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Western Ethics Focus Basis Emphasis Roots in Finding Truth Rational Thought Logic, Cause and Effect.

Athens, Rome and JudeoChristianity Approach Conflict and Harmony Rational Good must triumph over Evil

Eastern Ethics Protocol and Respect Religious teachings Respect towards family Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism and Taoism Holistic and cultural Good and Bad, Light and Dark all exist in equilibrium.

Beliefs
The identification of Hinduism as an independent religion separate from Buddhism or Jainism consequently hinges on the affirmation of its adherents that it is such. Hinduism grants absolute and complete freedom of belief and worship. Hinduism conceives the whole world as a single family that deifies the one truth, and therefore it accepts all forms of beliefs and dismisses labels of distinct religions which would imply a division of identity. Hence, Hinduism is devoid of the concepts of apostasy, heresy and blasphemy. Prominent themes in Hindu beliefs include (but are not restricted to) , Dharma (ethics/duties), Samsra (the continuing cycle of birth, life, death and rebirth), Karma (action and subsequent reaction), Moksha (liberation from samsara), and the various Yogas (paths or practices).

Concept of God
Hinduism is a diverse system of thought with beliefs spanning monotheism, polytheism, panentheism, pantheism, monism, and atheismamong others; and its concept of God is complex and depends upon each individual and the tradition and philosophy followed. It is sometimes referred to as henotheistic (i.e., involving devotion to a single god while accepting the existence of others), but any such term is an overgeneralization. The Rig Veda, the oldest scripture and the mainstay of Hindu philosophy does not take a restrictive view on the fundamental question of Godand the creation of universe. It rather lets the individual seek and discover answers in the quest of life. Nasadiya Sukta (Creation Hymn) of the Rig Veda thus says: Who really knows? Who will here proclaim it? Whence was it produced? Whence is this creation? The gods came afterwards, with the creation of this universe. Who then knows whence it has arisen?

Most Hindus believe that the spirit or soul the true "self" of every person, called the tman is eternal. According to the monistic/pantheistic theologies of Hinduism (such as Advaita Vedanta school), this Atman is ultimately indistinct from Brahman, the supreme spirit. Hence, these schools are called nondualist. The goal of life, according to the Advaita school, is to realize that one's tman is identical to Brahman, the supreme soul. The Upanishads state that whoever becomes fully aware of the tman as the innermost core of one's own self realizes an identity with Brahman and thereby reaches moksha (liberation or freedom). The schools of Vedanta and Nyaya states that karma itself proves the existence of God. Nyaya being the school of logic, makes the "logical" inference that the universe is an effect and it ought to have a creator. Dualistic schools (see Dvaita and Bhakti) understand Brahman as a Supreme Being who possesses personality, and they worship him or her thus, as Vishnu, Brahma, Shiva, or Shakti, depending upon the sect. The tman is dependent on God, while moksha depends on love towards God and on God's grace. When God is viewed as the supreme personal being (rather than as the infinite principle), God is called Ishvara ("The Lord"), Bhagavan ("The Auspicious One") or Parameshwara("The Supreme Lord"). However interpretations of Ishvara vary, ranging from non-belief in Ishvara by followers of Mimamsakas, to identifying Brahman and Ishvara as one, as in Advaita. In the majority of traditions of Vaishnavism he is Vishnu, God, and the text of Vaishnava scriptures identify this Being as Krishna, sometimes referred to as svayam bhagavan. However, under Shaktism, Devi or Adi parashakti is considered as the Supreme Being and in Shaivism Shiva is considered Supreme. The multitude of devas are viewed as avatars of the Brahman. In discussing the Trimurti, Sir William Jones states that Hindus "worship the Supreme Being under three forms Vishnu, Siva, Brahma...The fundamental idea of the Hindu religion, that of metamorphoses, or transformations, is exemplified in the Avatars. In Bhagavad Gita, for example, God is the sole repository of Gunas (attributes) also as: His hands and feet are everywhere, He looks everywhere and all around, His eyes, ears and face point to all directions, and all the three worlds are surrounded by these. Atheistic doctrines dominate Hindu schools like Samkhya and Mimamsa. The Samkhyapravachana Sutra of Samkhya argues that the existence of God (Ishvara) cannot be proved and hence cannot be admitted to exist. Samkhya argue that an unchanging God cannot be the source of an ever changing world. It says God was a necessary metaphysical assumption demanded by circumstances. Proponents of the school of Mimamsa, which is based on rituals and orthopraxy states that the evidence allegedly proving the existence of God was insufficient. They argue that there is no need to postulate a maker for the world, just as there is no need for an author to compose the Vedas or a God to validate the rituals. Mimamsa considers the Gods named in the Vedas have no existence apart from the mantras that speak their names. To that regard, the power of the mantras is what is seen as the power of Gods.

