Endo-Cannibalism in Malayo-Polynesian

In the early twentieth century the French sociologist Robert Hertz published an influential essay under the title of “A Contribution to the Study of the Collective Representation of Death.” Hertz’s primary interest was in the quite widespread Malayo-Polynesian practice of double burial, whereby corpses were not immediately taken to a final resting place but instead […]

Why do men woo and women choose?

According to neo-Darwinian synthesis, evolutionary success is defined largely in terms of fecundity, or reproductive success, not just survival. It is the replication of the gene that matters most, not the organism. If reproductive success through genetic replication is the ultimate goal of evolution, then resource acquisition can be seen as merely a means to […]

Jinn in Islamic texts and culture

Jinn in Islamic texts and culture

Weber’s views on religious interaction in the world (Mysticism and Asceticism)

Weber’s views on religious interaction in the world (Mysticism and Asceticism)

Self-effacing behavior of Thai women

…Buddhadasa Bhikkhu’s proposal for a dhammic socialism offers a case in point. His diagnosis of the root cause of the social problems that Thailand faces is certainly correct at the most fundamental level. Not only Thailand’s, but all humanity’s troubles are rooted in our “me” and “mine” ways of thinking. From this it follows that […]

Feminists’ arguments and religious studies

Introduction This essay includes considerations of feminism both as academic method, i.e. the women studies perspective, and as social vision, i.e. the perspective of feminist philosophy. Though the values and insights of these two perspectives are intertwined and closely linked, they are not identical. The women studies perspective is less radical, claiming only that scholars […]

Religion, faith, and theology

The starting point for clarifications is a general observation about human existence-namely, that to be human at all is both to live by faith and to seek understanding. For our immediate purpose, which is to clarify what is properly meant by “religion,” it is the first part of this observation that is important. The faith to […]

Feminist Ethics & Feminist Ethicists

Introduction Feminist Ethics is an attempt to revise, reformulate, or rethink traditional ethics to the extent it depreciates or devalues women’s moral experience. Feminist philosopher Alison Jaggar faults traditional ethics for letting women down in five related ways. First, it shows less concern for women’s as opposed to men’s issues and interests. Second, traditional ethics views […]

Shunyata in Mahayana Buddhism

Of all Buddhist doctrines, possibly the most difficult — and misunderstood — is shunyata. Often translated as “emptiness,” shunyata is at the heart of all Mahayana Buddhist teaching. It is often misunderstood to mean that nothing exists. This is not so. Instead, it tells us that there is existence, but that phenomena are empty of […]

Materialism in Indian philosophy

Introduction Indian materialism is not so well known, nor is it known in all its details at home or abroad as are other metaphysical doctrines which originated in India. This is mainly due to the fact that the original literature related to materialistic metaphysics has been lost beyond recovery, and that the critical references to […]

Zen state of consciousness

 Zen masters’ advice to reach Zen state of consciousness (one’s own final abode) There are occasions in the study of Zen in which the monk stays with the master for years but no enlightenment come over him despite following the advice of his master faithfully. After many weeks of meditation he cannot come to any […]

New Age Movement (NAM) in brief

          First: a new religious language. The religious metaphors of the Judeo-Christian tradition developed in a patriarchal society and show the limitations of that particular experience. The Father God metaphor, for example, while suggesting paternal care, also evokes absolute power, patriarchal authority, harsh punishment, and other related ideas which are now […]

Yoga: Hindus and Christians’ stance

Yoga in the Modern World The ground for its introduction to the West was laid in 1893, with the arrival from India of Swami Vivekananda, who gained notoriety when he represented Hinduism at the world Parliament of Religions in Chicago. Soon after, the West’s awareness of Indian philosophy grew, through the work of such groups […]

Hindu’s belief in the law of Karma

The law of Karma: Karma is a concept in Hinduism which explains causality through a system where beneficial effects are derived from past beneficial actions and harmful effects from past harmful actions, creating a system of actions and reactions throughout a soul’s reincarnated lives forming a cycle of rebirth. The causality is said to be […]

4 social classes in Hindus’ beliefs

Varnas (four social classes): Although every Hindu must follow general moral codes, each has individual duties according to his or her own nature. These are called sva-dharma, literally “own duties.” They are regulated by the system of four varnas (social classes). Varna is a Sanskrit word which means color or class. Ancient Hindu literature classified […]

Saint Augustine on “Time”

What then is time? If no one asks me, I know; if I want to explain it to someone who does ask me, I do not know. Yet I state confidently that I know this: if nothing were passing away, there would be no past time, and if nothing were coming, there would be no […]

Feminist Ethics

        Some recent ethicists claim that ethics are gender dependent as well. Although feminist moral philosophy is not monolithic, Carol Gilligan argues for the contextualization of moral reasoning in her book In a Different Voice. She cites empirical research which demonstrates that women’s moral development is significantly different from that of men’s. Women […]

Artworks: forgeries and artistic value

Introduction We can consider a variety of Philosophical questions about art and art criticism, ranging from questions about the definition of what art is to questions about the aesthetic status of forgeries. Much talk about art by artists, critics and interested spectators is confused and Illogical. Employing philosophical rigour and insisting on clarity of argument […]

