Eastern philosophies


Cyclic time is a well-known concept in Hinduism, linked to a belief in reincarnation and the law of cause and effect known as karma. Solipsism too has been referred to in Hindu philosophy, in the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, dated to the first century BCE.


The Buddhist view of the physical universe is a remarkably modern one, in which permanence and stability are the exception, not the rule. Indeed, the Buddhist view goes further than the prevailing Block Universe model of General Relativity in asserting that time is not a geometric quantity but a process [Goleman, 1996]:

In Buddhism, the concept of linear time, of time as a kind of container, is not accepted. Time itself, I think, is something quite weak- it depends on some physical basis, some specific thing. Apart from that thing, it is difficult to pinpoint- to see time. Time is understood or conceived only in relation to a phenomenon or a process. [Interview with H.H. the Dalai Lama]

Like the Hindus, Buddhists believe in reincarnation, viewing cyclic time, that is, reincarnation, with apprehension, that is cyclic time is profane.

A central concept in Buddhism is dependent origination, the assertion that all things occur because of explicable cause. This is the motivation for the practice of meditation: understanding the cause of a problem, particularly with the way a person’s mind thinks about it, leads eventually to the coming to terms with it.

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