Friday, May 5, 2017
MIT did a very interesting study some time ago.
They took a bunch of students from different countries gave them a list of words like, carrots, cabbage, lettuce, rabbit, cow, goat etc and asked them to form pairs but didn’t give them any other instructions.
What they found out was quite interesting and relevant but not surprising at all.
The students from the western civilized countries, US, UK, France, Germany etc. all without exception made pairs of words based on their classification e.g. Carrots and lettuce, cow and goat, wolf and tiger etc, while the students from the Easter civilized countries, India, China, etc. made pairs based on relationships like; rabbit and carrot, grass and cow, etc.
This might not be relevant to you but to any student of Buddhism this is the basis on which the barriers and obstacles in assimilating the Buddhist teachings are based.
We have learn to understand and rationalize the world by dissecting it into pieces and labeling everything in neat groups and categories. This is a very good way of inventorying the world but a very poor way of understanding its function.
Point and case the difference between Eastern and Western medicine.
The Western medicine sees the human body as a collection of parts, therefore we have educated our doctors to specialize in the respective parts. We have a doctor for the eyes, one for the hart, one for the feet and so on. Respective to this view a disease is nothing but a part going bad and therefore the treatment is fixing or replacing the bad part.
The eastern doctors regard the human body as a whole organic, integrated and cohesive organism.
A disease is seen as a dysfunction, breaking of balance and harmony of the whole human body, as the elements not working properly together causing the decay or breaking of a part or parts of the system. Respectively, then the cure is to fix the broken part but make the system work back in harmony which in terms will heal the broken elements.
This becomes vital – literally – when you are facing a terminal illness because the symptomatic treatment of a disease – actually the symptomatic treatment of anything – causes in most cases the aggravation of the problem rather than solving it.
This model of understanding the world, and I am addressing here the Western reader, becomes a major obstacle on one’s journey to enlightenment and it deserves a closer look and further understanding.