Buddhist retreat this weekend with Lama Phuntsok. Someone asked him a question about the difference between westerners and easterners. (I don't mean cowboys & Newfies.)
The question really had to do with mental approach, but Lama Phuntsok told this story. He grew up in India, in a Tibetan refugee camp. Says they were, you know, poor. After coming to Canada, he had a conversation with one of our Buddhabuddies about milk. This man mentioned that he (and family) go through about 7 litres of milk per week. For a Tibetan out of India, this is unimaginable. Lama Phuntsok says, "I don't have any special attachment to milk, but for us this is unbelievable."
The first time he went to Hong Kong he got a huge eye-opener. So different from India. Hong Kong...I've never been there, but I know it's a teeming, utterly modern city. Lama Phuntsok said he opened a refrigerator there. Milk! Lots of it! He looked at the label and it came from Australia or New Zealand. This too was amazing, that a product like milk should come from so far away.
That was the first thing. The second thing was dust. In India, he says, everything is dusty. Dust everywhere. India is an ancient, dusty country. In Hong Kong, he says, the second thing he noticed was no dust. "You wear the same shoes for months," he says, "And never have to clean off the dust!"