Thanks to the generous support of our sponsors and friends, the Triple Gem Society continues to aid people and communities affected by the devastating Asian tsunami of December 2005. Although it is no longer front page news, there is still much work to be done. We remain true to our efforts to help amidst many challenges. The great healing experienced by those whose lives are uplifted by this help constantly reminds us to continue moving forward.
On the 6th of August, we dedicated the second Hindu temple (Pillayar Kovil) that the TGS rebuilt in the eastern province of Kalmunai. The original temple had been badly damaged during the tsunami, which also took from this community their priest. Now, a year and a half after the tsunami, the community can finally use their temple to worship and pray. The people were overwhelmed with joy to see the reopening of their temple, knowing that they now have their place of worship back.
The whole project, from design to completion, was sponsored by the humanitarian fund of the Triple Gem Society. It was truly a magnificent day for the community and for all of us who witnessed the opening of this much celebrated and appreciated new temple.
On the opening day, the devotees of the temple were waiting all along the road with fresh flower garlands to show their gratitude to me and those who traveled with me. After welcoming us, the young and old gathered in the shade of the coconut trees on the beach to celebrate the opening of their temple. The same beach that had held many dead bodies along it just after the tsunami had turned into to sacred ground as we held a blessing ceremony to reopen the temple.
Many words of thanks and gratitude were expressed by the guests who attended the special event. The Hindu priest did a special prayer service to bless me and wish me good health. I was given the highest honor that a Hindu person can give to a dignitary: I was wrapped with a sacred cloth around my shoulders while everybody applauded with joyful smiles.
This is a moment when everybody felt how important it is to cross religious boundaries in the name of peace on the planet. We celebrate all religious faiths and help all people to practice their own religions rather than trying to convert them to our own. All religious leaders need to set examples of religious tolerance and teach their communities the importance of religious freedom. I hope that our efforts to build Hindu temples will make a difference in helping to convey this message to the world.