I was wondering, are there any "serious" Western assessments of Eastern philosophy/spirituality? All I've read so far is casual shit like Watts, I'd prefer a book where the topic is discussed analytically and critically.
You could try Disputers of the Tao for a discussion of early Chinese thought. I suspect you won't find much in the way of serious/helpful analysis of 'eastern philosophy/spirituality' as a whole since that's a crazy huge generalization covering texts from entirely different cultures and languages.
Although there must be books about the generalization itself- it would be fascinating to read about the construction of 'eastern spirituality' through European dialogues with other cultures.
Not particularly but just take a bit of time to do research and see who are respected academics in that regard it wont take much time. In just a few minutes I found these which might be what you are looking for
>Classic Asian Philosophy: A Guide to the Essential Texts
>Joel J. Kupperman is Professor of Philosophy at University of Connecticut
>Eastern Philosophy: The Basics
>Victoria S. Harrison is Reader in Philosophy at the University of Glasgow.
It might be worth your time to go on the website of Harvard or Oxford and in their course catalog find an eastern philosophy/religion course and see what books or textbooks the students use.
Opinion discarded. The jhanas are actually very well defined in the suttas, it's just that it doesn't make a whole lot of sense until you start reaching the different states.
Anyway, it's mostly people who haven't read the Tipitaka that cares so much about the jhanas. AFAIK the jhanas were supposed to be something the arahats and also "special people" i suppose, enjoyed doing, not something neccessary or even possible for starter monks or laymen.
Well the only way to do this is to read the original texts themselves first OP. After that you can read a western academic's view upon a tradition and judge for yourself if he's full of shit. When it comes to religion and academia and especially academia and eastern religion it's often a load of crock. Sometimes you can find good treatises though but i'm not sure why you would be so interested to do this when it's a lot more interesting to go to the source texts themselves. You say you want an analytical and critical treatment, but i say you should just learn to do this yourself. This is a lot more fun as well... Good Luck!
The field of studying eastern philosophy and eastern religion has advanced considerably within the timespan since those people were active authors and now. There are way more translated texts that are available, more of them have been subjected to critical scrutiny and analyzed by western academics, there has been more time for academics to revise early opinions and question early assumptions. The study of eastern philosophy by western academics was barely a field of research outside of a few people even in 40's and 50's and now at most major universities they have people specialized in it.
It is ludicrous to think that a few authors or philosophers who had access to a few translated texts would be able to provide a better and more objective assessment then someone in the 21st century who had devoted their lives to becoming an academic specializing in eastern philosophy, especially when the quality of the scholarship on it now is so much better then it was then.
>dry, sterile academics who can only talk about it and can't live it
What a ridiculous and simplistic answer, I would recommend learning not to idealize authors and philosophers.
>What a ridiculous and simplistic answer, I would recommend learning not to idealize authors and philosophers.
And yet here you are doing the same for the unexceptional ivory tower. grow up
How can you claim a modern academic specialising in the broad school of "eastern philisophy" but personally unreceptive to its wisedom has more understanding of it's work than someone like Guenon who devoted his enitres lifes work to understanding and living it?
I'm not idealizing. I just provided a list of objective reasons why the scholarship is much better now that anyone familiar with the subject will also tell you. All of the evidence points to what my position is while you haven't provided any reason as to why you are correct except by attempting to stereotype academics as dry and sterile, have you forgotten that many philosophers and authors beloved by /lit/ were academics themselves and taught college classes?
/Lit/ isn't obsessed with eastern philosophy or eastern religion, for such an interesting topic it only receives minor attention here.
quality post anon
It's not ludicrous to think. There's no serious spirit of enquiry anymore in this world. There's too much lies and not much truth. Also the specialization of academia makes people myopic. A lot of older authors were mountains more reflected than a "professional" academic today can dream of being.
I don't care sour scholarly articles dude. I don't. I want to learn this shit to live it. it's like the professor who teaches stoicism for 30 years but never put a single tenet into practice in all those years. What do I care what he has to say?
