Disaster happens every day. Whenever I read reports of any disaster in the past, I always perceived this as something which had happened umpteen times in this saṁsāra. Often I would just sigh it off for a while, and be aloof and equanimous.
In theory, disasters are just a cluster of cold realities: they are but causes and conditions arising and passing away.
Disaster relief, just as life release, is neither an ultimate help to the sentient beings, nor a direct support for the attainment of Nibbana like meditative insights. Disaster relief and life release is mainly help from the point of materialising others’ kammic result. The kamma of such acts will just serve as the supporting conditions for the practice and realization of Dhamma. The insight of life teaches us not to forget that only the learning, practice, realization and guarding of the Dhamma are the fundamental and important tasks to do.
Going among earthquake victims, I am always mindful of the reality of life: that phenomenon is just like the ebb and flow of the ocean tides. This awareness of the reality of life has empowered me with a sense of equanimity and enduring ability to face the many vicissitudes of life.
All these are but one tiny drop in the long stream of sufferings.
Yet I cannot wave off my mind the images: the faces and gazes of the children, the wrinkles of the old grandmothers, their paces, their tired and burdened figures, their loading baskets. . . What a peculiar kammic link we must have had !
The insight of emptiness is a kind of understanding, whereas feeling empathy is a state of mind. It is different if we had personally been to the scenes. It is different if there was kammic link. There might probably be a higher state of mind. Still I feel I have perfected an imperfection at this stage of my spiritual life.
Your being void of substantial entity, I know. Your pain and suffering, I feel and understand. Cold reality has already been blended with nourishment and warmth. I am grateful to this unique illumination. May this heartfelt feelings be extended to all suffering beings throughout the world, be they strangers or adversaries.