There has been an obsession with Eastern culture on behalf of Westerners somewhat recently. From yoga to meditation to aspiring to be more like the Dalai Lama…Westerners have become somewhat dissatisfied with the lack of spirituality that is present in our culture and have started to look elsewhere.
It should be noted that there a number of positives and negatives for every religion offered out there. Whilst Catholicism may be criticised for its positions on certain social issues, the problematic elements of Eastern Religion remains a tad more complicated. These issues revolve around what we could perceive as anti-capitalism in which strata are enforced in societies disallowing any member of a community to create a better life for themselves.
Additionally, any religion which has 'rebirth' as inclusive in its teachings has a somewhat deterministic element to it. Determinism can be noted in the way in which what we deal with today could perhaps be in response to an ill doing we committed several lives prior. In saying all this, it is extremely difficult to explain and absorb meaning from a religion that was written in Sanskrit as English in no way compensates for the intricacies of such an old language. Now onto the positives…
Eastern Religion has a lot more philosophical influence and rational forms of thought than Western. Karma is a notion widely held and adored by Westerners and can be considered a positive way of thinking about the notion of what is right and wrong.
Forms of pain and suffering is something which both Hinduism and Buddhism admit is always going to be an inherent part of life. These two aversive states are stated to be caused by attachment. (Now, when discussing these ideals, to look too closely can be to create a notion which is superfluous. In saying that, certain messages carry a real beauty when looked at from the right angle).
To become too attached to objects or people is to become vulnerable to our expectations becoming damaged. When our expectations are damaged, we experience pain and suffering. Buddha himself left his wife and kids to go off and re-discover what happiness by creating an environment absent of attachments. Here, a Westerner would have to seize what they want out of this message. Whilst we can have zero expectations, we must be careful not to let ourselves get taken advantage of. Becoming less attached to certain outcomes can be considered very well-informed advice. We only create an emotion of being upset when our expectations of outcomes aren't satisfied. This is best to be let go when it revolves around other people. This in no way however, should mean that we have less expectations of what we ourselves are capable of.
Eastern religion offers a great many ways to shine a new light on living in a big and scary world. Whilst there are important messages to be taken out of Eastern religion, it should be moulded into what we want to achieve for ourselves and the type of person we aspire to be. Take what you want out of all the religions out there create a new one for yourself. A religion that makes you not going off to look for yourself but allowing you to create yourself from the ground up.