Readings in Oriental Philosophies

Readings in Oriental Philosophies

Readings in Oriental Philosophies

Readings in Oriental Philosophies

Excerpt

These brief excerpts have been collected to provide some notion, however imperfect, of the cultural and intellectual backgrounds of the Asiatic peoples. Asia today, more than at any other time, has been forced into the consciousness of the nations of the Western World.

Our own cultural heritage stems largely from Greece and Western Europe. Accordingly occidental philosophers have often been in no hurry to examine the patterns of the quite different cultures of the Far East. Now, however, we have arrived at a reckoning. The miracles of modern communication and transportation have lessened the remoteness of Eastern lands. India, China, Korea and the other Asiatic nations have assumed new and critical importance by virtue of the economic, political and military developments of the past decade. Their problems, in a world of rapidly decreasing perimeter, have become to some extent our problems.

Mutual understanding between nations, if it is ever to be atttained, must rest ultimately on a common knowledge. We must understand something of the East to cope with the problems of the East. Such an understanding may well begin with a knowledge of the great books, the sacred canons, and the philosophical viewpoints of these civilzations, some of which were already old when Rome sent legions to conquer the barbaric tribes of Europe.

Herein the reader will find excerpts from typical scholarly and sacred works which in a measure represent the crystallization of intellectual currents prevalent when these writings were recorded.

From the vast storehouse of literature produced in India from ancient days to our own, two hymns from the Rig Veda--one of the earliest compositions of man--have been selected. There are also in-

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