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#258356 - 05/30/06 07:52 PM Buddhism in everyday life in Asia?
aoishi Offline
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Registered: 10/05/05
Posts: 123
Loc: Massachusetts
There are a lot of Buddhists in Japan and China, but are the philosophical underpinnings of Buddhism evident anywhere or do they just chant a lot?
In Japan, for example, Buddhist priest reside over funerals while Shinto priests do marriages, new buildings, etc. The Buddhist priests chant, chant and chant so more, but few of them will engage you in a conversation about no-ego, non-attachment, meditation. etc. They're usually just regular joes who fish, drink and do karaoke...
So what about it? Where is the Budhhist philosophy represented in these cultures?
Any thoughts? I sure have some, but I prefer to share later...after some other have stepped up to the plate

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#258357 - 05/30/06 11:43 PM Re: Buddhism in everyday life in Asia? [Re: aoishi]
Ed_Morris Offline
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Posts: 6772
I joined a chant buddhism group (you know, the 'nam-yo-ho-ren-ge-kyo' crowd) when I was living in Boston. only stayed with it briefly for a few months because I felt very subtle 'claws' digging in (using guilt trips to persuade commitment, etc) almost like how they warn of cults except this wasn't an extreme group...just people who were really into it getting together on a weekend day. plus there was a hot chick there I was trying to score...just kidding, but I kept an open mind talking with the people I met there I realized you don't have to be a buddhist to incorporate buddhist philosophy or vica versa for that matter, which (I think) is the coolest thing about it.

anyway, it's out there. but is there any buddhist philosophy influence...I would say yes. the whole vegitarian and vegan movement no doubt has genisis in buddhist thought...just to name one.

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#258358 - 05/30/06 11:59 PM Re: Buddhism in everyday life in Asia? [Re: Ed_Morris]
aoishi Offline
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So did you say enough namyohos to get into her pants?

But seriously, I was going to try to steer this towards the element of sumbersion of ego.
Here's an example: Why is it that when Americans meet each other for the first time, they are always eager to show what it is about them that makes them "special" or "different"?
In Japan, it is not like as in the US. When you first meet people, you want to show that you are normal and in a way predictable.

Here's another scenario: International flight to Japan:
American flight attendants tend to try to relax and comfort people by "getting to know them" or getting personal. They might ask how many kids you have or what your business is or that tehy love your dress or something.
On Japanese airlines, the flight attendants comfort their Japanese clients by maintaining an interchangeable sort of distance that makes it quite clear that it is NOT personal and THAT is precisely what makes them comfortable.
What is responsible for this paradox? I think the answer lies in Buddhist roots.

About the vegan thing, that is also true I'm sure or maybe it's just the lack of deep "meat roots".

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#258359 - 05/31/06 02:31 PM Re: Buddhism in everyday life in Asia? [Re: aoishi]
Taison Offline
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Me own thoughts;

Our East Asian Buddhist brethrens just chant too much and totally forgot what buddhism is about. I mean, do they even understand the meaning of Karma, nine wheel and re-incarnation?

Well, look at an average Japanese. Compare with a Thai, I can bet, the Thai knows a lot more about the philosophies of Buddhism than the Japanese. For the East Asians, it's more along the traditional lines than being religious. I mean, they aren't forced nor instilled to learn Buddhism, unlike in South East Asia where if you're born in a buddhist family, you're buddhist.

My 50 yen, they chant too much. No meaning actually, it's just chanting for the sake of chanting. I mean, how can you remove your bad karma by chanting? If they took up the 150 or so rules of Buddhist conduct and actually tried to find a way out of the cycle of re-incarnation, they maybe, but too much chanting. It's actually possible to get merit by showing others the way, not chanting.

-Taison out
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#258360 - 05/31/06 03:12 PM Re: Buddhism in everyday life in Asia? [Re: Taison]
kusojiji Offline
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Quote:

Me own thoughts;

Our East Asian Buddhist brethrens just chant too much and totally forgot what buddhism is about.




Holy generalizations, Batman!
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#258361 - 05/31/06 03:29 PM Re: Buddhism in everyday life in Asia? [Re: kusojiji]
harlan Offline
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Registered: 07/31/04
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Generalization, perhaps. But this topic isn't an academic one...it is based on personal observations. 'I think' and 'I feel' are okay here...within the bounds of civilized behaviour.

