Frontiers of Philosophy in China

, Volume 6, Issue 2, pp 173–192 | Cite as

Between mind and trace — A research into the theories on Xin 心 (Mind) of early Song Confucianism and Buddhism

Research Article


From Han Yu’s yuan Dao 原道 (retracing the Dao) to Ouyang Xiu’s lun ben 论本 (discussing the root), the conflicts arising from Confucianists’ rejection of Buddhism were focused on one point, namely, the examination of zhongxin suo shou 中心所守 (something kept in mind). The attitude towards the distinction between mind and trace, and the proper approach to erase the gap between emptiness and being, as well as that between the expedient and the true, became the major concerns unavoidable for various thinkers to integrate the two teachings and to propel academic development. “To understand by mind” and “to blame for matter” were of crucial methodological significance for transcendence in both Confucianism and Buddhism. The arguments of Confucian scholars like Zhang Zai and the Cheng brothers on the identity of mind and trace and the unity of void and solid are mutually manifested. The same mind with the same principle means “mind is principle.” The “common axis of Confucianism and Buddhism” exists in the emphasis on mind beyond trace. The unification of mind and trace or the accordance of body and function has actually become the cardinal foundation for the possible mergence of the Three Teachings.


root mind trace understand by mind the expedient and the true void and solid 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Cheng Hao, and Cheng Yi (1981). Er Cheng Ji 二程集 (Collected Works of the Two Cheng Brothers). Beijing: Zhonghua ShujuGoogle Scholar
  2. Fang Litian (2002). Zhongguo Fojiao Zhexue Yaoyi 中国佛教哲学要义 (Essentials of the Philosophy of Chinese Buddhism). Beijing: Zhongguo Renmin Daxue ChubansheGoogle Scholar
  3. Han Yu (1991). Yuan Dao 原道 (Retracing the Dao). In: Han Changli Quanji 韩昌黎全集 (Complete Works of Han Changli). Beijing: Zhongguo ShudianGoogle Scholar
  4. Hui Neng (1983). Tan Jing 坛经 (The Platform Sutra). In: Guo Peng (ed.), Tanjing Jiaoshi 坛经校释 (The Platform Sutra with Proofreading and Commentaries). Beijing: Zhonghua ShujuGoogle Scholar
  5. Legge, J. (1893). The Chinese Classics with a Translation, Critical and Exegetical Notes, Prolegomena, and Copious Indexes (Second Edition Revised), Vol. I. Oxford: The Clarendon PressGoogle Scholar
  6. Li Ao (1983). Fu Xing Shu 复性书 (On Returning to the Nature). In: Quan Tang Wen 全唐文 (The Complete Anthology of Tang), Vol. VII. Beijing: Zhonghua ShujuGoogle Scholar
  7. Liu Yumin (2007). “Xinxue de Zhaoshi—Zhang Jiucheng Zhexue Sixiang Yanjiu” 心学的肇始—张九成哲学思想研究 (“The Incipience of the Learning of Mind: A Study on Zhang Jiucheng’s Philosophical Thoughts”). Doctoral Dissertation of Renmin University of ChinaGoogle Scholar
  8. Ouyang Xiu (2001). Ben Lun 本论 (On the Root). In: Ouyang Xiu Quanji 欧阳修全集 (The Complete Works of Ouyang Xiu), Vol, XVII. Beijing: Zhonghua ShujuGoogle Scholar
  9. Qian Mu (2004). Zhongguo Xueshu Sixiangshi Luncong 中国学术思想史论丛 (Collected Essays on the Intellectual History of China), Vol. 5. Hefei: Anhui Jiaoyu ChubansheGoogle Scholar
  10. Qisong (1979). Tanjin Wenji 镡津文集 (Collected Works of Qisong). In: Dazheng Zang 大正藏 (The Taisho New Compilation of Tripitaka), Vol. 52. Taipei: Xin Wenfeng ChubansheGoogle Scholar
  11. Qisong (1987). Tanjin Wenji 镡津文集 (Collected Works of Qisong). In: Zhongguo Fojiao Sixiang Ziliao Xuanbian 中国佛教思想资料选编 (Anthology on Chinese Buddhist Thought), compiled by Shi Jun et. al., Vol. III, Part One. Beijing: Zhonghua ShujuGoogle Scholar
  12. Song Lian (1989). Jiazhu Fujiao Bian Xu 夹注辅教编序 (Preface to a Compilation as an Aid to the Teaching with Annotations). In: Shi Jun et. al. (eds.), Zhongguo Fojiao Sixiang Ziliao Xuanbian 中国佛教思想资料选编 (Anthology on Chinese Buddhist Thought), Vol. III, Part Three. Beijing: Zhonghua ShujuGoogle Scholar
  13. Yu Yingshi (2003). Shi yu Zhongguo Wenhua 士与中国文化 (Scholars and Chinese Culture). Shanghai: Shanghai Renmin ChubansheGoogle Scholar
  14. Zhang Zai (1978). Zhang Zai Ji 张载集 (Collected Works of Zhang Zai). Beijing: Zhonghua ShujuGoogle Scholar
  15. Zhi Pan (1979). Fayun Tongse Zhi 法运通塞志 (Record on the Success and Impediment of the Dharma Spread), from Fozu Tongji 佛祖统纪 (Chronicle of the Buddhas and the Patriarchs), Vol. 45. In: Dazheng Zang 大正藏 (The Taisho New Compilation of Tripitaka) Vol. 49. Taipei: Xin Wenfeng ChubansheGoogle Scholar
  16. Zongmi (1983). Hua Yan Yuanren Lun 华严原人论 (Hua Yan’s Treatise on the Origin of Human). In: Shi Jun et. al. (eds.), Zhongguo Fojiao Sixiang Ziliao Xuanbian 中国佛教思想资料选编 (Anthology on Chinese Buddhist Thought), Vol. II, Part Two. Beijing: Zhonghua ShujuGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Higher Education Press and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of PhilosophyRenmin University of ChinaBeijingChina

Personalised recommendations