Mozi: Basic Writings

Mozi: Basic Writings

Mozi: Basic Writings

Mozi: Basic Writings

Excerpt

Almost nothing is known about the life of Mo Di, or Master Mo, the founder of the Mohist school of philosophy. A number of anecdotes in which he figures are found in the Mozi, the book compiled by his disciples to preserve the teachings of their master, and other late Zhou and early Han works contain scattered references to him and his school. But they tell us little about the man himself. He seems to have lived some time between the death of Confucius in 479 B.C. and the birth of Mencius in 372 B.C., flourishing probably in the latter half of the fifth century B.C. He is identified by some writers as a native of the state of Song, by others as a native of Lu, the birthplace of Confucius. The Huainanzi (ch. 21), a work of the second century B.C., says that he first studied under the scholars of the Confucian school (though in later years he bitterly attacked the Confucians), and certainly the frequency with which he quotes from the Book of Odes and the Book of Documents would seem to indicate that at some point he received thorough instruction in these ancient texts. Like Confucius and Mencius, he apparently traveled a good deal, visiting one after another of the feudal rulers of the time in an attempt to gain a hearing for his ideas, and we are . . .

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