Closed-mindedness of the American Kind*

A growing Buddhist population in Fort Wayne, Ind. is testing ‘the Neighborliness of a City’, according to an article in The New York Times today – and it appears to be bringing out a special brand of American ugliness:

Then there are the neighbors. On religious holidays, hundreds of Buddhists park on two-lane Sylvia Street, blocking driveways and ripping up yards with their tires. A neighbor, Anna MacDougal, has complained to the police and zoning inspectors, to no avail, she said. At times she has paid tow truck drivers to take cars away.

Temple leaders, acutely aware of the parking problem but oblivious to Americans’ love for grass, converted the front lawn into a parking lot and covered it with gravel.

“I was appalled,” said Donna Davis, 56, a medical assistant who lives next door. “If they want to live here, why can’t they start acting like Americans?”

During the summer, some monks follow the traditional practice of bathing in the backyard (with their robes on, behind a screen).

“I can’t stand them,” said another neighbor, Kelli Lawson, 33, who says she is uncomfortable with many aspects of Buddhist life. “It’s strange to us, so we don’t like it.” […]

[Read the rest on NYT]

Maybe it shouldn’t have, but the forthright ignorance displayed in these quotes shocked me – Respect for lawns aside, the fact that a person could so squarely admit to being averse to anything different or out of the ordinary is just another reminder of how important it is to get educated and expose ourselves to new traditions.

Get out of your box – happy travels!

*Ref: Spielberg’s ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind

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