Philosophy and Mindset
Eastern Mindset: the Hebraic Approach
The main factor that brings eastern mindset to the world is through the Hebrew scriptures. Thus, the Eastern culture (mindset or philosophy) is often refered to as Hebraic (of the Hebrews).
The Eastern Mind is not a geographical location, but a mindset - a system of thinking; Eastern mindset is a 'holistic' approach to reality wherein everything is interconnected. The eastern mindset is one of watching, of observing and contemplating (think, learn then act). The western mindset is one of doing, of observation and response (act then re-act).
View of reality through the Eastern Mindset and Philosophy
Faith is knowledge-based
The Hebrew word, 'Emunah' [אמונה (emunah - Strong's #530)] is usually translated as "faith". In the eastern thought, this word means firmness, something or someone that is firm in their actions. Faith, in the western concept, is usually perceived as a believing while not really knowing, while the Hebrew emunah is a firm action.
In the eastern concept, the one with emunah will act with firmness such as a craftsman who is firm and secure in his talent. The craftsman support his/her craft by their action and is supported by secure knowledge that their action and ability to perform will produce the desired results. In the Hebraic sense, it is not a 'believing' that 'EL' (God) will act, but rather, it is the knowing that one's act of doing what one can to support 'EL' (God) will produce a direct action by 'EL' on their behalf.
Everything is a part of everything else.
To the western mindset, the Eastern concept of "Oneness" blurs into "everything". Oneness is the most important principle of eastern philosophy. It basically tells us that we are a unit of the sole power of "God" ("EL" in the Hebrew language) which means "strength" (E from the Hebrew letter 'aleph' - It is the symbol of the ox which represents strength and leader) and "authority" (L from the Hebrew letter "Lamed" ... meanings are a staff, to prod, to go forward, control, authority and a literal meaning of "to learn" or "teach").
Eastern philosophies also have the same idea about energy as the unanimous concept of Oneness held concerning "EL" (God in English) - the supreme Consciousness of the Universe. The Taoists and the Hindus call this consciousness vibrations 'Chi', while it is called 'Chai' in the Hebrew language (life in English). The Eastern mindset hold the concept of Cosmic Oneness and hence the presence of 'GOD', in eastern philosophies, is presented as a whole.
Supernatural affects everything.
Under the concept of "Supernatural affects everything", we see "Everything relates to everything else".
I should point out here that the western mind conceives supernatural as forces and events and beings, collectively, as relating to things that cannot be explained according to natural laws. Anything attributed to a power that seems to violate or go beyond natural forces - exceeding the ordinary; of or relating to existence outside the natural (physical) world, is viewed as abnormal.
In the eastern mindset, that which is nonphysical is the "normal" and give rise to the physical. The phenomena (any observable occurrence) we preceive as the physical, has it's existence in the nonphysical. Hindus - the physical world is the product of the astral world. The significance of the physical world, in eastern mindset, is valid only in terms of the spiritual world.
"The Supreme Brahman (God) is the only Reality. The idea of the phenomenal universe is falsely superimposed upon it."
-Swami Nikhilananda of Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Centre, New York.
Presently, physicists have had to address the interplay of consciousness and the physical world. Take for example, Bell's Theorem in Quantum Physics. The implications of this theorem, and the experimental findings that flow from it, force us to consider that the entire notion of a purely objective world is in conflict with the theory of quantum mechanics, and with the facts drawn from actual experiments. The findings of these experiments point to a profound interaction between conscious mental activity and the physical world.
"That (pure consciousness) is full(perfect); this(the manifest universe of matter; of names and forms being maya) is full. This fullness has been projected from that fullness. When this fullness merges in that fullness, all that remains is fullness."
-Peace invocation- Isa Upanishad
I believe that the fundamental notions of Spinoza's system of: substance, attribute, and mode - can best explain this concept for the western mind. "By substance," Spinoz says, "I understand that which exists in itself, and is conceived by itself, i.e., that which does not need the conception of any other thing in order to be conceived." "By attribute I understand that which the intellect perceives as constituting the essence of the substance." "By mode I understand the modifications of the substance, i.e., that which exists, in and is conceived by something other than itself."
Spinoza's solution for the existence of God is very simple. God is not an Uncaused Cause. God is not a Demiurge. God is simply All-That-There-Is. The materialists would see this to mean: God is Nature. However, those of the eastern mindset would see nature as being an 'attribute' of 'Substance' (God).
