Western philosophy is a vast intellectual tradition, the product of thousands of years of revolutionary thought built up by a rich collection of brilliant minds. But to understand the Western intellectual tradition is to get only half the story. The Eastern intellectual tradition has made just as important a contribution-and is also the product of thousands of years of cumulative thought by a distinct group of brilliant thinkers. Their ideas demonstrate wholly different ways of approaching and solving the same fundamental issues that concerned the West's greatest thinkers, such as the existence of God, the meaning of life and the nature of truth and reality.
This epic and comprehensive 36-lecture examination of the East's most influential philosophers and thinkers - from a much-honored teacher and scholar - offers a thought-provoking look at the surprising connections and differences between East and West. By introducing you to the people-including The Buddha, Ashoka, Prince Shotoku, Confucius, and Gandhi - responsible for molding Asian philosophy and for giving birth to a wide variety of spiritual and ideological systems, it will strengthen your knowledge of cultures that play increasingly important roles in our globalized 21st-century world.
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.
©2011 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2011 The Great Courses
This course covers Asian philosophy from ancient to modern by discussing "great minds" and their beliefs. In total, over 70 great minds are discussed so you should be warned going in that the scope of this course is huge. There is no way you will remember all of the people mentioned, and no way that you will remember all of the details of their beliefs. For this reason, the course can seem to drag a bit as you get mired in arcana of different Hindu beliefs on metaphysics etc.
The course mainly discusses Indian, Chinese and Japanese philosophy and religion. In India, the focus is mainly on metaphysics and ethics, and I found these lectures to be the weakest. I believe this may be a result of Indian history being more oral than Chinese, and so we hear a lot fewer interesting stories of peoples lives in the lectures and rather more discussions of commentaries of commentaries of Vedic texts. It is easy to get lost between all the different Indian philosophical theories.
The Chinese and Japanese lectures I found to be absolutely brilliant. Perhaps this is because of personal interest, but I really did feel like the history discussed was worth learning about, the philosophy made sense and wasn't difficult to follow because it was presented in the historical context. On the Chinese side, I felt like I had learned a lot about a country that has always seemed very foreign to me, and the comparisons between Chinese philosophy and Greek philosophy are really quite striking. Japan has a fascinating history, and the philosophy of aesthetics and ethics was very nice to hear about.
Otherwise, the course gives one lecture to Tibetan Buddhism/philosophy and a few lectures to Korean philosophy. These are both very interesting topics but I think the time given to them might suffice for the average listener, I certainly don't feel the need to follow them up.
Overall, this course is a whirlwind, with some weak bits but mostly very worthwhile. I will certainly be following up with other courses on more particular topics, but I definitely needed this overview to know where I want to start. I certainly recommend this to anyone who is interested, but be prepared for a lot of new names and words!
It's very interesting and covers all the ground in a reasonably simple manner for outsiders. The professor is good and knows his stuff. He also presents it a somewhat light heated fashion, which complements the content well.
Unlike audiobooks that are written books just read aloud, this is a lecture series specifically designed for audio format. This makes it MUCH easier to listen to than a traditional audio book.
It is a good text and the reader is inspiring but there are just so many names in foreign languages that it makes it difficult to learn much in the first audition.
A really enjoyable introduction to ideas in Eastern thought, a huge amount of which I'd never heard of! Baffling amounts of names in unfamiliar syllables but an inspiration to read further.
This was a good listen. and I learned a lot.
I missed having a course book, though; all those names...perhaps I should have bought the Teaching Company version.
It would be in my top 3
Discovering what Confucius did for a living...
A true passion and knowledge of the subject..he'd be one of your favourite lecturers at University
I had a general interest in the topic and downloaded the lecture series just for fun really. I've have found the book very easy to listen to and been surprised at how much I have retained...whether you are engaged in studying the actual subject or like myself have a passing interest it's worth getting hold of this material..
As a counterpart to the western intellectual tradition; which is significantly longer; I think the eastern part should be given the same kind of depth.
