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Indian and Chinese Philosophy

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Adrián Slavkovský

This textbook offers a brief overview of the main philosophical schools of the two most significant cultures in ancient Asia, from where these thoughts have spread widely – it concerns ancient India and China. Most important philosophical concepts of that region like holistic or ceremonial approach to reality, openness to transcendence, pluralism of opinions, behaviour leading by a sense of harmony are somehow complementary to our prevailing contemporary Western thought. Therefore they can be enriching and balancing for us and our culture.

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  Introduction .............................................................................................................................................. 7 1. Eastern Philosophy and its Meaning for Us .................................................... 11 1.1 Defi nition of Eastern Philosophy .............................................................. 11 1.2 Reasons to Deal with Eastern Philosophy ........................................ 12 1.3 How to Dedicate Oneself to Eastern Philosophy ...................... 14 2. Origins of Indian Philosophy. Vedas, Upanishads .................................... 19 2.1 Vedic Period, the Vedas ...................................................................................... 19 2.2. Upanishads. Main Features of Indian Thinking ........................... 22 3. Sense and Knowledge in Indian Philosophy ................................................. 27 3.1  An Overview of Indian Philosophical Systems (Darshanas) ..................................................................................................................... 27 3.2 Nyaya – Methodology of Public Discussions ................................ 29 3.3 Scepticism of Materialism and Perspectivism of Jainism .......................................................................................................................... 34 4. Vaisheshika, Sankhya and Yoga .................................................................................. 39 4.1 Vaisheshika – An Emphasis on the Empirical Side of Philosophism ......................................................................................................... 39 64.2 Sankhya and Yoga – Purifi cation of Mind through Knowledge and Exercise ................................................................................... 42 5. Mimansa and Vedanta ......................................................................................................... 49 5.1 Mimansa ............................................................................................................................ 49 5.2 Vedanta ............................................................................................................................... 52 6. Buddhist Schools ...................................................................................................................... 57 6.1 Origins of Buddhism .............................................................................................. 57 6.2 Sarvastivada – Everything Exists ............................................................... 59 6.3 Madhyamika – The Teaching of Emptiness .................................... 64 7. Origins of Chinese Philosophy .................................................................................... 69 7.1 Typical Signs of Chinese Thinking and of Approach to Reality ........................................................................................................................... 69 7.2 The Most Important Terms .............................................................................. 73 7.3 Heaven and Earth ..................................................................................................... 74 8. Confucius and Confucianists ......................................................................................... 79 8.1 Main Pillars of Confucius’ Teachings ...................................................... 79 8.2 Mencius (Master Meng) ...................................................................................... 83 8.3 Xunzi ...................................................................................................................................... 87 9. Taoism .................................................................................................................................................. 91 9.1 Tao Te Ching (or Dao De Jing) ...................................................................... 91 9.2 Master Zhuang ............................................................................................................ 96 10. Mohism ............................................................................................................................................... 101 10.1 Mozi and His Teachings ...................................................................................... 101 11. School of Logicians and Legists ................................................................................. 105 11.1 School of Names ........................................................................................................ 105 11.2 Legists .................................................................................................................................. 107 12. Cosmological Thinking ........................................................................................................ 111 12.1 School of Yin-yang and...

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