Devas and avatars


The Hindu scriptures refer to celestial entities called Devas (or dev in feminine form; devat used synonymously for Deva in Hindi), "the shining ones", which may be translated into English as "gods" or "heavenly beings". The devas are an integral part of Hindu culture and are depicted in art, architecture and through icons, and mythological stories about them are related in the scriptures,

particularly inIndian epic poetry and the Puranas. They are, however, often distinguished from Ishvara, a supreme personal god, with many Hindus worshiping Ishvara in one of its particular manifestations (ostensibly separate deities) as their ia devat, or chosen ideal. The choice is a matter of individual preference, and of regional and family traditions. Hindu epics and the Puranas relate several episodes of the descent of God to Earth in corporeal form to restore dharma to society and to guide humans to moksha. Such an incarnation is called an Avatar. The most prominent avatars are of Vishnu and include Rama (the protagonist in Ramayana) and Krishna (a central figure in the epic Mahabharata).

Karma and samsara


Karma translates literally as action, work, or deed, and can be described as the "moral law of cause and effect". According to theUpanishads an individual, known as the jiva-atma, develops sanskaras (impressions) from actions, whether physical or mental. The linga sharira, a body more subtle than the physical one but less subtle than the soul, retains impressions, carrying them over into the next life, establishing a unique trajectory for the individual. Thus, the concept of a universal, neutral, and neverfailing karma intrinsically relates toreincarnation as well as to one's personality, characteristics, and family. Karma binds together the notions of free will and destiny. This cycle of action, reaction, birth, death and rebirth is a continuum called samsara. The notion of reincarnation and karma is a strong premise in Hindu thought. The Bhagavad Gita states: As a person puts on new clothes and discards old and torn clothes, similarly an embodied soul enters new material bodies, leaving the old bodies. (B.G. 2:22) Samsara provides ephemeral pleasures, which lead people to desire rebirth so as to enjoy the pleasures of a perishable body. However, escaping the world of samsara through moksha is believed to ensure lasting happiness and peace. It is thought that after several reincarnations, an atman eventually seeks unity with the cosmic spirit (Brahman/Paramatman). The ultimate goal of life, referred to as moksha, nirvana or samadhi, is understood in several different ways: as the realization of one's union with God; as the realization of one's eternal relationship with God; realization of the unity of all existence; perfect unselfishness and knowledge of the Self; as the attainment of perfect mental peace; and as detachment from worldly desires. Such realization liberates one from samsara and ends the cycle of rebirth. Due to belief in the indestructibility of the soul, death is deemed insignificant with respect to the cosmic self. Thence, a person who has no desire or ambition left and no responsibilities remaining in life or one affected by a terminal disease may embrace death by Prayopavesa. The exact conceptualization of moksha differs among the various Hindu schools of thought. For example, Advaita Vedanta holds that after attaining moksha an atman no longer identifies itself with an individual but as identical with Brahman in all respects. The followers of Dvaita(dualistic) schools identify themselves as part of Brahman, and after attaining moksha expect to spend eternity in a loka (heaven), in the company of their chosen form of Ishvara. Thus, it is said that the followers of dvaita wish to "taste sugar", while the followers of Advaita wish to "become sugar".

Objectives of human life


Classical Hindu thought accepts the following objectives of human life, that which is sought as human purpose, aim, or end, is known as thepurusarthas

Dharma (righteousness, ethics)


The Brihadaranyaka Upanishad views dharma as the universal principle of law, order, harmony, all in all truth, that sprang first from Brahman. It acts as the regulatory moral principle of the Universe. It is sat (truth), a major tenet of Hinduism. This hearkens back to the conception of the Rigveda that "Ekam Sat," (Truth Is One), of the idea that Brahman is " Sacchidananda" (TruthConsciousness-Bliss). Dharma is not just law, or harmony, it is pure Reality. In the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad's own words: Verily, that which is Dharma is truth, Therefore they say of a man who speaks truth, "He speaks the Dharma," or of a man who speaks the Dharma, "He speaks the Truth.", Verily, both these things are the same. (Brh. Upanishad, 1.4.14) In the Mahabharata, Krishna defines dharma as upholding both this-worldly and other-worldly affairs. (Mbh 12.110.11). The word Santanameans 'eternal', 'perennial', or 'forever'; thus, 'Santana Dharma' signifies that it is the dharma that has neither beginning nor end.

