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Han Synthesis of Early Traditions An eclectic Confucianism Holistic view of the human and natural orders Most expressive in Dong Zhongshu ’ s (Tung Chung-shu ’ s) philosophy (Dong, ca.179-104BCE) Correlative thinking Integration of Daoist/Taoist cosmology

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Han Synthesis of Early Traditions

  • An eclectic Confucianism

    • Holistic view of the human and natural orders

      • Most expressive in Dong Zhongshu’s (Tung Chung-shu’s) philosophy (Dong, ca.179-104BCE)


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  • Correlative thinking

    • Integration of Daoist/Taoist cosmology

    • Human body is a microcosm of the universe (heaven and earth), human world correlates cosmic world


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  • Humans and heaven share vital energy (qi/ch’i) of cosmos

    • Rulers emulate heaven and follow heaven’s norms

    • Theory of “Stimulus and Response”(ganying/kan-ying)

      • Activities in human realm “stimulate” phenomena in other parts of cosmos; heaven “responds” to the stimulus

      • Rulers failing to follow heaven’s norms disrupt natural process


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Correlative Thinking

North

Water

Winter

Rain

Black

Fear

Ears

kidney

Center

Earth

Hottest time of summer

Thunder

Yellow

Desire

Mouth

Pancreas

East

Wood

Spring

Wind

Green

Anger

Eyes

liver

West

Metal

Autumn

Cold

White

Sorrow

Nose

lungs

South

Fire

Summer

Heat

Red

Joy

Tongue

heart


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The Awe-inspiring Heaven

  • Dong Zhongshu (Tung Chung-shu) sanctified and personified heaven

    • “Heaven holds a high position and so is honored.”

    • “It sends down its manifestations and so is humane.”

    • “It conceals its form and so is numinous.”

    • “It sends down frost and dew and so brings life and death”

    • “Heaven clings to the Way and acts as the master of all living things

    • Heaven has its intent; it warns humans, the ruler in particular, before it brings about changes


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New Concept of Confucian Heaven

  • Heaven gives birth to all creatures

  • Heaven has power to cause proliferation

  • Heaven possess vital energy (qi)

  • Human beings receive their destiny from Heaven

  • Heaven finds its microcosmic manifestation in human body

  • Heaven is Nature


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Heaven’s Warnings

  • Heaven responds to human activities:

    • sends forth fearful anomalies and portents in response to “deviant energy” generated by a ruler’s unwholesome acts

    • portents: natural disasters such as earthquake, flood, drought, locusts,…

  • Natural disasters are to warn and inform the ruler of his faults and wrongdoings

    • Misfortunes and calamities befall him if he fails to recognize the cause of the portents or disasters


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Confucianism: the Ruling Philosophy

  • Confucianism under Emperor Wu of the Han

    • Gov’t provided official support, making it into state cult

    • Gov’t established state university, selected students, and trained them to become Confucian scholars

    • Created Confucian bureaucracy and used capable scholars

    • Promoted Confucian code of conduct, humaneness and rightness (righteousness)

    • Elevated Confucian teaching of “filial piety” (xiao/hsiao)


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Codification of Confucian Classics

  • The five classics and Confucian Analects

  • New classic: the Classic of Filial Piety

    • “Filial piety” was highly exalted

    • “Filial piety” was promoted as political virtue

      • Confucius, “Filial Piety is the root of virtue and the source of civilization”


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  • Two chapters selected from the Classic of Rites

    • The Great Learning

      • Teaches eight steps a ruler takes to bring order to the world

    • The Mean

      • Noble person, sincerity, and humaneness

    • The Biographies of Women and the Admonitions for Women (Lessons for Women)


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Lessons for Women

  • Ban Zhao’s (Pan Chao’s) Admonitions for Women: urged girls to master the seven “women’s vitures”

    • Humility, resignation, subservience, self-abasement, obedience, cleanliness, and industry


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  • Humility: “let a woman modestly yield to others; let her respect others; let her put others first, herself last.”

    • Relationship between husband and wife:

      • “If a husband does not control his wife, then the rules of conduct manifesting his authority are abandoned and broken. If a wife does not serve her husband, then the proper relationship between men and women and the natural order of things are neglected and destroyed.”


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  • Respect and Caution:

    • “As yin and yang are not of the same nature, so man and woman have different characteristics.” Each has his/her own place

    • Man=yang=rigidity=strength

    • Woman=yin=yielding=gentleness

    • Respect and caution expressed in the use of proper words and actions

      • Proper words and actions→ harmony and intimacy→conjugal love

      • Sharp words and improper actions→destruction of marriage→separation


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Ban Zhao’s (Pan Chao’s) Views of Womanly Qualifications

  • A woman ought to have four qualifications:

    • Womanly virtue (fu de): humility, subservience, resignation…

    • Womanly words (fu yan): reticence, caution

    • Womanly bearing (fu rong): self-abasement, obedience, cleanliness,

    • Womanly work (fu gong): industry

  • show whole-hearted devotion (to husband)

    • A husband can take a second wife, but a wife cannot marry twice

  • Be obedient to parents-in-law

  • Be in harmony with sisters- and brothers-in-law


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Wang Fu: Discourse of Recluse

  • Acknowledges the value of spirit mediums

  • Acknowledges the power of heaven

  • Humans can modify their fate by cultivating inner virtue and perform righteous deed

    • Prayer to spirits or heaven can only become effective when a man follow the way of heaven and man: commit no wrongdoings and perform good deed.

  • A noble person’s moral character is superior only when his actions match his noble words/speeches


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