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 Post subject: Happy Days Question #6 ~ Culturally Speaking
PostPosted: Sat Dec 09, 2006 11:21 am 
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From the Philippe Perrier interview (Tidbit #?)

“I traveled to Asia. People, over there, attach less importance to the life than us. I attended a funeral, they had burned died it and made small packages of its ashes. Then, they hung these packages with rockets which they sent towards the sky. Here, we have too high opinion of the individual existence. The individual, for me, is not worth anything; he can die of the day at the following day and has importance only as a sample. What counts, be the human one, the universal one. To seize the human one through the individual, that, it is interesting.”

How do you interpret Graff’s words? Can anyone comment on the difference in the perception of life and death between these two cultures?



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PostPosted: Sat Dec 09, 2006 1:43 pm 
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Wow, DITHOT, hard question this fine Sarurday!

It certainly needs more thought from me, but as a starter, maybe in some Asian countries life is more precarious because of the lower standard of living. If this is the case, a culture where you are likely to see your children die, the inevitabilty of death means that it holds less terror. And of course, if you believe the dead will be reborn and return in some way, why should it be such a big deal? If you think death is an absolutely final act, maybe you should be more frightened of it? (Or, and rambling here, maybe you should be much more frightened if you think there is both a heaven and a hell...)



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PostPosted: Sat Dec 09, 2006 2:02 pm 
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Once again, I feel a little lost in translation! ("...they have burned died it...."??) But I get the gist of the passage, I think. IMO, it seems to be correct that the Asian cultures, at least traditionally, put less emphasis on the Individual. But I don't think the conclusion that the human being is just a sample is right, if 'sample' is, indeed, the original word used. I think the human being is veiwed more as a contributor to a larger picture. Everyone's supposed to do their part to that end; they're suppose to make a contribution that enhances the whole in some way. So, in that light, the individual has a sort of evolutionary role to play but also needs to be aware that his particular existence isn't the be-all and end-all of Existence.

As far as treatment of a dead body goes, the West is much more concerned with preservation of the physical form, due to a belief in the resurrection of the physical form in the afterlife. The Asian belief is more about releasing the spirit so it can take another physical form in the world, a la reincarnation, or, if true enlightenment has been acheived this time around, it can go to Nirvana (The Whole) and become part of the Larger Picture on
the cosmic level. Sooo...to burned died the corpse and shoot the ashes into the sky would be appropriate, not to mention very GONZO!!
Always ahead of the curve, that guy! Nowadays a lot of people are choosing cremation and doing all kinds of things with the ashes - I was amazed to learn just what you CAN do with human
cremains. The most outrageous one to me is making paint out of them and putting them in a drawring!
You can divvy them up and package them any way you want - give them out to the funeral guests
(like a party favor) or carry them around on your neck, or keep them in a vase, or scatter them various and sundry
places - it's open season for dispersal these days!

So, in that regard, it seems like we're moving toward another
point of view vis a vis the afterlife in general. But that's another story....



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PostPosted: Sat Dec 09, 2006 3:06 pm 

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 09, 2006 3:19 pm 
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Thank you for tackling this one, Endora and Parlez and Charlene! Good points! My knowledge on this subject is too limited to do anything but learn. Parlez, your avatar alone gives great weight and authority to your posts! It tells me to pay attention; this is important! :-O



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 Post subject: Re: Happy Days Questin #6 ~ Culturally Speaking
PostPosted: Sat Dec 09, 2006 4:11 pm 
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DeppInTheHeartOfTexas wrote:
From the Philippe Perrier interview (Tidbit #?)

“I traveled to Asia. People, over there, attach less importance to the life than us. I attended a funeral, they had burned died it and made small packages of its ashes. Then, they hung these packages with rockets which they sent towards the sky.


