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Pulse of Wisdom

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Question I

            The main difference between Orthodox and Heterodox systems is that the former accept the claims of the Vedas as independent and valid sources of information especially on Dharma and Moksha, while the Heterodox strictly does not. 

Question 2

            As a specific body of Hindu religious scripture, the Smriti is a codified component of the Hindu customary law, having been composed around 500 BC after the Vedas. On the other hand, the Sruti refers to sacred texts which serve as the principal canon of Hinduism. The Sruti thus acts as one of the three main sources of Dharma. The Sruti is reputed to have pure divine origins, as opposed to the Smriti. The Sruti is preserved as a whole and mainly for recitation, as opposed to the Smriti which is preserved verse by verse and is mainly geared towards comprehending oral traditions. Examples of the Sruti are the four Vedas while the Laws of Manu exemplifies Smriti.

Question 3

            The main teachings of the Principal of Upanishads are the central or fundamental teachings of the Vedanta.

Question 4

            The most major plots in the great Indian epics are the Ramayana and the Mahabharata.  The Mahabharata is a Sanskrit epic of the ancient India and the world’s longest epic. As a sacred epic Sanskrit poem, the Mahabharata chronicles the events that lead to a cataclysmic battle that are related to the kinship groups that were found in early India.  On the other hand, the Ramayana is a story which depicts the duties that pertain to relationship, through the portrayal of ideal characters such as an ideal father, servant, brother, wife and king.

Question 5

            The heterodox schools are the Astika and the Nastika. The Astika underscores the notion that heaven exists while the Nastika emphasizes on the nonexistence of heaven. Astika may comprise the Nyaya, Yoga and the Vedanta, among others, while the Nastika may comprise schools such as Jainism, Buddhism and Charvaka.

Question 6

            The development of philosophical spectation from the Vedas through Upanishads mainly took root when philosophical speculation of rituals began to gain grounds, leading to the symbolic correlation between the mechanical elements of the rituals and the deeper issues that pertain to human existence.   

Question 7

            The main emphases in each of the six orthodox Indian schools of philosophy are the existence of the divine and the soul, and the eternal nature of both. The need for moral piety is also emphasized as being directly relational to the destiny of the soul.  

Question 8

            The major texts that form the basis of the Vedanta school are the Rig-Veda, the Sama-Veda, the Yajurveda and the Artha-Veda.

Question 9

            The three most important commentators on Vedanta and their respective positions are Badarayana Vyasa (also known as the Brahma-sutras); the Bhagavad-Gita and the Upanishads.

Question 10

            Some of the modern Indian thinkers are Jawaharlal Nehru (1889-1964) and Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948). It is because of the belief in freedom as one of the prominent features in modern Indian philosophy that led these men to crusade against colonialism and neocolonialism through nonviolence.

Question 11

            The three jewels of Buddhism are: Buddha who is the founder of the Buddhist religion; Dharma, which are the teachings by Buddha; and Sangha, as the assemblage of persons who have attained the Nirvana (the enlightenment) and may come alongside practicing Buddhists to help them towards the attainment of the Nirvana.   

Question 12

            Buddhism is a two major system comprising the Tibetan and Zen Buddhism. Geographical boundaries and philosophical standpoints led to this bifurcation of Buddhism. While the former is extant in Tibet and incorporated monastic and doctrinal disciplines of the primordial Theravada Buddhism and Bon religion, the latter is enclosed in Zen, China and is mainly emphasized experiencing the Nirvana that was experienced by Buddha.  

Question 13

            Early Buddhist schools teach that life is as a result of the complex interplay of karma, rebirth and samsara, and that by following the Four Noble Truths, one was able to escape the endless cycle of karma.

Question 14

            The prominent schools of Mahayana Buddhism are Theravada and Hinayana while some of its representatives are Asanga (310-390), Asvaghosa, Jack Austin (1917-1993) and Seigen Haruo Yamaoka. The leading ideas in Mahayana Buddhism are: universalism, liberation, Buddha nature and Bodhisattva.

Question 15

            The major reasons for Buddhism’s decline in India are the opening up of India to the external world, and thereby opening up India to the Abrahamic religions: Christianity and Islam. Again, whereas both Christianity and Islam are evangelical in nature (use evangelism for self propagation), Buddhism is not.

China

Question 1

            The most important early Confucians are Confucius himself, and Xunzi. Apart from the teachings of Confucius, Xunzi taught that men naturally want things instinctively, despite the negative or positive attributes that these things may bring. Thus, this necessitates cultivation of personal discipline.  

Question 2

            Taoism teaches that it is imperative to live a balanced life by following nature, while and Confucianism taught that through logic and reason (instead of superstition and emotions wherein is excess), it is possible to solve all human problems.

Question 3

            Tao means path, way or route, and is used in Taoism to refer to spiritual paths to be followed to achieve enlightenment. Te on the other hand means virtue, while wu-wei refers to the quality of knowing when and how to act without the actual knowledge.

Question 4

            Motzu’s ideas can be said to be utilitarian in nature since he believes that all human persons are equal and as such, human beings should strive to work towards universal love. The utilitarian aspect in this is seen in the fact that all are bound to benefit from universal love for instance through the abating of conflicts and wars.

Question 5

            Han Fei Tzu’s legalist view is different from Confucianism since it stresses the importance of the ruler who asserts control over the state through the use of the instruments of coercion while Confucianism saw change as starting at the individual level.

Question 6

            The Chinese middle period is also known as the Ancient Chinese. One of the major highlights of the period is the construction of Chinese phonology.

