Sunday, September 11, 2011

Harder to teach Buddhism to a Westerner?

Question : (Unedited)

I heard someone say it is harder to teach Buddhism to a Westerner, Why is that?

My comment:

Hi W,

For someone new to Buddhism, it is like a first-time traveller discovering new and strange places, some totally alien and opposed to one's experiences.  Buddhist doctrines will be totally alien to a stereotyped Caucasian who has been brought up in a Christian environment.  This is because Buddhist concepts are very different from Christian doctrines.  It will take some time for him to think "outside the box" and experience a paradigm shift in order to appreciate and understand what the Buddha taught.

A stereotype Western mindset in terms of religion is that there must be a creator god and the devil; a hell and a heaven; punishment and reward by god.  Everything is centred on the fear of this all-powerful and all-knowing god.  This is the greatest hindrance to a Western mind to understand the teachings of the Buddha.  It is a "religious shock" to learn that Buddhism is totally different from Christianity.  So long as the Western mindset is not changed, this person will have difficulty learning Buddhism.  The only way is to leave aside all the indoctrinated ideas and set oneself to learn Buddhism with an "open mind".

On the positive side, once the Westerner begins to understand Buddhism, he can practise better than an Asian.  Asians are afffected by their ingrained superstitions and the fear of ghosts.  

No comments:

Related Posts with Thumbnails