Author Topic: Buddhism reduces prejudice  (Read 3893 times)

Q

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Buddhism reduces prejudice
« on: April 25, 2015, 10:02:09 PM »
I found this article really interesting.


Study: Reminders of Buddhism reduce prejudice — even among Christians
http://www.rawstory.com/2015/04/study-unconscious-reminders-of-buddhism-reduce-prejudice-even-among-christians/

Researchers from Belgium and Taiwan have found that being exposed to Buddhist concepts can lead to increased prosocial behavioral intentions and undermine prejudice towards others.

Buddhism contains a variety of teachings and practices – such as meditation – intended to help individuals develop a more open-minded and compassionate personality. Unlike the three dominant monotheistic religions, it does not draw a sharp line between believers and unbelievers.

In three separate experiments of 355 individuals, the researchers found that being exposed to words related to Buddhism could “automatically activate prosociality and tolerance, in particular among people with socio-cognitive open-mindedness.”

The study adds to a growing body of research about priming, a phenomenon in which merely being exposed to certain words or concepts changes the way people think or behave. It was published in the April issue of the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.

When Westerners familiar with Buddhism read religious words like “Dharma” and “Nirvana” – which they were exposed to under the guise of completing a word puzzle – they reported lower negative attitudes toward outgroups compared to participants exposed to positive non-religious words like “freedom.”

Westerners with a Christian background also became more tolerant after being exposed to Buddhist concepts, though only among those with a predisposition for valuing the welfare of all people and an aversion towards authoritarianism. Implicit association tests showed that these participants were less prejudiced against African people and Muslims than participants exposed to Christian concepts or neutral concepts.

Westerners with a Christian background also scored higher on measures of prosociality after being exposed to Buddhist concepts. Surprisingly, participants did not score higher on measures of prosociality after being exposed to Christian concepts.

The effect of being exposed to Buddhist concepts was not restricted to cultures in which the religion was seen as particularly exotic, the researchers said. Being exposed to Buddhist concepts also fostered increased tolerance and prosociality, compared with neutral and Christian concepts, among participants living in Taiwan.

“To conclude, we think that this work provides, for the first time, experimental evidence in favor of the idea that in both the East and the West, across people from both Christian and Eastern Asian religious traditions, Buddhist concepts automatically activate positive social behavioral outcomes, that is, prosociality and low prejudice, in particular among people with personal dispositions of socio-cognitive openness,” the researchers wrote.

“Unlike Christian and other monotheistic religious systems that paradoxically seem to encourage not only prosociality but also prejudice, Buddhist ideas favor both prosociality and outgroup tolerance, and these ideals seem particularly efficient (in leading to action) for people with relevant personality dispositions.”

“Emotional (compassion) and cognitive (tolerance of contradictions) mechanisms explain, to some extent, how Buddhist concepts, across cultural and religious contexts, enhance prosocial and tolerant attitudes and behavioral tendencies. Religious and cultural characteristics ‘travel’ and influence people’s attitudes and behavior in a globalized world even at the implicit level of consciousness,” the researchers concluded.

Dondrup Shugden

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Re: Buddhism reduces prejudice
« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2015, 03:08:35 PM »
Experiments are to prove a certain theory which an innovator believes in and then test the theory on others to prove such belief either positively or negatively.

This experiment have proven that with knowledge of buddhism, practitioners of other religions have reduced prejudice.

Interesting then how come CTA practices prejudice and discrimination of its own people just over the their preference to worship Dorje Shugden.

The beauty of this experiment is that it is conducted in Belgium and Taiwan, the west and the east.  I hope that members of the CTA will read of this experiment and truly practise Buddhism and permit freedom to worship Dorje Shugden.

fruven

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Re: Buddhism reduces prejudice
« Reply #2 on: April 26, 2015, 11:30:51 PM »
Thanks for sharing the findings. The teachings of Buddha have always being compassionate towards all sentient beings regardless of race, gender, status and so on. To discriminate against each other is to create hatred and isolation. As we know anger is the root poison of our own sufferings. Regardless of religion we must practice tolerance and acceptance of each others.

eyesoftara

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Re: Buddhism reduces prejudice
« Reply #3 on: April 27, 2015, 09:20:27 AM »
Buddhist values are expounded by the Ultimate specialist of the Mind ie the Buddha as the antidote for all that is negative and harmful to self and others. By having any kind prejudice or predisposition on any levels ultimately harm others. Buddha's Dharma ie His teaching is all about rooting the harm that is caused by our ignorance of self cherishing.

The Dharma teaches us that we are intimately inter-connected on the physical, emotional and conscious levels and that our assumption of a self is the cause all our unhappiness.

fruven

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Re: Buddhism reduces prejudice
« Reply #4 on: May 03, 2015, 08:11:06 PM »
I think the article is not so noteworthy in the sense it is saying one religion is better than another religion based on findings. And based on what authority? Based on scientific research. It is saying that science has a higher level of truth than people belief systems.

Dondrup Shugden

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Re: Buddhism reduces prejudice
« Reply #5 on: May 05, 2015, 08:21:18 AM »
"I think the article is not so noteworthy in the sense it is saying one religion is better than another religion based on findings. And based on what authority? Based on scientific research. It is saying that science has a higher level of truth than people belief systems." Quote from Fruven.

