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In recent decades there has been a rising interest among scholars of Hinduism and Judaism in engaging in the comparative studies of these ancient traditions. Academic interests have also been inspired by the rise of interreligious dialogue by the respective religious leaders. Dharma and Halacha: Comparative Studies in Hindu-Jewish Philosophy and Religion represents a significant contribution to this emerging field, offering an examination of a wide range of topics and a rich diversity of perspectives and methodologies within each tradition, and underscoring significant affinities in textual practices, ritual purity, sacrifice, ethics and theology. Dharma refers to a Hindu term indicating law, duty, religion, morality, justice and order, and the collective body of Dharma is called Dharma-shastra. Halacha is the Hebrew term designating the Jewish spiritual path, comprising the collective body of Jewish religious laws, ethics and rituals. Although there are strong parallels between Hinduism and Judaism in topics such as textual practices and mystical experience, the link between these two religious systems, i.e. Dharma and Halacha, is especially compelling and provides a framework for the comparative study of these two traditions. The book begins with an introduction to Hindu-Jewish comparative studies and recent interreligious encounters. Part I of the book titled "Ritual and Sacrifice," encompasses the themes of sacrifice, holiness, and worship. Part II titled "Ethics," is devoted to comparing ethical systems in both traditions, highlighting the manifold ways in which the sacred is embodied in the mundane. Part III of the book titled "Theology," addresses common themes and phenomena in spiritual leadership, as well as textual metaphors for mystical and visionary experiences in Hinduism and Judaism. The epilogue offers a retrospective on Hindu-Jewish encounters, mapping historic as well as contemporary academic initiatives and collaborations.
Who is responsible for the Mahatma's death? Just one single, but determined, fanatic, the whole ideology of Hindu nationalism, the ruling Congress-led government whichfailed to protect him, or a vast majority of Indians and their descendants who considered Gandhi irrelevant? Such questions mean that Gandhi, even after his tragic and brutal death, continues to haunt India - perhaps more effectively in his afterlife than when he was alive. The Death and Afterlife of Mahatma Gandhi is a groundbreaking and profound analysis of the assassination of the 'father of the nation' and its after-effects. Paranjape argues that such a catastrophic event during the very birth pangs of a new nation placed a huge burden of Oedipal guilt on Indians, and that this is the reason for the massive repression of the murder in India's political psyche. The enduring influence of Gandhi is analysed, including his spectral presence in Indian cinema. The book culminates in Paranjape's reading of Gandhi's last six months in Delhi, where, from the very edge of the grave, he wrought what was perhaps his greatest miracle, the saving of Delhi and thus of India itself from internecine bloodshed. This evocative and moving meditation into the meaning of the Mahatma's death will be relevant to scholars of Indian political and cultural history, as well as those with an interest in Gandhi and contemporary India
How was the post-modernist project contested, subverted and assimilated in India? This book offers a personal account and an intellectual history of its reception and response. Tracing independent India's engagement with Western critical theory, Paranjape outlines both its past and 'post'. The book explores the discursive trajectories of post-modernism, post-colonialism, post-Marxism, post-nationalism, post-feminism, post-secularism - the relations that mediate them - as well as interprets, in the light of these discussions, core tenets of Indian philosophical thought. Paranjape argues that India's response to the modernist project is neither submission, willing or reluctant, nor repudiation, intentional or forced; rather India's 'modernity' is 'unauthorized', different, subversive, alter-native and alter-modern. The book makes the case for a new integrative hermeneutics, the idea of the indigenous 'critical vernacular', and presents a radical shift in the understanding of svaraj (beyond decolonisation and nationalism) to express transformations at both personal and political levels. A key intervention in Indian critical theory, this volume will interest researchers and scholars of literature, philosophy, political theory, culture studies and postcolonial studies.
The modern political consciousness of Japan cannot be understood without reference to the history of the Tokugawa period, the era between 1600 and 1868 that preceded Japan's modern transformation. In this volume Tetsuo Najita introduces the ideas of the leading political thinker of the period, Ogyu Sorai (1666-1728), providing an important insight into the history and politics of contemporary Japan. Sorai's texts are accompanied by a chronology of his life, a glossary, a guide to persons mentioned in the text, and a guide to further reading, as well as Professor Najita's introduction, which puts the work into philosophical and historical context.
