Someone sent us this funny and revealing list counterpointing the cultural values of the East and the West. It was presented by Tran Van Mai, Ph.D. at the Second Annual Indochinese Conference, CSUF, Fall, 1981.
East: We live in time.
West: You live in space.
East: We are always at rest.
West: You are always on the move.
East: We are passive.
West: You are aggressive.
East: We agonize over the refinements of food and drink.
West: You love fast, robust and hearty fare.
East: We like to contemplate.
West: You like to act.
East: We accept the world as it is.
West: You try to change it according to your blueprint.
East: We live in peace with nature.
West: You try to impose your will on her.
East: Religion is our first love.
West: Science is your passion.
East: We gather as a community.
West: You love smaller interactions.
East: We delight to think about the meaning of life.
West: You delight in physics.
East: We believe in the freedom of silence.
West: You believe in freedom of speech.
East: We lapse into meditation.
West: You strive for articulation.
East: We marry first, then we love.
West: You love first, then marry.
East: We don't queue up well.
West: You are disciplined in line.
East: Our marriage is the beginning of a love affair.
West: Your marriage is the happy end of a romance.
East: It is an indissoluble bond.
West: It is a contract.
East: Our love is mute.
West: Your love is vocal.
East: We try to conceal it from the world.
West: You delight in showing it to others.
East: The discursive communication is our love.
West: You prefer to get right to the point.
East: Self-abnegation is the secret of our survival.
West: Self-assertiveness is the key of your success.
East: We are taught from the cradle to want less and less.
West: You are urged everyday to want more and more.
East: We glorify austerity and renunciation.
West: You emphasize gracious living and enjoyment.
East: Poverty is to us a badge of spiritual elevation.
West: It is to you a sign of degradation.
East: In the sunset years of life, we renounce the world and prepare for the hereafter.
West: You retire to enjoy the fruits of your labor.
"There are three kinds of karma: the karma of all deeds done in our past lives; the karmas we bring into this birth to experience; and the karmas we are making by our actions now."
Karma is an automatic system of divine justice. Karma is self-created destiny; a consequence or fruit of action, karmaphala. By accepting not reacting, performing karma yoga, karma can be softened, mitigated. Seeking the grace of God and guru in the right spirit, the mind focused on the Deity and open to blessings, receiving the intense grace of the Deity in a powerful pilgrimage can actually eliminate karma.
Path to Siva, Lesson 31.
Tirukural, Section IV, Destiny, Commentary by Gurudeva.