Eastern Philosophy

  1. Maya is the Hindu concept of illusion, used to account for virtually all the problems of worldly existence.
  2. Boddhisattvas, "seekers of enlightenment," are Buddhist adepts who are said to have postponed the attainment of nirvana in order to help others become enlightened. They are legendary figures of Mahayana Buddhism.
  3. The four most influential philosophical traditions of the East are Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism.
  4. In many schools of Hinduism and Buddhism, a mantra is a word of syllable chanted or repeated silently in meditation in order to clear and focus the mind. A mantra may be commonly known, such as the syllable OM, or it may be a personal matter known only to the one who uses it.
  5. In general, Eastern philosophy is holistic, looking at reality as a unified oneness in a constant state of flux. The purpose of its teaching is to promote harmony within the unified whole.
  6. The Enlightenment is the broad movement in Western intellectual history beginning late in the seventeenth century and extending through the eighteenth, when many hoped that human life could be perfected through reason. At this time, many traditional notions were rejected or revised, including divine right monarchy.
  7. Atman is the universal self, the absolute knower. It is the source of cosmic experience, uniting all consciousness.
  8. Karma is the cosmic law that determines people's future lives based on their past actions.
  9. The three paths to enlightenment described in the Bhagavad-Gita are jnana (knowledge), karma (action), and bhakti (devotion).
  10. There are six orthodox schools of Indian philosophy—Nyaya, Vaiheshika, Sankhya, Yoga, Mimamsa, and Vedanta.
  11. Transcendental Meditation emphasizes the practical emotional and physiological benefits derived from meditating.
  12. The Four Noble Truths of Buddhism hold that the world is full of suffering, suffering is caused by desire, suffering can be avoided through an extinguishing of desire, and the way to extinguish desire is by following the Eight-fold Path.
  13. The Tao is a Chinese term usually translated as "the way." It includes the way of heaven, of nature, and of humanity.
  14. Yin and yang are the passive and active principles of the universe, recognized by most schools of Chinese philosophy. The interplay of yin and yang are perpetually in flux, giving shape to the changing world.
  15. Confucian teachings are based on the Six disciplines, which became the basis for the Six Classics, including the Book of History, the Book of Odes, the Book of Music, the Spring and Summer Annals, the Book of Changes, and the Book of Rites.

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