My friends in Thailand, very modern and open, still stop and bow at Buddha Shrines on the street. “Still” means most people in the cities are too busy to even see the shrines, much less stop and take a moment to bow and pray, and move on. I love that they do this. It gives me a moment of joy. In some way it gives me hope; hope that people will still take a moment to honor spirit and hope that we will not merge into one world culture. We are all moving in the direction of sameness that revolves around the quest for money. Money seems to be the highest priority nearly everywhere I travel. Wealth is the dream that has infested the world consciousness with its incumbent greed and loss of human and spiritual connection. I had hope that the East would be spared this new consciousness. It’s not possible. We are human.
In much of the Far East, from China to Indonesia, people leave their homes, families, villages, and everything they’ve known to move to the city to find work and send money home. Families often pool their resources to send a young person with some talent or ability to the city to support the family back home with their earnings. The choice is often not made by the person leaving home. They often are simply “sent.” Millions of individuals live in lives of iron bound duty and life-long sacrifice. There are countless stories of people moving to the middle East to work for a couple of years to “get ahead” and finding their families have become addicted to the income and require that person to sacrifice their entire lives to send money home. I know this is a question from a Western mind, but, how is this possible? Where does freedom of choice fit in?