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Kindness vs. privacy - Page 2 - Dhamma Wheel

Kindness vs. privacy

A forum for beginners and members of other Buddhist traditions to ask questions about Theravāda (The Way of the Elders). Responses require moderator approval before they are visible.
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SDC
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Re: Kindness vs. privacy

Postby SDC » Tue May 04, 2010 4:21 pm


PeterB
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Re: Kindness vs. privacy

Postby PeterB » Tue May 04, 2010 4:22 pm

When entered into freely and with reciprocal respect it certainly isnt a dumb custom.
Being forced into offering free hotel accomodation for several weeks because of a threat of social isolation otherwise, might be.
You declare your admiration for Sam Harris on another thread Pannapetar.
It seems to me that you can either have doing stuff because your folks did it and will ostracise you if you dont, OR you can have Sam Harris, not both.
Life throws up enough opportunity for learning every day. Its not necessary to turn or homes into Salvation Army hostels for stray relatives to experience that.

PeterB
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Re: Kindness vs. privacy

Postby PeterB » Tue May 04, 2010 4:24 pm


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SDC
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Re: Kindness vs. privacy

Postby SDC » Tue May 04, 2010 4:31 pm


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SDC
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Re: Kindness vs. privacy

Postby SDC » Tue May 04, 2010 4:34 pm


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Pannapetar
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Re: Kindness vs. privacy

Postby Pannapetar » Wed May 05, 2010 2:42 am


PeterB
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Re: Kindness vs. privacy

Postby PeterB » Wed May 05, 2010 6:46 am

Of COURSE a custom is something that you enter into freely....or not.

It is not a biological or psychological imperative.
But as with the Sakya prince , it takes a process of Individuation for any given person to swim against the current of their culture.
Even in the year 2010 there would be few western Buddhists if it not for that need , that impulse to swim against that current.

During my youth the UK was replete with customs and traditions. Many of which have disappeared by the simple expedient of the population letting them die. In some cases that is a pity. In other cases its a jolly good thing that they have gone.
That includes the stultifying idea of the extended family and its needs taking presidence over individual consciousness.
An idea that kept each generation a clone of its predecessors.
In some sense every Buddhist is called upon to "go forth" even if they remain lay people.

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Pannapetar
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Re: Kindness vs. privacy

Postby Pannapetar » Wed May 05, 2010 7:48 am


PeterB
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Re: Kindness vs. privacy

Postby PeterB » Wed May 05, 2010 8:06 am

I would have thought that it was clear that I was referring to the ability, even the neccessity, for the individual to go against the stream of their cultural conditioning for any process of individuation to occur.
And that process is a necessary precursor to Dhamma practice.
As to customs that date back thousands of years we see such customs crumbling on a global scale.
Sometimes regrettably, but often to the benefit of the people formerly in thrall to those customs.
I see no reason..restrictions on google and the like not withstanding..to suppose that China will not undergo a similar process of shedding much of its cultural baggage over the next 50 years or so.

It was Richard Dawkins' protege Susan Blackmore that described Buddhism as " The ultimate anti-meme meme."

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Pannapetar
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Re: Kindness vs. privacy

Postby Pannapetar » Wed May 05, 2010 8:40 am


PeterB
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Re: Kindness vs. privacy

Postby PeterB » Wed May 05, 2010 8:46 am

:anjali:

Ruud
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Re: Kindness vs. privacy

Postby Ruud » Fri May 07, 2010 4:16 am

Wow, I am unable to check in for a week and a lot has happened (appologies for that but internet is here not always that stable and officially Dhammawheel is,sadly enough, unaccessable in China).
I have to agree with Pannapetar that customs are already part of the society and that it is, definitely in cultures where that is not encouraged, difficult to break with them. Let me give some examples in different grades of seriousness:

---In the West, when in a restaurant, you behave quite and polite, as not to disrupt other people. In China it is no problem to be loud (really loud) and when there are some bones in the dish you spit them on a seperate plate, or, on the table.
---In the West it is more and more the "custom" to call parents, uncles and aunts, people one generation above you in general, just by their first names. In Asia people are much more strict, even for people you don't/hardly know, or older collegues, and therefore have specific respectful names for all of them.
---In the West, when someone died, you wear black to show that you are mourning. In many countries in Asia, white is the general mourning color.

My point is that for the first one you can just decide to not do so and be an individualist and indeed maybe over time the custom will change. But for the time being you'll have to cope with it. The second case is something you can decide not to do, but people will look at you a little strange, account it to you being a foreigner, will try to correct you. The third case would simply be disrespectful if you would, knowingly, wear black instead of the customary white. Many of these habits and customs are ingrained into the culture and you only in some cases have an opportunity to show your individual ideas.
As a side-point, yes, China's values are shifting, and possibly more than in all it's recent history, but still a lot of tradition,customs and education are alive and make or break the decisions of people.
I found myself i this situation and want to act wholesome. It has nothing to do with that I need to live up with the custom despite my feeling of privacy (and thus is not martyrdom), I am presented with this situation, have this feeling, try to understand their origin and want to learn from them in order to clean them up. It is going to be hard, but I want to focus on how I can grow instead how I can stay where I am. Probably practicing patience is the best. Like Ajahn Chah told Ajahn Brahm to see the annoying mosquitos as Ajahn mosquito, I'll have to see the "intruding" distant-family-member as Ajahn distant-family-member. The opinions in this tread have been very insightful to me in that respect so far. Thanks.
Ruud

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Annapurna
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Re: Kindness vs. privacy

Postby Annapurna » Fri May 07, 2010 4:51 pm

http://www.schmuckzauberei.blogspot.com/

PeterB
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Re: Kindness vs. privacy

Postby PeterB » Fri May 07, 2010 5:03 pm

In England Anna there was a similar convention. If talking to people considered your superiors socially you used the "thee " and " thou" form. To your equals or those you consider your social inferiors you used the "you and ye " form.
Then in the 18th century a religous group was founded called the Quakers, they refused to make that distinction and used the" you and ye " form to everyone.
At first that was considered outrageous, but after a hundred years or so it became the norm and the " thee and thou " form was lost.

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Annapurna
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Re: Kindness vs. privacy

Postby Annapurna » Fri May 07, 2010 5:23 pm

Thanks Peter. That's interesting....explains some old ballads, doesn't it? :smile:
http://www.schmuckzauberei.blogspot.com/


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