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Chang Tsai



Spiritual quotes of Chang Tsai

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T he great benefit of learning is to enable one to transform his physical nature himself. Otherwise he will have the defect of studying in order to impress others, in the end will attain no enlightenment, and cannot see the all-embracing depth of the sage.




Confucianism / Neo Confucianism 2393 | 
Chang Tsai, Cheng-meng, ch. 17, sppy, 12:3a, in Wing-Tsit Chan, Chinese Philosophy, Chapter 30 







I n one's words there should be something to teach others. In one's activities there should be something to serve as model for others. In the morning something should be done. In the evening something should be realized. At every moment something should be nourished. And in every instant something should be preserved.




Confucianism / Neo Confucianism 2392 | 
Chang Tsai, Cheng-meng, ch. 12, sppy, 3:9a, in Wing-Tsit Chan, Chinese Philosophy, Chapter 30 







B y enlarging one's mind, one can enter into all the things in the world [to examine and understand their principle]. As long as anything is not yet entered into, there is still something outside the mind. The mind of ordinary people is limited to the narrowness of what is seen and what is heard. The sage, however, fully develops his nature and does not allow what is seen or heard to fetter his mind. He regards everything in the world to be his own self. This is why Mencius said that if one exerts his mind to the utmost, he can know nature and Heaven. (1) Heaven is so vast that there is nothing outside of it. Therefore the mind that leaves something outside is not capable of uniting itself with the mind of Heaven. Knowledge coming from seeing and hearing is knowledge obtained through contact with things. It is not knowledge obtained through one's moral nature. Knowledge obtained through one's moral nature does not originate from seeing or hearing.




Confucianism / Neo Confucianism 2391 | 
Chang Tsai, Cheng-meng, ch. 7, SPPY, 2:21a, in Wing-Tsit Chan, Chinese Philosophy, Chapter 30 
(1) Mencius, 7A: 1.







W hen a thing first comes into existence, material force comes gradually into it to enrich its vitality. As it reaches its maturity, material force gradually reverts to where it came from, wanders off and disperses. Its coming means positive spiritual force (shen), because it is expanding (shen). Its reversion means negative spiritual force (kuei), because it is returning (kuei).




Confucianism / Neo Confucianism 2390 | 
Chang Tsai, Cheng-meng, Cheng-meng, ch. 5, Chang Tzu ch'uan-shu, sppy, 2:16a, in Wing-Tsit Chan, Chinese Philosophy, Chapter 30 







T he life of plants is based on earth [for their roots grow downward]. Their transition from integration to disintegration depends on the rise and fall of yin and yang.




Confucianism / Neo Confucianism 2389 | 
Chang Tsai, Cheng-meng, Cheng-meng, ch. 5, Chang Tzu ch'uan-shu, sppy, 2:16a, in Wing-Tsit Chan, Chinese Philosophy, Chapter 30 







E verything is destiny. A man should accept obediently what is correct [in his destiny]." If one obeys the principles of his nature and destiny, he will obtain what is correct in them. If one destroys principle and indulges in desires to the limit, he will be inviting evil fortune.




Confucianism / Neo Confucianism 2388 | 
Chang Tsai, Cheng-meng, Ch.6 (sppy, 2:17a-21a), in Wing-Tsit Chan, Chinese Philosophy, Chapter 30 







I f effort is needed to be sincere or grave, that is not our nature. To be sincere or grave without effort may be said of the superior man who "is truthful without any words" and "does not resort to anger and the people are awed. (1)




Confucianism / Neo Confucianism 2387 | 
Chang Tsai, Cheng-meng, Ch.6, in Wing-Tsit Chan, Chinese Philosophy, Chapter 30 
(1) The Mean, ch. 33.







M an's strength, weakness, slowness, quickness, and talent or lack of talent are due to the one-sidedness of the material force. Heaven (Nature) is originally harmonious and not one-sided. If one cultivates this material force and returns to his original nature without being one-sided, one can then fully develop his nature and [be in harmony with] Heaven. Before man's nature is formed, good and evil are mixed. Therefore to be untiring in continuing the good which issues [from the Way] (1) is good. If all evil is removed, good will also disappear [for good and evil are relative and are necessary to reveal each other]. Therefore avoid just saying "good" but say, "That which realizes it (the Way) is the individual nature.” (2)




Confucianism / Neo Confucianism 2386 | 
Chang Tsai, Cheng-meng, Ch.6, in Wing-Tsit Chan, Chinese Philosophy, Chapter 30 
(1) Changes, "Appended Remarks" pt. 1, ch. 5. Cf. Legge, p. 356. (2) Changes, "Appended Remarks" pt. 1, ch. 5. Cf. Legge, p. 356.







