, Volume 11, Issue 1, pp 63–81

“There is Nothing More…Than Dressing and Eating”: Li Zhi 李贄 and the Child-like Heart-Mind (Tongxin 童心)


DOI: 10.1007/s11712-011-9258-6

Cite this article as:
Lee, P.C. Dao (2012) 11: 63. doi:10.1007/s11712-011-9258-6


This article examines the writings of the controversial 16th century thinker Li Zhi 李贄, also named (hao 號) Zhuowu 卓吾 (1527–1602), and argues that he articulates a coherent and compelling vision of a good life focused on the expression of genuine feelings distinctive to each individual. Through a study of literary texts and terms of art he refers to in his critical essay “On the Child-like Heart-mind” (Tongxin Shuo 童心說), as well as the metaphors and images he fleshes out throughout his writings, I characterize Li’s ethical vision and show that it is rooted in a particular loose and accommodating conception of human nature and centered on the simple and intuitive act of daily maintaining the birthright of our “child-like heart-mind.”


Li Zhi Neo-Confucianism Ming thought Tongxin Genuine 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, and Program in Religious StudiesWashington University in Saint LouisSt. LouisUSA

Personalised recommendations