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philosophy, Eastern philosophy


These are various snippets I pulled from books, articles, and other sources. They are typically Eastern philosophy flavored.


Tao → a flow of continuous change

Yin-Yang → Balance

Yin and yang are two poles that set limits for the cycles of change.

Do not oppose these complementary opposites. They aren’t in opposition. They are in cahoots—two sides of the same coin. Understanding this, you can bring balance and harmony to situations.

Te / Teh → putting virtue into action

Virtue or power, not through force or interfering with the natural order of things. Te implies a trust and belief in one’s own inner nature and the interconnectedness of all life. The idea of Te is that of power exercised without the use of force and without inappropriate interference in the existing order of things.

Te – in reference to Tao

Te – defined, but not in reference to Tao


Wu-Wei → not forcing; non-doing

(Chinese, literally “non-doing”) is an important concept of Taoism and means natural action, or in other words, action that does not involve struggle or excessive effort. Wu wei is the cultivation of a mental state in which our actions are quite effortlessly in alignment with the flow of life.

But note: wu wei isn’t an end-all ideal. Per Huainanzi, “Action and inaction are opposite, but they can both be used to preserve nations. This is what is called reaching the same goal by different roads.”



P’u (Pu)


Enlightenment / Awakening / Realization

People think that to find Enlightenment they have to do something about it, i.e., to make themselves different or worthy of it. But this is false pride, because Enlightenment is not a reward which one can get. It is something we have in spite of ourselves. We long for the heights of spirituality, but “Tao is like water in that it seeks the lowly level which men abhor.” In other words, it is so simple that it is complicated, because we think something so great ought to be complicated.
—Alan Watts

Nirvana / Transcendence

The four infinite virtues

Samādhi, Samadhi

Prajna, Prajñā


Indian word that means arriving at the other shore.


Satori (“Tun-wu” in Chinese)




The skandhas (literally “heaps” or “piles,” but most often translated as “aggregates”) are the basic constituents of the personality. Five are typically identified: form (really matter—the physical body), sensation, perception, disposition (behavioral and cognitive), and consciousness. But the term “skandha” indicates two features of this decomposition that must be born in mind to avoid confusion: The division is practical and empirical, and not philosophically principled, and the skandhas themselves are decomposible into further heaps, etc. These are not, hence, ontological fundamentals, but rather the first level of a psychology.

There is no deep doctrinal or philosophical point that hangs on dividing the properties or capacities of humans this way.

Straw Dog

Suchness, thusness, thatness


Shunyata (Sanskrit), Stong-pa-nyid (Tibetan), Kung (Chinese)

Two Truths







Buddha / Bodhisattva

Causality (Cause and effect)



Kensho, kenshō

Koan (Chinese Kung-an = ‘public documents’)

Kuan / Mushin

Mantra (or Mantram)

“That which keeps the mind steady and produces the proper effect.” — Swami Satchidananda

Repetition is called “japa.”



No-self, not-self

Buddhism says that suffering stems from believing there is a self that is lasting, single, and independent. On closer inspection, no such self can be isolated or found. The self is a convention.



Nonabidance, Non-abidance, Non-abiding

Dualism / Duality

Selective Attention

Attention vs. Concentration

Attention (choiceless awareness, all-inclusive, excluding nothing) is not the same as concentration (exclusion, focusing).

Awareness vs. Introspection

[Frizt] Perls saw a clear difference between introspection and awareness. Awareness was the "spontaneous sensing of what arises in you—of what you are doing, feeling, planning." Introspection, on the other hand, was considering the same activities in an "evaluating, correcting, controlling, interfering way."
—50 Psychology Classics (Tom Butler-Bowdon)

10,000 Things, a.k.a. Myriad Things

This is considered a large number. The myriad things all pursue their spontaneous course.


Eastern Philosophies

From Wandering on the Way (Chuang Tzu and Victor H. Mair):

To summarize this survey of Chinese thought during the Warring States period, we may say that the Confucians were primarily interested in family relationships as the model for organizing good government, the Mohists were preoccupied by societal obligations, the Yangists were concerned with the preservation and enhancement of the individual, the Sophists were consumed by questions of logic, and the Legalists were focused wholly on the advancement of the ruler and his state. In opposition to all of these were the Taoists who viewed human society and politics as inevitably corrupting and sought to merge with the Way by returning to nature as contemplative quietists and hermits.

Taoism / Taoists

Taoism's central organizing principle is the interconnectedness of all life, with its flow of continuous change.


Zen (Ch’an = Chineses; Zen = Japanese)

The Sixth Patriarch’s (Hui-neng) mirror



Eastern Books

Tao Te Ching

I Ching

The Zhunagzi (The Chuang Tzu)


Zenrin Kushu

Huang-po’s Treatise on the Essentials of the Doctrine of the Mind

Eastern Persons


Bullets with Sub-bullets

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