EXPLORING EASTERN THOUGHT: RELIGIONS, PHILOSOPHIES AND CULTURES OF THE EAST
Kimberly and Carl Weichel, lecturers
Monday 23–Friday 27 January
COURSE FEES R550
Eastern philosophies and religions embody many virtues that are alluring: introspection, gentleness, sensitivity, fortitude and connection with mind and body. Sikhism, Jainism and ancient yoga in India, Buddhism, and Confucianism and Taoism in China, all have these virtues. But they are quite different in ideas, practices and histories. The Axial Age between 800 and 200 BCE was one of the most creative and influential periods, and is of pivotal importance to the evolution of human thought. Around the globe sages, moralists, philosophers and priests grappled with novel ideas about the nature of humanity. This course will explore the ethics, cosmology and theology that comprise many religious philosophies. Background will be given on the texts, symbols, images, practices and rituals, as well as the culture, politics and sociology. It will discuss how these enduring belief systems may help to address our contemporary problems, as well as Vedantic concepts such as death and rebirth, and liberation and knowledge. The course includes an exploration of the Vedantic traditions of Jainism, Sikhism and the philosophy and physiology of yoga in India.
1. Philosophy and religion, the Axial Age
2. Indian Axial Age and Vedantic concepts
5. Ancient yoga