Why Westerners can't extend loving kindness to themselves?

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
SarathW
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Why Westerners can't extend loving kindness to themselves?

Post by SarathW » Fri Jun 15, 2018 8:46 am

"Westerners can't extend loving kindness to themselves"
I heard above statement from many teachers more than once.
I still can't understand the reason behind this.

“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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SDC
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Re: Why Westerners can't extend loving kindness to themselves?

Post by SDC » Fri Jun 15, 2018 10:35 am

If the monastic in the video isn't Theravadin then this belongs in "Connections...". Let me know if I should move it.

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DooDoot
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Re: Why Westerners can't extend loving kindness to themselves?

Post by DooDoot » Fri Jun 15, 2018 11:11 am

SarathW wrote:
Fri Jun 15, 2018 8:46 am
"Westerners can't extend loving kindness to themselves"
This appears to be a baseless generalization & just an idea of HHDL that is repeated with blind faith.

SarathW
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Re: Why Westerners can't extend loving kindness to themselves?

Post by SarathW » Fri Jun 15, 2018 11:26 am

SDC wrote:
Fri Jun 15, 2018 10:35 am
If the monastic in the video isn't Theravadin then this belongs in "Connections...". Let me know if I should move it.
Please move
Thanks
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Sam Vara
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Re: Why Westerners can't extend loving kindness to themselves?

Post by Sam Vara » Fri Jun 15, 2018 11:52 am

Ajahn Chah on the differences between Asians and Westerners:
Q: Are minds of Asians and Westerners different?

Answer: Basically there is no difference. Outer customs and language may appear different, but the human mind has natural characteristics which are the same for all people. Greed and hatred are the same in an Eastern or a Western mind. Suffering and the cessation of suffering are the same for all people.
(Quoted in Jack Kornfield's Living Dharma).

befriend
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Re: Why Westerners can't extend loving kindness to themselves?

Post by befriend » Fri Jun 15, 2018 12:55 pm

Some westerners carry self hatred. The Dalai Lama was asked about the topic of self hatred and he didn't know what it was because he couldn't understand why someone would hate themselves. Westerners are taught to be independent and have a strong out going personality if you have poor social skills which is what our self worth is mostly self determined and societally determined by you are more prone to self loathing.
Take care of mindfulness and mindfulness will take care of you.

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JMGinPDX
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Re: Why Westerners can't extend loving kindness to themselves?

Post by JMGinPDX » Fri Jun 15, 2018 4:47 pm

Despite what Ajahn Chah said, there ARE societal and cultural differences that play into this. I think the more specific answer here is that we are tuned for self-hatred due to our primarily Judeo-Christian background, and the emphasis on sin and guilt that is somewhat unique to the Abrahamic religions.
Right now, it's like this...

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StormBorn
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Re: Why Westerners can't extend loving kindness to themselves?

Post by StormBorn » Fri Jun 15, 2018 11:53 pm

Having worked with both Westerners and Asians alike for many years, I have observed a great degree of self-hatred and lack of empathy among Westerners generally. However, that is now changing, perhaps due to the flooding of Asian societies by the Western media/social media hence the cultural garbage.
“Greater in battle than the man who would conquer a thousand-thousand men, is he who would conquer just one—himself.”

LuisR
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Re: Why Westerners can't extend loving kindness to themselves?

Post by LuisR » Sat Jun 16, 2018 6:59 am

I really don't like myself. I have a hard time practicing meta.

Saengnapha
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Re: Why Westerners can't extend loving kindness to themselves?

Post by Saengnapha » Sat Jun 16, 2018 9:12 am

LuisR wrote:
Sat Jun 16, 2018 6:59 am
I really don't like myself. I have a hard time practicing meta.
This comes from years and years of telling yourself that you are either no good or some other 'negative' view of yourself. You are not this enough, you don't have that, you're not like this, you should be like that, etc., etc. Once you begin to feel through these views, they will not bother you as they once did. Just habits, but you have to pay attention when you start to feel like this and remember that they are just habits, years of thinking in such a way. You don't have to practice metta to understand and deal with this.

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Mr Man
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Re: Why Westerners can't extend loving kindness to themselves?

Post by Mr Man » Sat Jun 16, 2018 10:17 am

StormBorn wrote:
Fri Jun 15, 2018 11:53 pm
Having worked with both Westerners and Asians alike for many years, I have observed a great degree of self-hatred and lack of empathy among Westerners generally. However, that is now changing, perhaps due to the flooding of Asian societies by the Western media/social media hence the cultural garbage.
Well the super high suicide rates in Thailand + the amount of plastic surgery going on would suggest that at least some Asian countries have a fair amount of self-hatred.

