Slavic Buddhism vs Western Buddhism

It seems to me that Slavic Buddhism and Western Buddhism is quite different things, because Slavic mentality is quite different from Western Mentality, in Slavic countries we don’t have this white guilt, and we don’t have all this hypertolerance, multiculturalism, feminism and equality ideas, for us these things are alien and most of us thinking they are not need. So our approach seems will be something middle between Asian and Western Buddhism.

If you don’t mind, can you give us some examples of ways in which Slavic Buddhism is like the above? I’m just curious.


If you will visit our countries, and will talk to many local people, you will see

I would actually love to visit, but it’s outside my financial means currently. Maybe another day, another year.

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Could you give an example of how white-guilt finds expression in what you have called Western Buddhism?

When you say ‘most of us’ do you include yourself in that group? There are people who identify with different cultures, people who have different cultural backgrounds who have an interest in this site. Do you feel there is ‘no need’ for this hypertolerance of cultural diversity on this site? How would you feel if all people from Slavic-cultural backgrounds were not tolerated or made welcome here? Would that be a Buddhist practice in your opinion?

I don’t want to go too far down this rabbit hole, but if by “Slavic” Buddhism you mean Russian, Evgenii, then it may be that Russian culture tends to be less progressive on these issues than perhaps the “West.” But, Buddhism is Buddhism, IMO, and Dhamma is Dhamma, no matter where you go or where you are. I have been fortunate to have lived/traveled in Russia and Eastern Ukraine, and have Russian friends, and sure, they tend to be less progressive on these issues. It’s more to do with cultural and national sensibilities, than Buddhism, I think, and we know that the “Buddhisms” have tended through the years to adapt to the culture into which these forms arrive.


i cannot visit, but for those who might be able and interested, which countries?

Are there bhikhunis there, or bhikkhus, or some other form of renunciates?

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Buddhism has and, does adapt to aspects of the cultures into which these forms have arrived. However, the transformation and permutation has been a two-way street.

As a thought-experiment we could imagine a scenario where Germany had won the second world war and the cultural program of the victors had become a pervasive norm across the planet.

It’s difficult for me to envision a Buddhism that had adapted to the cultural norms and values promoted by national-socialism.

As we know, the kind of culture that was championed by the national-socialists was also not hypertolerant when it came to multiculturalism, feminist type values and concerns, equality ideas etc. They had no time for white-guilt and would have seen it as a sign of racial weakness. Probably produced by interbreeding with outsiders.

The Nazis had no use for these ‘things’. They were foreign and incompatible with the cultural norms and traditions they valued. They were thinking: these things are alien to our way of life. The products of non-germanic cultures and traditions.

Societies are enriched through diversity and a tolerance of difference. The idea that we would be better off if all the peoples’ and cultures of the world were hermetically-sealed and isolated from each other is not a good idea.

We all need to build walls and fences, nuclear missile shields etc. and, remain isolated from each other, just in case a dominant-culture is influenced or, undergoes change through discourse, cooperation and, coexistence.

This is not a Buddhist teaching - plain and simple. It’s a blunt instrument of political, social and, cultural control and oppression. An elimination of difference - which includes sexual orientation - to appease an authoritarian social and cultural majority.

Essay with some excellent photography about Russia. Interesting considerations of views, values, change, and national trauma.

This topic raises an interesting issue. For me it highlights culturally conditioned reactions, and I agree with UpasakaMichaels comments below.

For every being who practices the Noble 8 fold Path, who follows the Dhamma, and works to end delusion, these conditioned responses must come into focus, first, before they can be overcome. It is only to be expected that our Kamma and our personal conditions will vary, based on both individual, group (cultural, socio-economic, etc), and Past life experiences.

This is just part of the human condition in samsara, and what we are all struggling and striving to overcome. I think it is great when one can see this in action (as highlighted in the OP) - but the really great thing is when one no longer identifies with it, and is no longer subject to the suffering that results - ie. it is not me, mine, or self :slight_smile:

However, I believe we need to be careful of our use of conditioned language and the beliefs conveyed through language, like in the quoted phrase below. And I admit to falling into this trap myself more often than I would like. Sneaky beliefs like

can creep in very easily. IMO these things are just differences… empty conditions… constructed belief systems that keep us tethered to delusion. They exist in samsara, but the assumptions about good, bad or neutral are our own constructions.

Sorry if I’m rambling a bit, but I think that in order to be constructive, we need to approach topics like this from a dhamma perspective, and cut through conditioned responses.

