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AncientEasternPhilosophy

OntheAncientWisdomofBuddhism,
Hinduism,Taoism&Confucianism
ThemostimportantcharacteristicoftheEasternworldviewonecouldalmostsaytheessenceofitisthe
awarenessoftheunityandmutualinterrelationofallthingsandevents,theexperienceofallphenomenain
theworldasmanifestationsofabasiconeness.Allthingsareseenasinterdependentandinseparableparts
ofthiscosmicwhole;asdifferentmanifestationsofthesameultimatereality.
(FritjofCapra,TheTaoofPhysics)
ThefundamentalelementofthecosmosisSpace.Spaceistheallembracingprinciple
ofhigherunity.NothingcanexistwithoutSpace...AccordingtoancientIndian
traditiontheUniverserevealsitselfintwofundamentalproperties:asMotionandas
thatinwhichmotiontakesplace,namelySpace.ThisSpaceiscalledAkasa..derived
fromtherootkas,'toradiate,toshine',andhasthereforethemeaningofetherwhichis
conceivedasthemediumofmovement.Theprincipleofmovement,however,isPrana,thebreathoflife,
theallpowerful,
allpervadingrhythmoftheuniverse.(LamaAnagarikaGovinda,
1969)

Buddhism
OntheLifeofBuddha,BuddhistThought&Practice
Buddhismisamoralphilosophy/religionbasedupontheteachingsofSiddharthaGautama(566486
B.C.).
SiddharthaGautamabecameknownastheBuddha.'Buddha'(fromtheancientIndianlanguagesofPaliand
Sanskrit)means"onewhohasawakened".Itisderivedfromtheverbalroot"budh",meaning"toawaken"
or"tobeenlightened",and"tocomprehend".
TheBuddhaofferedmetaphysicalknowledgeintothenatureofrealityaswellasa
moralwayoflife.TheMiddleWayisanimportantideainBuddhistthoughtand
practice.Toseekmoderationandavoidtheextremesofselfindulgenceandself
mortification.
Attheageof35,meditatingunderaBodhitree,SiddharthareachedEnlightenment,awakeningtothetrue
natureofreality,whichisNirvana(AbsoluteTruth);
ThedustlessandstainlessEyeofTruth(Dhammacakkhu)hasarisen.
HehasseenTruth,hasattainedTruth,hasknownTruth,haspenetratedintoTruth,hascrossedoverdoubt,
iswithoutwavering.
Thuswithrightwisdomheseesitasitis(yathabhutam)...TheAbsoluteTruthisNibbana,whichis
Reality.(Buddha,fromtheDhatuvibhangasutta(No.140)oftheMajjhimanikaya)

TheBuddhataughtthatthenatureofrealitywasimpermanentandinterconnected.Wesufferinlifebecause
ofourdesiretotransientthings.Liberationfromsufferingmaycomebytrainingthemindandacting
accordingtothelawsofkarma(causeandeffect)i.e.withrightaction,goodthingswillcometoyou.This
teachingisknownastheFourNobleTruths:
Dukkha:Sufferingiseverywhere
Samudaya:Thereisacauseofsuffering,whichisattachmentormisplaceddesire(tanha)rootedin
ignorance.
Nirodha:Thereisanendofsuffering,whichisNirvana(thepossibilityofliberationexistsforeveryone).
Maggo:Thereisapaththatleadsoutofsuffering,knownastheNobleEightfoldPath(rightview,right
thought,rightspeech,rightconduct,rightvocation,righteffort,rightattentionand
rightconcentration).
Thefollowingquotes(fromBuddhaandothers)expresssomeofthemainideasof
Buddhism;
IwillteachyoutheTruthandthePath
leadingtotheTruth.(Buddha)
Itisproperforyouto
upontradition..donotgo

doubt..donotgouponreport..donotgo
uponhearsay..'(Buddha,KalamaSutra)

OBrahmana,itisjust
takingeverythingalong
secondwhenitstops
continuing.So
river.(Buddha)

likeamountainriver,flowingfarandswift,
withit;thereisnomoment,noinstant,no
flowing,butitgoesonflowingand
Brahmana,ishumanlife,likeamountain

Wherefore,brethren,
thusmustyetrainyourselves:Liberationof
thewillthroughlove
willdevelop,wewilloftenpracticeit,we
willmakeitvehicleandbase,takeourstanduponit,storeitup,thoroughlysetitgoing.(Buddha)

FromTheDhammapada;
Nottodoanyevil,tocultivatethegood,topurifyonesmind,thisistheTeachingoftheBuddhas.

