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western cynicism/eastern credulity. - Dhamma Wheel

western cynicism/eastern credulity.

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
PeterB
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western cynicism/eastern credulity.

Postby PeterB » Thu Jan 20, 2011 9:48 am

It would appear that on the major issues the 4NT the N8FP, Dukkha D.O.etc there is in the main a good deal of cross cultural agreement in broad terms.
However when it comes to certain phenomena there seems to be something of an east/ west split.

Recently we have seen threads which purport to show photos of Devas for example, or to urge us to perform rituals for our ancestors...Or to describe example of children recalling previous births.

As a generalisation ( and I emphasise it IS a generalisation with exceptions from both sides ) the response to this kind of thread tends to fall in three ways. western Buddhists are unconvinced to say the least. Eastern Buddhists accept it wholesale...and then there is a third group which asks whether it matters anyway.

Why is this ?

Do phenomena happen in Asia that do not happen in Europe or the USA ?
Do they happen but we are trained not to see them ?
Do they not happen but have a psychological/cultural explanation as to why it is widely believed that they do ?
And perhaps most importantly...do they matter either way..are they necessary to an understanding of Dhamma ?

What do you think ?

plwk
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Re: western cynicism/eastern credulity.

Postby plwk » Thu Jan 20, 2011 10:15 am

Image

PeterB
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Re: western cynicism/eastern credulity.

Postby PeterB » Thu Jan 20, 2011 10:20 am

That is a highly ambiguous picture, one that could just as easily represent a reaction to the idea that such phenomena have a psychological explanation and are then culturally reinforced.

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clw_uk
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Re: western cynicism/eastern credulity.

Postby clw_uk » Thu Jan 20, 2011 11:04 am

Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken

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andre9999
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Re: western cynicism/eastern credulity.

Postby andre9999 » Thu Jan 20, 2011 11:11 am

I prefer skeptic over cynic. In the case of the deva photo thread, I've seen thousands of doctored photos. I have yet to come across a deva. Maybe they don't get to the Americas much.

As far as its importance, I'd say the questions that come up in many of the threads lack a direct impact in anything, much less enlightenment. But I'm also not inclined to jump in as the second post in every thread and say, "Why are you asking? Just go meditate." There are some people who over-think things - a lot - but maybe it helps drive their practice. Similarly, there are types of people who's practice is probably strengthened by knowing that there are devas stopping by a temple. Good for them, I say. Whatever works.

PeterB
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Re: western cynicism/eastern credulity.

Postby PeterB » Thu Jan 20, 2011 12:00 pm


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andre9999
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Re: western cynicism/eastern credulity.

Postby andre9999 » Thu Jan 20, 2011 12:13 pm


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Goofaholix
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Re: western cynicism/eastern credulity.

Postby Goofaholix » Thu Jan 20, 2011 6:35 pm

You might be aware that Wat Pah Nanachat is built on a charnal ground.

Thais staying there routinely see ghosts, westerners don't.

I think it has to do with expectation.

In my experience Thais don't like to be alone, ever, one of the reasons often given is they are afraid they might see ghosts. I think this is taught to them from an early age by parents and grandparents to discourage them from going off on their own, Thai culture being a very social culture togetherness is very important.

PeterB
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Re: western cynicism/eastern credulity.

Postby PeterB » Thu Jan 20, 2011 6:42 pm

Interesting......Sanghamitta wote about a community of Christian monks who live in the middle of Europes largest cemetery, its in Surrey,...she asked if any of them had seen a ghost...they replied that they havent...." but the deer population is growing ".....which is jolly nice.

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appicchato
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Re: western cynicism/eastern credulity.

Postby appicchato » Thu Jan 20, 2011 7:39 pm


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Goofaholix
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Re: western cynicism/eastern credulity.

Postby Goofaholix » Fri Jan 21, 2011 3:53 am


PeterB
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Re: western cynicism/eastern credulity.

Postby PeterB » Fri Jan 21, 2011 9:42 am

That reminds of something Alan Watts said...he was not a reliable guide to the teaching of the Buddha, but he was a great raconteur and very shrewd.." people are constantly asking me about supernatural experiences they assume i must have had...and I am constantly replying that I have never had any such experience, and neither has any of my teachers or friends, or indeed anyone whose testimony I would trust ."

Sacha G
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Re: western cynicism/eastern credulity.

Postby Sacha G » Fri Jan 21, 2011 9:56 am

Hi,
If some of you want to read serious things on parapsychology, go to the society for psychical research website, and to the liste of recommended reading:
http://www.spr.ac.uk/main/page/recommen ... psychology

Well, to find an analogy, not only no one has ever seen somebody being murdered,
but people who speak of murder haven't either. That doesn't murder doesn't exist. It's only rare enough. But that's an extrem case, and parapsychology is actually widespread. I think 1 american out of 10 has had an Out of Body Experience for example.
I suppose on this very website some have had one.
:alien:
Pali and Theravada texts:
http://dhamma.webnode.com

Taco
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Re: western cynicism/eastern credulity.

Postby Taco » Fri Jan 21, 2011 10:25 am

my experience, their experience - could be true
my experience, not their experience - could be true
not my experience, their experience - could be true
not my experience, not their experience - could be true

Does it matter? No.

PeterB
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Re: western cynicism/eastern credulity.

Postby PeterB » Fri Jan 21, 2011 10:33 am


meindzai
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Re: western cynicism/eastern credulity.

Postby meindzai » Fri Jan 21, 2011 1:16 pm


PeterB
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Re: western cynicism/eastern credulity.

Postby PeterB » Fri Jan 21, 2011 1:22 pm

Sprats for mackerels ?

Sacha G
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Location: France

Re: western cynicism/eastern credulity.

Postby Sacha G » Fri Jan 21, 2011 1:57 pm

Pali and Theravada texts:
http://dhamma.webnode.com

PeterB
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Joined: Tue Feb 17, 2009 12:35 pm

Re: western cynicism/eastern credulity.

Postby PeterB » Fri Jan 21, 2011 2:22 pm

Perhaps Sacha G you could point to the Sutta which describes the existence of an astral body ?
Specifically where would you posit an "astral body" in the schemata of the khandhas ?

meindzai
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Re: western cynicism/eastern credulity.

Postby meindzai » Fri Jan 21, 2011 3:08 pm



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