Dharma Wheel

A Buddhist discussion forum on Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism
It is currently Mon Dec 22, 2014 9:52 pm

All times are UTC [ DST ]


Forum rules


Please click here to view the forum rules



Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 42 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3  Next
Author Message
PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2012 2:15 pm 
Offline

Joined: Thu Apr 12, 2012 1:50 pm
Posts: 362
This is a question for Buddhists in the West. Have you ever encountered prejudice? Whether from people of other religions or from official sources. Do people consider you flaky, unserious or possibly a member of a cult?

I’ be interested to know what people’s experiences have been. And also perhaps – do we deserve the bad rap?

_________________
Everyone talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it - Mark Twain.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2012 2:43 pm 
Offline
Former staff member
User avatar

Joined: Mon Mar 22, 2010 11:53 am
Posts: 1468
The prejudice I've received hasn't been too bad, to the point where I wouldn't call it prejudice, I'd call it misunderstanding/miscommunication or just plain ignorance. A few people have thought I belong to a cult, and that has come from atheists and theists alike. I've never been considered flaky or unserious. Some people have thought me a push over, until they realised I wasn't, which confused them. Again, this comes from ignorance as they don't understand Buddhism and what it teaches.

I think the worse thing I've had was when I picked up my christian wife from a bible group and one of the new ladies there noticed I was wearing buddhist prayer beads and asked if I believe in god. Innocently I said no, to which she grabbed my hands, came in really close and started lecturing me about how wrong I am, how I'm following the devil etc etc. She really started laying into me and I felt cornered and unsure how to respond (I didn't want to upset my wife's friends). Luckily, a couple of the ladies there stood up for me and helped calm the new lady down. At which point I thanked her for her concern and left with my wife.

But what I think is most important here is not other peoples reaction to Buddhists but our reaction to them.

Gassho,
Seishin.

_________________
http://tendaiuk.wordpress.com/


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2012 2:50 pm 
Offline

Joined: Thu Jan 07, 2010 6:44 pm
Posts: 1565
Knotty Veneer wrote:
This is a question for Buddhists in the West. Have you ever encountered prejudice? Whether from people of other religions or from official sources. Do people consider you flaky, unserious or possibly a member of a cult?

I’ be interested to know what people’s experiences have been. And also perhaps – do we deserve the bad rap?



Never. Not once.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2012 2:57 pm 
Offline
Site Admin

Joined: Tue Jul 13, 2010 5:04 pm
Posts: 5771
I've had only marginally problematic moments (not counting awkward silences). One involved a supervisor who was convinced I must be a phony because her brother went through a phony Buddhist phase; it seemed to me this reflected her own situation and had nothing to do with me, so I let it slide.

_________________
Need help getting on retreat? Want to support others in practice? Pay the Dana for Dharma forum a visit...

viewtopic.php?f=114&t=13727


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2012 2:59 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2010 3:23 am
Posts: 682
Location: Canada
Had a Fundamentalist Christian fire me from a job in an auto headlight sweatshop years ago when I was in a small town in Canada. Ironically the plant was owned by a Korean presumed to be Buddhist. I think Magna may have bought it since then.

The most fundamental prejudice is people thinking they know something about Buddhism. The ignorance of these self appointed experts has been epic.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2012 3:04 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Thu Sep 22, 2011 6:45 pm
Posts: 436
What do you mean by prejudice? Do you mean the same sort of prejudice that Muslims endured after 9/11?

Unlike Muslims, I don't know how anybody would know you were Buddhist unless you announced it publicly or had some huge placard hung around your neck 24/7. The people who do discuss their Buddhism will discuss it among friends, many of whom are like-minded or, at least, religiously tolerant.

Based on my experience, a great many people, especially in the Bible Belt of the Southeast US, regard Buddhism little differently than Hinduism: it's a pagan religion with practitioners who worship Buddha.

Most practitioners here in the Southeast US seem to take to Zen. I can't think of any reason why that might be, though, other than it has a certain cultural presence about it that is less exotic than Tibetan Buddhism. I'm probably wrong about that, though. Go into any used bookstore, though, and everybody's buying/trading manuals on Zen.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2012 4:37 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Wed Oct 21, 2009 9:24 pm
Posts: 641
Location: Delaware
When I moved into my current community in 2007, the Tibetan prayer flags I hung across the front porch started a flurry of speculation among the neighbors. I was unaware of any discussion at the time, no one was standoffish. Later, when we were all friends, they told me the consensus had been that I was gay because of the colors of the flags. Apparently, Buddhism isn't even on the radar.
:rolleye:


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2012 4:45 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Sat Mar 26, 2011 6:50 pm
Posts: 2755
:lol:


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2012 5:51 pm 
Offline

Joined: Mon Mar 14, 2011 12:49 am
Posts: 543
I tend to Ignore it people like that seem to be suffering from heavy delusions so they go on my dedication list. :ugeek:

_________________
Abandoning Dharma is, in the final analysis, disparaging the Hinayana because of the Mahayana; favoring the Hinayana on account of the Mahayana; playing off sutra against tantra; playing off the four classes of the tantras against each other; favoring one of the Tibetan schools—the Sakya, Gelug, Kagyu, or Nyingma—and disparaging the rest; and so on. In other words, we abandon Dharma any time we favor our own tenets and disparage the rest.