Tospeaknoillwill,todonoharm,topracticeself
restraintaccordingtothefundamentalprecepts,tobe
moderateineating,toliveinseclusion,todevoteoneself
tohigherconsciousness,thisistheTeachingofthe
Buddhas.
Byendeavour,diligence,disciplineandselfmastery,let
thewisepersonmake(ofhimself)anislandthatnoflood
canoverwhelm.
All(mental)stateshavemindastheirforerunner,mindis
theirchief,andtheyaremindmade.Ifonespeaksoracts
withadefiledmind,thensufferingfollows..
Hatredisneverappeasedbyhatredinthisworld;itis
appeasedbylove.ThisisaneternalLaw.
Hardtorestrain,unstableisthismind;itflitswhereverit
lists.Goodisittocontrolthemind.Acontrolledmind
bringshappiness.
'Allconditionedthingsareimpermanent,whenonesees
thisinwisdom,thenonebecomesdispassionatetowards
thepainful.ThisisthePathtoPurity.
Buddhismrecognizesthathumanshaveameasureoffreedomofmoralchoice,andBuddhistpracticehas
essentiallytodowithacquiringthefreedomtochooseasoneoughttochoosewithtruth:thatisof
acquiringafreedomfromthepassionsanddesiresthatimpelustodistractionandpoordecisions.(Walpola
Rahula,WhattheBuddhaTaught)
Buddhismstandsuniqueinthehistoryofhumanthought
indenyingtheexistenceofsuchaSoul,Self,orAtman.
AccordingtotheteachingoftheBuddha,theideaofself
isimaginary,falsebeliefwhichhasnocorresponding
reality,anditproducesharmfulthoughtsofmeand
mine,selfishdesire,craving,attachment,hatred,ill
will,conceit,pride,egoism,andotherdefilements,
impuritiesandproblems.Itisthesourceofallthe
troublesintheworldfrompersonalconflictstowars
betweennations.(Rahula)
Thetheoryofkarmaisthetheoryofcauseandeffect,of
actionandreaction;itisanaturallaw,whichhasnothing
todowiththeideaofjusticeorrewardandpunishment.
Everyvolitionalactionproducesitseffectsorresults.Ifa
goodactionproducesgoodeffects,itisnotjustice,or
reward,metedoutbyanybodyoranypowersittingin
judgementofyouraction,butthisisinvirtueofitsown
nature,itsownlaw.(Rahula)

Forthefirsttimeinthehistoryoftheworld,Buddhismproclaimedasalvationwhicheachindividualcould
gainfromhimorherself,inthisworld,duringthislife,withoutanyleastreferencetoGod,ortogodseither
greatorsmall.(AldousHuxley)
SeeourwebpageBuddhaNirvana/BuddhismReligionformorepictures,informationandquoteson
Karma,Truth,theDynamicUnityofReality,Buddha'sconceptionofMindandMatter,TheFourNoble
TruthsandtheEightfoldPath,Anatta(NoSoul)andConditionedGenesis(Paticcasamuppada).

Hinduism
OntheMetaphysics&PhilosophyofHinduismBeliefs
&HinduGods
AllisOne(Brahman)
ThefirstcollectionofIndianphilosophythatwaswrittendownwastheVedas.Theword'Veda'comes
fromtheSanskritvid,meaningknowledgetheVedasare'sacredknowledge'.Theirexactdateis
controversial,itispossiblethattheknowledgedatesback10,000yearsBC,andwerefirstwrittenaround
3,000BC.
ThemetaphysicalfoundationofHinduism,whichisexpressedinboththeVedasand
theUpanishadsisthatReality(Brahman)isOneorAbsolute,changeless,perfectand
eternal.Theordinaryhumanworldofmanyseparateanddiscrete(finite)things(which
ourmindrepresentsbyoursenses)isanillusion.Throughmeditationandpurityof
mind,onecanexperiencetheirtrueSelfwhichisBrahman,God,theOneinfinite
eternalthingwhichcausesandconnectsthemanythings.TrueenlightenmentisSelfrealisation,to
experiencethesupremerealityasSelf.
ThefollowingmantraandquotesexpresstheaspirationsofHinduismreligion;
OMAsatomasadgamaya,tamasomajyotirgamaya,mrityormamritamgamaya
"OMLeadmefromfalsehoodtotruth,fromdarknesstolight,fromdeathtoimmortality."

