Discourses of Max Scheler and Confucianists in the Song and Ming dynasties on the sense of unity: a phenomenological and comparative religious study

ZHANG Renzhi1

(1.Department of Philosophy and Institute of Phenomenology, Sun Yat-Sen University)

【Abstract】Max Scheler attempted to build a bridge for communication between the phenomenological descriptions of the nature of the sense of unity and the comparative religious studies of the phenomena of the sense of unity in different cultural circles, but he hardly noticed the thoughts in the ideological traditional of ancient China about the sense of unity with the cosmos, especially the thought of “oneness of all things” in the Neo-Confucianism of the Song and Ming dynasties. The doctrines on “oneness of all things” developed by the Confucianists of the Song and Ming dynasties contain multiple dimensions of metaphysics, the study of tizhi (realizing the innate knowing) and self-cultivation, social political connotations, etc., and are of profound significance to the comparative religious study of the “sense of unity.” Fundamentally, Max Scheler’s “sense of unity” and the Confucian doctrines of “oneness of all things” both have to face the social and political reality, and they share the same spirit and ambition of “benefiting society and mankind,” as well as the critical task of awakening or realizing the “sense of unity” or the sense of “oneness of all things.” Compared with the slightly mysterious approach of Max Scheler, the Confucian tradition can not only enrich the ideal type of “the sense of unity with the cosmos” (in the formal aspect), but can also provide new and practical techniques for “re-cultivating the sense of unity with the cosmos” at the levels of ethics and the theory of self-cultivation.

【Keywords】 phenomenology; study of comparative religion; sense of unity; oneness of all things; order of love;

【DOI】

【Funds】 2012 Youth Program of The National Social Science Fund of China (12CZX047)

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    [1]. ① Vgl. M. Scheler, Wesen und Formen der Sympathie/Die Deutsche Philosophie der Gegenwart, GW 7, Bern und München 1973, S. 10. [^Back]

    [2]. ① Vgl. Scheler, GW 7, S. 12f. [^Back]

    [3]. ② Due to the similarity of the subjects under discussion, the text in this part on “Classification of the Phenomena of Fellow-Feeling” and the text in Part 4 on the order of dependence among these patterns of feeling and the ethical significance of the sense of unity are extracted from one of the previous essays of the author, Love and Sympathy: Order of Dependence in Max Scheler’s Ideology (originally published in Zhejiang Academic Journal (浙江学刊), (3)(2003)). The author hereby thanks the original publisher. [^Back]

    [4]. ③ Vgl. Scheler, GW 7, S. 24. [^Back]

    [5]. ①⑤ Scheler, GW 7, S. 29. [^Back]

    [6]. ② For relevant discussions, please refer to Yu, X. Journal of Sun Yat-Sen University (Social Science Edition) (中山大学学报•社科版), (3): 106–114, (2014). [^Back]

    [7]. ③ Of course, we will see later in this paper that this metaphysical sense of unity will eventually be applied by Max Scheler in his phenomenological personal ethics, and thus has a kind of ethical significance. [^Back]

    [8]. ④ Scheler, GW 7, S. 35. [^Back]

    [9]. ⑥⑦ Vgl. Scheler, GW 7, S. 46. [^Back]

    [10]. ⑧ Here, Max Scheler cited Tagore. Further reference of the cited text can be made to Tagore. Sadhana: The Realization of Life. Gong, J. (trans.) Zhang, J. (colls.) Beijing: The Commercial Press, (2010), especially to the first chapter, “The Relation of the Individual to the Universe.” [^Back]

    [11]. ① Scheler, GW 7, S. 89–91. [^Back]

    [12]. ② Here, Max Scheler juxtaposed the thoughts of China (represented by Laozi) and that of India to distinguish them from the world-view of ancient Greece (Vgl. Scheler, GW 7, S. 93). [^Back]

    [13]. ③Scheler, GW 7, S. 94. [^Back]

    [14]. ④ Vgl. Scheler, GW 7, S. 94f. [^Back]

    [15]. ⑤ Max Scheler also stressed that such an ideological movement was rooted in the separation in ancient Greek ideology between spirit and life, and between Logos and Psyche, because it is precisely this separation that greatly diminished the general importance of the sense of unity as a road to metaphysical knowledge and unity, and created an entirely new plane of purely spiritual relationships of men to things, to one another, and to God; and it is only upon this plane that true fellow-feeling and spontaneous spiritual love first become possible. In other words, when it comes to the sense of unity, two ideological tendencies already exist in ancient Greek thoughts: the cult of “Orphism,” a romantic harking-back in reaction against this spiritual disintegration of identification, the other the so-called “Apollinism” (Vgl. Scheler, GW 7, S. 94). Moreover, these two tendencies would also manifest themselves in new forms in the modern West. As for relevant discussions, please refer to [France] Hadot, P. The Veil of Isis: An Essay on the History of the Idea of Nature. Zhang, B. (trans.) Shanghai: East China Normal University Press, (2015). [^Back]

