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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, difference, comparison, harmonisation

1.1 Definition 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 first 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 influential systems of thought, which do not originate in ← 11 | 12 → Greek antiquity can be considered as Eastern philosophy. Such a classification is surely very rough and only broad. On closer examination it turns out that Eastern philosophy understood this way does not comprise a coherent system and in addition, in spite of many differences, it has a lot in common with Western philosophy.

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