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Thread: Is Buddhism a trigger for anyone?

  1. #1
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    Is Buddhism a trigger for anyone?

    The context is that I am at a connection through conflict weekend training, very good program that has worked in the Middle East and has a branch here working with primarily young women in communities. Yes, real social justice type of lens, and really excited that it is not just white middle class women. Only one man however.

    One exercise was to have many words where we wrote down our first response and then collected all of those words and then worked with those assumptions and emotional responses. What I noticed was that Buddhist wasn't one of the religions and Asian was not one of the race/colors. It just made me wonder if anyone has any issues with Buddhism really? There is so much conflict right now around 3 religions, Christianity, Judaism and Islam, but Hindu and Buddhist outside of Asia seems pretty benign. I have had a couple people over the years who have very strong negative feelings, one forbid me to talk any further to her husband who was curious about Buddhism, from people who identified themselves as Christian. Still overall curiosity and positive responses.

    This is probably a more diverse group personally and politically than I operate in for the rest of my life so I am just curious,

  2. #2
    Senior Member razz's Avatar
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    In the western world, you will encounter different belief systems than the eastern world. Buddhism is not my choice but I have no negative response to it.
    Gandhi: Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony .

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    I have heard anti-Buddhist comments from one woman at work. I take it as anti-immigrant and that she does not like the changing demographics of the area.

    Personally I had a completely positive view until Buddhist monks in Myanmar started persecuting the Rohinga.

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    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    To be honest, I'm starting to get triggered by the word "trigger."

    I have a very positive emotional response to the words associated with Buddhism, and I still identify as Christian, but with strong Buddhist leanings. My DH makes fun of me and my favorite Buddhist authors (He very irreverently calls Thich Nhat Hanh "Tick On My Hand").

    But I don't get the exercise you described. Are you saying people wrote down their own words to respond to, and no one mentioned Buddhism/Asian? To your point, I don't think it's negative or positive thing--Buddhism represents just about 1% of the population in the US. So, it's just flying under the radar, IMHO. To your point, the 3 Abrahamic religions are much more likely to be associated with strong emotions.

    Among my acquaintances, I think Buddhism is received with a benign curiosity and respect overall, thanks to the Dalai Lama, who seems to be the American icon for Buddhism.
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
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    HI Catherine, I agree with trigger, I know people who have some very real PTSD and hearing that other people are triggered all the time is basically a pain and not being aware of more serous concerns.

    The Rohinga conflict shows that any religion or group is capable of violence. I am also very aware of the sexism many of the Buddhist traditions because I study with nuns.

    On the exercise the facilitators chose about 10 words to post and we reacted/responded to those words and then got into how it felt and how it felt to read the words of our own identity.

    I want to go into banking

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    Lol Zoe. My children were raised with constant encouragement to follow the Jewish teaching that we are here to help god fix the world. They were also encouraged to think for themselves and find their own paths. When my middle child chose his career, his sister was very critical of it. It is well paying, but low in social value (although with the potential to improve some health care outcomes). She said “you are going to be a cog in a machine!” And he said “yes. A very well oiled cog.”

    The world also needs bankers.

  7. #7
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chicken lady View Post
    Lol Zoe. My children were raised with constant encouragement to follow the Jewish teaching that we are here to help god fix the world. They were also encouraged to think for themselves and find their own paths. When my middle child chose his career, his sister was very critical of it. It is well paying, but low in social value (although with the potential to improve some health care outcomes). She said “you are going to be a cog in a machine!” And he said “yes. A very well oiled cog.”

    The world also needs bankers.
    +1

    I remember when my singer-songwriter-artist-idealist son asked me once "Mom, what led you to doing what you're doing? [market research]" I said, "I did it for the money." He was confused, because I always taught my kids to find their own path/money isn't important/blahblahblah. He asked, "Well, you must have found something creative in it, something fulfilling, writing reports? Talking to doctors?"

    And I said, "Nah, I did it for the money."

    The problem I have with the whole "Follow your bliss" line of thought is, if everyone does that, who will collect the garbage? Who will exterminate the bugs? Who will stock the supermarket shelves? It's a bit egotistical to expect that everyone can and should have some grand, noble, socially-redeeming job that they can pride themselves on. I prefer for people to see their jobs the way that MLK did: that no matter what job you have, just kick butt in it and that alone is doing God's work.
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
    www.silententry.wordpress.com

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    I had somewhat minimal positive thoughts about Buddhism until we went to Thailand and I could see how corrupted it had become in that country. So basically it is not better/worse than any other organized religion. Individuals can practice and be good representatives but for me the whole organized aspect of any religion is subject to corruption of the initial values. Could be due to the power over others, the money, or many other reasons.

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    I definitely get negative reactions when anyone, from any organized religion, starts trying to tell me what is, or "enlighten me", or tell who is in or out (heaven, etc.) so I guess I have a kneejerk reaction against all organized religion, unless they happen to be preaching what I believe in, lol, which is peace, so I like hearing from my Quaker meeting, and we are kind of organized. I like going to the Catholic church that was my home for many years. I like going to the Anglican church that was my first church home. Prefer the Quakers because no one is telling me what to say or think. But unless someone starts doing something that my brain perceives as preaching, or telling me "how things are" I tend to tune out thoughts about religions, definitely a live and let live reaction.

    Don't know if that helps? I really dislike trainings of the type you describe as I think they are intellectually bankrupt, and push people into really bad habits of thinking, looking at the world as groups of "other" and trying to shame people and push an agenda, which is basically a more sophisticated version of preaching.

    I am definitely a St. Francis type of person, preach the gospel, use words if necessary.

  10. #10
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    I have some negative reactions myself being more and more on the inside and meeting more Sri Lankan families. You can make any religion beneficial to ourselves and not necessarily great as an organized system on a larger scale.

    Right now my issue is that we talk about relieving suffering for all beings while so many people and countries are starving, in poverty, have no health care, etc. Like all religions put it in to practice.

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