    [16]. ⑥ Scheler, GW 7, S. 97. [^Back]

    [17]. ⑦ For relevant discussions, see also John R. White,“Exemplary Persons and Ethics: The Significance of St. Francis for the Philosophy of Max Scheler”, in: American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly, Vol. 79, No. 1 (2005), pp. 57–90. [^Back]

    [18]. ⑧ Vgl. Max Scheler, Die Wissensformen und die Gesellschaft, Bern / München 1980, GW 8, S. 64, 442. [^Back]

    [19]. ① The Confucian concept of “oneness of all things” is translated into German as “die Einheit mit allen Wesen” (by Iso Kern), “das Einssein mit allen Dingen” or “die Einheit Allen Seins” (by Monika Übelhör/Yu Beihe), as in the following publications respectively: I. Kern, Das Wichtigste im Leben. Wang Yangming (1472–1529) und seine Nachfolger über die, Verwirklichung des ursprünglichen Wissens, Basel: Schwabe 2010; Monika Übelhör (Yu Beihe), Wang Gen (1483–1541) und seine Lehre. Eine kritische Position im späten Konfuzianismus; Berlin: Reimer 1986; Kenji Shimada, Die neo-Konfuzianische Philosophie. Dieschullichen Chuhsis Und Wang Yang-mings, Übers von Monika Übelhör, Berlin: Reimer2 (1987). [^Back]

    [20]. ② The cross-cultural comparative religious study in this sense will not be reflected as a far-fetched comparison among different cultures, but will rather be of the same nature as that of the phenomenological study of sociology of knowledge developed by Max Scheler. [^Back]

    [21]. ③ Wing-tsit Chan once mentioned that “Zhang Zai extended ‘ren'' to the existence of all things, and the conclusion drawn therefrom was the extremely important theory of ‘being one with Heaven and Earth’.” See Wing-tsit Chan. The Evolution of the Confucian Concept Jen (ren). Long, D. (trans.), in Jiang, X. (ed.) Chinese Philosophy in the English World (英语世界中的中国哲学). Beijing: China Renmin University Press, 17–45 (2009). The content here is on page 28. [^Back]

    [22]. ④ However, Qian Mu clearly traced the idea of “oneness of all things” back to Zhou Dunyi’s Taiji Tushuo (Explanations of the Diagram of the Supreme Ultimate 太极图说), see Qian, M. A Summary of Wang Yangming’s Doctrines, in Complete Works of Mr. Qian Mu (Newly Revised Edition) (钱穆先生全集). Beijing: Jiuzhou Press, 2 (2011); see also Chen, L. Wang Yangming’s Theory of “Oneness of All Things” Viewed from a “Self-cultivation - Realization” Perspective (王阳明“万物一体”论——从“身-体的立场看”). Beijing: East China Normal University Press, 27, note 1 (2008). Regarding the evolution and basic connotations of the ideology of “oneness of all things,” there have been many beneficial achievements in the research community. Some of the major ones are listed as follows: Chen, L. Wang Yangming’s Theory of “Oneness of All Things” Viewed from a “Self-cultivation - Realization” Perspective; Lin, Y. One Substance and One Body: The Connotation and Modern Significance of the Confucian Concept of Oneness of All Things, in Lin, Y. Interpretation and Self-cultivation -Transcendental Ambition and Internal Dialectics of Neo-Confucianism in Song and Ming Dynasties (Revised Edition) (诠释与工夫——宋明理学的超越蕲向与内在辩证(增订版)). Taipei: “Institute of Chinese Literature and Philosophy, Academia Sinica,” 1–32 (2012); Chen, L. The Ontology of Ren (仁学本体论). Beijing: Joint Publishing Company, (2014), especially in “Part 7: Oneness of All Things”; [Japan] Kenji Shimada: Shushigaku to Yōmeigaku (The Learnings of Zhu Xi and Wang Yangming). Jiang, G. (trans.) Xi’an: Shaanxi Normal University Press, (1986). In the following historical narrative and discussion in this paper, the author makes multiple references to the above works, and hereby expresses his sincere thanks. [^Back]

