How come all the Theravada Countries so under-develop?

Casual discussion amongst spiritual friends.

How come all the Theravada Countries so under-develop?

Postby Wind » Sun Feb 28, 2010 7:03 am

Is it a coincidence that all the Theravada Buddhist Countries (Burma, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, Sri Lanka) are so under-develop? Some might say they are poor countries although it doesn't nececisarily reflect their quality of life. Do you think Theravada Buddhism had any contribution to their state of being? I personally prefer countries that are more natural than industrialized. What do you think, is it a good thing or a bad thing that these countries are still relatively primitive?

And when we look at Mahayana Buddhist Countries like Japan and China, they have a big economy and plenty of wealth. Quite the contrast to Theravada Buddhist Countries. Likewise, do you think Mahayana Buddhism play a role in shaping these countries? Or is it totally unrelated?
User avatar
Wind
 
Posts: 342
Joined: Thu Feb 04, 2010 11:10 pm

Re: How come all the Theravada Countries so under-develop?

Postby Paññāsikhara » Sun Feb 28, 2010 7:14 am

Wind wrote:And when we look at Mahayana Buddhist Countries like Japan and China, they have a big economy and plenty of wealth. Quite the contrast to Theravada Buddhist Countries. Likewise, do you think Mahayana Buddhism play a role in shaping these countries? Or is it totally unrelated?


As a country, China is a huge economy, per capita, it is pretty low down the list. In general, Thailand seems to be higher in terms of GDP, etc. Moreover, other Mahayana countries like Mongolia, Nepal, (Ladakh as a region of India), (Buriat region of former USSR), (and if we look at Tibet, whether or not we call it part of China or not), they are also fairly low on the list.

So, perhaps it is just Japan, South Korea and Taiwan (which barely has independent national status, if at all), that are Mahayana and relatively wealthy.

Thus, I don't think that Mahayana vs Theravada seems to be a line which one can draw for such a comparison on wealth. Perhaps best to look elsewhere.
My recently moved Blog, containing some of my writings on the Buddha Dhamma, as well as a number of translations from classical Buddhist texts and modern authors, liturgy, etc.: Huifeng's Prajnacara Blog.
Paññāsikhara
 
Posts: 980
Joined: Wed Oct 14, 2009 5:27 am

Re: How come all the Theravada Countries so under-develop?

Postby Goofaholix » Sun Feb 28, 2010 8:10 am

Obviously you haven't been to Bangkok lately.

I think you'll find that most non Theravadin Buddhist countries in the same region; Indonesia, Malaysia, India, Vietnam etc are pretty much on a par. So I think the reasons are more likely regional or resource rather than religion based.

These countries are all near the equator, and around the world most counties near the equator are also on a similar level, (unless they have huge stockpiles of oil), this is the most obvious difference compared with North Asia.
"Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment." - Ajahn Chah
"When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. When we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy." - Ajahn Chah
"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah
User avatar
Goofaholix
 
Posts: 1951
Joined: Sun Nov 15, 2009 3:49 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: How come all the Theravada Countries so under-develop?

Postby Kim OHara » Sun Feb 28, 2010 8:27 am

Go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_(PPP)_per_capita
Download the chart.

Print it out.
Pick up two hi-liters and mark Theravada countries in one colour, Mahayana in another.
Look for patterns.

Print it out again.
Hi-lite tropical countries.
Look for patterns.
:thinking:

No need for sophisticated statistical analysis.
:namaste:
Kim
User avatar
Kim OHara
 
Posts: 3088
Joined: Wed Dec 09, 2009 5:47 am
Location: North Queensland, Australia

Re: How come all the Theravada Countries so under-develop?

Postby PeterB » Sun Feb 28, 2010 9:52 am

Is there a question beneath your question Wind ? Are you pehaps concerned that in some way the practices of the Theravada lead to a lessening of motivation in some areas of one's life ?
PeterB
 
Posts: 3903
Joined: Tue Feb 17, 2009 12:35 pm

Re: How come all the Theravada Countries so under-develop?

