Buddha himself had defrocked a monk for performing a miracle in public, declaring that the transformation of the human heart was the only miracle that really counted. - Cave in the Snow: Tenzim Palmo's Quest for Enlightenment by Vicki Mackenzie
On the morning of December 26, Kushil [Gunasekara] and his staff were waiting for one hundred children coming to Lahiru [his vacation home] to collect school supplies for the new year. [Kushil runs a foundation aimed at raising the standard of living in his village, Seenigama, and the surrounding villages. He often rented out his Lahiru vacation home to finance his efforts.] It was to be a special treat, with Sri Lanka's most popular sports star, the cricketer Muttiah Muralaidaran, agreeing to distribute bags, stationary, and water bottles, which the kids could otherwise not afford... [O]ver half of the children who were traveling to Lahiru perished when the sea swept away their bus. - "A Village in the Wake of a Wave", Tricycle, Summer 2005
When I read this far into the story, I breathed a heavy sigh. It took a few moments to compose myself and read further.
I've been lamenting privately what feels like an icing over in the blogosphere. Where is the purported authenticity? However, when one doesn't look merely at the A-List, you are surrounded by beams of warmth and caring and realness that melts me and keeps me reading.
I need to ask for help. A friend of mine, David Koch, is missing on a mountain in Canada, and we need to publicize his situation so the search effort continues. I don't know if this process will work, but perhaps the blogosphere can help. Dave's the associate publisher on DMReview, a Thomson/SourceMedia publication. He drove north from Seattle last Wednesday 5/25, stopping in the late afternoon to take a tram up a mountain near Vancouver that he and his wife had visited years before. Apparently he missed the tram back, and attempted to hike down. He hasn't been heard from since.
Seventy-nine suggestions, prayers and well-wishing follow (at last count). In another post, I comment:
I also wanted to say that recently a blogging buddy wrote that he was getting a bit wearied of the blogosphere. For all the talk of authenticity, there are much propping up of personas and productizing and monetizing going on. While this is sometimes unfortunately true, I also witness daily acts of compassionate action such as this and such as I witnessed after the tsunami.
While not everyone will lift their heads above their monitor nor post an "irrelevant" story on their blogs, immediately after the tsunami I was touched by the many bloggers that did write about the tsunami relief efforts anyway even though it didn't quite jibe with their usual quips on tech, business, politics. And that especially included Shel and Robert. Thank you.
I know this is a fairly international blog, so our many of our best efforts from afar will be concentrated on sending our well-wishing thoughts and prayers to David and his family. And again thank you Shel for demontrating that personal, ordinary 'journalism' can save us all from freezing.
I continue reading the story about Kushil Gunasekara's village:
What will remain in my mind as clearly as the images of devastation is a memory of the many people I encountered in Sri Lanka who, like Kushil, cut a steady path first through the tragedy itself and then through the thickets of logistical and bureaucratic problems to help other sentient beings. The secret of recovery, Kushil told me, lay in trying to create something beautiful out of all the destruction. He has no intention of building Lahiru into what it was. Instead, he plans to transform it into an academy of excellence, a place of study and research where people can go, not to forget, but to remember what happened to them on the day of the tsunami, and to see how far they have traveled since. [Follow ongoing village of Seenigama's reconstruction at http://www.unconditionalcompassion.com.]
That pretty much sums up the nutshell intent of the upcoming year-end blogging project (see About): Capturing oral histories of how people create meaning out of tragedy, how they exhibit compassion-based action, how they orchestrate their own grassroots reconstruction efforts.
P.S. I am thinking of naming the December tour to the tsunami-struck countries on the anniversary after the female Buddha, Tara. I'm immersing myself in Buddhism for my return back to Thailand and I'm finding it is invaluable in de-icing.
"[Tara] was compassion in action, said to have been born out of the tears of the male Buddha Chenrezig, who saw the suffering of all sentient beings but was unable to do anything about it. Tara, it was said, had the distinction of being the first woman to attain Enlightenment." - Cave in the Snow, Vicki Mackenzie
UPDATE: I'm woefully out of the media loop since my return from the silent meditation retreat. How I've missed this story demonstrates that. I wish I could have been following since May 25th. And now.... After I hit publish, I spot new comments number 80 and 81 pop up on the Naked Conersations blog which sadly report that David Koch is confirmed dead. Via Google, I find businesses take time out of their busy schedules to commemorate David publicly. Business Intelligence Network shares:
It is with deepest regret that we have lost our good friend and colleague David Koch. David had been missing on Grouse Mountain for almost two weeks and our worst fears have been realized. He will always be remembered for his warm smile, his pleasant nature and positive outlook on life. He will be greatly missed by the Business Intelligence community at-large as both a friend and highly talented professional. Our hearts and prayers go out to his family, friends, co-workers and especially his wife Suzanne. He will be missed greatly by Shawn and I.
I did not know David myself, but through the love conveyed by his friends and family I feel I might have glimpsed him briefly. Our collective hearts reach out to his family and friends.