Ancient India - History of Psychology

Ancient India

India since ancient times was the source of religious and protophilosophical teachings, the most famous of which is Buddhism.

Buddhism is the development of the teaching of the Buddha (enlightened) (557-477 BC), an Indian prince from the Shakya clan. According to the legend, the father raised a warrior from him, fencing him in the palace from the outside world, but once he went to the city and saw the sick, old and dead, Buddha imbued with the thought, which later became the basis of his teaching, that the whole life of man is suffering .

When the prince turned 29, the state of Shakya was defeated, and he was forced to flee to the hermits. For six years he was austere under the guidance of mentors, he did not find what he was looking for. Departing from them and restoring the strength of normal food, he somehow stayed in the forest under the banyan, where a revelation came to him-the way of ending suffering. The Buddha called his way "middle" because he lay between the ordinary sensual life and ascetic practice, without touching the extremes of either one or the other. His teaching he first proclaimed to five disciples in Benares Park (Benares sermon) - now the sacred city of the Hindus.

"Two extremes are, monks, who should not be pandered to by those who have retired from worldly life. What are these two extremes? One is the surrender to passions - it is low, ordinary, vulgar, ignoble, aimless. The other is self-torture, it is painful, ignoble, aimless. Without falling into these two extremes, the monks, the Perfect, found the middle path that opens the eyes, opens the mind, which leads to peace, to knowledge, to enlightenment, to Nirvana. This is a noble, eight-year path, this is the right faith, right determination, righteousness, right work, right life, right self-absorption, right thought, right self-immersion (immersion in oneself) ... Here, monks, noble truth about suffering: birth is suffering, old age - suffering, sickness - suffering, death - suffering, connection with the unloved - suffering, p Ascending with the beloved - suffering, non-receipt of the desired - suffering, in short, the five elements that cause attachment to existence, is suffering. Now, monks, the noble truth about the onset of suffering; it is that thirst (to life) that leads to a rebirth that is accompanied by joy and lust that finds here and there its joy, like thirst for lusts, thirst ( eternal) life, thirst (eternal) death. And here, monks, the noble truth about the destruction of suffering: this complete liberation from this thirst, its destruction, rejection, abandonment, expulsion. And here, monks, the noble truth about the path leading to the cessation of suffering, this noble, eight-year path is right-wing faith, right determination, right-wing speech, right work, right life, right self-harmony, right thought, right self-immersion ".

This sermon shows what the Buddha attached most importance to: getting rid of suffering and destroying his rebirth. She also introduces us to the scholastic and tedious style of conducting a Buddha speech addressed to monks, revealing the influence of his teachers in the pedantic, digital enumeration of the "eight-membered path," of the "five elements," the tripartite, twelve-cognized cognition. " This was the main feature of the philosophy of Samkhya (preceded by Buddhism), by which it received its name "enumerating philosophy" (from samkhya - number ).

Consider the question of Buddha's attitude to the customs of his time.

The existence of cast was for the Buddha something self-evident. He himself, even when he became a monk, recognized himself noble and could not stand, when in his presence they spoke ill of the upper estate. But against the unjust claims of his representatives, he rebelled as sharply as against the privileges of the brahmanas, and every distinction between castes disappeared for him when it was not about earthly things, but about the supermundane. Buddha, unlike the representatives of the earlier teachings (samkhya and vedanta), gave the greatest value of a strictly moral life, and this particular aspect of his teaching was especially developed.

Buddhism differs sharply from samkhya. The latter required from man indifference to everything worldly as to deflect the spirit from the right path. According to this doctrine, the aspirant to salvation must renounce all worldly vanity and property, and, moreover, voluntarily, since all coercion causes sorrow. Samkhya advises us to seek solitude and, if possible, avoid all human society, that is, every opportunity to avoid the path, entertain, fall under new lust. Reinforced meditation, concentration of the spirit is necessary for correct knowledge.

This doctrine was further developed by the teaching of the Yogi, giving the greatest weight to spiritual self-immersion and bodily asceticism, which was followed by the later (younger) samkhya. Such teaching, if necessary, should be limited to a narrow circle of the elect. The whole machine of human existence would have to stop if most people began to adhere to such views. Samkhya Yoga therefore remained a philosophical system for a select few. Her recipe for salvation was not applicable to the masses; it was just a theory, like countless others.

The Buddha did quite differently. He was convinced not only of the uselessness of all asceticism, but also asserted that no the philosophical system is sufficient for salvation, that philosophy is not at all a cure for the seeker's deliverance. It is not easy to choose the right one from many systems. One chooses one, another - another. But the wise do not make themselves immutable eyes, they do not prefer any particular system, they do not say: "I am quite clear"; when they "cut the knot of their affection" to the world, they no longer require themselves nothing in it. The Buddha claimed that he did not teach any philosophy, because they all considered it pitiful. He taught the inner world, which can not be achieved by any philosophical system, no knowledge.