Postby Paññāsikhara » Sun Feb 28, 2010 9:52 am

Goofaholix wrote:I think you'll find that most non Theravadin Buddhist countries in the same region; Indonesia, Malaysia, India, Vietnam etc are pretty much on a par. So I think the reasons are more likely regional or resource rather than religion based.



I think you'll find that Malaysia is well out in front of the others, here. Maybe it's downstream from Singapore ...
My recently moved Blog, containing some of my writings on the Buddha Dhamma, as well as a number of translations from classical Buddhist texts and modern authors, liturgy, etc.: Huifeng's Prajnacara Blog.
Paññāsikhara
 
Posts: 980
Joined: Wed Oct 14, 2009 5:27 am

Re: How come all the Theravada Countries so under-develop?

Postby Sekha » Sun Feb 28, 2010 9:59 am

Wind wrote:Is it a coincidence that all the Theravada Buddhist Countries (Burma, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, Sri Lanka) are so under-develop? Some might say they are poor countries although it doesn't nececisarily reflect their quality of life. Do you think Theravada Buddhism had any contribution to their state of being? I personally prefer countries that are more natural than industrialized. What do you think, is it a good thing or a bad thing that these countries are still relatively primitive?


What means "primitive"? According to such a point of view, Buddha's followers about 500 BC were "primitive" people, living in a "primitive", "poor" society with no access to any of modern day facilities. Yet they were the most advanced people this earth has known in the near past.
Where knowledge ends, religion begins. - B. Disraeli

http://www.buddha-vacana.org

As a sweet-smelling and beautiful lotus flower may grow upon a heap of rubbish thrown on the highway, so also, out of the rubbish heap of beings may appear a disciple of the Buddha, who with his wisdom, shines resplendent in wisdom. -/ Dhp 58-59
User avatar
Sekha
 
Posts: 750
Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2010 12:32 am
Location: French Guiana

Re: How come all the Theravada Countries so under-develop?

Postby zavk » Sun Feb 28, 2010 10:42 am

Wind wrote:Is it a coincidence that all the Theravada Buddhist Countries (Burma, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, Sri Lanka) are so under-develop? Some might say they are poor countries.... Do you think Theravada Buddhism had any contribution to their state of being?


Is it a coincidence? I'd say yes. I think it would be hard to find evidence to link Theravada Buddhism with the political-economic conditions of these countries.

Is it a coincidence that these poor, undeveloped countries are all former colonies (with the exception of Thailand) of either the British or French colonial empires? I'd say no.

Is it hard to find evidence to link colonialism with the political and economic plight of these countries. Not at all.

Much has been written about the political upheavals that resulted from the colonization (and then decolonization) of not just Southeast Asia but also other places like Africa and the Americas. Much has also been written about such things as the North-South divide, global poverty and third world debt. A good place to start is good ol' Wikipedia. You'll find many good explanations for the 'primitiveness' of these countries.
With metta,
zavk
User avatar
zavk
 
Posts: 1161
Joined: Tue Jan 20, 2009 12:04 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: How come all the Theravada Countries so under-develop?

Postby Lampang » Sun Feb 28, 2010 11:20 am

Obviously you haven't been to Bangkok lately.


Quite. The Bangkok Metropolitan Area has an estimated daytime population of up to 20 million people. Not many of them are happy peasants going off to work on buffaloes and elephants. And 'primitive'? Please.
User avatar
Lampang
 
Posts: 56
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 3:26 pm
Location: Thailand

Re: How come all the Theravada Countries so under-develop?

Postby notself » Sun Feb 28, 2010 4:39 pm

Primitive is being obsessed my materialism so deeply that you refinance your house three times and max out your credit cards in order to buy trash. Primitive is being so far in debt that when you face a job loss, you face homelessness as well. Primitive is living in the richest country in the world and not having affordable health care.

