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Zhu Xi
2006-07-04 17:33 ¡¡ ¡¡

Zhu Xi (1130-1200), a native of Wuyuan of ancient Huizhou Prefecture (today¡¯s Wuyuan, Jiangxi Province), is a distinguished thinker, educator, and the most outstanding Chinese philosopher of Neo-Confucianism. Zhu Xi contributed to Confucian philosophy by articulating what was to become the orthodox Confucian interpretation of a number of beliefs in Taoism and Buddhism. He adapted some ideas from these competing religions into his form of Confucianism. According to him, the normative principle of human nature is pure and good. Expressed in concrete form human nature is less than perfect, but it can be refined through self-cultivation based on study of the classics. All things are brought into being by two universal elements: vital (or physical) force, and law or rational principle. Zhu Xi developed Cheng Hao and Cheng Yi¡¯s Confucian ideas, setting up the first voluminous and integrated idealistic philosophical system in the ancient China, which was called ¡°Cheng & Zhu¡¯s Neo-Confucianism¡±. The Neo-Confucianism became the govermental orthodox in the late period of Chinese feudalism society. Zhu Xi and some other scholars codified what is now considered the Confucian canon of classics: the Four Books; and the Five Classics: the Classic of Poetry, the Classic of History, the Book of Changes (I Ching), the Classic of Rites and the Spring and Autumn Annals. Zhu Xi also wrote extensive commentaries for all of these classics.

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