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Is Buddhism unsuited towards the average westerner? - Dhamma Wheel

Is Buddhism unsuited towards the average westerner?

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
Awarewolf
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Is Buddhism unsuited towards the average westerner?

Postby Awarewolf » Tue Aug 27, 2013 6:58 pm

I found this quote on a website as I searched the dangers of meditation and becoming addicte/attached to buddhism and its ideals. I have found through the last couple years that my viewpoints which have changed as I discovered peaceful states and ideologies has drastically hindered my ability to connect with the average person in my society and my friends. I have gained distance from them.

What do you all think of this quote?

"In the West, I do not think it advisable to follow Buddhism. Changing religions is not like changing professions. Excitement lessens over the years, and soon you are not excited, and then where are you? Homeless inside yourself."

– The Dalai Lama, quoted in Tibet, Tibet by Patrick French


This is from

This person also mentions Dilation Syndrome...something they made up...and it terribly completely describes me! Please read about it.
It's crazy because it describes me perfectly... deep peaceful states I discovered during university life, was super social and now am panicky anxious and have difficulties connecting. I just until a week or two ago have been investigating my ideas of dhamma in daily life almost nonstop... but while I can become peaceful like this I am left unable to really connect with others because everyone else just lives life the way any other non-meditating non-buddhist/religious type would. I would only really connect with others in a buddhist community or monastery but I'm not quite ready for that lifestyle switch yet. I just want to mesh here again.

So after reading this quote by an influencial understanding buddhist, and that syndrome which I most definitely have....would you recommend I stopped meditation and my studies of buddhism?

Possibly take up something more simple like yoga? So I'd get some basic level of body awareness and keep it daily like that? I really think I need it to get myself grounded with something simpler and not full of ideology and teachings.

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Aloka
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Re: Is Buddhism unsuited towards the average westerner?

Postby Aloka » Tue Aug 27, 2013 8:44 pm

Last edited by Aloka on Tue Aug 27, 2013 10:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Lambcinco
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Re: Is Buddhism unsuited towards the average westerner?

Postby Lambcinco » Tue Aug 27, 2013 9:37 pm

I think Buddhism is really great for what westerners (any many other folks worldwide) are suffering from-- greed, lack of compassion and respect towards life. Maybe now, more than ever we need spiritual practice.

HumbleThinker
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Re: Is Buddhism unsuited towards the average westerner?

Postby HumbleThinker » Tue Aug 27, 2013 9:57 pm

"I know that I know nothing" -Socrates

IOW, take what I say with a grain of salt, for I likely know as little or less than you do.

HumbleThinker
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Re: Is Buddhism unsuited towards the average westerner?

Postby HumbleThinker » Tue Aug 27, 2013 10:13 pm

"I know that I know nothing" -Socrates

IOW, take what I say with a grain of salt, for I likely know as little or less than you do.

Awarewolf
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Re: Is Buddhism unsuited towards the average westerner?

Postby Awarewolf » Tue Aug 27, 2013 11:38 pm

Thank you to all for the replies. Maybe the response best to answer what you all have written is that maybe the holy life isn't what I seek? I have experienced some beautiful things in this world, some blissful states and they all seem so right. But as I develop myself further, I find that there is a larger pull for me as of now to simply fit in and pursue a regular worldly life. That may sound like a lesser goal theoretically, but it would still have its good days and bad days and leave me open to return to spiritual pursuit later in life.

Not trying to protect the guy because I don't even know him, but he's getting a good word in from some noticeable names, Jack Kornfield in particular.

This sticks out to me as of now.
From another of his pages "Two Paths" comparing reclusive lifestyles to that of the householder.

People who have families, jobs, pay rent or mortgages, and live in the real world, have very different needs in meditation. Recluses call us householders. Houeseholders do not need to constantly kill off their natural impulses. As a matter of fact, the last thing they need is to weaken their desires, instincts and intuition. The path of the householder involves working with attachment. It is very daring to be attached. Tolerating the experience of attachment takes courage. Personal bonds are attachments. Loving someone is an attachment. Householders, when they meditate, should savor every sexual impulse, cherish every desire, honor and listen to all their instincts, and cultivate their general enthusiasm for life.

dagon
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Re: Is Buddhism unsuited towards the average westerner?

Postby dagon » Tue Aug 27, 2013 11:57 pm


HumbleThinker
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Re: Is Buddhism unsuited towards the average westerner?

Postby HumbleThinker » Wed Aug 28, 2013 12:15 am

"I know that I know nothing" -Socrates

IOW, take what I say with a grain of salt, for I likely know as little or less than you do.

Awarewolf
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Re: Is Buddhism unsuited towards the average westerner?

Postby Awarewolf » Wed Aug 28, 2013 12:20 am

No not at all, that is a good post. I had posted not long ago about the progression of developing bodily happiness, the basic level before reaching to the next highest being meditative happiness and further nibbana. It makes sense to me that maybe I've opened up too quickly in my life, in the same way you hear about people having kundalini awakenings in yoga practices before being ready and having serious consequences to their psyches.

Maybe I need to get my life back on track here before reaching towards the spiritual.

dagon
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Re: Is Buddhism unsuited towards the average westerner?

Postby dagon » Wed Aug 28, 2013 12:35 am


plwk
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Re: Is Buddhism unsuited towards the average westerner?

Postby plwk » Wed Aug 28, 2013 3:12 am


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Kusala
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Re: Is Buddhism unsuited towards the average westerner?