The writer, at the beginning, decides to tell the listener that he is relocating the Islamic religion from the east, of which this series would benefit because it riginated their and places it in the west, and decides to justify this by saying it is an monotheistic religion!
Looking into the Professors other audio-contributions, it seems that this intellectual is uneasy with talking about Islam in general. One other audiobook (Sacred Texts of the World) he goes into some detail on other religions i.e. Oral Torah—Mishnah and Talmud, Five Books of Torah, then has broad stroke chapters related to a whole book; Holy Qur’an?
How can you have 'Great Minds of the Eastern Intellectual Tradition' and not have any chapters especially parts in the audiobook resigned for Islamic thinkers when they have influenced so much?
To relegate them in an addendum to others is unforgivable.
Do not bother, if like me, you want a rounded view of Eastern thinkers.
"Much Richer than You Would Think"
I listened to this right after its Western counterpart, and immediately noticed a lot of parallels (debates on the meaning of life) and deviance (emphasis on spirituality until very recently.) There is a lot of concentrated wisdom in this course from China, Japan, India and (in a single lecture) Korea. I was disappointed at the complete absence of Russia in this course, however.
"Among the Best Great Courses = Don't Miss"
Dr Hardy has a complete mastery of the material. It sounds like he is recalling from memory and it comes across as very conversational. He brings to light the genius of the philosophical thought from India and China and then includes Japan and Korea.
The history of the East is enlightening
The closest comparison is to The Modern Intellectual Tradition: From Descartes to Derrida. However, I think this was better.
The performance was outstanding. Mastery of the material. Conversational and Enthusiastic. You could tell he loved the material and he could not wait to tell you all about it.
The Story was great. Dr Hardy was careful to repeat any lists and he went through them methodically and clearly.
There were many interesting and entertaining parts. You learn about "one hand clapping" and "shooting the messenger"
However the most memorable part that I paused and listened to over and over was:
Practice Earnestly - Zhu Xi
I cried when it was over. I wanted to continue to hear more. I will definitely be listening to this one again and take more notes.
You will definitely come away with a better appreciation of Eastern thought. You will also have a lot that can be applied to your life, like the following:
Knowledge and Action Must go Together
"Fantastic, Comprehensive, Welcoming"
Prof. Hardy has an excellent attitude and style. He is well versed and sees the big connections between these many schools and makes occasional reference to western thinkers and historical occurrences. I can think of no better way to get into eastern thought, especially Chinese (confucianism and daoism), Indian (Various forms of hinduism), and Buddhism (chinese, japanese, etc.).
"Great Lectures among the best of the Great Courses"
Listening to a professor acknowledged for his ability to teach and who has obvious passion for the subject and a large coverage without losing his audience.
So much information here in a subject I did not know much about and feel that I learned quite a bit from it. Even if I can't remember all the names and specifics, there will always be new avenues of thinking opened by this book.
Obviously passionate about the subject. The only problem is that he can't say "example" and says "edsample" which is a bit annoying. He can't help that of course, but if you are really irritated by that sort of thing, probably should let this one go. Sad if you have to, but I can understand that sort of irritability.
The story of the monk who after many frightening and potentially fatal incidents finds peace in the beautiful flower seconds before his death. This resonated with me strongly and brought to mind the rather famous verse from the new testament "Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is lovely, ... , whatever is of good report, think about these things". This is the true inspirational value of the great courses: expanding ones knowledge and connecting various understandings with the feeling of understanding new and fascinating connections.
The great courses are amazing, I wholly recommend them with respect to those I have completed so far.
"Not what I expected"
If I had signed up for this class in college out of curiosity I would have dropped it after a couple weeks. As it was I made it about half way through before I returned it.
I was expecting an immersion in the actual philosophical teachings of the great asian minds. What I got instead was a mind numbing rapid fire list like litany of the HISTORY of asian philosophy. After the first few lectures it became very hard to follow and my interest rapidly waned. This lecture series is a shallow skimming of eastern philosophy delving briefly into each the numerous small branches and variations of the major schools of thought.
