Great post, Kirtu.
A lot of things that get labelled "western" are actually also quite new for the West itself.
Often, I think that simply "modern / technologically / scientifically developed" may be a better term.
Ok - technology has come up in the postings a bit. But technology is the ongoing development of tools with which humans master the physical world in order to solve problems. Technology has been under development for at least 5000 years and quite probably longer (but machines are probably only a maximum of 5000 years old).
I don't really see what technology has to do with impeding Buddhism.
Science, following the scientific method, restricts itself to investigation of phenomena of the physical world. As it has developed over time, there is a naive tendency to reduce all experience, all phenomena, to physicalism. Perhaps this is asserted as an essential element of western culture that would inhibit Buddhism. If physicalism (following what people view as laws that can be proven using the scientific method) is asserted then of course rebirth is rejected out of hand (after all, we never observe it) and karma is reduced or rejected. And this is based on the western rejection of supernaturalism as phenomena attributed to supernatural activity more than 400 years ago have been shown to have physical causes (or have been shown to be fantasy [werewolves, vampires, rakhas, yakhas, ghosts, etc.]). Literalist mythology has been largely discounted and with it, the entire mythology.
Another point is the rejection of supernatural activities out of hand as an active force in the universe. This resulted in the "God is dead" view, "Where was God in Auschwitz", etc. Miracles are explained away as random physical occurrences, esp. since we can point to many, many other events daily where any number of beings perish.
However, scientific inquiry is not practiced by the majority of westerners who are poor in science, math and esp. logic. In general science is invoked to provide an explanation for a point of view with mostly superficial understanding of the specific facts.
eg. China, there is the rush for development on one hand, but a resistance against (what they perceives as) "the west" on the other.
What do they perceive as western?
And elsewhere, eg. Iran, there is a labeling of these things as "western" in efforts to remain in medieval theocracies, rather than other forms of society which don't have to be "western" at all.
Ironic given the west's centuries long history with theocracy and more recent history with totalitarianism. How do the mullahs justify repeating western history?
The west's history of theocracy resulted in cynicism/skepticism toward religious attainment and loss of faith in religious institutions.
So as far as I can tell, the western scientific cultural thread means: a rejection of the supernatural, an embrace of strict physicalism following scientific laws, a loss of faith wrt spiritual intervention in daily life. Western history also resulted in cynicism wrt religious attainment and loss of faith in religious organizations.
Do you think this is basically correct? And that these elements play a significant role in western culture (cause I'm sleepy and my brain is foggy)?
_________________Kirt's Tibetan Translation Notes
"Only you can make your mind beautiful."
HH Chetsang Rinpoche