Japan Quake: Resist the rush to judgment

As I’ve made my rounds, following the news in Japan, checking out photos and video footage of the devastation via Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, I’ve noticed that quite a few people have made comments that could be paraphrased and summarized something like this:

This is what happens when Mother Nature is pissed.

And, I’ll be honest, when I watched the video below, six or so minutes that capture the awesome and terrible power of the tsunami, as I saw the water sweeping away all those material things that we covet or cling to so firmly, like cars and all manner of manmade metal and plastic objects, I admit that thoughts like that flashed momentarily through my mind, that nature anthropomorphized was taking revenge upon us for our wasteful and destructive habits.

And then I saw the houses moving, the homes of flesh and blood people like me, and I even had a horrible thought, wondering if I’d glimpse any bodies in the rushing torrent, and suddenly I felt ashamed for having had such heartless thoughts.

It’s a bit of a spiritual conundrum for a semi-Buddhist like myself. A Buddhist might argue that the principles of impermanence and karma, could very well be in play here. And yet, compassion is also a Buddhist principle, so how compassionate is it to think that we somehow deserve this?

4 thoughts on “Japan Quake: Resist the rush to judgment

  1. I don’t think that this is something that we deserve, or is a sign of karmic hate from Mother Nature. Natural disasters have occurred since the beginning of time, whether people were present or not.
    The changes that are happening to Gaia now are powerful and important and the people who are getting caught up in the disasters chose to contribute to the Earth’s and human evolution through dying so that other people who still have spiritual work to do can keep living. She’s not pissed, but this is something that she has to do to break the chains that have been holding her back, the damage that has been done to her through our “progress.”
    The fact is that these kind of natural “disasters” are uniting us into one humanity. People across the world right now are feeling compassion towards those who are left in Japan. People are turning to God for guidance and strength. We are coming together to help our brothers and sisters and are realizing that we are all human beings – we all suffer – this could happen to any of us. And it’s wonderful that we realize this and want to help complete strangers that live across the ocean from us.
    Mother Earth has been called our mother for centuries, but sometimes even she needs help, and since she is going through this process of rejuvenation and rebirth, we are forced to go along with her on this journey. We may end up losing things we love, people we love, but we must stick with her because she remains our Mother.
    Death isn’t a punishment, neither is loosing people we love, or material possessions. We create our own suffering through fear and greed. But this is a time to stand up, to help each other, and to love everyone and Gaia unconditionally.

    1. Ms. CleverClocks, thanks for stopping by, reading, and sharing your very thoughtful and thought-provoking comments.

      I particularly like what you said about how disasters like this, for all the destruction they bring, tend to unite us both directly (monetary and physical aid) as well as indirectly (prayers and blog, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube posts).

      I kinda alluded to this when I mentioned, in a post on Friday, that we are all one, united global citizenry.

  2. F&B, interesting post. The philosophical framework of my childhood was Hinduism and as an adult I find myself holding on to the idea of cyclical reality.These things – earthquakes, tsunamis, natural disasters – are part of the repeated patterns of life. That does not mean loss at a personal level is nullified or irrelevant or to be minimized. However, what we are now left with – the nuclear radiation – that I am not able to see in any manageable context. Your point about human beings uniting and empathizing – that may be the only things we have left at the end of the day.

    1. Hi Shobavish,

      Thanks for your very eloquent thoughts on this subject. While I’ve moved on to other subjects in the past few days, Japan is still never far from my mind.

      My friends in Tokyo, while trying to carry on with their lives, are still shaken up, no pun intended, and concerned about the nuclear power plants.

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