The names just flow by and the philosophies begin to blur, then, fade, then........WHOA I'm thinking about what I should be getting at the hardware store and haven't absorbed a word in the last 5 minutes. OK, concentrate, try to pay attention, OK Jong Chi in the time of the Jo Dynasty founded the Jang Xi movement of the middle path existential Buddhists believed in the 5 ways to enlightenment (list them all) which differed from the preceding 6 ways (listed for comparison) which meant he never wore shoes.......duct tape, have to pick up some duct tape......
oh I give up.
"The Longest But Best Course"
Were there to be a print edition, it would be its own textbook.
It references an entire library of books.
This course prompted me to pick up his other Great Courses series.
Zen master Hakuin Ekaku's story is not only fascinating but very relatable to every listener.
I can't recommend this course enough. I've listened to it four times. There is so much information, you will come to the same realization quickly. It's like putting a cup under a waterfall. There's just too much to hold in a single listen. Best credit ever spent on Audible.
"The Title Is A Better Description Than Summary"
I think the Audible.com summary is slightly misleading. It gives the impression, at least to me, that we would be focusing almost entirely on philosophers and religious leaders. We do spend most of our time with them, but Hardy also does a significant amount of lecturing on great historians, inventors, aesthetes, and novelists, as well as sketching out the history of Eastern thought. Great Minds of the Eastern Intellectual Tradition is much closer, but even that's not perfect as Al-Biruni wasn't quite Eastern and Hardy admits that Chairman Mao was more influential than great.
Grant Hardy's performance is excellent. His enthusiasm for Eastern culture and his wide reading are apparent. There was a good "density of information", few-to-no dull spots, and a nice conversational tone with the occasional interesting anecdote. His analogy about the three hotels cleared up a lot of the confusion I had before the course.
Five stars all around, and the other lecture series he has on here is in my Wish List.
"Dr. Hardy is Awesome."
Most Definitely. Informative. Dr. Hardy's love for the subject beams through.
Samsara. Moksha. Sadhu. The Four Books. The Five Classics. So very many other things that I didn't even know that I didn't know.
Yes. He brings a sense of humor, and genuine love of the subject to the table. Amusing anecdotes. Not a single lecture is drab or boring.
I plowed through this lecture series. It was engaging, and after my first lesson I found nothing wrong with it. I'm going back for a second, in fact, because there's no way I retained all of it, even though I retained so much!
"Respectful insight into foreign views"
I have listened to several lectures about philosophy, history of religion and even historical research, trying to understand roots and ideas of religious beliefs and getting a grip on how people around the world deal with the (to me: meaningless) questions of life, the universe - and everything.
This course, contrary to some other rather egocentric "great courses" on philosophy, breathes respect for "the world of the East", for its history and ideas. I do feel like I got somewhat closer to understanding how Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Taiwanese, Indian and (whom did I forget? Sorry!) traditional philosophies "tick", what "rules" they followed and how they were constructed.
The reason for rating "story" only with 4 stars is that I missed some more detail on social history explaining more of the backgrounds of the philosophers described. I understand that this is due to the limited time of the course, but in the end I feel like I don't really get they WHYs: What are the reasons for the morals and ethics described and what are the "ultimate goals" that should be achieved by setting the rules and following them.
Yes, Mr. Hardy does explain the personal background of most of the philosophers and does give some (short) overviews on the respective historical context, but I found that, in some parts, a bit lacking.
This is, however, but a very small drawback, overall I am glad I took the time to listen to the course. I have not found "my new religion" or "my new philosophy" here, but that definitely wasn't my goal when starting this course.
Aside from his respectful, open and honest approach to the very different moral/philosophical systems he discusses, I really enjoyed the personal involvement Mr. Hardy showed, "spicing" his lectures with personal anecdotes, hints at his family and a personal, warm greeting of the imaginary audience (the infamous fake applause should be ignored).
His presentation, different to many other "great teachers", does not feel like he's reading from paper, but sounds freely spoken, personal (repeating myself here) and interested.
Inspirational timeless wisdom great energy passion journey into the past, present and future
Nagarjuna and Vasubandhu Mahayana Buddhism
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