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The Huainan-Zi’s Inheritance and Development from the Theory of Lao-tzu

Author: WangXianFeng
Tutor: LiZhenGang
School: Hebei University
Course: Chinese Philosophy
Keywords: Huainan-Zi Theory of Lao-tzu Inheritance and development
CLC: B233
Type: Master's thesis
Year: 2007
Downloads: 20
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Abstract


As the great synthesizer of Taoism during Qin and Han dynasties, Huainan-Zi had the distinct relationship in source with Lao-tzu. This article studied systematically the developmental trail of the thought of Huainan-Zi from the theory of Tao and cosmic generation to the theory of wu-wei and cultivation, grasping tightly the main thought of inheritance and development from Lao-tzu with the way of comparative analysis, and discussed in detail. Like Lao-tzu, Huainan-Zi regarded Tao as the most fundamental and supreme category of its philosophic thoughts. On the one hand, basing on the theory of Tao, it expounded the metaphysics about Tao from the perspective of the ontology and connected the profound and abstruse Tao with the concrete human and thing, which enabled human to feel concretely the existence of Tao and clear up the metaphysics of Lao-tzu. On the other hand, basing on the theory of cosmic generation in Lao-tzu, it quoted the theory of Yuan-qi and Yin-yang into its system of the theory of cosmic generation and formed the distinctive theory of cosmic generation. Regarding the theory of wu-wei in Lao-tzu as its fundamental principle, Huainan-Zi put the theory of "Yin" and the spirit of "Human-made" and the theory of "Shu" into its theory of wu-wei, and formed its systematic theory of wu-wei. Regarding the theory of cultivation in Lao-tzu as its fundamental requirement, Huainan-Zi developed what is useful or healthy and discarded what is not about the theory of cultivation in Lao-tzu and formed the active theory of cultivation in human life from three aspects:cultivating one’s moral character, nourishing one’s nature and study. Huainan-Zi not only inherited the fundamental core of Lao-tzu but also to some extent transcended theoretical category and thinking perspective of Lao-tzu, thus it completed the inheritance and development of Lao-tzu. It was an academic summary to hundreds of theories and schools in Han dynasty, and the academic prevailing custom of the complementation of Confucian and Taoist schools which it contained created the conditions of emergence of the school of "dark learning" of Wei and Jin dynasties.

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CLC: > Philosophy, religion > Chinese Philosophy > Philosophy of the Qin Dynasty (BC 221 ~ 207 years)
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