Like so many innovations and imports, Buddhism is a mixture of old and new, East and West, conservative and revolutionary. It reflects the difficulty that is present in all social modify.
“Buddhism hasn’t has an original concept in 1000 years. ” Edward cullen Conze. Thirty Years of Buddhist Studies
Buddhism arrived in the West earlier in the nineteenth century, after the hundreds of years of Western economic and politics expansion. Asian religions like Buddhism were certainly known to travelers and missionaries long before then, but it was not until the early nineteenth century that will Buddhism fully captured the western imagination.
The nineteenth century had been one of social and philosophical upheaval, both for the west as well as for Hard anodized cookware cultures newly exposed to western tips, education, and values. So certainly, the versions of Buddhism that have come to the West, from that period forward, have been impacted by Western concepts, directly and indirectly, at the hands of both Western interpreters and Asian exponents.
Sometimes Buddhism is used to refute western ideas and support conventional world-views and values; sometimes it is adapted to meet the west on the west’s terms, to make it palatable and obtainable; sometimes it takes on the form of an apologia, to appease disparagement from the Western and to meet Western approval. Several in the West, like Schopenhauer in the 1830s, and of course many since then, hope to find justification for their own ideas simply by affirming common ground with Buddhism. Inevitably, Buddhism in the west continues to be strained through Western ideas and anticipation of it, just as Buddhism in Asian countries is influenced by its traditional western adaptations, as well as by conservative reactions away from them.
Cultures are not static. They adapt in the same way that living organisms do. If true stasis ever existed, it would lead to stagnation and extinction. This is as genuine for a culture, or an idea, since it is for a species. Cultural experience centers on the evolving tensions between opposites, inertia and momentum, tradition and change, innovation and convention.
The interplay and tensions between nomads plus farmers, between urban and rural populations, between orthodoxy and heresy, between members of one religion plus another, between invading and native people, is often the lifeblood of change and renewal, however violently it may play out, and however self-defeating the long-term consequences may be. Tensions of all kinds are just how cultural renewal, change, and advancement, and the impulse for human survival, have found expression down the ages.
No surprise then, that as a species we also hunger for unchanging reality, for ideas that are pure plus reliable, uninfluenced by the flux of human tides. Our quest for it may be as old as human thought itself. How many angels can match on the head of a pin?
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Precisely why is I here? How did neutrinos and quarks emerge in the milliseconds following the big bang?
The quest for certainty has shown itself in Buddhism as it has in all the great traditions. Instructions handed down from founding sources have been taken to be absolutes, whether we call it Dharma, or The Word of God. How fantastic, an impartial observer might say, that the Truth has so many complicated and contradictory ways of expressing alone!
Exponents of Buddhism often pride themselves on the practicality and flexibility of their tradition, the fact that they have you do not have for a ‘God’ or of any kind of transcendent authority. Teachings about the relativity and subjectivity of the ‘self’ — anatta, and of the nature of truth — unya, have provided Buddhism with an effective eject button anytime there has been a tendency to be captured in absolutes. However , this has not prevented what has come down to us as instructions, anecdotes, or analogies to be taken as literal truth. Such is our hunger for assurance. Such is the tension between understanding and being, between understanding and embodiment — another tension associated with opposites that plays out within us.