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Lightning strikes during the eruption of the Galunggung volcano in 1982.


A natural phenomenon is not a man-made event. Examples include sunrise, weather (fog, hurricanes, tornadoes), biological processes (decomposition, germination), physical processes (wave propagation, conservation of energy, erosion), tidal flow, and include natural disasters such as electromagnetic pulses, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes.

Various types of natural phenomena occur, including (but not limited to) the following:

  • Geological phenomena (volcanic activity and earthquakes)

  • Meteorological phenomena (hurricanes, thunderstorms, and tornadoes)

  • Oceanographic phenomena (tsunamis, ocean currents and breaking waves)

Exposure to forces of nature resulted in about 214,000 deaths in 2010 up from 31,000 in 1990.


What can we learn from natural disasters?

Historically, humankind has been ravaged natural disasters and every single one of them has somehow influenced the way our society has turned out. That goes for the recent local natural disasters as well as the worldwide natural disasters that shook the Earth tens of thousands of years ago.

But what can we learn from the natural disasters and the way our forefathers managed to get by in hard times?

'Unfortunately, we can’t prevent natural disasters or predict them with 100 percent certainty,' says associate professor of prehistoric archaeology Felix Riede of the Department of Culture and Society at Aarhus University. 'But we can find out whether we can make our societies more resilient to natural disasters, so that people can get through them. We can do that by looking at the ways in which our societies have handled natural disasters in the past.'



Compassion has become related and researched in the field of positive psychology and social psychology. The Dalai Lama once said that "compassion is a necessity, not a luxury, and that without it, humanity cannot survive. Compassion is a process of connecting by identifying with another process. This identification with others through compassion can lead to increased motivation to do something in an effort to relieve the suffering of others.

Scientists examine the motivated regulation of compassion in the context of large-scale crises, such as natural disasters and genocides. Much research has established that people tend to feel more compassion for single identifiable victims than large masses of victims. Yet they have found that this collapse of compassion depends on having the motivation and ability to regulate emotions (Cameron & Payne, 2011, JPSP).


“The Fragrant Flower of Freedom”

by Reba Gerong Tsering

Life in the Celestial Empire

In the clamour and whitewash

Is as always, peaceful and prosperous

Celebrated by singing and dancing


From plateau to plain

From prairie to frontier

The money and sticks of the Empire

Are like the dangerous honey on the blade

Confusing every hunger and desirous mouth

People are like a herd, fed by the autocratic farmers

They are only allowed to work but not to speak

Only obey but not to think


This is a corner without sunshine

This is a land steeped in blood

This is the twenty-first century today

This is a brutal slave society


Do not say plateau or plain

Do not say Tibetan, Han, Uyghur, or Mongol

Do not talk about different religions

In fact you and I are as close as brothers

In fact both you and I need freedom

Who burnt themselves in the desperate darkness

Who raised the unyielding heads under the Iron Curtain

Who cares for the cry of the weak in this era?


What is conscience?

What is morality?


Freedom is not sent from heaven

Marauding wolves do not listen to the Buddha

All depends on ourselves



However we do not have enemies

The so-called enemies are ourselves

Melt the cold heart with compassion

Cure the ignorant and paranoid wound with love

In the tree of freedom

The fragrant flowers are touching

Under the tree of freedom

All living creatures are accomplishing their deeds


Note: the photo was found here.