What Virtue Ethics is…

 1. Virtue theory Virtue theory is largely based on Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics and as a result is sometimes known as neo-Aristotelianism. Unlike Kantians and utilitarians, who typically concentrate on the rightness or wrongness of particular actions, virtue theorists focus on character and are interested in the individual’s life as a whole. The central question for […]

Christian Ethics

Introduction:  Is morality simply a matter of prejudice or can we give good reason for our moral beliefs? The area of philosophy which deals with such question  is usually known either as ethics or as moral philosophy — both terms will be used interchangeably here. Christian Ethics belongs to duty-based ethical theories. Duty-based ethical theories stress […]

God’s Existence: The Gambler’s Argument

Pascal’s Wager The arguments for and against the existence of God that we have examined so far (1, 2, 3, 4, 5) have all been aimed at proving that God does or doesn’t exist. They have all purported to give us knowledge of his or her existence or non-existence. The Gambler’s Argument, which is derived from the writings […]

Theists’ God and the Problem of Evil

 Introduction: Does God exist? This is a fundamental question, one which most of us ask ourselves at some time in our lives. The answer which each of us gives affects not only the way we behave, but also how we understand and interpret the world, and what we expect for the future, If God exists, […]

The First Cause Argument for God’s Existence (Cosmological Argument)

 The First Cause Argument The First Cause Argument, sometimes known as The Cosmological Argument, states that absolutely everything has been caused by something else prior to it: nothing has just sprung into existence without a cause. Because we know that the universe exists, we can safely assume that a whole series of causes and effects […]

The Design Argument for God’s Existence

The Design Argument One of the most frequently used arguments for God’s existence is the design argument, sometimes also known as the Teleological Argument (from the Greek word “telos” which means “purpose”). This states that if we look around us at the natural world we cannot help noticing how everything in it is suited to […]

Aquinas’s Five proofs of God’s existence

The first and more manifest way is the argument from motion. It is certain, and evident to our senses, that in the world some things are in motion. Now whatever is moved is moved by another, for nothing can be moved except it is in potentiality to that towards which it is moved; whereas a […]

Existentialism and Zen Buddhism (Antiknowing schools?!)

Existentialism: Those who adopt an existential posture typically express the conviction that human beings can never be certain of anything beyond the sheer fact of their own existence. What human beings assert that they know is wholly capricious and unreliable. The subjective quality of the process of knowing is seen by the existentialist as inevitable. […]

Intuition, Mysticism, and Revelation

Intuition: The idea of mysticism can be defined as the belief that the most reliable source of knowledge or truth is intuition rather than reason, sense experience, or the scientific method. The mystic maintains that immediate and true knowledge is attained through a direct awareness that does not depend on systematic mental activity or sense impressions. […]

Empiricism in brief

The Search for knowledge that is both absolute and certain has been fervent and continuous. However, since at least the time of Aristotle, there has been a strong epistemological tradition based solely on human experience, not directed toward the possibility of achieving absolute knowledge. This tradition is exemplified in the doctrine of empiricism. Empiricists argue […]

Freedom and Determinism

 Questions to consider: Am I a creature of fate, of gigantic forces beyond my control? Am I a mysterious mixture of body and spirit, part determined and part free? Am I an electronic computer programmed by my environment? Is my feeling of being free to shape my future just an illusion? Is it fair to punish a boy for stealing […]

Natural behaviour & Social behaviour

…Yet on closer examination, one can recognize a significant difference between laws regulating natural behaviour and those regulating social behaviour. The difference between the natural and social orders lies in the fact that  while the former is subject to laws of necessity, the latter is affected by laws of freedom. Things behave in accordance with […]

Language, Mind , and Reality (Expression, Reference, and Referent)

…Expressions are used here to denote linguistic symbols or words. Expressions meditate between the objects of the existential world and their image in the human mind, thereby making social communication possible. Language therefore plays a dual role. It first serves as a means of communication, thereby making social interaction possible.

John Locke and Revelation

Locke is among very few Western thinkers who confronted the question of revelation directly. Toward the end of his book Locke examines the significance of revelation as a source of knowledge. While considering Divine revelation to be, in principle, a source of certain knowledge, he defines its authority in such a manner that it is […]

Contrasting ideas on “Causality” (Ghazzali, David Hume, and Ibn Rushd)

 Ibn Rushd’s refutation of Ghazzali, is not confined to the mode of argument they employed in the study of divinity, but also to the one that used for understanding nature. In the book Tahafut al-Falasifa (The Incoherence of the Philosophers), Ghazzali, though accepting natural sciences studied by philosophers, rejects four notions the philosophers utilized in […]

Zen: Taste the food, not your tongue!

