EASTERN PHILOSOPHY or ASIAN PHILOSOPHY includes the various
philosophies of South and
East Asia , including
Chinese philosophy ,
Indian philosophy ,
Buddhist philosophy (dominant in
Sri Lanka and
Southeast Asia ),
Korean philosophy , and Japanese
According to Victoria S. Harrison, the category of "Eastern
philosophy", and similarly "Asian philosophy" and "Oriental
philosophy" is a product of 19th-century Western scholarship and did
not exist in
East Asia or India. This is because in
Asia there is no
single unified philosophical tradition with a single root.
* 1 South Asian philosophies
* 1.3 Buddhist philosophies
* 2 East Asian philosophies
* 2.2 Neo-
* 2.4 Legalism
* 3 Modern developments
* 3.1 Neo-
* 3.3 New
* 3.6 Syntheses of Eastern and
* 4 Controversy
* 5 See also
* 6 Notes
* 7 References
* 8 Sources
* 9 External links
SOUTH ASIAN PHILOSOPHIES
Adi Shankara the
main exponent of
Hinduism is the dominant religion, or way of life, in
South Asia .
Shaktism among numerous other
traditions , and a wide spectrum of laws and prescriptions of "daily
morality" based on karma , dharma , and societal norms.
Hinduism is a
categorisation of distinct intellectual or philosophical points of
view, rather than a rigid, common set of beliefs. Hinduism, with
about one billion followers is the world\'s third largest religion ,
Hinduism has been called the "oldest religion " in the world, and
some practitioners refer to it as Sanātana
Dharma , "the eternal law
" or the "eternal way"; beyond human origins. Western scholars
Hinduism as a fusion or synthesis of various Indian
cultures and traditions, with diverse roots and no single
founder. It prescribes the eternal duties, such as honesty,
refraining from injuring living beings (ahimsa ), patience,
forbearance, self-restraint, compassion, among others.
In the early medieval times, after the rise of Muslim powers, Hindu
philosophy was classified by
Hindu tradition into six āstika
(Sanskrit : आस्तिक "orthodox") schools of thought, or
darśanam (दर्शनम्, "view"), which accept the
authoritative texts, and four nāstika (नास्तिक
"heterodox") schools which don't draw upon the
Vedas as authoritative
texts, and developed independent traditions of thought. Nevertheless,
the various schools are in many ways related, and share various
strands of though. The āstika schools are:
Samkhya , an atheistic and strongly dualist theoretical exposition
of consciousness and matter .
Yoga , a school emphasising meditation , contemplation and
Nyaya or logic , explores sources of knowledge .
Nyāya Sūtras .
Vaisheshika , an empiricist school of atomism
Mīmāṃsā , an anti-ascetic and anti-mysticist school of
Vedānta , the last segment of knowledge in the Vedas, or the
'Jnan' (knowledge) 'Kanda' (section).
Vedanta came to be the dominant
Hinduism in the post-medieval period.
The nāstika schools are (in chronological order):
Cārvāka , a materialism school that accepted free will exists
Ājīvika , a materialism school that denied free will exists
Jainism , based on the belief in ahimsa or non-violence towards
all living beings
Buddhism , based on the teachings and enlightenment of Siddhartha
Each school of
Hindu philosophy has extensive epistemological
Hindu history , the distinction of the six orthodox schools was
current in the
Gupta period "golden age" of Hinduism. With the
Vaisheshika and Mīmāṃsā, it became obsolete by
the later Middle Ages, when the various sub-schools of
Vedanta "non-dualism" and others) began to rise to
prominence as the main divisions of religious philosophy. Nyaya
survived into the 17th century as Navya
Nyaya "Neo-Nyaya", while
Samkhya gradually lost its status as an independent school, its tenets
Yoga and Vedanta.
Umaswati codified Jain
philosophical thought in the
Tattvartha Sutra , which is accepted by
JAIN PHILOSOPHY deals extensively with the problems of metaphysics ,
reality , cosmology , ontology , epistemology and divinity . Jainism
is essentially a transtheistic religion of ancient India. :182 It
continues the ancient Śramaṇa tradition, which co-existed with the
Vedic tradition since ancient times. The distinguishing features of
Jain philosophy are its belief on independent existence of soul and
matter, denial of creative and omnipotent God, potency of karma ,
eternal and uncreated universe , a strong emphasis on non-violence ,
accent on relativity and multiple facets of truth , and morality and
ethics based on liberation of soul.
