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camerata

Bhutan on the brink

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Fascinating article on the effect of modernity and consumerism on a rural Buddhist culture. Some parallels with Thailand:

 

"Another challenge is that there has been a serious decline in rural life, a major population shift from villages to towns. In the past, there was no unemployment because people worked on their farms, but people no longer see farming as an attractive option. The problem is, if everyone is looking for a comfortable job where they can sit on a chair behind a computer, then you’re certainly going to have an unemployment issue, because not everyone will be able to find such a job. "

 

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'In the past, traditional Buddhist communities would go get teachings from the local priest. The first lesson is always on the four thoughts that turn the mind toward dharma, which includes the meditation on the preciousness, the rarity of the human body—how special the human body is as a medium to reach high states of development. Because your body is so special, so rare, so precious, you view your body as this great asset you have, so you would never commit suicide. You want to hold on to your body for as long as you can because every second you live is another chance to cultivate the dharma. These days we’ve lost the traditional Buddhist education; instead, the younger generation is going into science classrooms where the teacher shows them a skeleton and says, “This is your skull,” and so forth, and they basically get a very materialistic understanding of their bodies. Now, when a young person gets frustrated or depressed, they think, “Well, this body is the one that is really the problem. If I get rid of this body, I am dead, and all my problems are solved.” '

 

Source: Tricycle

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