ThoughOne,Brahmanisthecauseofthemany.
Brahmanistheunborn(aja)inwhomallexistingthings
abide.TheOnemanifestsasthemany,theformless
puttingonforms.(RigVeda)
BeholdbutOneinallthings;itisthesecondthatleads
youastray.(Kabir)
ThewordBrahmanmeansgrowthandissuggestiveof
life,motion,progress.(Radhakrishnan)
Hinducosmologyisnondualistic.Everythingthatisis
Brahman.BrahmanistheeternalNow,andineternity
thereisnobeforeorafter,foreverythingiseverywhere,
always.TousethewordsofPascal'itisacirclethe
centerofwhichiseverywhereandthecircumference
nowhere.'(SudhakarS.D,1988)
InIndianphilosophy,themaintermsusedbyHindusand
Buddhistshavedynamicconnotations.Theword
BrahmanisderivedfromtheSanskritrootbrihtogrow
andthussuggestsarealitywhichisdynamicandalive.
TheUpanishadsrefertoBrahmanas'thisunformed,
immortal,moving',thusassociatingitwithmotioneventhoughittranscendsallforms.'TheRigVedauses
anothertermtoexpressthedynamiccharacteroftheuniverse,thetermRita.Thiswordcomesfromthe
rootritomove.Initsphenomenalaspect,thecosmicOneisthusintrinsicallydynamic,andthe
apprehensionofitsdynamicnatureisbasictoallschoolsofEasternmysticism.
Theyallemphasizethattheuniversehastobegraspeddynamically,asitmoves,vibratesanddances...The
Easternmysticsseetheuniverseasaninseparableweb,whoseinterconnectionsaredynamicandnotstatic.
Thecosmicwebisalive;itmovesandgrowsandchangescontinually.(FritjofCapra,1972.)

InHinduism,ShivatheCosmic
Dancer,isperhapsthemost
perfectpersonificationofthe
dynamicuniverse.Throughhis
dance,Shivasustainsthe
manifoldphenomenainthe
world,unifyingallthingsby
immersingtheminhisrhythm
andmakingthemparticipatein
thedanceamagnificentimage
ofthedynamicunityofthe
Universe.(Capra,TheTaoof
Physics)
Foramoredetailedexplanation
oftheMetaphysicsofHinduism
andtheWaveStructureof
Matter,seethewebpage
Hinduism/HinduGods

Taoism
WayoftheTao,
LaoTzu
Thereisathing,formlessyetcomplete.Beforeheavenandearthitexisted.Withoutsound,without
substance,itstandsaloneandunchanging.Itisallpervadingandunfailing.Wedonotknowitsname,but
wecallitTao...Beingonewithnature,thesageisinaccordwiththeTao.(LaoTzu)
Taoismisoneofthegreatreligions/philosophiesofAncientChina(alongwith
BuddhismandConfucianism).
In440B.C.TaoismwasadoptedasastatereligionofChina,withLaoTzu(socalled
founderofTaoism)honouredasadeity.LaoTzuwasacontemporaryofConfuciusand
wroteabookcalledtheTaoteChing,composedsometimebetweenthesixthandthird
centuriesB.C.SomepeoplebelieveLaoTzuisamythicalcharacter.StatesupportofTaoismendedin1911
withtheendoftheCh'ingDynastyandmuchTaoistheritagewasdestroyed.
Tao(pronounced'Dao')canbedefinedas'path',or'road'.ThewayoftheTaoisthewayofNatureandof
ultimatereality.Taoisoftendescribedasaforcethatflowsthroughalllife.Ahappyandvirtuouslifeis
onethatisinharmonywiththeTao,withNature.
ThephilosophyofTaoismunderstandsTaoastheOneThingwhichexistsandconnectstheManythings.
Tao,Nature,RealityareOne.
Thefollowingquotes(attributedtoLaoTzu)helpusunderstandthenatureoftheTao;
IfpeopledonotreveretheLawofNature,Itwillinexorablyandadverselyaffectthem
Iftheyacceptitwithknowledgeandreverence,Itwillaccommodatethemwithbalanceandharmony.

