Daoxue: The Learning of the Way
(or "Neo-Confucianism")

  Historical context:  

"Turn away from the selfish,
turn towards the public."
Although this is a quote from Prince Shotoku's "17-Article Constitution" (Japan, 604 C.E.), it expresses an idea and terminology (gong-si, public and private) that was prominently used by Neo-Confucians.


  Fall of Han 220 C.E.
  Six Dynasties (disunion) 220-589
  Sui  589-618
  Tang 618-906
  Five Dynasties (disunion) 906-960
  Song 960-1279
    Northern Song 960-1127 (capital Kaifeng)
   1127: Jurchen (Jin dynasty) conquer
    North China
    Southern Song 1127-1279  (capital Hangzhou)
   1234: Mongols (Yuan dynasty) conquer
   1279: Mongols conquer Song
Yuan (Mongol) 1279-1368
Ming 1368-1644
Qing (Manchu) 1644-1911

  Tang precursors:  
     Han Yu (768-824):
  • Critic of Buddhism and Taoism, defender of Confucianism
  • Memorial on the Bone of the Buddha," "Inquiry on the Way
     Li Ao (fl. 798)  


Northern Song:

     Zhou Dunyi (1017-1073):  
  • Taoist cosmology and Confucian ethics
  • Supreme Polarity Diagram (Taiji tu)
     Shao Yong (1011-1077):   
  • numerology and divination
     Zhang Zai (1020-1077): 
  • ethics grounded in qi ; "Western Inscription"
     Cheng Hao (1032-1085):
  • metaphysics of li (principle/order) and qi
  • humanity (ren) forming "one body /substance" (yiti) with things
  • intuitive knowledge
     Cheng Yi(1033-1107):
  • metaphysics (li and qi)
  • investigating things (gewu), objective knowledge

  Southern Song:  
     Zhu Xi (1130-1200)
  • synthesizer of Northern Song thought, primarily following Cheng Yi
  • human nature (xing) = principle/order (li ) = Supreme Polarity (taiji)
  • daoxin (moral mind) / renxin (human mind)
  • Cheng/Zhu school became official orthodoxy,
    basis of civil service examinations from 1313 to 1905, 
    also called "School of Principle" (lixue)
     Lu Jiuyuan
(or Lu Xiangshan)
  • intuitive knowledge (following Cheng Hao)
  • mind/heart (xin)  =  principle/order (li)

     Wang Yangming
  • "extending innate knowledge"  (zhi liangzhi)
  • "unity of knowledge and action"  (zhi xing heyi)
  • Lu/Wang school, also called "School of Mind" (xinxue)