Author Topic: Do I have this right?  (Read 27910 times)

Gwaewael

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Do I have this right?
« on: June 19, 2012, 03:37:28 am »
Do I have this right?  This is an email I just sent to a young man in Guatemala City.  I'm especially uncertain about my comments about Buddhism.  I'm thanking you in advance to avoid making a post that says just, "Thank you".

Hi Luis,

It's good to hear from you again.

The big news in my life right now is that I've joined a forum on the internet.  It's a site for North, Central, and South American Indians and all other native peoples from around the world, like the Australian aborigines, the Hawaiians, the Sami, etc. and their supporters.  Many native people are complaining that non-native people are stealing their sacred ceremonies and ritual objects.  It's as offensive and disrespectful as if traditional Indians broke into a church and held a native ceremony, and later one of their members claimed to be a priest and imitated one, and then they took away the communion wafers for their later use.  Native peoples can be found all around the world and they're very angry that their sacred ways are being profaned by outsiders.

I do like and respect the Dalai Lama, although I don't actually know much about Buddhism.  Since native people are so angry now about people who want to follow their ways, I would be worried about your interest in Buddhism.  Fortunately it's safe to follow the Dalai Lama without offending native peoples, since he's made his teachings public.  There's a monastery near my home town where Americans are living as Tibetan monks under the leadership of the Dalai Lama.  He comes to town and speaks from time to time.  So Tibetan Buddhism is a non-controversial spiritual path to look into, so long as you read the works of real Buddhists and not the works of people pretending to be Buddhists.  Tell me, what do you like about Buddhism?

etc.

Bye for now,
Gwaewael

Do I have this right?

Re: Do I have this right?
« Reply #1 on: June 19, 2012, 04:06:24 am »
My only comment can be that, you should probably learn to be careful on the internet because there
are a lot of predators on the internet. And I don't like to see anyone harmed.
press the little black on silver arrow Music, 1) Bob Pietkivitch Buddha Feet http://www.4shared.com/file/114179563/3697e436/BuddhaFeet.html

Offline earthw7

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Re: Do I have this right?
« Reply #2 on: June 19, 2012, 11:50:28 am »
i would wonder why you would think you had the right unless you are Buddhist or native?
In other words the native do have a voice we have many supporter like on
this site but they are respectful they ask our opinion before doing anything
of course i can not speak for people who are buddhist but i think their way is
different from ours they welcome outsider in their beliefs
In Spirit

Offline educatedindian

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Re: Do I have this right?
« Reply #3 on: June 19, 2012, 12:01:24 pm »
Buddhism is evangelical the same way Christianity is. They want to convert people and are focused on individual belief, where Native traditions are centered on community practice.

There are some exploiters out there who pose as Buddhist spiritual leaders, and some cults that are Buddhist or claim to be. Recall the cult that did the subway poison gas attacks in Japan.

And there are some exploiters of Native traditions who are themselves Buddhists, such as Naropa.

Gwaewael

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Re: Do I have this right?
« Reply #4 on: June 19, 2012, 02:55:14 pm »
Thanks, everyone, that's all very interesting and helpful.  I guess Buddhism isn't off bounds, then.  I'm relieved.

Hi critter!  Thanks for the warning.  It's good to remind people about the dangers of the internet, because people CAN get hurt.  I actually know this person, though.  He's a nephew of mine from a former marriage, and he writes me because he wants to practice English.

Re: Do I have this right?
« Reply #5 on: June 19, 2012, 03:43:58 pm »
Buddhism is evangelical the same way Christianity is. They want to convert people and are focused on individual belief, where Native traditions are centered on community practice.

