An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Chuxue beiwang 初學備忘

Nov 19, 2013 © Ulrich Theobald

Chuxue beiwang 初學備忘 "Primeary education as preparedness against forgetting" is a short book on learning written by the early Qing-period 清 (1611-1674) scholar Zhang Lüxiang 張履祥 (1611-1674). It is arranged in the pattern of discussions between students.

The first fifty paragraphs describe the formation of a motive to learn (xian xu li zhi 先須立志), and how to break a path to successful studies with the help of friends and teachers, the last fifty paragraphs provide concrete examples to realize these two objectives, both successful ones and failures.

A student has to love real facts and practical truth (zui xi shi shi 最喜是實). Zhang Lüxiang so criticized the vain talks (kong yan 空言) of the Neo-Confucians that loved theoretizing and neglected practice. In his eyes, students had to combine (xiang jian 相兼) livelihood and studies. Only those who had learnt the hardship of a farmer's life would be able to establish a honest, humble and sincere will. With such an "empty (i.e. neutral) heart" (xu xin 虛心), nourished by virtuous conduct, studies would be successful and result in the creation of a talented person ripe to take over social resonsibility.

The text is written in a very simple language and therefore convenient to be read by young students. It is included in the series Xuehai leibian 學海類編, Yang Yuan xiansheng quanji 楊園先生全集 and Congshu jicheng chubian 叢書集成初編.

Jiaoyu da cidian bianzuan weiyuanhui 《教育大辭典》編纂委員會, ed. (1991). Jiaoyu da cidian 教育大辭典, Part 8, Zhongguo gudai jiaoyu shi 中國古代教育史 (Shanghai: Shanghai jiaoyu chubanshe), Vol. 1, 214, 306.