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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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6. Buddhist Schools

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  Keywords: Buddha, gnoseologistical idealism, Dharma, emptiness, borders or rationality   6.1 Origins of Buddhism   Buddhism belongs to spiritual streams, which deny the authority of Vedas and indicated the futility of victims. Its founder is Siddhartha Gautama, prince of the Shakya, who lived at some time in the 6th to the 5th century B.C. According to tradition, he was born in Limbini and grew up in Kapilvastu in a small kingdom in the foothills of the Himalayas (this territory is at present situated in the southern Nepal and northern India). Buddha is his title and it means “the awakened one.” According to legend, he grew up at the royal court protected from suff ering. Encounters with pain, illness, old age, and death became a challenge for him. He left his wife, his son, the royal palace, and became homeless. He fi rst became a  wandering ascetic. Several spiritual 58 teachers taught him and after the awakening, he was joined by many, and a large movement was created. The aim of Buddhism is to free the man from suff er- ing (Dukkha), to release him from the cycle of reincarna- tion (Sansara) by means of the understanding of suff er- ing through the four noble truths and to face suff ering by following an eight-part path. Buddha’s actions had a  signifi cant social infl uence. He did not fi ght against castes, but by accepting every- one he created a new and fairer type of social relation- ship. In times of great economic changes, newly...

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