Hello everyone, I apologize for forum cross-posting. If any of you could take a few minutes to share your views/attempt to answer the questions below, it would be much appreciated.
I'm originally from the US but have lived in Thailand for quite a few years, and it seems that 'face' and 'shame' play a big role in Thai culture. I'm not sure if this is due to the Buddhist virtue of lajja (shame), or if it's due to some type of over-riding collectivist cultural value - or perhaps a combo of both (this could be seen as a 'chicken and the egg' thing; I'm currently studying for a degree in Anthropology so I apologize for all these "cultural" topics floating around in my head!).
Shame in the West is usually seen as a negative trait, although lajja/shame is a (positive) virtue in Buddhism.
From the Journal of Buddhist Ethics:
"Fear and shame are regarded as virtues in Buddhist ethical discourse when, for instance, one fears the karmic consequences of misdeeds or feels shame at having violated monastic vows." - http://www.buddhistethics.org/9/mrozik.html#n16
My question is, what role do you feel lajja/shame plays in Buddhism? Do you believe shame plays a larger role in Buddhism in Southeast Asian countries, versus Buddhism practiced in Western countries? And, do you believe shame plays a larger role in certain types of Buddhism? Do you feel this is an important trait included, or not included, in "Western Buddhism" (whatever "Western Buddhism" may be)?
Thanks very much for your time and look forward to seeing your views!