Thriving Systems Theory and Metaphor-Driven Modeling

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Second, there has long been a divide between Chinese industrial enterprises and a research system centred in universities and in the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Until recently, the enterprise sector lacked a strong research orientation and sought proven technologies from abroad instead of longer-term developmental cooperation with the domestic research system.

Third, features of the Chinese political system strongly influence the nature of Chinese science and technology. Science is seen as serving the interests of the state, with little room for more autonomous realms supporting the activities of a professional community or the growth of a private economy. However, it also introduces elements of political rigidity which seem antithetical to the genuine creativity which the state now seeks to foster. Fourth, China faces a challenge in building a world-class talent pool.

In order to encourage these graduates to return — especially those in fields important for national research policy — China has initiated talent programs, now targeted by the United States in the technology war.

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While China may suffer setbacks in some areas of the high-technology industry that rely on countries such as the United States, there will likely be a renewed policy effort to push research and technological frontiers into new areas of high value-added production. This is already evident in areas such as quantum communications and AI.

Decoupling impulses may lead to a spilt in the way science is done in the 21st century — like driving on the right and driving on the left, as some in China now muse. Such a split challenges norms of universalism in science and does not bode well for international consensus on such critical questions as scientific integrity and ethical responses to new technologies.

2.3 Two Difficulties

Another definition, more common among observers and non-practitioners, is some "set of mechanistic rituals, omitting entirely the ideological side". Tantric traditions have been studied mostly from textual and historical perspectives. Anthropological work on living Tantric tradition is scarce, and ethnography has rarely engaged with the study of Tantra. This is arguably a result of the modern construction of Tantrism as occult, esoteric and secret.

Some scholars have tried to demystify the myth of secrecy in contemporary Tantric traditions, suggesting new methodological avenues to overcome the ethical and epistemological problems in the study of living Tantric traditions. According to David N. Lorenzen, two different kinds of definitions of Tantra exist, narrow and broad.

Richard Payne states that Tantra has been commonly but incorrectly associated with sex, given popular culture's prurient obsession with intimacy. Tantra has been labelled as the "yoga of ecstasy", driven by senseless ritualistic libertinism. David Gray disagrees with broad generalizations and states that defining Tantra is a difficult task because "Tantra traditions are manifold, spanning several religious traditions and cultural worlds. As a result they are also diverse, which makes it a significant challenge to come up with an adequate definition". According to Georg Feuerstein , "The scope of topics discussed in the Tantras is considerable.

The term "tantrism" is a 19th-century European invention not present in any Asian language; [17] compare " Sufism ", of similar Orientalist origin. According to Padoux, "Tantrism" is a Western term and notion, not a category that is used by the so-called "Tantrists" themselves. Robert Brown similarly notes that "tantrism" is a construct of Western scholarship , not a concept of the religious system itself. It is a system, adds Brown, that gives each follower the freedom to mix Tantric elements with non-Tantric aspects, to challenge and transgress any and all norms, experiment with "the mundane to reach the supramundane".

Teun Goudriaan in his review of Hindu Tantrism, states that Tantrism usually means a "systematic quest for salvation or spiritual excellence" by realizing and fostering the divine within one's own body, one that is simultaneous union of the masculine-feminine and spirit-matter, and has the ultimate goal of realizing the "primal blissful state of non-duality". Tantrism is an overarching term for "Tantric traditions", states David Gray in a review, that combine Vedic, yogic and meditative traditions from ancient Hinduism as well as rival Buddhist and Jain traditions.

While Goudriaan's description is useful, adds Gray, there is no single defining universal characteristic common to all Tantra traditions, being an open evolving system. The Tantrika, to Bhatta, is that literature which forms a parallel part of the Hindu tradition, independent of the Vedic corpus. One of the key differences between the Tantric and non-Tantric traditions — whether it be orthodox Buddhism, Hinduism or Jainism — is their assumptions about the need for monastic or ascetic life.

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These orthodox traditions teach renunciation of householder life, a mendicant's life of simplicity and leaving all attachments to become a monk or nun. In contrast, the Tantrika traditions hold, states Robert Brown, that "both enlightenment and worldly success" are achievable, and that "this world need not be shunned to achieve enlightenment". According to David Lorenzen, it describes munis sages experiencing Tantra-like "ecstatic, altered states of consciousness" and gaining the ability "to fly on the wind".

The two oldest Upanishadic scriptures of Hinduism, the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad in section 4. David Gordon White views Yogini cults as foundational to early tantra but disputes scholars who see their roots in an "autochthonous non-Vedic source" such indigenous tribes or the Indus Valley Civilization.

