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Miyamoto Musashi's Go Rin no Sho or the book of five rings, is considered a classic treatise on military strategy, much like Sun Tzu's The Art of War and Chanakya's Arthashastra. The five "books" refer to the idea that there are different elements of battle, just as there are different physical elements in life, as described by Buddhism, Shinto, and other Eastern religions. Through the book Musashi defends his thesis: a man who conquers himself is ready to take it on on the world, should need arise.
Samkara (c.700 CE) has been regarded by many as the most authoritative Hindu thinker of all time. A great Indian Vedantin brahmin, Samkara was primarily a commentator on the sacred texts of the Vedas and a teacher in the Advaitin teaching line. This book serves as an introduction to Samkara's thought which takes this as a central theme. The author develops an innovative approach based on Samkara's ways of interpreting sacred texts and creatively examines the profound interrelationship between sacred text, content and method in Samkara's thought. The main focus of the book is on Samkara's teaching method. This method is, for Samkara, based on the Upanishads' own; it is to be employed by Advaitin teachers to draw pupils skilfully towards that realisation which is beyond all words. Consequently, this book will be of interest not only to students and scholars of Indian philosophy, but to all those interested in the relation between language and that which is held to transcend it.
The basic writings of Chuang Tzu have been savored by Chinese readers for over two thousand years. And Burton Watson's lucid and beautiful translation has been loved by generations of readers.
Chuang Tzu (369?-286? B.C.) was a leading philosopher representing the Taoist strain in Chinese thought. Using parable and anecdote, allegory and paradox, he set forth, in the book that bears his name, the early ideas of what was to become the Taoist school. Central to these is the belief that only by understanding Tao (the Way of Nature) and dwelling in its unity can man achieve true happiness and freedom, in both life and death.
"Chuang Tzu: Basic Writings" includes the seven "inner chapters," which form the heart of the book, three of the "outer chapters," and one of the "miscellaneous chapters." Watson also provides an introduction, placing the philosopher in relation to Chinese history and thought.
Witty and imaginative, enriched by brilliant imagery, and making sportive use of both mythological and historical personages (including even Confucius), this timeless classic is sure to appeal to anyone interested in Chinese religion and culture.
The Daoist philosopher Zhuangzi (also known as Chuang Tzu), along with Confucius, Lao Tzu, and the Buddha, ranks among the most influential thinkers in the development of East Asian thought. His literary style is humorous and entertaining, yet the philosophical content is extraordinarily subtle and profound. This book introduces key topics in early Daoist philosophy. Drawing on several issues and methods in Western philosophy, from analytical philosophy to semiotics and hermeneutics, the author throws new light on the ancient Zhuangzi text. Engaging Daoism and contemporary Western philosophical logic, and drawing on new developments in our understanding of early Chinese culture, Coutinho challenges the interpretation of Zhuangzi as either a skeptic or a relativist, and instead seeks to explore his philosophy as emphasizing the ineradicable vagueness of language, thought and reality. This new interpretation of the Zhuangzi offers an important development in the understanding of Daoist philosophy, describing a world in flux in which things themselves are vague and inconsistent, and tries to show us a Way (a Dao) to negotiate through the shadows of a "chaotic" world.
Bodies in China uses Chinese philosophy to reframe Western scholarship on gender, body, and aesthetics. This book considers theorectical and philosophical discussions, reviews female aesthetical representations and traces changing perceptions of femininity from imperial to contemporary China.
Buddhism is essentially a teaching about liberation - from suffering, ignorance, selfishness and continued rebirth. Knowledge of 'the way things really are' is thought by many Buddhists to be vital in bringing about this emancipation. This book is a philosophical study of the notion of liberating knowledge as it occurs in a range of Buddhist sources. Buddhism, Knowledge and Liberation assesses the common Buddhist idea that knowledge of the three characteristics of existence (impermanence, not-self and suffering) is the key to liberation. It argues that this claim must be seen in the context of the Buddhist path and training as a whole. Detailed attention is also given to anti-realist, sceptical and mystical strands within the Buddhist tradition, all of which make distinctive claims about liberating knowledge and the nature of reality. David Burton seeks to uncover various problematic assumptions which underpin the Buddhist worldview. Sensitive to the wide diversity of philosophical perspectives and interpretations that Buddhism has engendered, this book makes a serious contribution to critical and philosophically aware engagement with Buddhist thought. Written in an accessible style, it will be of value to those interested in Buddhist Studies and broader issues in comparative philosophy and religion.