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#258362 - 05/31/06 03:46 PM Buddhism in Everyday life in Asia [Re: harlan]
kusojiji Offline
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Its not a matter of civilized behavior, its a matter of logic. Its simply irrational to make such a sweeping generalization about entire populations. Even with volumes of scientifically gathered data, such conclusions would be suspect at best. At some point such broad declarations flirt with the realm of prejudice.


Edited by harlan (05/31/06 03:54 PM)
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#258363 - 05/31/06 03:48 PM Buddhism in Everyday life in Asia [Re: kusojiji]
harlan Offline
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Thank you for your reply. Now, to steer this thread...do you have anything constructive to add regarding the topic?

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#258364 - 05/31/06 03:54 PM Re: of course an opinion is an opinion, but... [Re: harlan]
kusojiji Offline
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Ok, if we are not making unreasonable generalizations, what exactly is the topic?
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#258365 - 05/31/06 03:56 PM Buddhism in everyday life in Asia? [Re: kusojiji]
harlan Offline
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Well, if you took the time to read it, I believe it was:

"Where is the Budhhist philosophy represented in these cultures?"

By the way, historically your responses have been too 'succinct', and cryptic to further discussion. I would appreciate it if you would put some time into your responses...as well as 'take it easy'. There is no sense in derailing a thread...when you can just as easily put a constructive spin on one.

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#258366 - 05/31/06 03:59 PM Re: Buddhism in everyday life in Asia? [Re: aoishi]
Ed_Morris Offline
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oh, sorry, I misunderstood the direction. maybe the largest difference in view is the difference stemming from monotheism (one God) vs Polytheism (many) ? just a shot in the dark.

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#258367 - 05/31/06 04:27 PM Re: Buddhism in everyday life in Asia? [Re: harlan]
kusojiji Offline
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Quote:


By the way, historically your responses have been too 'succinct', and cryptic to further discussion. I would appreciate it if you would put some time into your responses...as well as 'take it easy'. There is no sense in derailing a thread...when you can just as easily put a constructive spin on one.





I'll thank you to let me know if I violate any forum rules. Other than that I'll communicate in my own way. I can tell from your very firt post on this thread that you respect people expressing their views in thier own way.
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#258368 - 05/31/06 04:28 PM Re: Buddhism in everyday life in Asia? [Re: aoishi]
Bossman Offline
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The Japanese tagged buddhism onto their shinto ways, their nature is that there is no individual thus 'if a nail sticks up - knock it down' a writer will refer to 'the author' as opposed to 'I' and individualism is frowned upon. In China buddhism was tagged on to the indigenious taoist and confucian culture, in Tibet (that country that used to exist) it was tagged on to their Bon Po shamanistic and quite magical ways. Thailand probably has the closest buddhism to that taught by the original Buddha in the Theravadin forest monastaries because it had the most original scriptures carried and maintained from India.

In a way any religion is a bit like the martial arts in that it's not the system - it's the person.
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#258369 - 05/31/06 04:34 PM Re: Buddhism in everyday life in Asia? [Re: harlan]
kusojiji Offline
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How the influence of Buddhism manifests itself in each culture will depend on many factors.

How did Buddhism combine with pre-existing native religions in each country examined?

To what extent is religion generally expressed in civic life? How 'secular' is the society?

What role does religion play in social institutions and how prevalent are such institutions as essential aspects of maintaining social structure in the country in the presence or absence of other supportive social or governmental institutions?

What other competing faiths are equally if not more prevalent in a given society?

To what extent does/has the government tended to support or repress religion in a given country?


If you ask me, there are too many variables to make any kind of reasonable conclusion.
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#258370 - 05/31/06 04:37 PM Re: Buddhism in everyday life in Asia? [Re: Bossman]
kusojiji Offline
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Quote:

The Japanese nature is that there is no individual thus 'if a nail sticks up - knock it down' a writer will refer to 'the author' as opposed to 'I' and individualism is frowned upon.




See, this is the kind of stereotyping that this sort of thing fosters. The above is a generalization that is neither true nor productive.


Edited by kusojiji (05/31/06 04:40 PM)
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#258371 - 05/31/06 05:09 PM Re: Buddhism in everyday life in Asia? [Re: kusojiji]
Ed_Morris Offline
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Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 6772
instead of only posting to point out the wrongs....why don't you try more righting.

on topic:
what I meant by the belief differences is a contrast between central vs. shared philosophies.

