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Lions Roar : May 2008
SHAMBHALA SUN MAY 2008 97 their ideas clearly and to adopt a ‘trans- mitter’ orientation,” Nisbett says, “that is, the speaker is responsible for uttering sen- tences that can be clearly understood by the hearer—and understood, in fact, more or less independently of the context. It’s the speaker’s fault if there is a miscommu- nication. Asians, in contrast, teach their children a ‘receiver’ orientation, meaning that it is the hearer’s responsibility to un- derstand what is being said. ... Western- ers—and perhaps especially Americans— are apt to find Asians hard to read because Asians are likely to assume that their point has been made indirectly and with finesse. ... (They) in turn, are apt to find Western- ers—perhaps especially Americans—di- rect to the point of condescension or even rudeness.” Furthermore, Nisbett observes, “What is intrusive and dangerous in the East is considered a means for getting at the truth in the West. Westerners place an almost religious faith in the free market- place of ideas.” College professors such as myself oc- casionally see in the classroom the con- sequences of our aggressive, Western approach. The author includes a revealing story about Heejung Kim, a Korean gradu- ate student at Stanford who “became exas- perated with the constant demand of her American instructors that she speak up in class. She was told repeatedly that failure to speak up would be taken as an indication of failure to understand the material.” Kim put this problem to a test, having people speak out loud as they solved problems. What did her experiment find? “This had no effect on the performance of European Americans. But the requirement had very deleterious effects on the performance of Asians and Asian Americans.” Nisbett wonders, “Is it a form of ‘colonialism’ to de- mand that they perform verbally and share their thoughts with their classmates?” Rich in examples, illustrations, empiri- cal studies, and anecdotes, The Geography of Thought considers not only the differ- ences today between East and West, but also whether there is evidence that these two cultural worlds are moving farther apart or converging. No one will see the world in quite the same way after reading it. ♦ a portrait of Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Norbu Rinpoche with Bernardo Bertolucci, Gesar Mukpo, Steven Seagal music by Sting, Steve Tibbetts, Joydrop, u:man:tek, Taraf de Haidouks & others www.festivalmedia.org a film by Lesley Ann Patten NOW ON DVD “funny, brave, illuminating, adventurous .. .” – T HE CHRONICLE HERALD dzogchen the natural great perfection DZOGCHEN RETREATS WITH LAMA SURYA DAS Dzogchen is the consummate practice of Tibetan Buddhism. Considered by many to be "the teaching of our time," Dzogchen is direct, immediate, essentialized, adaptable, and profound: a pure awareness practice applicable to any circumstance and readily integrated into modern life. Dzogchen, often translated as the Natural Great Perfection, directly introduces us to our inner Buddha, the inherent freedom, purity and perfection of being that is our true nature. Dzogchen Center Meditation Retreats are held across the country, throughout the year as shown below: DZOGCHEN MEDITATION RETREATS Garrison, NY Summer July 25 – August 3, 2008 Garrison, NY Winter January 3 – 11, 2009 Joshua Tree, CA Spring March 21 – March 29, 2009 MULTIPLE TEACHINGS DAILY • NOBLE SILENCE • BEAUTIFUL SURROUNDINGS VEGETARIAN MEALS • PRIVATE, SEMI-PRIVATE, AND DORM ROOMS AVAILABLE For complete information and secure on-line registration for all of these scheduled events, go to www.dzogchen.org/retreats, e-mail