You seem to think time moves in a linear fashion (funnily something highly challanged in eastern philosophy) and as such people are more enlightened and intelligenct as time progresses so we should scrap the old masters of the craft and pick up $100 university textbooks instead. Stop trying to modernise the ancient
>How can you claim a modern academic specializing in the broad school of "eastern philisophy" but personally unreceptive to its wisedom has more understanding of it's work than someone like Guenon who devoted his enitres lifes work to understanding and living it?
Why in the world would a modern academic be personally unreceptive to its wisdom while Guenon would be? There is no reason at all why an academic would be any more or any less receptive to it the Guenon was. If someone is going to devote their life to studying it by getting a Ph.D or masters in eastern philosophy and going to work teaching and writing about it then it is likely that it has significantly affected them in some way. Try talking to people who study it for a living and I'm sure that compared to the average population a significantly higher percentage of them will say they practice it regularly and that it is very personally significant to them.
Stereotyping all academics as dry stuffy professors completely disconnected from their field of study is nonsense. It is a simplistic and idealistic belief without any evidence backing it up that Guenon would be any more or any less receptive to eastern philosophy then a modern professor of it.
Idk if that is possible. Mysticism is mysticism. It shouldnt be too much of a difference between "eastern" and "western"... maybe the gospel of John to read "our" mysticism(even though the bible is evil). I always recommend the Tipitaka though because that contains the clearest most sensical exposition of mysticism the world has ever seen. Other than that meditation and drugs also helps.
>It's not ludicrous to think. There's no serious spirit of enquiry anymore in this world. There's too much lies and not much truth. Also the specialization of academia makes people myopic. A lot of older authors were mountains more reflected than a "professional" academic today can dream of being.
Your post was mostly made up of groundless assertions, especially the part about there being no more serious spirit of inquiry or older authors being better.
>it's like the professor who teaches stoicism for 30 years but never put a single tenet into practice in all those years
Holy shit that straw man argument though. have you ever met any professors of stoicism and asked them if they have ever put any tenet into practice? I didn't think so. You are just using generalizations and hypothetical people that probably don't exist. It is unrealistic that someone a professor who teaches stoicism for 30 years would never put it into practice. Someone would not take that career path unless it really interested them and if it really interested them they would probably try practicing it.
>You seem to think time moves in a linear fashion
I never said that
>and as such people are more enlightened and intelligent as time progresses so we should scrap the old masters of the craft and pick up $100 university textbooks instead.
I never said that either, you are misrepresenting my position. What I claimed is that due to way more translated material being made available and due to faulty or biased early translations being corrected and everything in general being subjected to more critical thought and there being more of a chance of incorrect theories or ideas being recognized as such it is just the facts of the matter that the scholarship on the subject is better now, not that anyone is any more or any less enlightened or intelligent then they were then. There may have been quality scholarship and masters then but quality scholarship and masters in the field also exist now. I never advocated buying expensive textbooks either btw.
Yeah, I'm interested in Western mysticism as well. Right now I'm reading Freemason/Rosecrucian shit though.
I actually consider myself relatively rational, but there's something about mysticism that fascinates the fuck out of me. Maybe because my mother used to read me myths of various cultures when I was a child.
Not the guy you responded to but I think mysticism in general is especially appealing in western culture because in mysticism there is a huge emphasis on direct-experience and actually experiencing different mental/emotional/metaphysical/religious states which contrast really strongly with the 3 main Abrahamic religions because those for the most part are more faith-based and centered around moral teachings and guidance based on their respective scriptures. Within all three of those religions there are exceptions and more mystic sects and variants that focus on or prioritize entering religious states using different methods but the general stereotype holds true that in western culture there isn't a common and easily accessible practice that allows one reliable-enough and direct access to a mystical experience.
>"PhD student detected."
>"Go back to your tower m8"
>attempts to save face by painting me as a conceited Ph.D student and as part of the ridiculed "ivory tower"
Please anon, I'm studying to enter a healthcare-related profession and not anything related to eastern philosophy. I don't know which of the posts I responded to were yours but most of them were laughable. A big part of eastern philosophy is overcoming the ego and letting go of negative and harmful impulses. Ask yourself if it was even worth posting that attempted insult and what you hoped to accomplish.
Premed actually, I'm on track to go to medical school. Again, why do you feel the need to try to ridicule people? It says a lot about you, you know. If I was a nurse I would be a lot more embarrassed if someone caught me trying to ridicule someone else then I would be telling people I'm a nurse.