-Baruch Spinoza - Portuguese Jew http://www.philosophypages.com/ph/spin.htm
Eastern thought is Contextual or "block" logic
Contextual logic is a methodology for understanding values - instead of grouping chronologically, they are grouped by similar concepts. Hebrew reasoning focuses on blocks of context, or subject matter. The Hebraic system of reasoning does not focus on arguments based in linear thought or linear narrative, but, express concepts in self-contained units or blocks of thought. In the Hebrew mindset, chronology takes a back seat to subject - each concept must be understood within it's subject block, or contextual block, in order to make complete sense of the values being expressed.
The Eastern mind views Competition as evil - cooperation as better
The general characteristics of competition involve the wants of whatever someone else has, it is part of one's motivation and satisfaction to equal or surpass others. Jealousy, envy, hatred, abuse, dishonesty, and other evil attitudes are usually the product of competition. It arises whenever at least two parties strive for that which cannot be shared or which is desired individually but not in sharing and cooperation. Competition is the opposite of cooperation.
"Cooperation or co-operation is the process of working or acting together. In its simplest form it involves things working in harmony, side by side, while in its more complicated forms, it can involve something as complex as the inner workings of a human being or even the social patterns of a nation. It is the alternative to working separately in competition." - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cooperation
In the Eastern mindset, time is not linear, but Cyclical or spiraling - Similar events constantly reoccur.
In Buddhist thought - i.e. Eastern thought as a whole, to include Hebraic thought as expressed in the Tanakh; 'time' is an illusion. Time is not a reality (has no tangible intrinsic value), it is but a concept - the measure of changes of or in events.
Time determined by content ("In the day that the Lord did...")
The cyclical concept of time holds that change happens in cycles as in the seasons of the year, human lifespans, and history repeating itself. It is these changes that gives us the illusion of time (thus, time is subjective to the objective change). This system of measured change (time) as viewed by the Eastern mind, is cyclical with periods of linear events.
Reality shows us; cyclical years, cycles of plenty, cycles of famine, cycles of wars, and the cycles of the rise and fall of empires - all these are cyclical. Many of these events opperate as linear spans such as: the rise and fall of any specific empire. It is linear in that we see a beginning and an end to a specific empire, with linear events taking place in that span of 'linear' time. Thus, the linear portion is but a small aspect of the over-all cyclical reality. Linear time assumes a 'progress' of change over time, with a beginning and an end.
The Eastern mind is oriented to lessons of history
Content-oriented history is the method of recording events based on what happened and why as opposed to the Chronology - the science of locating historical events in time, basically alone a time line.
Content-oriented recording of history
For the Eastern mind, history is an attempt to preserve significant truths in meaningful or memorable ways whether the details are objective facts or not. For example, the Tanakh (O.T.) is content-oriented, not chronologically oriented. Chronological information such as; dates and periods between events, ages of persons when something happens is not as important as the "Content=oriented" information such as; what happened and why it happened to the person.
The ancient Egyptians used no single system of dating nor a consistent system of regnal years. They had presented no concept of an era similar to Anno Domini, Anno Hajirae, nor a concept of named years like limmu used in Mesopotamia. As a result, their content-oriented records force the chronologer to compile a list of pharaohs, determine the length of their reigns, and adjust for any period of discontinuity or 'gap' in a government, organization, or social order; or coregencies (the situation where a monarchical position such as: king, queen, emperor or empress - normally held by only a single person, is held by two).
The Eastern minds sees the universe as God/tribe/family-centered
The Pawnee (a federally recognized nation [not tribe] of Native Americans, originally located on the Great Plains along tributaries of the Missouri River), centered all aspects of daily life on celestial observations (Tirawa, the Creator god and Atira, goddess of the Earth), including the important cultivation cycle for sacred corn.
Hebrew (Jewish) life was/is "God" centered. This is the dedication of each man, woman and child (family) to learning and living Torah (The instructions of EL ['God']), to Avodah (worshipping "God" (EL) through prayer and deed) and to what the Hebrew tradition refer to as G’milut Chasadim (pursuing justice, peace and acts of loving kindness).
In essence, the eastern mind arise to understand that we are all connected and that the needs of the group outweigh the needs of the individual.