O ne who can fully develop his nature can also develop the nature of other people and things. He who can fulfill his destiny can also fulfill the destiny of other people and things (1), for the nature of all men and things follows the Way and the destiny of all men and things is decreed by Heaven. I form the substance of all thing without overlooking any, and all things form my substance, and I know that they do not overlook anything. Only when one fulfills his destiny can he bring himself and things into completion without violating their principle.




Confucianism / Neo Confucianism 2385 | 
Chang Tsai, Cheng-meng, Ch.6, in Wing-Tsit Chan, Chinese Philosophy, Chapter 30 







H e who understands virtue will have a sufficient amount, that is all. He will not allow sensual desires to be a burden to his mind, the small to injure the great, or the secondary to destroy the fundamental.




Confucianism / Neo Confucianism 2384 | 
Chang Tsai, Cheng-meng, Ch.6, in Wing-Tsit Chan, Chinese Philosophy, Chapter 30 







I f one knows his nature and Heaven, then [all the operations] of yin and yang and negative and positive spiritual forces are all part of my lot.




Confucianism / Neo Confucianism 2383 | 
Chang Tsai, Cheng-meng, Ch.6, in Wing-Tsit Chan, Chinese Philosophy, Chapter 30 







O nly through fully developing one's nature can one realize that he possesses nothing in life and loses nothing at death.




Confucianism / Neo Confucianism 2382 | 
Chang Tsai, Cheng-meng, Ch.6, in Wing-Tsit Chan, Chinese Philosophy, Chapter 30 







B y "sincerity resulting from enlightenment" (1) is meant to develop one's nature fully through the investigation of things to the utmost, and by "enlightenment resulting from sincerity" (2) is meant to investigate things to the utmost through fully developing one's nature.




Confucianism / Neo Confucianism 2381 | 
Chang Tsai, Cheng-meng, Ch.6, in Wing-Tsit Chan, Chinese Philosophy, Chapter 30 
(1) The Mean, ch. 21. (2) The Mean, ch. 21.







W hen the Way of Heaven [or principle] and the nature of man [or desires] function separately, there cannot be sincerity. When there is a difference between the knowledge obtained by following (the Way of) Heaven and that obtained by following (the nature of) man, there cannot be perfect enlightenment. What is meant by enlightenment resulting from sincerity is that in which there is no distinction between the Way of Heaven as being great and the nature of man as being small.




Confucianism / Neo Confucianism 2380 | 
Chang Tsai, Cheng-meng, Ch.6, in Wing-Tsit Chan, Chinese Philosophy, Chapter 30 







K nowledge gained through enlightenment which is the result of sincerity (1) is the innate knowledge (2) of one's natural character. It is not the small knowledge of what is heard or what is seen.




Confucianism / Neo Confucianism 2379 | 
Chang Tsai, Cheng-meng, Ch.6, in Wing-Tsit Chan, Chinese Philosophy, Chapter 30 
(1) Cf Mean ch.21 (2) Cf Mencius, 7B:15







N o two of the products of creation are alike. From this we know that although the number of things is infinite, at bottom there is nothing without yin or yang [which differentiate them]. From this we know also that the transformations and changes in the universe are due to these two fundamental forces.




Confucianism / Neo Confucianism 2378 | 
Chang Tsai, Cheng-meng, Ch.1, in Wing-Tsit Chan, Chinese Philosophy, Chapter 30 







I n its original state of Great Vacuity, material force (Qi) is absolutely tranquil and formless. As it is acted upon, it engenders the two fundamental elements of yin and yang, and through integration gives rise to forms. (1)




Confucianism / Neo Confucianism 2376 | 
Chang Tsai, Cheng-meng, Ch.1, in Wing-Tsit Chan, Chinese Philosophy, Chapter 30 
(1) Generally referring to physical forms and specifically referring to the Four Secondary Forms or Modes variously identified as Metal, Wood, Water, and Fire or yin, yang, strength, and weakness, or major and minor yang and major and minor yin.







M aterial force moves and flows in all directions and in all manners. Its two elements unite and give rise to the concrete. Thus the multiplicity of things and human beings is produced. In their ceaseless successions the two elements of yin and yang constitute the great principles of the universe.




Confucianism / Neo Confucianism 2375 | 
Chang Tsai, Cheng-meng, Ch.1, in Wing-Tsit Chan, Chinese Philosophy, Chapter 30 







O nly after [the One] is acted upon will it begin to penetrate [through yin and yang]. Without the two forces there cannot be the One.




