and Culture Review
VOLUME 6 ·Number 3 ·September 2019
4 Liang Qichao’s Study of the Three Dynasties Ritual System and the Particularity of Ancient Chinese Religious Faith
------ Wei Yixia
8 The Historical Development of Confucian Filial Piety: From the Han to the Late Qing
------ Kang Xuewei
18 A Study of the Yuexiu Calendar: With Reference to Duke Yuan of Song’s Dream Divination
------ Ran Jingzhong
29 The Substance of Ancient Chinese Dialecticians’ Paradoxes: A Mohist Perspective
------ Yang Wujin
Translations of Chinese Thought and Culture
38 James Legge’s Philosophical Neutralization of the Yizhuan: A Self-Referential and Cross-Referential Approach
------ Liu Huawen
52 Liang Qichao on the Unity of Knowledge and Action
------ An Zunhua
Horizon of Sinology
65 A Study on the Essentials of the Way in Its Entirety before the Independence of Malaysia
------ Loi Chen-Hwee
68 Intellectual Property Transformation in China under the Influence of Confucian Philosophy and Socialism with Chinese Characteristics
------ Oleksandr Stovpets
Main Articles Abstract
Liang Qichao’s Study of the Three Dynasties Ritual System and the Particularity of Ancient Chinese Religious Faith
Detailed Abstract: Liang Qichao 梁启超 (1873–1929) reexamined the ritual system with respect to the Three Dynasties, namely the Xia, Shang, and Zhou (ca. 2070–256 BCE), from a religious perspective. In doing so, he clarified the significance of ritual studies to ancient Chinese society. Liang’s study on this topic was fully realized in the treatise titled “The Religious and Ritual System of the Three Dynasties” [志三代宗教礼学]. In this treatise, Liang delineated the transmission and transmutation of religious and ritual ideas during the Three Dynasties, wherein monotheism was gradually replaced with polytheism. In addition, Liang attempted to reconstruct Chinese religious ideas by revealing the relationship between the worship of Heaven and ancestral worship. Not only did Liang’s effort shed light on the unique conception and content of Chinese religion, it also revealed the connotation and particularity of the ancient Chinese religious faith that made the Chinese religion, based on the Three Dynasties ritual system, distinct from its counterparts in other ancient civilizations.
Liang said, “In the time prior to the Three Dynasties, religion and scholarship were unseparated. Then, since the Spring and Autumn and Warring States periods, scholarship played the role of religion. Therein lay a tremendous change in China’s intellectual-spiritual world.”[footnoteRef:2] Reading this, three conclusions can be drawn. First, historically, the Three Dynasties was a watershed in Chinese intellectual history where the interaction between religion and scholarship continued, but changed greatly. Second, conceptually, Liang attached the same importance to religion and scholarship; in other words, religion and scholarship were independent of each other. Third, contextually, the alternation of religion and scholarship embodied the changes to ancient Chinese religion. Changes indicated that the role that religion played in ancient Chinese society grew increasingly weak. Liang sketched the contours of Chinese intellectual history and defined the basic pattern of the history of Chinese religions.
Liang set forth Chinese religious concepts by analyzing China’s original religious faith. He contended that the Chinese religion was monotheistic. The supreme god of the Chinese religion was Heaven, which was also known as the Lord or the Lord Above. Liang said emphatically that Heaven, the supreme god of the ancient Chinese religious faith, was abstract. Only when there was the need to underscore the personality of the supreme god would Heaven be metaphorically portrayed as the figural Lord. Later, Chinese philosophers analogically interpreted Heaven by (the philosophical) Principle. The two types of analogical interpretation had very different consequences. The Heaven–Lord analogy was simple and more humanistic, whereas by contrast the Heaven–Principle analogy was subtle and much more abstruse.
