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|Other Titles:||Laotze Shall Not Be Considered as Trickery and Craftiness--The Explanation of Chapter 36, Tao Te Ching from the Viewpoint of Scholars of the Ming Dynasty|
Department of Chinese, NTNU
Scholars of the Ming Dynasty had criticized and examined Laotze in various aspects. One of the prevalent arguments focused on Chapter 36 of Tao Te Ching. It was because the concise and paradoxical language of Laotze that created ambiguity. The obscure meaning would inevitably lead to distinct explanation. Consequently, most of the famed Confucians of the Song Dynasty, such as the Cheng brothers, Chu Hsi (朱熹) and Su Che(蘇轍), had considered Laotze as trickery and craftiness according to their (mis) interpretation and (mis) understanding of Chapter 36. There were two ways to review Chapter 36. One was based on Analog to Laotze authored by Han Fei (韓非) and the viewpoint of the Song Confucians. The other was from the viewpoint of the Ming scholars. The latter controverted the former's contention that Laotze should be considered as trickery and craftiness. The Ming Scholars addressed this issue in two aspects. First, they clarified the definition of "固" (literally means "originally") and differentiated it from "故" (purposely) and "姑" (tentatively). The key word "originally" was in accord with Laotze philosophy that highlighted the causality by nature. The Song Confucians referred "固" to "故" or "姑" that was associated with tricky and crafty scheme. For this reason, the Ming scholars attributed the Song Confucians' misunderstanding of Chapter 36 to the misinterpretation of "固". Second, they reaffirmed the true meaning connoted in Chapter 36 that all things would develop in the opposite direction as soon as they reached extremity. Therefore, the perception of nature implies that soft and weak overcome hard and strong. The Ming scholars' efforts to redress the fallacy of the Song Confucians on Laotze would be helpful to clear up the incipient concept of Laotze philosophy and its evolution into Huang-Lao Taoism in the later period.
|Appears in Collections:||中國學術年刊|
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