A Reappraisal of
Chu Hsi's Philosophy
of Northern Sung
IN THE SIX HUNDRED YEARS of development of Neo-Confucianism from the Sung (960-1279) to the Ming dynasty (1368-1644), Chou Tun-ia (1017‐ 1073), Chang Tsaib (1020-1077), Ch'eng Haoc (1032-1085), and Ch'eng Id (1033-1107) of the Northern Sung (960-1126); Hu Hunge (1106-1161), Chu Hsi (1130-1200), and Lu Hsiang-shang (Lu Chiu-yüan,f 1139-1193) of the Southern Sung (1127-1179); and Wang Yang-ming (Wang Shou-jen,g 1472‐ 1529) and Liu Tsung-chouh (1578-1645) of the Ming dynasty were the central figures. They were mutually related and closely connected, and they were responsive to one another in respect to the development of philosophical problems.' With the fundamental teachings of the Confucian Classics in mind, the Confucianists of Northern Sung developed their philosophical thoughts. They started with the notions of the Way of Heaven (T'ien-taoi) and sincerity (ch'engj) of the Doctrine of the Mean and the Book of Changes. Then they turned back to the notions of jenk (humanity), hsinl (mind), and hsingm (nature) of the Analects and the Book of Mencius, and finally ended with the notion of the examination of things (ko-wun) and the investigation of principle to the utmost (ch'iung-lio) of the Great Learning.2 In the rise of Sung Neo-Confucianism, cultural and moral consciousness go side by side, and there are a number of distinguished scholars. Those who could truly understand and develop the fundamental teachings of Confucius (551-479 B.C.), Mencius (372-289 B.C.?), and pre-Ch'in (221-206 B.C.) Confucianists, and who could lay down the philosophical pattern of Neo-Confucianism were the three forerunners of Northern Sung, namely Chou Tun-i, Chang Tsai, and Ch'eng Hao.
Chou Tun-i, with his "tacit understanding of the mystery of Tao,"p3 explained ch'ien-yüanq (the originator) and ch'ien-taor (the Way of Heaven) of