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Life and teaching of Chang Tsai


Chang Tsai : Biography

Chang was a native of Ch'ang-an in modern Shensi, four years junior to Chou Tun-i. Chang was son of a prefect. At twenty-one he wrote to and then saw the outstanding scholar official, Fan Chung-yen (989-1052), who told him to study the Doctrine of the Mean. He started his search from Confucianism through Buddhism and Taoism and back to Confucianism, especially the Book of Changes and the Doctrine of the Mean, which eventually formed the basis of his own philosophy. He obtained a "presented scholar" degree in 1057 and was appointed a magistrate. In 1069 he pleased the emperor with his orthodox Confucian answers to questions on government and was appointed a collator in the imperial library. But he disapproved of the radical reforms of Wang An-shih, and eventually resigned. In 1077 he was a director of the board of imperial sacrifices but was unhappy and resigned. He became sick and died on his way home. See Sung shih (History of the Sung Dynasty, 960-1279), PNP, 427:15b-18b and Bruce, Chu Hsi and His Masters, pp. 50-52.


Chang Tsai : Links

Confucianism, Chang Tsai, Cheng Yi, Chow Tun-i, Lu Hsiang Shan, Shao Yong, Su Shi , Wang Fuzhi, Wang Yangming, etc.