    [23]. ⑤ Cheng, H. & Cheng, Y. Er Cheng Ji (I) (二程集). Wang, X. (puncs.). Beijing: Zhonghua Book Company, 16 (2006). [^Back]

    [24]. ⑥ For in-depth discussions of Mencius and Zhang Zai on the thought of “oneness of all things,” please refer to Peng, G., The Confucian Tradition: Between Religion and Humanism (儒家传统: 宗教与人文主义之间). Beijing: Peking University Press, (2007), “Chapter 2: Interpretation of Mencius’ Idea of ‘All things are already complete in us’,” and “Chapter 3: The Religious Humanism of ‘Oneness of all things’: an Investigation Centered on Ximing (The Western Inscription).” [^Back]

    [25]. ① Qian Mu also pointed out that “the issue of ‘oneness of all things’ was not unique to Confucianism of the Song Dynasty. Judging from the ideological history of all ethnic groups, this issue has been put forward and discussed for so many times that it is impossible to keep exact records.” (see Qian, M. A Summary of Wang Yangming’s Doctrines, in Complete Works of Mr. Qian Mu (Newly Revised Edition) (钱穆先生全集). Beijing: Jiuzhou Press, 2 (2011)). [^Back]

    [26]. ②④ See [Japan] Kenji Shimada: Shushigaku to Yōmeigaku (The Learnings of Zhu Xi and Wang Yangming). Jiang, G. (trans.) Xi’an: Shaanxi Normal University Press, 30 (1986) [^Back]

    [27]. ③ [Switzerland] Kern, I. Matteo Ricci and Buddhism. Zhang Q. (trans.) originally published in Kern, I. The Phenomenon of the Mind-Collected Works of Iso Kern’s Phenomenological Studies of Mind and Nature. Beijing: The Commercial Press, 102 (2012), note 1. [^Back]

    [28]. ⑤ Professor Chen Lai once pointed out that “a man of ren as in being one with all things” is the internal basis for ‘benefiting the people far and wide and bringing salvation to the multitude,’ and should be put into practice in serving society and addressing social issues”; “the social responsibility, based on the state of being one with Heaven, Earth and the myriad things, to serve society and address social issues, makes the Confucian state of being one with all things distinct from the purely carefree state in Buddhism and Daoism” (Chen, L. The State of Existence or Nonexistence:The Spirit of Wang Yangming’s Philosophy (有无之境——王阳明哲学的精神). Beijing: Peking University Press, 248 (2006)). When Professor Peng Guoxiang talked about the relations between Wang Longxi and the doctrines of Buddhism and Daoism, he also mentioned that “No matter how the intention of benefiting the world is stressed in Buddhism, the empty nature of conditioned-arising is always its fundamental doctrine. Therefore, in Buddhism, social responsibility and the tasks of regulating the family, governing the country, as well as bringing peace to the world will never be of any significance of ultimate reality in the ontological sense; while the Confucian doctrine of oneness of all things holds a positive attitude towards the objective reality of the world ontologically. The fundamental difference between “existence” and “nonexistence” in the ontological sense makes Confucianism and Buddhism distinct from each other. The same is true for Confucianism and Daoism.” (See Peng, G. The Expansion of the Doctrine of Innate Knowing: Wang Longxi and Wang Yangming’s Doctrines in the Middle and Late Ming Dynasty (良知学的展开——王龙溪与中晚明的阳明学). Beijing: Joint Publishing Press, 265 (2005)). [^Back]

    [29]. Er Cheng Ji (I) (二程集), 16–17. [^Back]

    [30]. Er Cheng Ji (I) (二程集), 15. [^Back]

    [31]. Er Cheng Ji (I) (二程集), 74. [^Back]

    [32]. ③ Chen L., Wang Yangming’s Theory of “Oneness of All Things” Viewed from a “Self-cultivation-Realization” Perspective, 8. [^Back]