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Re: Why Westerners can't extend loving kindness to themselves?

Post by James Tan » Sat Jun 16, 2018 12:21 pm

Mr Man wrote:
Sat Jun 16, 2018 10:17 am
StormBorn wrote:
Fri Jun 15, 2018 11:53 pm
Having worked with both Westerners and Asians alike for many years, I have observed a great degree of self-hatred and lack of empathy among Westerners generally. However, that is now changing, perhaps due to the flooding of Asian societies by the Western media/social media hence the cultural garbage.
Well the super high suicide rates in Thailand + the amount of plastic surgery going on would suggest that at least some Asian countries have a fair amount of self-hatred.
Suicide doesn't mean self hated . Suicidal action is a mere reaction to escape certain circumstances in which one could not find solutions anymore .
:reading:

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StormBorn
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Re: Why Westerners can't extend loving kindness to themselves?

Post by StormBorn » Sat Jun 16, 2018 2:46 pm

Mr Man wrote:
Sat Jun 16, 2018 10:17 am
StormBorn wrote:
Fri Jun 15, 2018 11:53 pm
Having worked with both Westerners and Asians alike for many years, I have observed a great degree of self-hatred and lack of empathy among Westerners generally. However, that is now changing, perhaps due to the flooding of Asian societies by the Western media/social media hence the cultural garbage.
Well the super high suicide rates in Thailand + the amount of plastic surgery going on would suggest that at least some Asian countries have a fair amount of self-hatred.
Plastic surgery addiction may be caused by more than low self-esteem
A study published this week in the medical journal Archives of General Psychiatry suggests that the brains of people who have a psychological condition called body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) actually respond differently to images of their own faces. BDD causes sufferers to have an unrealistic view of their bodies. The study used MRI technology to monitor the brains of people diagnosed with BDD when shown different images, including images of their own faces. Researchers found that people with BDD get stuck on details in much the same way as people who suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder do, which could mean that BDD and OCD are similar disorders.
“Greater in battle than the man who would conquer a thousand-thousand men, is he who would conquer just one—himself.”

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Modus.Ponens
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Re: Why Westerners can't extend loving kindness to themselves?

Post by Modus.Ponens » Sat Jun 16, 2018 4:17 pm

It's probably a tendency in the West. My guess is that it has to do with high expectations learned through advertisement, combined with a poor understanding of human nature and falibility; and Western guilt.
"He turns his mind away from those phenomena and, having done so, inclines his mind to the property of deathlessness: 'This is peace, this is exquisite — the resolution of all fabrications; the relinquishment of all acquisitions; the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Unbinding.' " - Jhana Sutta

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Dhammarakkhito
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Re: Why Westerners can't extend loving kindness to themselves?

Post by Dhammarakkhito » Sat Jun 16, 2018 8:48 pm

If the monastic in the video isn't Theravadin then this belongs in "Connections...". Let me know if I should move it.
what if its a tibetan talking about dharma/dhammapada?? like, if they're talking about some apocryphal text sure but the above sectarianism isn't appropriate for the dhamma
LuisR wrote:
Sat Jun 16, 2018 6:59 am
I really don't like myself. I have a hard time practicing meta.
well, dont conceive yourself in metta since this is not the buddha's instructions.
you would waste a lot of horsepower trying to imagine yourself, then extending your 'boundless, universal heart' to that projection
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
[url]]

‘I am’ is an imagining ; ‘I am this’ is an imagining ; ‘I shall be’ is an imagining ; ‘I shall not be’ is an imagining; ‘I shall be possessed of form’ is an imagining ; ‘I shall be formless’ is an imagining ; ‘I shall be percipient’ is an imagining ; ‘I shall be non-percipient’ is an imagining ; ‘I shall be neither-percipient-nor-non-percipient’ is an imagining . Imagining is a disease, imagining is a tumor, imagining is a dart. By going beyond all imaginings, one is said to be a sage at peace.
(MN 1)

"Insofar as it is empty of a self or of anything pertaining to a self: Thus it is said, Ananda, that the world is empty. And what is empty of a self or of anything pertaining to a self? The eye is empty of a self or of anything pertaining to a self. Forms... Eye-consciousness... Eye-contact is empty of a self or of anything pertaining to a self.

"The ear is empty...

"The nose is empty...

"The tongue is empty...

"The body is empty...

"The intellect is empty....

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
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