Liberation in the Palm of your hand~Kyabje Pabongkha Rinpoche.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2012 7:10 pm 
Offline
Site Admin

Joined: Tue Jul 13, 2010 5:04 pm
Posts: 5771
off-topic posts removed & split to new topic:

viewtopic.php?f=36&t=5364

_________________
Need help getting on retreat? Want to support others in practice? Pay the Dana for Dharma forum a visit...

viewtopic.php?f=114&t=13727


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2012 7:32 pm 
Offline

Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2009 10:22 pm
Posts: 80
I have a standing arrangement with my employer to take a week off every two years for retreat. I was recently told that should my work schedule conflict with my retreat that I might need to make a decision about what is more important to me, my job or that. (I always get outstanding marks on my reviews, so it isn't a performance issue.) This is the first time that something like this has occurred, and it shocked me greatly. Mostly people are just curious or want to talk about how they really want more mindfulness in their lives.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2012 8:51 pm 
Offline

Joined: Thu Jan 07, 2010 6:44 pm
Posts: 1565
Zenda wrote:
I have a standing arrangement with my employer to take a week off every two years for retreat. I was recently told that should my work schedule conflict with my retreat that I might need to make a decision about what is more important to me, my job or that. (I always get outstanding marks on my reviews, so it isn't a performance issue.) This is the first time that something like this has occurred, and it shocked me greatly. Mostly people are just curious or want to talk about how they really want more mindfulness in their lives.

If you live in the US your boss is an idiot who could easily lose his or her job for imposing this kind of ultimatum upon you.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2012 10:07 pm 
Offline

Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2012 12:20 am
Posts: 66
Nangwa wrote:
Zenda wrote:
I have a standing arrangement with my employer to take a week off every two years for retreat. I was recently told that should my work schedule conflict with my retreat that I might need to make a decision about what is more important to me, my job or that. (I always get outstanding marks on my reviews, so it isn't a performance issue.) This is the first time that something like this has occurred, and it shocked me greatly. Mostly people are just curious or want to talk about how they really want more mindfulness in their lives.

If you live in the US your boss is an idiot who could easily lose his or her job for imposing this kind of ultimatum upon you.

Indeed, law states you can not be terminated for attending religious services nor even threatened with it. If he keeps it up I suggest looking for someone familiar with labor laws in your area or any attorney would do.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2012 10:29 pm 
Offline

Joined: Fri Sep 04, 2009 5:23 pm
Posts: 1967
Prejudice means 'pre-judgement' so it is related to what people expect you to be like, not a dislike of how you are.

IMHO everyone has prejudices - or at least I've not met an honest person who doesn't own up to it. So if you refute that statement you are dishonest! LOL :)

I've met enormous prejudice which has assumed many things about me because of membership of a particular sect. Since I no longer eat babies I've not noticed any prejudice, just polite interest. Actually, that's untrue on reflection, as those still within the sect I 'left' have been taught to see people like me as samaya-breaking hell-bound etc.

I've no stats to back it up but my impression is that there is more prejudice internally, between Buddhists of different sects etc., than prejudice against Buddhism on the part of non-Buddhists.

_________________
Left


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2012 11:52 pm 
Offline

Joined: Wed Mar 07, 2012 12:06 am
Posts: 106
Seishin wrote:
I think the worse thing I've had was when I picked up my christian wife from a bible group and one of the new ladies there noticed I was wearing buddhist prayer beads and asked if I believe in god. Innocently I said no, to which she grabbed my hands, came in really close and started lecturing me about how wrong I am, how I'm following the devil etc etc. She really started laying into me and I felt cornered and unsure how to respond (I didn't want to upset my wife's friends). Luckily, a couple of the ladies there stood up for me and helped calm the new lady down. At which point I thanked her for her concern and left with my wife.

But what I think is most important here is not other peoples reaction to Buddhists but our reaction to them.

Gassho,
Seishin.


