The work appears in five volumes. Each volume is devoted to the study of the particular school of thought of Indian Philosophy. Vol. I comprises Buddhist and. Books shelved as indian-philosophy: The Bhagavad Gita by Krishna- Dwaipayana Vyasa, The Principal Upanishads by Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, The. I wish to reply to your question in detail as it pains me to find many foreigners and educated Indians of falling into the trap of several monks.
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In this special reading list, an expert panel of philosophers and academics assemble a list of the most important Indian philosophy books. This book provides an introduction to the main schools of Indian philosophy within both the Hindu and Buddhist traditions. Richard King analyzes the schools' . This classic work is a general introduction to Indian philosophy that covers Discover rare, signed and first edition books on AbeBooks, an site Company .
And sometimes it sounds like they are literally just making things up, and doing really shoddy reasoning. The most common errors which Indian philosophers seem to make are essentialist errors.
Even the Buddhists do it to an extent, despite being supposedly anti-essentialist. Rather than assuming that these things don't exist independently of the various components which seemingly produce them the Buddhists do get this right a lot of the time to be fair. Dr Surendranath Dasgupta has done a monumental service to all those interesed in the academic study of Hinduism and all its various branches.
Aug 14, Ali rated it it was amazing Excellent overview of Indian Philosophy. If you're interested in Eastern philosophy then this is the book to read. The Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way: The Dispeller Of Disputes: Nagarjuna's Vigrahavyavartani Paperback by Jan Westerhoff. The Language of the Gods in the World of Men: The Encyclopedia of Indian Philosophies, Volume 2: Indian Metaphysics and Epistemology: Potter Editor.
The Encyclopedia of Indian Philosophies, Volume 3: They relied much more on their experiences during deep yogic states to guide them in understanding and clarifying age-old philosophical dilemmas. They discovered the Absolute within themselves and found that they were one with it. They studied the Self that lay beyond the mind and the ego, and found that It was divine, creative energy. God was not some distant ruler or some inert entity.
These sages realized and recognized that He was within everything, was the vitality of life itself, and was always the one transcendent Reality as well. In this way Kashmir Shaivites taught the principle of theistic absolutism. For centuries Indian philosophers have been debating whether this world is real or an illusion. In the process of watching the unfolding of their own creative energy during meditation, the sages of Kashmir found the source of all creation, and witnessed how everything in this universe evolves from this one absolute Reality into manifestation which is also real.
Because all creation exists within the Absolute, they established the principle of spiritual realism. Pandit, Specific Principles of Kashmir Shaivism 3rd ed. Isha vasu Upnishad 1 chapters — updated Nov 01, BhajGovindam Hindi Traslation 1 chapters — updated Nov 01, But ancient Indian philosophy is represented in a mass of texts for which the authors and dates of composition are mostly unknown.
Chief among these texts are the Vedas, written from perhaps B.
They consist mainly of praise hymns to nature gods and instructions for ritual, and exemplify a primitive pre-theism. The latest works among the Vedas, the Upanishads, were written after B.
So early Indian philosophy is much foggier to us than is early Western philosophy. What, then, shall be our strategy? We will examine each major school of ancient Indian philosophy, and we will not speculate much about who influenced whom or when certain developments occurred. Indians distinguish two classes of Indian philosophies: astika and nastika. The astika systems respect the Vedas to some degree. The nastika systems reject Vedic thought.
They are: Jainism, Buddhism, and Lokayata. Though forms of most of these schools still exist today, I will write of them in the past tense to refer to their ancient forms. In the West, philosophical schools tended to rise and fall, one after the other. But in India all these systems competed for adherents beside each other for centuries. But the systems themselves predate their sutras, probably by many centuries.
Agreements Except for the Lokayata materialists, all these systems agreed about karma and reincarnation. When the fruits of karma cannot be experienced in the present life, the individual must be reincarnated — he must die and be reborn as a human or another being — to experience them. The goal of these systems was moksha or mukti : liberation from the endless cycle of birth and rebirth, and therefore liberation from all suffering.
Except for Buddhism and Lokayata, the Indian systems agreed on the existence of a permanent soul, or atman. In most systems, it was a kind of purification of the soul that lead to moksha, though what this means varied from system to system. The Indian systems shared many ethical values, too. Generally, passions and desires were to be controlled, and harm was not to be done to any forms of life. The Indian conceptions of space and time were vast.
The past stretched back into infinity, or at least for billions of years.
