randomseb wrote:One of the problems I am having is that the Western society seems designed around producing more desires, from all the of the advertisements and focus on acquiring things and the constant push to buy buy buy!
I live in the US and concur with what you are saying here Randomseb. I have always felt out of place here. I live rather simply (relatively speaking). I don't care much for accumulating wealth, have only a few material possessions, rent a small space in the bottom of my friend's house, don't have cable or even regular television service turned on (though, obviously I do have internet access), my mobile phone is about 10 years old, etc. I look around me and am saddened by the constant push to 'consume', 'buy', 'progress', 'be successful', etc. I look at the fruits of this mentality and sigh - the decimation of the environment, the high level of diseases such as cancer from all the toxic chemicals being used in our food, high levels of suicide and mental/emotional conditions, the never-ending wars. Such is samsara.
When I have conversations with many Americans, I am usually bored to tears. Most people are so focused on what I perceive to be meaningless externals (what kind of job do you have? House? Car? Clothes? Did you hear the latest gossip about such and such Movie star? Pop musician?, etc.) Don't get me wrong, it is not EVERYBODY that is this way, but sometimes it can feel like that. And I'm certainly not saying I am above it all (I have my own faults for sure), but (again relatively speaking) the contrast can appear pretty drastic at times. Even so, I do feel a sense of warm-heartedness to others, and if I don't feel it spontaneously, I attempt to cultivate that feeling. I fail sometimes. Still working on it!
I am grateful for the Dharma being available, and for having access to unerring teachers.
EDIT: Didn't mean to go off topic. The implicit connection here may be that this is why monasticism can be so important in the West. We need to have examples of people who are closely following the Dharma, to continue to presence this in the Land of Consumerism.