A reader writes:
I'm often struck by how people find in Eastern traditions valuable insights -- which is great -- and act as though they were not available in the West -- which is a little frustrating and probably a serious indictment of modern education. The lovely quote from your reader about non-attachment in Buddhism is almost exactly like the teachings on the subject by St. Ignatius Loyola in his Spiritual Exercises.
Since Ignatius is right smack in the middle of Western culture, he is of little interest to many who have dismissed such teachings a priori in favor of non-Western sources. This is fine if they find these same valuable ideas there. But it's equally true that Ignatius has taught hundreds of thousands of people for half a millennium the value in the ability "to conquer oneself and to regulate one's life in such a way that no decision is made under the influence of any inordinate attachment." He devised (or synthesized from sources ancient, medieval, and modern) a means to a greater degree of freedom from one's own likes, dislikes, comforts, wants, needs, drives, appetites and passions, so that the soul may choose based solely on what it discerns as God's will is for it.
The difference in the Buddhist way and the Christian, of course, is that the soul radically attaches itself to God before it is free to experience complete freedom of choice in all else. Also that typically Western concept of the "inordinate." Moderation is so Pauline and Ignatian. But is this really a contradiction of Buddhism?