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Lixue zongzhuan 理學宗傳


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The Lixue zongzhuan 理學宗傳 "Biographical Account of the Masters of Neo-Confucianism" is a collection of biographies of philosophers written by the early Qing period 清 (1644-1911) scholar Sun Qifeng 孫奇逢 (1584-1675), courtesy name Sun Qitai 孫啟泰 or Sun Zhongyuan 孫鍾元, style Xiafeng xiansheng 夏峯先生. He came from Rongzheng 容城, Hebei, and was a supporter of the court faction of Zuo Guangdou 左光斗, Wei Dazhong 魏大中 and Zhou Shunchang 周順昌. When these were thrown into jail, he propagated their innocence and collected funds to buy them free. Although several times recommended for promotion, he never obtained a post under the Ming dynasty 明 (1368-1644), and refused to take over the post of chairman of the Directorate of Education (guozijian 國子監) that was offered to him by the new Qing regime. The property of his family was seized and he was forced to Rongxian 輝縣, where he had to live as a farmer at Xiafeng near Sumen 蘇門.
Sun Qifeng#s 26 juan "scrolls" long book was finished in 1666 and is included in Sun's collected writings Sun Xiafeng quanji 孫夏峯全集. It was first printed in 1880 by the Zhejiang Publishing House 浙江書局. Sun Qifeng admired the Neo-Confucian masters Lu Jiuyuan 陸九淵 from the Southern Song 南宋 (1127-1279) and Wang Yangming 王陽明 (Wang Shouren 王守仁) from the Ming period, and in his older years also studied the writings of the brothers Cheng Hao 程顥 and Cheng Yi 程頤 and Zhu Xi 朱熹. Sun Qifeng attracted a lot of disciples, the most important of which were Tang Bin 湯斌, Geng Jie 耿介 and Wei Xiangshu 魏象樞. He has written a lot of studies on Confucian writings and Neo-Confucian masters, like Sishu jinzhi 四書近旨, Shangshu jinzhi 尚書近旨, Du Yi dazhi 讀易大旨, Lixue chuanxin zuanyao 理學傳心纂要, Zhongzhou renwu kao 中州人物考 and Suihanju wenda 歲寒居答問. Sun Qifeng compared the "family tree" (zong 宗) of the Confucian masters with the great guideline (tong 統) that connected all parts of a state and the kinship bonds (xi 係) of a family. The core teachings of the Neo-Confucian masters were Heaven (tian 天) and the human heart or mind (xin 心). As embodiment of Heaven's intentions Confucian teachings were all based on Heaven, and therefore "orthodox". Anyone wanting to fathom the original meaning of heaven had therefore to study the Confucian writings and the teachings of the Confucian masters. It was especially the Neo-Confucian masters of the Northern Song period 北宋 (960-1126) who established an orthodox line of tradition that was handed down from Zhou Dunyi 周敦頤, the brothers Cheng, Zhang Zai 張載 and Shao Yong 邵雍 to Zhu Xi, Lu Jiuyuan, Xue Xuan 薛瑄, Wang Yangming (Wang Shouren), Luo Hongxian 羅洪先 and Gu Xiancheng 顧憲成. For each of these eleven master, Sun Qifeng has written a short biography and a summary of his philosophy. He informs the reader about the masters' writings and later commentaries to these. The process of the compilation of the Lixue zongzhuan was very complex and underwent three revisions, before the final version came into being after three decades of work.
The first half of the book (juan 1-11) include the biographies of the most important Song 宋 (960-1279) and Yuan period 元 (1279-1368) philosophers. The next chapters are dedicated to important Confucians of the Han 漢 (206 BCE-220 CE), Sui 隋 (581-618) and Tang 唐 (618-907), Song, Yuan and Ming periods.The last chapter is an appendix to the book and adds six biographies. Sun Qifeng himself was not directly inclined to any of the traditions (xuepai 派學) he describes. Huang Zongxi 黄宗羲 criticized Sun Qifeng for not having been able to give clear distinctions of the different teaching traditions. Yet for Sun this was apparently not an important point, but rather, as Zhang Mu 張沐 has said, that the reader would be able to see that although no new "classics" had been written after Confucius, and although no "saint" had emerged since then, anyone would nonetheless have a chance to develop the same skills as the ancient rulers and sage kings of the past.
The Lixue zongzhuan is a very concise overview of the most important teachings of Neo-Confucianism and their forerunners.


Source: Shi Zhonglian 施忠連 (1992), "Lixue zongzhuan 理學宗傳", in Zhongguo xueshu mingzhu tiyao 中國學術名著提要, Zhexue 哲學卷 (Shanghai: Fudan daxue chubanshe), p. 738.

October 5, 2013 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail
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