The Philosophies of India, China and Japan

Indian philosophies

Major Indian philosophical systems are Hindu and Buddhist.The Hindu Philosophy has been the most dominant.

Vedas: Having a great place in Hindu philsophy the Vedas are collection of sacred thoughts .Some of the earliest schools were based on Vedas like Nyaya, Vaisheshikha, Samkhya, Yoga, Mimamsa and Vedanta.

Philosophical traits:Hindu philosophy stresses on the meaning and purpose of life.It emphasizes freedom from suffering.Philosophical activity originates due to elementary dissatisfactions with human conditions.Both Hindu and Buddhist philosophy addressed the issue of meaning, purpose and salvation.Inquiry into liberation from surroundings has 3 characters.It aims to discover our true nature,is transformative and religious in nature.

Philosophy stresses on the aim to achieve enlightenment also called Moksha(in Hinduism) or Nirvana(in Buddhism) .In Indian philosophy salvation and self-discovery are linked. It is believed that

Self awakening transcends confining boundaries of a pure intellectual pursuit ,demands a complete engagement.

Both Hindu and Buddhist philosophies warn us against relying heavily upon intellect for self-realization.

Questioning transforms the questioner

Questions about liberation and self discovery are radical and transformative as they ultimately involve who we are in essence.Goal and process are not separate.Philosophy is not just quest for truth but life of truth.

In more fundamental senses religion is

a)Distingushing sacred from profane

b)Pointing to higher and deeper reality behind appearances

c)Showing way to personal salvation

Quest for self leads to true freedom. Indian philosopher Sankara gave guidelines for the aspiring disciples, which included truthfulness and a desire for liberation.

Unlike Western culture, religion and philosophy are interdependent in Indian culture.In Hindu schools like Nyaya ‘logical subtlety was combined with conceptual analysis’.The different schools of thought are bound together in the quest for deliverance.

Wisdom as knowledge and compassion

Darshan or point of view is not only an intellectual exercize. For philosophical activity, seeing with both mind and heart are required.

The harmony of mind and heart constitutes the pulse of wisdom

Pragna is the intellectual basis of wisdom.True intelligence is wisdom and comprises a synthesis of knowledge and compassion(Karuna).True wisdom is harmony of heart and mind.All this is briefly described in Bodhisattva.Bodhi is one who has achieved enlightenment and throughout life shares wisdom with others.This ideal exemplifies union of Pragna and Karuna.

Indian philosophy has been divided into 5 ages

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