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Moral Cultivation: Gongfu – Cultivation of the Person

  • Peimin NiEmail author
Chapter
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Part of the Dao Companions to Chinese Philosophy book series (DCCP, volume 13)

Abstract

The Confucian tradition concerned not so much at constructing philosophical theories than at cultivating the person and living a moral life. During the Song-Ming periods, this learning on cultivation of the person was widely characterized as the learning of gongfu 工夫 (or 功夫, aka. Kung fu). Since gongfu is what the Confucian learning is all about and the term permeates all of ZHU Xi’s writings, it should not be taken merely as one part of ZHU Xi’s teachings next to other parts, but as a leading cord with which to grasp Zhu’s entire system. Only in grasping this cord can we see clearly why ZHU Xi selected the Four Books as the most fundamental works of the Confucian tradition, what he meant by the cosmic principle (li 理), and where he differs from other influential thinkers of his time.

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyGrand Valley State UniversityAllendaleUSA

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