Translated, edited, and introduced by Edward Y. J. Chung, The Great Synthesis of Wang Yangming Neo-Confucianism in Korea: The Chonon (Testament) by Chong Chedu (Hagok), is the first study in a Western language of Chong Chedu (Hagok, 1649-1736) and Korean Wang Yangming Neo-Confucianism. Hagok was an eminent philosopher who established the unorthodox Yangming school (Yangmyonghak) in Korea. This book includes an annotated scholarly translation of the Chonon (Testament), Hagok's most important and interesting work on Confucian self-cultivation. Chung also provides a comprehensive introduction to Hagok's life, scholarship, and thought, especially his great synthesis of Wang's philosophy of mind cultivation and moral practice in relation to the classical teaching of Confucius and Mencius and his critical analysis of Zhu Xi Neo-Confucianism and its Songnihak tradition. Chung concludes that Hagok was an original scholar in the Songnihak school, a great transmitter and interpreter of Yangming Neo-Confucianism in Korea, and a creative thinker whose integration of these two traditions inaugurated a distinctively Korean system of ethics and spirituality. This book sheds new light on the breadth and depth of Korean Neo-Confucianism and serves as a primary source for philosophy and East Asian studies in general and Confucian studies and Korean religion and philosophy in particular.
Averroes was born in 1126 AD in Cordoba, Andalusia. His education comprised a thorough grounding in the Maliki approach to jurisprudence and an Ash'arite introduction to theology. The Ash'arite put forward an interpretation of Shari'a and Islam which emphasizes the power and influence of God over all things, an emphasis which leads them to abandon the objectivity of causality, ethics, and the world as eternal entity. Averroes spent most of the rest of his life arguing against this approach. Despite his important stature in the history of philosophy, Averroes is a thinker whose work has been left largely unexplored in this century. It is the aim of this book to rectify this omission, and to argue that his philosophical output is of considerable philosophical as well as historical significance. Averroes' metaphysics is discussed, with particular emphasis upon the issues which were controversial in his time, such as the apparent denial of the immortality of the individual soul, the necessity of causality, and the distinction between essence and existence. The unity of his thought is stressed, and its source is discovered not in his religious views but in his theory of meaning. The dev
A broken pot is made whole again, and within its golden repair we see a world of meaning. Kintsugi is the art of embracing imperfection. In Western cultures, the aim of repair has been to make the broken item 'as good as new'. Kintsugi on the other hand, is a Japanese art that leaves an obvious repair - one that may appear fragile, but which actually makes the restored ceramic piece stronger, more beautiful, and more valuable than before. Leaving clear, bold, visible lines with the appearance of solid gold, it never hides the story of the object's damage. Kintsugi traces memory, bringing together the moment of destruction and the gold seams of repair through finely-honed skills and painstaking, time-consuming labour in the creation of a new pot from the old. There is a story to be told with every crack, every chip. This story inevitably leads to kintsugi's greatest strength. an intimate metaphoric narrative of loss and recovery, breakage and restoration, tragedy and the ability to overcome it. A kintsugi repair speaks of individuality and uniqueness, fortitude and resilience, and the beauty to be found in survival. Kintsugi leads us to a respectful and appreciative acceptance of hardship and ageing. Author Bonnie Kemske explores kintsugi's metaphorical power as well as exploring the technical and practical aspects of the art, meeting with artists and ceramists in Japan and the US to discuss their personal connection to this intricate technique. With the inclusion of diary entries, personal stories, and in-depth exploration of its origin and symbolism, this book shows kintsugi's metaphoric strength as well as its striking aesthetic, making it a unique and powerful art form that can touch our lives.
This collection of writings presents contemporary views on the integration of Buddhism in the West. Over the past few decades Buddhism has deepened its presence in the West and as a result teachings and practices are becoming integrated with those of Western psychology in a more productive way. The decline of mechanism and positivism offers new opportunities to bring together Western Buddhist views of the mind and its relationship to its surroundings. Written by psychologists and scholars, the essays discuss many of the difficult questions raised by Buddhism's increased presence. In particular the issue of the balance between authenticity and accessibility is examined. Buddhist traditions are often perceived as inaccessible and too firmly fixed to a cultural framework with some people, especially women, left feeling alienated and undervalued. However, by responding to this by attempting to synthesise Buddhism with the values of contemporary culture can lead to doubts about authenticity and dilution. Examining these issues and many more, the contributors seek to bring Buddhism into a realistic and informed relationship with contemporary Western thought.