    [33]. ④ In recent years, Du Weiming has developed the term of “tizhi” (comprehension/realization of the innate knowing through self-cultivation) into a core concept of Confucianism. Reference can be made to several papers originally published in the fifth volume of Collected Writings of Du Weiming, Wuhan Publishing House, (2002), such as “On the Confucian Concept of ‘Ti Zhi’: the Connotation of the Knowing of the Moral Nature,” “Self-cultivation and Ti Zhi,” and “Modern Interpretation of the Confucian Tradition of ‘Ti Zhi’.” For further discussions on this subject in recent years, reference can be made to papers such as Huang Yong’s “Wang Yangming Between Humanism and Anti-Humanism – the Innate Knowing as Ti Zhi = Belief/Desire ≠ Monster”, in Chen S. (ed.)Ti Zhi and Humanities (体知与人文学). Beijing: Huaxia Publishing House, 147–165 (2008); Chen, L., The “Mind” and “Body”: the Aspect of Ti Zhi in Confucian Self-cultivation, in Chen, L. “Self-cultivation” and “Interpretation”: A Collection of Confucian Discourses and Treatises in the Song and Ming Dynasties (身体”与“诠释”——宋明儒学论集). Taipei: Taiwan University Publishing Center, 71–110 (2011). [^Back]

    [34]. ⑤ For the discussions on Cheng Hao’s doctrine of ren as in being one with all things, reference can also be made to Fang X. Academic Monthly (学术月刊), (2) (2005). [^Back]

    [35]. ⑥ Zhang, Z. Ximing (The Western Inscriptions), in Zhang X. (puncs.) The Collected Works of Zhang Zai (张载集). Beijing: Zhonghua Book Company, 62 (1985). [^Back]

    [36]. ⑦ Zhang, Z. Ximing (The Western Inscriptions), in Zhang X. (puncs.) The Collected Works of Zhang Zai (张载集). Beijing: Zhonghua Book Company, 21 (1985). [^Back]

    [37]. ⑧ Later, Hu Hong (also known as Wu Feng, 1102–1161) further pointed out that “Only he who understands that all things are already complete in him can be called a person; if there is still one thing excluded from this comprehension, his ren ceases to be; only he who unites all his people in harmony can be called a sovereign; if there is still one person excluded from his ren, the sovereign ceases to be.” (See Hu, H. Zhiyan, in Collected Works of Hu Hong (胡宏集), Wu, R. (puncs.) Beijing: Zhonghua Book Company, 4 (2009)). [^Back]

    [38]. ⑨ Zhang Z. Ximing (The Western Inscriptions), in Zhang X. (puncs.) The Collected Works of Zhang Zai (张载集). Beijing: Zhonghua Book Company, 24 (1985). [^Back]

    [39]. ① Zhang Z. Ximing (The Western Inscriptions), in Zhang X. (puncs.) The Collected Works of Zhang Zai (张载集). Beijing: Zhonghua Book Company, 20 (1985). [^Back]

    [40]. ② See [Japan] Kenji Shimada: Shushigaku to Yōmeigaku (The Learnings of Zhu Xi and Wang Yangming). Jiang, G. (trans.) Xi’an: Shaanxi Normal University Press, 87 (1986) [^Back]

    [41]. ③ Professor Chen Lai once mentioned that The Great Learning itself did not talk about the idea of oneness of all things, and the fact that Wang Yangming used this idea to interpret the principle of “benefiting society and mankind” in The Great Learning clearly showed that he focused his thought of “oneness of all things” on the aspects of “benefiting the people far and wide and bringing salvation to the multitude,” as well as “treating people with ren and loving all things.” (See Chen L. The State of Existence or Nonexistence: The Spirit of Wang Yangming’s Philosophy, 240). [^Back]

    [42]. ④⑤⑥⑦ Wang, Y. Volume 3 of Complete Works of Wang Yangming (New Edition) (王阳明全集(新编本)). Wu, G., Qian, M., Dong, P. et al. (eds.) Hangzhou: Zhejiang Ancient Books Publishing House, 1015 (2011). [^Back]

    [43]. ① Wang, Y. Volume 3 of Complete Works of Wang Yangming (New Edition) (王阳明全集(新编本)). Wu, G., Qian, M., Dong, P. et al. (eds.) Hangzhou: Zhejiang Ancient Books Publishing House, 1015–1016 (2011). [^Back]

    [44]. ② Wang, Y. Chuan Xi Lu (Instructions for Practical Living and Other Neo-Confucian Writings), Volume 2, Letter in Reply to Nie Wenwei, Article 179, 258. (Article and page numbers are in accordance with that in Wing-tsit Chan’s Full Annotation and Collected Commentaries of Wang Yangming’s Instructions for Practical Living (王阳明传习录详注集评). Taipei: Student Book Company, (2006)) [^Back]

    [45]. ③ Wang, Y. Recount of Rebuilding Shanyin County Academy, Volume 1 of Complete Works of Wang Yangming (New Edition) (王阳明全集(新编本)), 273-274. [^Back]

