definitions of 'the self'

Discussion in 'Eastern Religions and Philosophies' started by mahogan, Feb 20, 2005.

  1. mahogan

    mahogan tgyhuj

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    Within the Wester tradition, the Greeks are credited with the earliest discourses on 'the self'.

    Generally, the interpretations of this are known as 'ontological' or epistemelogical'.

    I'm trying to redefine this slightly and am looking for words that define man as generally:

    1. refering the human actions through 'the other' - a deity.
    2. refering the human actions through the human.

    An example of the former would be Judaism, an example of the latter would be the Greeks and the Romans (the Romans had God-emperors and you can't get much more self-oriented than that).

    Does anyone know any Eastern religions / faiths that have definitions of there terms and where I can find some descriptions? I've come accross tracts describing 'the right way to live' etc, but not phrases describing the exact opposite etc. The European obsession with internal discourse creates the environment to define there terms, I'm not sure about other geographies.
     
  2. Vajradhara

    Vajradhara One of Many

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    Namaste mahogan,


    thank you for the post.

    are you asking for something like examples of 'wrong living'? or are you looking for specific dialetical formulations that form the logical basis of some of the philosophical schools of thought in the Oriental views?

    in a sense, Vedanta, would be close to the first definition since, in this view, all phenomena are really manifestations of Ultimate Deity, MahaBrahma.

    the actions of the human, however, is fairly consistent throughout the various philosophical schools, and is commonly referred to as karma.
     
  3. mahogan

    mahogan tgyhuj

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    What am I asking? mmm, sticky one that.

    I'm working on the relationship between Deity and Man and Nature.

    From the European perspective, the Greeks are the founders of civilization but I think they actually changed the relationship they had with the Deity (their gods had very human habits).

    So instead of having a Deity/ ies, through which everything was referenced ('this is done in the name of God'; 'the will of God'); the Greeks created societies in which the highest point of reference was the polis (forgive the shorthand) ('I do this for the state'; 'history will judge').

    So instead of
    man - deity - action

    you get

    man - governance - action - deity

    Western philosophy is horribly linear and speaks of ontological and epistemological theologies but I don't think they are adequate. I'm trying to find a pair of expressions:

    One to explain how a society can direct its thoughts and explanations of its actions through a Deity.
    One to explain how a society can direct its thought and explanations through the human condition.

    I've had to invent a couple of Latin phrases but I think it would help the understanding if I can include something to Indian or Chinese beliefs.
     
  4. Vajradhara

    Vajradhara One of Many

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    Namaste mahogan,

    thank you for the post.

    hmm... within this paradigm, you will find many of the Taoist and Sanatana Dharma schools. the Taoist schools are known for their view of the cosmos as an "organic whole" which the Chinese call "Li". it can also be translated as "organic pattern" which are given examples of the pattern in jade, the grain in wood etc.

    well... the first expression would certainly find some resonance with the Sanatana Dharma and the Vedantists.

    the second expression is, if i may, the crux and concern of the Confucian view. Kung Fu T'ze (Confucious) was pre-eminently concerned with the indivuals role in society and the ramifications of societal break down. both Confucian and Taoist influences were quite strong during the Warring States period of Chinese history where society, as a whole, was undergoing fragmentation and alienation from each other.

    you may find this URL to be of some interest:

    http://www.friesian.com/antinom.htm
     
  5. mahogan

    mahogan tgyhuj

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    Thanks for the link; I'll check it out. The Taoist link fits in fairly well with what I was thinking of.



    One analogy that did occur to me (in very general terms) is the difference between the acceptance of the unity or continuum of the Yin/Yang. What strikes me with Chinese and Indian philosophy is that it encourages an awareness of that beyond the human, western philosophy for the post-Socratics does not.



    So the alternative to the Yin/Yang continuum (where one is aware of and accepts that there are variations) would be the Aristotelian method of splitting off the Yin from the Yang, forming two completely separate structures of argument. This is the shattering of the cosmic whole to create a definition of its component parts, as if each on its own possessed an intrinsic value.



    Whilst Karma might apply to the latter, it still implies of reference that is outside the human that is lacking in early philosophy.
     
  6. Vajradhara

    Vajradhara One of Many

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    Namaste Mahogan,


    thank you for the post.

    i often have the impression that Greek philosophy and hence, the general trend of thought in Europe and America, et al, is one of distinctions.

    it's my experience that labels and definitions are given a great importance in the natural discourse amongst beings that hold to Greek views. i suppose that lables and distinctions have their place for beings and i'm not really disputing that.

    in a sense, our words become what they are describing and it is this phenomena that is interesting to me. this seems to be built into the Greek philosophical schools and i personally, find it both interesting and puzzeling at the same time!

    indeed.. Oriental philosophical views in general and the Indian and Chinese in particular, are explained in two modes, if you will. that of the relative and that of the Absolute. in our view, what our words, ideas and conceptions relate to is the subject/object dichotomy that exists soley within the relative. in the terms of the Absolute, no conception or thoughts appy, though experienced it is.
     

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