The Buddha did not care about the fact that he recognized the faithful was also strictly logically proved and reduced to a closed philosophical system. For the Buddha, the fundamental elimination of all metaphysical problems is characteristic, the theoretical in Buddhism so retreats before the practical that the outstanding feature of this Buddhism is absolute indifference to all theoretical . Buddha did not pay attention to the theoretical contradictions in his teaching, the main thing for him was to achieve the goal of his moral influence and good influence on the conduct of life. In his sermons, he always fully complied with the ability to understand and with the degree of development of his listeners.

The Buddha's teaching is, first of all, practical ethics.

Equally of little importance, as the logical foundation of his teachings, attached Buddha and faith. For the brahmanas, the guiding principle of life was the scriptures, the Vedas. The Buddha rejected faith in the absolute truth of their content. He argued that faith in authority is not faith. "It is as if a series of blind men were behaving themselves; front does not see, the middle does not see, the rear does not see the & quot ;. The Buddha claimed that in this way the faith of brahmanas without a root, that one must hold on not only to what is taught as truth, but that one must himself be conscious of this truth and of his own labor and diligence to assimilate himself as truth.

However, the Buddha did not at all deny the existence of the gods and call it an atheist would be completely wrong. From the Buddhist scriptures one can draw information about a greater number of gods than from the Brahmin.

Buddha finished his days in the town of Kushinagar, according to legend, after a meal with the poor blacksmith, during which the Buddha, knowing that the poor man is going to regale his guests with stale meat, asked to give all the meat to him. Not wanting to suffer satellites, the Buddha ate it and died.

Among the founders of religions, Buddha was the only one who did not pretend to be something other than an ordinary person. Other teachers claimed their divinity, or that they were the incarnation of God, or were inspired by it. The Buddha did not claim any inspiration from any kind of god or external power. He attributed everything realized, acquired and achieved by human diligence and human wisdom.

There is not a single Buddha image relating to the time of his life. In the first 150 years of development of Buddhism, illustrations used allegorical symbols, such as an empty throne, stupa or tree, and only by the end of the III century. BC. begin to occur mention of anthropomorphic images of the Buddha. However, the most ancient of the surviving sculptures of the Buddha, date back only I in. BC

Consider the basic concepts of Buddhism.

Karma. Repeating acts is a habit, and habit becomes a character. In Buddhism this process is called Karma.

In other words, a person will not be forever what he was, and will not remain as he is. This means that karma is not an absolute predestination. Buddha pointed out that if everything is predetermined, then free will, as well as morality and spiritual life would not have a place. Then we would be slaves of the past. On the other hand, if everything is not defined, then it would be impossible to improve morality and raise the spiritual level. Here the Buddha again proclaimed the truth of the Middle Way: karma can not be considered as complete predestination, and complete uncertainty. In Buddhism, karma means "impulses" that encourage us to do or think. These impulses arise as a result of previous habitual actions or behavioral patterns. But since there is no need to follow every impulse, our behavior is not strictly deterministic.

Rebirth. Both in Hinduism and in Buddhism contain the concept of rebirth, but it is understood in different ways. In Hinduism we speak of the atman, or "I", permanent, unchanging, separate from the body and mind, always the same and passing from life to life; all these "I", or atman, are one with the universe, or Brahma. Consequently, the diversity that we see around us is an illusion, for in reality we are all one.

According to the teaching of Buddhism, a living being is a collection of mind and matter. The mind, in turn, is a collection of sensations, apperception, intentions, actions and consciousness. Matter is a collection of four elements - solid, liquid, motion and heat.

Life is the coexistence of mind and matter. Aging is the lack of coordination between these two components. Death is the separation of mind and matter. Reincarnation is a reunion of mind and matter. After the death of the physical body (matter), the mental forces (mind) are reunited and create a new combination in another material form and state in another existence. This is the doctrine known as metempsychosis or reincarnation (reincarnation, the transition of the soul into another body).

Nirvana is a concept in Indian religious thought, which designates the "highest goal" of all living beings and plays an important role in Buddhism. There are many definitions of the concept of "nirvana", but it is usually associated with the state of liberation from suffering inherent in samsara, ordinary existence.

Isak, comparing the ideas about the soul of the representatives of the most ancient civilizations, we can assert that in the closest to the European form it was represented in the Egyptian civilization, later perceived by the medieval Christian European civilization. It appeared in the notions of the afterlife, about the punishment or reward for the present life and the need to lead a righteous life in this world.

Indian ideas, in particular on the transmigration of the soul, were well known to ancient Greek philosophers and were repeatedly reproduced in their philosophical teachings.

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