Liang went further, saying that ancient Chinese people believed that Heaven felt their woes and was bound together with them and, for this reason, Heaven was worthy of being worshipped. Digging into the Book of Poetry and the Book of History, Liang summed up ten characteristics of Heaven.[footnoteRef:3] He argued emphatically that Heaven, in the two Confucian classics, was religious rather than philosophical. Liang dichotomized Heaven into the religious Heaven in the pre-Three-Dynasties age and the philosophical Heaven in the post-Three-Dynasties age. The religious and philosophical ideas of Heaven were fundamentally different from each other. The religious Heaven was willed and incomparably powerful; so that it predominated humankind and became the supreme god. It was actually a personified deity. The philosophical Heaven was, by nature, an entity existing between consciousness and unconsciousness. Both Confucius and Laozi regarded Heaven as a general name denoting all natural phenomena. When Heaven was philosophically turned into something invisible and unfathomable, its personification and religious dimension were totally broken. In addition, before the Three Dynasties, Heaven was the sole object of worship; but later on, Earth was placed on a par with Heaven. The reason why there were finally two supreme deities lay in the philosophers’ need to interpret the highest Principle from the dichotomic yin-yang perspective. The juxtaposition of Heaven and Earth became an embodiment of the decline of the status of Heaven. Liang said that the rise of Earth and the decline of Heaven could be explained from two entirely different angles. On the one hand, religion in the Three Dynasties was far less complete and far less subtle in comparison with later philosophies; but on the other hand, religion in the Three Dynasties played a great role in maintaining social customs and bettering governance through faith, awe, and veneration of the personified deity that was generated by religion. In contrast, the later philosophical concepts could no longer fulfil such a role, because they had grown too abstract and much less humanistic.
Even more revealing was Liang’s assertion that, in the light of its birth and origin, ancient Chinese religion was, first, monotheistic and then grew polytheistic by degrees. The reason of this change was threefold. First, in the ancient Chinese intellectual world, the increasingly powerful philosophy dealt a fatal blow to religion. To be specific, since the Spring and Autumn and Warring States periods, Heaven and Earth were equally venerated due to the thriving philosophies, as a result the originally unassailable authority of Heaven was seriously challenged. At the same time, due to the simple and unadorned nature of ancient religion, the existing religious faith was unable to meet the needs of the humankind witnessing a great intellectual development. As a consequence, a wide variety of worship emerged. It was out of this devotional diversity that polytheism was created. Second, for thousands of years, China cherished the primary tenets respecting religion—the freedom of faith. Even in the wake of political unification, China did not change this basic principle. Nevertheless, due to the introduction of foreign religions, the original blend of polytheistic beliefs grew unconventionally complicated. Third, ancient Chinese monotheism did not mean that there was only one deity. Rather, it denoted a huge complex of deities, wherein a group of deities was led by a predominant god. The superior–subordinate relationship involving Heaven and other deities was actually not clearly defined even in ancient China. Later, this relationship grew increasingly blurred; and finally, became utterly chaotic. Consequently, the absolute monotheism was turned into an extreme polytheism.
In the light of the above-mentioned fundamental changes, Liang concluded that the most basic concept of Chinese religion was bao’en 报恩, which was also known as bearing in mind the origin of all being and paying a debt of gratitude. Liang said the deities worshiped by the Chinese were all reducible to the expression of gratitude. The sacrificial ceremonies dedicated to Heaven, Earth, and parents and all types of polytheistic belief were no other than the embodiments of bao’en. The polytheistic faith gave expression to the holistic and systematic connotations of Chinese religion. It did not run counter to the existing monotheism. Bao’en served as the most fundamental religious concept and the most primary moral criterion in China. In view of this, it is safe to say that religion and morality shared the same origin. This homology determined not only the humanistic characteristic of Chinese religion but also the reciprocal causation of Chinese religion, politics, and customs.[footnoteRef:4]
Liang analyzed China’s ancestral worship, stating that when it came to politics and social customs, Heaven-centered monotheism was embodied in ancestral worship. Liang proposed two points regarding this. First, that ancestral worship was both a supplementation and implementation of the worship of Heaven. In the practice of ancestral worship, the Chinese venerated their ancestors and attached the greatest importance to filial piety. As regards filial piety, it was fully embodied in the reverential awe of one’s father and the greatest expression of this reverential awe was the effort to make one’s father the correlate of Heaven. The doctrines of the worship of Heaven and ancestral worship were consistent with each other. All were based and centered on bao’en. The Chinese firmly believed that the soul of their ancestors was imperishable and that their ancestors still lived in the Other World as they had done in This World. In this sense, the ancestor was the same personified deity as Heaven was.[footnoteRef:5] Second, there was a manifest unity of human and god in the Chinese religion while human and god are separated in some other religious systems. The myriad things all originated from Heaven and Heaven benefited the myriad things. All human beings were from their ancestors and the ancestors were exclusively in favor of their descendants. Thus, the worship of Heaven and the ancestral worship were not mutually exclusive.