Nothing wrong with Evola and Guenon. I would also recommend Ananda Coomaraswamy. Other authors worth pursuing are, Peter Masefield, Govind Chandra Pande, George Grimm, Radhakrishnan, C.A.F. Rhys Davids, Chandradhar Sharma.
You are right that there isn't anything wrong with Evola and Guenon but in many cases they just provide their personal theories that are heavily influenced by eastern philosophy or they provide their musings on eastern philosophy rather then a solid and informative review of the material of eastern philosophy itself which was what OP asked for. Once you are familiar with that though Evola and Guenon are worth reading and are interesting but OP would be better served by actually studying the material or a solid review of it rather then through having his first in-depth exposure be through their lens.
This is what white buddhism is, in a female variant:
reminder that women cannot become enlightened if they miss the window which is before their puberty. non-virgin and non-menopausal women swim far too much in hedonism for them to understand anything outside hedonism.
non-menopausal women remain to hippies and longing for her past hedonism.
Making those sorts of broad generalizations about Buddhists of a certain race or gender is an idiotic generalization on par with "all christians are backwards redneck low-IQ creationist retards" or "all athiests are edgy teenage Dawkins and Sam Harris-reading fedora-wearing social rejects"
c'mon anon you're smarter then that, think before you post
Christians are a huge group encompassing many races. It is not an at all comparable analogy.
I don't completely agree with anon but even the Buddha scoffed at women(although he did believe they could get enlightened and many also did).
Btw, feeling smug since you tow contemporary society's party line is really dumb.
It is a precise analogy because Buddhists are also a huge group that encompasses many races, and even if they weren't it still wouldn't invalidate the analogy. It is equally foolish to make those sorts of broad generalizations with both Buddhists and Christians.
>even the Buddha scoffed at women
not really that I'm aware of, he was fine with them forming a female monastic organization that studied under him
>Btw, feeling smug since you tow contemporary society's party line is really dumb.
I'm not feeling smug for towing anything, its just that I thought that the comment they posted was really stupid. They literally linked to one persons twitter account and then used that to generalize about all Buddhists as if anyone couldn't easily do the same about a stupid or foolish person following any other religion.
>more of them have been subjected to critical scrutiny and analyzed by western academics
This seems like a huge egostroke and defeats the whole purpose and meaning of these Easter philosophies.
>This seems like a huge egostroke and defeats the whole purpose and meaning of these Easter philosophies.
In my opinion, not really. These academics that are studying them are not claiming to have discovered their true meaning or whatever. The vast majority of the time scholars are in agreement with the respective religious orders and organizations about what the specific texts say and imply about various things. What I mean by critical scrutiny and analysis is that western academics (and by this I also mean citizens of eastern countries that receive formal educations at internationally-accredited universities in their countries) are better able to translate and determine the authenticity of various documents and from where and what time period they originated etc. This allows them to be more objective when compiling reviews and analyses of different eastern philosophies and religions because it helps them be more informed about what they are actually about.
That does not defeat the purpose or meaning of these philosophies at all. I am not at all claiming that scientific or academic research is somehow revealing hidden truths in these teachings, just that the huge amount of information now known about the best way to translate and analyze the source and authenticity of various eastern religious/philosophical documents allows scholars, authors and philosophers to have both a better quality and quantity of material available to them with which to write in an informed manner about eastern philosophy compared to in Schopenhauer's or even Guénon's time where there would have been significantly less translated documents available and the possibility of inaccurate translations or of the texts being of questionable authenticity higher.
Fucked up as this may sound, one reason I cannot get into Eastern thought is because of its popularity with women in their mid-life. Even worse, I secretly despise all who lack serious intellectual integrity and systems of thought based on it. I very much doubt if Eastern thought is worth the paper it's written on; if it does, it must be solely because of its literary value.
>Fucked up as this may sound, one reason I cannot get into Eastern thought is because of its popularity with women in their mid-life. Even worse, I secretly despise all who lack serious intellectual integrity and systems of thought based on it. I very much doubt if Eastern thought is worth the paper it's written on; if it does, it must be solely because of its literary value.
