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Lu Xiangshan and chan buddhism

Authors Wong, Chi Ho (黄志豪)
Issue Date 2003
Summary Lu Xiangshan, one of the founders of the Confucian School of Mind, was an important and dominant figure in the history of Chinese Philosophy since the Southern Song dynasty. Lu established the philosophical system of the School of Mind, and participated in philosophical controversies which happened during his time. However, Lu was frequently accused of being too closed to Chan Buddhism, which meant that he had betrayed the Confucian tradition. Attacks were triggered off by his contemporaries Zhu Xi and Zhu's followers, who were the leader and members of another prominent Confucian school, the School of Principle, at that time. Zhu regarded Lu's teaching as Chan Buddhism, not belonging to the Confucian tradition. Lu argued against Zhu that his teaching was inherited from Mencius directly, and that he was in line with the orthodoxy of Confucianism. In order to confirm the real status of Lu, this thesis adopts a philosophical approach to compare and contrast the similarities and differences between Lu Xiangshan and Huineng, the founder of the Southern School of Chan Buddhism. The central conception of Lu's philosophy of Mind is Original Mind. which refers to the inner moral subjectivity of human beings. Original Mind equals to the Ultimate Principle of the universe: its moral nature also comes from the latter. Through the actualisation of the Original Mind, everyone makes moral judgement self-consciously, ignores selfish desires, does the right things and performs good behaviour, and eventually becomes a sage. Moreover, for the sake of moral upbringing. self-advancement and meditation are always emphasized and advocated in Lu's lectures. Self Nature assumes a core position in Huineng's Chan doctrine. which is an innate quality or ability and a kind of subjectivity aiming at enlightenment. This subjectivity always activates with its functions. When it functions, it performs simultaneously and continuously a non-attachable and non-negligible attitude towards the world. This attitude is also embodied in Huineng's perception of value judgement, meditation and the function of words and texts. By examining the similarities and differences between Lu and Huineng, I discovered that both thinkers have superficial similarities, like the inner subjectivity, and that words and texts do not have any priority in realizing the subjectivity, etc. Nevertheless, Lu and Huineng indeed have a great difference in their thoughts, which includes the nature of the subjectivity, the realm of the ideal life, the understanding of meditation and the ultimate value of morality. These issues bear different meanings and standpoints when they are viewed in the contexts of Lu's and Huineng's philosophies. It is hard to make any conciliation with each other. In a nutshell, it may be said that Lu was affected by Chan Buddhism, but this influence must be limited to a relatively small extent. The likeness of Lu's philosophy to Chan Buddhism is merely in a methodological sense. Lu's core ideas and main themes undoubtedly follow the Confucian model (especially the Mencian one) and has his own elaborations and interpretations.
Note Thesis (M.Phil.)--Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, 2003
Language Chinese
Format Thesis
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