Buddhist Responses to September 11

November 24, 2001

Source: Newsday

On November 24, 2001, Newsday featured the article "The Buddhist Way; A new age of uncertainty brings a response from the faithful." The article noted that during a presentation to an interfaith audience, The Venerable Sheng-yen of the Chan Meditation Center in Elmhurst "emphasized the importance of not allowing the mind to become fixed on a single event, even a great catastrophe. 'To put it simply, whatever has happened has already happened. What is done, is done,' he said. 'We can try to take preventative actions; however, there is no need to live with anxiety, fear or hatred.'" The article continued, "Another Buddhist sect that has been active in response to Sept. 11 is the International Buddhist Progress Society, which practices Fo Guang Shan Buddhism and also has a temple in Flushing. One of the temple's top lay leaders, Chin-Kuo Wei, worked in the north tower of the World Trade Center. Although Wei said he has long suffered from vertigo, by chanting the Buddha's name to himself, he said, he was able to remain calm enough to follow the stairwell down 74 floors without assistance." The organization later sponsored a benefit for victims. But, the article noted, "Not all Buddhists are as outward-looking. Nichiren Shoshu, a Japanese-based Buddhist sect with a temple in Flushing, emphasizes strict adherence to the sect's doctrines as the best antidote to current troubles. The Oct. 25 issue of the Flushing Times quoted Head Priest Nikken Abe: 'It is disregard for the correct Buddhism that has given rise to various heretical teachings functioning as poison, and, as a result, many people are suffering. This we can clearly perceive from the recent events.'"