Confucianism / Neo Confucianism 2374 | 
Chang Tsai, Cheng-meng, Ch.1, in Wing-Tsit Chan, Chinese Philosophy, Chapter 30 







I f yin and yang do not exist, the One (the Great Ultimate)" can not revealed If the One cannot be revealed then the function of the two forces will cease, Reality and unreality, motion and rest, integration and disintegration, and clearness and turbidity are two different substances. In the final analysis, however, they are one.




Confucianism / Neo Confucianism 2373 | 
Chang Tsai, Cheng-meng, Ch.1, in Wing-Tsit Chan, Chinese Philosophy, Chapter 30 







T he negative and positive spiritual forces (kuei-shen) are the spontaneous activity of the two material forces (yin and yang). Sage hood means absolute sincerity (1) forming a unity with Heaven, and spirit means the Great Vacuity in its wondrous operation and response. All molds and forms in the universe are but dregs of this spiritual transformation.




Confucianism / Neo Confucianism 2372 | 
Chang Tsai, Cheng-meng, Ch.1, in Wing-Tsit Chan, Chinese Philosophy, Chapter 30 
(1) The word ch'eng means more than sincerity in the ordinary sense. It means being true to one's nature and the nature of things, actuality, reality







F rom the Great Vacuity, there is Heaven. From the transformation of material force, there is the Way. In the unity of the Great Vacuity and material force, there is the nature (of man and things). And in the unity of the nature and consciousness, there is the mind.




Confucianism / Neo Confucianism 2371 | 
Chang Tsai, Cheng-meng, Ch.1, in Wing-Tsit Chan, Chinese Philosophy, Chapter 30 
material force = Qi







T he Great Vacuity is clear. Being clear, it cannot be obstructed. Not being obstructed, it is therefore spirit. The opposite of clearness is turbidity. Turbidity leads to obstruction. And obstruction leads to physical form. When material force is clear, it penetrates; and when it is turbid, it obstructs. When clearness reaches its limit, there is spirit. When spirit concentrates, it penetrates like the breeze going through the holes (of musical instruments), producing tones and carrying them to great distances. This is the evidence of clearness. As if arriving at the destination without the necessity of going there, penetration reaches the highest degree.




Confucianism / Neo Confucianism 2370 | 
Chang Tsai, Cheng-meng, Ch.1, in Wing-Tsit Chan, Chinese Philosophy, Chapter 30 
material force = Qi







T he integration and disintegration of material force is to the Great Vacuity as the freezing and melting of ice is to water. If we realize that the Great Vacuity is identical with material force, we know that there is no such thing as non-being.




Confucianism / Neo Confucianism 2369 | 
Chang Tsai, Cheng-meng, Ch.1, in Wing-Tsit Chan, Chinese Philosophy, Chapter 30 
material force = Qi







I f material force integrates, its visibility becomes effective and physical form appears. If material force does not integrate, its visibility is not effective and there is no physical form. While material force is integrated, how can one not say that it is temporary? While it is disintegrated, how can one hastily say that it is non-being? For this reason, the sage, having observed phenomena and examined above and below, only claims to know the causes of what is hidden and what is manifest but does not claim to know the causes of being and non-being.




Confucianism / Neo Confucianism 2364 | 
Chang Tsai, Cheng-meng, Ch.1, in Wing-Tsit Chan, Chinese Philosophy, Chapter 30 
material force = Qi







I f it is argued that material force is produced from the Vacuity, then because the two are completely different, the Vacuity being infinite while material force is finite, the one being substance and the other function, such an argument would fall into the naturalism of Lao Tzu who claimed that being comes from non-being and failed to understand the eternal principle of the undifferentiated unity of being and non-being. If it is argued that all phenomena are but things perceived in the Great Vacuity, then since things and the Vacuity would not be mutually conditioned, since the physical form and the nature of things would be selfcontained, and since these, as well as Heaven and man, would not be interdependent, such an argument would fall into the doctrine of the Buddha who taught that mountains, rivers, and the total stretch of land are all subjective illusions. This principle of unity is not understood because ignorant people know superficially that the substance of the nature of things is the Vacuity, the Void, but do not know that function is based on the Way of Heaven (Law of Nature).




Confucianism / Neo Confucianism 2363 | 
Chang Tsai, Cheng-meng, Ch.1, in Wing-Tsit Chan, Chinese Philosophy, Chapter 30 







W hen it is understood that the Vacuity, the Void, is nothing but material force, then existence and nonexistence, the hidden and the manifested, spirit and eternal transformation, and human nature and destiny are all one and not a duality. He who apprehends integration and disintegration, appearance and disappearance, form and absence of form, and trace them to their source, penetrates the secret of Change.




Confucianism / Neo Confucianism 2362 | 
Chang Tsai, Cheng-meng, Ch.1, in Wing-Tsit Chan, Chinese Philosophy, Chapter 30 







O ne is qualified to discuss the nature of man when he realizes that death is not annihilation.