Moses Maimonides (1135-1204) is recognized both as a leading figure in Jewish thought and as one of the most radical philosophers of the Islamic world. This work provides a general introduction to his philosophy, exploring his arguments, especially those to be found in his "Guide of the perplexed", and examining their implications and validity. Oliver Leaman shows that Maimonides' arguments - on the immortality of the soul, the basis of morality, the creation of the world, the notion of prophecy, the concept of God - are related to his central account of the meaning of religious language, and ultimately to his theory of meaning itself. The discussion offers insight into the rich cultural atmosphere of the Islamic world during Maimonides' time, and shows him to be the outstanding personality in the development of Islamic civilization. The study reveals the significance of Maimonides to contemporary philosophical and theological problems, and should be of interest to philosophers, theologians, Islamicists, and medievalists.
Awakening: An Introduction to the History of Eastern Thought engages students with lively anecdotes, essential primary and secondary sources, an accessible writing style, and a clear historical approach. The text focuses primarily on India, China, and Japan, while showing the relationships that exist between Eastern and Western traditions. Patrick Bresnan consistently links the past to the present, so students may see that Eastern traditions, however ancient their origins, are living traditions and relevant to modern times. Updates to the Sixth Edition include a new introduction as well as new approaches to problem areas throughout the text, but with special emphasis in Chapter 5 (Ashtanga Yoga), Chapter 10 (Basic Teaching of Shakyamuni Buddha), Chapter 12(Mahayana Buddhism: Madhyamaka section) and Chapter 18 (Chan Buddhism: regarding the relationship of Chan Buddhism to Zen Buddhism). In addition, all references and source material have been brought up to date. The companion website includes two new videos and many new photos, produced by the author. New to this Sixth Edition: * A new introduction that provides a helpful overview of each of the nineteen chapters and important connections between them; * An improved explanation of the nature of Vedanta philosophy, and a more logical organization of the Key Elements of the Upanishads in Chapter 3; * An extensive rewrite of Chapter 5, which deals with the subject of Ashtanga Yoga as expressed in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali; * A greatly improved presentation of Buddha's "Four Noble Truths" in Chapter 10; * A total recasting of the teaching of Nagarjuna in the Madhyamaka section of Chapter 12; * A clearer and easier to understand presentation of the teaching of the Dao De Jing in Chapter 14; * A major revision of Chapter 18 so as to clearly distinguish Chinese Chan from Japanese Zen; * Greater emphasis throughout, where pertinent, on the role of meditation practice in all Eastern traditions; * Revised and updated Questions for Discussion at the end of each chapter; * New photos and two newly produced videos prepared by the author for the book's companion website: http://patrickbresnan.com/.
Understanding Eastern Philosophy provides an accessible critical introduction to how some of the key philosophies of the East compare with those in the West. Starting from a discussion of the problems of distinguishing between religions and philosophies, Ray Billington presents a clear picture of the key tenets behind Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Jainism and Confucianism. Moving on to compare the key themes of religious philosophy that cut across East and West, such as a belief in God, the soul, moral decision-making, nature and authority, Understanding Eastern Philosophy presents a fascinating and controversial picture of the contribution theistic religions have to make. With its belief in a personal God bestowing a particular version of 'truth', Ray Billington concludes that the universal mysticism characteristic of Eastern thought provides a more realistic and rewarding path than is commonly supposed in the West. Understanding Eastern Philosophy assumes no prior knowledge of religion or philosophy.
Taoism for Beginners is a practical guide to applying the key notions, concepts and beliefs underlying Taoism's various branches and schools. Authors C. Alexander and Annellen Simpkins tap into their years of training and study in meditation, martial arts and Eastern philosophy to provide readers with a comprehensive introduction to the spiritual tenets and attainments that mark the holistic pathway to a life more in balance. This book offers readers: A clear explanation of what Taoism is and how to apply its most salient tenets and teachings to your daily life Simple exercises to enable you to lead a calmer and more mindful, connected life-taking in a range of practices that include meditation, breathing, chi kung and tai chi chuan An exploration of the origins and background of Taoism, including the various sects and schools of thought An informative discussion of key Taoist concepts, including wu-wei (nonaction), yin and yang, and the powerful way of De (the cradle of power, virtue and life) This new edition has been updated by the author to include the connections between Taoism and mindfulness and meditation, as well as ritualized practices to heighten mind-body connection in order to control chi (energy). Taoist principles and concepts have guided people on the path to harmony, wholeness, balance and greater well-being for millennia. This beginning resource makes an ancient religion, its practices and history accessible for a twenty-first century reader.
