Six Ideas From Eastern Philosophy

Eastern Philosophy has always had a very similar
goal to Western philosophy: that of making us wiser, less agitated, more thoughtful and
readier to appreciate our lives. However, the way it has gone about this has been intriguingly
different. In the East, Philosophy has taught its lessons via tea drinking ceremonies, walks
in bamboo forests, contemplations of rivers and ritualised flower arranging sessions.
Here are a few ideas to offer us the distinctive wisdom of a continent and enrich our notions
of what philosophy might really be. ONE: Life is suffering The first and central ‘noble
truth’ of the Buddha is that life is unavoidably about misery. The Buddha continually seeks
to adjust our expectations so we will know what to expect: sex will disappoint us, youth
will disappear, money won’t spare us pain. For the Buddha, the wise person should take
care to grow completely at home with the ordinary shambles of existence. They should understand
that they are living on a dunghill. When baseness and malice rear their heads, as they will,
it should be against a backdrop of fully vanquished hope, so there will be no sense of having
been unfairly let down and one’s credulity betrayed. That said, the Buddha was often
surprisingly cheerful and generally sported an inviting, warm smile. This was because
anything nice, sweet or amusing that came his way was immediately experienced as a bonus;
a deeply gratifying addition to his original bleak premises. By keeping the dark backdrop
of life always in mind, he sharpened his appreciation of whatever stood out against it. He teaches
us the art of cheerful despair. TWO: Mettā (pali): Benevolence Mettā is a word which,
in the Indian language of Pali, means benevolence, kindness or tenderness. It is one of the most
important ideas in Buddhism. Buddhism recommends a daily ritual meditation to foster this attitude
(what is known as mettā bhāvanā). The meditation begins with a call to think very carefully
every morning of a particular individual with whom one tends to get irritated or to whom
one feels aggressive or cold and – in place of one’s normal hostile impulses – to
rehearse kindly messages like ‘I hope you will find peace’ or ‘I wish you to be
free from suffering’. This practice can be extended outwards ultimately to include
pretty much everyone on earth. The background assumption is that our feelings towards people
are not fixed and unalterable, but are open to deliberate change and improvement, with
the right goad. Compassion is a learnable skill – and we need to direct it as much
towards those we love as those we are tempted to dismiss and detest. THREE: Guanyin Guanyin
is a saintly female figure in East Asian Buddhism strongly associated with mercy, compassion
and kindness. She occupies a similar role within Buddhism as the Virgin Mary within
Catholicism. There are shrines and temples to her all over China; one, in the province
of Hainan, has a 108 metre statue of her (it’s the fourth largest statue anywhere in the
world). Guanyin’s popularity speaks of the extent to which the needs of childhood endure
within us. She is, in the noblest sense, ‘mummy’. Across China, adults allow themselves to be
weak in her presence. Her gaze has a habit of making people cry – for the moment one
breaks down isn’t so much when things are hard as when one finally encounters kindness
and a chance to admit to sorrows one has been harbouring in silence for too long. Guanyin
doesn’t judge. She understands that you are tired, that you have been betrayed, that
things aren’t easy, that you are fed up: she has a measure of the difficulties involved
in trying to lead a remotely adequate adult life. FOUR: Wu Wei (Chinese): Not making an
Effort Wu Wei is a (Chinese) term at the heart of the philosophy of Daoism. It is first described
in the Tao Te Ching, written by the sage Lao Tzu in the 6th century BC. Wu Wei means ‘not
making an effort’, going with the flow, but it doesn’t in any way imply laziness
or sloth. It suggests rather an intentional surrender of the will based on a wise recognition
of the need, at points, to accede to, rather than protest against, the demands of reality.
As Lao Tzu puts it, to be wise is to have learnt how one must sometimes ‘surrender
to the whole universe’. Reason allows us to calculate when our wishes are in irrevocable
conflict with reality, and then bids us to submit ourselves willingly, rather than angrily
or bitterly, to necessities. We may be powerless to alter certain events but, for Lao Tzu,
we remain free to choose our attitude towards them, and it is in an unprotesting acceptance
of what is truly necessary that we find the distinctive serenity and freedom characteristic
of a Daoist. FIVE: Bamboo as Wisdom East Asia has been called the Bamboo Civilization, not
merely because bamboo has been widely used in daily life, but also because its symbolic
qualities have been described and celebrated for hundreds of years in the philosophy of
Daoism. Bamboo is, surprisingly, classified as a grass rather than a tree, yet it is tall
and strong enough to create groves and forests. Unlike a tree trunk, the stems of bamboo are
hollow, but its inner emptiness is a source of its vigour. It bends in storms, sometimes
almost to the ground, but then springs back resiliently. We should, says Lao Tzu, ‘become
as bamboo is.’ The greatest painter of bamboo was the Daoist poet, artist and philosopher
Zheng Xie of the Qing Dynasty. Zheng Xie is said to have painted eight hundred pictures
of bamboo forests and saw in them a perfect model of how a wise person might behave. Beside
one pen and ink drawing of bamboo, he wrote in elegant script: ‘Hold fast to the mountain,
take root in a broken-up bluff, grow stronger after tribulations, and withstand the buffeting
wind from all directions’. It was a message addressed to bamboo but meant, of course,
for all of us. SIX: Kintsugi Since the 16th century, Zen Buddhist philosophy in Japan
has been alive to the particular beauty and wisdom of things which have been repaired.
Kintsugi is a compound of two ideas: ‘Kin’ meaning, in Japanese, ‘golden’ and ‘tsugi’
meaning ‘joinery’. In Zen aesthetics, the broken pieces of an accidentally-smashed
pot should never just be tossed away, they should be carefully picked up, reassembled
and then glued together with lacquer inflected with a luxuriant gold powder. There should
be no attempt to disguise the damage, the point is to render the fault-lines beautiful
and strong. The precious veins of gold are there to emphasise that breaks have a rich
merit all of their own. It’s a profoundly poignant idea because we are all in some way
broken creatures. It’s not shameful to need repair; a mended bowl is a symbol of hope
that we too can be put together again and still be loved despite our evident flaws. We partnered with Skillshare today and they have given us an azing offer to pass on to you. The first 500 people to sign up using the link in the description will recieve a 2 month free trial. If you haven’t heard of Skillshare before it’s home to thousands of classes in Graphic design, animation, web development, music photography, design and more. You can learn how to do just about anything. Is there a project you have been dreaming of completing but just aren’t sure if you have the skills to do it? Why not start right now and sign up at the link below.