    [46]. ④ Wang, Y. Recount of Rebuilding Shanyin County Academy, Volume 1 of Complete Works of Wang Yangming (New Edition) (王阳明全集(新编本)), 274. Professor Chen Lai once accurately summed up the essential meaning of Wang Yangming’s thought of oneness of all things into three levels: First, oneness of all things is a spiritual state which is specifically reflected as seeing other as self; second, oneness of all things also has its ontological meaning in that all things are connected and integrated in “the same qi that circulates in and through all of them”; third, the oneness of all things is not only a spiritual state but also the original substance, and the self-cultivation to realize this this spiritual state consists in the interactions between “revealing the illustrious virtue” and “benefiting society and mankind”; finally, this spiritual state is manifested as “the existence of (the greater) self.” (See Chen, L. The State of Existence or Nonexistence: The Spirit of Wang Yangming’s Philosophy, 245–249). Professor Chen Lisheng even generalized Wang Yangming’s theory of “ren as being one with all things” into six aspects, namely, “the identical qi of all things,” “the conditions of mutual influence and response,” “lineage of clan,” “political dimension” and “harmony between Heaven and man.” For details, see Chen, L., Wang Yangming’s Theory of “Oneness of All Things” Viewed from a “Self-cultivation-Realization” Perspective, 39–62. Both the “three levels” (asserted by Chen Lai) and the “six aspects” (asserted by Chen Lisheng) clearly depict the profound connotation of Yang Ming’s theory of oneness of all things and highlight its “Confucian nature.” Relevant discussions can also be found in publications such as: Yang, G. Reflection on the Learning of Mind: Interpretation of Wang Yangming’s Philosophy (心学之思——王阳明哲学的阐释). China Renmin University Press, 109–119 (2009); Fang X. Zhejiang Social Sciences (浙江社会科学), (2) (2007). [^Back]

    [47]. ⑤ Wang, Y., Letter in Reply to Shu Guoyong, Volume 1 of Complete Works of Wang Yangming (New Edition) (王阳明全集(新编本)), 203. [^Back]

    [48]. ⑥ Wang, Y. Letter in Reply to Gu Dongqiao, Volume 2 of Chuan Xi Lu (Instructions for Practical Living and Other Neo-Confucian Writings), 176, Article 137. [^Back]

    [49]. ⑦ For the ideas of “abandon-preserve” and “lost-recover,” please refer to Wang, Y. Chuan Xi Lu (Instructions for Practical Living and Other Neo-Confucian Writings), Volume 2, 214, Article 152: “Innate knowing is the original substance of the mind. It is what I have just referred to as that which is always shining. The original substance of the mind neither rises nor does not rise. Even when erroneous thoughts arise, innate knowing is present. Only because man does not know how to preserve it is the mind sometimes lost. Even when the mind is most darkened and obstructed, innate knowing is clear. Only because man does not know how to examine it is the mind sometimes obscured. Although it is perhaps sometimes lost, its substance is always present. The thing to do is to preserve it. And although it is perhaps sometimes obscured, its substance is always clear. The thing to do is to examine it.” Also see Wang, Y. Chuan Xi Lu (Instructions for Practical Living and Other Neo-Confucian Writings), Volume 3, 300, Article 222: “The human mind is heaven and it is the abyss. The original substance of the mind contains everything. In fact, it is the whole Heaven. Only because it is hidden by selfish desires is the original substance of heaven lost. The principle of the mind is infinite. In fact, it is the whole abyss. Only because it is obstructed by selfish desires is the original substance of the abyss lost. Now if one extends the innate knowing in every thought and removes all these hindrances and obstacles, its original substance will be recovered and right then it will become both Heaven and abyss.” [^Back]

    [50]. ⑧ Wang, Y. Chuan Xi Lu (Instructions for Practical Living and Other Neo-Confucian Writings), Volume 3, 328, Article 269. [^Back]

    [51]. ① Wang Y. Chuan Xi Lu (Instructions for Practical Living and Other Neo-Confucian Writings), Volume 2, 194–196, Article 142. [^Back]

    [52]. ② Wang Y. Chuan Xi Lu (Instructions for Practical Living and Other Neo-Confucian Writings), Volume 2, 197, Article 143. [^Back]

    [53]. ③ See also A. S. Cua,“Between Commitment and Realization: Wang Yang-Ming’s Vision of the Universe as a Moral Community”, in: Philosophy East and West, Vol. 43, No. 4 (1993), pp. 611–647. Also see Wu, Z. Journal of Hangzhou Normal University (Humanities and Social Sciences) (杭州师范大学学报•社科版), (1) (2010). [^Back]

