Such control lessens a man's attachment to, and service of, his ego. Is not suppression of egoism an important part of all spiritual teaching? He described a standard and ideal to be sought for human behaviour and human social intercourse. Character and conduct need to be disciplined and polished, he affirmed, and proper decorum must enter into one's relations with others. Proper respect must be shown to those entitled to it.
The Chinese rightly considered him a sage who knew the ultimate significance of life, who was enlightened and understood the hidden meaning and the higher purpose of human existence. For these reasons I also advocate that this matter of refined behaviour be regarded in a totally new light as a form of spiritual expression and development.
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He wanted an urbane, civilized, literate society. It is a mistake to believe he taught only a dry wooden ceremonialism. It is true that he was primarily a social lawgiver, but he was also a sage.
It was not only that he sought to provide a fixed pattern for keeping the society of his time peaceful and orderly. His wisdom was not merely worldly wisdom. But its spiritual depth will not be recognized by ordinary persons. His doctrines were crystallized so rigidly that they prevented further new creativity, denied mental freedom, and restricted adaptability to contemporary needs. This was his "Doctrine of the Mean. He embodied his teaching. To them it connotes inherited or acquired wealth used to secure privileged status and denotes a superior arrogant attitude toward lower castes.
The way to Godliness is open to all: the humblest peasant may become holy. But to those who understand that there is an evolution at work among human beings, such a condition, though welcome, is not enough. Confucius perceived this and left it to others to preach religion and mysticism. He added the further ideal of the well-behaved refined and cultivated person. Confucius' "Superior Person" ideal was a well-equilibrated being living in a well-ordered equilibrated society.
It was good to respect ancestors and what was sound in tradition; to respect parents and older, more experienced people; to be kind to children, servants, and animals; and, in the face of trouble or death, to keep an unbroken fortitude. It is not title, rank, wealth, or other outer flummery which makes the real gentleman.
And yet all can contribute towards it by their accompanying obligations. Indeed the exploration of mountains and ravines was strictly banned. Any unnecessary activity which endangered life or risked injury was not allowed as possibly doing violence to the body. To the extent of disapproving of invasive wars and aggressive attacks, Lao Tzu was a pacifist; but he approved of a people's right to defend themselves against aggressors.
It got from Buddhism a cosmology and a philosophy which it lacked itself. This is the man whose emotions are governed by reason and whose reason is guided by the Good. It now forms Chapter 28 of the Confucian classic Book of Rites. He was a pioneer, the first of the Neo-Confucianists belonging to their second revival, which was in the Sung dynasty. Wang Yang-ming was a still later member of this group but of the later Ming Dynasty ll On the latter book see also E. It provides the ethics, the Moral Order, the Law for all things, yet it equates with the Ultimateless explained later.
Tao has one meaning for Confucians as the "Standard of human conduct" but for the Taoists another meaning as the reality behind the cosmos. Yin and Yang are evolved out of the Supreme Ultimate. They are the negative and positive, the quiescent and active, female and male, soft and hard, dark and bright principle.
Through their interaction they bring about all phenomena. Sometimes one prevails, sometimes the other, but at no time is either ever absent. These five stages are successively cyclical and involutionary from spirit down to matter. Ether, though invisible, is considered material. Chou Tun-Yi was influenced by a learned scholar of the classics, Mu Hsiu, who received his ideas from a hermit Chung Fang, who was a disciple of famous Taoist, Chen Tuan.
His official post was as Prefect of Nanchang, in Kiangsi. He built a mountain retreat near Kuling which he called the Lien Hsi Studio. It is the first appearance within space and time.
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This point turns itself into the line, whose two ends oppose and complement each other. This is the cosmic symbol of universal polarity, called by the Chinese Yin-Yang, or masculine-feminine, positive and negative, projective and receptive, creation and disintegration. The next phase of this dynamic active process is, still speaking symbolically, the development which spreads itself out into the entire Cosmos itself, like a fan, moving by itself as if by magic. Out of their own thinking the Greeks developed somewhat similar mystical, metaphysical, and mathematical ideas whose geometry is based on the point, the line, the plane, and the solid.
This exactly explains the message of philosophy to every man. No education which ignores this can therefore be called a full education, perhaps not even a true one. Chou Tun-Yi wrote, "The way of the sage is nothing but love, righteousness, the Mean, and correctness. Preserve it, and it will be ennobling. Practise it, and it will be beneficial. Prolong it, and it will match Heaven and Earth.
Is it not easy and simple? Is it hard to know? If so, it is because we do not preserve, practise, and prolong it. His teaching, a Monistic Idealism, reached its culmination with Wang Yang-ming , who expounded and developed it.
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Lu Hsiang-shan lectured for several years at Elephant Mountain in Kiangsi, so called himself "the old man of Elephant Mountain. In the national examination for governmental posts, his paper stood out as distinctive among several thousand. He was given an official post in the Imperial Academy. His lectures were so eloquent as to attract large crowds. When the celebrated Chu Hsi asserted that width of knowledge should be considered the foundation of virtue, Lu replied that discovery of the Original Mind should precede it.
When he became a magistrate, he proved himself to be as practical in worldly matters as he was penetrating in metaphysical ones. He rebuilt the crumbling city walls, eliminated official extravagance, reduced corruption, cut down crime, and quickened legal proceedings. Yet later he declined promotion, for, with all this activity, he continued to lecture whenever possible.
He died peacefully after telling his family, "I am going to die," and sitting in meditation for several hours. Some of his sayings and his few writings were collected together and it was this book that Wang Yang-ming republished in , so highly did he esteem it. One should cultivate the feeling of Reverence, taught Lu. He writes: "It is incorrect to explain that the Mind of man is equivalent to desire and the Mind of Spirit to Heavenly Law.
How can man have two Minds?
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Mind and Law do not admit of dualism. This Mind has no beginning or end; it permeates everywhere. Evil is an inescapable fact and a practical experience. A scholarly man must first make firm his will. Chan Fou-min, a pupil of Lu, wrote: "I sat quietly with closed eyes, exerting myself to hold fast and preserve my Mind.
Through the night into the following day, I did this for half a month. Suddenly I realized that my Mind had been restored to its purity and brightness, and was standing in the Mean chung that is, without inclination or deflection. Lu: "Establish yourself, sit straight, fold hands, collect your forces, and become lord over yourself. Be without thought, immovable, silent, without action, practise non-assertion wu wei. If, a hundred thousand generations hence, sages were to appear, they would have this same Mind. If in the East, the West, the South, or the North, there were to appear sages, they too would have this same Mind.
Mind is only one Mind. The Mind of any given person, or of a sage a thousand generations ago, their Minds are all one like this. All men have this Mind. But there are some things which cannot be controlled, and such will in future also require effort.
That is why one must get knowledge of what Heaven has bestowed upon us. If we succeed in developing what Heaven has thus bestowed, so rich and noble, then one will automatically keep away from evil and depravity. One will only adhere to the upright and, furthermore, will understand that with which we have been innately endowed. Students came to his lectures in crowds from all districts in Eastern Cathay. Yet his ardent conviction of mentalism's truth did not diminish in any way his capability and efficiency as a government official.
On the contrary, so satisfied were his superiors with his practical performance in minor positions that he was appointed governor and magistrate of the city of Ching-Men-Hsien, where he was highly successful in fulfilling all his responsibilities. He was offered a still higher promotion but refused it, for in between his duties and in leisure hours he also found time to teach students and give lectures. They are not "Subjective Idealists" in a solipsistic sense, for they hold there is one Universal Mind under the finite ones.