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?