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Ch. The Spread of Neo-Confucianism in Japan The prestige of Neo-Confucianism as an officially approved teaching arose in part from
the support given it by leading members of the Tokugawa family. Among the many sons of Ieyasu who contributed to its promotion, Yoshinao (1600-1650) may be noted especially. Representing one of the three Tokugawa branch families chosen to guard the interests of the shogunate in the provinces, with strategic Owari as his domain, Yoshinao was an early convert to Confucianism and a steadfast advocate of Zhu Xi philosophy. It was this scion of the Tokugawa who erected the Sage's Hall, in which Confucius' image was installed at Ueno in Edo and where Razan had his official residence. It was he, too, who induced the third shogun, Iemitsu, to pay personal homage to the image, thus helping to make it a center of religious veneration. Another Tokugawa prince who became especially interested in Confucianism was Tsunayoshi (r. 1680-1709), the fifth shogun. Given as he was to extremes of enthusiasm, Tsunayoshi outdid himself in promoting Confucianism. Through his lavish patronage, a new Paragon Hall was built near the center of Edo, with all the splendor of a state shrine. At the annual commemoration ceremony held there, one of the Hayashis acted as master of ceremonies, and Tsunayoshi himself took great pride in giving a personal lecture on one of the Confucian ClassicsCa practice not necessarily appreciated by Confucian scholars themselves, who thought it inappropriate for the ruler to arrogate such a role to himself, instead of respectfully deferring to a respected scholar (as in the Classics Mat lectures at the Chinese and Korean courts). From this time until the end of the shogunate, the School of Prosperous Peace (Shheik) was the cultural and educational center of the nation. At this center the Hayashis
officiated as Commissioners of State Education and spread Neo-Confucian teachings throughout the metropolitan era of Edo (the immediate Tokugawa domain). In the provinces, however, it was a different matter. Topographically Japan was divided by steep hills and fast-running rivers into many comparatively isolated regions that could only be penetrated slowly and with difficulty. It was fortunate for the new movement that it found champions in a pair of Tokugawa princes, one Hoshina Masayuki (1611-1672), third son of the second shogun, Hidetada, and newly created lord of ancient Ainu-land in the remote northeast of Japan; and the other Tokugawa Mitsukuni (1628-1701), a grandson of the first shogun, who had the strategic Tone River basin of Hitachi as his feudal domain. The former was assisted by a hot-tempered Zhu Xi scholar of the southern school, Yamazaki Ansai; the latter was under the tutelage of a high-minded Chinese political refugee, Zhu Shunshui. In Western Japan important support also came from an influential daimyo who was not a member of the Tokugawa houseCIkeda Mitsumasa (1609-1682), who though a patron of the independent scholars Nakae Tju and Kumazawa Banzan, set up a model domain school based on the standard Zhu Xi curriculum. Yamazaki Ansai and Zhu Xi Studies The importance of Yamazaki Ansai (1618-1682) lies in his wide influence as a teacher of Zhu Xi=s Alearning@ and in his formulation of a new system of Shinto doctrine. A rather obstreperous lad, at a young age he was committed to the Zen temple of Myshinji for monastic training. At nineteen he was invited to a temple in Tosa, where he came into contact with the ASouthern school@ of Zhu Xi learning, dating back to the Muromachi period. This was a separate line of Neo-Confucian study from that of Fujiwara Seika, deriving ultimately from the
earlier introduction of Zhu Xi=s commentaries by Zen monks in the thirteenth century. The study of Zhu Xi's works led Ansai to reject Buddhism from the age of twenty-five, and his first work was a critique of the fallacies of the Buddhist way. From this it may be seen that Japanese NeoConfucianism emerged, not simply as a response to external stimuli from Korea in the late sixteenth century, but as a broader cultural movement developing from within, out of the medieval scene and with its own internal dynamics. As noted in the case of Seika, this new movement saw Zhu Xi=s teachings in a different light from the medieval syncretism of the Three TeachingsCwhich had viewed Confucianism as mostly concerned with the practical order, complementary to Buddhism but on a lower level. Now Neo-Confucianism was recognized as itself a Alearning of the Mind and Heart@ in opposition to Buddhism. Ansai especially stressed this point: both teachings dealt, albeit it in different ways, with the mind and practical affairs, but Neo-Confucianism did so on grounds of natural, moral principle, as Buddhism did not. After studying and teaching in Kyoto for ten years, from 1658 Ansai started spending a part of every year in Edo, where he became guest lecturer to several daimyo. In 1665, his influence took another jump when he was invited to become a teacher to the daimyo of Aizu domain, Hoshina Masayuki, son of Tokugawa shogun and advisor to the fourth. Ansai=s knowledge of Neo-Confucianism was both broad and deep. He promoted such practical proposals of Zhu Xi as his system of grain storage, no less than his philosophy of the moral mind. He was also familiar with the long line of successors to Zhu Xi who had carried on his teaching in China, and was able to evaluate them on the basis of criteria drawn from his own
