief goods to the cities of Rikuzentakata and Ofunato, which were severely affected by the earthquake and tsunami, in Iwate Prefecture. On March 24, a disaster relief team will travel to these two cities to prepare for aid distributions on March 25. 

http://tw.tzuchi.org/en/index.php?optio ... 18&lang=en


Tenrikyo, another "New Religion", has been sending water. Catholic groups have sent doctors and dentists (we have several medical/dental schools affiliated with Soto-shu). 

In contrast to all that ... with the exception of individuals and small groups of priests here and there ... Soto-shu has been doing next to nothing. Shame on us. 

I am sure that there are individual priests, or groups of priests, giving their --all-- this day, out in the trenches.

However, I am also sure that the Soto-shu in Japan, with its 14,000 affiliated temples nationwide, universities with medical and dental schools, thousands of priests and lay followers, substantial financial and material resources, could be doing --just as much, if not more-- than other religious bodies do, even smaller and less organized. We need only look so far as the actions of tiny churches in North America to see what religious organizations can do, and what Buddhist organizations did during times such as Hurricane Katrina. 

http://lab2.us.tzuchi.org/global/katrin ... enDocument

There are refugees now from this Tsunami, so I might ask why cannot Soto-shu do exactly what Tzu Chi and others did for Katrina refugees?

Tzu Chi provides immediate and direct financial assistance in the form of checks or gift cards to evacuees in Houston, Beaumont, Dallas, Kansas City and Phoenix. The emergency check or gift cards will allow families to buy daily necessities, food, water, clothing, and prescription medicine. ...
A mobile dental vehicle, equipped with two dental stations and owned by the Los Angeles-based Buddhist Tzu Chi Free Clinic, is now providing free dental treatment for the evacuees in Houston area.


Oh, and a simple phone call to the coordinating governmental authorities ... and Soto-shu certainly has the political connections to get the right people on the phone ... will provide them information and what is needed where, all to avoid oversupply and needless effort. 

But, instead, they are worried about getting the gold decorations repainted on their temples? Now? You think that getting the temple buildings cleaned up is what these homeless, cold, jobless people need for their spiritual and material comfort now? That is where we should be sending our, and directing others', money as the best use for it now? 

Shame on us. I believe it shows how hollow this religion is sometimes at its heart with its "Compassion" talk. 

Gassho, Jundo Cohen
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