 Human mind consists primarily and originally in action — in living in the concrete world of “suchness.” But we have the power to control action by reflection, that is, by thinking, by comparing the actual world with memories or “reflections.” Memories are organized in terms of more or less abstract images — words, signs, simplified […]

Zen: Eternal Present and Timeless Mind

Zen is a liberation from time. For if we open our eyes and see clearly, it becomes obvious that there is no other time than this instant, and that the past and future are abstractions without any concrete reality. Until this has become clear, it seems that our life is all past and future, and […]

Hierarchy of epistemic concepts (13 steps)

Let’s start with definition of some important terms. Epistemological questions: “What can I know? How can I distinguish those things I am justified in believing from those things I am not justified in believing? And how can I decide whether I am more justified in believing one thing than in believing another?” Philosophical skeptics: There […]

Avicenna’s proof of God and its corollary

From al-Farabi, Avicenna (Ibn Sina) inherited the Neo-Platonic emanationist scheme of existence. Contrary to the classical Muslim theologians, he rejected creation ex nihilo and argued that cosmos has no beginning but is a natural logical product of the divine One. The super-abundant, pure Good that is the One cannot fail to produce an ordered and […]

David Hume’s critique of causality

Causation The medieval synthesis Thomas Aquinas (1224–74) forged between Christian theology and Aristotle’s science and metaphysics set the terms for the early modern causation debate. Aristotle (384–322 BCE) drew an absolute categorical distinction between scientific knowledge (scientia) and belief (opinio). Scientific knowledge was knowledge of causes and scientific explanation consisted in demonstration—proving the necessary connection […]

Hafez and Goethe

GOETHE, JOHANN WOLFGANG von (1749-1832), the most renowned poet of German literature, was already from his youth deeply interested in the East and in Islam. He planned to write a drama about Moḥammad, as witnessed by the poem Mahomets-Gesang. But it was not until later, during his period of romanticism, that the poet devoted his […]

Descartes: The Mind-Body Problem

Introduction One of the deepest and most lasting legacies of Descartes’ philosophy is his thesis that mind and body are really distinct—a thesis now called “mind-body dualism.” He reaches this conclusion by arguing that the nature of the mind (that is, a thinking, non-extended thing) is completely different from that of the body (that is, […]

Central and Peripheral Vision of Mind

The linear one-at-a-time character of speech and thought is particularly noticeable in all languages using alphabets, representing experience in long strings of letters. It is not easy to say why we must communicate with others (speak) and with ourselves (think) by this one-at-a-time method, life itself does not proceed in this cumbersome, linear fashion, and […]

“Sitting Meditation in Japanese Zen”, A religious practice or a method of keeping boys out of mischief?

The history of Chinese Zen raises one problem of great fascination. Both Rinzai and Soto Zen  as we find them in Japanese monasteries today put enormous emphasis on za-zen or sitting meditation, a practice which they follow for many hours of the day – attaching great importance to the correctness of posture and the way […]

Introduction of Zen Schools into Japan

Historically, Zen may be regarded as the fulfillment of long traditions of Indian and Chinese culture, though it is actually much more Chinese than Indian, and since the twelfth century, it has rooted itself deeply and most creatively in the culture of Japan. The Rinzai School of Zen was introduced into Japan in 1911 by […]

Meditation in India versus the teachings of Sixth Patriarch in Zen Buddhism

Let’s start with the story  of Hui-neng, the Sixth patriarch of Zen Buddhism. The Fifth Patriarch of Zen Buddhism – and here we begin to enter a more reliable chapter of history – was Hung-jen (601-675). Who was apparently the first of the patriarchs to have any large following, however, much overshadowed by his immediate successor […]

Roly-poly (the Japanese Daruma doll), the first tea plant, and another legend

The Chinese term Ch’an (Japanese reading: Zen) or Ch’an-na is a phonetic rendering of the Sanskrit Dhyana, which is usually translated in English as meditation. The traditional account of the origin of the Ch’an or Zen school is that the Buddha, in addition to his scriptures, possessed an esoteric teaching that was transmitted independently of written […]

Mahayana Buddhism as opposed to Theravada, (an important difference)

The Mahayana distinguishes itself from the Buddhism of Pali Canon by terming the latter the little (hina) Vehicle (yana) of liberation and itself the great (maha) Vehicle – great because it comprises such a wealth of upaya, or methods for the realization of nirvana. A preliminary study of the Pali Canon will certainly give the […]

Buddhism and its origins in brief

 The danger of scholarship is always that, in extreme specialization, it may be unable to see the forest for the trees. But the problem of gaining some idea of the thought of India at the time of the Buddha, six centuries before Christ, is not to be solved by careful piece-work alone – necessary as […]

Creation and God in Indian Philosophy

Fundamental to the life and thought of Indian from the very earliest times is the great mythological theme of atma-yajna—the act of “self-sacrifice” whereby God gives birth to the world, and whereby men, following the divine pattern, reintegrate themselves with God. The act by which the world is created is the same act by which […]

It is man who makes truth great!

Reasonable, unfanatical, humanistic, Confucianism is one of the most workable patterns of social convention that the world has known. It is a basic Confucian principle that “It is man who makes truth great, not truth which makes man great.” For this reason “humanness” or “human-heartedness” is always feels to be superior to righteousness, since man […]