DUE TO EXTREMELY UNRELIABLE INTERNET, I AM GOING TO BE POSTING THOUGHTS THAT I HAD SAVED ON MY COMPUTER FROM THE PAST. I HOPE THIS WORKS.
February 4, 2013
Throughout our time in Thimphu, we gained a basic understanding of what Bhutan is mostly like. Learning about and experiencing is certainly a different thing, but I think basic understandings of several things were understood.
Most interesting is a basic understanding of Buddhism.
As very successful people have told me, it is crucial to have a system to interpret the incredible amount of data that our brain receives. This person was more so talking about a framework to deal with the triple threat of time, capital and scope for projects, particularly for business leadership. One of my goals while being away is to gain some new ontological perspectives. The stories of a culture form the basis for our views, values and beliefs. For example, hierarchical structures (often dichotomies) of the West come directly from Genesis and values cooperation, and non-anthropocentric views come from some North American Indigenous creation stories (King 2003). (I’m sorry for sounding like Wonderdick). Like Christianity, teachings from Elders, and Scientific Method, Buddhism gives a system in which to perceive the information we receive.
Being such a deep topic (punny), I don’t think I can give a Buddhist perspective justice yet. But what I have learned is that Buddhism recognizes that it is human’s nature to pursue continuous happiness and continuous prosperity. Prosperity defined as knowing what is enough. The example we were given was eating a chocolate bar. Eating one will neither make you continually happy (oh no I ate it and I have none left) or prosperous (now I want another one). The path to this continuous prosperity and happiness also included ensuring that our physical facility with the rest of nature is also fulfilled. The expert lecturing to us explained that this facility as animal contentedness. Being content with just survival. The other parts of the path to enlightenment were having a Right Understanding in the self found through meditation and reflection and a Right Relationship with other humans based upon thinking of others first. The combination of the Right Relationship, Right Understanding and Physical Facility is a transformation from animal consciousness to human consciousness; enlightenment.
Another key feature of this Buddhist framework included a firm distinction of the body and self (mind). The body needs are physical and the self is happiness. The body’s needs are temporary and quantitative. The Self’s needs are continuous and qualitative. For example, the body needs food to survive but you can’t continually eat and it will only ever be temporarily fulfilled. The Self’s capacity to receive qualitative things like love and respect are endless and are very much affected by a persons understandings and feelings. This dichotomy is one to help people make decisions that pursue enlightenment, prosperity and happiness. It reminds me of the Matrix and the super meals that they eat that look like uncooked egg and oatmeal. The quality of the taste food doesn’t matter because it only affects the person’s physical facility, not their escape from the mind control of robots.
The other key point made by our esteemed speaker was the way we constantly evaluate other human beings. We evaluate others based on their competence and we evaluate ourselves based upon our intentions. “Look what you did!” and “Well, that was not what I wanted to happen.” I think that everyone is guilty of this. The Buddhist thought teaches us to evaluate others more based upon their intentions and ourselves more based on our competence.
The Buddha has a lot of teachings on a lot of things. For more information head to your local monastery or your local interwebs. I find that like most religions I have learned about, Buddhism has some things that contradict each other in practice. That said, I find it very beneficial and interesting to think about how others perceive the world. It makes you reflect on yourself. Hopefully it will help me to understand some of the cultural differences that I will face on a regular day basis when I arrive in Tsebar.
PS THIS POST HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH ANYONE NAMED DAN. Ask the Dudewagon.