I wouldn't call Buddhism evangelical the same way Christianity is. I live in an evangelical
Christian society, and it is nothing like Buddhism. I know there are "western" (if that's what it's called)
mindsets that influence or mix or mingle with what was Buddhism. But I've never met
a real Buddhist who tried to convert me, or who were focused on individual belief to the extent
of ousting the community. Dalai Lama promotes community responsibility and altruism, without
requirement to be a believer of his religion. Whereas Christian evangelism's purpose is to
convert, and during Hurricane Katrina, they refused to help if they could not also evangelize. It's
far far different.
press the little black on silver arrow Music, 1) Bob Pietkivitch Buddha Feet http://www.4shared.com/file/114179563/3697e436/BuddhaFeet.html

Offline Defend the Sacred

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Re: Do I have this right?
« Reply #6 on: June 19, 2012, 05:11:52 pm »
There are many different traditions of Buddhism, just as there are different kinds of Christians. Some reach out for converts, some include evangelism as a core tenet of practice, while others are more quiet.

I have to agree with earth on this one: Since you are neither Buddhist nor Native, why are you dispensing advice about these things? If you know this young man personally, why do you want us to vet your personal emails? If he is a relative, why is it relevant that he's in Guatemala?

Something we have seen over and over here, and with other activist groups, is we often have non-Natives showing up and wanting to be granted some kind of right to speak for Native people. Sometimes we've had appropriators show up with these motives, hoping to fool us. Often these people think that after a few exchanges on this board they now know enough to dispense advice on Native issues. Again, it's white privilege and white people expecting to find a shortcut on a process that in reality takes a very long time.  Respectful people have listened intently to NDNs for years before even trying to speak on these issues, and even then, instead of trying to explain it oneself, it is better to quote respected Natives or give someone a link to read. It's a good thing that you want to learn how to overcome your racial prejudice and white privilege, but you're just getting started here and you still have a lot of learning to do. I don't say that to be mean, just to state the facts. White people are raised with a different mindset. Not all white people are alike, of course; some of us have come up in more traditional cultures that place a higher priority on community and morality than do others. But it's still different from what NDNs have been through. It takes time and patience and humility to even begin to understand.

Please read "The Do's and Don'ts of Being a Good Ally" http://www.newagefraud.org/smf/index.php?topic=2365.0 and the linked pieces there. We'll be adding more resources to that thread, but that's a good start.

Gwaewael

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Re: Do I have this right?
« Reply #7 on: June 19, 2012, 06:22:28 pm »
Hi Kathryn!  Why shouldn’t I ask you people to vet one of my emails?  Is that a crime?  It’s what I actually said to someone.  I was worried whether I had said anything wrong, and I wanted some help with it.  I wanted you to see the exact words to judge them.  You guys are the experts.  And I was worried about the entire email.  Everyone has been focusing on the part about Buddhism, but I was worried about all of it.  I guess I got the first paragraph right because no one has commented on it.  I didn’t regard that email as personal.  No personal information was included.  I mentioned Guatemala City, since I thought people on this forum might be glad to know that their message had just spread a little bit more.  Was it a crime to tell you where he lives?  I gave him advice on Buddhism because he asked me for advice on Buddhism.

What do you mean by “Since you are neither Buddhist nor Native, why are you dispensing advice about these things?”  I notice that everybody has been dispensing knowledge about Buddhism on this thread, which is a type of advice.  And why are you mentioning Native as a qualification?  Being Native doesn’t qualify you to talk about Buddhism.  The fact is, people just talk among themselves from time to time about religions.  It’s ridiculous to think they’re going to ask Natives or religious specialists for permission every time.  I did much more than what most people do by asking for help here.  If you people told me I had made an error I would have written him again to correct it.

Everybody here is so sour.  I looked at the humor section and it wasn’t funny.  It was mostly anger.


(Yikes!  What I've just said!  I’m going to put on a helmet and head for the hills.)

Offline clearwater

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Re: Do I have this right?
« Reply #8 on: June 19, 2012, 08:25:51 pm »
Well I suppose I'm a little confused by the initial intent of the thread. Asking if you have a right to dispense advice to another...? Why ask such a question? You are seeking validation of your right to dispense advice? I don't quite get it, but maybe I do.