The Earth was but one of millions of worlds in an infinite universe. Accordingly, Indian thought emphasized the smallness of Earth, the insignificance of worldly possessions, and the transient nature of human life.
Ancient Indian Philosophy: A Painless Introduction
Perhaps most centrally, the ancient Indians did not see philosophy as a disinterested investigation of the nature of reality. Lokayata Atheists and materialists were apparently common in ancient India, for the Hindu scriptures found it necessary to respond to the arguments of non-believers on many occasions.
Lokayata held that perception is the only valid source of knowledge, for all other sources like testimony and inference are unreliable. Perception revealed only the material world, made of the four elements: air, fire, water, and earth.
Minds and consciousness were, too, the products of matter. Souls, gods, and the afterlife could not be perceived, and thus could not be said to exist.
Hindu and Buddhist Ideas from Original Sources
Religious rituals were useless, and scriptures contained no special insight. Thus, the only purpose of life was to enjoy pleasure and avoid pain. Critics described the ethics of the Lokayata as egoistic, hedonistic, or even nihilistic.
Some Lokayata were accidentalists, in that they thought the world was ruled by chance: fire may come from fire or from flint, so there is no fixed cause-effect relation. But most Lokayata were naturalists. They believed things moved and transformed because of their inherent natures, according to lawful necessity.
Their fundamental principle was nature svabhava. The earliest known Indian materialist was Brhaspati, whose dates are unknown. He had no positive system to advance, but merely denied orthodox views of theology, ethics, and dualism. He was quoted as saying: Ideas like generosity are the concepts of a stupid person. He who speaks of their existence, his words are empty and confused; a cry of desperation. Later Indian materialism is sometimes called Carvaka after the supposed author of the Barhaspatya sutras, which are now lost.
One particularly interesting dialogue between an orthodox believer and a materialist was recorded in the Payasi Suttanta 6th century B.
In it, a materialist named Payasi denies dualism, reincarnation, and karma. An orthodox thinker, Kassapa, challenges Payasi to prove that those things do not exist. First, Payasi says he has known some very evil men and some very good men, and he made them promise to tell him of their experiences if they died and were reincarnated. But many of them have died, and Payasi has not heard from any of them. So he doubts reincarnation. Kassapa replies that Payasi is foolish and evil, like a pregnant woman who cuts open her own belly to discover the sex of her child before it is born.
Virtuous people have a reason for their Earthly life that Payasi cannot understand because he is foolish, Kassapa says. Finally, Payasi suggests a way to test the theory of dualism. They could put a living man into a large jar and seal it with leather and cement, then put it in a fire so the man inside is roasted. Then they could take the jar out of the fire and uncover the top to watch the soul escape.
If no soul escapes, then man has no soul. But this would prove nothing, says Kassapa, because souls are invisible.
Jainism The Jains replied to the Lokayata that if we are to reject testimony and inference because they sometimes mislead, then we must also reject perception because it, too, can mislead. So the Jains accepted inference assuming that the rules of correct reasoning are followed , and they accepted testimony when it came from a reliable authority.
For the Jains, it was through perception that we know of the material world. But we also know the soul through inner perception, just as we perceive pain and pleasure by inner perception. Through inference we know consciousness cannot be material, for without consciousness matter alone could not be animated like living bodies are. And it was on the authority of all-knowing saints tirthankaras that the Jains claimed knowledge of spiritual matters.
The Jains held that there are souls in humans, animals, plants, and even in dust particles perhaps an anticipation of microorganisms. Some souls are more conscious than others. Dust particles may have only a sense of touch, while men and higher animals have touch, sight, taste, smell, and hearing.
But all souls are capable of consciousness. Unfortunately, the desires of souls attract tiny bits of matter that weigh them down. Only by removing its desires can a soul free itself from the bondage of matter and achieve happiness. What can free a soul from its desires? Three things: faith in the teachings of Jaina saints, right understanding of these teachings, and right conduct.
Right conduct consisted of abstinence from injury to life, from lying, from stealing, from sensual indulgence, and from attachment to earthly objects.
When liberated from its desires, the soul may attain infinite knowledge, power, and bliss.
This is the state achieved by the Jaina saints of the past, who led the way for others. Though all Indian darshana stressed non-violence ahimsa , this doctrine was most important to the Jains. Thus, the most radical Jaina might wear a mask to avoid inhaling gnats — not to avoid tasting a gnat but to avoid harming one. It was from the Jains that Gandhi inherited his insistence on non-violence, and from the Jains that many Hindu systems inherited vegetarianism. Jains believed that Jainism had always existed, but the earliest historical figures to whom we can ascribe a Jaina philosophy are Mahavira 6th century B.