According to Liang, not only was ancestral worship indispensable but it also played a pivotal role in displaying the unique psychological-conceptual trait that made the Chinese religion distinct. To be specific, ancestral worship indicated that Chinese religion was based on humanism, cherishing affection between relatives, venerating the ancestors on the basis of affection for one’s parents, employing familial affection to unite the clan, and finally creating a complete set of political institutions bolstered by the patriarchal clan system. According to the ancient ritual code, “The princes were not allowed to sacrifice to the Son of Heaven, who represented the ancestral home of the princes; nor could the senior officers offer sacrifices to the princes, who symbolized the ancestral home of the officers” (Book of Rites, “Jiao te sheng” [郊特牲]). As a consequence, in addition to the state system, the patriarchal system was employed. In the light of the patriarchal rules, “any son other than the eldest could be venerated as the earliest Ancestor of a new branch of the family; and his successor, the Head of the new branch” (“Small Matters in the Dress of Mourning” [丧服小记]). In doing so, religious supremacy was made more conspicuous and the most basic laws of the patriarchal system were created. The patriarchal hierarchy prevailing in ancient China was exactly the application and implementation of Chinese religious ideas. To a certain extent, it was the inseparably interconnected ancestral worship and patriarchal politics that determined the ancient Chinese way of governance and mode of social operation.
Based on his research into the religious and ritual system of the Three Dynasties, Liang drew the conclusion that the distinctive Chinese religious ideas and the sophisticated patriarchal hierarchy resulted from a worship of Heaven that was complemented by the ancestral worship, which taught the Chinese to concurrently venerate Heaven and their ancestors. According to Liang, the fundamental difference between the Chinese and Western religious ideas led to widely different ways of life and politics, for instance, the unification of religion and politics or the separation of religion from politics.[footnoteRef:6] In ancient China, religion and politics were unified and complemented each other. The harmony and reciprocity constituted one of the characteristics of ancient Chinese religion, and shed revealing light on the humanistic attribute of the Chinese religious faith.
The Historical Development of Confucian Filial Piety: From the Han to the Late Qing
Abstract: In the distant sense, Confucian filial piety arose from the filial piety culture formed during the period when the concept first occurred to its official establishment; and in the near sense, it arose from the filial piety that constituted the core of the Western Zhou ritual and music culture. It was not only a form of familial ethics, but also a social and political ethics derived from blood ties, with the ruler-minister and father-son hierarchical system as the core, so it was applicable to imperial China’s power-centralized regime of patriarchal consanguinity. It was upheld and taken as a principle for ruling from the Han dynasty onward, and had a great impact on the direction taken by China’s political system. This paper, based on the progression of Chinese history, gives an account of the inheritance, development, and dissolution of filial piety from the Han to the late Qing to review its fate and the influence of ritual and music culture on Chinese civilization.
A Study of the Yuexiu Calendar: With Reference to Duke Yuan of Song’s Dream Divination
Abstract: There existed a transitional calendar in the long period during which the guanxiang shoushi calendar evolved into the tuibu calendar. Duke Yuan of Song’s dream divination recorded in the “Memoir of Milfoil and Tortoise Divination” holds vital clues to this calendar. As evidenced by unearthed documents and extant literature, this paper explores the Da Liu Ren divination method combining the position of the sun and the hours of the day, further revealing the formation of the yuexiu calendar as a transitional stage between the guanxiang shoushi and the tuibu calendars. Finally, this paper presents a new interpretation of Duke Yuan of Song’s dream divination.
The Substance of Ancient Chinese Dialecticians’ Paradoxes:
A Mohist Perspective
Abstract: The twenty-one paradoxes presented by ancient Chinese dialecticians are most paradoxes in a broad sense. The Mohists provided responses to each of these paradoxes. Hu Shi and Shen Youding have examined a selection of these paradoxes and the responses the Mohists gave to them. This article aims to provide a holistic review of the paradoxes in an attempt to reach a better understanding of their substance.
James Legge’s Philosophical Neutralization of the Yizhuan: A Self-Referential and Cross-Referential Approach
Abstract: The Book of Changes is a classic that used to be exclusively identified as a Confucian canon, but has since also intermittently claimed to have shades of Daoist influence, especially when it comes to its appended part Yizhuan. This question of identification deserves further scrutiny in terms of textual ambivalence or ambiguity. Whether James Legge’s translation of the classic is philosophically re-ambiguated, de-ambiguated, or even neutralized is the focus of the present research. It is supposed that an ambiguous tension follows the coexistence of defining Confucian elements and Daoist traits within it. The research will employ the hermeneutic approaches of self-verification and inter-explanation in traditional Chinese Classical Studies, especially the latter’s two sub-approaches: identity in form and identity in principle. We hope to obtain understanding of how James Legge’s translation approaches to the philosophical ambivalence in the Yizhuan are intertextually connected with those to his translation of the Laozi and the Zhuangzi. In addition to the examination of the translations of the concepts that are present in these, known as the Three Metaphysical Classics, we will also examine superficial linguistic structure and philosophical ideas in a hermeneutic light. Finally, a tentative conclusion is reached that Legge’s translation has in fact neutralized the philosophical stance of the Yizhuan.