    [54]. ④ See Zhang, R. Priori of Matter and Generation of Personality: An Ethical Reconstruction of the Non-Formal Value of Max Scheler’s Phenomenology (质料先天与人格生成——对舍勒现象学的质料价值伦理学的重构). Beijing: The Commercial Press, Sections 6.2 and 6.3 (2014). [^Back]

    [55]. ① Vgl. M. Scheler, Vom Ewigen im Menschen, Bern / München 1968, GW 5, S. 371–377. [^Back]

    [56]. ② Vgl. M. Scheler, Schriften aus dem Nachlaβ, Bd. I, GW 10, S. 219–222; M. Scheler, Der Formalismus in der Ethik und die materiale Wertethik, GW 2, S. 481–484. [^Back]

    [57]. ③ Scheler, GW 7, S. 20. [^Back]

    [58]. ④ Vgl. Scheler, GW 7, S. 105–136. [^Back]

    [59]. ① Vgl. Scheler, GW 7, S. 42. [^Back]

    [60]. ② Scheler, GW 7, S. 114. [^Back]

    [61]. ③ Scheler, GW 7, S. 137. [^Back]

    [62]. ④ Scheler, GW 7, S. 135. [^Back]

    [63]. ⑤ Vgl. Scheler, GW 7, S. 117–118. [^Back]

    [64]. ① For relevant cohort studies on the Song and Ming dynasties, please refer to Yang, R., Journal of Philosophical Research of Taiwan (台湾哲学研究), (4), Confucian Philosophy, Taipei: Laurel Book Co., Ltd., 39–86 (2004); Case Study of East Asian Religious Traditions from a Cross-cultural Perspective, Zhong, Z. & Liao, Q. (eds.) Taipei: “Institute of Chinese Literature and Philosophy, Academia Sinica,” 57–102 (2012). For the correlation between sitting meditation and Confucian self-cultivation, please refer to Chen, L. Journal of Guangxi University (Philosophy and Social Science) (广西大学学报•哲社版), (4) (2014). For phenomenological reflections on sitting meditation or silent and still awareness, reference can also be made to Zhang, R. Journal of Sun Yat-sen University (Social Science Edition) (中山大学学报•社科版), (6) (2015). [^Back]

    [65]. ② It is true that there have been many detailed discourses in the academic circle on the debates and discussions among the successors of Wang Yangming on the original substance and self-cultivation, especially the discussions on the ideological relations among Wang Longxi (also known as Wang Ji, 1498–1583), Nie Shuangjiang (also known as Nie Bao, 1487–1563) and Luo Nianan. References can be made to publications such as Lin, Y. The Turning Point of the Learning of Innate Knowing: A Study on the Thoughts of Nie Shuangjiang and Luo Nianan (良知学的转折——聂双江与罗念庵思想之研究). Taipei: Publishing Center of Taiwan University, (2005), Chapter 6, “Debates among Nie Shuangjiang, Luo Nianan and Other Philosophers of Wang Yangming School”; Peng, G. The Expansion of the Learning of Innate Knowing: Doctrines of Wang Longxi and Wang Yangming in the Middle and Late Ming Dynasty (良知学的展开——王龙溪与中晚明的阳明学), Chapter 6 “Debates on the Original Substance and Self-cultivation of Wang Yangming Philosophy in the Middle and Late Ming Dynasty”; Zhang, W. The Life Course and Ideological World of Luo Nianan (罗念庵的生命历程与思想世界), Beijing: Joint Publishing Press, (2009), Chapter 5 “Connotation of the Readily-existent Innate Knowing and Doubts from Nie Shuangjiang and Luo Nianan.”Especially inspiring is Professor Peng Guoxiang’s interpretation of the connotation of Wang Longxi’s teaching of “four absents” and its correlation with the oneness of all things. He pointed out that Wang Longxi’s “four absents” (“the mind absent of good and evil,” “the intention absent of good and evil,” “the knowing absent of good and evil,” “the things absent of good and evil”) inherited Wang Yangming’s double-leveled definition (i.e., the highest excellence in the ontological sense, and the non-attachment and non- stagnation in the sense of spiritual state) of “the absence of good and evil” in the original substance of the mind of the innate knowing, thus the connotation of “four absents” also consists in two levels: the first level refers to the “four absents in the ontological sense”: it involves the ontological aspects of the oneness of all things, while the mind, intention, innate knowing and things under the “four absents” are existences at the same level, hence the “I-you” relations and the whole world manifested under the “four absents” (in the sense of Martin Buber) are exactly “the unity of Heaven, Earth and the myriad of things;” the second level involves the “four absents” in the sense of spiritual state: it refers to the state of perfect goodness of the pervasive heavenly virtue, and the unity of the mind, intention, innate knowing and things under the “four absents” is the ultimate state that can be and should be achieved through the self-cultivation to realize the innate knowing. (See Peng, G. The Expansion of the Learning of Innate Knowing: Doctrines of Wang Longxi and Wang Yangming in the Middle and Late Ming Dynasty (良知学的展开——王龙溪与中晚明的阳明学), 182–207). It can be seen that the reflection on the oneness of all things in Wang Longxi’s teaching of the “four absents” is more related to the metaphysical connotation of oneness of all things in terms of spiritual state. In contrast, a lot of Luo Nianan’s writings are focused on the “tizhi”-based (realization of the innate knowing through self-cultivation) connotation of the oneness of all things in terms of the theory of self-cultivation. To describe the characteristics of study of Wang Longxi and Luo Nianan, Iso Kern once referred to Wang Longxi as a metaphysician and Luo Nianan as an empiricist of psychology. In this sense, he also thinks Luo Nianan is more of a phenomenologist than Wang Longxi (see Lin, Y. Journal of Guangxi University (Philosophy and Social Science) (广西大学学报·哲社版), (3), (2015)). In addition, Wang Xinzhai (also known as Wang Gen, 1483–1541) of the Taizhou branch of Wang Yangming School also expanded on Wang Yangming’s doctrine of the oneness of all things in his Qiu Shan Fu (鳅鳝赋), with special emphasis on the dimension of benefiting the people far and wide and bringing salvation to the suffering multitude (see Chen, L. Neo-Confucianism of Song and Ming Dynasties (宋明理学). Shanghai: East China Normal University Press, 278–280 (2004)). Limited by the purpose of this paper, the author will hereinafter focus on Luo Nianan, who laid more emphasis on the “description of phenomenological experience.” [^Back]