Rampant materialism is primitive. The West is trying to spread it around the world by holding it up as the ideal.
Though one may conquer a thousand times a thousand men in battle, yet he is indeed the noblest victor who conquers himself. ---Dhp 103
notself
 
Posts: 134
Joined: Fri Feb 06, 2009 7:49 pm

Re: How come all the Theravada Countries so under-develop?

Postby BlackBird » Sun Feb 28, 2010 8:34 pm

notself wrote:Rampant materialism is primitive. The West is trying to spread it around the world by holding it up as the ideal.


Sooner or later, we'll have to pay the price too. Agrarian Economies will be laughing all the way to the ba... to the temple when the sheer weight of western debt, compounded with energy and food shortages finally delivers it's coup de grace to Western civilization.

True wealth is not measured in dollars and iPods. If greed was HIV, then the West has just contracted full blown AIDs.
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta
User avatar
BlackBird
 
Posts: 1861
Joined: Fri Apr 17, 2009 12:07 pm
Location: New Zealand

Re: How come all the Theravada Countries so under-develop?

Postby Wind » Mon Mar 01, 2010 2:54 am

notself wrote:Primitive is being obsessed my materialism so deeply that you refinance your house three times and max out your credit cards in order to buy trash. Primitive is being so far in debt that when you face a job loss, you face homelessness as well. Primitive is living in the richest country in the world and not having affordable health care.

Rampant materialism is primitive. The West is trying to spread it around the world by holding it up as the ideal.


Well said!

Thanks everyone for your replies. :smile:
User avatar
Wind
 
Posts: 342
Joined: Thu Feb 04, 2010 11:10 pm

Re: How come all the Theravada Countries so under-develop?

Postby chownah » Mon Mar 01, 2010 2:37 pm

Thailand?...Primitive?
Afraid to walk by the river at night because there are ghosts there?
Paying the local sooth sayer to pick a lucky day and hour for the blessing of your house?
Not contacting the gov't agricultural agent about questions in farming (its his job to know the answer or find it out...they are very knowledgeable and cooperative people) but instead do what the semi competant water delivery person says because he "said he does it this way all the time and his rice grows good"....and not ask any other source for another opinion..?
Always keeping your socks and underwear in the lowest drawer in the chest because they are for lowly parts of the body and should not be above the other clothing....ditto when hanging them up to dry....they need to be lower....?
Monks never touching a woman's hand even though the Buddha never taught this?
Women making lower wages for the same work?
Having something like 15 military coups in the last 50 years?
Never putting rich people in jail even if they are convicted for corruption or if they kill someone with a room full of witnesses?
Alcohol as a primary source of entertainment?

I could go on and on.......I live here....
chownah
chownah
 
Posts: 2736
Joined: Wed Aug 12, 2009 2:19 pm

Re: How come all the Theravada Countries so under-develop?

Postby Dan74 » Mon Mar 01, 2010 3:30 pm

Because Theravada doesn't have The Great Sutra on Material Well-Being and the mantra to the Buddha of Infinite Wealth?

:shrug:
_/|\_
User avatar
Dan74
 
Posts: 2648
Joined: Sun Mar 01, 2009 11:12 pm

Re: How come all the Theravada Countries so under-develop?

Postby Dhammabodhi » Mon Mar 01, 2010 5:20 pm

As far as I'm concerned, the not-so-well-defined "primitivity", whatever it is, ultimately is a manifestation of ignorance, and in that respect, all countries, all communities, and all socio-economic classes are "primitive" in one way or the other. Ignorance does not depend on religion, wealth, or geographic location.

I'm sure we can build a similar list as chownah's for 99% of the countries in the world.

:anjali:
Dhammabodhi
-Samāhitam cittam yathābhutam pajānāti.

समाहितं चित्तं यथाभूतं पजानाती |

A concentrated mind sees things as they really are.

-Ujuko nāma so maggo, abhayā nāma sā disā.

