The Experience of Loving Kindness: The Ultimate Concern in Thai Buddhism and Unitarian Universalism
"Religion is the state of being grasped by an ultimate concern, a concern which qualifies all other concerns as preliminary and which itself contains the answer to the question of a meaning of our life." As a religion student, this quote well states how I approach my studies and way of understanding the world that is directed by ultimate concerns. When I look at different religions, I hope to come to a broad understanding of each tradition's ultimate concern in order to make distinctions as well as comparisons between them. As an American, I perceive, no matter what anyone says, that if the main culture of America is said to have an ultimate concern, than it would be happiness through materialism. I have come to feel increasingly uncomfortable with this idea. My lack of ease directed me towards the study of religion, Buddhism specifically and my choice to study abroad in Thailand, a comparatively less modernized country, which is predominantly Buddhist. I hoped to gain insight into the ultimate differences between the American and Thai cultures through my religious perspective as well as shed light on how an ultimate concern can be taught as a means of cross-cultural understanding and spiritual enrichment for all people.