The Himalayan range from the Terai (What the Buddha could see on a clear day)

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Transcript of The Himalayan range from the Terai (What the Buddha could see on a clear day)

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  • The Himalayan range from the Terai (What the Buddha could see on a clear day)
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  • (Re)-Constructing the Past with Asians having little voice as Europeans had dominating power
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  • Edward Said: Knowledge is always connected to power in colonial era; scholarship aimed to define, contain, and control the East in the popular Western imagination.
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  • Napoleon invades Egypt, 1801
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  • British in Burma, 1908
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  • Colonialism is built on the control of the world, both culture and nature Expertise to aid in the colonial project defines to some extent the origins of scholarship on the region.
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  • Early Authorities and Interpreters of Asians, their cultures, religions Curzon, 1911
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  • Expeditions of exploration/expropriations [Aurel Stein in Central Asia]
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  • Dutch teahouse built on the Buddhist Stupa of Borobodur
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  • Stereotypes and Attitudes from the colonial past endure to the present ORIENTALISM IN THE POST- COLONIAL WORLD Our Oriental Heritage Treatments of The West
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  • Asian sacred teachings/texts converted in modern media to clichs; sages, holy men portray as fools
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  • Dismissive of Asia, Asians, Asian religions Go ahead! Ask me and see if I am not as smart as any holy man. Hey! If I knew the meaning of life, would I be sitting here in my underpants?
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  • Orientalism: Expropriation of Buddhism to the West for marketing
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  • Etc. etc.
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  • (Getting it Completely wrong)
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  • Expropriation of Asian traditions: Global Medicine
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  • Hyper-idealization of Asian Peoples, Religions II. [Hyper-] Idealizing mode of Orientalism
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  • New York Times Magazine LAST WEEK
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  • Case Study
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  • Idealizing Discourse of Western converts; reduction of Buddhism to Meditation and the disinterest in ritual
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  • Return to the FRONTIER ANALYSIS: Cultural middlemen who first brought Buddhism and Hinduism to The West were often marginal to both societies Some were rogues, scholarly poseurs, seekers on the new frontier of Asia.
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  • Rules for Doing Comparative Religion [Original formulation by Rev. Krister Stendahl;; further development by Prof. Todd Lewis] 1. People represent themselves. Comment: Bear no false witness. Read original texts. Hear from believers directly. 2. Compare like to like; match level to level. Comment: When comparing ideal teachings, carefully match your ideal with the others ideal(s). Beware of comparing your ideal to the others real, and vice versa. 3. Base Comparison on the center of the Bell Curve, not those on the far ends 4. 'Holy envy' is OK. Comment: How could the world religions survive so long without offering sources of inspiration? There is much to admire in other faiths scholasticism, spiritual exercises, ethical stands, etc. In other words, one need not hate all others to love one's own spouse faithfully. 5. Faith in the Golden Rule. Comment: Loving kindness was articulated by the Indian and Chinese sages centuries before Christ. The Golden Rule of treating others as one would like to be treated is universal. Extending oneself with empathy and respect will be reciprocated by similar attitudes from all people of good will. 6. Hypothesis: God may Enjoy Diversity. Comment: Half a millennium of Christian missionizing later, all the worlds great religions have held their centers. Witness the lilies of the fields and witness of all species in creation. Take the pluralism of Gods creation seriously. 7/2008