Lessons from Chinese philosophers

A look at a new book that brings ancient teachings to life for modern readers

Lessons from Chinese philosophers

An 11th Century painting of a Buddhist temple in the mountains

Throughout history man has struggled with how to live well. Philosophers from around the world have devised a variety of answers to this question. Some have advocated simplicity while others have focused on community or meditation.

Most regions have focused on their own native theories though and been largely blind to ideas from elsewhere in the world. As the world grows ever closer this trend is slowly changing and ideas are being shared more and more around the globe.

Such a sharing of ideas is the focus of a new book by Harvard's most popular professor, Michael Puett, and journalist and author, Christine Gross-Loh. The Path gathers together the teachings of many great Chinese philosophers and sets them up as a challenge to the dominant Western ideas about how to live well.

At the heart of this work is the idea that there is no grand plan and that we don't need to 'find' ourselves. Instead, as many of the greatest Chinese philosophers have argued, we should be treating ourselves and our lives like gardens that need constant tending and cultivating.

Join Susan Cahill as she talks with Michael and Christine about The Path and how we can change our lives by changing the way we think.

This week's music to read to,

Tonight's show opened with Rachel Grimes' Earthly Heaven before transitioning to part two with Indian Summer by Jonsi and Alex. The show ends with Johann Johannsson's Good Morning, Midnight & Good Night, Day.