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.
Only when you have the true confidence to value your worth or work by real substance and be free from the enslavement to external praises or blames as yardsticks can you be truly free to seek your goals. Even then please do not fail to be mindful of the fact that this worth or work will come to pass eventually.
Taking refuge in the Buddha, we break through cowardice and limitation in our mind and come to trust the limitless possibility of growth and transformation.
Taking refuge in the Dhamma~~
We firmly abide by the natural laws made known by the Buddha and thus plant right causes for the materialization of our goal.
Taking refuge in the Saṅgha, we firmly allow those saintly disciples of the Buddha who faithfully abide by the Buddha’s Teachings guide us towards the supreme goal of cessation of suffering.
Loving-kindness~~wishing beings to be well and happy
Compassion~~wishing beings to be free from suffering
Appreciative Joy~~wishing the wealth and success of beings not be lost
Equanimity~~even mind in facing life, avoiding likes and dislikes
Regard all life’s encounters with loving-kindness, compassion, appreciative joy and equanimity, and thus balance the emotion. When one is emotionally healthy, one can exercise wisdom well and naturally be free from many man-made, avoidable suffering.