Jain philosophy attempts to
explain the rationale of being and existence, the nature of the
Universe and its constituents, the nature of bondage and the means to
achieve liberation. It has often been described as an ascetic
movement for its strong emphasis on self-control, austerities and
renunciation. It has also been called a model of philosophical
liberalism for its insistence that truth is relative and multifaceted
and for its willingness to accommodate all possible view-points of the
Jainism strongly upholds the individualistic
nature of soul and personal responsibility for one's decisions; and
that self-reliance and individual efforts alone are responsible for
Throughout its history, the
Jain philosophy remained unified and
single, although as a religion,
Jainism was divided into various sects
and traditions. The contribution of
Jain philosophy in developing the
Indian philosophy has been significant. Jain philosophical concepts
Karma , Moksa , Samsara and the like are common with
Indian religions like
Buddhism in various forms.
Jainism traces its philosophy from teachings of
other Tirthankaras , various Jain philosophers from
Umasvati in ancient times to Yaśovijaya Gaṇi in recent times have
contributed greatly in developing and refining the Jain and Indian
Vasubandhu (4-5th century CE) was a central figure of Yogacara
as well as writing an influential work on
Abhidharma , the
Abhidharmakosa . Main article:
Buddhism is a system of religious beliefs based on the teachings of
Siddhartha Gautama .
Buddhism is a non-theistic religion, one whose
tenets are not especially concerned with the existence or
non-existence of a
God or gods. The
Buddha himself expressly disavowed
any special divine status or inspiration, and said that anyone,
anywhere could achieve all the insight that he had. The question of
God is largely irrelevant in Buddhism, though some sects (notably
Buddhism ) do venerate a number of gods drawn in from local
indigenous belief systems yet this practice has taken on different
meanings and has become a skillful mean within the Tibetan Buddhist
Buddhist philosophy has its foundations in the doctrines of:
Anatta , which specifies that all is without substantial
Pratitya-samutpada , which delineates the Buddhist concept of
* Buddhist phenomenological analysis of dharmas , or
Most Buddhist sects believe in karma , a cause-and-effect
relationship between all that has been done and all that will be done.
Events that occur are held to be the direct result of previous events.
One effect of karma is rebirth. At death, the karma from a given life
determines the nature of the next life's existence. The ultimate goal
of a Buddhist practitioner is to eliminate karma (both good and bad),
end the cycle of rebirth and suffering, and attain
Nirvana , usually
translated as awakening or enlightenment.
Buddhism — Outline of
Buddhism — Schools of
Cārvāka, also frequently transliterated as
Charvaka or Cārvāka,
and also known as Lokayata or Lokyāta, was a materialist and atheist
school of thought with ancient roots in India. It proposed a system of
ethics based on rational thought. However, this school has been dead
for more than a thousand years.
Sikh religious philosophy
Sikh religious philosophy Diagram showing some of
* Simran and Sewa - These are the Foundation of
Sikhism . It is the
duty of every
Sikh to practise
Naam Simran (meditation on the Lord's
name) daily and engage in Sewa (Selfless Service) whenever there is a
Sikh place of worship), in community
centres, old people's homes, care centres, major world disasters, etc.
"Ek ong kar Satanam" and "Waheguru" are some mantras used for this
purpose. "Ek ong kar Satanam" roughly translates to "there is one God
un-separate from nature and truth is its name". "Waheguru" is used as
a meditative practice on the Lord's name.
* The Three Pillars of
Guru Nanak formalised these three
important pillars of Sikhism.
Naam Japna – A
Sikh is to engage in a daily practise of
Nitnem (a daily prayer routine) by reciting and
chanting of God’s Name.
Kirat Karni - To live honestly and earn by ones physical and
mental effort while accepting Gods gifts and blessings. A
Sikh has to
live as a householders carrying out his or her duties and
responsibilities to the full.
Vand Chakna - Sikhs are asked to share their wealth within the
community and outside by giving
Dasvand and practising charity (Daan).
To "Share and consume together".
* Kill the
Five Thieves - The
Sikh Gurus tell us that our mind and
spirit are constantly being attacked by the Five Evils –
Moh (Attachment) and
Ahankar (Ego). A Sikh
needs to constantly attack and overcome these five vices; be always
vigilant and on guard to tackle these five thieves all the time.