Thank you, Fruven for your comment.  It is true that science cannot prove that one religion is better than another but rather, whatever your religion, the knowledge of Buddhist Dharma reduces the level of one's prejudices.

This means that when you understand the Dharma and practices equanimity and openness and is able to be more tolerant then the level of any prejudices reduces.  This mental frame of mind will be more accepting of what is and not what you have perceived it to be.

Definitely more harmonious for the world. 

cookie

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Re: Buddhism reduces prejudice
« Reply #6 on: May 06, 2015, 08:54:12 AM »
One of the most basic but most important teachings of Buddhism is to recognise all sentient beings as your past mothers. As our minds have countless of aeons of reincarnation, at any one point of time any sentient being would have been our mother before. When we further contemplate on the kindness of our mothers who have to sacrifice so much pain and suffering to bring us to this world and bring us up after, we will develop gratitude for our mother's sacrifices and love. Hence, we would never want to hurt our mother, past or present. We would want to do our best for our mothers. We would never hurt them.
This teaching is one of the most difficult to accept because we cannot see our past to determine who our mothers were. But if we embrace this teaching (as the Buddha is omniscient) we will slowly reduce all our prejudice and instead develop love, compassion and equanimity for all sentient beings. Hence, it is right to say that if one practices some of the teachings of the Buddha, one will reduce their prejudice, irrespective if they are Buddhists or non-Buddhists.

eyesoftara

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Re: Buddhism reduces prejudice
« Reply #7 on: December 01, 2015, 08:00:47 AM »
I think the article is not so noteworthy in the sense it is saying one religion is better than another religion based on findings. And based on what authority? Based on scientific research. It is saying that science has a higher level of truth than people belief systems.

Fruven,

It is true what you say about the "authority" of science over religious truth. But this does now contradict the teachings of the Buddha for He has ask everyone to please investigate the teachings and for the matter every phenomena. For me this does not mean science has authority over religion but as a framework for the investigator using the sciences to investigate religion is the only avenue for most people.

Buddhism has always come out right under every scientific investigation and are regarded by many scientist to be  the religion of the future.
For other religions, it is the most acceptable religion beside their own because it preaches the spirit of compassion and tolerance and does not challenge the tenets of other religion in an aggressive way.

dharmacrazy79

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Re: Buddhism reduces prejudice
« Reply #8 on: June 15, 2016, 04:12:08 AM »
Buddhism works with ourselves as it believes that change begins with self. The core or source of self that translates into action and speech is our thought and thoughts arise from the mind. Hence, Buddhism works on the mind to "build a better world".

This makes a lot of sense. As we develop and nurture our ability to be patience, tolerant and kind to others, we begin to see the separation and start to identify the oneness. This is very difficult with those who hold values distinctly different from us. However, nobody said Buddhism was an easy task :)

Thank you for this piece. It is wonderful that more people out these recognize the impact and changes of Dharma practice.

Klein

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Re: Buddhism reduces prejudice
« Reply #9 on: June 19, 2016, 11:12:03 AM »
I don't agree with the article comparing one religion to another. There are no statistical evidence for the writer's conclusions. Sweeping statements in comparative studies without evidence do not hold water.

I can only mention that based on my knowledge of Buddhism, if we understand and practice Buddhist wisdom teachings, we will be more kind, loving, compassionate, accepting and selfless, just to name a few. So prejudism will also be reduced if we become more accepting.

My point is whether the person becomes more or less prejudice is dependent on himself or herself. Look at all holy beings. They are holy because they are selfless. They dedicate their life on serving others 24/7 unconditionally with loving kindness. There is no room for prejudism.

Q

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Re: Buddhism reduces prejudice
« Reply #10 on: June 21, 2016, 07:49:05 PM »
Hmmm... I think the article is not set out to compare the two religions, but more about, application of Buddhist concepts can improve a person regardless of their social or religious background.

It is worth noting that they mentioned 'Buddhist concepts' which would mean things like the practice of meditation, which these days are done without any religious influence; or Buddhist philosophical teachings like karma and the law of interdependence.

As Buddhists we should know that the Dharma are universal truths, it doesn't matter if you believe in the existence of.... say for example, Karma; it still exists regardless of your opinion. In this time and space, it is labelled as Buddhist concepts because it is revealed by the Buddha and it ended up becoming a 'religious practice'.

Lets also not forget that many Buddhist concepts are slowly being revealed by science.

SabS

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Re: Buddhism reduces prejudice
« Reply #11 on: March 25, 2019, 04:23:25 AM »
Before I entered into Buddhism, I would say yes, Buddhism does reduce prejudice. To me, Buddhism is the practice of acceptance of others and the kindness in consideration of others. If we were to practice as Buddha had taught then there will be no prejudice in the world and every being will be held precious. However, in our imperfect world, people allow their prejudices to come into play. For example, in Tibetan Buddhism, the Dalai Lama allows discrimination and persecution in not stopping the ban on Dorje Shugden practice. Prejudice has been instilled and currently, the 3rd or 4th generation of Tibetans in exile are lead to be prejudice against Dorje Shugden practitioners. Why is that so? I had always thought that religions teach us to be better humans and yet the Tibetan Leaders create conditions for separation and prejudice to arise. Why?