Question 7

            The essential difference between the new text and the old text schools in Confucianism is that the former holds a more religious a more transcendental and religious view of Confucianism and its doctrine, while the former is more secular. The New text schools are represented by the most renowned scholar, Tung Chung-Shu while the old text schools, Yang Hsiung (53-18 BCE).

Question 8

            Neo-Taoist view of Tao possibly enabled more acceptances of Buddhist ideas by giving wider room for the investigation of the esoteric, which Buddhists carried on into the upper echelons of the Chinese society.

Question 9

            Primarily, the main difference between Confucian and Buddhist teachings is based on the fact that while Confucianism is a philosophy telling adherents on what to do in life, Buddhism is purely a religion frequently mentioning death and life after death.  

Question 10

             Some of the reasons for the acceptance of Buddhist teaching in China were its emphasis on discipline, moral continence, the promise of a better life and its affinity to Taoism and Confucianism. 

Question 11

The major Chinese Buddhist schools and their teachings, especially T’ien-t’ai and Chan is that for Chan, there is great emphasis on meditation as a way of reaching absorption of teachings or a trance. T’ien-t’ai on the other hand takes Lotus Sutra as the principle text and takes the threefold truth more seriously.

Question 12

            Buddhist teachings arouse opposition from Confucians, because it emphasized the spiritual and the religious aspects while Confucianism, logic as a way of solving problems.  Confucians responded by tolerating and incorporating

Question 13

            Concerning T’ai-Chi and Ch’i, Chuhis maintained that patience and self discipline to personal success.

Question 14

            Leading ideas in the school of principle included mainly, matters bordering on ethics, while the school of mind was concerned with ideas such as knowledge, knowledge and action and the mind and the world. Wang Yangming was the authority in school of the mind. 

Question 15

            The nature of the critique of neo-Confucian rationalists by the empirical school is the need to maintain uniformity and uniqueness in thinking and crafting the world view.

Question 16

            Some of the features of modern Chinese philosophy are the emphasis on nationalism, personal discipline, character and the beauty of the Chinese/ oriental culture.

Japan

Question 1

            The development of early Buddhism in Japan took different stages: the arrival of Buddhist missionaries from Korea in 586 CE and the spread of religion in situ.

Question 2

            The Tendai and Shingon Buddhist schools are different in that the former laid emphasis on Lotus Sustra, under the leadership of Dengyo Daishi; while the latter was more ritualistic and esoteric in nature, having been propounded by Dainichi Buddha.

Question 3

            Both Buddhism and Confucianism were appealing to the Japanese since they were readily compatible with the Japanese culture.

Question 4

            One of the influences of Confucianism on the Japanese was the introduction of the Chinese writing systems in Japan.

Question 5

            The leading idea in Jodo is the showing of compassion of Amida Buddha for perfect enlightenment while that of Hokke is that which is contained in the Lotus Sutra scrolls, with the authority being Shakyamuni Buddha. The main idea of Zen Buddhism is attaining enlightenment through meditation, just as its arch authority, Buddha did. Another authority in Zen Buddhism is Ensai, the Chinese Priest.

Question 6

            Zen Buddhism arrived in Japan in the 7th century CE, through the efforts of Bodhidharma. It later split into several schools such as the Guiyang, the Linji, the Caodong, the Yunmen and the Fayan schools. The main idea for the realization of Zen Buddhism is the emphasis on the ritualistic as the way to attaining enlightenment.

Question 7

            The development of Zen Buddhism in Japan took place in the 11th century. In the v12th century, it split into several schools such as Soto, Obaku and Rinzai. All these schools were emphatic on the observation of the ritualistic as a way of attaining enlightenment.

Question 8

            The three school of neo-Confucian thought in Japan are Shushigaku, the Yamaga Soko and Kegon Buddhism. The reaction by Kokugaku was vigorously campaigning for Shinto’s ideals as an attempt to consolidate the golden age of the Japanese society and culture.

Question 9

            Some of the most important Confucian texts are: the Confucian Analects (by Lun Yu as the authority), the writings of Mencius (by Mencius as the authority), the Great Learning, the Doctrine of the Mean, The Shu Ching, the Li KI (in all its parts), the Hsiao Ching and the Shih Ching. As a school, the Chu Hsi on the other maintained that the moral law is human nature and vise versa, with the authority being Chu Hsi.  The Shushi school on the other hand has its origin in Choo He (1130- 1200) who taught under the perspective of Taoism and Buddhism.

Question 10

            Whereas Shushi had its metaphysics totally hued by Confucianism and Buddhism, O-Yomei found by emperor Yomei as the authority, incorporated the supernatural element in a Confucian world, thus, leading to the reconciling of Shintoism and Neo-Confucianism.

Question 11

            The main purpose of Kogakuha School was to foster objective reflection as opposed to Confucianism and Neo-Confucianism. The main texts which were emphasizes were the writings of Mencius.

Question 12

            The connection between Rangaku (Dutch studies) and westernization is that both allowed for the learning of several aspects of technological and scientific revolution (which was taking place in Europe at the time).

Question 13

            Kokugaku helped in the building of nationalism by limiting its scholarships to the study of Japanese classics as opposed to Chinese traditions that had been dominant at the time.

Question 14

            One of the most prevailing issues in Japanese philosophy is the need to adopt the use of realism or idealism in crafting government policies. Some of the leading Japanese philosophers include Tanibe Hajime (b. August 6th, 1941). Hajime brought about new ideas such as The Will of Architecture, of which Transcritique heavily features.

Question 15

            The major ideas that led to the formation of the Kyoto school is fascism which emphasized the superiority of the Japanese nation and culture.

Question 16

            The main ideas of Watsuji Tetsuro were that individualism would lead to the destruction of Japanese culture and thought.

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