* Positive Human Qualities - The
Sikh Gurus taught the Sikhs to
develop and harness positive human qualities that lead the soul closer
God and away from evil. These are Sat (Truth), Daya (Compassion),
Nimrata (Humility) and
Sikh Beliefs - Basic Tenets of the
Sikhism Primary Beliefs and Principles
EAST ASIAN PHILOSOPHIES
Chinese philosophy ,
Japanese philosophy , Korean
Indonesian philosophy , and
Confucianism(儒學), developed around the teachings of Confucius
(孔子) and is based on a set of
Chinese classic texts .
Main article: Neo-
Confucianism is a later further development of
also went much more differently from the origin of Confucianism. It
started developing from the
Song Dynasty and was nearly completed in
Ming Dynasty . Its root can be found as early as
Tang Dynasty ,
often attributed to scholar Tang Xie
Tian . It has a great influence
on the countries of
East Asia including
Zhu Xi is considered as the biggest master of Song
Wang Yangming is the one of Ming 's. But
there are conflicts between Zhu's school and Wang's.
Taoism (or Daoism) is traditionally contrasted with
China . Taoism's central books are the
Dao De Jing
Dao De Jing (Tao-Te-Ching),
traditionally attributed to
Laozi (Lao Tzu), and the Nan Hua Jing
(Zhuang Zi/Chuang Tzu).
Legalism (Chinese philosophy)
Legalism (Chinese philosophy)
Legalism advocated a strict interpretation of the law in every
respect. No judgment calls. Morality was not important; adherence to
the letter of the law was paramount.
Shinto is the indigenous religion of Japan. It is a sophisticated
form of animism that holds that spirits called kami inhabit all
things. Worship is at public shrines or in small shrines constructed
in one's home. According to
Shinto practice, relationship with the
kami that inhabit this world is foremost in a person's duties; the
kami are to be respected so that they may return our respect. Shinto
further holds that the "spirit" and "mundane" worlds are one and the
same. Of all of the tenets of this philosophy, purity is the most
highly stressed. Pure acts are those that promote or contribute to the
harmony of the universe, and impure acts are those that are
deleterious in this regard. As a faith,
Shinto is heavily influenced
by Chinese religions, notably
Taoism and Buddhism.
NEO-HINDUISM AND HINDU MODERNISM
Gandhi with famous poet
Rabindranath Tagore , 1940 Main
In response to colonialism and their contact with Western philosophy,
19th century Indians developed new ways of thinking now termed
Hindu modernism. Their ideas focused on the
universality of Indian philosophy. The first of these movements was
that of the
Brahmo Samaj of
Ram Mohan Roy
Ram Mohan Roy (1772-1833). Swami
Vivekananda (1863-1902) was very influential in developing the Hindu
reform movements and in bringing the worldview to the West. The work
Mahatma Gandhi ,
Rabindranath Tagore and Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan
have also had a large impact on modern
Hu Shi and
DT Suzuki during his visit to
China in 1934. Main
Buddhist modernism refers to "forms of
Buddhism that have emerged out
of an engagement with the dominant cultural and intellectual forces of
modernity." Forces which influenced modern Buddhists like Anagarika
Chögyam Trungpa and
DT Suzuki included Enlightenment
values, Western Science and Romanticism.
Buddhist modernism includes
various movements like Humanistic
Buddhism , Secular
Buddhism , the
Vipassana movement , and Engaged
Confucianism (Chinese: 新儒家; pinyin: xīn rú jiā) is a
traditionalist revival of Confucian thought in China, beginning in
20th century Republican
China and is associated with New Conservatism
. Key New Confucians of the first generation are
Xiong Shili and Feng
Youlan. The second generation (1950–1979) include individuals like
Tang Junyi ,
Mou Zongsan , and
Xu Fuguan , all three students of Xiong
Shili. Together with
Zhang Junmai , the second generation published
the New Confucian Manifesto in 1958.
Maoism is a
Chinese Marxist philosophy based on the teachings of
20th-century Communist Party of
China revolutionary leader Mao Zedong
. It is based partially on earlier theories by Marx and Lenin, but
rejects the urban proletariat and Leninist emphasis on heavy
industrialization in favor of a revolution supported by the peasantry,
and a decentralized agrarian economy based on many collectively worked
Juche, usually translated as "self-reliance", is the official
political ideology of North
Korea , described by the regime as Kim
Il-Sung 's "original, brilliant and revolutionary contribution to
national and international thought". The idea states that an
individual is "the master of his destiny" and that the North Korean
masses are to act as the "masters of the revolution and construction".
SYNTHESES OF EASTERN AND WESTERN PHILOSOPHY
For more details on this topic, see
Buddhism and Western
Philosophy , and
New Age .