    [66]. ③ See Kern, I. Das Wichtigste im Leben: Wang Yangming (1472–1529) und seine Nachfolger über die “Verwirklichung des ursprünglichen Wissens” (The Most Important Thing in Life: Wang Yangming [1472–1529] and His Successors on the “Realization of Innate Knowing”), Ni, L. (trans.) Beijing: The Commercial Press, 1006 (2014). [^Back]

    [67]. ④ Kern, I. Das Wichtigste im Leben: Wang Yangming (1472–1529) und seine Nachfolger über die “Verwirklichung des ursprünglichen Wissens” (The Most Important Thing in Life: Wang Yangming [1472–1529] and His Successors on the “Realization of Innate Knowing”), Ni, L. (trans.) Beijing: The Commercial Press, 1010 (2014). [^Back]

    [68]. ①③ Luo, H. Letter in Reply to Jiang Daolin, in Collected Writings of Luo Hongxian (罗洪先集), Volume 8, Xu, R. (ed.) Nanjing: Phoenix Publishing House, 300 (2007). [^Back]

    [69]. ② Professor Zhang Weihong emphasized in her recent work that Luo Nianan, due to his close connections with Daoism and due to the consistency of Confucianism and Daoism, developed a unique “ultimate concern that integrated two aspects”: the concern about the secular world originated from the Confucian thought of oneness of all things, and the concern about life and death originated from the Daoist detachment from worldly emotions and affairs. It can be seen that Luo Nianan’s view of life and death is more connected with Daoism due to his personal life experience, but when it comes to the concern about the secular world as in “being one with all things” and related to society and ethics, his view is undoubtedly rooted in Confucianism. (See Zhang, W. Journal of Guangxi University (Philosophy and Social Science) (广西大学学报•哲社版), (6) (2014)) [^Back]

    [70]. ④ See Luo H. Letter in Reply to Jiang Daolin, 298, “In moments of supreme silence, there is a mysterious awakening to my own mind’s emptiness extending to the unbounded on all sides—like air flowing without end across the vast sky. There is no inner and outer to speak of, no distinction between movement and stillness. Above, below and the four directions, the past and the present, blend into one. What is called ‘not existing exists everywhere’ was given expression through my body (faqiao). Bodily form, in the end, was unable to place a limit. Thus, when my eyes worked at their full capacity, Heaven and Earth and the myriad things are within my sight; when my ears worked at their full capacity, all sounds and voices of Heaven and Earth are within my hearing; and when my mind worked at its full capacity, Heaven and Earth is within my thoughts.” [^Back]