100 thoughts on “Six Ideas From Eastern Philosophy”

  1. Kintsugi and Zen are largely about how things are only the way they are from a certain perspective. The vase is only broken if you're looking at it as an ex-vase instead of a potential vase. Even if you never fix it, each piece of broken vase is a perfectly intact jagged piece of plaster. It's only a broken vase if you cling to the idea that a vase ever existed outside of your idea of it.


    If a person does not harm any living being… and does not kill or cause others to kill- that person is a true spiritual practitioner.

    All beings tremble before danger, all fear death. When a man considers this, he does not kill or cause to kill. All beings fear before danger, life is dear to all. When a man considers this, he does not kill or cause to kill. Whosoever tries to find happiness through hurting other beings, will not find happiness.

    One who, while himself seeking happiness, oppresses with violence other beings who also desire happiness, will not attain happiness hereafter. One who, while himself seeking happiness, does not oppress with violence other beings who also desire happiness, will find happiness hereafter.

    To avoid terror to living beings, let the disciple refrain from eating meat… the food of the wise is that which is consumed by the Sadhus
    ( holy men); it does not consist of meat… There may be some foolish people in the future that will say that I permitted meat-eating and partook of meat myself, but…meat eating I have not permitted to anyone, I do not permit.. I will not permit meat eating in any form, in nay manner or in any place; it is unconditionally prohibited for all.

    He who, seeking his own happiness, punishes or kills beings who also long for happiness, will not find happiness after death.

    Thus, Mahamati, meat-eating I have not permitted to anyone, I do not permit, I will not permit.
    Extracts from the Lankavatara Sutra

    The eating of meat extinguishes the seed of great compassion."~
    The Buddha

    "If a man can (control) his body and mind and thereby refrains from eating animal flesh and wearing animal products, I say he will really be liberated."
    Surangama Sutra

    May all beings be free from enmity;
    May all beings be free from injury;
    May all beings be free from suffering;
    May all beings be happy.
    Buddhist Prayer for Animals to be Free From Suffering.

    As a mother even with own life protects her only child, so should one cultivate immeasurable loving-kindness towards all living beings.
    The Metta Sutta

    He who both day and night takes delight in harmlessness sharing love with all that live, finds enmity with none.
    Samyutta Nikaya.

  3. It would be great that you include also more modern philosophies like those given by Ryuho Okawa. He shows really great ideas!!