Tbhf that's a really silly position to be in. You are letting your own reactions to others cause you to shy away from sometime that you might enjoy learning about or practicing.
I'll remind you that Nietzsche is popular among middle-aged women as well.
>Even worse, I secretly despise all who lack serious intellectual integrity and systems of thought based on it.
Studying Eastern philosophy can help expand one's intellectual integrity and abilities by allowing one to perceive issues from the alternative viewpoint they are sometimes considered from in Eastern philosophy and then to compare those with other viewpoints. You are really just limiting yourself and your own abilities by avoiding learning about it.
If you are seriously interested in developing the intellectual side of your mind I would really recommend studying some eastern philosophy, it is interesting and useful to understand even if you end up disagreeing with most of it which is unlikely because a lot of it is applicable to tons of different situations in ways that have nothing to do with dogma or religion.
If it wasn't for a random book on Zen I picked up on a whim a long time ago and my subsequent new-found appreciation for spirituality and especially Buddhism, I would have killed myself eventually no doubt about it
All I'm saying is it's the real deal if you try to live it
Well, I suppose that's the dilemma I've found myself in for quite some time now: I know where my current live is heading, and it may very well head to the same place you say you'd eventually be. I'm very much aware that Eastern thought may save me from it. I'm just not sure whether that in itself is a good reason to dive into it, considering that I'd be aware of the fact that I'd primarily be doing it for the sake of my psychological well-being, instead of for believing truth is to be found in it - the latter being what I'm after, pretentious as it may sound.
Not that poster but the cosmological scheme of eastern religion don't have to be true for some of their more philosophical lessons to be true or helpful.
For example you may study it a bit and in one one of the parables given you may see an example of a mistake you make or negative thought loop or misunderstanding you sometimes make that causes you unhappiness. Reading about that and pondering it might help you stop doing whatever is causing you unhappiness regardless of the truth of any teaching.
It is silly - I'm not afraid to admit it. I also was unreasonably harsh on Eastern thought. I actually like it. In fact, a buddhist monastery lifestyle I see as the only solid alternative to my current way of living. The moment I'm convinced of the logical possibility of enlightenment or some sort of union with the absolute, I'm in - as much as I doubt the sincerity of the majority of monks.
You can always try attending a Vipassana meditation retreat so you can see what that lifestyle is like or at least to try to gain some insight from it. The S.N. Goenka -type Vipassana courses are located in most major countries and completely free including food and boarding. There are 4 or 5 in both Canada and the US so if you are in either of those countries there is probably one within a days drive. They teach pretty good meditation courses that include discourses on eastern philosophy that are connected to the meditation.
>I always recommend the Tipitaka though because that contains the clearest most sensical exposition of mysticism the world has ever seen
nah, clearest exposition of mysticism is Huang Po's record.
How about some Zen? No dogma, no method, no religion
>Emperor Wu: "I have built many temples, copied innumerable Sutras and ordained many monks since becoming Emperor. Therefore, I ask you, what is my merit?"
>Bodhidharma: "None whatsoever!" answered Bodhidharma.
>Emperor Wu: "Why no merit?"
>Bodhidharma:: "Doing things for merit has an impure motive and will only bare the puny fruit of rebirth."
>Emperor Wu, a little put out: "What then is the most important principle of Buddhism?"
>Bodhidharma: "Vast emptiness. Nothing sacred."
>I've read books by 10 different zen masters (Huang Po, Mazu, Zhao Zhou, Bodhidharma, Huineng, Wumen, Foyan, Linji, Yuanwu, Sengcan and Layman Pang), ask me anything
>Sengcan doesn't really count, since I just read his poem and Layman Pang doesn't really count since he was a layman not a master.
>tfw I've read Huang Po for the 3rd time
True philosophy is the product of the Aryan soul, in all its peculiar complexity and richness. the most the chinaman, cunning but not intelligent. can manage is a low sort of pseudo-mystical obfuscation. the fact is,There's no such thing as asian philosophy, regardless of what you might have heard from the self loathing multiculturalists at the academy.