First published in 1963, this text has been revised with an additional chapter by Naoshi Yamawaki to cover the intervening years up to 1994. It examines Japanese thinkers and philosophical thought through Japan's modern era.
What is the place of the Eastern thought in the West? This volume shows how despite current talk of "globalization", there is still a reluctance to accept that the West could have borrowed anything of significance from the East, and offers a critique of the "orientalist" view that we must view any study of the east through the lens of western colonialism and domination. The text provides an introduction to the fascination Eastern thought has exerted on Western minds since the Renaissance. This survey argues that any adequate history of Western thought must take into account how philosophical, religious and psychological ideas from India, China and Japan have been drawn into Western thought from the 17th century onwards. Tackling debates on orientalism, post colonialism and postmodernism, the text provides a perspective on cross cultural exchanges between East and West.
Beginning with the earliest philosopher of the Middle Ages, Saadiah ben Joseph al-Fayyumi, this work surveys the writings of such figures as Solomon ben Joseph ibn Gabirol, Bahya ben Joseph ibn Pakuda, Abraham ben david Halevi ibn Daud, Judah Halevi, Moses Maimonides, Gersonides, Hasdai Crescas, Simon ben Zemah Duran, Joseph Albo, Isaac Arama, and Isaac Abrabanel. Throughout an attempt is made to place these thinkers in an historical context and describe their contributions to the history of Jewish medieval thought in simple and lucid terms. The book is directed to students enrolled in Jewish studies courses as well as to those who seek an awareness and appreciation of the riches of medieval Jewish philosophical tradition.
Every general account of the development of Chinese thought makes mention of Tung Chung-shu (195-105 BCE) as one of the pivotal philosophers of the Han. His Luxuriant Gems of the Spring and Autumn established the first state-sponsored Confucian orthodoxy, and created a view of the ruler and his role in government that was focal in political discussion for two thousand years. The author has carefully scrutinized this text for authenticity, and her book represents the most systematic account yet of Tung Chung-shu's importance in Chinese philosophy and religion.
Sun Tzu's The Art of War is a series of lessons in the applied art of problem solving. Sun (544 BC-496 BC), an experienced general from the Warring States period of Chinese history, saw war as an inevitable problem - indeed, the ultimate problem confronting the state. The Art of War summarises his lessons on how to solve the problems raised by conflict. The work comprises a series of pithy discussions of the different strategic situations that might arise, and the best responses for each. In many ways it is a masterclass in the application of critical thinking to practical affairs. Aspiring generals are advised to 'appraise the situation' according to five separate criteria, and to plan accordingly. 'The expert at battle seeks his victory from strategic advantage', Sun writes, so every general must assess their situation from every angle, and establish not only the best way to give themselves the strategic advantage - but also of preventing the other side from giving itself the advantage. Throughout the text, Sun epitomises the qualities of a good problem solver by focusing on the nature of the problem; asking productive questions about it; and making sound decisions.
This collection arises from the First Conference of the recently
formed European Society for Asian Philosophy. It explores issues in
Indian, Chinese, Japanese and Islamic philosophical traditions,
both ancient and modern.
There has been renewed interest in the concept of friendship in contemporary philosophy. Many of the existing treatments of the topic have been limited to Western notions of friendship, yet there is a far wider perspective available to us through an examination of a more extended cultural examination of the topic. Cultures other than those in Christian Europe have had important and interesting observations to make on the nature of friendship, and in this collection there is treatment not only of Greek and Christian ideas of friendship, but also of Islamic, Jewish, Chinese, Japanese and Indian perspectives. A rich and extended view of the concept of friendship results from these various examinations.
This volume gathers together the numerous essays by the Iranian metaphysician and ontologist, Seyyed Hossein Nasr, on Islamic philosophers and the intricate relationship between Persian culture and its philosophical schools. Brought together into a single volume for the first time, these essays span four decades of Nasr's prolific and learned scholarship on the development of Islamic philosophy, as well as the general history of Islam, and expound his belief that philosophy is not merely a rational but a sacred activity - a quest for the Eternal resulting from a longing within us all to return to our original, and true, selves.
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