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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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12. Cosmological Thinking


  Keywords: Yin and Yang, qi, 5 elements, change, minor inception   12.1 School of Yin-yang and The Book of Changes   According to Records of the Grand Historian by Sima Qian, one of the six philosophical schools during the Zhou dynasty was The School of Yin-yang, Chinese Yinyangjia. This school focused on nature, observing the changes in nature and asks about their causes. Yin and Yang are expressions of the fact that real- ity shall be perceived in its integrity and dynamics, in which opposites are interconnected and complementary to each other. The Yin sign includes the element of cloud and represents shadow. The Yang sign includes the ele- ment of sun and represents light. This couple became the prototype of any duality. Another important term of this school is qi repre- senting something as a  vital energy. Qi is an expres- 112 sion of unity and the dynamics of reality and it can also mean breath, stream or energy. It refers to matter and spirit, since they are not separated in Chinese thinking. It refers to the possibility of a thing to become stabilised into a form, but also to exceed it. According to Chinese medicine, which works with the conception of qi, physi- cal health and moral integrity are a  result of a  proper function of qi. A concept of the Five Phases, Chinese wu xing, was created out of the search for basic parts or elements and their changes. It is a  conceptual scheme used in China to explain...

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