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Spiritual and philosophical quotes of neo confucianist religion

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T he benevolent regard heaven, earth and all beings as one. Everything is a part of oneself.




Confucianism / Neo Confucianism 7592 | 
The Collection of Works of Chenghao and Chengyi 







H ow does man become mind?"
"Clear intelligence and clear intelligence alone."
"We know, then, in all that fills heaven and earth there is but this clear intelligence. It is only because of their physical forms and bodies that men are separated. My clear intelligence is the master of heaven and earth and spiritual beings. If heaven is deprived of my clear intelligence, who is going to look into its height? If earth is deprived of my clear intelligence, who is going to look into its height? If earth is deprived of my clear intelligence, who is going to look into its depth? If spiritual beings are deprived of my clear intelligence, who is going to distinguish their good and evil fortune or the calamities and blessings that they will bring? Separated from my clear intelligence, there will be no heaven, earth, spiritual beings, or myriad things, and separated from these, there will not be my clear intelligence. Thus they are all peemeated with one material force. How can they be separated?”





Confucianism / Neo Confucianism 2453 | 
Wang Wen-ch'eng Kung ch'uan-shu, or Complete Works of Wang Yang-ming, Instruction for a Practical Living, 3:57a-58b, in Wing-Tsit Chan, Chinese Philosophy, Chapter 35 







I said, "The human mind and things form the same body. In the case of one's body, blood and the vital force in fact circulate through it and therefore we can say they form the same body. In the case of men, their bodies are different and differ even more from those of animals and plants. How can they be said to form the same body?"
The Teacher said, "Just look at the matter from the point of view of the subtle incipient activating force of their mutual influence and response. Not only animals and plants, but heaven and earth also, form the same body with me. Spiritual beings also form the same body with me.





Confucianism / Neo Confucianism 2452 | 
Wang Wen-ch'eng Kung ch'uan-shu, or Complete Works of Wang Yang-ming, Instruction for a Practical Living, 3:57a-58b, in Wing-Tsit Chan, Chinese Philosophy, Chapter 35 







I t is not easy to find people of sharp intelligence in the world. Even Yen Hui (Confucius' most virtuous pupil) and Ming-tao (Ch'eng Hao) dared not assume that they could fully realize the original substance of the mind as soon as they apprehended the task. How can we lightly expect this from people? People's minds are dominated by habits. If we do not teach them concretely and sincerely to devote themselves to the task of doing good and removing evil right in their innate knowledge rather than merely imagining an original substance in a vacuum, all that they do will not be genuine and they will do no more than cultivate a mind of vacuity and quietness [like that of the Buddhists and Taoists]. This defect is not a small matter and must be exposed as early as possible." On that day both Ju-chung and I attained some enlightenment.




Confucianism / Neo Confucianism 2451 | 
Wang Wen-ch'eng Kung ch'uan-shu, or Complete Works of Wang Yang-ming, Instruction for a Practical Living, 3:45b-47b, in Wing-Tsit Chan, Chinese Philosophy, Chapter 35 







I n the original substance of the mind there is no distinction of good and evil. When the will becomes active, however, such distinction exists. The faculty of innate knowledge is to know good and evil. The investigation of things is to do good and to remove evil.




Confucianism / Neo Confucianism 2450 | 
Wang Wen-ch'eng Kung ch'uan-shu, or Complete Works of Wang Yang-ming, Instruction for a Practical Living, 3:45b-47b, in Wing-Tsit Chan, Chinese Philosophy, Chapter 35 
This conversation concerning the famous "doctrine in four axioms" raises a fundamental issue and led to a bitter controversy both inside and outside the Wang Yang-ming School. The issue is whether the mind in its original substance transcends good and evil, as the Buddhists would say, or is fundamentally good, as the Confucianists insist. In his teachings Wang Chi interpreted the four axioms to mean the absence of distinction between good and evil and that sagehood comes through a direct intuition of reality in its totality. Ch'ien Te-hung, on the other hand, interpreted them to mean that the distinction exists and that sagehood comes only through moral efforts to do good and overcome evil. Actually Wang Yang-ming taught both, as the conversation clearly shows. It is only because they represented two sharply divergent tendencies within the Wang Yang-ming School, one emphasizing intuitive awakening and the other emphasizing moral endeavor, that they have given the doctrine a one-sided interpretation.







