EASTERN RELIGIONS

People in America today seem to be only concerned with them. They are always looking out for number one. That is a saying that has been taught to us for years. Along with another popular precept: you can\'t please everyone all of the time. These are just a couple of examples of how Americans are taught to be selfish. Sure, mom and dad always teach generosity to their young children, but in this society, those lessons diminish with age. We learn that life isn\'t always fair and people don\'t always have to share if they don\'t want to. In this so-called free country, the rich get everything and the poor get nothing. This type of environment has caused a rat race among the people. He who has the most wins. In America it is for the most money, but there are many other people in the world who might disagree. What would they want the most of? you ask. Well, that depends on whom you ask.

When you take a trip half way around the world, the values are totally different. The Eastern religions, Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, to name a few, practice very different beliefs. They are more centered on love thy neighbor than the Christian Religion. This is not to say that Christians are wrong or act wrongfully, it just says that the difference in beliefs generates a significant difference in society. Here in America, our society claims we should love thy neighbor, but it tends to depend on who the neighbor is. We want our neighbors to be just like us. If they are not, then it becomes more difficult to show compassion. The Eastern religions practice compassion for all people, no matter who or what they are. In America, compassion is scarce. It\'s predominant in families and in small towns, but in the larger cities, it is hard to see if it exists at all. A movie has been made illustrating this point. It is called "Falling Down". It is about a man who has come to the end of his rope. He is tired of the way society has treated him, and he begins to fight back. He thinks he is doing the right thing, but he finally comes to realize that to do the right thing you can\'t think only of yourself.

The movie opens with a traffic jam; the man\'s license plate reads: "D-Fens": This becomes his name since his real name is never told. It takes place in Los Angeles on a very hot day. This traffic jam is significant because you can tell he does a lot of thinking while in his car. The man\'s tension keeps rising the more he sits in this traffic, so he just walks away from his car. You learn he is trying to go see his daughter on her birthday, but everything seems to want to stop him. He goes into a store, to get change for the pay phone, and the Korean owner refuses and tells him to buy something first. It is obvious the owner is being selfish because just moments before, he broke open a roll of quarters. I think this can best be linked to Buddhism. In Buddhism, selfish desire, also called Tanha, is the cause of unnecessary suffering, which is called dukkha. This means people who are selfish cause their own suffering and suffering to others. The owner of the store then tries to charge $ .85 for a can of soda. This infuriates D-fens because it goes against the point of buying soda in the first place - to get change for the phone. He gets upset with the owner for overcharging on numerous items and destroys a lot of his merchandise. Then he pays $ .50 for his soda, takes the change, and leaves. You get the feeling that D-fens is not a bad person, he just wants people to quit thinking of only themselves, which is the main focus of the Buddhists.

Another point in Buddhism that can be connected to the movie is following the eight-fold path. This is how suffering is ended, by extinguishing the self. There are eight rules to follow. Right views, right intends, right speech, right conduct, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration. All must