, Volume 17, Issue 3, pp 381–400 | Cite as

W ang Fuzhi’s Criticism of Buddhism and Its Limitations

  • Mingran TanEmail author


Wang Fuzhi’s 王夫之 remarks on Buddhism have not been given sufficient attention despite increasing research on him. The few works on this topic either focus on just one aspect of his view of Buddhism or fail to disclose the purpose and uniqueness of his attack of it. This essay analyzes his view of Buddhism comprehensively, in particular his insight into the paradox of Buddhist universal love and his rejection of Buddhist retribution and reincarnation from Confucian righteousness and qi 氣-monism. In addition, it also explores the reason, context, and limitations of his criticism, that is, his reaction to the popular approach of “understanding Confucian classics through learning Buddhism” in the late Ming 明, his response to Zongmi’s 宗密 criticism of Confucian cosmology and human nature, and his misunderstanding of some Buddhist concepts. Yet his criticism is still illuminating to our understanding of the interaction of Confucianism with Buddhism and other religions.


Wang Fuzhi 王夫之 Buddhism Life and death Universal love Emptiness 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.



This article is part of my key project: “An Innovative Research of the Historical Transmission and Transformation of Confucian and Mencian Philosophy” funded by 2016 The Transmission and Transformation Engineering of Qilu Excellent Traditional Culture.


  1. De Bary, Wm. Theodore. 1975. “New Confucian Cultivation and the 17th Century Enlightenment.” In The Unfolding of Neo-Confucianism, edited by Wm. Theodore De Bary. New York and London: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Dong, Qun 董群. 1993. “Wang Fuzhi’s Criticism of Buddhism 王夫之對佛教的批判.” Social Science Front 社會科學戰線, 3: 111–120.Google Scholar
  3. Han, Yu 韓愈. 2014. An Annotation of H an Changli’s Collected Works 韓昌黎文集校注. Edited and annotated by Ma Qichang 馬其昶. Shanghai 上海: Shanghai Guji Chubanshe 上海古籍出版社.Google Scholar
  4. Hebei Buddhist Society Xuyun Sutra Printing House Merit Store 河北省佛教協會虛雲印經功德藏, ed. 2006. New Version of the Great Scriptural Store 卐 Continuation of the Tripitaka 大藏新纂卐續藏經. Shijiazhuang 石家莊: Hebei Sheng Fojiao Xiehui Xuyun Yinjing Gongde Cang 河北省佛教協會虛雲印經功德藏.Google Scholar
  5. Huang, Zongxi 黃宗羲. 1986. The Complete Works of Huang Zongxi 黃宗羲全集, vol. 1. Edited by Shen Shanhong 沈善洪. Hangzhou 杭州: Zhejiang Guji Chubanshe 浙江古籍出版社.Google Scholar
  6. Jiao, Hong 焦竑. 1999. Collected Works at a Peaceful Garden 澹園集. Beijing 北京: Zhonghua Shuju 中華書局.Google Scholar
  7. Kengo, Araki. 1975. “Confucianism and Buddhism in the Late Ming.” In The Unfolding of Neo-Confucianism, edited by Wm. Theodore De Bary. New York and London: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Lin, Anwu 林安梧. 1987. A Research on Wang Chuanshan’s Philosophy of the History of Human Nature 王船山的人性史哲學之研究. Taipei 臺北: Dongda Tushu 東大圖書.Google Scholar
  9. Liu, Lifu 劉立夫, and Tian Yan 田豔. 2009. “The Research Center of Chuanshan Buddhist Culture Is Established in Changsha, Hunan 船山佛教文化研究中心在湖南長沙成立.” Studies in World Religion 世界宗教研究, 1: 156.Google Scholar
  10. Takakusu, I., and K. Watanabe, eds. 1968. Taisho Shinshu Daizokyo (Abbreviated as TSD) 新修大正大藏經. Tokyo: Taisho Issaikyo Kankokai.Google Scholar
  11. Wang, Enyang 王恩洋. 2003. “Chinese Buddhism and the Consciousness-Only School: A Summary of Wang Fuzhi’s Veins and Arteries of Dharmalaksana 中國佛教與唯識學: 相宗絡索內容提要.” In The Series of Lectures at Baoqing Temple: A Collection of Chinese Buddhist Scholars 寶慶講寺叢書中國佛教學者文集, edited by Master Lang Yu 朗宇法師. Beijing 北京: Zongjiao Wenhua Chubanshe 宗教文化出版社.Google Scholar
  12. Wang, Fuzhi 王夫之. 1964. An Annotation of the Zhuangzi 莊子解. Beijing 北京: Zhonghua Shuju 中華書局.Google Scholar
  13. ______. 1996. Complete Works of W ang Chuanshan 船山全書, vols. 1–16. Changsha 長沙: Yuelu Shushe 嶽麓書社.Google Scholar
  14. Wang, Ge 王格. 2015. “The True Ancestor of the School of Mind—On the Relationship between the Wang Yangming School and Buddhism 心學真宗──論萬曆時期的王學與佛教之關係.” Journal of Sun Yat-Sen University (Social Science Edition) 中山大學學報 (社會科學版) 55.3: 113–120.Google Scholar
  15. Wu, Limin 吳立民. 1988. “Additional Remarks on Wang Chuanshan’s ‘A Stupid and Blind Person’s Prose’ 愚鼓詞注釋餘論.” Academic Journal on Wang Chuanshan 船山學報 2: 32.Google Scholar
  16. Wu, Limin 吳立民, and Xu Xunming 徐蓀銘. 1992. A Research on W ang Chuanshan’s Buddhist and Daoist Thoughts 船山佛道思想研究. Changsha 長沙: Hunan Chubanshe 湖南出版社.Google Scholar
  17. Xu, Sunming 徐蓀銘. 1991. “Several Questions pertaining to Wang Chuanshan’s Thought on Buddhism and Daoism 船山佛道思想研究的若干問題.” Chuanshan Journal 船山學刊 1: 53–63.Google Scholar
  18. Yao, Silian 姚思廉. 1973. The History of Liang 梁書. Beijing 北京: Zhonghua Shuju 中華書局.Google Scholar
  19. Zeng, Zhaoxu 曾昭旭. 2008. Wang Chuanshan’s Philosophy 王船山哲學. Taipei 臺北: Liren Chubanshe 里仁出版社.Google Scholar
  20. Zhu, Yuanzhang 朱元璋. 1991. Collected Works of the Ming Taizu 明太祖集. Hefei 合肥: Huangshan Shushe 黃山書社.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Zhouyi and Ancient Chinese Philosophy, School of Philosophy and Social DevelopmentShandong UniversityJinanChina

Personalised recommendations