There have been many modern attempts to integrate Western and Eastern
Arthur Schopenhauer developed a philosophy that was essentially a
Hinduism with Western thought. He anticipated that the
Hindu scriptures) would have a much greater
influence in the West than they have had. However, Schopenhauer was
working with heavily flawed early translations (and sometimes
second-degree translations), and many feel that he may not necessarily
have accurately grasped the Eastern philosophies which interested him.
Recent attempts to incorporate
Western philosophy into Eastern
thought include the
Kyoto School of philosophers, who combined the
Husserl with the insights of
Buddhism . Watsuji
Tetsurô , a 20th-century Japanese philosopher attempted to combine
the works of
Søren Kierkegaard , Nietzsche, and
Eastern philosophies. Some have claimed that there is also a definite
eastern element within
Heidegger 's philosophy. For the most part this
is not made explicit within Heidegger's philosophy, apart from in the
dialogue between a Japanese and inquirer.
Heidegger did spend time
attempting to translate the
Tao Te Ching into German, working with his
Chinese student Paul Hsaio. It has also been claimed that much of
Heidegger's later philosophy, particularly the sacredness of Being,
bears a distinct similarity to Taoist ideas. There are clear parallels
Heidegger and the work of Kyoto School, and ultimately, it may
be read that Heidegger's philosophy is an attempt to 'turn eastwards'
in response to the crisis in Western civilization. However, this is
only an interpretation.
The 20th century
Hindu guru Sri
Aurobindo was influenced by German
Idealism and his integral yoga is regarded as a synthesis of Eastern
and Western thought. The German phenomenologist
Jean Gebser 's
writings on the history of consciousness referred to a new planetary
consciousness that would bridge this gap. Followers of these two
authors are often grouped together under the term
Integral thought .
Carl Jung was deeply influenced by the
I Ching .
I Ching (
Book of Changes) is an ancient Chinese text from the
Shang Dynasty (Bronze Age 1700BC-1050BC), and uses a system of Yin and
Yang, which it places into hexagrams for the purposes of divination.
Carl Jung's idea of synchronicity moves towards an Oriental view of
causality , as he states in the foreword to Richard Wilhelm's
translation of the
I Ching (
Book of Changes). He explains that this
Chinese view of the world is based not on science as the West knows
it, but on chance.
Some Western thinkers claim that philosophy as such is only
characteristic of Western cultures. Martin
Heidegger is even reported
to have said that only Greek and German languages are suitable for
philosophizing. It is still commonplace in Western universities to
Western philosophy and to ignore Asian philosophy
altogether, or consider only newer Western-influenced Asian thought
proper "philosophy". Carine Defoort , herself a specialist in Chinese
thought, has offered support for such a "family" view of philosophy,
Rein Raud has presented an argument against it and offered a
more flexible definition of philosophy that would include both Western
and Asian thought on equal terms. In response, OuYang Min argues that
philosophy proper is a Western cultural practice and essentially
different from zhexue, which is what the Chinese have, even though
zhexue (originally tetsugaku) is actually a neologism coined in 1873
Nishi Amane for describing
Western philosophy as opposed to
traditional Asian thought.
Hindu Mythology portal
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Middle Eastern philosophy
Hinduism is variously defined as a "religion", "set of
religious beliefs and practices", "religious tradition", "a way of
life" ( ) etc. For a discussion on the topic, see: "Establishing the
* ^ Lockard 2007 , p. 50: "The encounters that resulted from Aryan
migration brought together several very different peoples and
cultures, reconfiguring Indian society. Over many centuries a fusion
of Aryan and Dravidian occurred, a complex process that historians
have labeled the Indo-Aryan synthesis." Lockard 2007 , p. 52:
Hinduism can be seen historically as a synthesis of Aryan beliefs
with Harappan and other Dravidian traditions that developed over many
* ^ Hiltebeitel 2007 , p. 12: "A period of consolidation, sometimes
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Hindu synthesis," Brahmanic synthesis," or
"orthodox synthesis," takes place between the time of the late Vedic
Upanishads (c. 500 BCE) and the period of Gupta imperial ascendency"
(c. 320-467 CE)."
* ^ Among its roots are the Vedic religion of the late Vedic period
(Flood 1996 , p. 16) and its emphasis on the status of Brahmans
(Samuel 2010 , pp. 48–53), but also the religions of the Indus
Valley Civilisation (; Lockard 2007 , p. 52; ; ) the
renouncer traditions of north-east India (; ) and "popular or local
traditions " ( ).
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* atmajyoti.org Articles and commentaries on a wide range of topics