Facing Typhoon Morakot

Facing Typhoon MorakotWhen Typhoon Morakot pounded southern Taiwan in early August, 2009, it relieved the drought but brought much death and destruction. Master Hsin Tao made this the topic of the following discourse.

When a natural disaster suddenly arrives, we share in the suffering of the victims. In our collective grief we start to contemplate such questions as: What is the meaning of this? What is this teaching us? How should we face the future?

First of all, we need to understand that any natural disaster affects us all. Whether it’s in Myanmar, Taiwan, or somewhere else, a natural disaster affects life on all parts of the planet. Environmental destruction is resulting in imbalance in the ecosystem, and sudden changes in the climate are hard to anticipate. But whatever technology we may have at our disposal, we are still helpless when faced with the awesome power of nature.

We need to face unexpected adversity with a tranquil mind. When facing an uncertain future, we need to remain calm and have deep concern for the Earth. We need to hear what Mother Earth is telling us, understand her, and take care of her; for the Earth is the mother of all life; we and the Earth are interdependent.

Next come the disaster prevention and disaster relief efforts of the people and government of Taiwan. We need to remain on guard against possible dangers at all times. We all know that we shouldn’t visit or live in dangerous places. It’s the government’s duty to protect the people; it needs to make a thorough investigation of the places where people live, and put in place effective safety measures and land use policies. In such a technologically advanced society it should not be too difficult to carry out environmental studies and safety assessments. A truly virtuous government needs to use a thorough understanding of the climate and environment to implement effective disaster prevention measures which keep its citizens out of harm’s way.

Finally, when facing the vicissitudes of life, we need to remain firmly rooted in kindness and virtue. We need to constantly cultivate goodness and make a habit out of virtue, so that when faced with a disaster, we can maintain our mental equilibrium and not be overcome by aversion. However you may look at it, practicing wholesome deeds is the best type of disaster preparation. The power of faith helps us increase our stock of merit and lead a happy and peaceful life.