Addressing the COVID-19 Pandemic

The novel coronovirus crisis has affected nearly the entire planet. Religion is not a substitute for science and has no right to comment on the necessary precautions people should take in order to protect others and themselves. We urge everyone to follow precisely the rules enforced by their government and the advice of established health institutions.

The purpose of Buddhism is not to provide a panacea to natural disaster and disease. The teachings of the Buddha provide the means to evaluate our lives, our vulnerability, the pain which is a core part of our experience in the Sahāloka, and the ways through which we can bring benefit to ourselves and other sentient beings. Disease is a rather palpable reminder of our limitations. It is also a lightning striking the tower of illusion; destroying our preconceptions and fantasies, and giving room to active compassion, solidarity and spiritual awareness.

We are devastated by the human loss and suffering, and turn our hearts and minds to those facing the direct effects of this crisis. Additionally, we turn our hearts and minds to those less-privileged: the immigrants, the homeless, and everyone with limited or no access to proper healthcare.

As ordained practitioners within the wide family of Tendai Buddhism, we expect everyone affiliated with us to cease any public or private group activities throughout Europe. Additionally, we ask all priests to seek the guidance of their teachers and establish a daily practice dedicated to those who lost their lives because of COVID-19 complications or other diseases, natural disasters, war and famine.

We beseech the Buddhas and the Great Bodhisattvas to embrace us with their light and wisdom.

Lastly, we urge all practitioners of the Dharma to practise charity and aid those in need of immediate relief. Please, do not allow panic or self-preservation insticts to strip you from compassion and your sense of duty towards fellow humans and animals; maintaining the necessary physical distance, practise generosity, provide a meal to those hungry, show that you care, and offer consolation to those mourning.