T he Teacher was roaming in Nan-chen. A friend pointed to flowering trees on a cliff and said, "[You say] there is nothing under heaven external to the mind. (1) These flowering trees on the high mountain blossom and drop their blossoms of themselves. What have they to do with my mind?"
The Teacher said, "Before you look at these flowers, they and your mind are in the state of silent vacancy. As you come to look at them, their colors at once show up clearly. From this you can know that these flowers are not external to your mind."





Confucianism / Neo Confucianism 2449 | 
Wang Wen-ch'eng Kung ch'uan-shu, or Complete Works of Wang Yang-ming, Instruction for a Practical Living, 3:30a, in Wing-Tsit Chan, Chinese Philosophy, Chapter 35 
(1) Ch'uan-hsi lu







E ven Heaven and Earth cannot exist without the innate knowledge that is inherent in man. For at bottom Heaven, Earth, the myriad things, and man form one body. The point at which this unity manifests in its most refined and excellent form is the clear intelligence of the human mind. Wind, rain, dew, thunder, sun and moon, stars, animals and plants, mountains and rivers, earth and stones are essentially of one body with man. It is for this reason that such things as the grains and animals can nourish man and that such things as medicine and minerals can heal diseases. Since they share the same material force, they enter into one another."




Confucianism / Neo Confucianism 2448 | 
Wang Wen-ch'eng Kung ch'uan-shu, or Complete Works of Wang Yang-ming, Instruction for a Practical Living, 3:29b-30a, in Wing-Tsit Chan, Chinese Philosophy, Chapter 35 
material force = Qi







A friend who was engaging in sitting in meditation attained some insight. He ran to make an inquiry of the Teacher. The Teacher said, "Formerly, when I stayed in Ch'u-chou seeing that students were mostly occupied with intellectual explanations and debate on similarities and differences, which did them no good, I therefore taught them sitting in meditation. For a time they realized the situation a little bit (they saw the true Way) and achieved some immediate results. In time, however, they gradually developed the defect of fondness of tranquillity and disgust with activity and degenerated into lifelessness like dry wood. Others purposely advocated abstruse and subtle theories to startle people. For this reason I have recently expounded only the doctrine of the extension of innate knowledge. If one's innate knowledge is clear, it will be all right either to try to obtain truth through personal realization in a quiet place or to discover it through training and polishing in the actual affairs of life. The original substance of innate knowledge is neither tranquil nor active. Recognition of this fact is the basis of learning. From the time of Ch'u-chou until now, I have tested what I said several times. The point is that the phrase 'the extension of innate knowledge' is free from any defect. Only a physician who has broken his own arm can understand the causes of human disease. (1)




Confucianism / Neo Confucianism 2447 | 
Wang Wen-ch'eng Kung ch'uan-shu, or Complete Works of Wang Yang-ming, Instruction for a Practical Living, 3:25a-b, in Wing-Tsit Chan, Chinese Philosophy, Chapter 35 
(1) Quoting the Tso chuan (Tso's Commentary), Duke Ting, 13th years.







A friend who was engaging in sitting in meditation attained some insight. He ran to make an inquiry of the Teacher. The Teacher said, "Formerly, when I stayed in Ch'u-chou seeing that students were mostly occupied with intellectual explanations and debate on similarities and differences, which did them no good, I therefore taught them sitting in meditation. For a time they realized the situation a little bit (they saw the true Way) and achieved some immediate results. In time, however, they gradually developed the defect of fondness of tranquillity and disgust with activity and degenerated into lifelessness like dry wood. Others purposely advocated abstruse and subtle theories to startle people.




Confucianism / Neo Confucianism 2446 | 
Wang Wen-ch'eng Kung ch'uan-shu, or Complete Works of Wang Yang-ming, Instruction for a Practical Living, 3:25a-b, in Wing-Tsit Chan, Chinese Philosophy, Chapter 35 
Under the influence of Zen Buddhism, most Neo-Confucianists taught sitting in meditation. Wang was no exception. In fact, in the first phase of his teaching, he emphasized it. However, it was soon replaced by an active approach, notably "polishing and training in actual affairs." This doctrine has exerted great influence on both China and Japan.







