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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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9. Taoism

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  Keywords: Tao, Wu wei, Yin and Yang, paradox, metaphor   9.1 Tao Te Ching (or Dao De Jing)   Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism are considered the three most signifi cant systems of thought in China. Throughout history, they infl uenced each other, there were even attempts to combine them. The term Tao- ism is an umbrella term for several schools of thought, which have common themes. The most distinctive text of the system was the Dao De Jing, whose authorship is traditionally accredited to Laozi and Zhuangzi, a text that is named after the author Zhuangzi. In present times, it is believed that both texts were being created for a long time and several authors participated in their creation. Texts do not refer to each other and they were included into the common Taoist corpus in the 3rd cen- tury A.D. 92 The common signs of Taoism include the develop- ment of the Tao path, the emphasis on metaethics in refl exions on moral, the development of concepts on the return to naturalness and spontaneity and also the indirect and non-confrontational style of writing, which does not appeal to rationality in the fi rst place, but to intuition and imagination, by using analogies, elements of poetry, humour and self-irony.   From the point of ontological models, the Taoist philoso- phy is monistic and process-based. There is no search for some prime origin, which was typical for Greek think- ing, but there is rather a search for laws of process, there was no attempt to...

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