Evil in the east

Discussion in 'Eastern Religions and Philosophies' started by Dave the Web, Sep 21, 2003.

  1. Dave the Web

    Dave the Web New Member

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    I have a question to ask.
    How is evil treated in the east?
    I have seen pictures of paintings that were Buddhist and Hindu showing Hell, and Heaven in Confucian art. There were demons and hell of a kind there.
    Is this influenced by Christian beliefs, or is there a real sense of evil, or duality, or opposition to Divinity, in the eastern cultures?
     
  2. Vajradhara

    Vajradhara One of Many

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    Namaste Dave,

    thanks for the post.

    actually, you've posed a very good question.

    fundamentally, there is a divergence of opinion between East and West when it comes to "absolute" terms like "good" or "evil".

    to respond to you post, i shall have to be general and not too specific with regards in any particular tradition.. as explaining those can take quite a while :)

    in any event...

    good/evil, male/female, hot/cold etc.. in eastern view, these are paired opposites.. i.e. one cannot exist without the other. if you have a "good" concept then you have, as a natural extension of that, an "evil" concept.

    by and large, the eastern worldview is dominated by one of two types.. that of the Indian Brahma world view and that of the Chinese Li world view. in the Brahma world view, as everything is simply a "dream" of Brahma, good and evil exist only as categories of the mind. in the Chinese Li world view, good and evil exist only as human intellectual conceptions imposed upon a reality that is not divided.

    now.. that's not to say that "heaven" or "hell" don't exist.. however, they exist in a different way that they do in the western traditions. most often, "heaven and hell" are conceived of as states of the mental continuum and though one may go there, one is not bound to stay there. Karma figures very prominently in most eastern traditions and that concept influences the rest of the world view.

    most eastern traditions posit something along the lines of:

    since you're senses and mind have dichotomized, you take illusion as real and behave as such, thinking that this world is real, these actions are real and so forth. this dichotomization is what creates good and evil and heaven and hell.
     
  3. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Staff Member

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    Interesting - the Brahma and Li worldviews actually sound very similar - perhaps the distinction being one of vocabulary, rather than concept?
     
  4. Vajradhara

    Vajradhara One of Many

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    Namaste Brian,

    i suspect that you could be right...

    one thing to keep in mind, though, is that the Indian Brahma world view tends to see everything as a manifestation of the Dreaming God (i like that title, by the way) whereas the Chinese Li is more of a naturalness.. nothing supramundane about it, except it's inexressibility.

    i have found it very interesting to observe how the message travels through cultures and picks up some type of accretion that usually gives the same message a new flavor... though sometimes, it can change the message completely.
     
  5. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Staff Member

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    It's interesting that my own personal perception of Divinity often seems far far closer to what little I hear of a Chinese perception. I'll open up a new thread on that subject. :)
     

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