There is much missing from your OP. I have no clue what question was asked of you, so how therefore can I know if your answer was appropriate or if you have a right to do what ever it is you think you did or did not do. You are a free human being. You can dispense your advice to anyone who asks for it. Why do you need approval for that? What does it matter what I think, or anyone on this board thinks, about you or what you are doing or have done? No one is going to judge you for this, although you asked for opinions and you are getting them. If your advise is followed, or ignored, I see no consequence to anyone, even the person you gave the advice to.

There is something unstated in play here, and it has already displayed itself by you. So here is my opinion, and that's all it is. The opening post is a red herring, an introduction, a foot in the door, for something else unstated. You came asking a question. It's okay if you don't like the answers. But why disparage those who you asked for their opinion? Has the person who asked for your opinion, disparaged you?

The comments about checking out the site, that it's negative, even the humor ... and you're being positive in saying that? Seems to me you brought some negativity here to begin with, asking silly questions. All in my personal opinion, of course. The question you ask is silly to me, you have answered you own question already, and so what more do you seek? To pass judgment? I am confused.

Just asking.

= = == =

I am neither Indian, or Buddhist. But I find a lot of the jokes to be wry humor, but that's just me  ::)
« Last Edit: June 19, 2012, 08:30:56 pm by clearwater »

Offline clearwater

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Re: Do I have this right?
« Reply #9 on: June 19, 2012, 08:55:01 pm »
Hi Kathryn!  Why shouldn’t I ask you people to vet one of my emails?  Is that a crime?  It’s what I actually said to someone.  I was worried whether I had said anything wrong, and I wanted some help with it.  I wanted you to see the exact words to judge them.  You guys are the experts.  And I was worried about the entire email.  Everyone has been focusing on the part about Buddhism, but I was worried about all of it.  I guess I got the first paragraph right because no one has commented on it.  I didn’t regard that email as personal.  No personal information was included.  I mentioned Guatemala City, since I thought people on this forum might be glad to know that their message had just spread a little bit more.  Was it a crime to tell you where he lives?  I gave him advice on Buddhism because he asked me for advice on Buddhism.

What do you mean by “Since you are neither Buddhist nor Native, why are you dispensing advice about these things?”  I notice that everybody has been dispensing knowledge about Buddhism on this thread, which is a type of advice.  And why are you mentioning Native as a qualification?  Being Native doesn’t qualify you to talk about Buddhism.  The fact is, people just talk among themselves from time to time about religions.  It’s ridiculous to think they’re going to ask Natives or religious specialists for permission every time.  I did much more than what most people do by asking for help here.  If you people told me I had made an error I would have written him again to correct it.


I don't mean to pick apart your posts, but there is definitely more going on here. So I will address the things I've bolded above.

No one wants to judge your words. You came here and asked them to pass judgment on what you have done. You assume that Native Americans are the experts. Experts at what? Passing judgment on emails about Buddhism? What makes you think that?

Someone who you know asked you for advise about Buddhism, and you gave it. You then feel guilty I suppose, and come to a Native American forum and asked of folks you don't know, if you did the right thing. That right there does not make much sense to me. Why second guess yourself like this? Honestly, does it really matter? What harm have you done or think you may have done? I see no harm, no foul. What have I missed? You did not dispense grand esoteric spiritual knowledge, did you? I didn't see it. So then, you came here asking for advice (kind of like what someone did to you, asked for advice) and you don't like the answers you are getting. Again, what does it matter? Just accept the answers for what they are.

No one said anything about being Native American being a qualification to answer your questions. Where did that come from? You asked for opinions you got opinions. You asked for judgment, and don't like it when opinions may seem judgmental. You should accept these answers from these folks in the spirit in which the are intended. I am still unclear about the spirit in which they have been asked...

I just assume that you came here in the spirit of learning, or wondering, of having an open heart and an open mind. That being said, life still deals out answers than one doesn't like sometimes. Just part of life.