T he Teacher said, "The highest good is the original substance of the mind. When one deviates a little from this original substance, there is evil. It is not that there is a good and there is also an evil to oppose it. Therefore good and evil are one thing."
Having heard our Teacher's explanation, I know that we can no longer doubt Master Ch'eng Hao's sayings, "Man's nature is of course good, but it cannot be said that evil is not our nature" (1) and "Good and evil in the world are both the Principle of Nature. What is called evil is not originally evil. It becomes evil only because of deviation from the Mean." (2)





Confucianism / Neo Confucianism 2445 | 
Wang Wen-ch'eng Kung ch'uan-shu, or Complete Works of Wang Yang-ming, Instruction for a Practical Living, 3:12b-13a, in Wing-Tsit Chan, Chinese Philosophy, Chapter 35 
(1) I-shu, 1:7b. (2) I-shu, 2A: I b.







T here is no human nature that is not good. Therefore there is no innate knowledge that is not good. Innate knowledge is the equilibrium before the feelings are aroused. It is the state of broadness and extreme impartiality. It is the original substance that is absolutely quiet and inactive. And it is possessed by all men. However, people cannot help being darkened and obscured by material desires. Hence they must study in order to get rid of the darkness and obscuration. But they cannot add or subtract even an iota from the original substance of innate knowledge. Innate knowledge is good. The reason why equilibrium, absolute quiet, broadness, and impartiality are not complete in it is that darkness and obscuration have not been entirely eliminated and its state of preservation is not yet complete. The substance and function [you refer to] are the substance and function of innate knowledge. How can it transcend them?




Confucianism / Neo Confucianism 2444 | 
Wang Wen-ch'eng Kung ch'uan-shu, or Complete Works of Wang Yang-ming, Instruction for a Practical Living, 2:38a-39a, in Wing-Tsit Chan, Chinese Philosophy, Chapter 35 







T he substance of the mind is revealed through its tranquillity and its function through its activity."




Confucianism / Neo Confucianism 2443 | 
Wang Wen-ch'eng Kung ch'uan-shu, or Complete Works of Wang Yang-ming, Instruction for a Practical Living, 1: 52a, in Wing-Tsit Chan, Chinese Philosophy, Chapter 35 







I n that case, good and evil are not present in things at all.
"They are only in your mind. Following the Principle of Nature is good, while perturbing the vital force is evil."
"After all, then, things are devoid of good and evil?"
"This is true of the mind. It is also true of things. Famous but mediocre scholars fail to realize this. They neglect the mind and chase after material things, and consequently get a wrong view of the way to investigate things. All day long they restlessly seek principle in external things. They only succeed in getting at it by incidental deeds of righteousness. All their lives they act in this way without understanding it and act habitually without examination.





Confucianism / Neo Confucianism 2442 | 
Wang Wen-ch'eng Kung ch'uan-shu, or Complete Works of Wang Yang-ming, Instruction for a Practical Living, 1: 47b-49b, in Wing-Tsit Chan, Chinese Philosophy, Chapter 35 







N ot making special effort to like or to dislike does not mean not to like or dislike at all. A person behaving so would be devoid of consciousness. To say 'not to make a special effort' merely means that one's like and dislike completely follow the Principle of Nature and that one does not go on to attach to that situation a bit of selfish thought. This amounts to having neither likes nor dislikes.




Confucianism / Neo Confucianism 2441 | 
Wang Wen-ch'eng Kung ch'uan-shu, or Complete Works of Wang Yang-ming, Instruction for a Practical Living, 1: 47b-49b, in Wing-Tsit Chan, Chinese Philosophy, Chapter 35 







T he sage, on the other hand, in his non-distinction of good and evil, merely makes no special effort whatsoever to like or dislike and is not perturbed in his vital force. As he pursues the kingly path and sees the perfect excellence, (1) he of course completely follows the Principle of Nature and it becomes possible for him to assist in and complete the universal process of production and reproduction and apply it for the benefit of the people. (2)




Confucianism / Neo Confucianism 2440 | 
Wang Wen-ch'eng Kung ch'uan-shu, or Complete Works of Wang Yang-ming, Instruction for a Practical Living, 1: 47b-49b, in Wing-Tsit Chan, Chinese Philosophy, Chapter 35 
(1) Quoting History, "Great Norm." Cf. Legge, Shoo King, p. 331. (2) Quoting Changes, commentary on hexagram no. 11, t'ai (successful). Cf Legge, Yi King, p. 281.







T he Teacher said, "The state of having neither good nor evil is that of principle in tranquility. Good and evil appear when the vital force is perturbed. If the vital force is not perturbed, there is neither good nor evil, and this is called the highest good."




