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.
Within our Saiva Siddhanta Holy Scriptures the Saiva Agamas explain the basis of temple ceremonies and worship plus yoga and jnana. The Tirukural was considered by Gurudeva to be "the most accessible and relevant sacred text." In it are practical and helpful guidelines for our conduct in every day life. The point of family life is to gain steady improvement, forever, in self control in the midst of responsibilities in the fulfillment of family dharma. Meanwhile, not taking detachment too far but taking it in the sense of spiritually looking for happiness, not outside in other people or possessions, the world, but inside ourselves and then sharing it with family and friends. "We regard the writings of our satgurus as scripture."
Path to Siva, Lesson 20
Tirukural, Introduction and Contents
Tirukural, Chapter 15 Possession of Self-Control
"The temple enables us to feel the presence of God, Gods and devas." We use our inner eyes to see what's going on in the temple, the three worlds. In the temple we're being good dvaitists in the dimfi perspective, focused in bhakti upon God Siva. In meditation we're monists, in the shumif perspective. We claim our oneness with Siva, Sivoham, I am Siva. In surrender, shrinking the ego through devotion, we have a realization that we're not the doer, that Siva is doing it all. Siva's energy comes through our soul.