Eastern Mysticism is the result of civilizations that have spanned thousands of years. The three main examples are Hinduism, Taoism, and Zen Buddhism. These three differ in their practices and principles, however they all share a tendency to value intuition over reasoning. .
One of the ways in which they differ is the way in which they edify their pupils. In Hinduism, the messages are passed by means of stories surrounding the lives of fanciful deities, such as Shiva, the God of Dance. The ideas are more easily accessible using the supernatural because it enables the fables to illustrate their points more directly. In Zen Buddhism, the messages come in the form of koan, short paradoxical riddles. These koan influence the student to abandon his limited views, to "think outside the box". Taoism is centered around the Tao Te Ching, a collection of nonsensical musings by Lao Tzu, the founder of Taoism. Like the koan of Zen Buddhism, disciples of the Tao Te Ching must embrace a new way of perceiving the world to understand the Tao Te Ching. .
The three share one very important practice, meditation, central to their beliefs. The purpose of meditation is to arrive at a state open to spontaneous intuitive insights. This state has been described as being " similar to the way in which one will try to remember something on the tip of his or her tongue, and then remember it later when he or she has undertaken a different task, but for a longer duration." (Fritjof Capra, The Tao of Physics). Although the three schools share the concept of meditation, their methods of achieving this state differ. The Hindu yoga and the Tao Tai Chi focus on body movements, which are exercised to the point that they can be performed subconsciously, freeing the user from cognitive thought. Hindus also use the sounds of a mantra to aid them in their meditation. Zen Buddhism involves the use of the mandala, which is a geometric design, and regulated breathing.