Journal directory listing - Volume 31-41 (1986-1996) - Volume 32 (1987)

Wang Chuan-Shan's Critical Opinions on Buddhism Author: Chen Yu-Fu


Wang Chuan-shan (1619-1692), was described as Chang Tsai's (1020-1079) successor. He was the inauguratpr of Chinese philosophy of the modern era, strongly criticizing Buddhism, for he took Buddhism as one of the three sources of intellectual poison in China (Taoisim, Legalism, Buddhism) He contended that the world consists of only "Chi" (concrete things). "Chi" is not just simple stuff; it possesses an order and exhibits definite principles inherent in it. He conceived of the universe as a process of continuous production and reproduction. In this process, the "Yin" and "Yang" elements/of material force are in constant fusion and intermingling, so that both material force and principles are daily renewed. Because the emptiness and quietness in Buddhism are top abstract for him, he vigorously attacked them. He refused to accept the concept of the contrast between principles and human desires and the subordination of the latter. Opposed to Buddhism, he insisted that physical nature was just as good as human nature itself and considered Buddhists sitting in meditation as a waste of time and a sure cause of lacking in learing. He analyzed the mind into two parts - the mind of Human and the mind of Heaven and regarded Buddhists as only knowing the mind of Human (the same as animals). None of Neo-Confucianists had fulminated Buddhism as violently as Wang Chuan-shan. But he confused Buddhism and Zen Buddhism and could not truly understand Buddhist teachings.

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