Wednesday, January 12, 2005

In an act of compassion that would make the Dalai Lama proud, Buddhist congregation in Canada has sold its temple and donated the proceeds to help the victims of the tsunami in Asia.
The abbot of the temple in Mission, east of Vancouver, handed a cheque for 500,000 Canadian dollars (US $405,000, £219,000) to the Canadian Red Cross.

Abbot Thick Nguyen Thao told the congregation on New Year's Day that he wanted to donate the proceeds from the sale to tsunami relief.

"When the abbot made his announcement, a lot of people dropped their jaws, but after a day went by everybody began supporting him wholeheartedly," temple board member Vi Liet Nguyen told the Vancouver Sun.

The abbot said this was a gesture of gratitude to the people of Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines for receiving Vietnamese refugees, when they fled persecution by the communist regime in the 1970s.

Red Cross spokeswoman Carmen Mackenzie called this donation "phenomenal".
Working for Change has an extensive list of organizations that are collecting donations for the tsunami victims.