Confucianism / Neo Confucianism 2439 | 
Wang Wen-ch'eng Kung ch'uan-shu, or Complete Works of Wang Yang-ming, Instruction for a Practical Living, 1: 47b-49b, in Wing-Tsit Chan, Chinese Philosophy, Chapter 35 







T he man of humanity regards Heaven and Earth and all things as one body. (1)




Confucianism / Neo Confucianism 2438 | 
Wang Wen-ch'eng Kung ch'uan-shu, or Complete Works of Wang Yang-ming, Instruction for a Practical Living, 1:41b, in Wing-Tsit Chan, Chinese Philosophy, Chapter 35 
(1) I-shu, 2A:2.







T he Teacher said, "When a good thought is retained, there is the Principle of Nature. The thought itself is goodness. Is there another goodness to be thought about? Since the thought is not evil, what evil is there to be removed? This thought is comparable to the root of a tree. To make up one's mind means always to build up this good thought, that is all. To be able to follow what one's heart desires without transgressing moral principles (1) merely means that one's mind has reached full maturity."




Confucianism / Neo Confucianism 2437 | 
Wang Wen-ch'eng Kung ch'uan-shu, or Complete Works of Wang Yang-ming, Instruction for a Practical Living, 1:31b-32a, in Wing-Tsit Chan, Chinese Philosophy, Chapter 35 
(1) Analects, 2:4







T he Teacher said, "The original mind is vacuous (devoid of selfish desires), intelligent, and not beclouded. All principles are contained therein and all events proceed from it." There is no principle outside the mind; there is no event outside the mind."




Confucianism / Neo Confucianism 2436 | 
Wang Wen-ch'eng Kung ch'uan-shu, or Complete Works of Wang Yang-ming, Instruction for a Practical Living, 1: 24b, in Wing-Tsit Chan, Chinese Philosophy, Chapter 35 







T he Teacher said, "Knowledge is the beginning of action and action is the completion of knowledge. Learning to be a sage involves only one effort. Knowledge and action should not be separated."




Confucianism / Neo Confucianism 2435 | 
Wang Wen-ch'eng Kung ch'uan-shu, or Complete Works of Wang Yang-ming, Instruction for a Practical Living, 1: 22b, in Wing-Tsit Chan, Chinese Philosophy, Chapter 35 







T he Teacher said, "Our nature is the substance of the mind and Heaven is the source of our nature. To exert one's mind to the utmost is the same as fully developing one's nature. Only those who are absolutely sincere can fully develop their nature and 'know the transforming and nourishing process of Heaven and Earth’ (1).




Confucianism / Neo Confucianism 2434 | 
Wang Wen-ch'eng Kung ch'uan-shu, or Complete Works of Wang Yang-ming, Instruction for a Practical Living, 1:8a-10a, in Wing-Tsit Chan, Chinese Philosophy, Chapter 35 
(1) the Mean, Ch. 22







T he Teacher said, "Tzu-hsia (507-420 B.C.) had strong faith in the Sage whereas Tseng Tzu (505-c.436 B.C.) turned to seek the highest good in himself”. (1) It is good to have strong faith, of course, but it is not as real and concrete as seeking in oneself.




Confucianism / Neo Confucianism 2433 | 
Wang Wen-ch'eng Kung ch'uan-shu, or Complete Works of Wang Yang-ming, Instruction for a Practical Living, 1:8a-10a, in Wing-Tsit Chan, Chinese Philosophy, Chapter 35 
(1) Quoting Chu Hsi, Meng Tzu chi-chu (Collected Commentaries on the Book of Mencius) ch. 3, comment on Mencius, 2A:2.







B ut people today distinguish between knowledge and action and pursue them separately, believing that one must know before he can act. They will discuss and learn the business of knowledge first, they say, and wait till they truly know before they put their knowledge into practice. Consequently, to the last day of life, they will never act and also will never know. This doctrine of knowledge first and action later is not a minor disease and it did not come about only yesterday. My present advocacy of the unity of knowledge and action is precisely the medicine for that disease.




Confucianism / Neo Confucianism 2432 | 
Wang Wen-ch'eng Kung ch'uan-shu, or Complete Works of Wang Yang-ming, Instruction for a Practical Living, 1:5b-8a, in Wing-Tsit Chan, Chinese Philosophy, Chapter 35 
The relation between knowledge and action has been a perennial subject among Confucianists. Both Confucius (Analects, 5:9, 13:4, 14:4, 15:5, 18:8.) and the Doctrine of the Mean (ch. 8) insist that words and action should- correspond.







