Part IIPhilosophical Approaches to theStudy of Human Existenceaccording to Eastern Philosophy
Philosophy definedThe science of things by their ultimateprinciples and causes, as known bynatural reason alone.
Philosophy as science.It is not a set of opinions and theories. Itis certain knowledge of things basedon evidence and demonstrations, andreduced to a comprehensive rationalsystem.
Of Things.Philosophy discusses about the thingsthat are found in the existential world.It also discusses, about non-materialbeings and principles; about thesoul, the intellect and the free will.
By their Ultimate Principles and Causes.It studies the nature of the living being assuch, of life and its principle.
As known by natural reason alone.Philosophy attains knowledge, not by makinguse of the Principles or Article of Faith, butby the use of the Principles of naturalcognition, which may be obtained from theinvestigation of Nature and the naturalstudy of things.
Buddhism (563-B.C.E)The Buddhist tradition can be tracedback to the year 563 BCE, the birth ofSiddharta Gautama. Buddhism is ateaching of Buddha who was born aprince of kapilavathu (HimalayaMountains near Nepal) in 623 B.C. Hemarried and had a son.
Buddhism is a practice of finding peacewithin oneself. It is formulated to winhappiness during the present life aswell as in the next.The Doctrine on Dependent Origination– is the central teaching of theBuddha. There is nothing in this worldthat does not come within the sphereof the causal laws. Causality informs usconcerning the arising and passingaway of things in this world.
Theory of Karma – is based onPatticasamutpada for it is animplication of the law of causation.Karma alludes to the fruit‘s of one‘saction. Our present life is due to theimpression of the karmas of the pastlife. The past shapes the future.This is grounded in the cause-effectrelation.By good works they can have a betterlife.
Ignorance-the root cause of allsufferings, of the cycle of birth anddeath. Ignorance tells us that one is inbondage.Knowledge is only method that candestroy ignorance.Knowledge corresponds to theknowledge of truth, and of theimpermanence of things in this world.
Existence in Buddhism is described in thefollowing ways:1. All things of this world areimpermanent (Anicca)2. All things of this world are non-substantial (Anatta)3. All things of this world areunsatisfactory-suffering (Dukkha)
Buddha‘s Noble Eightfold Patha. ―Right Views‖ means knowledge ofthe teachings of dharma, the fournoble truths and the law of karma.b. ―Right Intention‖ meansdispassion, benevolence and refusalto injure others. It involves theelimination ofambitions, revenge, hatred, greed, lust and violence.c. ―Right Speech‖ means nolying, slander, abuse, or idle talk.Man must be compassionate and full ofsympathy, with a heart full of loving-kindness and free from secret malice.
d. ―Right Action‖ means not talkinglife, stealing, not indulging insensuality, slander and intoxicatingliquor or drugs or being sexuallydisordered.e. ―Right Livelihood‖ is an occupationthat does not harm living things, thusbutchers, hunters, fishers, and sellers ofweapons or liquors are not prescribed.f. ―Right Effort‖ avoids the rising of evilthoughts and developing such good inone‘s mind and maintains a good andmeritorious state of mind.
g. ―Right Mindfulness and Awareness‖ isdisciplined do that it focuses on aworthy object of meditation.It is right attentiveness, which meanscontinual recollection of allphenomena about bodily structure, allparts of the human body, all states ofhealth, purity of mind, contemplationof various states of mind and all kindsof temperament.
h. ―Right Concentration‖ is the thresholdof nirvana, consists of the four greatefforts such as the effort to avoid andto overcome evil states of mind, theeffort to develop and maintain goodstates of mind.The state of mind must be accompaniedby right knowledge, rightintention, right speech, rightaction, right livelihood, right effort andright attentiveness.
Nirvana-means ‗blowing out.‘ It is thesummum bonum and goal ofBuddhism.The person who gained this status isknown as ―arhat.‖ It dissipatescraving, a state of detachment wherethere is no suffering. It is simply perfecthappiness. In its highest peak, nirvanais the purification of themind, restoration to its primitivesimplicity or radiant transparency.A person who gained nirvana becomesenlightened, a Buddha.
Characteristics of an arhat1. Experiences detachment from theworld2. Detachment generates freedom3. Freedom generates stability of themind4. Experiences security and peaceamidst confusion in the world5. He understands the nature of thingssuch asimpermanence, unsatisfactoriness, and nonsubstantiability.
Confucianism (551-479)A major system of thought inChina, developed from the teachingsof Confucius and his disciples:Mencius and Hzun Tzu (Xunzi)Confucius preferred that his disciples willbe useful to state and society.
Following his death in 479 B.C.E, Confucius wasburied in Ch’ü-fu in Shandong province, China.His name in Chinese is Kongzi(also spelled K’ung-tzu).
For Confucius, philosophy is a kind of asystem of ideas and thoughts that talkabout human behaviour, the rules tobe followed to become successful inlife and about the government.
MAXIMS OF CONFUCIUS1. The Great Alternative-to retire intosolitude or to live in the world and tryto shape it.He who is concerned only with the purityof his own life ruins the great humanrelations.2. The NATURE of Man-the nature of manis called jen or ren translated as“humaneness” or “benevolence”which is the summation of all othervirtues.