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#258372 - 05/31/06 05:32 PM Re: Buddhism in everyday life in Asia? [Re: kusojiji]
Bossman Offline
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Registered: 08/25/03
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Quote:

Quote:

The Japanese nature is that there is no individual thus 'if a nail sticks up - knock it down' a writer will refer to 'the author' as opposed to 'I' and individualism is frowned upon.




See, this is the kind of stereotyping that this sort of thing fosters. The above is a generalization that is neither true nor productive.




Hardly stereotyping - it's a fact - and you add nothing to qualify your statement, that smells troll.
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#258373 - 05/31/06 05:58 PM Re: Buddhism in everyday life in Asia? [Re: Bossman]
kusojiji Offline
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Registered: 09/28/03
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Are you telling me that in all the time you were in Japan you didn't meet a great many dynamic individuals who expressed their own unique skills and pursued their individual dreams with great energy? You didn't notice the efforts and accomplishments of individuals being recognized and respected? In your study of Japanese history you didn't notice the emphasis placed on individual battlefield glory?

Individualism is a human characteristic. Different cultures may recognize it in different ways, but these differences stem from the perspective of the viewer, and tend to shrink the more that one becomes familiar with a culture.

Likewise, negative expressions of individuality are not valued much in any culture, so any rusty nail that sticks up will get hammered down (wait 'till I tell the boss about my great new idea during the quarterly meeting! - that's a stupid idea, sit down)and any beautiful, shiny nail that sticks up will be polished (wow, what a great new idea, and you told it to me in an appropriate way!)




So much of the 'difference' that people make a big deal out of is what we want to see.
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#258374 - 05/31/06 09:39 PM Re: Buddhism in everyday life in Asia? [Re: kusojiji]
aoishi Offline
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Registered: 10/05/05
Posts: 123
Loc: Massachusetts
The point you make here about seeing what we want to see in another culture is what I was trying to get at, in a way, with the other thread about "Asia as Other".
Having said that, I find there is a lot of truth in the sterotype of Japanese people being less focused on the individual as compared to the West and it would be too hast to throw it all away as a "pointless generalization".
Let's see if we can't mine this stereotype for some truth. LEt's try to all let go of our dogmatic ideas and try to see what the other people are trying to express. You may find that you agree more than you thought.

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#258375 - 06/01/06 08:20 AM Re: Buddhism in everyday life in Asia? [Re: aoishi]
harlan Offline
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Registered: 07/31/04
Posts: 6664
Loc: Amherst, MA
Excuse the crosspost, but found this interesting thread on another forum 'Buddhism in Japan'.

http://www.newbuddhist.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1624

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#258376 - 06/02/06 06:48 AM Re: Buddhism in everyday life in Asia? [Re: aoishi]
SpeedyGonzales Offline
Member

Registered: 08/16/05
Posts: 320
Quote:

There are a lot of Buddhists in Japan and China, but are the philosophical underpinnings of Buddhism evident anywhere or do they just chant a lot?
In Japan, for example, Buddhist priest reside over funerals while Shinto priests do marriages, new buildings, etc. The Buddhist priests chant, chant and chant so more, but few of them will engage you in a conversation about no-ego, non-attachment, meditation. etc. They're usually just regular joes who fish, drink and do karaoke...
So what about it? Where is the Budhhist philosophy represented in these cultures?
Any thoughts? I sure have some, but I prefer to share later...after some other have stepped up to the plate




In a word.... no.

Most people aren't really religious, they just do things once in a while and at least half the time it's either for a celebration purpose or for tradition.

For example, how many people in America celebrate Christmas and how many seriously observe and study the birth of Jesus Christ?

In Korea I would say the group with the mostt "serious prectitioners" (not just saying they are something) is Christianity.

In Japan it's really all mixed and more for tradition and celebrations. They mix very un-cohesive religions and form new and semi-new ones. For example in the original Buddhism "there were either no gods or they did not matter" where as in Japan and China they added on gods to the religion, which makes as much sense as adding Zeus and The Monkey King Sun Wukong to Christianity. Same thing happened in old Europe with Christianit, still does!

In general, humans are messing up!

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