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Indian and Chinese Philosophy


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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1. Eastern Philosophy and its Meaning for Us


  Keywords: Eastern philosophy, Greek philosophy, diff erence, comparison, harmonisation 1.1 Defi nition of Eastern Philosophy   Nowadays as many people living in the rich countries of the world feel bored and are looking for a  stronger experience, everything exotic, uncommon, or distant becomes popular. At best, a contact with exoticism can become a positive impulse for a new creative search. In this broader context you can see an interest in Eastern philosophy and culture in the western world. The widely spread concepts of Eastern philosophy have their roots in ancient Greece, where for the fi rst time the basic philosophical questions concerning the origin of everything, existence, movement, meaningful life, justice, and death were systematically considered, discussed, and transmitted through pupils. Large and infl uential systems of thought, which do not originate in 12 Greek antiquity can be considered as Eastern philosophy. Such a classifi cation is surely very rough and only broad. On closer examination it turns out that Eastern philoso- phy understood this way does not comprise a coherent system and in addition, in spite of many diff erences, it has a lot in common with Western philosophy. Just like exploring the history of Western philoso- phy has brought us to its Greek origins, the history of Eastern thinking, particularly Asian cultures reveals the origin of the most important and infl uential philosophi- cal streams and schools of this area in ancient India and ancient China. Although they have been later developed also in other countries; such as, Korea, Japan,...

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