Asian Philosophical-Religious Roots of Marxist Dialectics

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Shelton Gunaratne:

"Although rarely acknowledged by Western scholars, the dialectical method attributed to Hegel, Marx and Engels owes much to Buddhist and Chinese philosophy, which assert:

  • that the universe is an integrated whole wherein everything is interdependent, interrelated and interactive (in effect, the law of dependent co-origination in Buddhism)
  • that everything in the universe is in a constant state of flux (in effect, the law of anicca – change or impermanence—in Buddhism)
  • that everything in the universe has an opposite; and that everything is composed of successive layers of synthesis resulting from the interaction of the two opposites (in effect, the yin-yang principle in Daoism).

Karl Marx (1818-1883) used the dialectical method, a version of the yin-yang principle traceable to the Yin Dynasty (about 1400-1100 BCE) and the Western Zhou Dynasty (1100-771 BCE), to develop a revolutionary sociological theory of change." (