Friday, May 09, 2008

Devastation of Cyclone Nargis on Burma

The Dao De Jing says:

"Heaven and Earth are not benevolent;
they treat all things like straw dogs."

What does this mean? It means that Heaven and Earth work according to their own Natural Law, without any affection or aversion towards all things nourished by them. This Law is known as the Way. Those who flow with the Way prosper, and those who go against it destroy themselves. It has been 1 week since the Cyclone Nargis hit Burma (Myanmar) on May 2nd, and up till now more than 100,000 are believed to be dead, not to mention the amount of houses, crops and physical infrastructures devastated. In the above picture we can see the path taken by Nargis through the Burmese coastal regions. The death toll is expected to rise as the days passing by. The power of nature always move in cycles; whenever this power accumulates up to a certain point, hitting its zenith, it will inevitably release itself explosively, until all the power is exhausted before beginning a new cycle all over again. And woe to those who are in its way when it happens. Whether this power manifests as tsunamis, cyclones, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, the process and result is still the same. All are simply following the Way. However, the Dao De Jing also says:

"The Way of Heaven is impartial, but it always benefits the good."

How do good people benefit from Natural Law when it obviously favours nobody? They do so by living in accordance with the Way. Because they live in the Way, the Way lives in them. This is the true meaning of prosperity. But if they abandon the Way, they actually abandon their own lives. How can they hope for anything good to happen? Above we see a satellite picture of Nargis swirling above Burma. The sad thing is although neighbouring countries like India have already detected the cyclone and sent urgent warnings to the relevant Burmese authorities 48 hours before it hits land, the Junta apparently did not understood or could not care less about the power of nature coming their way. The people in the coastal regions were neither warned nor evacuated, and so they bore the full destructive force of the cyclone in total cluelessness. Since the Junta chose to oppose the Way, the millions of Burmese people under them also involuntarily stood against it. How could they have survived?
The devastation in downtown Yangon. A massive number of trees are uprooted, blocking the already flooded roads. Although many countries have promptly sent in emergency supplies to help the victims and survivors, but most of the stuff have still not reached these people. The reason is the Junta will only admit their supplies, but refuse to admit the foreign rescue teams tasked to take them directly to the disaster areas. Many of the foreign teams, especially those from the US and other "unfriendly" Western countries are still stalled in Thailand, unable to fly over to do their work of saving lives. Every minute delayed is lives lost, but the Junta also choose to ignore that despite its own inability to help its people. The Junta policemen helping to clear the fallen trees on the roads, ill-equipped as they are. By making things difficult for the international community to help, the Junta is also making things more difficult for its own suffering people. By turning a deaf ear to widespread criticisms, they have not only opposed the Way of Heaven, they are also opposing the Way of Man. When one's heart is totally devoid of the Way, how long can one last?
The same monks who came out to protest last year are probably the same monks helping to clear the roads in Yangon now. But they are as ill-equipped as the military and police personnel.
Electrical and communication cables are also sustained lots of damage. Large parts of the city are still without power, and phone lines are mostly down as well. Many overseas Burmese are unable to contact their relatives in Burma to find out whether they are ok or not.
The completely flooded fields. Many corpses of animals and humans continue to rot in the open areas. The stench of death is everywhere even as the survivors wait in vain for help to come.
People trying to salvage what they can from the many sunken ships in the harbour. Who knows how many livelihoods are destroyed in this disaster?
A totally wasted jetty. It will take many years for the Junta to repair all that is damaged in the cyclone, if they even bother to try. They don't care about the people, they don't care about the country; all they want is to carry on the so-called referendum to pass the constitution that will only serve to consolidate military rule. Nothing more can be said about these Generals, for they have reached the peak of their own evil. Let us pray for the Burmese people. May they be free from suffering, may they be free from oppression and may they prosper in the Dhamma. Sadhu.


Anonymous said...

The junta did not follow the Way, there is no question about that.

There's also the possibility that the suffering of the people is a result of their past collective karma.

ps. This is a great blog on Buddhism. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and spreading the Dharma.

Anonymous said...

When i see or hear news about this incident, i feel very sad for the people in Myanmar. I feel that the collective karma of the country has resulted too fast. Look at western nations and the middle east which has more bad collective karma than Myanmar. Why didnt they receive the effects of their doings?

And these disasters made me feel that there is no God at all. Even if there is, he isnt one i will bother respecting or worshipping him because if he was 'kind and loving' like what people say, he wouldnt have watched so many people die. But if he knew that the disaster would strike and tried to kill people because they simply isnt from his religion, then he is even worst than what i thought.