A jen or ren person does what is rightregardless of the danger to himself orherself and regardless of the hardship thisrequires.
3. The Source is absolute, theManifestation is Relative-Truth andrealities are one.The mere idea is as nothing. The root ofhuman salvation lies in the―knowledge that influences reality.‖That is, in the truth of idea that aretranslated into an inner transformingaction.
4. The Necessity of Order-Order isnecessary because it is only inhuman association that the essenceof man is real.Do to no one what you would not wishothers to do to you.
Confucius‘ 2 great virtues1. Righteousness-doing an actionwithout ulterior motive (not for profit)2. Human heartedness-Jen or humanity
Confucius Ideas [M. Villaba, Philosphy of theEast, 1996]For Confucius, men are essentially social beings.Society is established by individualcomprising it. A moral must be acollaborating person or member of society.CONFUCIUS USED 2 TERMINOLOGIES, LI and TAO.1. Li-the Li consists of courtesy and moral duty.2. Tao-the purpose is happiness in this life, hereand now for all mankind.
Taoism (B.C.E.)[tów ìzzəm, dów ìzzəm]Lao Tzu wrote Tao Te Ching as the scripture ofTaoism.
The central vehicle of achieving tranquility wasthe Tao/Dao, a term which has beentranslated as ―the way‖ or ―the path.‖Te in this context refers to virtue and Ching refersto laws.TAO TE CHING-translated as The Law of virtueand its way.
Laozi or Lao-tzu, legendary founder of Taoism-Daoism, a philosophy and religion of China.According to popular belief, he was born in theChinese province of Henan (Ho-nan) around570 B.C.E. and served as an official at the royalcourt at Luoyang.
His original name was Li Erh, but he cameto be called Laozi, meaning ―Old Master.‖
The ―Tao‖ is a universal principle that permeatesevery action and every phenomenon.To understand it, man must exercise his ownintuition and get in touch with themetaphysical reality that connects all men.
For example, a person‘s conduct should begoverned by instinct and conscience.For Lao Tzu “simplicity” is the key to truth andfreedom.Thus, a man must strive to be a man of ―Tao‖—a sage, perfect man.
3 PHASES OF TAOISM1. The threshold of Taoist philosophy is thepreservation of life and abstaining from injury.Yang-Chu‘s (the earliest exponent) method is toevade/ escape. This is the method of theordinary recluse that flees from society andhides in the mountain and forests.Through escaping, he can avoid the evils of theworld.
2. The 2nd phase in the unfolding of Taoism is acomposite of an attempt to discover lawsunderlying the changes of things in theuniverse.
3. The 3rd phase in the unfolding of Taoism issituated in Chuang-Tzu. Despite realization, ahuman person could still suffer injury.To evade this, Chuang-Tzu adheredvisualization things from a higherviewpoint, i.e., by transcending this universe.
Lao Tzu‘s concept of virtue – For Lao Tzu, the wayof heaven and earth is based on virtue.Hence, develop it, nurture it, foster it, andmature it.
Yin and YangAccording to Chinese philosophy, yinand yang are two opposing andcounterbalancing forces in theuniverse. This symbol represents them.Yin is the dark half and yang the brighthalf, but neither could exist without theother.
Islam(Arabic: al-’islām, pronounced [ʔislæːm]It is derived from the Arabic verbAslama, which means "toaccept, surrender or submit."
Thus, Islam means acceptance of andsubmission to God, and believers mustdemonstrate this by worshipinghim, following his commands, andavoiding polytheism.
Mecca, Saudi ArabiaThe al-Haram Mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, holds the holiest shrineof Islam, the Kaaba.As the birthplace of Islam‘s founder, the Prophet Muhammad, Meccais considered a holy city.It is a pilgrimage point for Muslims worldwide, who are expected tovisit the city at least once if they are able to do so.
Muslims believe that God is one andincomparable and that the purpose of lifeis to worship God. They regard theirreligion as the completed and universalversion of a primordial, monotheistic faithrevealed at many times and placesbefore, including, notably, to the prophetsAbraham, Moses and Jesus. Islamictradition holds that previous messagesand revelations have been changed anddistorted over time.
ORIGIN AND DEVLOPMENT OF QUR‘ANThe word Quran means "recitation".When Muslims speak in the abstractabout "the Quran", they usually mean thescripture as recited in Arabic rather thanthe printed work or any translation of it.
8TH or 9TH Century, Illustrated Text of the Qur’an
The Quran is divided into 114 suras, orchapters, which combined, contain 6,236āyāt, or verses. The chronologically earliersuras, revealed at Mecca, are primarilyconcerned with ethical and spiritual topics.
The later Medinan suras mostly discuss socialand moral issues relevant to the Muslimcommunity. The Quran is more concernedwith moral guidance than legalinstruction, and is considered the "sourcebookof Islamic principles and values".
Qur‘an or Koran, the holy book of Islam. ForMuslims it is the very word of Allah, theabsolute God of Islamic faith, and wasrevealed to the prophet Muhammad.The angel Gabriel is said to have spokenAllah‘s words into the Prophets ear.According to Muslim tradition, after thisecstatic experience Muhammad was able torecite exactly what he had been told.