Confucianism / Neo Confucianism 2361 | 
Chang Tsai, Cheng-meng, Ch.1, in Wing-Tsit Chan, Chinese Philosophy, Chapter 30 







W hen, in the midst [of this universal operation] the sage fulfills the Way to the utmost, and identifies himself [with the universal processes of appearance and disappearance] without partiality (i.e., lives the best life and takes life and death objectively), his spirit is preserved in the highest degree




Confucianism / Neo Confucianism 2360 | 
Chang Tsai, Cheng-meng, Ch.1, in Wing-Tsit Chan, Chinese Philosophy, Chapter 30 







T he Great Vacuity of necessity consists of material force. Material force of necessity integrates to become the myriad things. Things of necessity disintegrate and return to the Great Vacuity.




Confucianism / Neo Confucianism 2359 | 
Chang Tsai, Cheng-meng, Ch.1, in Wing-Tsit Chan, Chinese Philosophy, Chapter 30 
material force = Qi







A lthough material force in the universe integrates and disintegrates, and attracts and repulses in a hundred ways, nevertheless the principle (li) according to which it operates has an order and is unerring.
As an entity, material force simply reverts to its original substance when it disintegrates and becomes formless. When it integrates and assumes form, it does not lose the eternal principle (of Change).
The Great Vacuity of necessity consists of material force. Material force of necessity integrates to become the myriad things. Things of necessity disintegrate and return to the Great Vacuity.





Confucianism / Neo Confucianism 2358 | 
Chang Tsai, Cheng-meng, Ch.1, in Wing-Tsit Chan, Chinese Philosophy, Chapter 30 







H uman nature at its source is absobutely tranquil and unaffected by externality. When it is affected by contact with the external world, consciousness and knowledge emerge. Only those who fully develop their nature can unify the state of formlessness and unaffectedness, and the state of objectification and affectedness.




Confucianism / Neo Confucianism 2357 | 
Chang Tsai, Cheng-meng, Ch.1, in Wing-Tsit Chan, Chinese Philosophy, Chapter 30 







T he Great Vacuity (Hsu) has no physical form. It is the original substance of material force. Its integration and disintegration are but objectifications caused by Change.




Confucianism / Neo Confucianism 2356 | 
Chang Tsai, Cheng-meng, Ch.1, in Wing-Tsit Chan, Chinese Philosophy, Chapter 30 







T he Great Harmony is called the Way (Tao, Moral Law). It embraces the nature which underlies all counter processes of floating and sinking, rising and falling, and motion and rest. It is the origin of the process of fusion and intermingling, of overcoming and being overcome, and of expansion and contraction. At the commencement, these processes are incipient, subtle, obscure, easy, and simple, but at the end they are extensive, great, strong, and firm. It is ch'ien (Heaven) that begins with the knowledge of Change, and k'un (Earth) that models after simplicity. That which is dispersed, differentiated, and capable of assuming form becomes material force (ch'i), and that which is pure, penetrating, and capable of assuming form becomes spirit. Unless the whole universe is in the process of fusion and intermingling like fleeting forces moving in all directions, it may not be called Great Harmony.




Confucianism / Neo Confucianism 2355 | 
Chang Tsai, Cheng-meng, CORRECTING YOUTHFUL IGNORANCE, Ch.1, in Wing-Tsit Chan, Chinese Philosophy, Chapter 30 







W ealth, honor, blessing, and benefits are meant for the enrichment of my life, while poverty, humble station, and sorrow are meant to help me to fulfillment.




Confucianism / Neo Confucianism 2354 | 
Chang Tsai, Cheng-meng, 1:1a-6b , THE WESTERN INSCRIPTION, in Wing-Tsit Chan, Chinese Philosophy, Chapter 30 







H e who disobeys [the Principle of Nature] violates virtue. He who destroys humanity is a robber. He who promotes evil lacks [moral] capacity. But he who puts his moral nature into practice and brings his physical existence into complete fulfillment can match [Heaven and Earth].




Confucianism / Neo Confucianism 2353 | 
Chang Tsai, Cheng-meng, ch 17, THE WESTERN INSCRIPTION, in Wing-Tsit Chan, Chinese Philosophy, Chapter 30 







H eaven is my father and Earth is my mother, and even such a small creature as I finds an intimate place in their midst.
Therefore that which fills the universe I regard as my body and that which directs the universe I consider as my nature.
All people are my brothers and sisters, and all things are my companions.





Confucianism / Neo Confucianism 2352 | 
Chang Tsai, Cheng-meng, ch. 17, THE WESTERN INSCRIPTION, in Wing-Tsit Chan, Chinese Philosophy, Chapter 30 





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