detailed familiarity with Zhu Xi=s works. Only the great Korean scholar Yi Toegye escaped Ansai=s scrutiny unscathed. In his own teaching and writing Ansai insisted on a close, literal reading of Zhu=s basic writings, especially his commentaries on the Four Books. His work consisted almost entirely of compilations of quotations from the basic works of the Zhu Xi school interspersed with brief interpretive comments. Inevitably, however, like most Afundamentalists,@ Ansai stressed certain points that reflected his own situation and proclivities. Among these are the formulas: 1. AAbiding in reverent seriousness and fathoming principle,@1 catch words that assert the need for a fundamentally religious and moral attitude of mind as the starting point for intellectual inquiry and practical activity, since all things human are value-ladenCboth the mind/ heart and things/affairs being suffused with rational moral principles to be fathomed and evaluated. 2. A prime manifestation of this reality is AThe Five Moral Relations,@ which are grounded in the affective nature of the human mind-and-heartC as in the natural moral sentiments that prompt human action. There is no discontinuity between these sentiments and the objects they relate toCbetween mind and things, self and others, thought and action. Nor indeed is there any discontinuity between the mind and the social self in moral cultivation. While for Zhu rectification of the mind was Ainner@ and cultivation of the social self was Aouter,@ Ansai insisted that both were Ainner,@ that the practice of reverence entailed not only watchfulness over one's state of mind, but, more importantly, keeping the mind focused on the dignity and propriety of one's physical bearing in interaction with others. 1 Chi. Zhu jing qiong li; Jap. Kykei kyri
3. Reverent seriousness to straighten [the self] within, rightness to square [things] without.@1 The meaning (roughly parallel to No. 1) is that reverence and moral seriousness must be exemplified in specific actions appropriate to the situation, i.e. to one=s own personal responsibilities in life. Thus Arightness@ (Ch. yi, J. gi) for Ansai meant doing one=s own specific duty (meibun) in accordance with the general Neo-Confucian concept that Aprinciple is one, its particularizations diverse.@ On this basis, Ansai understood the ruler/minister relation (for Zhu Xi, Ajoined in rightness@) to mean in Japanese context the relations between lord and vassal, in particular the samurai retainer=s duty of loyal service. Thus gi was converted from Aagreement on what is right (in context)@ to an absolute duty of personal loyalty on the part of the retainer to his lord. Ansai further extended this to mean loyalty to the Emperor as the specific Japanese instantiation of the rulership principle. Hence, rendering these terms as Ansai intended them, we often have to translate yi/gi as Aduty@ or invest it with the more absolute connotations of Arighteousness.@ 4. As a method of personal praxis, Ansai endorsed Aquiet-sitting@ (seiza), for him a form of spiritual/moral self-scrutiny in meditative posture, intended as a prelude to right action in daily conduct. This practice (sometimes confused with Zen meditation) was controversial within Neo-Confucian tradition and even among Ansai=s disciples. For Ansai (and those disciples who followed him in this, notably Sat Naokata) quiet-sitting was one means of achieving personal experience of the Way; others, however, anathematized it as too close to AZen.@
1 Jing yi zhi nei, yi yifang wai.
In his later years, Ansai became increasingly drawn to the study of Shinto, and therefore interpreted this formula in terms strongly suggestive of worship and service of the gods. From one of his Shinto teachers, Kikkawa Koretari (1616-94), he received the Shinto initiate name Suika, which derived from a Shinto text which taught people to seek the blessings of the gods through prayer and through keeping one's heart in a state of straightforward sincerity (massugu). This expression came to serve as the distinctive mark of Yamazaki's brand of Confucian Shinto, or Suika Shinto, which combined the ethical maxims and cosmological doctrines of the former teaching with the religious doctrines of the latter. Actually Yamazaki went to much greater lengths than this to establish the unity of the two teachings. Not only did he equate Shinto creation legends with Chinese cosmology, and the Shinto pantheon with the metaphysical principles of the Neo-Confucians, but he further identified the key Confucian virtue, reverent seriousness, with the primal stuff of the universe. In spite of his attempt, however, to embrace these disparate elements in what seemed to him a rationally coherent system, in the end he had to insist that human reason was inadequate to deal with such truths and much had to be taken simply on faith. Later Shintoists were glad enough to dispense with Yamazaki=s tortuous rationalizations, while retaining his emphasis on faith, on the moral virtues, and particularly on reverence for the gods as expressed through devotion to their living embodiment, the emperor. In these respects Yamazaki serves as a striking example in the seventeenth century of three tendencies that became increasingly significant in modern times: the popularization of Confucian ethics in Japan; the revival of Shinto and its development as an articulate creed; and finally the intense nationalism which combined Confucian reverence with Shinto tradition to produce emperor worship.