Liang Qichao on the Unity of Knowledge and Action
Abstract: The doctrine of the “unity of knowledge and action” is a philosophical proposition of Wang Yangming. In content, knowledge and action mean one and the same effort. Knowledge in its genuine and earnest aspect is action, and action in its intelligent and discriminating aspect is knowledge. Philosophically, Wang Yangming developed this doctrine from those of the unity of mind and things and the unity of mind and principle. There is no fixed sequential order among the mind, the will, knowledge, and things, nor among investigating things, extending knowledge, making the will sincere, and rectifying the mind, for they work simultaneously. The effort for extending intuitive knowledge to the utmost calls for sustained hard work, which is emphatic polishing and training in the actual affairs of life rather than seeking sudden enlightenment. The doctrine of the “unity of knowledge and action” is still of important contemporary value. It inspires us to work in a down-to-earth way, set store by moral education, and pursue the perfect unity of knowledge and action on the fundamental basis of practice, thus promoting the progress of society and humankind.
A Study on the Essentials of the Way in Its Entirety before the Independence
Detailed Abstract: Missionaries from the London Missionary Society were the first to study Confucianism in Malaysia. They thought in Chinese, which was their second language, and wrote in Chinese the Essentials of the Way in Its Entirety [道之本原全体要论], blazing a new trail for the study of Confucianism. Using another language, they managed to intervene, interpret, reorganize ideas, and engage in multicultural dialogue, thus facilitating the communication between and progress of different cultures and different ways of thinking.
In Malaysia, early missionaries thought and wrote in Chinese to spread Protestant doctrines. In this process, Confucian intellectual discourse and Biblical intellectual discourse had a two-way philosophical exchange. The missionaries’ revelation-style thinking, unconsciously or consciously, entered the Chinese community at that time through Confucian intellectual discourse, and produced similar but different cultural communication between Confucianism and Protestantism. This phenomenon made an initial contribution to the deepening of their mutual understanding and laid the foundation for the alternative development of early Confucian studies in Malaysia. The Essentials of the Way in Its Entirety is the earliest Chinese text combining Confucian intellectual discourse and Biblical intellectual discourse, produced in the Anglo-Chinese College at Malacca. In this book, the philosophical discussions done from a cross-cultural perspective can be divided into three fields: the fundamental source of the world, voluntarism concerning the interaction between Heaven and human, and the practice of self-cultivation. The three are in the order of going from without to within the individual.
Research shows that the Essentials of the Way in Its Entirety was probably written and published between 1823 and 1843. Judging by the principles by which it is translated, the author of this book is very likely to be Robert Morrison (1782–1834), the founder of the Anglo-Chinese College at Malacca. Morrison and other Protestant missionaries adopted the strategy of studying Chinese to facilitate religious preaching. They looked with favor on Confucianism whereas they denounced Buddhism and Daoism, instead devoting themselves to the study of Confucian classics, and thus acquired the ability to produce texts in the vein of Confucian intellectual discourse. Finally, they could achieve the goal of importing the religious thought of Biblical intellectual discourse under the guise of Confucian intellectual discourse.
When dealing with the creation of myriad things, the book borrows two terms from Confucianism: “the Ultimate of Non-being” (无极) and “the Supreme Ultimate” (太极); it introduces a new term “Divine Heaven” (神天) as an absolute, transcendental, and prior-to-all category. For example, the book says, “Whatever comes out of what is already there must have a cause, and the Supreme Ultimate is the cause at the very beginning. Only Divine Heaven is always spontaneous, unrestrained, without a cause, and hence is the Ultimate of Non-being.”[footnoteRef:7] Divine Heaven creates the myriad things “in one decree”; moreover, dominant and authoritative, Heaven judges and determines the good and bad fortunes of everything. The Essentials of the Way in Its Entirety takes the Supreme Ultimate as the fundamental source of the world. Herein, the influence of the Book of Changes is obvious. However, the Principle of the Supreme Ultimate mentioned in the Book of Changes and expounded by Zhu Xi 朱熹 (1130–1200) is without a form, and as the principle of the world, it maintains the interaction and transformation of myriad things. In contrast, Divine Heaven enjoys the dominant power and has a form, holding sway over everything. This is the essential difference between Divine Heaven and the Principle.
