cultural differences and teaching

Theravāda in the 21st century - modern applications of ancient wisdom

Re: cultural differences and teaching

Postby Kim OHara » Fri Apr 30, 2010 5:35 am

mikenz66 wrote:I think that this brings up the interesting point that the any religious community can be a very unifying force in society. Presumably some of the positive aspects that we can see in Asian Buddhist communities used to be more widespread in the West.

Mike

Absolutely true, and still true in some communities in the West. But we mustn't forget that negatives are inextricably linked to the positives. Intolerance, narrow-minded conformism and xenophobia are the most common manifestations, and we regularly hear about them on DW from folks in the American Bible Belt. Go back seventy years and they were strong in the Jewish settlements in Poland and Russia - the type of community portrayed in "Fiddler on the Roof". Tradition!
Fortunately or not (or is that 'fortunately and not'?), such communities cannot survive long in a world where people move around freely and information moves around even more freely.
:namaste:
Kim
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Re: cultural differences and teaching

Postby PeterB » Fri Apr 30, 2010 6:57 am

I think that there is a hint in this thread that Theravadin Buddhists should prosetylise.
In fact they never have . Buddhadhamma arises in any situation or location when the conditions for its arising exist. When those conditions cease to exist Buddhadhamma does not arise.
The aim of Buddhadhamma is freedom from suffering for the individual. Any impact on society will be of that order..individually, and its impact on society will be transient. The structures and outer forms of Buddhadhamma are not exempt from anicca.
The point of Buddhadhamma is Enlightenment, not to spread itself. No one comes to Buddhadhamma until the conditions arise.
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Re: cultural differences and teaching

Postby Freawaru » Fri Apr 30, 2010 11:32 am

Hi Mike,

mikenz66 wrote:I think that this brings up the interesting point that the any religious community can be a very unifying force in society. Presumably some of the positive aspects that we can see in Asian Buddhist communities used to be more widespread in the West.

Mike


Yes, I think so, too. It is my impression that the cultures changed mainly due to increased population and mobility. In the more rural areas of Germany people always greet when they pass each other on the street, have a chat at the grocery. One does not find this in the cities, it wouldn't make sense to pay so much attention to all the hundreds of people one meets - and usually a different hundred every day even. When I was a young child (kindergarden age) I was still taught to call every adult either aunt or uncle but later this was given up. People thought that this friendly attitude to strangers would open the doors to pedophiles. So there are pros and contras to all these kind of cultural aspects. The closeness of a community we still find in the rural areas of Germany also creates an increased amount of intolerance for example. People gossip, they judge, they react badly to every kind of change. Then there is this "what people think" block, reputation is limiting their development. Instead of making decisions on the base of good arguments and facts they feel compelled to decide on the basis of other people's opinions or worse: on what they THINK other people's opinion is.
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Re: cultural differences and teaching

Postby Freawaru » Fri Apr 30, 2010 11:37 am

Hi Kim,

should have read your reply before posting mine :P

Kim O'Hara wrote:Absolutely true, and still true in some communities in the West. But we mustn't forget that negatives are inextricably linked to the positives. Intolerance, narrow-minded conformism and xenophobia are the most common manifestations, and we regularly hear about them on DW from folks in the American Bible Belt. Go back seventy years and they were strong in the Jewish settlements in Poland and Russia - the type of community portrayed in "Fiddler on the Roof". Tradition!
Fortunately or not (or is that 'fortunately and not'?), such communities cannot survive long in a world where people move around freely and information moves around even more freely.
:namaste:
Kim


It would be interesting to know into what kind of culture our planet's population will develop. Anyone with the iddhi precognition? :wink:
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Re: cultural differences and teaching

Postby PeterB » Fri Apr 30, 2010 11:54 am

No iddhis Freawaru but I would venture a guess....future cultures will be characterised by dukkha, anicca and anatta, and the 8FP will still be effective... :smile:
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