The closest connection you have to the original Aryans is Hinduism and western philosophy was significantly influenced anyway by eastern philosophy after the philosopher Pyrrho headed east with Alexanders armies, met Buddhists and early Hindu-ish acestics and then brought their ideas back west with them and used/were influenced by them and started the tradition of Pyrrhonian skepticism which then went on to be influential and significantly influenced Hume among others.
Because eastern languages are so different (see Jap/Mandarin characters for a start) its perfectly reasonable for someone to assume Eastern philosophy/religion has ideas totally new to someone from the West.
Nisargadatta's sharpness as a spiritual teacher was honed through intense conversations with his brother disciple K.A. Sabnis, better known as Sri Bhainath Maharaj. "From 1941 onwards he came in close contact with [Bhainath].... Everyday they usually used to go to Girgaum Chaupati for a walk after the shop hours. They were engrossed for hours together in their [entirely spiritual] discussion.... In those days of the Second World War there used to be a black-out every night. Sometimes even curfew hours were on, due to communal riots and house-fires. Close by, country bombs used to explode on the open streets. Braving such tense atmosphere and unmindful of the rain or the cold winds, these two Gurubandhus were engrossed for hours together in spiritual discussions on the Chaupati sands or the Chaupati bandstand or sitting on the footsteps of a closed shop or standing at the corner of N. Powell [Rd.]. It was not uncommon that when they reached home it was two or three hours past midnight. Their daily routine mundane duties, however, did not suffer on that account.... These long and subtle talks on spiritual matters helped both. This nightly spiritual fire was continuously on for 25 years."
All the characteristics of the Jnani naturally spring from his experience [of being nondual Awareness]. As there are no desires left in him, nothing in the world of sense can ever tempt him, he lives in the fearless majesty of Self-realization. He is moved to pity by the unsuccessful struggle of those tied down to bodily identity and their striving for the satisfaction of their petty interests. Even the great events of the world are just surface lines to him... The Jnani who has direct experience of all this is always happy and free from desire. He is convinced that the greatest of the sense experiences is only a momentary affair, impermanence is the very essence of these experiences; hence pain and sorrow, greed and temptation, fear and anxiety can never touch him....
In 1980, toward life’s end, Maharaj's body was showing all the symptoms of a virulent, painful throat cancer. This didn’t deter him from accepting into his apartment the never-ending stream of visitors from all walks of life and from all over the world who came to him to discover spiritual truth and the timeless peace of the Absolute. Though it was agony for him to speak, nevertheless, for the sake of dissolving all ignorance, Nisargadatta with great energy and vigor invited and answered their questions for three hours daily, he presided over the rousing bhajan sessions, and carried out the ritual worship of his lineage of gurus. And he still took his fairly long walks on the seashore in the mornings and evenings. Some of these activities fell off toward the last weeks of his life, but he continued to somehow courageously muster the ability to talk through the physical pain with visitors right up to his very last days.
where is the chinese aristotle? where is the Indian Aquinas? Until I see such proof, nothing will convince me. Oriental peoples might be cunning, but they lack creativity and inherently tend towards statism and socialism, thats why they have no place in western thought or society.
>eastern philosophy isn't like western philosophy therefore it's bad
>heh living in simplicity and harmony with the one's self, society, and reality? heh what a load
You have no idea what you're talking about, what you're arguing for, or even that the Chinese described psychology 's "flow state" 3000 years before freud's mom pitched his tent. The point is, there's a lot an Aryan man can use to better himself in Chinese and eastern philosophy, but I know you're not really an Aryan who appreciates wisdom wherever he finds it, you just wanna stunt for your faggy little naziboo internet club.
>where is the chinese aristotle? where is the Indian Aquinas?
Don't be ignorant anon. There is a huge amount of Buddhist philosophy and Hindu philosophy that deals with many of the same subjects as western philosophy and is often just as logical and developed. If you choose not to have read about it at all then thats you're fault but its the equivalent of going I never studied astrophysics and so therefore comets and black holes don't exist because I never read about them.
>but they lack creativity
There has been throughout history and continues to be a huge amount of creativity in Asia especially as it pertains to culture, from art and music to theater
>tend towards statism and socialism, thats why they have no place in western thought or society
socialism is an invention of western society and were practiced and refined there before being exported, Western society was also statist for the vast majority of its history and only recently changed yet it is still very statist in some countries