Among the strangest things I’ve read lately is how a group of (Christian) parents prevented yoga exercises from being taught at a Swedish school. Among others, the motivation was that the exercises might tamper with their children’s religious beliefs:
Fairness champion Sweden interdicts religious interference in schools. However, yoga is tied to Buddhism the same way fasting is tied to Christianity or Islam (not at all). Yoga and fasting are disciplines that test the body and mind. Both practices have been proven time and again to be beneficial. And while fasting requires a careful understanding of one’s biorhythms, yoga is a readily available for improving one’s body, balance, physical and mental discipline.
One parent is quoted as saying: “Yoga is used by Buddhists as a form of meditation. We don’t know what it might lead to.” Maybe the person could be informed that it could lead to less violence^. How can anybody have a problem with meditation? Meditation is inherently non-religious and Buddhism itself is not a religion. It could perhaps be considered a religion of no religion. It’s scientific spirituality and encourages experimentation and a personal understanding of spiritual matters.
It’s sad that people aren’t well educated at all when it comes to other cultures. Maybe it’s natural to fear what you don’t know, but these things are actually quite easy to get to know and understand. But then again, the educational system that is used in constructing the foundations of our society has serious issues.
How can we expect to live in a healthy society when most children are put through a schooling system that encourages obedience, conformity and competition? There are no lessons in school about empathy and compassion.
Children are discouraged from challenging the authority of their parents and their leaders. They’re treated as second the class citizens of an adult family so it’s no surprise one of the first things they do in life is to discriminate between themselves and others. In the same time, they’re conditioned to think that being a leader is something reserved to an entirely different class of people.