It may be useful to explore what advice the Buddha gave with regards to dealing with cultural differences. I think this was recently mentioned, in a thread on D&D. Unfortunately, I can’t recall exactly where it was. Perhaps others more skilled in EBT’s can point out some useful directions, for dealing with culturally diverse conditions.

with metta, and may all beings be free from suffering


Good thing you Slavic people like what the Buddha had to say about knowing suffering, abandoning its causes, confirming the possibility of ending and developing the path to ending it.

As long as you have good friends to rely on, Slavic, Western or Asian - or above all, the Buddha himself! - rest assured, the path is “doomed” to bear its fruits!

"Good friends, companions, and associates are the whole of the spiritual life.
A mendicant with good friends, companions, and associates can expect to develop and cultivate the noble eightfold path.
And how does a mendicant with good friends develop and cultivate the noble eightfold path?
It’s when a mendicant develops right view, which relies on seclusion, fading away, and cessation, and ripens as letting go.
They develop right thought …
right speech …
right action …
right livelihood …
right effort …
right mindfulness … right immersion, which relies on seclusion, fading away, and cessation, and ripens as letting go.
That’s how a mendicant with good friends develops and cultivates the noble eightfold path.
And here’s another way to understand how good friends are the whole of the spiritual life.
For, by relying on me as a good friend, sentient beings who are liable to rebirth, old age, and death, to sorrow, lamentation, pain, sadness, and distress are freed from all these things.
This is another way to understand how good friends are the whole of the spiritual life.”



Note: the term “slavic” refers to multiple countries with very different cultures, not just Russia. Even though this is not Dhamma related, for the sake of more accurate information the following link is useful to those interested in cultural aspects of the group of slavic countries. Most scholars count 13 slavic countries at the current time.

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Ok for example when I read Stephen Bachelor - Confession of Buddhist atheist, it was so confusing to me, it seems western people have so many cockroaches in mind and so many worries without real reasons.

My name is Kheminda meanwhile, you can also see many negative aspects in western culture, if you learn in unbiased approach, yes western culture has many good and bad things, and Asian and Slavic, as from my perception such countries as Czech republic, Poland, Hungaria and nearest to them can greatly balance all positive and negative things.

Russia have oldest Buddhism in Europe, mostly in such territories as Buryatia, Kalmykia and Tuva, quantity about 2000000 buddhists, majority Geluk tradition

From what I see, in American universities people who disagree with all these modern western ideas too much blamed , from our perspective tolerance not need to be much, just if you don’t have hatred to person because of his race or religion is enough, not need more than that. In USA white people already afraid everything, they afraid afro people, because they think they move them to the court, they afraid to look at women, because it can be interpreted as sexual harassment, they afraid to follow to etiquette, because all this modern feminism (for example open doors for women e.t.c) so many fear in western world, but I like PragerU channel on YouTube, it seems western people starting to understand, that something should be changed

Dear @Khem, Thank you for your participation. For your information this forum is focused on Early Buddhists Texts and the understanding of them. General discussions, where this is not the central theme, are more suitable for internet buddhist forums which have a more general purpose (eg Dharma wheel). If you would like to continue discussing cultural differences, please keep it focused on issues around the EBT’s and putting these in practice.

You can find more detailed information in the Discourse guidelines here

with metta :anjal::dharmawheel:


The reason why he or she answer in this way, because he or she is immigrant from these countries, this normally for them to criticize countries from which they left, and admire countries where they live, but time pass, and they starting to see negative aspects also. As for Slavic Buddhism, I think most difference that we don’t try to incorporate all this philosophical ideas of West into Slavic Buddhism, this is main difference

May all beings discover the liberation teachings of Lord Buddha. Wherever we find ourselves on this Earth may we live in peace and harmony with all beings. Caring for them, cherishing them with a heart full of unconditional loving kindness.

The Buddha taught that this body - the human form - is not-self. It’s the same when it comes to our thoughts and feelings - they are also not-self. To realise this directly and, be kind in the middle of the sufferings of existence is the goal of Buddhism - while we still live and breathe.

Any designation that arises with regard to the body and the mind is also ‘not-self’ (anatta). We are not who we take ourselves to be. We are not who we think we are.

May all human beings throughout the world love and support each other as brothers and sisters.

“Don’t be an arahant, don’t be a bodhisattva, don’t be [anything] at all—if you are [anything] at all you will suffer.” — Ajahn Chah.

Just wondering, do you see an exception to ‘anything’ in the quote above?

Don’t be an Asian, Western or Slavic Buddhist, don’t be [anything] at all—if you are [anything] at all you will suffer.

Buddhism is a practice it’s not an identity to cling to (see below).

Do you know how to read the following language?


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Could you point out some of these mental cockroaches from Batchelor’s text? Where were the points of confusion?

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