Thursday, May 28, 2015

A to Z: Cultural Perspectives in Education

Vaughan M. Blaney
BSc(UNB,Canada), BEd(UNB,Canada), TEFLA(University of Cambridge), MEd(HKU, Hong Kong)

Book: "A to Z: Cultural Perspectives in Education"

The Letter 'P'...

Primal- indigenous for me
Hinduism for you 
Islam, Judaism, Christianity
And Buddhism too

Perhaps we are all different, still all can agree that we: 
  • believe in peace
  • feel shy when speaking in public
  • know that purple is a colour 
  • believe we should keep a promise
  • know the name of our principal 
  • try our best to be positive
  • love to play
  • enjoy painting during art class
  • want to protect our environment 
  • know how to print the letter P

Buddhism has been known to "the West" for many centuries, with stronger contacts establishing only since the 19th century. But even then, knowledge of Buddhism was largely confined to a small elite until the 1960s when it started to become more popular. Today several hundred thousand "Westerners" have adopted Buddhism in one or other of its different forms, and "many more quietly incorporate Buddhist practices on to their daily lives (Bodhi, 2000)...

But if this become true, if there is a revival in the West, what would Buddhism look like in the future? Or asked differently: How can Western Buddhism be characterized? The major feature is the existence of "partly syncretistic, partly innovative attempts to create new styles of Buddhist practice conformable to the Western temperament" (Bodhi, 2000) with the borders of the different schools being blurred. One American bhikkhuni describes the situation as follows: 

All the different traditions are going and most people don't separate. (...) they don't think 'Oh, are you the good kind or are you the bad kind'. Most Westerners think 'Oh you are Buddhist and so you can teach me something about Buddhism.' So a lot of information is starting  to mix in the west. 

Pfaff-Czarnecka, Joanna

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