Faith in the Face of Disaster

Faith in the Face of Disaster

Discussion date: Thu, Apr 30, 2015 at our weekly Thursday evening practice

Dear Still Water Friends,

Many of us have been touched by the disaster in Nepal this past weekend. Seeing people suffer, people in fear, monuments of great cultural importance destroyed all touch us deeply. How to respond is a question we all grapple with.

When asked after the 2011 Japanese earthquake how he reconciled natural disaster with his faith, Thich Nhat Hanh responded:

"As we contemplate the great number of people who have died in this tragedy, we may feel very strongly that we ourselves, in some part or manner, also have died.

"The pain of one part of humankind is the pain of the whole of humankind. And the human species and the planet Earth are one body. What happens to one part of the body happens to the whole body.

"An event such as this reminds us of the impermanent nature of our lives. It helps us remember that what’s most important is to love each other, to be there for each other, and to treasure each moment we have that we are alive. This is the best that we can do for those who have died: We can live in such a way that they can feel they are continuing to live in us, more mindfully, more profoundly, more beautifully, tasting every minute of life available to us, for them."

Does this advice resonate with you? If so, how do we practice to give life to this teaching every day? What causes many of us over time to lose the clarity we have in moments of distress, as we fall back into forgetfulness of the preciousness of our own lives?

This Thursday we will share our own understanding of how to deal with suffering and death in a healthy way, how to understand and persevere in the face of disaster, and who we carry in our hearts each day.

I hope you can join us,

Scott Schang

Mitchell Ratner, Still Water’s Senior Teacher, will be traveling with the Plum Village Sangha in Japan and then to Malaysia from April 23 to May 25. Follow his blog here:

in: Dharma Topics
Discussion Date: Thu, Apr 30, 2015


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