Why are India and China so different socio-culturally?

September 29, 2016 Leave a comment

Why are India and China so different socio-culturally? by Shawnxuande Li

Answer by Shawnxuande Li:

Thanks Adam for asking. A great question but big as well. It made me ponder even though I had thought about it before. I’ll try to give an answer based on my understanding of the geo-history and its changes through times. So I’ll start with the following two maps. The top map shows the distribution of monotheistic religion (purple) and polytheistic religion (yellow), and the second map is of Asian Population Density (not including Central and Western Asia).

Speaking systematic monotheistic and polytheistic religions we know that they are all originated from two areas. However, there is Indian Sikhism of monotheism too. So the top map shows that only Indian polytheistic religion had spread to south Asia, Mongolia, China and Korea, and further to Japan. With this spread of religion, there is one thing we need keep in mind: The Chinese culture didn’t have developed a systematic religion. Why? This is the first question that we need to find an answer to in order to interpret how Indian religion had impacted on Chinese culture. So I’ll come back to it later.

Now, let’s move to the second map of Asian Population Density. What stands out in this map is the vast area in northwestern China that separates India from eastern China. This geo-cultural phenomenon raises the second question: Why and How it might have impacted on the influence of Indian culture onto the northeastern Asia. I’ll address the second question first with three maps combined below, which shows the change of Chinese territory with its population in past 2000 years.

Notice the line from southwestern to northeastern China in all three maps. It is called the Hu-Line on which I had wrote an answer. In short this area was both geographically and meteorologically unsuitable for large scale farming and shepherding, and it’s also very difficult to travel thru. Now, if we go back to the second map (Asian Population Density) and look at the sub-continent of India, we can see that India is surrounded by Himalayan at its north that extends northeastward to form the Tibet Plateau and the rest of the vast area of thinly populated area, and oceans at both southeast and southwest. Only in its northwest there are mountains with few passes (red arrows) to travel thru between the sub-continent and outside world. This area, not the Himalayan, has been the entrance of invasions by Muslims and Westerner. The two big neighbored ancient civilizations had been separated from not only having wars to conquer each other but having relatively limited cultural exchanges comparing how much exchange between Europe and Mediterranean areas.

Therefore, unlike the spread of monotheism in the world, Buddhism was only peacefully brought into China first by Indian Buddhists traveling thru central Asia, so-called “silk route” today. The Buddhist monks were, like Christian priests, the scholars because knowledge mostly built up surrounding religion in ancient ages. Now, we need go to the the first question, Why didn’t Chinese have created their own systematic religion? —-in order to understand the impact of Buddhism on Chinese culture. My hypothesis is that, because ancient Chinese didn’t have a powerful writing system like Indians did, our ancestors probably had never been able to record abstract thoughts and hence unable to continuously quest for truth leading to religion. I’ll present two facts to backup my theory.

1 Chinese had only limited words at the time when Confucius was teaching, after Chinese characters had been actually developed for 1000 years already. Confucius’ Analects, which was recorded by his students, was composed of about total 16000 words, with about 1335 different words (one character for one word). That put Chinese in an awfully disadvantaged position comparing to Indians who had Sanskrit, a phonetic writing system, to record abstract thoughts, such as Buddhist Sutra, volumes by volumes.

2 Logically it was extremely difficult to express abstract ideas thru creating ideographic characters in early time. For example, the Six Classics edited by Confucius and his own Analects do not have the word Truth (and consequently, no truthful and true,真). Even the word to-be (是) was not there either in those classics.

It is not unreasonable to postulate that ancient Chinese had only limited ideographic characters to record concret ideas and thoughts mostly, and passed them down to next generations. With time Chinese thinking was shaped up by records from previous generations and became less and less interested in metaphysical ideas. Therefore, even ancient Chinese had had a writing system for thousand years at War State time, this ideographic system was not advanced enough to support a quest for development of metaphysical thoughts. None of other peoples without writing systems had ever developed systematic religion, which only came from civilizations using phonetic writing system.

With this understanding, let’s take a look at what influence Indian civilization had imposed on Chinese culture and beyond. Most Chinese take Indian influence too lightly and think that Chinese only accepted Indian Buddhism. The truth is that along with Buddhism coming to China Indian culture also deeply influenced Chinese in painting and sculpture, phonology, logic (Hetuvidyā), and literature. The idea of Karma—-you reap what you sow—-became a core ideal in Chinese classics of literature, and the way that Indian wrote Sutra opened up a new world of story writing to Chinese.