All in my humble opinion, and that's all it is. My opinion and I speak only for myself. Others may agree with me, I don't know.


« Last Edit: June 19, 2012, 08:58:28 pm by clearwater »

Gwaewael

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Re: Do I have this right?
« Reply #10 on: June 20, 2012, 01:22:47 am »
Hi clearwater!  The confusion is due to the fact that the name I chose for the thread has an accidental double meaning.  By “Do I have this right?“ I meant, “Did I get this right?”  On this site of course everyone took it differently.

Oh, for crying out loud!  People here have a LOT of issues with the misuse of spiritual traditions.  You’re all OF COURSE creating confusion and guilt in many people.  I suddenly feel on tip-toe in the world, wondering, “Is this OK?  Is that OK?”.  I want to know what the rules are.  You should all be glad that I do and realize this is a natural part of non-natives learning how to respect native ways.  But you seem to want people to change without teaching or helping them.  Why are you going on with wise, reproving comments like, “You are a free human being… What does it matter what I think, or anyone on this board thinks, about you or what you are doing or have done?”  The thing is YOU ALL THINK WHAT I THINK AND DO MATTERS!  AND ALL NON-NATIVE PEOPLE LIKE ME!  THAT’S WHAT THIS FORUM IS ABOUT!”

I’m losing it!  I’ve gotten almost nothing but disparagement since I joined this forum.  That’s what I meant when I said people are sour here.

My questions are not silly.  And I didn’t answer my own question (as though THAT’S a bad thing).  I waited until I got feed back from people on this site.  How dare you accuse me of answering my own question?  YOU’RE silly!  Take that!

Yeah, I know, you’re “Just asking”.

Offline clearwater

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Re: Do I have this right?
« Reply #11 on: June 20, 2012, 01:30:49 am »
No problems.

I wish you well.

Epiphany

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Re: Do I have this right?
« Reply #12 on: June 20, 2012, 01:33:36 am »

Everybody here is so sour.  I looked at the humor section and it wasn’t funny.  It was mostly anger.


You are generalizing. I don't think generalizations will serve you well in our conversations here. :)

You experience the humor section as not funny. Okay. Remember that is your experience, and that everyone has the right to their own boundaries and integrity and opinions. I hear the humor section as thought provoking and witty.

Anger? If I think I am hearing anger, I know I might be wrong. I also know that anger is okay. I know I don't have to mess with anyone else's experience, it is not up to me to tell people what to do or how to feel. 

As a person with white privilege I know that I am somewhat clueless. So if I don't understand something, if I feel upset by what I am hearing - I figure that says more about me than about anyone else. I don't insist that someone change their behavior and words so that I can understand. That would be arrogant.

I instead take care of myself. Maybe I'm triggered and need to take a break ( an example of white privilege is that I -can- take a break). I listen, and read, and learn as I can. I understand that there are some things that I may never get. Many things will be mysterious to me, not everyone will like me, I don't get to go everywhere and take everything.

I know I'll make mistakes. Sometimes I will get things right. I do the best I can.

It helps immensely to -not- tell other people how to behave. That would be violating healthy boundaries.

You are experiencing us as attacking. We aren't. :)


Epiphany

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Re: Do I have this right?
« Reply #13 on: June 20, 2012, 01:37:08 am »
Hi clearwater!  The confusion is due to the fact that the name I chose for the thread has an accidental double meaning.  By “Do I have this right?“ I meant, “Did I get this right?”  On this site of course everyone took it differently.

Oh, for crying out loud!  People here have a LOT of issues with the misuse of spiritual traditions.  You’re all OF COURSE creating confusion and guilt in many people.  I suddenly feel on tip-toe in the world, wondering, “Is this OK?  Is that OK?”.  I want to know what the rules are.  You should all be glad that I do and realize this is a natural part of non-natives learning how to respect native ways.  But you seem to want people to change without teaching or helping them.  Why are you going on with wise, reproving comments like, “You are a free human being… What does it matter what I think, or anyone on this board thinks, about you or what you are doing or have done?”  The thing is YOU ALL THINK WHAT I THINK AND DO MATTERS!  AND ALL NON-NATIVE PEOPLE LIKE ME!  THAT’S WHAT THIS FORUM IS ABOUT!”

