Why the terms "Eastern religions" or "Eastern philosophy" are problematic

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ABuddhist
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Why the terms "Eastern religions" or "Eastern philosophy" are problematic

Post by ABuddhist »

I do not like to refer to "Eastern religions" or "Eastern philosophy", both because the term is too eurocentric and because it unfairly homogenizes a wide range of religious and philosophical positions ranging from the materialistic atheism of the Indian Cārvākas to the rational, deeply theistic Chinese Mohism to the complicated and distorted-by-nationalism-and-imperial-patronage Japanese Shinto - and this is not even touching upon the three major Indian religious traditions surviving from Antiquity: Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism.

Furthermore, one of the most fascinating account of India and its religious traditions which I have read, written by a spiritual seeker who went to India and studied there for several years, is entitled "Great Tang Records on the Western Regions", and was written by the Chinese scholar and monk Xuanzang. Why should we not follow the Chinese custom and refer to Indian religious and philosophical traditions as Western? Because of Eurocentrism!
andrewcriddle
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Re: Why the terms "Eastern religions" or "Eastern philosophy" are problematic

Post by andrewcriddle »

ABuddhist wrote: Fri Aug 19, 2022 1:58 pm I do not like to refer to "Eastern religions" or "Eastern philosophy", both because the term is too eurocentric and because it unfairly homogenizes a wide range of religious and philosophical positions ranging from the materialistic atheism of the Indian Cārvākas to the rational, deeply theistic Chinese Mohism to the complicated and distorted-by-nationalism-and-imperial-patronage Japanese Shinto - and this is not even touching upon the three major Indian religious traditions surviving from Antiquity: Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism.

Furthermore, one of the most fascinating account of India and its religious traditions which I have read, written by a spiritual seeker who went to India and studied there for several years, is entitled "Great Tang Records on the Western Regions", and was written by the Chinese scholar and monk Xuanzang. Why should we not follow the Chinese custom and refer to Indian religious and philosophical traditions as Western? Because of Eurocentrism!
The influence of Indian religion and philosophy on China (e.g. Buddhism) is considerably greater than the influence of Indian religion and philosophy on the middle East and regions further West or vice-versa.
ABuddhist
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Re: Why the terms "Eastern religions" or "Eastern philosophy" are problematic

Post by ABuddhist »

andrewcriddle wrote: Sat Aug 20, 2022 2:24 am
ABuddhist wrote: Fri Aug 19, 2022 1:58 pm I do not like to refer to "Eastern religions" or "Eastern philosophy", both because the term is too eurocentric and because it unfairly homogenizes a wide range of religious and philosophical positions ranging from the materialistic atheism of the Indian Cārvākas to the rational, deeply theistic Chinese Mohism to the complicated and distorted-by-nationalism-and-imperial-patronage Japanese Shinto - and this is not even touching upon the three major Indian religious traditions surviving from Antiquity: Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism.

Furthermore, one of the most fascinating account of India and its religious traditions which I have read, written by a spiritual seeker who went to India and studied there for several years, is entitled "Great Tang Records on the Western Regions", and was written by the Chinese scholar and monk Xuanzang. Why should we not follow the Chinese custom and refer to Indian religious and philosophical traditions as Western? Because of Eurocentrism!
The influence of Indian religion and philosophy on China (e.g. Buddhism) is considerably greater than the influence of Indian religion and philosophy on the middle East and regions further West or vice-versa.
With all due respect, though, your answer, when read literally, incorrectly treats India as having only 1 religion. Maybe you meant to write "Indian religious traditions" rather than "Indian religion". I agree with your overall point, but your overall point does not justify referring to "Eastern religions" or "Eastern philosophy".
andrewcriddle
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Re: Why the terms "Eastern religions" or "Eastern philosophy" are problematic

Post by andrewcriddle »

andrewcriddle wrote: Sat Aug 20, 2022 2:24 am
The influence of Indian religion and philosophy on China (e.g. Buddhism) is considerably greater than the influence of Indian religion and philosophy on the middle East and regions further West or vice-versa.
I should have noted that after say 1000 CE there have been substantial influences on Indian thought from further West (mainly Islamic).

Andrew Criddle
ABuddhist
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Re: Why the terms "Eastern religions" or "Eastern philosophy" are problematic

Post by ABuddhist »

andrewcriddle wrote: Sun Aug 21, 2022 4:44 am
andrewcriddle wrote: Sat Aug 20, 2022 2:24 am
The influence of Indian religion and philosophy on China (e.g. Buddhism) is considerably greater than the influence of Indian religion and philosophy on the middle East and regions further West or vice-versa.
I should have noted that after say 1000 CE there have been substantial influences on Indian thought from further West (mainly Islamic).

Andrew Criddle
True enough. I was just reading recently in "Ramana Maharshi: Interpretations of his Enlightenment", by J. Glenn Friesen, about how Ramana Maharshi, who is considered to be one of the greatest Hindu religious figures from the 20th century, was influenced by both Christianity and European Esoteric traditions in shaping his teachings and his teaching style.
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