Asian Philosophy Exam Reviews

Asian Philosophy Midterm Review

hokusai Japanese Buddhist HermitThe exam consists of 30 multiple choice questions and 4 short answer questions (30 x 2 points each & 4 x 10 points each).  For the multiple choice, study the lecture notes using the topic summaries below as a guide.  For the short answers, pick 4 central concepts from the list at the end of the topic summaries and write a half page explaining the idea and showing that you understand it and can connect it to other material from the class.

Hinduism (Vedas, Upanishads, Epics & Orthodox Schools)

Ravana imprisoned by ShivaHinduism a rich diversity of traditions and schools, Vedas lead to Upanishads that lead to Vedanta, many gods/one god/monism, Brahma vs. Brahman, Six orthodox schools & three unorthodox schools rise in the golden age of Indian thought after the Upanishads, three paths of worship & devotion (Bhakti, Raja & Jnana yoga), Bhakti Shaivism & Vaishnavism, Vishnu as preserver/savior & Shiva as destroyer/transformer, darshana as seeing/being seen, intermediate goal of better rebirth and ultimate goal of moksha/nirvana, additional goals of dharma, kama & artha (discipline, pleasure & comfort), wootz and mathematical concepts of zero, variable & infinite series important to algebra, knowing the self, self vs. no-self (atman & anatman), Vedic passages questioning the gods, boneless One, frog-like priests

krishna reveals himself to arjunaUpanishads (‘sitting down beside’) use Vedas as metaphors about the self & cosmos, Tat Tvam Asi (That Is You), essence mudra, appeal beyond the caste system, beyond knowledge & non-knowledge, becoming as destruction, Jabala’s fig seed & salt water, Ramayana, Mahabharata & Arjuna’s duty, Maya as illusion/trickster/demon, Vedanta schools of Shamkara vs. Ramanuja (monism vs. theism), Vaisheshika school of Kanada & atomism, general/particular/inherence, fire as energy, sound as impermanent, water cycle & inertia, Nyaya school of Gautama, debates & proofs

The Unorthodox Schools of Indian Thought (Charvaka & Jainism)

boat india riverCharvaka skepticism & materialism, gods, afterlife & all inference as illusion, comparison with Wittgenstein’s ‘facts, not things’, consciousness as fermentation of alcohol, Jainism as relative of Buddhism, two Jain principles of skepticism (non-one-endedness & truth is hypothetical), seven points of view (describable & indescribable), absolute vs. relative truth debate, pot as being/non-being, teaching & discipline in spite of relativism, cycles of the cosmos (kalpas), Tirthankaras, karma as bondage & bad, Jain leaky boat, radical non-violence & vegetarianism

Buddhism (India, Tibet, China & Japan)

buddha face closed eyesLife of the Buddha, the four sights (sick, old, dead, holy), period of austere Jain-like practice, balance over self-hate/annihilation, Buddha vs. Budai the laughing monk, four noble truths, eight-fold path, five abilities (wisdom highest), the middle way, impermanence, monkey mind, codependent arising, emptiness as openness/compassion, dueling mudras, meditation practices

Theravada Monks WalkingTheravada (“Hinayana”) vs. Mahayana, three vows, three ways of being involved in the sangha, popular movement of Mahayana, naga princess story, Buddha nature (from seed to reality), bodhisattvas & vow, superiority to arhats, completion of wisdom sutras, questioning Subhuti to demonstrate understanding transmission, Buddhist logic, dominant causes vs. essences, study, reflection & meditation, Nagarjuna & the Madhyamaka school vs. Yogachara school, the catuskoti,

inside Chinese Buddhist TempleTibetan culture transformed by Buddhism, Indian sutras & Nagarjuna kept, demons & profane/sacred images, Chinese Zen controversy, celebrity debaters, Book of the Dead, Chinese Han weakening as Buddhism gaining a foothold, Daoism appeal, Chinese concrete vs. Indian abstract, issue with monastery vs. traditional family, Pure Land practice, Shinran & Jodoshinshu, gradual vs. sudden enlightenment, Neo-Confucian use of Buddhist teachings, modern Chinese interpretations, Nishida Kitaro


Zen Circle Caligraphy PaintingZen sitting, unorthodox methods, Buddha holds up a lotus, Bodhidharma vs. Emperor Wu, Hui Neng’s verses, flag, wind & minds moving, Joshu’s dog, Gutei’s finger, Nansen, Joshu & the cat, Joshu’s avoid picking & choosing, compulsive passions are Buddha, tale of old woman burning down the hut, girl in the kimono, samurai & the gates of hell, Basho’s frog

List of Short Answer Topics:

many gods/one god/monism

Tat Tvam Asi

Charvakas & all inference as illusion

Jain two principles of skepticism

Jain leaky boat

Buddhist monkey mind

Buddhist codependent arising

Buddhist emptiness as openness/compassion

Theravada vs. Mahayana

Buddha nature

Shinran & Jodoshinshu

Gradual vs. sudden enlightenment

Zen & Buddha holding up a lotus

Hui Neng & flag, wind and mind moving

Joshu & compulsive passions are Buddha

Zen monks & the girl in the kimono

Asian Philosophy Final Review

Chinese ScholarsLike the midterm, the final exam will have two types of questions testing your knowledge of the material from the readings and lectures, multiple choice and short answer questions.  For the short answer questions, you will be given a list of concepts we have studied from which you must select four and write a comprehensive third to a half page explanation for each you select.  You should demonstrate that you understand the meaning of the concept, that you can connect it to other material from the class, and that you can apply it to examples from your own experience or outside material (print or video, fictional or nonfictional).