This collection of essays, by Reding, in the emergent field of Sino-Hellenic studies, explores the neglected inchoative strains of rational thought in ancient China and compares them to similar themes in ancient Greek thought, right at the beginnings of philosophy in both cultures. Reding develops and defends the bold hypothesis that Greek and Chinese rational thinking are one and the same phenomenon. Rather than stressing the extreme differences between these two cultures - as most other writings on these subjects - Reding looks for the parameters that have to be restored to see the similarities. Reding maintains that philosophy is like an unknown continent discovered simultaneously in both China and Greece, but from different starting-points. The book comprises seven essays moving thematically from conceptual analysis, logic and categories to epistemology and ontology, with an incursion in the field of comparative metaphorology. One of the book's main concerns is a systematic examination of the problem of linguistic relativism through many detailed examples.
This introduction to the Madhva school of Vedanta is accessible to a wide audience with interest in Hinduism, Indian thought and in the comparative philosophy of religion. Deepak Sarma explores the philosophical foundations of Madhva Vedanta and then presents translations of actual debates between the Madhva and Advaita schools of Vedanta, thus positioning readers at the centre of the 700 year-old controversy between these two schools of Vedanta. Original texts of Madhvacarya are included in an appendix, in translation and in Sanskrit.
Zen Cat MindfulnessReaders of Start With Why, You Are Here and Whatever You Are, Be A Good One will love the quotes and teachings of Zen Cats Advice from Zen Leaders: Join some cuddly kittens for a collection of sayings from the Buddha in Zen Cats. Don't let the adorable cats fool you-they have plenty of mindfulness wisdom to share in the form of quotes and verses. These timeless verses, taken from the Dhammapada, will continue to be helpful and relevant to your life for years to come. Daily Mindfulness: Meditate along with these verses daily to gain a greater understanding of you, your life and your purpose. Learn from the clever cat to be true in body and mind. If you appreciated the mindfulness encouragement from Peace Is Every Step, The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching and Together Is Better, you will love the quotes in Zen Cats. Let your inner Zen Cat guide you to enlightenment.
Richard Sorabji presents a fascinating study of Gandhi's philosophy in comparison with Christian and Stoic thought. Sorabji shows that Gandhi was a true philosopher. He not only aimed to give a consistent self-critical rationale for his views, but also thought himself obliged to live by what he taught-something that he had in common with the ancient Greek and Christian ethical traditions. Understanding his philosophy helps with re-assessing the consistency of his positions and life. Gandhi was less influenced by the Stoics than by Socrates, Christ, Christian writers, and Indian thought. But whereas he re-interpreted those, he discovered the congeniality of the Stoics too late to re-process them. They could supply even more of the consistency he sought. He could show them the effect of putting their unrealised ideals into actual practice. They from the Cynics, he from the Bhagavadgita, learnt the indifference of most objectives. But both had to square that with their love for all humans and their political engagement. Indifference was to both a source of freedom. Gandhi was converted to non-violence by Tolstoy's picture of Christ. But he addressed the sacrifice it called for, and called even protective killing violent. He was nonetheless not a pacifist, because he recognized the double-bind of rival duties, and the different duties of different individuals, which was a Stoic theme. For both Gandhi and the Stoics it accompanied doubts about universal rules. Sorabji's expert understanding of these ethical traditions allows him to offer illuminating new perspectives on a key intellectual figure of the modern world, and to show the continuing resonance of ancient philosophical ideas.
A renowned philosopher of the mind, also known for his groundbreaking work on Buddhism and cognitive science, Evan Thompson combines the latest neuroscience research on sleep, dreaming, and meditation with Indian and Western philosophy of mind, casting new light on the self and its relation to the brain. Thompson shows how the self is a changing process, not a static thing. When we are awake we identify with our body, but if we let our mind wander or daydream, we project a mentally imagined self into the remembered past or anticipated future. As we fall asleep, the impression of being a bounded self distinct from the world dissolves, but the self reappears in the dream state. If we have a lucid dream, we no longer identify only with the self within the dream. Our sense of self now includes our dreaming self, the "I" as dreamer. Finally, as we meditate-either in the waking state or in a lucid dream-we can observe whatever images or thoughts arise and how we tend to identify with them as "me." We can also experience sheer awareness itself, distinct from the changing contents that make up our image of the self. Contemplative traditions say that we can learn to let go of the self, so that when we die we can witness its dissolution with equanimity. Thompson weaves together neuroscience, philosophy, and personal narrative to depict these transformations, adding uncommon depth to life's profound questions. Contemplative experience comes to illuminate scientific findings, and scientific evidence enriches the vast knowledge acquired by contemplatives.