1.The shahadah, which is the basic creed ofIslam that must be recited under oath withthe specific statement:"ašhadu al-lā ilāha illā-llāhu wa ašhaduanna muħammadan rasūlu-llāh",or"I testify that there is none worthy of worshipexcept God and I testify that Muhammad isthe Messenger of God."
2. Salah, or ritual prayer, which must beperformed five times a day. Salah isintended to focus the mind on God, and isseen as a personal communication withhim that expresses gratitude and worship.
3. Sawm, or fasting during the month ofRamadan. Muslims must not eat or drink(among other things) from dawn to duskduring this month, and must be mindful ofother sins.
The fast is to encourage a feeling ofnearness to God, and during it Muslimsshould express their gratitude for anddependence on him, atone for their pastsins, and think of the needy.
4. Zakat, or alms-giving, which is giving afixed portion of accumulated wealth bythose who can afford it to help the poor orneedy, and also to assist the spread of Islam.
It is considered a religious obligation (asopposed to voluntary charity) that thewell-off owe to the needy because theirwealth is seen as a "trust from Godsbounty". The Quran and the hadith alsosuggest a Muslim give even more as anact of voluntary alms-giving (sadaqah).
5. The Hajj, which is the pilgrimage duringthe Islamic month of Dhu al-Hijjah in the cityof Mecca.
Every able-bodied Muslim who can affordit must make the pilgrimage to Mecca atleast once in his or her lifetime.Rituals of the Hajj include walking seventimes around the Kaaba, touching theblack stone if possible, walking or runningseven times between Mount Safa andMount Marwah, and symbolically stoningthe Devil in Mina.
Mohammad(c. 570 – June 8, 632) was a trader laterbecoming a religious, political, andmilitary leader. Muslims view him not asthe creator of a new religion, but as therestorer of the original, uncorruptedmonotheistic faith of Adam, Abraham,Moses, Jesus and others.
In Muslim tradition, Muhammad isviewed as the last and the greatest ina series of prophets—as the manclosest to perfection, the possessor ofall virtues.
Muhammad Receiving aRevelationAccording to Islam the prophetMuhammad received manydivine revelations during his life.These revelations were writtendown and together make upthe Quran, the holy book ofIslam.In this painting from an 18th-century manuscript,Muhammad (shown at the rightwithout facial features) isreceiving a revelation during abattle.Muhammad’s face is neverdepicted in Islamic art.
HinduismHinduism is the worlds third largestreligion, after Christianity and Islam, with morethan a billion adherents, of whomapproximately 1 billion, live in the Republic ofIndia.
Hinduism is formed of diverse traditions and has nosingle founder.
Hindu Family Praying at HomeMany Hindus worship a deity that they have personally chosen. Individuals orfamilies may set up a shrine with images of the deity and offer food to the deitybefore partaking of it themselves.Prayers and chanting are part of these daily household devotions known as pūjā.
Hindu Holy MenSome Hindu men devote their entire lives to the quest for moksha(liberation from the chain of lives).These holy men, known as sadhus, renounce worldly concerns, live onalms, and spend their lives wandering to avoid attachment to peopleor places.Here, sadhus share an offering of rice at a temple in Pushkar, a city inthe northwestern Indian state of Rājasthān.
The word Hindu is derived from the riverSindhu, or Indus. Hindu was primarily ageographical term that referred to India or to aregion of India (near the Sindhu) as long ago asthe 6th century bc.
Indus RiverFormed in the Tibetan Himalayas, the Indus River flows 2900 km (1800 mi)northwest through the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmīr to the Hindu Kushmountain range, then southwest through Pakistan and the Indian state ofPunjab, ending at the Arabian Sea.The Indus is very important for irrigation, supplying water to the arid land ofthe Indus Valley. Once significant for commercial trade, the Indus is nownavigable only by small crafts, in part because dams built for irrigationchanged the nature of the river.
The word Hinduism is an English word ofmore recent origin.Hinduism entered the English language inthe early 19th century to describe thebeliefs and practices of those residents ofIndia who had not converted to Islam orChristianity and did not practice Judaismor Zoroastrianism.
Within Hinduism there are various schools ofthought, which Hindu scholars have systematizedin different ways.All of these schools have enriched Hinduism withtheir individual emphases: Nyāya on rigorouslogic, Vaiseshika on atoms and the structure ofmatter, Sānkhya on numbers andcategories, Yoga on meditationtechniques, Mīmāmsā on the analysis of sacredtexts, and Vedānta on the nature andexperience of spirituality..
Their teachings are usually summarized in textscalled sūtras or aphorisms.These sūtras can be memorized easily and recitedas a means of gaining spiritual focus
A. Brahman: The ultimate realityAccording to Vedānta, the highest aim ofexistence is the realization of the identityor union of the individual‘s innermost self(ātman) with the ultimate reality.Although Vedānta states that this ultimatereality is beyond name, the wordBrahman is used to refer to it.
Good LUCK to everyone.Everybody’s philosophers.