Reverence and Rightness (Duty) Pedagogically it was the practice of Confucian scholars to sum up their teachings with a key word or phrase, which could be fixed easily in people=s minds. Yamazaki Ansai=s key virtues of Reverence and Rightness were taken from a slogan of the Neo-Confucian philosopher Cheng Yi, based on the Classic of Changes. As Ansai=s Shintoist leanings became more pronounced, he stressed that aspect of these concepts having to do with worship of the gods and the emperor. Eventually he equated these two virtues with terms found in native texts concerning primitive Shinto mythology; namely: prayer (negigoto or kit) and honesty or forthrightness (massugu or shjiki). What follows is a typical attempt to demonstrate that one=s own favorite formula contains the essence of the Confucian classics. ABy Reverence we straighten ourselves within; by Rightness we square things without.@ The significance of these eight characters cannot be exhausted by even a lifetime of application.1 Indeed, Master Zhu was not exaggerating at all in saying this. In the Analects of Confucius when it says Athe superior man cultivates himself with reverent care [Ch. ching, J. kei] it simply means that by reverence we straighten [ourselves] within.@ What is said further in the Analects, ATo put others at ease by cultivating oneself, and thus to put all men at ease@ is the same as ABy Rightness we square away the [world] without.@. . . AThe virtue of Sincerity [as taught in the Mean] is not merely for perfecting oneself alone; it is also for perfecting things [around us]. Perfection of self is Humaneness; perfection of things is Knowledge. These are virtues that manifest our nature; this is the Way that joins the inner and the outer [worlds].2 Cheng Yi also said: AReverence and Rightness hold each other together and ascend straightway to attain the Virtue of Heaven.@ Thus when Zhu Xi said that 1 Zhu Xi=s comment on a saying by Cheng Yi. 2 The Mean, 25:3.
these eight characters of Cheng Yi are inexhaustible in their application, he was not exaggerating at all. [Yamazaki Ansai zensh, I, p. 90, Suika-s p. 11] Lecture Concerning the Chapters on the Divine Age (In the Kojiki and Nihongi) When Yamazaki Ansai took up Shinto studies late in life, he developed a cosmology based on early Japanese texts, which in spite of his own denials, obviously betrays the influence of Chinese models, especially the yin-yang and Five Elements theories incorporated into NeoConfucian metaphysics. Fundamentally a monist who asserted the identity of the human and divine, Ansai saw all phenomena as produced by Fire and regulated by the interaction of two powers, Earth and Metal. With these powers he identified the supreme virtues of Reverence and Righteousness. The equation of reverence (kei) here with the native Japanese word (tsutsushimi) depends on the overlapping meanings of the two. Kei (reverence) connotes attentiveness, concentration; tsutsushimi connotes reverence, restraint, and here Atightening.@ The following passage reveals the lengths to which Ansai would go to establish the relationship between Reverence and Earth and Metal. Some of the complicated philological arguments have been eliminated to smooth the way for the reader, but enough remain to illustrate Ansai=s method, and perhaps help one understand why some of his own disciples would find it unpersuasive. There is one important matter to be learned by those beginning the study of Shinto. If a student takes up the chapters on the Divine Age without first learning this, he will not readily understand the chapters= true significance; whereas, having the proper instruction, everything in these chapters can be understood without further inquiry. This is the key to Shinto which explains if from beginning to end. This you certainly must know. I am not sure whether you have heard about it yet or not, but this is the teaching on earth and metal (tsuchi-kane). . . . Do you recall that in the Divine Age text earth (tsuchi) is
represented as five (itsutsu)? Izanagi cut the fire-god kagu-tsuchi into five, it says.1 You may not see what that really means, but it indicates the conversion of earth into five. . . . Earth comes into being only from fire. Fire is mind and in mind dwells the god (kami). This is not discussed in ordinary instruction, and it is only because of my desire to make you understand it thoroughly that I am revealing this to you. Now here is the secret explanation of something very important: why a [Shinto] shrine is called hokora. Hokora is where the god resides, and is equivalent to hi-kora [storehouse of fire]. Ho is an alternate form of hi [fire], as seen in the words of ho-no-o [fire tail, i.e., flame] and ho-no-ko [fire-child, i.e., spark]. It is interesting to note that tsutsushimi comes only from the mind, which is fire, the abode of the god. Now when the fire-god Kagu-tsuchi was cut into five pieces, it led to the existence of earth [tsuchi]. That can be understood from the theory that fire produces earth. As to earth, it does not produce anything if it is scattered and dissipated. Only where earth is compacted together are things produced. So you can see what is meant by tsutsushimi [restraint]: it is the tightening up of the earth [tsuchi wo shimuru]. Earth is a solid thing, which holds together firmly (here the master held out his two fists by way of demonstration). Water always is running downward; but earth does not run downward, it holds fast. Because it holds fast, things are produced. The mountain that produces metal is particularly hard, as we all know. Metal is formed when the essence of earth is drawn together and concentrated. Metal [kane] is joined together [kane] with earth. Because of metal the earth is held firmly together, and because the earth holds together firmly, the metal power is produced. This is going on now right before your eyes.
