Zhu xi: basic teachings

New York: Columbia University Press (2022)
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Abstract

Zhu Xi is the most important of the twelfth-century neo-Confucianists. Some consider him second only to Confucius himself in his importance to Chinese philosophy as a whole, since it is his interpretation of Confucius that has been canonical since his lifetime. This short book, modeled after the Burton Watson "Basic Writings" volumes for Zhuangzi, Xunzi, and Han Feizi, is an accessible, one-volume introduction to Zhu Xi's influential philosophical system designed especially for course use. In "classifying" Zhu Xi's conversations in the Classified Conversations of Master Zhu, Li Jingde dedicated the first thirteen chapters to conversations explaining his general philosophical system. Readers are introduced to his metaphysics of principle (li), psychophysical stuff (qi), spiritual beings (guishen), human nature (xing), mind-heart (xin), and emotions (qing); and to his program of self-cultivation-that is, the curriculum that Confucians should follow to attain moral perfection. Gardner argues that these chapters constitute the best overview of Zhu Xi's basic philosophical teachings, and selections from them form the basis of his volume. Occasionally, they are supplemented with passages from the Collected Literary Writings of Master Zhu and from Zhu's commentaries on the Classics.

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