Jainism was an atheistic view, like Lokayata and Buddhism. As with Buddhism and the Hindu philosophies below, Jainism branched into an immense variety of religious worldviews, but in this short book we are only concerned with its ancient philosophical thought. Along with Muhammad, Jesus and Confucius, the Buddha became one of the most influential thinkers of all time without writing any texts.
Instead, his sayings and doctrines were compiled later by his disciples, who unfortunately disagreed with each other on some points, and thus it is difficult to reconstruct the views of the historical Buddha.
According to legend, Siddhartha was a prince who became dissatisfied with his life of luxury when he realized that every life eventually succumbs to sickness and death. After observing the joy of a compassionate monk, he renounced his princely life to seek a higher purpose. Finally, he achieved enlightenment under a bodhi-tree, and set out to teach what he had learned.
Siddhartha criticized the Brahmin priests who accepted the Vedas out of faith and tradition. He said they were blind men leading the blind, one after another. He was also skeptical of doctrines that emotionally appealed to people, and knowledge that came from metaphysical speculation and theorizing. Such methods do not lead to anything near certainty, he said, and not even his own teachings should remain unquestioned. He said the best way to know something was through personal experience. And where that is unavailable, one could consider what the wisest men say.
But this may not be the only methods Siddhartha advocated, for early Buddhists often used inferential reasoning and philosophical meditation to attain knowledge, too. Because our experiences are conditioned by emotion and limited by human ways of thinking, the Buddha was ultimately critical of all methods of knowing. All sources of knowledge were to be analyzed carefully. If these doctrines are false, little is lost by ignorantly following them. So even though we cannot know whether karma and rebirth are real, it may be best to live in accordance with them anyway.
He agreed with Heraclitus that everything changes. But there is some continuity from life to life, following the law of karma, just as a tree spawns another tree through its seed.
According to him, there was some suffering even in what appeared to be joy. But everything has a cause, and the cause of suffering is desire for worldly things, which causes us to be born into suffering again and again. If we understood that worldly desires cause suffering, we would not hold on to these desires. But we are ignorant. Liberation from suffering, the Buddha taught, comes through awareness of these truths and abstinence from worldly desire.
Right view was to accept the four noble truths. Right intention was to aim toward ridding oneself of wrong belief and action. Right speech was to avoid lies, divisive speech, abusive speech, and idle gossip. Right action was abstinence from killing, stealing, and sexual misconduct.
Right livelihood was to avoid making a career of harm, such as business in weapons or meat or slave trading. Right effort was persistent striving to abandon wrong thought, speech, and action. Right mindfulness was constant awareness of that which affects the body and the mind, including desire and emotion and thought itself. Right concentration was the practice of concentrating or meditating on something, which cuts off distractions and leads to self-awakening.
By these methods, the Buddha taught, one may reach a liberation from suffering into nirvana: a perfect peace of mind, free from desire — the end of identity due to a realized oneness with the world, perfect bliss and highest spiritual attainment.
Sankhya Of the astika Vedic views, Sankhya appears to be the oldest. It was a dualist view based on two fundamentally different types of being: purusha soul and prakriti matter, energy, and agency. Prakriti was the cause of the material world, but purusha had no cause.The Encyclopedia of Indian Philosophies, Volume 3: By covering Buddhist philosophies before the Brahmanical schools, this engaging introduction shows how philosophers from the Brahmanical schools-including Samkhya, Yoga, Nyaya, Vaisheshika, and Mimamsa, as well as Vedanta-were to some extent responding to Buddhist viewpoints.
The Nyaya, Vaisheshika, Jaina, and Buddhist schools said that true knowledge led to success in practical activity, while false knowledge led to failure and disappointment. It agreed with Nyaya that suffering was caused by ignorance, and liberation was achieved by the right knowledge of reality. It was a dualist view based on two fundamentally different types of being: purusha soul and prakriti matter, energy, and agency. The epistemological systems are equally diverse but harder to characterize in a list.
What is correct thinking, and how can we come to know reality? When we discover there are black swans in southern Australia, well… we were wrong. Though forms of most of these schools still exist today, I will write of them in the past tense to refer to their ancient forms. So even though we cannot know whether karma and rebirth are real, it may be best to live in accordance with them anyway.