Author Topic: Why do Westerners study Buddhism?  (Read 402 times)

Offline Baruch (OP)

Why do Westerners study Buddhism?
« on: May 03, 2017, 10:33:01 PM »


Having tasted Sokka Gakkai in my youth (but it didn't stick) I still found, before than and after, that the East is a useful tool to get some objectivity vs the West.
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Offline Sorginak

Re: Why do Westerners study Buddhism?
« Reply #1 on: May 06, 2017, 02:39:26 AM »
The White House is on the Eastern side of the U.S.  That should count for something, but instead, it seems the Northern and Western parts of the U.S. are more enlightened. 

Offline SGOS

Re: Why do Westerners study Buddhism?
« Reply #2 on: May 06, 2017, 11:30:17 AM »
From what little I understand about Buddhism, I won't deny the claims of those who find comfort in it.  But nothing is an end all be all state.  Even recognizing there is no end all be all, isn't the ultimate end all be all.  The girl showcased in the video had a boy friend who died.  She could have dealt with in many ways.  She could have started a dog walking business or attended a Tony Robbins workshop.  She chose Buddhism, or so the video implied, but I'm inclined to think there were more motivators than that behind her quest.  Westerners do things for personal reasons, just as many Easterners seek out the west for financial security and wealth.  Whether one is better than the other, who can say?  There is no correct answer.  People do things for personal reasons.

Offline Shiranu

Re: Why do Westerners study Buddhism?
« Reply #3 on: May 06, 2017, 12:11:13 PM »
I love many Western philosophers, but I cannot stand Western philosophy. It is almost antithesis to my world view and my distaste for how we try to intellectualise everything. This for me is why Eastern thought tends to interest me more.


Authors and poets have infinite more use to our society than whatever our philosophers have to say, which is really unfortunate since we use to have a great tradition of philosophy for philosophies' sake.
« Last Edit: May 06, 2017, 12:13:10 PM by Shiranu »
“Life isn't long enough to enjoy and understand all at the same time. You have to decide which is more important." - Pedro Juan Gutierrez

"Too much sanity may be madness and the maddest of all, to see life as it is and not as it should be." - Miguel de Cervantes

Offline Baruch (OP)

Re: Why do Westerners study Buddhism?
« Reply #4 on: May 06, 2017, 12:21:27 PM »
From what little I understand about Buddhism, I won't deny the claims of those who find comfort in it.  But nothing is an end all be all state.  Even recognizing there is no end all be all, isn't the ultimate end all be all.  The girl showcased in the video had a boy friend who died.  She could have dealt with in many ways.  She could have started a dog walking business or attended a Tony Robbins workshop.  She chose Buddhism, or so the video implied, but I'm inclined to think there were more motivators than that behind her quest.  Westerners do things for personal reasons, just as many Easterners seek out the west for financial security and wealth.  Whether one is better than the other, who can say?  There is no correct answer.  People do things for personal reasons.

A rather Buddhist way of expressing things ;-)
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Offline Baruch (OP)

Re: Why do Westerners study Buddhism?
« Reply #5 on: May 06, 2017, 12:28:25 PM »
I love many Western philosophers, but I cannot stand Western philosophy. It is almost antithesis to my world view and my distaste for how we try to intellectualise everything. This for me is why Eastern thought tends to interest me more.


Authors and poets have infinite more use to our society than whatever our philosophers have to say, which is really unfortunate since we use to have a great tradition of philosophy for philosophies' sake.

Orientalism ... everything non-Western is inferior (usually the POV of 19th century Western cultural tourists in the East).
Occidentalism ... everything Western is inferior (usually the POV of 20th century Eastern polemicists)

I agree that creative writing in prose or poetry has much to teach us, though few here would agree.  They are like those cops "just the facts mam".  And in police work that would be important ... they need as objective a description of the crime or the perpetrator as possible ... they don't care how upset the neighbors are or how they felt about the victim.

Unfortunately, the intent of philosophy as I see it, is to question the status quo, particularly the unconscious status quo, the unexamined assumptions we all make.  But it can devolve into skepticism for skepticism's sake, into mere nihilism.

Starting with Thales and Pythagoras ... the West has learned, at least in some corners, to analyze not synthesize, intellectualize, not emote.  This is implicit psychological patriarchy, is it not?  While I don't hate the West, I find the only way I can gain perspective on my home culture, is thru Eastern eyes.  Similarly, learning to see with an ancient POV is how I can gain perspective on modernity.
« Last Edit: May 06, 2017, 12:30:53 PM by Baruch »
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