उजुको नाम सो माग्गो, अभया नाम सा दिसा |

'Straight' is this path, fearlessness is its way.
User avatar
Dhammabodhi
 
Posts: 206
Joined: Thu May 21, 2009 12:25 pm
Location: Rome, Italy

Re: How come all the Theravada Countries so under-develop?

Postby Lampang » Mon Mar 01, 2010 10:47 pm

I'm sure we can build a similar list as chownah's for 99% of the countries in the world.
I was about to do just that - I saw some recent polling on the beliefs of Texans which makes for pretty hair-raising reading - and then saw your post. Thanks.
User avatar
Lampang
 
Posts: 56
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 3:26 pm
Location: Thailand

Re: How come all the Theravada Countries so under-develop?

Postby bodom » Mon Mar 01, 2010 11:44 pm

Lampang wrote:
I'm sure we can build a similar list as chownah's for 99% of the countries in the world.
I was about to do just that - I saw some recent polling on the beliefs of Texans which makes for pretty hair-raising reading - and then saw your post. Thanks.


Im a Texan. What are my beliefs?

:anjali:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
User avatar
bodom
 
Posts: 4621
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2009 6:18 pm
Location: San Antonio, Texas

Re: How come all the Theravada Countries so under-develop?

Postby Lampang » Tue Mar 02, 2010 7:56 am

Maybe not your beliefs, but I'd keep an eye on your neighbours.

"Nearly a third of Texans believe humans and dinosaurs roamed the earth at the same time, and more than half disagree with the theory that humans developed from earlier species of animals, according to the University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll."

http://www.texastribune.org/stories/201 ... intstones/
User avatar
Lampang
 
Posts: 56
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 3:26 pm
Location: Thailand

Re: How come all the Theravada Countries so under-develop?

Postby Sanghamitta » Tue Mar 02, 2010 8:49 am

Beliefs common in the UK when I was growing up and still found now.

If a woman washes her hair during times of menstruation she will weaken herself and become ill.
" Germs" that cause colds and flu (presumably bacteria and viruses ) live in the grass and so a heavy frost means that there are fewer colds and flu in circulation, because the frost kills them off.
If you swallow chewing gum it can get tangled around your heart,
Smoking cigarettes in the early stages of a cold can stop it developing if you exhale the smoke through the nose.
Smoking cigarettes cures a headache.
Bats can get tangled in your hair and the only way to untangle them is to have all your hair shaved off.
If virgin children plant seeds or bulbs the plants will grow better.

and many many others. There is no culture, including modern western ones , with no folk beliefs
The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

Bhikku Bodhi.
Sanghamitta
 
Posts: 1614
Joined: Wed Jul 29, 2009 9:21 am
Location: By the River Thames near London.

Re: How come all the Theravada Countries so under-develop?

Postby Sanghamitta » Tue Mar 02, 2010 10:52 am

Then there are the modern myths;

Money makes you happy, and its hippy variant,
Lack of money makes you happy.

Then there is is the Woody Allen/ Brown Rice syndrome.
In the film Sleeper, Allen's character is frozen cryogenically for a hundred years. When he is revived he says, " I must look up all my friends" It is explained to him that they will all be dead. " But they all ate brown rice and miso soup" he wails.

The belief that if I leave the TV on standby my great grandchildren will have to live in limbo because there will be no planet for them to inhabit.

Then there is the belief that if I call myself a Buddhist ( for example ) I will have labelled myself out of existence and will somehow melt into a state of non being.

Then there is the belief that if I sit on a special cushion called a zuton or a zablonski or somesuch and wait long enough in an upright posture while breathing in and out, I will discover that I have in fact had a "Buddha nature" all along..so thats all right. Phew.

Lets not be too quick to decide what is or is not " primitive"... :smile:
The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

Bhikku Bodhi.
Sanghamitta
 
Posts: 1614
Joined: Wed Jul 29, 2009 9:21 am
Location: By the River Thames near London.

Next

Return to Lounge

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests