Many of us in the western world tend to reject anything that
originates in the East, because we see it as the imposition of a foreign and inappropriate
culture upon us. We don't like to see such important cultural values as our religion, our
language or way of life altered. We should note that as many people in the eastern world
are struggling with the influence of western culture which they similarly feel is
threatening to their cultural values.
human beings like to preserve their own culture and find other cultures hard to
understand. In our examination of other cultures it is always easier to see their negative
side. On the other hand, we are all exporting our cultures. Much more of the influence of
western culture is still going to the East than that of the East is coming to the West.
Yet neither culture can expect it to go only one way.
We are living at a time in which the influence of the East is
starting to come to the West. In the previous
centuries it has largely been the influence of the West going to the East with conquest
and colonization followed by the export of western culture and religion and the
technological and scientific knowledge developed in the West. We must all
realize, therefore, that the boundaries between East and West have been obliterated by
We cannot isolate ourselves from eastern cultural
influences, any more than they can isolate themselves from ours. Whereas western culture
provides the world many gifts of science, technology and humanism, eastern culture
provides those of spirituality and religion. Just as science and technology can be abused
and cause much damage to the world, as we are witnessing today with pollution and the
destruction of the environment, so too, eastern spiritual knowledge has its negative side,
with some of the false guru cults and the corruption around them which are also visible
today. Just as we need not reject science because of its misapplication, so too we should
not reject the spiritual sciences of the East because of their misapplication.