Buddhist temple raises funds for quake victims


NEW YORK — The Fo Guang Shan Temple in Flushing, Queens, the largest borough of New York City, and a local chapter of the Buddha Light International Association (BLIA) have jointly launched a campaign to raise funds to help earthquake victims in China’s Sichuan province, setting a target of US$100,000.

The temple is a branch of the Fo Guang Shan Monastery in southern Taiwan, while the BLIA is the lay service of the monastery.

After performing a Buddhist ritual Saturday, six resident Buddhist monks and some 100 BLIA members, led by the temple’s head abbess the Rev. Master Yung Ku, marched along the streets toward a shopping center in Flushing — a neighborhood which has a concentration of about 400 businesses owned by ethnic Chinese.

Within hours, they received donations amounting to more than US$10,000, including contributions by individual shoppers.

According to temple officials, the fundraising drive will continue in other neighborhoods of New York City, including the Manhattan business center, Manhattan’s Chinatown and the Brooklyn Chinatown, within the next week.

The Fo Guang Shan Temple at Flushing will also hold a series of dharma services in the hope of appeasing and liberating the spirits of those who perished in the May 12 earthquake.

The 8.0-magnitude temblor, the strongest ever recorded in China, has resulted in a death toll of more than 60,000, with some 26,000 people still missing, according to the latest figures released by Chinese officials.