I have said that knowledge is the direction for action and action the effort of knowledge, and that knowledge is the beginning of action and action the completion of knowledge.




Confucianism / Neo Confucianism 2431 | 
Wang Wen-ch'eng Kung ch'uan-shu, or Complete Works of Wang Yang-ming, Instruction for a Practical Living, 1:5b-8a, in Wing-Tsit Chan, Chinese Philosophy, Chapter 35 







T he main thing is for the mind to make an effort to get rid of selfish human desires and preserve the Principle of Nature.




Confucianism / Neo Confucianism 2430 | 
Wang Wen-ch'eng Kung ch'uan-shu, or Complete Works of Wang Yang-ming, Instruction for a Practical Living, 1:3a-4b, in Wing-Tsit Chan, Chinese Philosophy, Chapter 35 







W hen the mind is free from the obscuration of selfish desires, it is the embodiment of the Principle of Nature, which requires not an iota added from the outside.




Confucianism / Neo Confucianism 2429 | 
Wang Wen-ch'eng Kung ch'uan-shu, or Complete Works of Wang Yang-ming, Instruction for a Practical Living, 1:3a-4b, in Wing-Tsit Chan, Chinese Philosophy, Chapter 35 







I f as we come into contact with the thing to which the will is directed, we really do the good and get rid of the evil to the utmost which is known by the innate faculty, then everything will be investigated and what is known by our innate faculty will not be deficient or obscured but will be extended to the utmost. Then the mind will be joyous in itself, happy and without regret, the functioning of the will will carry with it no self-deception, and sincerity may be said to have been attained. Therefore it is said, "When things are investigated, knowledge is extended; when knowledge is extended, the will becomes sincere; when the will is sincere, the mind is rectified; and when the mind is rectified, the personal life is cultivated."' (1)




Confucianism / Neo Confucianism 2428 | 
Wang Wen-ch'eng Kung ch'uan-shu, or Complete Works of Wang Yang-ming, Inquiry on the Great Learning, in Wing-Tsit Chan, Chinese Philosophy, Chapter 35 
(1) Great Learning, the text.







I f one sincerely loves the good known by the innate faculty but does not in reality do the good as we come into contact with the thing to which the will is directed, it means that the thing has not been investigated and that the will to love the good is not yet sincere. If one sincerely hates the evil known by the innate faculty but does not in reality get rid of the evil as he comes into contact with the thing to which the will is directed, it means that the thing has not been investigated and that the will to hate evil is not sincere.




Confucianism / Neo Confucianism 2427 | 
Wang Wen-ch'eng Kung ch'uan-shu, or Complete Works of Wang Yang-ming, Inquiry on the Great Learning, in Wing-Tsit Chan, Chinese Philosophy, Chapter 35 







T he extension of knowledge is not what later scholars understand as enriching and widening knowledge. (1) It is simply extending one's innate knowledge of the good to the utmost. This innate knowledge of the good is what Mencius meant when he said, "The sense of right and wrong is common to all men." (2) The sense of right and wrong requires no deliberation to know, nor does it depend on learning to function. (3) This is why it is called innate knowledge. It is my nature endowed by Heaven, the original substance of my mind, naturally intelligent, shining, clear, and understanding.




Confucianism / Neo Confucianism 2426 | 
Wang Wen-ch'eng Kung ch'uan-shu, or Complete Works of Wang Yang-ming, Inquiry on the Great Learning, in Wing-Tsit Chan, Chinese Philosophy, Chapter 35 
(1) Commentary on hexagrams, no. 1, ch'ien (Heaven). Cf. Legge, trans., Yi King, p. 410. (2) Chu Hsi, Ta-hsueh chang-chu, commentary on the text. (3) Mencius, 2A: 6, 6A: 6.







H ow is it that any effort is required to rectify the mind? The reason is that, while the original substance of the mind is originally correct, incorrectness enters when one's thoughts and will are in operation. Therefore he who wishes to rectify his mind must rectify it in connection with the operation of his thoughts and will. If, whenever a good thought arises he really loves it as he loves beautiful colors, and whenever an evil thought arises, he really hates it as he hates bad odors, then his will will always be sincere and his mind can be rectified.