  4. Eastern philosophies without including Santana dharam ? What about Vedanta, sankhya, mimamsa, nyaya, Jainism, yoga ?

  5. 1, Life is suffering, bingo!
    2, Be nice and kind to the people around you, working on progress!
    3, Mercy and compassion, bingo!
    4, Going with flow, yes; passive living style, hard!
    5, resistance, always!
    6, recognizes your flaws, yes!

  6. But the protester part in me does not like the idea of 'going with the flow' ! Change is is a part of life but sometimes one has to be the agent of change. I would however add.. choose your battles carefully! Use your wisdom to evaluate and decide if something is worth fighting for!

  7. Give the guy a break. Nothing but negativity. He's taken on the gargantuan task of trying to elucidate some, not all Eastern philosophy concepts. Of course he's left pieces out. He's done a fine job considering and the aim is to give viewers something positive to take away, not cover everything in great detail.

  8. 4:48 He is not Taoist. He is a Maoist because he is MaoZeDong himself, a notorious leader who murdered about 50 million of Chinese people.

  9. Wu Wei finally made me realize what acceptance is.
    As morbid as it sounds, I’ve watched a lot of videos of executions, and you almost always see the person being executed crying and begging and never accepting his imminent death. I used to try and put myself in those situations mentally, and the thought that I may be inclined to act the same way bothered me greatly.
    It’s the last moments of life and I think they should be spent with more dignity.
    With Wu Wei, I hope I will find the wisdom to accept, in that moment (not that it’s going to necessarily happen), that my plans have come to their natural end and the universes must go on without me.

    I also find Kintsugi fascinating. Western culture puts too much emphasis on perfection. We often hear the term “damaged goods,” as being inherently bad. But in our own experience, we know that failure and misfortune make us stronger. Well, here’s an ancient philosophy that addresses this very issue beautifully.
    There really isn’t anything inherently wrong with a broken vase that’s been mended. It’s just our negative notion of the concept of breakage.

    Thank you for this video.

  10. Interestingly, there is a western equivalent to all those ideas, also counter-arguments for them all.

  11. You have done one in eastern and western, i would love to se one in south american and one from the middle east <3

  12. Indian philosophies including Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism, and Sikhism teach that Moksha (freedom from rebirths) is the ultimate state for a person.

  13. I wish my country. the philippines embraces more on its Eastern philosophy or atleast get back into its roots, its so heavily westernize that it has forgotten that philippines was once predominantly "south east asian" like thailand

  14. I’m not trying to point to my own background but seriously this should be Western philosophy vrs Chinese and Indian philosophy cause you can’t say eastern without mentioning the Persian and Arabic philosophers… but it’s ok I still love you Mr. Alain ❤️😄

  15. This channel is honestly amazing you inspired to do the things I am doing on my channel now I love watching your stuff

  16. Wu Wei has helped me with mindfulness. It helps keep the ego quiet so I do not try to "act on" what is happening and instead simply be the observer. Very useful in business.

  17. Friends who want to learn how to meditate and don't know where to start, here is a little list for you:

    1. First you can watch this lecture by Yale University where an excellent teacher gives you a very helpful overview in only 20 minutes. To find the lecture search for this on youtube:

    " Yale Courses, Mindfulness, Human Emotion"

    2. The professor on that lecture recommends these guided meditation podcasts that I am using since 5 years now and they helped me enormously. To find them search in Itunes for: " UCLA Hammer Meditation": Then you can start with the episode:

    " Using meditation anchor"

    You can also download other episodes , like:
    Back to Basics
    Deepen your concentration
    Working with thinking
    Working with pain
    Working with obsessive thoughts etc. etc..

    Those guided meditation podcasts basically offer you all sorts of tools to deal with all sorts of sorrow, pain and trouble.

    Then you must practise everyday. 25 minutes would do. You can do the same episode everyday or try different ones. The teacher, Diana Winston is wonderful! You don't have to feel like doing it. Just do it.

    In a couple of weeks, you will feel the difference. The time you put in it will come back to you as more serenity, clarity of mind and compassion for yourself and for others. Just give it a try!

    The only thing you should know is NOT to be too harsh on yourself when your mind wanders during meditation. There is nothing wrong with it.

    3. If you want to know more about the effects of the meditation on your brain you can google:

    " Harvard Meditation Study"

    The result of this study shows us that after 8 weeks of meditation the change in your brain is visible on your brain scan.

    4. The best book I know about meditation is this:

    " Mindfulness, Finding Peace in a frenetic world" by Mark Williams, who is a psychology professor at Oxford University. If you wish you can download the mp3's from this book online for free. I especially like the one called
    " Three minute meditation" and the " Body scan".