Yellow Emperor ChinaChinese Thought & The Hundred Schools Period

Hundred Schools same as Warring States, bad times good for thought, mandate of heaven and way of heaven as philosophical monism, ancient sage kings as examples, yin and yang composing all things, Yi Jing divination system, Legalism and Moism large but not supported by Han, Confucianism and Daoism supported by Han, also three Confucian and two Daoist texts

Confucius & the Analects

confucius2Zhou turns to Spring and Autumn period, apple in the vase as critical reflection, compassion as the thread running through the system, right act without right intent as the worst thing, meritocracy over aristocracy, speaking truth to power, the great or noble person, the six classics, golden rule, sharing the same strengths and faults as everyone, good is always at hand but nothing is perfect, reforming while preserving the old, criticism of Daoism and meditation rather than study

Mencius, Xunzi & Neo-Confucianism

xunzi statueGreat Learning and small to largest level, Doctrine of the Mean and cautious balance, the noble archer who examines themselves and internal vs. external attribution, Mencius as second famous Confucian, human nature essentially good, support by Neo-Confucianism, mother’s three moves and environment, compassion is like water, child at the well, four seeds of the heart and four virtues, argument with Moists about natural levels of love, burial of elders as origin of culture and ritual, sister-in-law drowning and discretion, barley on various ground, Xunzi and human nature as evil and desire, city vs. country folk, children vs. adults, looking outward to society and nature, subduing desire to get the truly desirable, Neo-Confucianism merging with Buddhism and Daoism, the Cheng brothers and cosmic li, Hao’s School of Mind vs. Yi’s School of Law, Zhu Xi and studying classics as central, four books, Wang Yangming and unity of knowledge and action, bad smells and beautiful colors, study without practice as chasing ghosts and shadows

Mozi, Hui Shi & Gongsun Long

MoziMozi vs. Confucianism, three tests of belief (    source, evidence & practical), extreme utilitarianism in funerals and the arts, universal love, value of folk traditions and spirits, martial arts and logic for defense, warfare as crime, partiality as fighting fire with fire, natural trust of the impartial, Yang Chu’s social darwinism, Hui Shi’s ten paradoxes, greater and lesser similarity and difference, Gongsun Long’s white horse is not a horse

Daoism: Laozi, Zhuangzi & Liezi

Liezi\Return to the natural, skepticism of one-sided conceptions and words, the Way as all and one, wu-wei and relative non-action, Laozi the old master, over-sharpening a sword, mind of a child, the wheel as solid and empty, knowing and conquering oneself, the old gnarled tree, Zhuangzi and story of Laozi and the mental crowd, perspective and minnows, a sage’s that has a this, three in the morning and the monkeys, butterfly dream, well frog, desire upsetting the archer, Liezi and accepting death, Yellow Emperor’s dream, taming the tiger, Yin of Chou’s slave’s dreams, Pang seeing white as black, old man moving the mountain, man misplacing the ax, Zhang Daoling and religious Daoism

Strategy: Sunzi, Musashi & the Hagakure

SONY DSCSunzi’s Art of War and its wide influence, training the concubines, deception, intelligence and counter-intelligence, mental superior to physical and strategy superior to numbers, one mind with the people as most important, being like water, appearing to be the opposite, using the enemy’s stuff, spies and double agents, myth of Bushido, Musashi’s Book of Five Rings, being late as timing, being well-rounded, Tsunetomo’s Hagakure, self-mastery, making mistakes, learning from the rainstorm

List of Short Answer Topics

Mandate of heaven and way of heaven as philosophical monism

Confucius’ apple in the vase

Confucius’ right act without right intent

The Golden Rule

Sharing the same strengths and faults as everyone

Confucius’ criticism of Daoism

Levels of the Great Learning

Doctrine of the mean and balance

The noble archer who examines themselves

Mencius’ compassion is like water

Mencius’ child at the well

Mencius & burial of elders

Mencius and the drowning sister in law

Mencius & Xunzi comparing children to adults

Xunzi and subduing desire

Wang Yangming’s unity of knowledge and action

Mozi & universal love

Mozi & partiality as fighting fire with fire

Hui Shi’s greater & lesser similarity & difference

Gongsun Long’s white horse is not a horse

Daoism & wu wei

Laozi’s wheel

Zhuangzi’s animal perspectives

Zhuangzi & the monkey trainer

Zhuangzi & the wellfrog

Liezi & taming the tiger

Liezi & the old man moving the mountain

Sunzi & mental superior to physical

Musashi & timing

Tsunetomo & the rainstorm

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