Thereisathing,formlessyetcomplete.
Beforeheavenandearthitexisted.
Withoutsound,withoutsubstance,
itstandsaloneandunchanging.
Itisallpervadingandunfailing.
OnemaythinkofitasthemotherofallbeneathHeaven.
Wedonotknowitsname,butwecallitTao.
Deepandstill,itseemstohaveexistedforever.
TheGreatTaoflowseverywhere.
Itmaygoleftorright.
Allthingsdependonitforlife,anditdoesnotturn
awayfromthem.
Itaccomplishesitstasks,butdoesnotclaimcreditfor
it.
Itclothesandfeedsallthings,butdoesnotclaimto
bemasteroverthem.
Alwayswithoutdesires,itmaybecalledtheSmall.
Allthingscometoitanditdoesnotmasterthem;
itmaybecalledTheGreat.
TheTaothatcanbetoldofisnottheeternalTao;
thenamethat
canbenamed
isnotthe
eternal
name.
Holdonto
theTaoofold
inorderto
masterthe
thingsofthe
present.
Beingone
withNature,
heisin
accordwith
theTao.
BeinginaccordwiththeTao,heiseverlasting.
Whetheritisbigorsmall,manyorfew,repayhatredwithvirtue.
Manifestplainness,Embracesimplicity,Reduceselfishness,Have
fewdesires.
Bestilllikeamountainandflowlikeagreatriver.(LaoTzu)
SeeourwebpageTaoism/PhilosophyoftheTaoformorequotes,information,historyandpictures.

Confucianism
OntheLifeofConfucius&thePhilosophyof
Confucianism
ConfucianismisanethicalandphilosophicalsystembasedupontheteachingsoftheChinesesage,
Confucius.
ConfuciuswasafamousthinkerandsocialphilosopherofChina,whoseteachingshavedeeplyinfluenced
EastAsiaforcenturies.LivingintheSpringandAutumnperiod(atimewhenfeudalstatesfoughtagainst
eachother),hewasconvincedofhisabilitytorestoretheworld'sorder,thoughfailed.Aftermuch
travellingaroundChinatopromotehisideasamongrulers,heeventuallybecameinvolvedinteaching
disciples.Hisphilosophyemphasizedpersonalandgovernmentalmorality,correctnessofsocial
relationships,andjusticeandsincerity.Usedsincethenastheimperialorthodoxy,Confucius'thoughts
havebeendevelopedintoavastandcompletephilosophicalsystemknowninthewest
asConfucianism.
TheAnalectsisashortcollectionofhisdiscussionswithdisciples,compiled
posthumously.Thesecontainanoverviewofhisteachings.Confuciuspresentshimself
asatransmitterwhoinventednothingandhisgreatestemphasismaybeonstudy,the
Chinesecharacterthatopensthebook.Inthisrespect,heisseenbyChinesepeopleas
theGreatestMaster.Farfromtryingtobuildasystematictheoryoflifeandsociety,hewantedhisdisciples
tothinkdeeplyforthemselvesandrelentlesslystudytheoutsideworld.Foralmosttwothousandyears,
AnalectshadalsobeenthefundamentalcourseofstudyforanyChinesescholar,foramanwasnot
consideredmorallyuprightorenlightenedifhedidnotstudyConfucius'works.
Baseduponhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confucius
ThefollowingquotesfromTheAnalectsdemonstratethesimplicityandwisdomofConfucianism;
Holdfaithfulnessandsincerityasfirstprinciples.

Iamnotonewhowasborninthepossession
ofknowledge;Iamonewhoisfondof
antiquity,andearnestinseekingitthere.
Everythinghasitsbeautybutnoteveryone
seesit.
Forgetinjuries,neverforgetkindnesses.
Men'snaturesarealike,itistheirhabitsthat
carrythemfarapart.
Respectyourselfandotherswillrespectyou.
Studythepastifyouwoulddefinethefuture.
Toseewhatisright,andnottodoit,iswant
ofcourageorofprinciple.
Whatthesuperiormanseeksisinhimself;
whatthesmallmanseeksisinothers.
Whenangerrises,
thinkofthe
consequences.

character,weshouldturninwardsandexamineourselves.

