cultural differences and teaching

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Freawaru
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cultural differences and teaching

Postby Freawaru » Tue Mar 23, 2010 11:48 am


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mikenz66
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Re: cultural differences and teaching

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Mar 23, 2010 8:21 pm

Hi Freawaru,

Interesting article.

I don't have much to add, except to say that in my view it is a mistake to talk about just "Asian vs Western". There's a huge difference between Thai and Chinese behaviour, for example, and I've found it quite jarring to to get on a plane from Thailand to Hong Kong full of Chinese people after being in Thailand for a few weeks.

Metta
Mike

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retrofuturist
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Re: cultural differences and teaching

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Mar 23, 2010 9:59 pm

Greetings,

I've not visited these places to be able to provide personal comment, but further to venerable Sucitto's blog entry and venerable Dhammika's 'Broken Buddha', I do think it's unfortunate that local behaviours, customs and societal expectations are being taken as the Dhamma itself, to the point where Theravadins in different countries do not feel much sense of brotherhood. The notion of a Buddhism delineated by regional boundaries seems foreign to the Dhamma of the Buddha.

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

rowyourboat
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Re: cultural differences and teaching

Postby rowyourboat » Tue Mar 23, 2010 11:03 pm

Sri Lankan's have more faith in karma and rebirth- there is less difficulty in accepting these concepts. The usefulness of nirvana is not endlessly questioned. Meditation is respected by all levels of society and not something that those in the fringes of society do. They are more likely to follow instructions and put in greater effort to reach the goal. Foulness of the body meditation, impermanance is more easily accepted, denying sense pleasures is more easily accepted. However the down side is that they are also susceptible to corrupt monks- question less- have less understanding of 'why Buddhism'.
With Metta

Karuna
Mudita
& Upekkha

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Goofaholix
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Re: cultural differences and teaching

Postby Goofaholix » Wed Mar 24, 2010 1:44 am


Paññāsikhara
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Re: cultural differences and teaching

Postby Paññāsikhara » Wed Mar 24, 2010 2:51 am

I think that one of the difficulties in discussing the differences across cultures on the level of "buddhist teaching", is that what we may call the "sample groups" in both (or more) cultures are not necessarily on a par. eg. to take a group of Thai or Sri Lankan Buddhists for example, they may largely reflect a general sample of the Thai or Sri Lankan population as a whole. However, to take a group of Western Buddhists, more often than not, they are not that indicative of the population as a whole. It is sometimes the very non-norm characteristics of some Westerners that makes them look into Buddhism in the first place. On the other hand, a sample population of Western Christians may be more normative. So, I don't think that we can necessarily extrapolate any findings to the differences between cultures as a whole. As time progresses, and Buddhism becomes more normative in Western society, things may change viz this point, somewhat.

I also agree with MikeNZ, about "Asian vs Westerner", as if both were largely homogeneous groups. Both groups include a large range of different cultures. Maybe we may wish to narrow it down here to "Thai vs North American (?)". My own experiences as a Kiwi in China (where Taiwan, the PRoC and HK all also all quite different in many ways) doesn't suggest some of the points raised above, for example.
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.: .

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mikenz66
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Re: cultural differences and teaching

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Mar 24, 2010 6:44 am


chownah
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Re: cultural differences and teaching

Postby chownah » Wed Mar 24, 2010 3:13 pm

In terms of teaching in Thailand: If you want to ask a question and actually get an answer generated by the person you are questioning then you must pose your question so that there is no perceivable preconceived answer.....don't say "do you agree" because the answer will be "yes"....don't say "should we continue to the end of the chapter" because the answer will be "yes"....don't say "should we stop now" because the answer will be "yes"................the strong overarching Thai desire in a public interaction is to be in agreement and saying "yes" is often taken as the best bet for agreement.....and this goes double or treble for agreeing with anyone who is teaching .....the traditional Thai social heirarchy holds monks at the top followed by H. M. the King followed by teachers.......with teachers haveing such high ranking because originally it was the monks who did the teaching so this established the high standing which has remained even though teaching is by and large done by lay people now.......also as a westerner ( I guess you are a westerner) you are viewed as being of higher status in that you are perceived as being rich................all of this adds up to a very very strong desire to always agree with you when in a public situation....a difficult thing to handle for western teachers who think they are getting straight answers and then are very suprised later when they find out ( if they ever do) the dynamic.....
chownah

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mikenz66
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Re: cultural differences and teaching

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Mar 24, 2010 11:10 pm

Hi Chownah,

That's a good point, that also applies to Chinese students (I have little experience with Thai students). A useful strategy is to set it up so they are arguing with each other. Chinese are some of the most argumentative people in the world --- as long as they are arguing with equals. With a teacher they may well clam up in the way you describe, for similar reasons...

Metta
Mike

Freawaru
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Re: cultural differences and teaching

Postby Freawaru » Thu Mar 25, 2010 10:28 am


Freawaru
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Re: cultural differences and teaching

Postby Freawaru » Thu Mar 25, 2010 11:02 am


PeterB
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Re: cultural differences and teaching

Postby PeterB » Thu Mar 25, 2010 2:40 pm

Does this differ from the habitual identifications made by western Buddhists Freawaru ?
I would suggest only in kind, not in degree.
When western Buddhists interact they may be influenced by a huge number of factors in assuming a sense of superiority/inferiority.
Even most absurdly, in recent years what the persons eats...
As well as the more obvious pay grade issues, and in the UK at least, social class and accent.

Freawaru
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Re: cultural differences and teaching

Postby Freawaru » Thu Mar 25, 2010 8:29 pm


Freawaru
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Re: cultural differences and teaching

Postby Freawaru » Thu Mar 25, 2010 9:04 pm


Freawaru
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Re: cultural differences and teaching

Postby Freawaru » Thu Mar 25, 2010 9:27 pm


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mikenz66
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Re: cultural differences and teaching

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Mar 25, 2010 9:37 pm


Paññāsikhara
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Re: cultural differences and teaching

Postby Paññāsikhara » Fri Mar 26, 2010 2:08 am

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.: .

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jcsuperstar
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Re: cultural differences and teaching

Postby jcsuperstar » Fri Mar 26, 2010 4:40 am

just to add something about pi. pe .pee how ever you want to spell it, it means older sibling, younger sibling is nong. everyone in thai society is pretty much either a pi or nong.
monks would be luang pi- venerable brother and older monks' luang por- venerable father, older than that you have luang ta venerable grandfather.
thai people pretty much know their status in society and act accordingly. it's about respect.
สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ

the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat

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Kim OHara
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Re: cultural differences and teaching

Postby Kim OHara » Fri Mar 26, 2010 6:45 am


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Goofaholix
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Re: cultural differences and teaching

Postby Goofaholix » Fri Mar 26, 2010 8:46 am



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