Postby Kusala » Wed Aug 28, 2013 5:33 am

Image

"He, the Blessed One, is indeed the Noble Lord, the Perfectly Enlightened One;
He is impeccable in conduct and understanding, the Serene One, the Knower of the Worlds;
He trains perfectly those who wish to be trained; he is Teacher of gods and men; he is Awake and Holy. "

--------------------------------------------
"The Dhamma is well-expounded by the Blessed One,
Apparent here and now, timeless, encouraging investigation,
Leading to liberation, to be experienced individually by the wise. "

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ancientbuddhism
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Re: Is Buddhism unsuited towards the average westerner?

Postby ancientbuddhism » Wed Aug 28, 2013 12:50 pm

Dhamma is not suited for the average human. But there are some with little dust in their eyes.

Otherwise, the Dhamma is not limited to present-day notions of East/West duality.
I say, beware of all enterprises that require new clothes, and not rather a new wearer of clothes.” – Henry David Thoreau, Walden, 1854

Secure your own mask before assisting others. – NORTHWEST AIRLINES (Pre-Flight Instruction)


HumbleThinker
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Re: Is Buddhism unsuited towards the average westerner?

Postby HumbleThinker » Wed Aug 28, 2013 12:55 pm

"I know that I know nothing" -Socrates

IOW, take what I say with a grain of salt, for I likely know as little or less than you do.

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SDC
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Re: Is Buddhism unsuited towards the average westerner?

Postby SDC » Wed Aug 28, 2013 7:05 pm


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Kim OHara
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Re: Is Buddhism unsuited towards the average westerner?

Postby Kim OHara » Wed Aug 28, 2013 11:06 pm


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seeker242
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Re: Is Buddhism unsuited towards the average westerner?

Postby seeker242 » Fri Aug 30, 2013 1:38 am


Samma
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Re: Is Buddhism unsuited towards the average westerner?

Postby Samma » Sat Aug 31, 2013 5:13 am

Woah, first of all not much qualified to offer advice since I don't really know you. Talk this over with people you know and trust. Or perhaps a psychologist for " panicky anxious" stuff.

Would you talk more about how " ideologies has drastically hindered my ability to connect with the average person"? Is not possible for you to make small talk anymore? Hi, how are you, taking some interest in others, and having a conversation? Granted you may not see this as "connecting" but that all that's needed, and its up to you what you prioritize.

"The more you meditate, the more you need to go out and live it up."
Thats what the Buddha said right? :rofl:

dxm_dxm
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Re: Is Buddhism unsuited towards the average westerner?

Postby dxm_dxm » Sun Sep 01, 2013 5:20 pm

All responses here are of very good quality and full of compassion. There is something that I always reply to this type of problem and that I think reaches better to the the western way of thinking.


What are you seem to be losing because of budhism ? Social contact, desires not chased etc. ? Why do you want this social contact, desires etc. ? To be happy, like every person wants, to be happy. When trying to do something, in this case been happy you should know that happiness can be easily measured these days (by measuring dopamine and serotonine) and you should know that a buddhist meditative monk is 8-10 times more happy than the average person and the happies man in the world is Mathieu Ricard who literally got off the scale of the measuring device. Whathever happens after this life, it seems that meditation is the best way to achieve happiness in this life anyway. Another thing to keep in mind is that your eyes will close and you will die too one day.

Another advice would be not to concentrate on adjusting your living to the dharma, like the way you talk to people. Just focus on meditation and the more you will get disconected from the "self" and have more compassion, the less you will feel the need to do bad deeds for egoistic purposes and be able to be a better person and do good deeds for the benefit of you and the world. "Happiness never decreases by been shared"

The "Dilation" link you posted and what that guy is discussing there, like many said, has nothing to do with buddhism. That link surely made people angry over here and I am surprised how well people can overcome that frustration and post practical and compassionate responses on this forum. What that guy is talking over there suits well to the "new age" movement who practice meditation and all sort of stuff withaught a precise goal and structured aproach. Practicing all that kind of stuff unstructured surely has the risk of developing your narcissistic part, thinking you are better than the others because you are more spirituall yet you don't get any gratiffication for that from the "ants" and get frustrated. If you have right view and practice in a structured aproach, clearly knowing the goal you narcissistic reactions will be reduced, the whole point of meditation is destroing the ego, not doing all sort of "energy" practices and then beliving you are superior to everybody because of that. You should always have in mind the goal, witch should be: ending suffering for yourself and every other been. Buddhism in the west is often sold as "feel good therapy" and has nothing to do with normal buddhism. Normal buddhism is way too pesimistic and just "different" from everything western that it does not sell well so unstructured "energy" "chakas" etc. stuff that increases your ego and give rise to "spiritual narcissism" obviously sells better. No wonder there exist a fundation who asks for 2500$ for meditation instructions that you can learn from just 1 page of wikipedia and has assets of 5 billion (yes, with B not with M) dollars. You have to adapt to the costumer to sell and touch his narcissistic side, make him feel that he is better than other people because of the product he bought, like selling a nice car.

Virgo
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Re: Is Buddhism unsuited towards the average westerner?

Postby Virgo » Mon Sep 02, 2013 3:26 am

Realities are arising at the six doorways no matter where you are from.

"Religion" is one thing, understanding - the development of paññā a - is another.

We tend towards always being lost - lost in race, in identity, nationality, in past, future, going somewhere, doing something, being something - these things are not the teachings of the Buddha which are about what appears now, and understanding that.

Kevin



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