Artha (livelihood, wealth)


Artha is objective & virtuous pursuit of wealth for livelihood, obligations and economic prosperity. It is inclusive of political life, diplomacy and material well-being. The doctrine of Artha is called Arthashastra, amongst the most famous of which is Kautilya Arthashastra.

Kma (sensual pleasure)


Kma (Sanskrit, Pali; Devanagari: ) means desire, wish, passion, longing, pleasure of the senses, the aesthetic enjoyment of life, affection, or love. However, this is only acceptable within marriage.

Moka (liberation, freedom from samsara)


Moksha (Sanskrit: moka) or mukti (Sanskrit: ), literally "release" (both from a root muc "to let loose, let go"), is the last goal of life. It is liberation from samsara and the concomitant suffering involved in being subject to the cycle of repeated death and reincarnation.

Yoga
In whatever way a Hindu defines the goal of life, there are several methods (yogas) that sages have taught for reaching that goal. Texts dedicated to Yoga include the Bhagavad Gita, the Yoga Sutras, the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, and, as their philosophical and historical basis, the Upanishads. Paths that one can follow to achieve the spiritual goal of life (moksha, samadhi or nirvana) include: Bhakti Yoga (the path of love and devotion) Karma Yoga (the path of right action) Rja Yoga (the path of meditation) Jna Yoga (the path of wisdom)

An individual may prefer one or some yogas over others, according to his or her inclination and understanding. Some devotional schools teach that bhakti is the only practical path to achieve spiritual perfection for most people, based on their belief that the world is currently in the Kali Yuga (one of four epochs which are part of the Yuga cycle). Practice of one yoga does not exclude others. Many schools believe that the different yogas naturally blend into and aid other yogas. For example, the practice of jnana yoga, is thought to inevitably lead to pure love (the goal of bhakti yoga), and vice versa. Someone practicing deep meditation (such as in raja yoga) must embody the core principles of karma yoga, jnana yoga and bhakti yoga, whether directly or indirectly. Hinduism is the dominant religion of the Indian subcontinent, particularly of India and Nepal. It [2] includes Shaivism, Vaishnavism andShaktism among numerous other traditions, and a wide spectrum of laws and prescriptions of "daily morality" based on karma, dharma, and societal norms. Hinduism is a categorisation of distinct intellectual or philosophical points of view, rather than a rigid, common set of beliefs. Hinduism has been called the "oldest religion" in the world, It is "a fusion of Arian and Dravidian cultures", which consists of many diverse traditions. It has diverse roots and no single founder. Among its roots are the historical Vedic religion of Iron Age India, but also the religions of the Indus Valley Civilisation, the Shramana or renouncer traditions of north-east India, and "popular or local traditions". Since Vedic times a process of Sanskritization has been taking place, in which "people from many strata of society throughout the subcontinent tended to adapt their religious and social life to Brahmanic norms". Since the 19th century, under the dominance of western colonialism and Indology, when the term "Hinduism" came into broad use,Hinduism has re-asserted itself as a coherent and independent tradition. The popular understanding of Hinduism has been dominated by thisneo-Vedanta, in which mysticism and the unity of Hinduism have been emphasised. Hindutva ideology andHindu politics emerged in the 20th century as as a political force and a source for national identity in India. Hindu practices include daily rituals such as puja (worship) and recitations, annual festivals, and occasional pelgrimages. Select group ofascetics leave the common world and engage in lifelong ascetic practices to achieve moksha. Hindu texts are classified into ruti ("revealed") and Smriti ("remembered"). These texts discuss theology, philosophy, mythology, Vedic yajnaand agamic rituals and temple building, among other topics. Major scriptures include the Vedas, Upanishads (both ruti), Mahabharata,Ramayana, Bhagavad Gita, Puranas, Manusmriti, and Agamas (all smriti). Hinduism, with about one billion followers is the world's third largest religion, after Christianity and Islam.

