Winnipeg City Council Opening Remarks
At the April 29th, 2015 meeting of Winnipeg City Council, I provided opening remarks (traditionally introduced as a prayer), asking everyone to take a moment of silence for our own personal reflections on the unimaginable struggles which the Nepalese people are experiencing in the wake of a devastating earthquake.
My remarks are shown below. If you are able, please consider supporting our Nepalese friends:
- The Nepali Cultural Society of Manitoba http://www.nepalicsm.com/
- Mennonite Central Committee http://mcc.org/
- The Red Cross http://www.redcross.ca/
As images of the devastation in Nepal become more prevalent in the wake of the 7.8 magnitude earthquake, one brightly colored symbol flies in stark contrast to the rubble: Tibetan Buddhist prayer flags.
These colorful flags are strung on a long rope, and hung between trees, temples and homes. Printed on the flags are ancient Buddhist prayers, mantras and powerful symbols believed to produce spiritual vibrations that are activated and carried by the wind across the countryside to protect from harm and bring harmony to everything touched by the wind.
The five colors of prayer flags represent the five basic elements: yellow (earth); green (water); red (fire); white (air) and blue (space). The belief is that balancing these elements internally brings health to the body and the mind.
I spend a month in Katmandu and the foothills of the Himalayas, and my heart aches for the devastation in Nepal. From the Dalia Lama, comes a Tibetan saying: “Tragedy should be utilized as a source of strength”. No matter what sort of difficulties, how painful the experience is, if we lose our hope, that’s our real disaster.
And although we are physically removed from the situation, and so very fortunate to be able to go about our business here today, I’d like to take a moment of silence for our own personal reflections on the unimaginable struggles the Nepalese people are experiencing.
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