As a result of these major differences, their functions in the ceaseless creation and transformation of the cosmos are reflected in two different concepts: “power” and “goodness.” Central to the system of Divine Heaven is that Heaven has power and strength to create the world. For example, “Divine Heaven, the Lord high above, is omnipotent . . . can sustain, move, and regulate the cosmos.”[footnoteRef:8] In this system, the so-called power is “the power of the Lord to dominate and create,” the source of the creation of the world, and under the Lord’s supreme power, humans are only a means to the end of the Lord’s power. However, the principle-centered system is different. For example, “within the Supreme Ultimate is nothing but complete goodness.”[footnoteRef:9] Goodness concerns the human will and entails a set of values. Therefore, the realization of goodness is driven solely by internal factors, and it indicates the value of human intent.
Differences also lie in the cultivation of the “original heart-mind.” In the divine system, Heaven is infinite while the human is finite; consequently, the human heart-mind is subject to the Divine law and Divine judgment. For example, “the law of Heaven is imposed on the human heart-mind,”[footnoteRef:10] and “the Lord will judge both the angels in Heaven and everyone in the world.”[footnoteRef:11] In contrast, Confucianism has the “benevolent heart-mind” (仁心) as the great root to all things. Confucius thinks people achieve benevolence all by themselves. Mencius also says “everything is ready in me” to account for self-reliance in moral cultivation. So humans become sincere through introspection, and, by extension, achieve the grand effect of bringing the whole world to benevolence. The two systems also differ with regard to conceptions of filial piety and loyalty. In the system of the Lord, filial piety means “having filial piety to Heaven, the Father of every living creature,”[footnoteRef:12] and loyalty means being loyal to the divine, transcendental kingdom of the Lord instead of to the state and the nation. Confucian filial piety and loyalty go in the opposite direction, turning to the inner self, focusing on the “benevolent heart-mind” and “the single idea running through all doctrines” (一贯) rather than any external authority or object.
The communication between different cultures and various ways of thinking cannot happen without translation and interpretation; in turn, translation and interpretation are inseparable from languages and ways of thinking. The Essentials of the Way in Its Entirety begins a dialogue between Protestantism and Confucianism. It reorganizes and enriches its own way of thinking through a second language, and establishes the preliminary stage of cross-cultural communication. Biblical intellectual discourse is centered on the concepts of “God,” “power,” and “decree,” while Confucian intellectual discourse is centered on “the Supreme Ultimate,” “goodness,” and “benevolence.” Biblical intellectual discourse is what the missionaries really want to introduce, while Confucian intellectual discourse is the subject matter enabling communication and translation. The Essentials of the Way in Its Entirety can be regarded as the forerunner of the cross-cultural approach to Confucian studies in Malaysia. It sets up for later scholars a pattern of studying Confucianism from a multicultural perspective, and has the significance of facilitating cultural communication and progress.
Intellectual Property Transformation in China under the Influence of Confucian Philosophy and Socialism with Chinese Characteristics
Abstract: The influence of Confucian philosophy, as a longstanding set of ethical traditions, obtains a specific meaning in a space of intellectual property relations. Another significant factor is socialism with Chinese characteristics, which is becoming more and more influential for this realm. The paper has a purpose to explain main prospects of intellectual property transformation in China, considering the ethical, ideological, and sociocultural impact of mentioned factors. For these reasons, the paper employs a historical–cultural approach, dialectical and historical-comparative methods. In the quest for answers to what kind of influence does Confucian thought, together with socialistic ideology, make upon the intellectual property development in modern China, we also pay attention to the current status of intellectual property institutions in the Chinese legal system. It is found that their role is increasing gradually, as the total heft of Chinese intellectual (scientific and technological) achievements is growing year by year. Confucianism is the spiritual foundation of Chinese society. Confucian ethics consolidates Chinese people subconsciously, gathering them around big goals, like the Chinese Dream that becomes a kind of modern Chinese metanarrative. Along with that, Chinese model of socialism is a science-based strategy, which is directed on making appropriate social–economic steps bringing China closer to innovation supremacy. Such a dynamics of China’s development naturally calls for strengthening intellectual property institutions inside China. They will function as a protective legal instrument for China’s national interests, especially in conditions of the intellectual competition for the world leadership.