    Two other books that I have found very helpful are:

    – Full catastrophe living, Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain and Illness Jon Kabat Zinn
    -Meditation, Matthieu Ricard

    5. There is also a terribly interesting conversation on meditation between Yuval Noah Harari and Sam Harris on youtube.

    6. Friends from Brazil, watching those bamboos in this lesson, did you also remember " Envergo mas não quebro" by Lenine?? What a song!

  18. But nowadays, especially in Chinese as seem doesn’t live by the eastern philosophies and rather be the ignorance in the consumerism lifestyle without thinking…..😑

  19. Beautiful to watch and listen to.
    However, the first one did not seem to encapsulate the teachings of Buddha.
    "Cheerful despair" does not do it justice.

  20. It is to my understanding that Buddha said pain is part of life yet suffering is a choice. Suffering is dwelling on the pain that will certainly be part of the ebb and flow of life. There is no need to focus on the pain and hence suffering is a choice and a bad one at that. Choice of mind is certainty "The Way"

  21. Mettā is the new meta. If only. Also, it has the ā for a reason because it's pronounced mettah instead of the quick 'meta' and the 't' sound is quite soft.

  22. One of my favorite Ancient Chinese sayings, very roughly and personally translated: "When heaven is about to assign important responsibility to anyone, it will start by making him suffer from frustration, depression, physical exhaustion, hunger, bad fortunes, overall making him grid through crippling mental and physical agony in every aspect of his life. Doing so as a way to prepare him with the iron resilience to take on the impossible task." The way I see it: life will inevitably go south and sh!t will hit the fan, instead of crying about it, put a more positive and productive spin on it. See the events as an opportunities to train yourself to be more resilience. This kinda mentality has helped me so much coping life. Ex: I was job searching 2 years ago and went through anger, frustration, depression for about 5 months with companies giving me false promises, embarrassments, and confusions. What I learned was that: reality will throw stones at you, don't get emotional about it, get proactive to handle it. Then after a while, things might get even worse, but if you keep pushing yourself forward, you might actually reach wherever you want to go.

  23. 0:55 – "sex will disappoint us"….yeah i dont think buddha ever suffered so much from sex lol. All the "west" think about is sex lol. There are so many sufferings within family alone than not being able to last long in bed or not having big butts..
    School of Life should just stick to western philosophy. This video seems too oversimplified and is undermining how deep Eastern Philosophy actually is.

  24. Some of these philosophies helped me accept being forever alone. Funny thing is I came to the same conclusions before knowing they’ve already existed for millennia

  25. I've always loved Eastern philosophy. I love Western philosophy too but there is something that seems a bit more elegant about Eastern philosophy.

  26. But why should one show compassion for those who we are tempted to dismiss and detest? Would it be worth the energy? I'm not sure if you made the case for why that idea is worth considering.

  27. Nice, insightful and new ideas for me! Thank you for the video! Keep it up with similar and of course different content 🙂

  28. In this world people love the sound of their own thoughts,their own voice more than the truth. Try conscious astral travel, experience the truth personally. All else is vanity.

  29. But as I understood it the Buddha said "All life is suffering" in response to the idea that all life should be in the pursuit of pleasure thus trading one absurd extreme for another thereby creating a "Middle way"

  30. The first noble truth in Buddhism is "life is awry or Dukkha"
    "the existence is imperfect. There's always something going wrong or unsatisfying among all happened"
    "Today we are young, 20 years old, fresh and strong, pretty or handsome, but 15 years later, something is going on with our body, not as beauty as 15 years ago, not as strong as 15 years ago. We need to do something to nurture our freshness or healthy."
    "Today is a sunny day, and I and friends are having appointment tomorrow we will hangout somewhere, but at the next day it is impromptu or out of sudden the heavy rain fall when we were about to hangout, what we need to do is wait until the rain stop."
    That what Buddhist follower must comprehend about life, to let them understand that it is natural phenomena, and let Buddhist understand how useless and unworthy to be despaired for any circumstances or situation that they are deal with. Instead of angry, Lord want us to face all problem nicely and wisely, not rebel on it or cry, not violently or gloomy mood.

  31. I tried to practice the second point – Metta…. I imagined Donald Trump but i face some difficulties with my meditation visualization. At some point he tries to grab my pussy.

  32. It would be nice if you did a series on Eastern Philosophers like you have for Western Philosophy. I would love to see this… and then maybe even some philosophy from more modern thinkers, perhaps even some female philosophers since I know historically it is a male dominated field.

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