Ethics
Taoism tends to emphasize various themes of the Tao Te Ching and Zhuangzi, such as naturalness, spontaneity, simplicity, detachment from desires, and most important of all, wu wei. However, the concepts of those keystone texts can not be equated with Taoism as a whole.

Tao and Te
Tao (Chinese: ; pinyin: do) literally means "way", but can also be interpreted as road, channel, path, doctrine, or line. In Taoism, it is "the One, which is natural, spontaneous, eternal, nameless, and

indescribable. It is at once the beginning of all things and the way in which all things pursue their course." It has variously been denoted as the "flow of the universe", a "conceptually necessary ontological ground", or a demonstration of nature. The Tao also is something that individuals can find immanent in themselves. The active expression of Tao is called Te (also spelled and pronounced De, or even Teh; often translated with Virtue or Power; Chinese: ;pinyin: d), in a sense that Te results from an individual living and cultivating the Tao.

Wu-wei
The ambiguous term wu-wei (simplified Chinese: ; traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: w wi) constitutes the leading ethical concept in Taoism. Wei refers to any intentional or deliberated action, while wu carries the meaning of "there is no ..." or "lacking, without". Common translations are "nonaction", "effortless action" or "action without intent". The meaning is sometimes emphasized by using the paradox expression "wei wu wei": "action without action". In ancient Taoist texts, wu-wei is associated with water through its yielding nature. Taoist philosophy proposes that the universe works harmoniously according to its own ways. When someone exerts their will against the world, they disrupt that harmony. Taoism does not identify one's will as the root problem. Rather, it asserts that one must place their will in harmony with the natural universe. Thus, a potentially harmful interference is to be avoided, and in this way, goals can be achieved effortlessly. "By wu-wei, the sage seeks to come into harmony with the great Tao, which itself accomplishes by nonaction."

Naturalness
Naturalness (Chinese: ; pinyin: zrn; WadeGiles: tzu-jan; lit. "self-such") is regarded as a central value in Taoism. It describes the "primordial state" of all things as well as a basic character of the Tao, and is usually associated with spontaneity and creativity. To attain naturalness, one has to identify with the Tao; this involves freeing oneself from selfishness and desire, and appreciating simplicity. An often cited metaphor for naturalness is pu (simplified Chinese: ; traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: p, p; WadeGiles: p'u; lit. "uncut wood"), the "uncarved block", which represents the "original nature... prior to the imprint of culture" of an individual. It is usually referred to as a state one returns to.

Three Treasures
The Taoist Three Treasures or Three Jewels (simplified Chinese: ; traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: snbo) comprise the basic virtues of ci(Chinese: ; pinyin: c, usually translated as compassion), jian (Chinese: ; pinyin: jin, usually translated as moderation), and bugan wei tianxia xian (Chinese: ; pinyin: bgn wi tinxi xin, literally "not daring to act as first under the heavens", but usually translated ashumility). As the "practical, political side" of Taoist philosophy, Arthur Waley translated them as "abstention from aggressive war and capital punishment", "absolute simplicity of living", and "refusal to assert active authority". The Three Treasures can also refer to jing, qi and shen (Chinese: ; pinyin: jng-q-shn; jing is usually translated with "essence" and shen with "spirit"). These terms are elements of the traditional Chinese concept of the human body, which shares its cosmological foundation -Yinyangism - with Taoism. Within this framework, they play an important role in neidan ("Taoist yoga").

