Oriental Philosophy

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This paper discusses the possible inspirations that might be derived from the viewpoints of Eastern Philosophy in contemporary studies of consciousness. First of all, two notions of consciousness are introduced, one of which can be explained by science. Thirdly, I discuss the conventional routes Oriental philosophy takes toward an exploration of the human mind, and consequently point out that Oriental philosophy views consciousness as the fundamental feature of moral beings. One of the reasons that human beings can pursue meaningful life is because of the necessary existence of conscious experience.

It is our conscious experience that makes a life of value possible. Therefore, in Oriental philosophy matters of consciousness revolve around aspects of morality and spirituality, and the training of the abilities of consciousness is emphasized over knowledge. Finally, this paper concludes with a comparison of the different approaches Oriental philosophy and current Western academics take in their study of consciousness. Hopefully, one day consciousness can be fully explored from more diverse viewpoints to gain a more comprehensive understanding and so further the happiness of humanity.

Right Contemplation, by not givingunnecessary attention to anything thathinders the attainment of enlightenmentor true knowledge. Likewise,man must realize that his existence is alsotemporary. When the fiveaggregates merged, they assume adefinite form and is given a name. Each aggregatewhen taken singly or separately is toequivalent to man. Man strives to beliberated from this ignorance and delusionto attain nirvana.

It is astate Buddhists refer to as"Enlightenment". It is the ultimate goal ofall Buddhists. The attainment of nirvanabreaks the otherwise endless rebirth cycleof reincarnation. Buddhists also considernirvana as freedom from all worldlyconcerns such as greed, hate, andignorance. No one can describe in wordswhat nirvana is. It can only beexperienced directly. Ruler — Subject2. Father — Son3.

Husband — Wife4. Older Brother — Younger Brother5. Older Friend — Younger Friend Rulers : Kind-heartedness2. Subject :Loyalty3.

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Father : Love4. Son : Filial Piety5. Husband : Righteous Behavior6. Wife : Obedience7. Older Brother : Politeness8. Younger Brother : Humility and Respect9. Older Friend : Humane Consideration You just clipped your first slide! Clipping is a handy way to collect important slides you want to go back to later. In later chapters, two great schools of Chinese philosophy— Taoism and Confucianism—are considered, and mention is given to a number of other important systems.

Chinese philosophy is easily divisible into three great periods. C This great movement sa. The second great period in Chinese philosophy was encompassed by che years from the 2nd century B. I , and there was a general mingling of the teachings of che various existent philosophies. During the third period, from the 11th cennuy until the present, Confucianism gradually gave way to what is termed Neo- Confucianism.

As compared with Western modes of thought, the reader will find much that is different in his study of Oriental Philosophy. It is only by approaching the subject with an open mind, and in a spirir of im quiry, that the best fruits of study are to be attained. Above all as one gains a knowledge of Eastern thought, he is able to draw bits of wisdom from many sources as building stones for Ids own philosophical outlook.

Until one has explored for himself the majestic realms of Oriental thought and sensed something of the vast and mysterious sway of philosophy and religion on that great continent, he can have but a partial view of the totality of philosophical thought. A word of appreciation should go to those teachers of philosophy who have used this volume in earlier editions in their classes and who have so kindly made available their criticisms and comments.

The authors are indebted to them for many of the improvements in the present revision. In cases of such words as have found a place in standard English dictionaries, e. Nirvana, Mahayano, Hinayana, diacritical markings have not been employed. I Introduction Mechanisation and atomic power may ameliorate man's life on Earth, but they cannot create culture or emancipate man. Nor can the Occident alone direct: the future of human evolution.

Then, with the coming of the Renaissance, which was inspired by the classical culture born of the East, Europe for the first time awakened from its primiriveness and began to understand the significance of culture.

Six Ideas From Eastern Philosophy

The corpus of teachings which came to be called Christian was itself, as St Augustine frankly acknowledged, orientally derived; nor were these teachings, as he well knew, something unique dr new. Originating from many sources, they transmitted, in large measure, the quintessence of salvation doctrines which. Song before the rise of Christianity in the West, were common both to India and to China and in lesser degree to the Mystery Schools of the ancient Egyptian and Grecian and Mediterranean civilizations.

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Thus, likewise for Christendom, it was through oriental assistance that the Occident was delivered from barbarism. Tlie Oxford New English Dictionary incorporates in its pages, as being already anglicized, Sanskrit derived words which a generation ago were popularly quite unknown, such, for example, as karma r guru, Nirvana, and others. We are, indeed, living in the time of a Renaissance far mightier in its cultural influence chan that of fifteenth and sixteenth century Europe; for, at that epoch, the Light from the East could but faintly shine 2 Introduction through the accumulated gloom iaheriicd from Europe's Dark Ages.