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Ayurveda has primarily been an empirical practice with Vedic roots, but Tantra has been an esoteric, folk movement without grounding that can be traced to anything in Atharvaveda or any other vedic text. A series of artwork discovered in Gandhara, in modern-day Pakistan, dated to be from about 1st century AD, show Buddhist and Hindu monks holding skulls. One of them shows the Buddha sitting in the center, and on one side sits a Buddhist monk and on the other side sits a Hindu monk. The Mahabharata , the Harivamsa , the Devi Mahatmya in the Markandeya Purana all contain references to the fierce, demon-killing manifestations of the Great Goddess, Mahishamardini , who is identified with Durga-Parvati.

According to Flood, the earliest date for the Tantra texts related to Tantric practices is AD , though most of them were probably composed after the 8th century onwards. According to Flood, very little is known about who created the Tantras, nor much is known about the social status of these and medieval era Tantrikas. According to this theory, these practitioners would have invited their deities to avesha mam enter me , then reverted the role in order to control that deity and gain its power.

The early Tantric practices in Indian history are sometimes attributed to the Kapalikas literally, "skull men", also called Somasiddhatins or Mahavartins. These early historical mentions are in passing and appear to be Tantra-like practices, they are not detailed nor comprehensive presentation of Tantric beliefs and practices.

Epigraphic references to the Kaulas Tantric practices are rare. Reference is made in the early 9th century to vama left-hand Tantras of the Kaulas. Tantra probably gained traction after 6th century, post- Gupta Empire era.

Major Tantric texts had been written by the 10th century, particularly in Kashmir, Nepal and Bengal. By the 10th or 11th century, Tantric texts had been translated into regional languages such as Tamil, and Tantric practices probably had spread across South Asia. Tantrism has been so pervasive that all of Hinduism after the eleventh century, perhaps with the exception of the vedic Srauta tradition , is influenced by it.

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All forms of Saiva , Vaisnava and Smarta religion, even those forms which wanted to distance themselves from Tantrism, absorbed elements derived from the Tantras. The 13th-century Dvaita Vedanta philosopher Madhvacharya wrote copious commentaries on then existing major schools of Indian philosophies and practices, and cited the works of the 10th century Abhinavagupta considered as a major and influential Tantra scholar. The early 20th-century Indian scholar Pandurang Vaman Kane conjectured that Madhvacharya ignored Tantra because it may have been considered scandalous.

In contrast, Padoux suggests that Tantra may have been so pervasive by the 13th century that "it was not regarded as being a distinct system. The Tantra texts and tantric practices involve a wide range of topics, mostly focused on spiritual topics, and not of a sexual nature. However, states Gavin Flood, Tantrism is more known in the West as being notorious for its antinomian elements, stereotypically portrayed as a practice that is esoteric eroticism and ritualized sex in the name of religion, one imbued with alcohol and offering of meat to fierce deities.

Jayanta Bhatta , the 9th-century scholar of the Nyaya school of Hindu philosophy and who commented on Tantra literature, stated that the Tantric ideas and spiritual practices are mostly well placed, but it also has "immoral teachings" such as by the so-called "Nilambara" sect where its practitioners "wear simply one blue garment, and then as a group engage in unconstrained public sex" on festivals.

He wrote, this practice is unnecessary and it threatens fundamental values of society. Sexuality has been a part of Tantric practices, sexual fluids have been viewed as "power substances" and used ritualistically. Some extreme texts, states Flood, go further such as the Buddhist text Candamaharosana-tantra advocating consumption of bodily waste products as "power substances", teaching the waste should be consumed as a diet "eaten by all the Buddhas" without slightest disgust.

In the Kaula tradition and others where sexual fluids as power substances and ritual sex are mentioned, scholars disagree in their translations, interpretations and practical significance. Douglas Renfrew Brooks, for example, states that the antinomian elements such as the use of intoxicating substances and sex were not animistic, but were adopted in some Kaula traditions to challenge the Tantric devotee to break down the "distinctions between the ultimate reality of Brahman and the mundane physical and mundane world".

By combining erotic and ascetic techniques, states Brooks, the Tantric broke down all social and internal assumptions, became Shiva-like. In most Hindu and Buddhist Tantra texts, extreme forms of sexual ritualism is absent. In Jain tantric text, this is entirely absent.


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Kama and sex is another aspect of life and a "root of the universe", in the Tantric view, whose purpose extends beyond procreation and is another means to spiritual journey and fulfillment. Kama is the root of the world's existence. Rituals are the main focus of the Tantras. Because of the wide range of communities covered by the term, it is problematic to describe tantric practices definitively.

Lorenzen, Tantra practices include the following: [62].


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A number of techniques sadhana are used as aids for meditation and achieving spiritual power : [].

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