Taoism (modernly Daoism) is a philosophical and religious tradition that emphasizes living in harmony with the Tao (modernly romanized as "Dao"). The term Tao means "way", "path" or "principle", and can also be found in Chinese philosophies and religions other than Taoism. In Taoism, however, Tao denotes something that is both the source and the driving force behind everything that exists. It is ultimately ineffable: "The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao." While Taoism drew its cosmological notions from the tenets of the School of Yin Yang, its keystone work is widely regarded to be theTao Te Ching, a compact and ambiguous book containing teachings attributed to Laozi (Chinese: ; pinyin: Loz; WadeGiles: Lao Tzu). Together with the writings of Zhuangzi, these two texts build the philosophical foundation of Taoism. This philosophical Taoism, individualistic by nature, is not institutionalized. Institutionalized forms, however, evolved over time in the shape of a number of different schools. Taoist schools traditionally feature reverence for Laozi, immortals or ancestors, along with a variety of divination and exorcism rituals, and practices for achieving ecstasy, longevity or immortality. Taoist propriety and ethics may vary depending on the particular school, but in general tends to emphasize wu-wei (action through non-action), "naturalness", simplicity, spontaneity, and the Three Treasures: compassion, moderation, and humility. Taoism has had profound influence on Chinese culture in the course of the centuries, and clerics of institutionalised Taoism (Chinese:; pinyin: doshi) usually take care to note distinction between their ritual tradition and the customs and practices found in Chinese folk religion as these distinctions sometimes appear blurred. Chinese alchemy (especially neidan), Chinese astrology, Chan (Zen)Buddhism, several martial arts, Traditional Chinese medicine, feng shui, and many styles of qigong have been intertwined with Taoism throughout history. Beyond China, Taoism also had influence on surrounding societies in Asia. After Laozi and Zhuangzi the literature of Taoism grew steadily and used to be compiled in form of a canon the Daozang, which was at times published at the behest of the emperor. Throughout Chinese history, Taoism was several times nominated as state religion. After the 17th century, however, it fell much from favor. Like all other religious activity, Taoism was suppressed in the first decades of the People's Republic of China (and even persecuted during the Cultural Revolution), but continued to be practised in Taiwan. Today, it is one of five religions recognized in the PRC, and although it does not travel readily from its Asian roots, claims adherents in a number of societies.

Buddhist ethics
la (Sanskrit) or sla (Pli) is usually translated into English as "virtuous behavior", "morality", "ethics" or "precept". It is an action committed through the body, speech, or mind, and involves an intentional effort. It is one of the three practices (sila, samadhi, and panya) and the secondpramit. It refers to moral purity of thought, word, and deed. The four conditions of la are chastity, calmness, quiet, and extinguishment. la is the foundation of Samadhi/Bhvana (Meditative cultivation) or mind cultivation. Keeping the precepts promotes not only the peace of mind of the cultivator, which is internal, but also peace in the community, which is external. According to the Law of Karma, keeping the precepts are meritorious and it acts as causes that would bring about peaceful and happy effects. Keeping these precepts keeps the cultivator from rebirth in the four woeful realms of existence.

la refers to overall principles of ethical behavior. There are several levels of sila, which correspond to "basic morality" (five precepts), "basic morality with asceticism" (eight precepts), "novice monkhood" (ten precepts) and "monkhood" (Vinaya or Patimokkha). Lay people generally undertake to live by the five precepts, which are common to all Buddhist schools. If they wish, they can choose to undertake the eight precepts, which add basic asceticism. The five precepts are training rules in order to live a better life in which one is happy, without worries, and can meditate well: 1. To refrain from taking life (non-violence towards sentient life forms), or ahims; 2. To refrain from taking that which is not given (not committing theft); 3. To refrain from sensual (including sexual) misconduct; 4. To refrain from lying (speaking truth always); 5. To refrain from intoxicants which lead to loss of mindfulness (specifically, drugs and alcohol). The precepts are not formulated as imperatives, but as training rules that laypeople undertake voluntarily to facilitate practice. In Buddhist thought, the cultivation of dana and ethical conduct themselves refine consciousness to such a level that rebirth in one of the lower heavens is likely, even if there is no further Buddhist practice. There is nothing improper or un-Buddhist about limiting one's aims to this level of attainment. In the eight precepts, the third precept on sexual misconduct is made more strict, and becomes a precept of celibacy. The three additional precepts are: 6. To refrain from eating at the wrong time (eat only from sunrise to noon); 7. To refrain from dancing and playing music, wearing jewelry and cosmetics, attending shows and other performances; 8. To refrain from using high or luxurious seats and bedding. The complete list of ten precepts may be observed by laypeople for short periods. For the complete list, the seventh precept is partitioned into two, and a tenth added: 6. To refrain from taking food at an unseasonable time, that is after the mid-day meal; 7. To refrain from dancing, music, singing and unseemly shows; 8. To refrain from the use of garlands, perfumes, ointments, and from things that tend to beautify and adorn (the person); 9. To refrain from (using) high and luxurious seats (and beds); 10. To refrain from accepting gold and silver;