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The Nature of the Self in Indian and Chinese Philosophy Essay


While deliberating on the concept and the nature of the Self, specific attention should be given to the Indian and Chinese philosophy. These philosophical schools focus on considering the material and spiritual dimensions in characterizing the individual and explaining his/her life purposes and missions.

At this point, such Indian schools of thoughts as Advaita Vedanta, Samkhya-Yoga theory, and Buddhism represents a dualistic confrontation between Atman (the Self) and Brahman (Whole) as the guiding powers in the Universe. The Confucianism theory that is more focused on the quality of an individual and its place in the world, but with no reference to the above-described concepts of the One and the Whole.

According to the supporters of Advaita Vedanta, Atman, or the soul of the individual should be identified with Brahman. However, it does not constitute a part of Brahman that dissolves in it. Rather, it is entire Brahman itself. Therefore, the challenge of distinguishing between Atman, a soul limited to a physical body, and Brahman, embodying the entire world. In fact, the school of thought argues that the Self should not be confused with individuality or personal identity, but with the one and the unique.

In this respect, self-identification correlates with the presence of immutable consciousness and, therefore, Atman can be presented as a variety of its modifications; it is free from merits and sins. Atman enclosed in a body is often regarded as a living being with senses and feelings.

Unlike Advaita Vedenta, Samkhya-Yoga theory withdraws the assumptions that the self is embodied in the concept of Atman, which is identical to all-encompassing Brahman. On the contrary, the school of though is more concerned with the individual as an autonomous being and, therefore, there is a clear distinction between the self and the whole.

Despite the distinction, the theory also relies on the spiritual representation of the world as its primary nature. The dualism of the philosophy is based on the concept of Purusha, the objective universe, and Prakriti, it material substance. All these dimensions are indispensible to maintaining the equilibrium.

The philosophical views represented by the Buddhist supporters are congruent with the Advaita Vedanta school of thought. Specifically, Buddhism identifies self is a constant cycle of rebirth that is carried out through a sequence of life forms. Therefore, the theory withdraws the concept of self and argues that it personifies an eternal soul. Therefore the self and the universe are closely connected by the dynamic process of changes through reincarnation. In addition,

Finally, the Confucianism stream is more concerned with the cultivation of the self that is possible through achieving the highest potential while being a human.

Therefore, the focus is made on lifetime of a person rather than in the afterlife period. The philosophical vision of Confucian schools is closely connected with understanding moral, ethical and social dimensions of social life including the basic human activities, such as action, sight, hearing, listening, and speaking. At this point, the centre of the Confucian philosophy is human, but not the universe.

Its main theoretical basic heavily relies on spirituality cultivated within a person, but not outside it. Unlike the above presented Indian philosophical trends, this branch studies an individual with regard to its actions, deeps, and moral behavior that have been shaped during his/her life.

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"The Nature of the Self in Indian and Chinese Philosophy." IvyPanda, 20 May 2019, ivypanda.com/essays/the-nature-of-the-self-in-indian-and-chinese-philosophy-essay/.

1. IvyPanda. "The Nature of the Self in Indian and Chinese Philosophy." May 20, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-nature-of-the-self-in-indian-and-chinese-philosophy-essay/.


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IvyPanda. "The Nature of the Self in Indian and Chinese Philosophy." May 20, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-nature-of-the-self-in-indian-and-chinese-philosophy-essay/.

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IvyPanda. 2019. "The Nature of the Self in Indian and Chinese Philosophy." May 20, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-nature-of-the-self-in-indian-and-chinese-philosophy-essay/.

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IvyPanda. (2019) 'The Nature of the Self in Indian and Chinese Philosophy'. 20 May.

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