Seishin wrote:
I think the worse thing I've had was when I picked up my christian wife from a bible group and one of the new ladies there noticed I was wearing buddhist prayer beads and asked if I believe in god. Innocently I said no, to which she grabbed my hands, came in really close and started lecturing me about how wrong I am, how I'm following the devil etc etc. She really started laying into me and I felt cornered and unsure how to respond (I didn't want to upset my wife's friends). Luckily, a couple of the ladies there stood up for me and helped calm the new lady down. At which point I thanked her for her concern and left with my wife.

But what I think is most important here is not other peoples reaction to Buddhists but our reaction to them.

Gassho,
Seishin.


I posted this comment earlier but it was moved to another forum.
I didn't quote it so I think it was misunderstood.


"If people ask me if I believe in God I tell them I do, but in a different way. I then tell them I believe in what the Bible teaches and end it there. If there's further interest, I'll explain further depending on their disposition. Most of the time I say that all religions point to the same thing, there are just different ways of getting there. In actuality, the bible was not meant to be interpreted as Catholic or Baptist or Buddhist when the word was written.

If you are too strong in your outward beliefs you may alienate potential followers. Then you won't be able to keep an open relationship for a potentially stronger spritual friendship which should be the goal.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri Apr 27, 2012 6:15 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Thu Sep 22, 2011 4:12 pm
Posts: 329
Knotty Veneer wrote:
This is a question for Buddhists in the West. Have you ever encountered prejudice? Whether from people of other religions or from official sources. Do people consider you flaky, unserious or possibly a member of a cult?

Quite the opposite. They're almost always relieved to find out where I stand.

I don't think your stated religion makes a difference to how people see. If you're a flaky person then it'll show. If you're a damn serious, hard worker - that'll show too. Knowing you're Buddhist is just a useful justification for prejudice if ever they needed one, just like any label. It could also be a justification for being a victim! Better to avoid the subject altogether.

Quote:
I’ be interested to know what people’s experiences have been. And also perhaps – do we deserve the bad rap?

If we have one then yes.

_________________
People will know nothing and everything
Remember nothing and everything
Think nothing and everything
Do nothing and everything
- Machig Labdron


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri Apr 27, 2012 7:31 pm 
Offline

Joined: Thu Apr 12, 2012 1:50 pm
Posts: 362
While I have never been at the receiving end of prejudice personally. By prejudice I mean disparaging behavior based on ignorance of Buddhist beliefs.
I notice that Westerners who adopt Buddhism are often ridiculed. Where I have seen this most often has been on the comment sites of newspapers (The NYT or the Guardian for example) where the comments to articles on Buddhism invariably imply that Western Buddhists are phony. Buddhism is a shallow fad followed by airhead celebrities, spaced-out hippies and the like. Invariably, these attitudes tend to come from people who know nothing about Buddhism. The "New Atheists" in particular seem to dismiss Buddhism as touchy-feely crap.

_________________
Everyone talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it - Mark Twain.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri Apr 27, 2012 8:56 pm 
Offline
Former staff member
User avatar

Joined: Mon Mar 22, 2010 11:53 am
Posts: 1468
I've found, those who post on those articles tend to want to be heard. This is an ego thing that effects all of us to various degrees. Pay no attention to it. People like to put other people down to make themselves feel better, even celebraties. If I were to give a percentage of prejudice that I've recieved over the years it would be roughly 2% if that.

Gassho,
Seishin.

_________________
http://tendaiuk.wordpress.com/


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri Apr 27, 2012 9:17 pm 
Offline
Global Moderator
User avatar

Joined: Sat Feb 13, 2010 8:12 pm
Posts: 1062
Seishin wrote:
I've found, those who post on those articles tend to want to be heard. This is an ego thing that effects all of us to various degrees. Pay no attention to it. People like to put other people down to make themselves feel better, even celebraties. If I were to give a percentage of prejudice that I've recieved over the years it would be roughly 2% if that.

Gassho,
Seishin.


The comments section of the Guardian is utterly worthless.

_________________
Look at the unfathomable spinelessness of man: all the means he's been given to stay alert he uses, in the end, to ornament his sleep. – Rene Daumal


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sat Apr 28, 2012 2:31 am 
Offline

Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2011 3:11 am
Posts: 383
I've never been criticized for Buddhism, but have often been called names for supporting and using homeopathy. Go figure.

Ah, yes, now I remember. Once I was returning from Karma Triyana by train. An older woman sitting next to me asked where I had been and I told her. She seemed a bit upset, but i didn't hold it against her, because otherwise she was nice.

_________________
Lamrim, lojong, and mahamudra are the unmistaken path.


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 42 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3  Next

All times are UTC [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Saoshun and 13 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group