I have trouble with this funeral. I think it is an exception, a modern example, and was something specifically requested of someone. In none of my studies have I heard of this specifically. I have heard of (and you can search on the internet for this), when they have a Buddhist monk funeral, where rockets are sent up , but the monk is not cremated, and the body and the coffin etc, end up being burned in an open air ceremony, in Laos. Eons ago, there was also a tribal ceremony like this for people in East Asia, where they placed the body on top of a sort of scafolding mountain built with timbers.

DeppInTheHeartOfTexas wrote:
Here, we have too high opinion of the individual existence. The individual, for me, is not worth anything; he can die of the day at the following day and has importance only as a sample. What counts, be the human one, the universal one. To seize the human one through the individual, that, it is interesting.”

How do you interpret Graff’s words? Can anyone comment on the difference in the perception of life and death between these two cultures?


Well, in Western civilization, there is a perception that there is God and then there is Me. (This is the beginnings of where Eastern Civilizations perceive a Western 'selfishness'.)
Then the person dies and goes to Heaven where God resides.

In Eastern civilizations there is a perception that God was a person who became a God through being able to reach Nirvana. There are many Gods. They beleive that our person, through Meditation, can get closer to Nirvana, but even through hard work, takes more than one lifetime (three?) to reach Nirvana (no longer reincarnated) . If you fail in this lifetime, it will take longer, and you will be reborn as a lesser entity (minus points), such as any one of the Chinese Horoscope animals. The idea is to become one with God. Their goal is 'Self-less-ness'.


Last edited by Depputante on Sat Dec 09, 2006 6:07 pm, edited 3 times in total.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 09, 2006 5:02 pm 
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Betty Sue wrote:
Thank you for tackling this one, Endora and Parlez and Charlene! Good points! My knowledge on this subject is too limited to do anything but learn. Parlez, your avatar alone gives great weight and authority to your posts! It tells me to pay attention; this is important! :-O


I'm in the same place as you, Betty Sue. I can't contribute much because my knowledge is very limited in this regard. I'm just enjoying reading everyone's responses. I think I will contemplate your comparison between Western civilization and Eastern, Depputante, while I go out to do my Christmas related errands.



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PostPosted: Sat Dec 09, 2006 5:33 pm 
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I'm also on the learning curve on this one which I why I wanted to ask the question. As those of you who are more in the know have described, I have always thougt Easter culture or maybe more correctly, religion, is more about the whole and less about the self. In a way I see Antoine aligning himself this way as he strips away all "distractions' to immerse himself in his study. Thanks everyone who has been able to help answer the question so far! :cool:



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PostPosted: Sat Dec 09, 2006 6:13 pm 
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Glad I could contribute. The only reason I know about this is because I'm a Uni. Grad. of Asian Studies department, and the final connection of selfish vs. selfless came to me during an interesting conversation I had with someone a long time ago. However, I know NOTHING of Europe.
Hope y'all find the summary interesting and contemplative! No rights or wrongs implied here. I think it does give an interesting perspective though!

Today I'm having a bit of trouble with the Husband in People's Act of Love. :-/ I may have trouble continuing reading. I've got a bit (understatement) of a gut wrenching feeling while putting up our Tree today.



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PostPosted: Sat Dec 09, 2006 7:09 pm 
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Okay! I go off to swim* and come back to find all these amazing
posts on the topic! Good job, mates! I think we're really stretching the old brain cells on this one, eh? My fascination with this subject is endless ~ I've studied, formally and informally, different cultures, beliefs systems, philosophies and religions (mostly brought to me through the study of art) most of my adult life. And, I confess, I still know nothing in any real depth, my choice of avatars to the contrary. :lol:

My only concern about your comments, Depputante, has to do with the subject of karma. Some people's karma is to fail, savvy?
I don't think it has to do with punishment, as in the 'sin-hell'
system in the west, as it has to do with evolution. If you don't manage to move your Self ahead in one lifetime, you go back a few paces and try it again. In the end, everyone achieves Nirvana (oneness with the godhead), but how each person gets there, as someone mentioned before, is unique.

Btw, Depputante, keep reading! The husband in TPAL
has one of those unique karmas it's worth finding out about.