An Inquiry into the Good represented the foundation of Nishida's philosophy-reflecting both his deep study of Zen Buddhism and his thorough analysis of Western philosophy-and established its author as the foremost Japanese philosopher of this century. In this important new translation, two scholars-one Japanese and one American-have worked together to present a lucid and accurate rendition of Nishida's ideas. "The translators do an admirable job of adhering to the cadence of the original while avoiding unidiomatic, verbatim constructions."-John C. Maraldo, Philosophy East and West "More accurate and critical than the first translation into English of Nishida's earliest book. . . . An important addition to library collections of twentieth-century philosophy, Japanese intellectual history, and contemporary Buddhist thought."-Choice "A welcome new translation of a work by probably the most original and influential of modern Japanese philosophers."-Hide Ishiguro, Times Literary Supplement "Undoubtedly the most important work for anyone in the West interested in understanding modern Japanese thought. This work premiered Japanese philosophy as modern but has also shown unusual staying power. In the late twentieth century Japanese thinkers, both religious and secular, insist on its importance and relevance."-William R. La Fleur, University of Pennsylvania
Upon completing the path that led him to fully develop compassion and wisdom, Shakyamuni arrived at enlightenment, the state of Buddhahood that marks the end of suffering. Replying to the requests made of him, he transmitted three cycles of teachings to explain the path he had taken and the methods he used. Traditionally, Buddhism counts 84,000 teachings, and the four seals of the Dharma contain the essence of all these. Like a royal seal that historically proved authenticity and authority, the four seals give a true description of our current situation and that to which we can progress: All phenomena are impermanent by nature. All contaminated phenomena are suffering by nature. All phenomena are empty and devoid of inherent existence. Nirvana is a state of absolute peace. The first two seals allow us to understand the characteristics of our condition and the last two, the qualities of liberation. In this way, the teaching shows the Buddha's path and the Buddhist perspective. Today, Buddhism is no longer an exotic movement but a methodology that has taken root and is practiced in the West. Nevertheless, do we really know what it means to be Buddhist? Using the introspective process of investigation that is precious to this tradition, Lama Khenpo Ngedoen directly involves the reader in this discovery by asking simple, to-the-point questions and then bringing together the elements of an answer connected with these four statements.
The author of the runaway bestseller How the Irish Saved Civilization has done it again. In The Gifts of the Jews Thomas Cahill takes us on another enchanting journey into history, once again recreating a time when the actions of a small band of people had repercussions that are still felt today.
With its promise of personal improvement, physical well-being and spiritual enrichment, yoga is enjoying a resurgence in popularity at the turn of the third millennium. To unravel the mystery of the discipline, its philosophies and relevance in contemporary life, the original text of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali must be explored. This book offers the first accessible translation and commentary on Patanjali's Yoga Sutras. An introductory section examines the multidimensional aspects of yoga as philosophy, psychology, science, and religion, as well as exploring popular versions of yoga in the West. The core of the book offers a new translation of the entire text of the Yoga Sutras, in a language that is clear and comprehensible to students. Commentaries are presented to highlight the meaning of various statements (sutras) and key themes are outlined via sectional summaries. A full glossary of key words and names is also provided. Concluding chapters look at yoga in contemporary life, revealing the popularity of yoga in the 21st century through Star Wars, and exploring yoga's connection to health and science, contrasting yoga's holistic view of healing with that of the limited view of present day medical science. Sample physical, breathing and meditation exercises are provided. An Introduction to Yoga Philosophy offers a comprehensive introduction to the Yoga Sutras text of Patanjali to all students and interested readers of Indian philosophy and religion, world religions, east-west psychology, and mysticism.
In this revelatory volume, Roberto Calasso, whom the Paris Review has called 'a literary institution', explores the ancient texts known as the Vedas. Little is known about the Vedic people who lived more than three thousand years ago in northern India: they left behind almost no objects, images, ruins. Only a 'Parthenon of words' remains: verses and formulations suggesting a daring understanding of life. 'If the Vedic people had been asked why they did not build cities,' writes Calasso, 'they could have replied: we did not seek power, but rapture.' This is the ardor of the Vedic world, a burning intensity that is always present, both in the mind and in the cosmos. With his signature erudition and profound sense of the past, Calasso explores the enigmatic web of ritual and myth that define the Vedas. Often at odds with modern thought, he shows how these texts illuminate the nature of consciousness more than neuroscientists have been able to offer us up to now.
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