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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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4. Vaisheshika, Sankhya and Yoga

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  Keywords: sensual knowledge, Purusha, Prakrti, Guna, Moksha   4.1 Vaisheshika – An Emphasis on the Empirical Side of Philosophism   The name of this Darshana is probably derived from the word Vishesha, which means diff erence, curiosity. Similar to other orthodox systems, its origin dates back to the post-Buddhist period, but the fi rst records come from the 5th to 6th century A.D. The Vaisheshika Sutra is accredited to Kannada and the writing Padarthadharma- sangraha was written by Prashastapada. The classic, later form of this system is not philosophically interesting. The development of thinking can only be reconstructed to a certain degree. The oldest layer of Darshana is created by the phase of natural philosophy. The base is made by the consider- ation of the world being made of eternal elements. Such 40 an attitude is not defi nite yet, it is neither materialis- tic, nor idealistic, but atheist. There are four elements: earth, water, fi re, and air. Each one of them corresponds with a certain sensual quality and sensory organ. Later they added the fi fth element Akasha, which means an empty cosmic space, and they elaborated a  theory of how this corresponds with sensory organs. Their under- standing of sensual perception can be illustrated with the example of eyesight.   Vaisheshika makes a diff erence between a physical and sensory organs, the physical has an origin in the element of earth, and the sensory organ, has an origin in the ele- ment, to which it belongs. Sensual perception takes place when in contact with...

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