Most importantly are the thoughts in words that enriched Chinese thoughts immensely. Hu Shih wrote in his History of Chinese Philosophy (1918) that from 400 to 1000 every Chinese scholar was studying Indian philosophy and the Chinese philosophy was totally dominated by Indian thoughts. I want to point out only one fact that it is the Indian monks who studied Chinese language and did the translation of Sutra into Chinese first. They created the word to-be, by introducing shi (是), in writing because it was impossible to understand Sutra accurately without it. (See Hu Chirui (胡敕瑞 ), 2009, Peking University, for more references.)

In the North Buddhism was brought to Korea and then to Japan from Korea, and to Tibet and Mongolia; In the South Buddhism was spread to southeastern Asia. But Buddhism itself was replaced by Hindu in India when Buddhism was evolved into different denominations in other countries. In China India Buddhism evolved to Chinese Buddhism, which further developed into sub-denominations. Of which Zen should be mentioned to understand uniqueness of how Chinese culture interacted with religious faith. The creator of Chinese Zen, Huineng, was illiterate. But he created this idea of 顿悟, probably close to “sudden enlightenment”, that allows a believer to become Buddha based on his another idea that Buddha is in everyone, all depending on whether one is enlightened to be a Buddha. The uniqueness of Huineng’s idea is that this enlightenment has nothing to do with longtime study and practice, it can happen any moment. His idea was hugely revolutionary and made Buddhism a faith easy to be accepted that helped to spread Buddhism all over China. But some scholars, such as Hu Shih and Nakamur was very critical against Zen because they think it only helped further develop Chinese naive dialectic rather than learned the formal logic Hetuvidyā, which has been more comprehensively preserved in Tibetan Buddhism in contrast.

To conclude I think that Indian culture is very influential in Asia although Chinese culture also influenced eastern and southeastern Asia. In the exchanges between Indian and Chinese cultures, how much influence of Chinese culture had been imposed in Indian culture? That is a question I don’t know the answer but love to hear it from someone.

Why are India and China so different socio-culturally?

Categories: bollywood

Who was the most beautiful queen / empress has ever lived?

September 21, 2016 Leave a comment

Who was the most beautiful queen / empress has ever lived? by @raakhee_menon

Answer by Raakhee V. Menon:

The Maharanis of India

When we visit old palaces in India, I think I spend most of my time gawping at the portraits of the royals there. It’s almost unbelievable how regal they all looked. The queens and the princesses, in particular. One doesn’t even hesitate to address somebody with the level of poise and elegance that they have as ‘Your Highness’.

It’s difficult to single out just a few beautiful faces, because there are so many. But these are my favorites…

Maharani Indira Devi of Kapurthala

Princess Niloufer of Hyderabad

Nawab Begum Sajida Sultan of Bhopal, also Begum of Pataudi.

Note the outer attire she has worn. It is the same one that is worn by each one the Begums of Pataudi on their wedding day

Maharani Gayatri Devi of Jaipur, née Princess Ayesha of Cooch Behar

Maharani Chimnabai II of Baroda, née Shrimant Gajrabai Ghatge of Dewas Sr.

Maharani Vijaya Raje Scindia of Gwalior, née Lekha Divyeshwari Devi

Princess Durru Shehvar, Princess of Berar by marriage and Imperial Princess of the Ottoman Empire by birth

Maharani Mehtab Kaur Sahiba of Patiala

Who was the most beautiful queen / empress has ever lived?

Categories: bollywood

Train to Busan (2016) movie review

September 21, 2016 Leave a comment

Train to Busan is a movie about zombie attack  in Korea. There is nothing special about the movie i.e. there is nothing in it that you have not seen yet. Just the premise has changed- Zombie attack takes place after a train leaves for Busan. How do the passengers fight off this attack is the story.
The drama in the movie is not well developed. Two main characters- one with a pregnant wife and another with a 4 year old daughter. Both male characters have some friction initially but then they become friends after one helps the other.
Music is average, action is average and so is acting. Being a zombie movie there is no blood bath in the entire movie i.e. baseball bats are used to kill zombies instead of swords or guns which would have given more gore and thrill.
If the same film had released at least 5 years before, it would have had more impact than it has now. So i would say, that from today’s standard, the movie is dull and non-impactful.

