Unlike their Western Counterparts of the time, most ancient Eastern Philosophies believed that the world and the universe had been around for a very long time indeed. Probably because of this prevailing view, not much credence was given to idea of learning more about the universe by rational thinking; instead, eastern philosophies were mainly concerned with how to live life. Many of the eastern philosophies focused on, and were concerned about, the structure of society and peoples’ place within that structure. From these ideas developed hierarchies and rituals that eventually led to beliefs relating to preordination. Most of the eastern philosophies that originated out of India, paid special attention to the idea of reincarnation and how a present life was influenced by past lives, and would also affect future lives. Chinese philosophies, on the other hand, were more interested in change and structure within change.
Nearly all ancient eastern philosophies were, and still are, spiritually or mystically based. As such, most eastern philosophies are generally perceived as religious philosophies. Within many of these philosophies, the primary emphasis is not on the rational observation of the world around us, but on the experience of the intuitive wisdom of the deeper world within us. There are many different eastern philosophies, and sects within philosophies, but here we will only focus on an overview of four of the most predominant: Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, and Taoism.