Gyuto Foundation raises $82K for medical relief in India; plans prayer service

Thupten Donyo, the Buddhist monk who founded the Gyuto Foundation,
Thupten Donyo, the Buddhist monk who founded the Gyuto Foundation, blesses a small Buddha found discarded on the shoreline in Marina Bay in Richmond on Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020.

By Mike Kinney

The Gyuto Foundation Buddhist Monastery in just a few days raised over $82,000 toward emergency medical relief efforts in India, which is undergoing a devastating outbreak of COVID-19 cases that has overwhelmed hospitals. On Saturday, May 8, the local monastery is inviting the community to its prayer service, called Monlam, in solidarity with people impacted in India.

Over the past weekend, the Venerable Thupten Donyo, head Monk of the Gyuto Foundation Buddhist Monastery, launched a GoFundMe to provide emergency relief funds to the Tibetan Cancer Society in Dehli, India. The site is no longer accepting donations.

“We immediately closed the account so we could send the funds to India so they could buy urgently needed medical equipment like oxygen tanks and air concentrators,” Donyo said. “This equipment is essential during this pandemic crisis.”

Those wanting to make additional donations can go to the Gyuto Foundation website here.

Saturday’s special prayer service will take place outdoors on the lawn of the monastery at 6401 Bernhard Ave. from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. All attendees are asked to wear masks and socially distance. Lawn chairs will be provided.

The Monlam is a Buddhist prayer, which means ‘wish-path’, the Buddhist path of helping others through kind prayers. Donyo noted that His Holiness, the Dalai Lama would lead prayer worldwide.

“We decided to do this prayer to share the suffering of people of India,” Donyo said. “Because India is second home for over 100,000 Tibetans including our leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama for over 60 years. Since 1959 the Indian Government provided Tibetans shelters, education, religious freedom as well as political freedom movement. If the Government of India didn’t support the Tibetans during their difficult time it will be very difficult to preserve their culture, language and tradition without a country. If the people of India suffer, Tibetans will suffer the same. Therefore, we are praying for India and people of India. Bay Area Tibetans as well as Tibetans around the world share the sadness of people of India due to the current Covid situation.”

Donyo added, ” We welcome all our American friends and share the sadness of not only the people of India as well as people who lost their loved ones here in America and  around the world because of the COVID. During the prayer service we will be doing the prayer  service in Tibetan but those American friends can pray from their heart and as follows:

  • May all beings have happiness and the causes of happiness. 
  • May all beings be free from suffering and the causes of suffering.
  • May all beings rejoice in the well-being of others.
  • May all beings live in peace, free from greed and hatred.”

One of the Gyuto Foundation Peace Garden volunteers and neighbor Linda Ruiz Lozito noted, My home is only two hundred feet from the Gyuto Foundation Monastery and I volunteer in the beautiful Peace Garden there. I see the Gyuto Foundation Monastery as a kind of a big hub for the Tibetan community, it connects them and our community to the people of India and the world. The special prayer service will send much needed healing energy and love to the people of India, who are facing such dangerous times because of the Covid-19 pandemic.”