Early syncretism in india and china

How to Write a Summary of an Article? Early Syncretism in India and China There are two common traits reasons syncretism had not occurred in very early on in the Eastern Cultures of Indian and China.

Early syncretism in india and china

From India to China: Transformations in Buddhist Philosophy Dr. At least not in its purely Indian form. Legends abound about Indians such as Bodhidharma introducing various forms of Buddhism to China, but these tales tell us little about the gradual textural changes which result when the yeast of a foreign view of being penetrates and permeates the life of a nation as already rich and diversified as medieval China.

Much of this trickling occurred during the time of Emperor Ming C. With Early syncretism in india and china tradition of asceticism inherited from Hindu thought, the Indian Buddhist could easily embrace the kind of deferred gratification prescribed in meditation meditate and fast moderately now; attain Nirvana later.

The Chinese, immersed in a tradition which celebrated hard work and a satisfying life of the sensesincluding the sense of humorundoubtedly chuckled at this and other attitudes and practices which seemed other-worldly and irrelevant to day-to-day life.

But being a practical people, many also could see Early syncretism in india and china compelling ideas and qualities in Buddhism with value for their lives as individuals and a society.

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Cultural Differences Between China and India Until the 20th century, Buddhism was the only religion assimilated into Chinese civilization. Chinese philosophybefore and since the advent of Buddhismcrystallized between and A. One of the factors shaping the formulation of Chinese thought before Buddhism was the nature and structure of the Chinese language.

As the characteristics of the Greek language gave Socrates, Plato and Aristotle the tools to think in terms of general philosophical concepts "the Good," for example and dialectical technique, so the qualities of ancient Chinese, with its emphasis on the particular rather than the general and its conduciveness to harmonious resolution rather than debate, helped shape the kinds of thinking which took place in China thousands of years ago up until our time.

Nakamura demonstrates the concreteness of Chinese language by pointing out that Chinese for universe or cosmos is expressed as shan, ho, ta-ti, "mountains, rivers and the great earth.

Translators from Chinese into English often comment on the "ambiguity" of the Chinese language, how one character can have many meanings which can only be inferred from its relationship to other characters within a sentence. When, as in our time, ideas from a more intuitive language Chinese are introduced into a culture dominated by a more rational language Englisha rich amplification of consciousness can occur.

People find new ways of looking at old problems and expand the circle of their thought processes. Just such an enrichment of consciousness occurred in reverse in China when Buddhist thought, conveyed through the logical-specific language of Indian Sanskrit the root of Western language and abstract thoughtentered its intuitive mental culture.

Indian and Chinese thought and culture were divided by more than language. Language mirrors and expresses the ideas, attitudes and even social conventions of a people.

In the down-to-earth pictographs of the Chinese language, where every word-symbol has a highly specific and individualized meaning e. Because the Chinese lived philosophically in the here and now and had little concern with ideas focused on the possible hereafter, their language developed with a singular shortage of word-symbols to express ideas of existence beyond the reality perceived through the senses.

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The most highly esteemed early Indian thinkers anonymous sages who speculated within a religious consciousnesshowever, expressed the opinion that life was suffering and a sort of test or ironic game of Brahma.

Like the extreme Christian fundamentalist of today, they thought and believed that life truly begins with death and that the senses are deceivers which mislead people into a path leading to the Indian version of hell eternal rebirth into the world of sorrows until enlightenment frees them from their torments.

This attitude shaped the development of the Sanskrit and related Indian tongues with the result that Indian language teems with words dealing with philosophical and religious abstractions Even today, yoga students use such classical Indian terms as samsara, maya, atman and many others, simply because they connote these abstractions better than any other language.

Another difference between Indian and Chinese language lies in the way ideas are expressed. Nakamura states that Indians are more likely to make abstract ideas the subject of a sentence or entire essay. The Chinese, on the other hand, usually make man the subject.