It is of more chan ordinary significance to have received onlj r a few days ago, from a young American returned from the Wax and now stationed in one of the United Stares Naval Personnel Separation Centers,, thee thoughtful observations; "The importance of scholars' work touching things Asiatic grows with each day. There can be no greater social service than that of helping to prepare the way for a civ hi Nation which shall be really humanitarian, not merely Eastern or Western, but international The whole world faces the most stupendous crisis in all the millenniums.

Shall our social order disintegrate as did that of Babylon and Memphis and Rome? Shall all the sacrifices, all the struggles, all the hopes of our forefathers, who with such painful effort busk up our Western civilization and made us its heirs, be frustrated? Shall Ignorance continue to shape the policy of so many of our statesmen and religious leaders? Shall wc attain a united world and a federation of religions or shall we sufifer social disintegration. The East has ever extended fraternal greetings to the West. India's and China's culture has gone on unbrokcnEy for many thousands of years.

India has witnessed the fall of the ancient empires of the Occident and of the Near Ease Shall its fraternal greetings not be reciprocated by us of this generation? Shall we be faithless custodians of the trust which our ancestors reposed in us? Jew, Moslem, Taoist, or of any other faith.

If, alas, the West rejects the Light, or prevents it from shining dearly, then, once again, chaos will claim Western society. Shall the East once again decline and fall of the West, or shall Western man become sufficiently awakened to avert the cyelie crisis now impending? If the West is to attain right and everlasting greatness, it will not be because of its technology.

The worldly path was the path which the ancient Romans trod. Had the Christ chosen worldly dominion as the Tempter proposed that He should, or had the Buddha preferred the throne of His father's kingdom rather than the Seat of BuJdhahood beneath the Bo-tree in the solitude of the Indian jungle, neither of these conquerors would have attained the status of Teacher of Gods and Men.

One of my Hindu gurus, the late Sj. Atal Bihari Ghosh, has very succinctly set forth this contrasting difference between East and West as follows; The East, even in the days of her material prosperity never forgot the supremacy of things spiritual.

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As the epitomized treatises which herein follow emphasize it ; s not by the conquest of this world, but by the conquest of the animal 4 Introduction self that the Great Ones throughout the ages have been empowered to direct the course of human culture and of spiritual enlightenment And they alone are the world's Heros h not the captains and rheir hosts who have ravaged the nations with fixe and sword and bloodshed and filled ibe world with weeping and wailing and dire nun.

May the message be heeded. May the New Age be allowed to come forth In our day from the womb of time. Through the long centuries, its rich spiritual import has trick ft!

The Vedas: Oriental philosophy in the Modern Age

We recognize in the philosophy of India a sensitive and deep appreciation of the eternal problem of man's rela- tion ro has universe. By even the briefest perusal of Indian philosophy, one may de- tecr gems of wisdom as bright as any of those to be found in the thought of ancient Greece. Indeed, even in the most cursory survey it is at once evident that the thought stemming from the Vedas and Upamshads composes some of the oldest and most profound of all speculative philosophy.

Let the reader be aware, however, that to understand the full significance of this philosophy is sometimes a difficult task for the Western mind.

There is much that seems strange to those of 11 s whose acquaintance with philosophy is limited to the teaching of the Western schook. He who refuses to come to Indian thought with an open mind is likely to find confusion and even contradiction. Lei ic only be remarked that this is a logical result in a land where philosophy has become a deep preoccupation—a mode of life as well as a body df wisdom—for centuries. They speak different Languages. The Dravidians composed the original race in India and were later replaced in the north by the Aryan and Turanian immigration.

Particularly significant for us, os students of Indian philosophy, are the early Aryan settlers.

It was they who formulated the early philosophical teaching and wisdom of India. They were one branch of an earlier race, which also sent forth an offshoot into Europe. The evidence of the common origin of rhe fndo-Aryan and Indo- European races is clear-cut in the many similarities of mythology, of language, and of thought pattern. In the later Vedas, we arc able 10 detect the influence of the native peoples on their Aryan conquerors. At any rate, in the Vedas and with the later sanction of the Upanishads and the teachings of the Brahmans, a complex and unyielding system of caste has grown up.

Caste is by no means analogous to our so-called social classes, It Is, in its most favorable aspects, a brotherhood of different bur essentially cooperative groups, Each group has its own peculiar function and is necessary to the maintenance of each of the others.

Oriental Philosophy

Economic standing is not a determining factor in deciding caste. There ore occupational lines, language con siderations, color lines, and many other factors involved. These are the order of the pupil the householder, the anchorite, and the sannyusL This peculiar view perm tried iq every man an education, family and rhe opportunity of a religious career In a sense, the order of the householder is the most important, since the others are in great measure dependent thereupon for their physical sustenance. Not all Hindus recognize the Brahmans as the true ministers of the faith.

They provide their own non-Brahmanic interpretations.

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