1 Aston, Nihongi, I, p. 29.
If there were no earth, nothing would be produced; but even if there were earth, without restraint [tsutsushimi], the metal power would not be produced. The restraint is something in man=s mind. Just as nothing is produced when the earth is scattered and dissipated, so if man becomes dissipated and loose, the metal power cannot be produced. The metal power is actually nothing other than our attitude in the presence of the god. There is something stern and forbidding about the metal power. When this power reaches the limit of its endurance, we must expect that even men may be killed. So unyielding is it that it allows for no compromise or forgiveness. As we see every day, only earth can produce metal. That is the principle of earth begetting metal. But do not confuse it with the Chinese theory that fire produces earth and earth produces metal. Whatever the Confucian texts may say does not matter. What I tell you is the Way of the Divine Age, and it is also something that goes on right before your eyes. The Sun Goddess, you see, was female, but when the Storm God got out of hand, she put on warlike attire and took up a sword Even Izanagi and Izanami ruled the land by use of the spade and sword. From earliest times Japan has been under the rule of the metal power. And that is why I have been telling you that Japan is the land of the metal power. Remember that without tightening the metal power would not come into being, and tightening is a thing of the mind. There are still more important things to be explained in connection with earth and metal, but these are beyond your capacity now. Without the moral discipline which would prepare you for them, you are not allowed to hear such things. [Zoku Yamazaki Ansai zensh, v. 3, pp. 207-12] Anecdotes Concerning Yamazaki Ansai
A Question of Loyalties A recurring question among Tokugawa scholars was the dual allegiance seemingly implied by adherence to Chinese ethics on the part of patriotic Japanese. Yamazaki Ansai=s handling of the question suggests the possibility of being faithful to Confucius and yet loyal to Japan. Once Yamazaki Ansai asked his students a question: AIn case China came to attack our country, with Confucius as general and Mencius as lieutenant-general at the head of thousands of mounted warriors, what do you think we adherents of Confucius and Mencius ought to do?@ The students were unable to offer an answer. AWe don=t know what we should do,@ they said, Aso please let us know what you think about it.@ AShould that eventuality arise,@ he replied, AI would put on armor and take up a spear to fight and capture them alive in order to repay my obligations to my country. That would be the Way of Confucius and Mencius.@ Later his disciple met [the Confucian] It Tgai and told him about it, adding that his teacher=s understanding of Confucius and Mencius was hard to surpass. Tgai, however, told him smilingly not to worry about the invasion of our country by Confucius and Mencius. AI guarantee that it will never happen.@ [Sentetsu sdan, pp. 124-25.] Yamazaki Ansai and His Three Pleasures Though Yamazaki typifies the fusion of Confucian ethics with the feudal virtues of medieval Japan, this anecdote shows how Confucian insistence upon the moral worth of the individual militated against the principle of hereditary aristocracy basic to feudalism. Even while hereditary, aristocratic privilege persisted under the Tokugawa, the meritocratic values of Confucianism increasingly permeated the culture, as will be seen later in many of the writings on education. The Lord of Aizu asked Yamazaki Ansai if he enjoyed any pleasures of his own. In answer Yamazaki said:
AYour vassal enjoys three pleasures. Between heaven and earth there are innumerable living creatures, but I am among those who alone possess spiritual consciousness. That is one source of pleasure. Between heaven and earth, peace and war come in defiance of all calculation. Fortunately, however, I was born in a time when peaceful arts flourish. Thus I am able to enjoy reading books, studying the Way and keeping the company of the ancient sages and philosophers as if they were in the same room with me. That is another pleasure.@ The Lord then said, ATwo pleasures you have already told me about; I would like to hear about the third one.@ Yamazaki replied, AThat is the greatest one though difficult to express, since your Highness may not take it as intended, but instead consider it an affront.@ The Lord said, AIgnorant and incapable though I am, I am still the devoted disciple of my teacher. I am always thirsty for his loyal advice and hungry for his undisguised opinions. I cannot see any reason why this time you should stop half-way. Yamazaki then declared, ASince you go to such lengths, I cannot hold back even though it may bring death and disgrace. My third and greatest pleasure is that I was lowborn, not born into the family of an aristocrat.@ AMay I ask you the reason why?@ the Lord insisted. AIf I am not mistaken, aristocrats of the present day, born as they are deep inside a palace and brought up in the hands of women, are lacking in scholarship and wanting in skill, given over to a life of pleasure and indulgence, sexual or otherwise. Their vassals cater to their whims, applaud whatever they applaud and decry whatever they decry. Thus is spoiled and dissipated the true nature they are born with. Compare them with those who are low-born and poor, who are brought up from childhood in the school of hardship. They learn to handle practical affairs as they grow up, and with the guidance of teachers or the assistance of friends their intellect and
