The Development of Neo-Confucian Thought

The Development of Neo-Confucian Thought

The Development of Neo-Confucian Thought

The Development of Neo-Confucian Thought

Excerpt

There are three cultures which have exercised a preponderant influence on the thought of the world in the past twenty-five centuries: that of China, that of India, and that of the Eastern Mediterranean area. Developing in different geographical settings and tracing their beginnings to a remote past, each of them came in time to stress a basic need of the human race which the others also stressed, but not to the same degree. Now that our world, through science and engineering, has become geographically one, each of these cultures has its own contribution to make toward rounding out the whole. To the unmatched understanding of Nature that the West has achieved, we can now advantageously add the perceptions won by a long line of Chinese thinkers in the ethics and the art of human relationships, and by Indian seers in their unremitting search for reality beyond the temporal world.

Though all three of these quests are equally valid, and can claim special insights in their own spheres, not one of them can justly maintain that it alone can realize all the possibilities of man. Only as these and other cultures fertilize each other can the human race rise to the new level of consciousness that our unified world requires.

It is in the hope of promoting a better comprehension of one of China's great philosophies -- Confucianism -- that Dr. Chang has written this book. But, wishing to present the subject in its broadest perspective, he views it through the eyes of a long line of thinkers known as Neo-Confucianists. They began their reappraisal in the eighth century, flourished vigorously in the eleventh and twelfth centuries, and produced notable interpreters and critics down to recent times. This movement was far more than a revival of the ancient Confucian heritage; it was a reassessment and revaluation of that heritage in a new climate of opinion, a climate powerfully modified by two rival philosophies: Taoism which was native to China, and Buddhism which had been introduced from India after the first century of our era. These rival systems effec-

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.