Confucianism / Neo Confucianism 2425 | 
Wang Wen-ch'eng Kung ch'uan-shu, or Complete Works of Wang Yang-ming, Inquiry on the Great Learning, in Wing-Tsit Chan, Chinese Philosophy, Chapter 35 







N ow the original substance of the mind is man's nature. Human nature being universally good, the original substance of the mind is correct.




Confucianism / Neo Confucianism 2424 | 
Wang Wen-ch'eng Kung ch'uan-shu, or Complete Works of Wang Yang-ming, Inquiry on the Great Learning, in Wing-Tsit Chan, Chinese Philosophy, Chapter 35 







A nswer: People fail to realize that the highest good is in their minds and seek it outside. As they believe that everything or every event has its own definite principle, they search for the highest good in individual things. Consequently, the mind becomes fragmentary, isolated, broken into pieces; mixed and confused, it has no definite direction. Once it is realized that the highest good is in the mind and does not depend on any search outside, then the mind will have definite direction and there will be no danger of its becoming fragmentary, isolated, broken into pieces, mixed, or confused. When there is no such danger, the mind will not be erroneously perturbed but will be tranquil. Not being erroneously perturbed but being tranquil, it will be leisurely and at ease in its daily functioning and will attain peaceful repose. Being in peaceful repose, whenever a thought arises or an event acts upon it, the mind with its innate knowledge will thoroughly sift and carefully examine whether or not the thought or event is in accord with the highest good, and thus the mind can deliberate. With deliberation, every decision will be excellent and every act will be proper, and in this way the highest good will be attained.




Confucianism / Neo Confucianism 2423 | 
Wang Wen-ch'eng Kung ch'uan-shu, or Complete Works of Wang Yang-ming, Inquiry on the Great Learning, in Wing-Tsit Chan, Chinese Philosophy, Chapter 35 







I n all our changes and movements, we will stick to no particular point, but possess in ourselves the Mean that is perfectly natural. This is the ultimate of the normal nature of man and the principle of things. There can be no consideration of adding to or subtracting from it. If there is any, it means selfish ideas and shallow cunning, and cannot be said to be the highest good. Naturally, how can anyone who does not watch over himself carefully when alone, and who has no refinement and singleness of mind, attain to such a state of perfection? Later generations fail to realize that the highest good is inherent in their own minds, but exercise their selfish ideas and cunning and grope for it outside their minds, believing that every event and every object has its own peculiar definite principle. For this reason the law of right and wrong is obscured; the mind becomes concerned with fragmentary and isolated details and broken pieces; the selfish desires of man become rampant and the Principle of Nature is at an end. And thus the learning of manifesting character and loving people is everywhere thrown into confusion.




Confucianism / Neo Confucianism 2422 | 
Wang Wen-ch'eng Kung ch'uan-shu, or Complete Works of Wang Yang-ming, Inquiry on the Great Learning, in Wing-Tsit Chan, Chinese Philosophy, Chapter 35 







Q uestion: Then why does the learning of the great man consist in "abiding in the highest good ?” (1)
Answer: The highest good is the ultimate principle of manifesting character and loving people. The nature endowed in us by Heaven is pure and perfect. The fact that it is intelligent, clear, and not beclouded is evidence of the emanation and revelation of the highest good. It is the original substance of the clear character which is called innate knowledge of the good. As the highest good emanates and reveals itself, we will consider right as right and wrong as wrong.





Confucianism / Neo Confucianism 2421 | 
Wang Wen-ch'eng Kung ch'uan-shu, or Complete Works of Wang Yang-ming, Inquiry on the Great Learning, in Wing-Tsit Chan, Chinese Philosophy, Chapter 35 
(1) The text of the Great Learning.







E verything from ruler, minister, husband, wife, and friends to mountains, rivers, spiritual beings, birds, animals, and plants should be truly loved in order to realize my humanity that forms one body with them, and then my clear character will be completely manifested, and I will really form one body with Heaven, Earth, and the myriad things.

This is what is meant by "manifesting the clear character throughout the empire." (1) This is what is meant by "regulation of the family … .. Ordering the state, and bringing peace to the world." (3) This is what is meant by "full development of one's nature”. (3).