judgment steadily improve. That is the reason why I consider my low and poor birth the greatest of all my pleasures.@ The Lord was taken aback but said with a sigh, AIndeed it is as you say.@ [Sentetsu sdan, pp. 122-23.] Asami Keisai (1652-1711) Asami Keisai is known as one of the three eminent disciples of Yamazaki Ansai, the other two being Sat Naokata and Miyake Shsai. Born in Kyoto as the second son of a physician, he himself began to study medicine as well, but soon became interested in Confucianism as a result of a period of study under It Jinsai. A friend introduced him to Ansai's academy around 1676, and he soon attracted Ansai's attention for his intelligence. However, Ansai broke off relations with him in 1680, apparently because he got entangled in the matter of Sat Naokata's Aexcommunication@ (see below). In 1687 Keisai completed what was later to become his most famous work, Immortal Words of Acquiescent Self-dedication (Seiken igen), by which time he was already teaching a large number of students at his own academy in Kyoto. Here Keisai developed a reputation as an extremely meticulous and thorough teacher with a strong mind for logical consistency, yet possessed of a warm and cordial personality. The great concern that runs through his writings is the matter of the relationship between lord and retainer, a relationship which he thought should be as deep and unbreakable as that between parents and children. Loyalty, he emphasized, must be made firm and unwavering under all circumstances, so it must not be conditional on whether or not one receives good treatment from one's lord. Among the Confucian sages, he extolled King Wen as the model of
this sort of unquestioning loyalty, because when he was imprisoned by King Zhou (the evil last ruler of the Shang dynasty) on the basis of a false accusation, Wen uttered not a word of complaint or judgment against his ruler. The same logic compelled Keisai to reject categorically the Mencian concept of inhumane rulers as bringing on their own destruction. Treatise on the Concept of "the Middle Kingdom" (Chgoku ben) The most difficult problem in using Chinese Confucian concepts to define the meaning of samurai loyalty within the Japanese polity was the Sinocentric nature of the Confucian world view, which defined Japan as a barbarian land on the periphery of civilization. If taken literally, this world view was an affront to the honor and pride of the Japanese samurai. Keisai's response to this problem constitutes a powerful early statement of Japanese nationalist sentiment, which shows some rather striking similarities in tone to the later National Learning movement. However, within the spectrum of teachings concerning Japanese national loyalty, Keisai's stance actually represents a middle position between the emotionalist exaltation of Japanese superiority characteristic of Shinto scholars and the rationalistic defense of the orthodox Confucian worldview put forth by scholars such as Sat Naokata, Ogy Sorai and Dazai Shundai. Keisai's "middle position" strongly influenced the later development of imperial loyalist thought, which similarly combined universalistic Confucian ideals with the exaltation of Japanese uniqueness. However, most of the later followers of imperial loyalism, in their intoxication with the idea of unconditional loyalty to one's country, seem to have forgotten Keisai's recognition that the people of other countries as well have a natural tendency to regard themselves as the center, as "sovereign" states not subject to the imposition of anyone else's concept of world order from without. The key terms in the following discussion are taigi and meibun, both of which are associated in Confucianism with the Spring and Autumn Annals. Taigi means the "greater righteousness" or supreme duty. Meibun combines the concepts of mei (names, terms, norms) and bun (status distinctions and their differentiated functions). Keisai emphasizes that the highest principle of ethical conduct (righteousness) is universal to all mankind but its fulfillment takes specific, socially and culturally distinct forms, here duty to one's own ruler. The following treatise is based on lectures given by Keisai in 1688-1689 and on an exchange of letters in 1700-1701 with a student of Sat Naokata who later became a devotee of Suika Shinto The terms AMiddle Kingdom@ (chgoku) and Abarbarian@ (iteki) have been used in Confucian writings for a long time. For that reason, ever since Confucian books came to be widely studied in our country, those who read these books call China (kara) the AMiddle
Kingdom,@ and call our country Abarbarian.@ In extreme cases, there are those who lament the fact that they were born in a Abarbarian@ land. How disgraceful! It is a sad day when people who read Confucian books lose the correct way of reading, failing to understand the true significance of norms and status distinctions (meibun) and the real meaning of supreme duty (taigi). Heaven envelops the earth, and there is no place on earth not overspread by Heaven. Accordingly, for each country, the extent of its territory and customs constitutes a realm-underHeaven in its own right, and there is no distinction of noble and base in comparison with other countries. In the land of China, from high antiquity, the inhabitants of the Anine-provinces@ gradually came to share a single culture (f) and character (ki) and since they shared a mutually intelligible language and customs, the region naturally came to constitute a realm-under-Heaven in its own right. The regions surrounding the nine provinces on all sides, where customs were unlike those of the nine provinces, appeared as so many strange lands each with its own peculiar ways. Those countries that were near the nine provinces and with which they could communicate through translation naturally seemed from the point of view of China to be peripheral lands. Accordingly, the nine provinces came to be called Athe Middle Kingdom@ (Chgoku), while the countries on the outer periphery came to be called Abarbarian tribes.@ If one looks at Confucian books without understanding this, when one sees the outside countries referred to as Abarbarian,@ one gets the idea that all countries everywhere are <barbarian,@ and fails to understand the fact that our country was originally formed together with Heaven-andearth and had no need to wait for other countries. This is a very serious error.