    [71]. ⑤ Professor Chen Lisheng’s phenomenological interpretation of the Confucian theory of “self-cultivation - realization” is particularly instructive. For the discussions related to this subject, please refer to Chen, L. Wang Yangming’s Theory of “Oneness of All Things” Viewed from a “Self-cultivation-Realization” Perspective, 73: “Without “self-cultivation”, the oneness of all things becomes a kind of “imagination”; without “self-cultivation - realization” (as in attaining realization through self-cultivation and manifesting the realization through self-cultivation), the oneness of all things becomes a kind of “vision” only; Chen, L. Self-cultivation - Realization” and “Interpretation”: A Collection of Confucian Treatises in the Song and Ming Dynasties, 28:“The Confucian doctrine on ‘self-cultivation – realization’ is not only an ontological study, but also a study of ‘sanctification.’ The ideal of morality is to follow the laws of the universe and abide by the ontological truth of the oneness of all things. In the meantime, this also determines that the practice of being one with all things is a moral law. The ontological principle is realized and embodied in the actual existence of one’s moral practice and the unlimited expansion of the compassion of benefiting all things with one’s self-cultivation.” [^Back]

    [72]. ⑥ Luo, H. Letter in Reply to Jiang Daolin, in Collected Writings of Luo Hongxian (罗洪先集), Volume 8, Xu, R. (ed.) Nanjing: Phoenix Publishing House, 299 (2007). [^Back]

    [73]. ① See Chen, L. Wang Yangming’s Theory of “Oneness of All Things” Viewed from a “Self-cultivation-Realization” Perspective, 174. [^Back]

    [74]. ② Scheler, GW 7, S. 113f. [^Back]

    [75]. ③ [Switzerland] Kern, I. Matteo Ricci and Buddhism, 72–125; and [Switzerland] Kern, I. Wang Yangming and His Successors on the “Realization of the Innate Knowing: Conclusion at the Guizhou Conference, Xiao, D. (trans.) in Journal of Guangxi University (Philosophy and Social Science) (广西大学学报•哲社版), (2) (2015). In fact, Matteo Ricci’s attitude towards the unity of all things involves the cosmological-metaphysical dimension of “the oneness of all things” or “sense of unity,” which the author of this paper will discuss in a separate article. [^Back]

    [76]. ① E. Kelly even believed that “It is not far-fetched to assert that Max Scheler was the personal representation of the first actual entry of Eastern philosophy into the philosophical system of Europe. By “actual entry,” I mean to exclude those Europeans who have submitted themselves to the systems of ideology or practice of Asian philosophy without proper training in Western philosophy, and those who use Asian philosophical theories as a decoration for his own ideology - including Schopenhauer, or to exclude the Asian studies (or studies of Asian ideology) in Europe. “([US] Kelly, E. Scheler’s Phenomenological Buddhism and Metaphysical Buddhism,” Zhang, R. (trans.) in the third edition of Study of Consciousness-only (唯识研究), compiled by Hangzhou Buddhist Academy, Beijing: China Social Sciences Press, 14–24 (2014); this view is at page 24). [^Back]

    [77]. ② For the latest discussion on phenomenological ecology of the body, please refer to [German] Hans Rainer Sepp, Erde und Leib: Ort der Ökologie nach Husserl (Earth and Body: The Place of Ecology according to Husserl), Lu, G. (trans.) in Journal of Guangxi University(Philosophy and Social Science) (广西大学学报·哲社版), (4) (2014); in recent years, there also have been a lot of discussions on the ecological significance of the Confucian theory of oneness of all things, references can be made to publications such as: Chen, L. The Ecological Aspect of the Confucian Doctrine of Ren from the Song and Ming Dynasties, in Chen, L. Research on the Ideological History of Modern China (Revised Edition) (中国近世思想史研究). Beijing: Joint Publishing Press, 41–55 (2010); Lin, Y. One Substance and One Body: The Connotation and Modern Significance of the Confucian Concept of Oneness of All Things; Peng, G. Hebei Academic Journal (河北学刊), (2) (2013); [US] Tucker, M. & Berthrong, J. (eds.) Confucianism and Ecology. Peng, G. & Zhang, R. (trans.) Nanjing: Jiangsu Education Press, (2008). [^Back]

    [78]. ③ In fact, this issue involves the cognitive aspect of “oneness of all things” and needs to be explored in a separate article. [^Back]

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ISSN:1000-4289

CN: 11-1299/B

Vol , No. 04, Pages 19-34

August 2017

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