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Thread: Dharma Infiltrates the West

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    Dharma Infiltrates the West

    Vannakkam: I opened this thread because of another thread, inspired by FFTW. When I was a child, there were no signs of dharma here anywhere. Nothing. About the only thing anywhere may have been the encyclopedia at school, if you happened to flip to the right page. Of course that was pretty distorted. So I thought I'd start a new thread, of everyday samples we might encounter unexpectedly. The topics are vast, and perhaps others can add their own subtopics.

    People ... Recent immigration has Hindus all over the place. Even small town America, and Canada. In Canada, most places, especially on rail lines, had its token Chinese people, often a restaurant, a shoemaker, etc. That was the only ethnicity outside of European. Of course just within the European peoples there was ethnicity, just not to the same degree. The Chinese, at least here in Canada are now accompanied by Indian. Just last night I was talking to my sister; she lives in a small city of around 15 000 people. We were discussing her health issues, and she said was at an Indian doctor's office, and she said, "He even had a picture on his desk of that God with a trunk." Ganesha? Not when I was a kid. But I'm guessing maybe half the western population can actually name Ganesha.

    Aum Namasivaya

  2. #2

    Re: Dharma Infiltrates the West

    Nameste EM,

    It is an interesting point that you bring up. I ponder from time to time the Eastern infiltration of knowledge; in respect to the entire "enlightenment" period of Western culture, it has been very much shaped by the influance of Eastern philosophy.
    Whether the West knows it of not; it has to my mind, been very much shaped by Eastern dharma.
    I remember smiling as I read Kant's paper on enlightenment, compared to the Upanishads and vedas translated at about the same time, Kant is really a light weight, put next to these Eastern masterpieces, to my mind he was inspired by this Indian infiltration of thought and love.

    Then of course the hippy movement in the 60's; there was defiantly yogic influence and this, after the path had been set by Guru's and Saints, such as Swami Vivekananda and the likes, they have all delivered their message's.

    Slowly, I believe, the West is awaking from a spiritual dark age, and as you have said "dharma infiltrates the west".

    praNAma

    mana
    Last edited by Mana; 19 March 2012 at 01:20 PM.

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    Re: Dharma Infiltrates the West

    Vannakkam: Names ... People give their kids names like Jasmine (not truly an Indian name as far as I know ... not sure. I taught two Jasmines in my career, one was an Indian Fijian; the other was just your average looking ordinary western kid. Uma as in Uma Thurman is clearly Hindu but, but Robert Thurman was a practising Buddhist. In Hollywood, I think its just more common. Names with an eastern slant are certainly becoming more common. I doubt that most people associate Uma with Shakti though. Still its out there.

    Aum Namasivaya

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    Re: Dharma Infiltrates the West

    Hari Om

    Namaste and greetings to all,

    With Mana, think of Billy Jack movies and other things from that time period. Perhaps more Humanistist and then things grown from this, New Agey, but gives hope that this is little taste of what truth is for these Portions to "feel". The Beatles com to mind to as well as the spiritual Beatle, George Harrison.

    Think with Eastern Mind's thread, the concept of reincarnation. In conversation with Christians, seems like number of them believe in this or at very least are open to it. Think hope in Christian telling me they believe this way they do because not familiar with anything else. Think growth of vegetarianism due to it "just seems" right if I don't eat Fluffy, th e pet dog. In prisons and ghetto schools, increase in meditation practices. All these things seem to be opening the door for the awakening that Mana speaks of.

    So, without maybe the formal meaning behind it, the increase in things discussed here and other postings and thread, is good sign at least, or perhaps much more.

    OM Shanti

    FFTW

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    Re: Dharma Infiltrates the West

    Philip Goldberg's 'American Veda' deals with the subject elaborately, in fact this is the central theme of his book.

    But his point of view has nothing to do with the immigrants. Mostly he was talking about how some Americans started studying and subsequntly embracing the vedanta, maybe iam overstating here on this thread. Hindus today dont even make 1% of US population. Namaste.

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    Re: Dharma Infiltrates the West

    Quote Originally Posted by charitra View Post
    Philip Goldberg's 'American Veda' deals with the subject elaborately, in fact this is the central theme of his book.

    But his point of view has nothing to do with the immigrants. Mostly he was talking about how some Americans started studying and subsequntly embracing the vedanta, maybe iam overstating here on this thread. Hindus today dont even make 1% of US population. Namaste.
    Vannakkam: That may be true, but still the impact is there subtly. Consider a Hindu temple beside a major highway. An American Dad drives by, and the kid in the back seat asks, "Daddy, what kind of church is that?" and no matter what the Dad says, the kid's interest gets piqued. The western interest in the Vedas and eastern philosophy in general has been around for a long time, with the likes of Walt Whitman over a century ago, and it grew exponentially in the sixties.

    The idea of people was just a subtopic. I remember my Dad telling me the story (probably in the 30s) of seeing their first black (African American) in small town western Canada. In the very least, now people realise there is a religion called Hinduism, and people called Hindus.

    Aum Namasivaya
    Last edited by Eastern Mind; 20 March 2012 at 05:36 PM.

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    Re: Dharma Infiltrates the West

    Slowly, I believe, the West is awaking from a spiritual dark age, and as you have said "dharma infiltrates the west".

    praNAma

    mana[/quote]

    This is a good quote, Mana. I love it. The sun rises in the east and eventually the west gets the light, and so also with enlightenment.

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    Re: Dharma Infiltrates the West

    Vannakkam: School curriculum: In about 1990, a story in the Grade 6 basal reader (Language Arts - English) I taught from had a story of how the protagonist, a young Bharat Natyam student (Canadian textbook, story set in Toronto) had her fan from her costume broken by a fellow student, and then later he helped her. She had to get permission from her teacher to dance at school on Culture Day. Although the main point of the story was bullying and forgiveness, or reconciliation, there was just a ton of cultural overlap.

    I don't think this story is unique at all. Cultural stories are used in much school curriculum to foster tolerance of all cultures, and one of the side effects is more familiarization with the religions of the cultures.

    This is definitely a change from older more 'traditional' curriculum that was basically the nuclear family with a dog and a white picket fence. "See Spot run."

    Aum Namasivaya

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    Re: Dharma Infiltrates the West

    My town is very unique, it's a very diverse affluent Mid-western town. A lot of people assume my name came from my family being Indian or having some connection to India, so I was always made of aware of India and its religions. Looking back on it was meant to be for me to be Hindu haha. I spent a lot of time denying it, and it's been showing itself all my life.
    -Since my town is diverse, I was used to hearing about Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism, and Jainism. The elementary school I went to actually had an elective about India that I took. There I was able to learn even more and participate in some Indian cultural practices. But even though I'm young, Dharma is a lot more mainstream than it was as a child. Sometimes that concerns me because the media and other outlets don't give a clear picture. Therefore a lot of people end up culturally appropriating instead of learning about a culture respectfully.

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