The questioner replied: AThis explanation is certainly clear and correct. Nothing could be better for dispelling the ignorance of a thousand years or for furthering the teaching of norms and duties (status distinctions). Nevertheless, there are some matters that are still open to doubt, and I would beg to ask you about them one by one. The nine provinces of China are a land where ritual propriety flourishes and morals are highly developed, to an extent that other countries cannot achieve. For that reason, it is natural for China to be regarded as the center (shu) and for barbarian countries to look up to China.@
140 I answer: In the learning of norms and status distinctions, the first thing is to put aside the idea of evaluating on the basis of moral superiority or inferiority, and instead to examine the way the basic standards are established. Thus, for example, although Shun=s father Gu Sou was perverse, regardless of his level of morality he was after all Shun=s father, as no one else in the world could be. There is no principle that justifies despising one=s father and regarding him as lower than other fathers in the world just because he is without virtue. Shun simply served him as his own father, in the end winning Gu Sou=s pleasure. As a result, Shun and his father became the standard for judging all of the fathers and sons in the world. This was a natural result of the dedication to duty (giri) that Shun showed in serving his father. Accordingly, for a person born in this country to refer to our country by the contemptuous name Abarbarian,@ feeling that because our country is somehow lacking in virtue it must be ranked below China, forgetting that Heaven also exists above our own country, failing to see that the Way is also flourishing in our own country and that our country can also serve as the standard for other countries, is to turn one=s back on the supreme duty (greater righteousness, (taigi), as would a person who scorned his own father. How much moreso inasmuch as in our country the legitimate succession (seit) has continued without break since the beginning of Heaven-andearth, and the great bond between lord and vassal has remained unchanged for ten thousand generations. This is the greatest of the three bonds, and is this not something that no other country has achieved? What is more, in our country there is a tradition of martial valor and manliness (masuro) and a sense of honor and integrity that are rooted in our very nature. These are the points in which our country is superior. Even since the restoration there have been
141 several times when sagely leaders have appeared and ruled our country well, so that the overall level of morality and ritual propriety in our country is not inferior to that of any other country. Those who regard our country right from the start as a kind of deformity, as something on the level of the birds and the beasts, lamenting their fates like hypochondriacs, are certainly a despicable lot. If we look at it in this way, the Way that is taught by Confucian scholars is the Way of Heaven-and-earth, and that which we in Japan study and develop is also the Way of Heaven-and-earth. In the Way there is no gap between subject (shu) and object (kaku), between self and other, so that when one studies this Way from the books that reveal the Way, this Way is nothing other than the Way of our own Heaven-and-earth. It is like the fact that fire is hot and water is cold, crows are black and herons are white, parents are beloved and lords are hard to leave, regardless of whether we speak from the point of view of China, Japan or India. In such things, there is no basis for saying that there is a special Way of our own country. If a person reads Confucian books and mistakenly thinks that this is the Way of China, so one has to pull up the whole body of Chinese customs by the root and transplant them to our country, then this is because he cannot see the true principle of Heaven-and-earth and is being led astray by the narrowness of what is seen and heard. The questioner replied: AAll this, I grant you, is quite apparent. However, how can a great country like China and a small country like Japan be spoken of in the same breath?@ I answer: My previous explanation applies to this question as well, and there is nothing here worthy of doubt. If you think in that way, then a father who is tall should be regarded as a true father but a father who is short should be held in contempt. One evaluates things on the basis of size only when one is thinking emotionally about personal gain and loss. What is more,
142 if one looks at a map of the world, China does not even occupy one one-hundredth of the total area. There are several countries that are ten times as big as China. If one were to set up these countries as Athe Middle Kingdom@ and call China Abarbarian,@ what would the Chinese think of it? . . .
The questioner replied: AThis is also clear now. However, in the Rites of Zhou we find reference to a method of determining the center of the earth by measuring the length of the sun's shadow throughout the year using a jade tablet. By this method, if one measures the shadows cast by the sun and the moon, then when the sun and moon are over Mount Song in China, their shadows are completely equal. If that is the case, does it not show that Mount Song is in the center of the natural world?@ I answer: Again, what you say is true if you mean the center of China. Since the sun revolves along the line of the celestial equator, is there any place on the earth right below the celestial equator that is not in the middle of the shadow of the sun? Wherever one is, if one measures the sun's shadow all through the day, one will find the same thing. Moreover, in ancient times, areas in China such as the southern regions of Wu and Chu were barbarian lands. . . . So we see that since the beginning of heaven and earth the land of China has expanded bit by bit, and as the dignity of its sagely teachings spread over a wider and wider area, all the territory ruled by a single Son of Heaven came to be called "the Middle Kingdom." If the peripheral regions around China, and India as well, were to gradually come under the rule of the Chinese Son of Heaven, as the regions south of the Yangzi River did in the past, then they would all come to be referred to by the Chinese as "the Middle Kingdom." There would be no need to bring in stretched arguments like the length of the shadow of a jade tablet, because the name would be based on nothing more than the extent of the spread of Chinese civilization. Moreover, even though the lands of the three Miao tribes, as well as of the Huai, Yi, Di, Xu and Rong peoples, are all within the borders of the nine
144 provinces of China, they are still regarded as barbarian. How much more for the innumerable countries throughout the world, extending wherever boat and carriage can reach, all governed by who knows what sort of wise rulers. To demean all of these countries out of hand by regarding them as "barbarian" just because China is called the "Middle Kingdom" would be the extreme of a prejudiced and self-centered world-view.