*about the swim... An Asian man got into the pool to share my lane, and I thought, "Oh goodie ~ a Zen Master has entered my lane!" And, sure enough, he swam very well and quietly, and I tried to too ~ being one with the water and in the flow, etc.,etc..
Only, then he moved to another lane to share with someone else!
That's when I experienced the train wreck - of analysis, opinion,
judgement (Was it my flutter kick? My Speedo? My sparrow tattoo?) - until it came to me: He moved because he moved.
Period. End of discussion!
:chill:



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PostPosted: Sat Dec 09, 2006 7:28 pm 
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Funny swimming thoughts, Parlez!

Karma, I just listened to a lecture on 'Bad Karma and Anger' the other day. :blush: Bad Karma, when recognized for what it is (bad luck, destiny whatever you want to call it) , can be overcome. By acknowledging it, then you take the time to adjust your thoughts, and get rid of your anger, before you blow up.
So one can change their Karma/destiny. So they may have had bad Karma up to that point, it can be changed.

During this lecture, Karma was described as being an bad event in which you had no control over. You realize it, and then instead of getting angry about it, you accept it as being bad Karma, and then move on peacefully. This is seen as being one of (twelve?) necessary skills in reaching Nirvana. Or so they said.


Last edited by Depputante on Sat Dec 09, 2006 7:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 09, 2006 7:35 pm 
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Excellent!! This would imply that we have to 'work the program',
so to speak, and not just passively let life do whatever it will with us, correct?
Sooo, is Antoine on the wrong path afterall...?
Should he be being more pro-active about his fate/karma/life?
This line of thought could (but won't, I hope) lead to a discussion about will power and predestination.
ouch!



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PostPosted: Sat Dec 09, 2006 7:42 pm 
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Parlez wrote:
Excellent!! This would imply that we have to 'work the program',
so to speak, and not just passively let life do whatever it will with us, correct?
Sooo, is Antoine on the wrong path afterall...?
Should he be being more pro-active about his fate/karma/life?
This line of thought could (but won't, I hope) lead to a discussion about will power and predestination.
ouch!


:lol:
I was pondering this.
My answer is : Yes. But, the other side of the coin is that, perhaps he is being very active. He actively removed himself from the ills of society after all. I don't see Antoine as being inactive.

Is he on the wrong path? Hmmm...probably, maybe, perhaps but doubtful. ? :mort3:



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PostPosted: Sat Dec 09, 2006 7:57 pm 
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Aha! So there are two types of activity - inner and outer - that
make all the difference in getting ahead, a la Nirvana? I think so...
(Otherwise those monks on the hillside, doing 'nothing', are clearly barking up the wrong tree, eh?)
:clown:
I like the idea that Antoine has attempted to cease outer (worldly) activity in order to focus and get busy doing inner (spiritual) activity. The book doesn't really describe him doing that, however, so I can only hope it's taking place on a subconscious level for him.
In my personal opinion, more people should get on this band wagon, especially elders.
The clock is ticking.
Time to get busy with the soul work, brothers and sisters!
:cool:



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 Post subject: Re: Happy Days Question #6 ~ Culturally Speaking
PostPosted: Sat Dec 09, 2006 8:10 pm 
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DeppInTheHeartOfTexas wrote:
From the Philippe Perrier interview (Tidbit #?)

“I traveled to Asia. People, over there, attach less importance to the life than us. I attended a funeral, they had burned died it and made small packages of its ashes. Then, they hung these packages with rockets which they sent towards the sky. Here, we have too high opinion of the individual existence. The individual, for me, is not worth anything; he can die of the day at the following day and has importance only as a sample. What counts, be the human one, the universal one. To seize the human one through the individual, that, it is interesting.”

How do you interpret Graff’s words? Can anyone comment on the difference in the perception of life and death between these two cultures?



He is saying that the body isnt whats important its what you do with your life. I think alot of people in the US feel the same way. Its all in what you believe in. The funeral he is describing is different than "the norm" Unless your Hunter S Thompson, that is.



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