I’m losing it!  I’ve gotten almost nothing but disparagement since I joined this forum.  That’s what I meant when I said people are sour here.

My questions are not silly.  And I didn’t answer my own question (as though THAT’S a bad thing).  I waited until I got feed back from people on this site.  How dare you accuse me of answering my own question?  YOU’RE silly!  Take that!

Yeah, I know, you’re “Just asking”.


No need to "lose it", as you say. :) If you believe you are having a bad experience here it is absolutely fine to take a break.


Gwaewael

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Re: Do I have this right?
« Reply #14 on: June 20, 2012, 01:41:55 am »
Hi clearwater!  I know “you don’t mean to pick apart my posts”, so go ahead.

No one wants to judge my words?!?  EVERYONE HERE WANTS TO JUDGE MY WORDS!  THAT’S WHAT THIS FORUM IS ABOUT!  No one here wants anyone to falsely claim that they’re Cree, or that their great grandmother was a Cherokee princess, or that they were Ho Chunk in a previous life.  There are so many possible verbal crimes here it makes my head spin.  People care.

I thought you guys were experts with an awareness of world-wide issues relating to native religions (like Tibetan Buddhism.)  I really did.

I don‘t know how to use quotes.  This is the best I can do:  “Someone who you know asked you for advise about Buddhism, and you gave it. You then feel guilty I suppose, (no, worried, uncertain) and come to a Native American forum and asked of folks you don't know, if you did the right thing…  Why second guess yourself like this? (Because you guys have rules.  I don’t know what they are.  I was worried that I might be breaking them.) Honestly, does it really matter? (YES) What harm have you done or think you may have done? I see no harm, no foul. (Thank you.  That‘s nice of you.  I feel reassured.) What have I missed? (That some people need help to learn.  You guys are so ungracious about it I might never ask for it again on this site.)  You did not dispense grand esoteric spiritual knowledge, did you? I didn't see it. So then, you came here asking for advice (kind of like what someone did to you, asked for advice) and you don't like the answers you are getting.  (Many of the responses were unfriendly.) Again, what does it matter? (I have feelings.) Just accept the answers for what they are.  (That's wise, but currently impossible.  Maybe I'll be able to do it in the future.)

No one said anything about being Native American being a qualification to answer your questions. Where did that come from? ( I was attacked by someone who said something like, “If you’re not Buddhist or Native, why do you presume to give advice about Buddhism?”  This person seemed to be saying it would be OK to give such advice if I were Native.  I found that a little pompous, but maybe it was just an oversight?)  You asked for opinions you got opinions. You asked for judgment, and don't like it when opinions may seem judgmental. (I believe I got some judgments, which are useful, and a lot of judgmental comments, which cause harm.”) You should accept these answers from these folks in the spirit in which the are intended. (What spirit?  I don’t like to be abused.)  I am still unclear about the spirit in which they have been asked... (Thank you for saying that.  You may be right.  I’ll give it some thought.)

I just assume that you came here in the spirit of learning, or wondering, of having an open heart and an open mind. (Thank you for seeing who I am.  That's all true.) That being said, life still deals out answers than one doesn't like sometimes. Just part of life.  (Yes, that’s true.  But couldn't people make more of an effort to be helpful?  There's some sort of weird agenda here.  I'm trying to figure it out.)

All in my humble opinion, and that's all it is. My opinion and I speak only for myself. Others may agree with me, I don't know.  (Thank you so much.  That’s very sweet.)

Hi clearwater!  I assume you’re Native?  Hello.  I’m very happy to meet you.  This is exciting.  How would you like to be called?