The questioner asked: AAccording to the conception of the Spring and Autumn annals, people who follow the teachings of the Middle Kingdom are to be as people of the Middle Kingdom, while those non-Chinese peoples who are incapable of changing their ways are to be regarded as barbarians. So is it not clear that all those areas which have come under the influence of Chinese ways are to be called Middle Kingdom?@ I answer: In that case, if everyone in China=s nine provinces folded their robes to the left and spoke an unintelligible tongue, should we just call them all Abarbarians@? If we use the name barbarian on the basis of virtue, then an unvirtuous person in the nine provinces will be a barbarian. If we use it on the basis of the length of the sun=s shadow, then even if a person outside of the nine provinces attains virtue equal to Yao and Shun, he will not be able to get rid of the name Abarbarian.@ It is all just a bundle of contradictions. Again, if we use the word on the basis of the size of the country, there are countries that are larger than China, and if we use it on the basis of the antiquity of the country=s civilization, then every country has its own ancient founding. Whichever angle we argue it from, the idea of revering China as the Middle Kingdom and demeaning all other countries as barbarian just does not make sense. This idea is a great bane that arises from the blindness and benightedness of people who read Confucian books. The questioner said: AHaving heard your explanation, I have no more confusion about that point. But if such is the case, does it mean that the sages= teaching of the Middle Kingdom versus barbarian lands is nothing but a senseless idea based on a self-centered bias towards
146 one=s own country, something which those who are now studying the Way of the Sages should have nothing to do with?@
I answer: As I said before, since a person born in a certain county tends to regard his own country as the subject (shu) and other countries as objects (kaku), one would expect there to be a name for every country that reflects the standpoint of that country. To study the Way is to study actual principles and the nature of right and proper behavior. When a person in our country understands the Way of the Spring and Autumn Annals, then our country becomes the primary point of reference (shu). If our country is the primary point of reference, then for us to Aesteem the unification of the realm: (tenka dai-itt) means for us to regard other countries from the point of view of our own country, this precisely is Confucius= intent. To fail to understand this and become partial toward China because one is reading Chinese books, readily shifting one's perspective to regard Japan from the standpoint of China, knowing only how to adulate the other and look down on one's own country as "barbarian," is completely contrary to Confucius's intent. If Confucius had also been born in Japan, then he would certainly have established the principles of the Spring and Autumn Annals from the point of view of Japan. This is what is called having studied the Spring and Autumn well. Thus to read the Spring and Autumn and refer to Japan as barbarian is not a matter of the Spring and Autumn doing harm to Confucian scholars, but of people who cannot understand the Spring and Autumn doing harm to the Spring and Autumn . . . The questioner asked: AIn that case, if tomorrow a group of people like Yao and Shun and Kings Wen and Wu were to come to our shores from China and say`submit yourselves to China!= Then would it be proper not to submit?@ . . .
I answer: That goes without saying. . . . Even if they tried to make us submit by means of ritual decorum and virtue, we should not become their vassals. . . . This is very obvious. This would be the same as the mistake of Xu Luzhai1in surrendering to the Mongols instead of trying to make the Mongols submit to the
virtue of the Song dynasty. Our country=s sending of missions to Tang China in ancient times as well as the acceptance of vassal state status from the Chinese
emperor toward the end of the Ashikaga shogunate were all errors that arose from a lack of understanding of terms and status distinctions (meibun). If it is a good thing
to submit ourselves to China, then we should consider it our supreme duty (taigi) to eliminate the imperial titles used in our country, stop using our own reign period
names, and get down on our knees every year with our heads bowed low to serve as sandal-bearers to the Chinese. Doing so would be a crime of the same nature as
making our own father into someone else=s slave, calling him a traitor or trampling on him and treating him with total contempt. . . . To do everything one can to
assure that one=s own father is not swindled by others is the merit of the son. For other people to assure that one's sown father is not swindled is that person's own
merit. For each person to take his own country as his country and to take his own parent as his parentCthis is the supreme duty in the world (tenchi no taigi nari). And
the two can be practiced at the same time without conflict. . . .
The questioner asked: "Well then, is it not the case that Confucius appeared in the world and said all this about China being the Middle Kingdom and all
other countries being barbarian?"
1 Xu Heng, Confucian advisor to the Mongol Khan Khubilai who [contrary to what Keisai says,] actually tried to persuade Khubilai to adopt Chinese ways. [See Sources of Chinese Tradition Ch. 22.]
I answer: If that was Confucius's real intent, then even if he is Confucius it is a self-centered(watakushi) view. If he says it is the Way to say things that
besmirch one's own father, then even if these are Confucius's words they are of no use to us. However, one would not expect Confucius to say such things. The proof
of this is the Spring and Autumn Annals itself. . . . Ethical conduct (giri) is a matter of knowing what one ought to do at a particular time and in a particular place, and
it is that particular time and place that must serve as the primary point of reference (shu). This is the essential principle of The Mean. Nevertheless, because the
Confucians have all preached their concept of the Middle Kingdom versus barbarian lands so effusively for so long, even after all I have said it is not possible to make
the whole thing immediately clear. However, this is nothing less than a matter of the supreme duty that men must fulfil in this world, a matter of the great line of
legitimate succession, a matter of the three bonds and five constants, a matter of the great obligation and great righteousness between lord and vassal; there is nothing in
the world that is greater than this. If this principle is not made clear, then even if you read Confucian books you will all descend to the level of being rebels and traitors
against your own countryCtruly a matter of the most profound regret.
