Dhamma, Kamma and Natural Disasters is written by S. Dhammika. This book is about Buddhism teaches causation, that the whole universe is a web of interrelated causes and effects. There are two types of causation – natural causation and moral causation. Natural causation has nothing to do with people being good or bad, it is simply a matter of the various forces in the universe acting on each other.
A rainstorm or crops ripening would be examples of natural causation. Natural causes can of course have an effect on us – being caught in a rainstorm can give us a bad cold. But suffering from a cold has nothing to do with moral or immoral past actions – it would be a natural effect of a natural cause.
Moral causation is about how people think, speak and act and how they feel as a result. The Buddha’s teaching of kamma is only concerned with moral causation. Being helpful to someone, having them thank you and feeling happiness because of that; stealing something, getting caught and then experiencing embarrassment or shame, would be examples of moral causation.
The person’s happiness or discomfort are a direct result of how they have acted. The person is not being ‘rewarded’ or ‘punished’ for their actions, their happiness or discomfort is simply a result of their actions. Now let us have a look at the recent tsunami in the light of the doctrine of kamma.