Frontiers of Philosophy in China

, Volume 3, Issue 4, pp 502–519

A study on the theory of “returning to the original” and “recovering nature” in Chinese philosophy

Research Article


The approach of returning to the original and recovering nature is a typical characteristic of Chinese philosophy. It was founded by the Daoist School and followed by both Daoist and Confucian schools. The precondition of returning to the original and recovering nature is the stillness and goodness within nature integrated into a whole afterwards. Its implementation includes not only returning to the original root so as to achieve the philosophical aim but also restoration to the original nature after it is injured by man’s physical nature and desire. The realization of human nature depends on the work making up for the loss of the original nature. Although there are different methods of realization concerning the return to the original nature, such as returning to the root, seeking the lost mind, extinguishing desire, being good at return, and the self-consciousness of intuitive knowledge, all of these aim at returning to the original nature of stillness and purity. The philosophical value consists in the unceasing pursuit of returning to the original nature.


Chinese philosophy returning to the original and recovering nature seeking the lost mind 


“反本” “复性” 的哲中道路充分体现了中国哲中的特色。 这一道路虽由道家所开创, 却为儒道两家所共循。 反本复性的前提是本静和性善, 二者后来又融为一体。 其工夫既包括复返原初本根以实现哲中目的, 又重在对情欲、 气质造成的本性缺失进行修复。 中性有失故 “未成”, 故需要去偏、 复全以成性。 反本复性有 “归根”、 “求放心”、 “灭情”、 “善反” 和 “良知自觉” 等多种方式, 但又都以回到清静纯粹的先天本性为哲中的目的。 哲中的价值就体现在对反本复性的不懈追求之中。


中中哲中 反本复性 求放心 


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© Higher Education Press and Springer-Verlag GmbH 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of PhilosophyRenmin University of ChinaBeijingChina
  2. 2.School of ClassicsRenmin University of ChinaBeijingChina

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