Confucianism / Neo Confucianism 2420 | 
Wang Wen-ch'eng Kung ch'uan-shu, or Complete Works of Wang Yang-ming, Inquiry on the Great Learning, in Wing-Tsit Chan, Chinese Philosophy, Chapter 35 
(1) The text of the Great Learning. (2) The text of the Great Learning. (3) The Mean, ch. 22.







Q uestion: Why, then, does the learning of the great man consist in loving the people?
Answer: To manifest the clear character is to bring about the substance of the state of forming one body with Heaven, Earth, and the myriad things, whereas loving the people is to put into universal operation the function of the state of forming one body.





Confucianism / Neo Confucianism 2419 | 
Wang Wen-ch'eng Kung ch'uan-shu, or Complete Works of Wang Yang-ming, Inquiry on the Great Learning, in Wing-Tsit Chan, Chinese Philosophy, Chapter 35 







M aster Wang said: The great man regards Heaven and Earth and the myriad things as one body. He regards the world as one family and the country as one person. As to those who make a cleavage between objects and distinguish between the self and others, they are small men. That the great man can regard Heaven, Earth, and the myriad things as one body is not because he deliberately wants to do so, but because it is natural to the humane nature of his mind that he do so. Forming one body with Heaven, Earth, and the myriad things is not only true of the great man. Even the mind of the small man is no different. Only he himself makes it small. […]. This means that even the mind of the small man necessarily has the humanity that forms one body with all. Such a mind is rooted in his Heaven-endowed nature, and is naturally intelligent, clear, and not beclouded. For this reason it is called the "clear character."




Confucianism / Neo Confucianism 2418 | 
Wang Wen-ch'eng Kung ch'uan-shu, or Complete Works of Wang Yang-ming, Inquiry on the Great Learning, in Wing-Tsit Chan, Chinese Philosophy, Chapter 35 







A lthough the mind of the small man is divided and narrow, yet his humanity that forms one body can remain free from darkness to this degree. This is due to the fact that his mind has not yet been aroused by desires and obscured by selfishness. When it is aroused by desires and obscured by selfishness, compelled by greed for gain and fear of harm, and stirred by anger, he will destroy things, kill members of his own species, and will do everything. In extreme cases he will even slaughter his own brothers, and the humanity that forms one body will disappear completely. Hence, if it is not obscured by selfish desires, even the mind of the small man has the humanity that forms one body with all as does the mind of the great man. As soon as it is obscured by selfish desires, even the mind of the great man will be divided and narrow like that of the small man. Thus the learning of the great man consists entirely in getting rid of the obscuration of selfish desires in order by his own efforts to make manifest his clear character, so as to restore the condition of forming one body with Heaven, Earth, and the myriad things, a condition that is originally so, that is all. It is not that outside of the original substance something can be added.




Confucianism / Neo Confucianism 2417 | 
Wang Wen-ch'eng Kung ch'uan-shu, or Complete Works of Wang Yang-ming, Inquiry on the Great Learning, in Wing-Tsit Chan, Chinese Philosophy, Chapter 35 







T he Four Beginnings (of humanity, righteousness, propriety, and wisdom) are all originally present in the self. Nothing need be added from the outside.




Confucianism / Neo Confucianism 2414 | 
Complete Work of Lu Hsiang-shan (Hsiang-shan ch’uan-chi), 35:22a, in Wing-Tsit Chan, Chinese Philosophy, Chapter 33 







E stablish yourself in life and respect yourself. Don't follow other people's footsteps nor repeat their words.




Confucianism / Neo Confucianism 2413 | 
Complete Work of Lu Hsiang-shan (Hsiang-shan ch’uan-chi), 35:22a, in Wing-Tsit Chan, Chinese Philosophy, Chapter 33 







C ollect your spirit. Be your own master. "All things are already complete in oneself. (1) What is it that is lacking? When I should be commiserative, I am naturally commiserative. When I should be ashamed, liberal, generous, affectionate, tender, or strong and firm, I am naturally so.




Confucianism / Neo Confucianism 2412 | 
Complete Work of Lu Hsiang-shan (Hsiang-shan ch’uan-chi), 35:18a, in Wing-Tsit Chan, Chinese Philosophy, Chapter 33 







P rinciple exists in the universe without any obstruction. It is only that you sink from it, hide yourself in darkness as in the trap, and loose all sense of what is high and far beyond. It is imperative that this trap be decisively broken and the confining net be penetrated and destroyed




Confucianism / Neo Confucianism 2411 | 
Complete Work of Lu Hsiang-shan (Hsiang-shan ch’uan-chi), 35:15b-16a, in Wing-Tsit Chan, Chinese Philosophy, Chapter 33 







S tudents of today only pay attention to details and do not search for what is concrete. […]
When is it necessary to depend on words?" […]
When scholars read today, they only try to understand words and do not go further to find out what is vital.