[Yamazaki Ansai gakuha, NST v. 31, pp. 416-19; BS]
Sat Naokata (1650-1719)
Collected Arguments on the Concept of AThe Middle Kingdom@ (Chgoku ronsh)
Sat Naokata was born in Bingo province (the eastern part of today=s Hiroshima prefecture) as the son of a retainer of the Fukuyama domain. When he sought to study under Ansai in Kyoto in 1670 and 1671, Ansai rejected him for his lack of fluency in reading Chinese, prompting a great effort on Naokata=s part to master the Neo-Confucian texts. Later, he and Keisai became Ansai=s favorite disciples, and it was said that only discussing Confucianism with them would bring Ansai out of his grumpy moods caused by frustration with his students= obtuseness. It is thus ironic that later disagreements resulting from Ansai=s increasing absorption in Shinto led to the breaking off of relations with both of them around 1680. Naokata held that the singleness of the Way precluded the possibility of both Confucianism and Shinto being true, and he firmly rejected Ansai=s etymologically-based attempts to identify the two traditions. Likewise, Naokata=s concept of the Acorrect lineage of ruler and subject, @ unlike that of Ansai and Keisai, retained the Mencian concept of the legitimacy of removing the ruler in extreme cases of incompetence or misgovernment. Accordingly, Naokata endeavored to demystify the imperial institution by explaining its genesis in human, rather than divine terms, as a product of nothing more mysterious than human custom. (Needless to say, such passages denying the divine nature of the imperial line were excised from the edition of Naokata=s complete works published in 1942.) Naokata spent most of his time teaching and writing in Kyoto until being invited to Edo in 1694 to serve as guest teacher to the daimy of Umayabashi domain. He continued teaching in Edo until his death, receiving invitations to serve as lecturer for as many as seven other daimy. The present text was compiled by Naokata=s disciple, Ono Nobunari, and was first published in 1706.
Master Naokata says in his A Judgment on the Concepts of Civilization and Barbarism (Ka=i rondan), AScholars have all sorts of conflicting views on the
argument over the concepts of the Middle Kingdom (Chgoku) and barbarian lands.@ All of them start by advocating a single biased theory, and end up causing great
confusion among beginning students. Originally, the concepts of the Middle Kingdom and barbarian lands were the words of the sages and worthies of China
(Chgoku), and they were put forward with reference to the topography (tenchi) of the world as a whole. The method cited in the Rites of Zhou for determining the
center of the earth using a jade table is clearly referred to in the theoretical writings and recorded conversations of the sages and worthies. This is a matter about which
there is no ambiguity, and it is understood even by common scholars. Nevertheless, recently this debate has appeared within our school, centering on whether one
should draw the distinction between the Middle Kingdom and barbarian lands on the basis of the relative condition of the country=s morality, or whether each country
has its own standard of what is the Middle Kingdom and what are Abarbarian lands.@. In the end neither position makes use of the conception established by the sages
and worthies. . . .
AMaster Yamazaki, because of his advocacy of Shinto, put forth the idea that Japan is also the Middle Kingdom, supporting this with Cheng Yi=s
statement that there is no place in the world (tenchi) that is not the center . . . . After that, other scholars repeated this view, and there are now many who declare that
there is no fixed standard of what is the Middle Kingdom and what is barbarian. . . .
ASuch ideas are all misguided theories reflecting limited knowledge. AMiddle Kingdom@ and Abarbarian lands@ are fundamentally concepts
established by the sages, and are not to be used in other countries. If nevertheless a person reads Confucian books and comes to know that the Middle Kingdom is good
and barbarian lands bad, it may be commendable if he feels partial toward the country of his birth, but to fail to understand the universal principle (kri) of All-under-
Heaven and fall into the error of changing the established conception of the sages and worthies is a shameful thing. If we distinguish the Middle Kingdom from
barbarian lands on the basis of the condition of the country=s morality, then at one time China will be the Middle Kingdom, and at another time it will be KoreaCthe
place will just keep shifting again and again. No matter how unvirtuous or unrighteous a person is, he cannot be said truly to have become a dog or a horse. . . .
AA certain person,1wishing to clarify the supreme duty (taigi) between lord and vassal, has come out with an extreme argument that puts excessive
emphasis on the idea that the country of one=s birth should be respected and revered as the land of one=s lord and father. Accordingly, he regards the Middle
Kingdom as barbarian, and reviles Tang and Wu as rebels and Confucius and Mencius as beef eaters. This is a biased view. When those who respect Confucius and
Mencius hear this, they regard it indignantly as an outrageous way of speaking, and they condemn the proponents of such a view, saying that the land in which they
were born is not the Middle Kingdom. The whole argument exceeds all bounds of moderation and reason. But no matter what you say, if one takes the Supreme
Ultimate as one=s ruler and understands all countries to be its vassals (kach), then since there will be fixed rules defining gradations of rank and stipend, there will be
no need to give excessive praise and favoritism to one over the other . . . .@
1 Asami Keisai
Someone said , AYou have clearly demonstrated the distinction between the Middle Kingdom and barbarian lands, and there is no room for doubt. Now,
to say that a person born in Japan ought not to look up to China is valid for a person without learning. However, it is perfectly natural for a person who is reading the
books of the sages and pursuing Confucian moral and intellectual cultivation to admire and look up to China. Why? The Four Books and the Six Classics are books of
the Middle Kingdom, so one would not expect to be able to understand the meaning of the sages= teachings as embodied in the words and syntax of the classics on the
basis of the language of Japan=s law codes and family traditions. For instance, even a person with the talents of Cheng Yi and Zhu Xi could hardly be expected to
understand the words and sentiments of a Japanese song as would someone born in Japan. Would it not be a great pity for someone who makes the study of the Four
Books and the Five Classics his life pursuit not to understand the language in which they are written?@
I answer: This is a pertinent and eminently reasonable argument. From several decades ago I have also had the same thought. I tried desperately to forget
my Japanese accent and master reading Chinese books. But I still haven=t understood them all that clearly even now. