(Early morning on the Ganges)
We define classically two kinds of Indian philosophies: the āstika philosophies, which follow the Vedas (Hinduism …) and the nāstika philosophies that are Jainism, Buddhism and the Cārvāka, which reject them. For the latter, reference will be made to the articles that concern them.
The different āstika schools
There are traditionally six Orthodox schools of Mīmāṃsā, Nyāya, Sāṃkhya, Vaiśeṣika, Vedānta and Patañjali Yoga. These schools are also known by the Sanskrit term darśana which means “doctrinal point of view”.
The different schools nāstika
There are traditionally three unorthodox schools of Jainism, Buddhism and Cārvāka.
Charvaka (meaning “sweet words” or “to the pleasant verb”) is the name of an Indian thinker of the sixth century or century BC, but also of his system of thought – also known under the name of Lokāyata, from loka, the world, is the only thing which really exists. It is a materialistic, atheistic and hedonistic philosophy which rejects traditional doctrines (such as those of reincarnation, performance of rituals, etc.) and admits only perception as a means of knowledge. This thinker belongs to the generation that challenges Brahmanism by its denial of the existence of the Vedic gods from which the sacrificial rites flow, like Jainism and Buddhism.
There are ancient relations between Indian Vedas and Avesta Medes. The two main traditional Indo-Iranian philosophical families were determined by two fundamental differences: in their implications for the position of the human being in society and their vision of the role of women and men in the universe. The first charter of human rights (fundamental rights of the human person) by Cyrus II (also called Cyrus the Great) is seen as a reflection of the questions and thoughts expressed by Zarathustra, and developed in Zoroastrian schools of thought.
- Zoroastrianism derives from the name Zoroaster deformed by the Greeks at the expense of the real name, Zarathustra. Its other name, Mazdaism, derives from the name of the revered god, Ahura Mazdā. This school of thought was founded in the first millennium BC
- Manichaeism is a syncretic religion that appeared in the second century AD, whose name comes from its founder, Mani.
- Mazdakism is a religious movement founded in the fifth century. It owes its name to its founder, Mazdak.
Chinese philosophy differs radically from Greek philosophy, so much so that one can question the association of the terms of the expression “Chinese philosophy”. From the beginning the paths diverged, joining only in the twentieth century: the linguistic forms are very different (the Chinese linguistics is not based on the logos, unlike the ancient Greek); Chinese thought relies more readily on analysis than on synthesis; on solving problems only on the definition of concepts; on the example rather than the demonstration; on the fluidity of the mind than on the solidity of the arguments.
Chinese thought is therefore interesting in the sense that it allows us to discover original entries, unknown to Western philosophy.
Japanese philosophy (in Japanese 日本 哲学, Nihon tetsugaku) is an extension of Chinese philosophy, most generally through the importation, via Korea, of Chinese culture during the Middle Ages. Japan has indeed adopted Buddhism and Confucianism. The traditional Japanese religion, Shintoism, has entered into dialogue with these different imported traditions. For this religion there are deities or spirits, called Kami 神, which are found in any natural object (waterfall, tree …), natural phenomenon (rainbow, typhoon …), sacred object … We can put in parallel the Inca huacas to better understand what the Kami represent.
Budō 武 道 (bu, war, do, path) are martial arts (judo, karate, aikido) of Zen Buddhist inspiration.