Most of the people of eastern or Asian countries have a different ideology than those of us in the west. People in eastern countries react for the benefit of the whole, while the people in the west react as an individual, usually without thought of the consequences of the whole. I am not speaking about a political ideology, such as communism, but of a philosophical ideology that embraces all thoughts and beliefs of the eastern culture. Living first in Japan and also in Hawaii, where many Asians had settled, I became exposed to this "new" way of thinking.
My English teacher at Waipahu High School was of Chinese descent, and could be very intimidating. She was very strict and had high expectations of all her students. One of her first class assignments was to write an essay about a lucky event that had occurred in our life.
I enjoy writing and so it was quite easy for me to sit down and write the story of how the young boy came up to me when I was standing in the alley behind my house in California. The boy had asked me if I wanted some money and when I said: "Yes", he handed me six dollars. I always thought that was a lucky event for me, so, I completed my version of the story for my essay and then turned it in.
I was shocked when my paper was returned to me. My paper was judged not just on how well I wrote the paper, but by what I wrote. Although I was given good marks for how I wrote the story, my teacher reprimanded me for considering the event I had described as "lucky", because the money was probably stolen. By accepting that money, she asserted, I had condoned the the negative action of the young boy. Not only did I receive the reprimanding on paper, the teacher also approached me personally after the class to tell me how disappointed she was that I had chosen such a subject to represent a fortunate event. I was given a quick lesson in Karma and sent on my way, feeling like I was the most horrid girl ever. There was a lot of guilt about accepting that six dollars.
I recovered, of course, but I gave this subject a lot of thought over the next few months. This event had a major impact on my life and influenced my thinking for the rest of my life. I can honestly say, I no longer think just as a Westerner, and the eastern philosophy has had a definite impact on my outlook.