Categories: bollywood

30 Days Of Genius Blog: Tim Ferriss

August 8, 2016 Leave a comment

Post on @Quora by @JustOneJoey1: 30 Days Of Genius Blog: Tim Ferriss

Post by Joe Reghitto:

30 Days Of Genius Blog: Tim Ferriss

30 Days Of Genius Blog: Tim Ferriss

Categories: bollywood

I am not happy, I am not satisfied inside. I don’t know what to do in my life and it’s purpose. I am 25 now. I lost my life. What to do?

May 27, 2016 Leave a comment

I am not happy, I am not satisfied inside. I don't know what to do in my life and it's purpose. I … by Jatin Shankar

Answer by Jatin Shankar:

Spend a month without passive entertainment.

What is passive entertainment?

  • Watching movies, cricket, serials, songs, porn etc.
  • Reading novels and newspapers.
  • Masturbation, sex etc.
  • Surfing social websites like facebook.
  • Doing anything which is fun but does not involves you intellectually or creatively.

Now, why should you avoid passive entertainment? Because they tame you. They give you joy and keep you going with a life that sucks. You first get brainwashed during your day and work, and when you finally have time for introspection or thinking, you compensate the bad day through passive entertainment which makes your sucking life a little comfortable and you find a reason to live. You get tamed by society and its expectations. You work hard during day and watch porn in free time. You compensate. You do not revolt.

Or maybe you do. That is why you posted this question.

Now, what will happen when you give up passive entertainment? You initially feel emotional shocks. You were addicted to passive entertainment, bollywood-hollywood bullshit too much. But slowly, you will become stable. Your life will appear before your eyes in its untinted ugly form, as mine appears before my eyes. But without stimulations from passive entertainment, your life will suck more. There will be no joy, no passive entertainment, no reason to live.

And then, you will have to find the reason. You will start doing small things that give you joy. If you loved trekking before, you will become crazy about it. If you loved painting before, you will start spending nights doing it. If you loved mathematics, your brain will start storming with ideas.

People will start calling you lunatic, but that’s what they call all extraordinary people.

Give up passive entertainment. Find out yourself. The real one.

I am not happy, I am not satisfied inside. I don't know what to do in my life and it's purpose. I am 25 now. I lost my life. What to do?

Categories: bollywood

What are the things that heartbreaks have taught you?

May 20, 2016 Leave a comment

What are the things that heartbreaks have taught you? by Anonymous

Answer by Anonymous:

If a person tells you he/she loves you, and if you know you love him/her too, don’t tell him/her how much you love him/her all at one go. If you are in too much love and if you tell him/her, he/she will know. Then the person will take you for granted. Love the person in your heart, but don’t tell him/her everything. Show him/her how much, when the situation arises. Hold on until then. Do not be in a hurry. If you show him/her you will do anything to get old with him/her, it is human tendency that, the person will tend to move on thinking he/she deserves better. How much ever you do further, it will loose it’s importance. Save yourself. I am not asking you to be manipulative. I am asking you to not be too desperate, thinking you are expressing a lot of love. I can’t write more.

What are the things that heartbreaks have taught you?

Categories: bollywood

What are some of the best life tips?

May 15, 2016 Leave a comment

What are some of the best life tips? by @laxmi_priyam

Answer by Laxmi Priya Marndi:

  • If you keep telling the same sad small story, you will keep living the same sad small life.
  • The more you love your decisions, the less you need others to love them.
  • I read somewhere that how important it is in life, not necessarily to BE strong, but FEEL strong.
  • If they don't know you personally, don't take it personal.
  • You don't need to have it all figured out to move forward.
  • Being happy is very personal thing and it really has nothing to do with anyone else.
  • Don't be trapped by the need to achieve anything. This way you achieve everything.
  • The true secret of happiness lies in taking a genuine interest in all the details of daily life.
  • Without education,  we are in a horrible and danger of taking educated people seriously.
  • Attitude is more important than facts.

Source: Twitter

What are some of the best life tips?

Categories: bollywood