This provides an interesting contrast with Chinese art, where man is portrayed as only a very small part of a larger natural context; however, he is always conspicuous even if his presence is small--or perhaps because he is small--and, in this sense, may be said to be the subject of the artwork as well.

Chinese would translate the Indian phrase, "Therefore, the sufferings accompany him," as, "Therefore, he endured various sufferings. Indian and Chinese thought also divide in their use of logic, one of the most highly esteemed tools of philosophy in the West. Despite the intensity of popular, fundamentalist religious practices, major Indian thinkers did not consider sacred scriptures, sutras by famous men and traditions a reliable source of truth.

Hsuan-tsang introduced one of the later schools of Indian logical thought new Hetu-vidya into China.

A history of cultural exchange

This school accepted reason alone as the only authority, and acknowledged only the processes of inference anumana and sense pratyaksa as the basis for forming knowledge.

The differences between Indian and Chinese culture and methods of thinking and communicating also extend to visual symbols. In Indian and Greek thought, the sphere--a three-dimensional embodiment of harmony--was the preferred symbol for the perfect expression of reality.

Indian thinkers also considered the wheel to be a symbol of perfect reality, which accounts for the creation of huge stone juggernauts rolled ominously and symbolically through villages and cities.


Here, the idea of motion was inherent in the symbolism of the wheel. Life was a wheel, in a sense, as human life rolls from birth to death to rebirth over countless incarnations. Chinese thinkers, however, once again revealed a different dimensionality in their thought processes.

While the Indian symbol of perfect reality is three-dimensional and kinetic, the Chinese symbol, the circle, appears flat and stationary to the casual observer. In this series of pictures, a circle is the final image, signifying perfect emptiness not in the Western sense of barrenness, but rather to suggest ineffability.

Another difference in graphic expression of intellectual concepts lies in the realm of didactic diagrams. With a subtle Sanskrit vocabulary deftly dealing with abstractions, India had no need of the precise, particular visual aids which Chinese thinkers used to communicate ideas.

Chinese thinkers traditionally relied on diagrams to both express and teach, such as the use of the circle of eight trigrams which form the 64 hexagrams of the I Ching a Taoist sourcebook which has absorbed the attention of Chinese thinkers through the present day, and was adapted to a Buddhist interpretation shortly after the new philosophy penetrated China.

Other examples of the use of didactic diagrams and illustrations are the Zen ox-herding pictures and the use of white and black-filled circles and a complex network of interconnecting symbols and ideographs to describe polarities in the philosophical writings of Feng-kuei Tsung-mia scholar who attempted to explain what he saw as the relationships between pure and impure mind cited by Nakamura.Early Chinese and Indian History Early Indian History These Greeks would be the only westerners to adopt Buddhism, and they would take part in introducing Buddhism into China.

At the other end of northern India, Chandragupta, king of Maghada (where Buddha preached), established the Maurya Empire, controlling most of northern India.

Cultural syncretism in Africa and America versus China and India It is clear that significant similarities and differences in the way the idea of concept of cultural syncretism occurred in the west and in . China and India’s values were quite different when it came to cultural beliefs.

They would isolate themselves from outside traditions, which made them more resistant to syncretism. Cultural Syncretism. Syncretism is the process by which cultures are merged, generally between traditional culture and traits of an introduced culture.

Holt examines how Buddhism transformed when it left India and entered China. The two diverse languages had a significant role in the transformation. go back to Zen Essays: Historical Zen.

thezensite. From India to China: Transformations in Buddhist Philosophy. Dr. Linda Brown Holt, The Graduate School, The most highly esteemed early.

Early syncretism in india and china

Cultural Syncretism in China and India China and India resisted the influence of cultural syncretism and preferred isolation over the Mongolian beliefs. There is no denying that when it came to the western advances toward China, there was immediate tension.

Cultural Syncretism: Africa, the Americas, China & India Add Remove Compare and contrast the legacies of cultural syncretism in Africa and the Americas with the resistance to cultural change Westerners encountered in China and India.

Cultural Syncretism: Africa, the Americas, China & India