This thesis examines the philosophy of the Neo-Confucian thinker and educator Chu Hsi (1130-1200) as seen in his compilation entitled the Elementary Education. Focuses of the study are as follows:...[ Read more
This thesis examines the philosophy of the Neo-Confucian thinker and educator Chu Hsi (1130-1200) as seen in his compilation entitled the Elementary Education. Focuses of the study are as follows:
1. The Elementary Education is predicated upon Chu's conception that human being has both an innately good nature and a physical endowment, and is designed to comply with the characteristics of children.
2. While the Elementary Education aims at the preservation of the mind-and-heart and the Great Learning at the investigation of things, they are both united under and preceded by the rites.
3. What underlies the structure of the Elementary Education is reverence.
4. The core of the Elementary Education lies in the observation of the concrete and external rites, which are to be practiced and can transform and nourish.
5. The effort required of the Elementary Education is one aiming at penetrating to the higher level through learning on the lower level.
6. From the Elementary Education to the Great Learning sees a process through which a person practicing only what is being taught is gradually initiated into the rationale underneath. The Elementary Education itself consists of both praxis and wisdom.
This study argues that the so-called Learning of the Way is indeed a study of the rites. What advocated by the Sung and Ming Neo-Confucians as effort is nothing but the practice of the rites, a theme that runs through the Elementary Education and the Great Learning. As the foundation for the Great Learning, the Elementary Education is indeed the starting point that leads eventually to sagehood.
This study intends to expand the horizon of the studies of Neo-Confucianism by shifting their focus from what might be considered too excessive a tendency towards the investigation of the mind-and-heart and the nature to the study of the rites. It is held that the rites are what ultimately guarantee the actualization of the mind-and-heart and the nature, without which the connection between the internal sageliness and the external kingliness will be lost.
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