Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Hinduism and the Purpose of Life

Hindu philosophy subscribes to the notion that we can seek what we want, that all paths can be legitimately pursued.

At the heart of Hinduism is this idea: What you want most, you can have. In fact, not only can you have them, in a sense, they are already yours.

(Consider Siddhartha's advice to Govinda, "Perhaps you seek too much.")

Is a person just a body? a personality? Hinduism says something more - an indestructible infinite center of being that never dies and is without limits.

The infinite center of every life is the hidden self. The Atman who is no less than Brahman, the Godhead. You are all three: body, personality, Atman-Brahman.

The present condition of your soul (confusion or serenity) is a product of your past decisions. You have made yourself what you are.

Every persons gets what that person deserves--even though decisions are freely arrived at, there is no chance in the universe. Karma is the middle way between determinism and indeterminacy.

But suppose you say you don't feel particularly infinite today--where is this? It is buried and it is the task of the following lectures to show how it can be uncovered.

In this life you can seek what you want. In order to achieve meaning and significance, there are four basic ways.

It is important to realize that all persons need go through all stages, and they will be left alone if they pursue and enjoy any one of the following paths.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

he Main Concepts of Confucianism

Confucianism has two main concepts: the twin concepts of jen and li are often said to constitute the basis of Confucianism.

Jen (wren): human heartedness; goodness; benevolence, man-to-man-ness; what makes man instinctively human (that which gives human beings their humanity).

The first principle of Confucianism is to act according to jen: it is the ultimate guide to human action.

Jen is a sense for the dignity of human life--a feeling of humanity towards others and self-esteem for yourself.

There is the belief that jen can be obtained; indeed, there is the belief in the natural perfectibility of man. Hence, he rejects the way of human action where one satisfies likes and avoids dislikes.

Such feeling applies to all men--not just one nation or race. It is the foundation of all human relationships.

Li (lee): principle of gain, benefit, order, propriety; concrete guide to human action.

Confucius recognized that you need a well ordered society for wren to be expressed.

Two basic meanings to li: (1) concrete guide to human relationships or rules of proper action that genuinely embody jen and (2) general principle of social order or the general ordering of life.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Eastern Philosophy and Oneness

Eastern Philosophy offers much to the west even though there is a huge difference in the thoughts of both. Buddhism, Hinduism and Taoism are among the most influencing philosophies that come from the east, and are largely based on the concept of oneness. These philosophies provide remarkable alternates to the western concepts, which are mostly originated from Greek, Socrates and Plato.

As Oneness being the belief and the most important principle of eastern philosophy, it always gives the message of GOD with different names. It basically tells that you are a unit of the sole power. Thought the general concepts remains the same but still there are numerous differences that are noticed within eastern philosophies. These differences not only prevail among people of different religions but also they exist among the people of same religion. Besides the unanimous concept of Oneness eastern philosophies also have the same idea about energy.

Taoists, Hipies and Hindus call it Chi, vibrations and Chakras respectively. The basic idea is that energy is neutral and it exists in everything, which is a reflection of the western terminology that says “energy can neither be created nor destroyed” but it changes the form and its shape.

Humans not perfect, as GOD is another common thought between east and west. Though there are few similar concepts found but as a whole the eastern philosophies have large differences and conflicts with the western ones. They hold the concept of Cosmic Oneness and hence the presence of “GOD” in eastern philosophies is taken as a whole.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Confucius and Confucianism

Confucius (551-479 B.C.) sought to impose an integrated socio-ethical order in an attempt to secure the peace among warring states in China.

“There is nothing more visible than what is secret, and nothing more manifest than what is minute.”

Confucius thought the foundation of social order is to be based on the jen or “human-heartedness” of the chün tzu or “superior man.” The path to jen, the highest virtue, is reached through the practice of li, the principles of social order. The ruler is an ideal man or superior man, a chün tzu, who governs by jen.

Confucius’ ideas gained influence through successive generations of his students and were finally adopted during the Han dynasty six centuries later.

Several talented and influential disciples adopted Confucius’ philosophy during his time, but apparently Confucius, himself, never obtained the opportunity to apply his cultural changes
from high office.

“I know how it is that the path of the Mean is not understood:—The men of talents and virtue go beyond it, and the worthless do not come up to it.”

Friday, January 09, 2009

Buddhist Meditation: Buddha's Four Noble Truths

Bhuddist meditation, as you'll read below, is something that can be applied to our everyday lives to alleviate the stresses that we all feel.

Not long after his enlightenment, Buddha elucidated the "Four Noble Truths" in his first instruction to his disciples. Put simply, these truths go on to explain how:

(1) all who live suffer,
(2) suffering is a result of self,
(3) suffering can be avoided, and
(4) suffering can be extinguished by the "Eightfold Path."

"...and did the thought never come to you that also you are subject to death, that also you cannot escape it?"
"Thus has it been said by the Buddha, the Enlightened One: It is through not understanding, not realizing four things, that I, Disciples, as well as you, had to wander so long through this round of rebirths. And what are these four things? They are the Noble Truth of Suffering, the Noble Truth of the Origin of Suffering, the Noble Truth of the Extinction of Suffering, the Noble Truth of the Path that leads to the Extinction of Suffering."

In the teachings and discipline of Buddhism, as with much of Eastern philosophy, one can find both comfort, and put to rest questions that all of us have wrestled with for much of our lives.

Meditating on some of the teachings has enabled me to achieve a serenity and peace of mind that I value greatly. More than ever, in these times of financial uncertainty, terrorism, strife, civil and religious wars, peace of mind through meditation helps keep me sane.