Buddhism And Culture
Buddhism is about creating a culture of genuine wisdom and kindness through direct seeing of the nature of mind. It isn’t about adopting another culture to overlay our own.
The prerequisites of a kind culture are generosity, patience, conscience, discipline, concentration and wisdom/realisation. Of course, we don’t need to be Buddhists to do that; we could be Buddhist-wise or Other-wise in our own back yard. A group or tradition can give us the appropriate help to remind us, and to keep us on the path.
The Tibetan Buddhist culture has its roots in the Bon tradition, and is based on wisdom and kindness; it is a perfect reservoir for wisdom knowledge. Tibet has no country of its own now, so it has to keep Tibetan-ness alive by maintaining its culture (all cultures do this when they move to another country, and we all become enriched by this gradual integration, as long as it doesn’t take over). We can support Tibetan culture, but we don’t have to become Tibetan. The essence of spiritual teachings is beyond culture as it’s to do with consciousness. Remember that Buddhism came out of the Vedic tradition, which was the culture of the Buddha.
We make the teachings our own by taking them to heart,
internalising them and living them
in accordance with our level of understanding.
And there is the dilemma …
There are many levels (yanas),
each having its own culture.
As we transcend the levels,
the influence of culture diminishes..