Confucianism / Neo Confucianism 2410 | 
Complete Work of Lu Hsiang-shan (Hsiang-shan ch’uan-chi), 35:10a-b, in Wing-Tsit Chan, Chinese Philosophy, Chapter 33 







M encius said, “He who exerts his mind to the utmost knows his nature. He who knows his nature knows Heaven (Nature). ” (1). There is only one mind. My mind, my friends' mind, the mind of the sages thousands of years ago, and the mind of sages thousands of years to come are all the same. The substance of the mind is infinite. If one can completely develop his mind, he will become identified with Heaven. To acquire learning is to appreciate this fact. This is what is meant by the saying, "Sincerity means the completion of the self, and the Way is self-directing."




Confucianism / Neo Confucianism 2409 | 
Complete Work of Lu Hsiang-shan (Hsiang-shan ch’uan-chi), 35:10a-b, in Wing-Tsit Chan, Chinese Philosophy, Chapter 33 







A student must make up his mind. To read book and merely understand their literate meanings means not to have made up one’s mind.




Confucianism / Neo Confucianism 2408 | 
Complete Work of Lu Hsiang-shan (Hsiang-shan ch’uan-chi), 35:1b, in Wing-Tsit Chan, Chinese Philosophy, Chapter 33 







T he universe has never separated itself from man. Man separates himself from the universe.




Confucianism / Neo Confucianism 2407 | 
Complete Work of Lu Hsiang-shan (Hsiang-shan ch’uan-chi), 34:5b, in Wing-Tsit Chan, Chinese Philosophy, Chapter 33 







M y learning is different from that of others in the fact that with me every word comes spontaneously. Although I have uttered tens of thousands of words, they all are expressions of what is within me, and nothing more has been added. Recently someone has commented of me that aside from [Mencius'] saying, "First build up the nobler part of your nature” (1) I had nothing clever. When I heard this, I said, "Very true indeed."




Confucianism / Neo Confucianism 2406 | 
Complete Work of Lu Hsiang-shan (Hsiang-shan ch’uan-chi), 34:5a, in Wing-Tsit Chan, Chinese Philosophy, Chapter 33 







M ost interpreters have explained the human mind (which is liable to make mistakes) as equivalent to [selfish] human desires and the moral mind (which follows the Way, the Moral Law) as equivalent to the Principle of Nature. This interpretation is wrong. The mind is one. How can man have two minds?




Confucianism / Neo Confucianism 2405 | 
Complete Work of Lu Hsiang-shan (Hsiang-shan ch’uan-chi), 34: 1 b, in Wing-Tsit Chan, Chinese Philosophy, Chapter 33 







W hen, influenced by external things, he begins to be active, that is desire arising from his nature. As one becomes conscious of things resulting from this impact, one begins to have likes and dislikes…. When [as a result of these likes and dislikes] one is unable to return to his original mind, the Principle of Nature is destroyed. "(1) Here is the origin of the theory that principle is from Nature whereas desire is from man.




Confucianism / Neo Confucianism 2404 | 
Complete Work of Lu Hsiang-shan (Hsiang-shan ch’uan-chi), 34: 1 b, in Wing-Tsit Chan, Chinese Philosophy, Chapter 33 
(1) The term Principle of Nature of course does not appear in the Lao Tzu. Lu was evidently thinking of the general Taoist doctrine of having no or few desires in chs. 3, 19, 34, 37, 57.







M oral principles inherent in the human mind are endowed by Heaven and cannot be wiped out. Those who are beclouded by material desires so as to pervert principles and violate righteousness, do so because they do not think, that is all. If they can truly examine themselves and think, their sense of right and wrong and their choice between right and wrong will have the qualities of quiet alertness, clear-cut intelligence, and firm conviction.




Confucianism / Neo Confucianism 2403 | 
Complete Work of Lu Hsiang-shan (Hsiang-shan ch’uan-chi), 32:4a, in Wing-Tsit Chan, Chinese Philosophy, Chapter 33 





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