5 Answers

  1. I thought at first that there was no simple answer. On the other hand, even the widest board begins to be fixed with one nail.

    Therefore, without understanding the base of someone who asks such a question, perhaps the most appropriate answer is to start with Feng Yu-Lan's book “A Brief History of Chinese Philosophy” translated by Kotenko, edited by prof Torchinov E. A.


    The book is published by a Chinese professor in English, and is often found in the course of studying the subject in China itself.

    good luck, the topic is wide 🙂

  2. First of all, it is necessary to understand that it is Chinese philosophy that is a phenomenon that is strongly limited by the historical framework, namely the era of the Fighting Kingdoms. It was during this period that the so-called “hundred schools” or “nine movements and ten schools” existed, each of which had its own theories of world order and public administration. There was a dialogue between them, a political struggle, an exchange of ideas – in general, everything that we used to associate with philosophy.�

    Of all this diversity, only Confucianism and Taoism really survived by the beginning of Han rule, and Taoism in the process split into a religious trend and a proper philosophical school, and it is better not to confuse them. Everything else is either dead or absorbed by these two teachings. With this, the Chinese picture of the world settled down, philosophy in our understanding in China ended and what we wrote about above – the unity of religion, philosophy and culture-began.

    So if you want to know more about the “hundred schools” – read historical books, look for materials about the Zhanguo era. And if you want to understand the Chinese worldview-then primary sources with comments. The best start would be “Conversations and Judgments”: -)

  3. I listened endlessly to Chuang Tzu's book.

    (I had to write something in these brackets so that my answer would be skipped by the minimum number of characters)

  4. From the work “Chinese Thought from Confucius to Laozi”. Why? Because you can learn a lot of fun things. For example, about the completely unusual specifics of the Chinese language and the traditions of polemics in ancient China (when the same parable can serve as an example for mutually exclusive statements).�

    You can start with the works of orientalists like Torchinov, Abaev, Konrad, etc. You can start with the original works, but only with the comments of the same Orientalists, because, for example, reading the same “Tao de Ching” without Torchinov's comments is very distorted due to ignorance of the context, language, etc., etc.

    “Eastern wisdom” is much more complicated than it seems. The years of New Age culture and the assimilation of Eastern culture by European, American and Domestic mass culture gave rise to all sorts of scary things like Buddhism for housewives and Zen for managers. Therefore, it makes sense to dig through academic papers on the topic. It's hard, but it's better than anything else.

  5. Chinese philosophy and Chinese religion are inextricably linked, because each religion, and especially Confucianism, is rather a set of teachings, philosophical attitudes, practices and reflections diluted with the cult of ancestors, semi-legendary sages, etc. So the Chinese religion is completely different from the concept that immediately appears to us, people with a European mindset.�

    Therefore, I would recommend starting the study of philosophy with a direct Chinese phenomenon – Confucianism. Then go to Taoism, and then chronologically to Buddhism, and then to Chan Buddhism. You can also capture Chinese mythology. From the point of view of philosophy, it also has a lot of interesting things. This will greatly help in understanding the modern Chinese mentality, Chinese values. And just a very interesting topic. Enjoy!

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