Thursday, May 22, 2008

Natural Disasters and Kamma (Comment)

This is my comment:

Yes, we are all very sad about the tsunami disaster. But there is at least a positive side to this tragic event. We know that the whole world has come together to help those affected. We also know that there is now ample material help going its way to the affected areas. The problems now lie in the reconstruction of the affected areas, and the very delicate handling of all the displaced people, especially the children who have lost their parents, and the resolving of psychological problems now and the future. You have not indicated your homeplace. So I don't really know how to comment on your desire to help. Of course, the most common method is to send monetary contribution to genuine tsunami disaster fund. Just contribute the amount that you can afford. You can also help in the packing of the materials for sending out.

On the spiritual side, there is much that we can learn from this disaster, especially being Buddhists. We can reflect and contemplate how true and relevent that the teachings of the Buddha are, even today. I would like to copy and paste here, a passage from my comment to a previous questioner:

(Question: During this period of sad mourning for the millions of victims caused by the devastating tsunami across south-east asia, India, Sri Lanka and the neighbouring countries, all of us share similar grief for this terrible suffering. However, different religions have somewhat different explanations and reactions which sometimes are even contradictory to one another, and even within the same religion. What is the Bhuddist opinion regarding this?

Comment: Thank you for asking me. The Buddha revealed that there were 5 Cosmic Orders or Laws that influenced and governed this world. They are: 1. The physical or inorganic order, such as temperature, seasons, wind, snow, rain and other physical events. 2. The organic or germinal order, such as plant life and other living beings. 3. The kamma order, the natural order of cause and effect. 4. The mind order, the consciousness factor existing in living beings. 5. The natural phenomena order, such as gravity, creation and destruction, and impermanance. All events in this world are caused by any one or combination of any of these 5 Cosmic Laws. The recent tsunami disaster can be attributed to the laws of the inorganic order, the natural phenomena order, and the law of kamma. No one is responsible for this natural disaster, although many would attribute this as "act of God". As Buddhists, we simply regard this as a natural disaster. Your question at this point in time can be regarded as a very sensitive question, because so many thousands have died, and millions are suffering. It may be better not to comment on others' beliefs. What I have commented is the Buddhist perspective. What others would want to comment and believe in other ways is up to them. As Buddhsits, we can agree to disagree.)

We can now realize how fragile and unpredictable our lives are. It is time for us to cultivate goodness so that we can be free from sorrow. As the Buddha assured us, that he who practises the Dhamma, the Dhamma will protect him.

[As I promised earlier, the links for the two authoritative comments are HERE and HERE. ]

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