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The Proprieties and Liu Tsung-Yuan’S Prose Writing
This article probes into Liu Zongyuan’s clan and family backgrounds to discuss his cognitive implication on Lixue (Propriety), and to constitute his notion on Propriety, and his lifestyle which are probably presented by his conducts of life, and possibly by his compositional performance. In his lifetime, Liu Zongyuan conforms to the Way of Confucianism, the relevance between Propriety, and his prosaic creativity is chiefly presented in two aspects: (1) narration, he records his own family, and friends who are well-educated in Propriety, meticulously narrates their self-cultivation in Propriety, and their ways of life, especially, his portrayal of females in his family. He narrates their how-to-respect-and-observe Propriety which implies his own cultivation originated, and grounded in Propriety. (2) argumentation, he emphasizes the intrinsic values of ’Humaneness and Righteousness’ as ’Propriety,’ he discusses how Propriety of the ancients sometimes differs from the current notions； as a status of an officer, he has an opportunity to construct Confucius Temple, and to restore Confucianism. He is also concerned about socio-politico problems, for Propriety plays itself as a directional rule of socio-politico acts, it points straight forward to the foundation of criteria for external-and-concrete affairs, and the search for a stance of life in peace and properness. Put it in this way, we can understand why Liu Zongyuan always emphasizes on the Dao (the Way) that signifies the search for ’helpfulness for current politics, and usefulness for folk,’ his performance of Propriety provides his writings the sense of morality, namely, his classical compositions pay attention to folk’s benefits, helpfully reform, and abolish the misgovernment. By reconstructing the value of social morality, we are able to sense that Guwen movement advocators can make use of Guwen to illuminate the Dao, and the Dao has been restored.
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