Whenweseemen
ofacontrary

Wheresoeveryougo,gowithallyourheart.
Theymustoftenchangewhowouldbeconstantinhappinessorwisdom.
Finewordsandaninsinuatingappearanceareseldomassociatedwithtrue
virtue.
Havenofriendsnotequaltoyourself.
Ifamantakesnothoughtaboutwhatisdistant,hewillfindsorrownearat
hand.
SeeourwebpageConfucius/Confucianismformorepictures,quotesandinformation.

normaldistributioncurvedefinition

Instatistics,thetheoreticalcurvethatshowshowoftenanexperimentwillproduceaparticularresult.The
curveissymmetricalandbellshaped,showingthattrialswillusuallygivearesultneartheaverage,butwill
occasionallydeviatebylargeamounts.Thewidthofthebellindicateshowmuchconfidenceonecan
haveintheresultofanexperimentthenarrowerthebell,thehighertheconfidence.Thiscurveisalso
calledtheGaussiancurve,afterthenineteenthcenturyGermanmathematicianKarlFriedrichGauss.(See
statisticalsignificance.)
Note:Thenormaldistributioncurveisoftenusedinconnectionwithtestsinschools.Testdesignersoften
findthattheirresultsmatchanormaldistributioncurve,inwhichalargenumberoftesttakersdo
moderatelywell(themiddleofthebell);somedoworsethanaverage,andsomedobetter(theslopingsides
ofthebell);andaverysmallnumbergetveryhighorverylowscores(therimofthebell).

Theprincipleofdoubleeffectalsoknownastheruleofdoubleeffect;thedoctrineofdoubleeffect,
oftenabbreviatedasDDEorPDE,doubleeffectreasoning;orsimplydoubleeffectisasetofethical
criteriawhichChristianphilosophers,andsomeothers,haveadvocatedforevaluatingthepermissibilityof
actingwhenone'sotherwiselegitimateact(forexample,relievingaterminallyillpatient'spain)mayalso
causeaneffectonewouldnormallybeobligedtoavoid(sedationandaslightlyshortenedlife).Double
effectoriginatesinThomasAquinas'treatmentofhomicidalselfdefense,inhisworkSummaTheologica.[1]
Thissetofcriteriastatesthatanactionhavingforeseenharmfuleffectspracticallyinseparablefromthe
goodeffectisjustifiableifthefollowingaretrue:

thenatureoftheactisitselfgood,oratleastmorallyneutral;

theagentintendsthegoodeffectandnotthebadeitherasameanstothegoodorasanenditself;

thegoodeffectoutweighsthebadeffectincircumstancessufficientlygravetojustifycausingthe
badeffectandtheagentexercisesduediligencetominimizetheharm.[2]

Niccolo Machiavelli wrote that "the ends justify the means". Typically, this
quote is misinterpreted as any action, no matter how unethical or immoral,
can be justified for the purpose of any reasonable or needed outcome.
However, Machiavelli suggested and supported this pragmatic philosophy
only for the purpose of stabilizing and improving governments. Machiavelli
specifically stated that this philosophy could not be ethically used by
individuals for personal greed, profit, or self improvement. Furthermore,
Machiavelli believed that any possibly "cruel actions" by governments
should be "swift, effective, and short-lived" to decrease the harmful impact
on their citizens and to minimize the probability of rebellion.
I think in this modern age the Machiavellian philosophy of "the ends
justify the means" needs to be expanded upon.

Let's say there're 2 guys named Bob, James and Bill. Bill is in a lifethreatening situation, Bob does nothing about him and lets him die.
Later on, Bob is in a life-threatening situation, and James lets him die.
It doesn't matter if James knew about Bill or not, the ends justified the
means.
Another one, with the same guys. Bob let James copy his notes for a
/very/ important test, even though Bob could've been playing video
games or doing something a lot more productive for HIMSELF. Later on,
Bob loses those exact same notes, and cannot study for the test. Bill
lets him borrow his own notes.
Basically, karma. Usually bad karma, but not always.