I’m sure as most people have heard by now, there was a government building that was bombed in Oslo and simultaneously, a person went on a shooting spree at a youth camp on a small island. There were apprxoimately 700 teenagers there between the ages of 14-18, and a person dressed as a police officer started opening fire on them. Latest reports say at least 80 of the youths were killed, probably more as bodies are slowly washing up on the shore.
I haven’t been able to find any specific practice recommendations from various Buddhist teachers, but I want to list some practice advice given for previous tragedies. You can see Lama Zopa’s advice on prayers for the Japanese Tsunami tragedy here. My teacher also gave practice advice for those that have died here, or you can view some more advice from Lama Zopa Rinpoche here on people dying.
Sutra of Golden Sublime Light
I’ve already taken the Mahayana precepts in order to prepare to do Medicine Buddha pujas tomorrow. I’ll also be reading the Sutra of Golden Light. You can get a copy of the Sutra of the Sublime Golden Light here.
“This text is very precious; it brings peace and happiness and is very powerful to stop violence. It gives incredible protection to the country from violence etc. By hearing this text, one’s karma gets purified.
This text increases success and, especially for leaders like kings or presidents, brings success in guiding in virtue, the path to happiness. If anyone has problems-if one is dying or dead; if the devas have turned against one and nothing is working; if, merely by expressing oneself, one’s friends, loved ones, husband, wife, family members and even servants get angry with one; if one’s wealth declines or if one has harm from black magic or spirits, with bad dreams or fearful things happening-then one should wash, put on clean clothes and with a peaceful mind listen to the transmission of this text. Then all will be pacified. Anyone who hears it creates much merit and is highly admired by the buddhas.
In whichever country this is taught, the whole country benefits. The king of that country doesn’t get attacked and disease is eliminated, everyone is happy and the country becomes harmonious; there are no quarrels. The king gives religious freedom and is always protected by the devas. It is especially good to be read in places where there is a lot of fighting. As well, there is prosperity and rains come at the right time.
Anyone who keeps, memorizes or contributes to this text exceeds the eight worldly beings and all their wishes get fulfilled. Buddha told the four guardians to make offerings and serve this text, and always protect the people who memorize or even just read it. The four guardians acknowledged they would protect those who read it and would help and fulfill all their wishes.
Memorizing or making offerings to this text is like making inconceivable offerings to Buddha. Enlightenment will never be reversed within anyone in whose ear these holy words are spoken; the life will always be directed toward enlightenment and one will never fall back. There is no question if you memorize the text. The deva, Hamachiwa Pala, told Buddha that she will protect the bhikshu who recites this text and he will receive all that is needed: property, a stable mind and so forth. Whoever even tries to read or understand this text will experience the comfort and happiness of devas and humans for 100 billion eons; fame and perfect crops; and will become a buddha. The earth goddess definitely will help even if only one chapter or one bodhisattva’s name is mentioned; she will protect those sentient beings who even read and try to understand one verse (four words), and will fulfill their wishes. Those sentient beings who hear only one verse will never go to the lower realms. The Buddha told the earth goddess that even if a person hears only one verse, they will be born in the deva realm. Further, the Buddha told the earth goddess the non-virtuous karma of the person who hears even one verse will be eliminated and they will achieve enlightenment.’
No Good Intentions Are Ever Lost
I’m sure some people would like to do something for the people involved in the tragedy, but are unsure that doing practices and prayers will help. I would say no action is ever lost. As Dogen Zengi, the Zen Master credited for establishing Soto-Zen in Japan says:
On the great road of buddha ancestors there is always unsurpassable practice, continuous and sustained. It forms the circle of the way and is never cut off. Between aspiration, practice, enlightenment, and nirvana, there is not a moment’s gap; continuous practice is the circle of the way. This being so, continuous practice is unstained, not forced by you or others. The power of this continuous practice confirms you as well as others. It means your practice affects the entire earth and the entire sky in the ten directions. Although not noticed by others or by yourself, it is so.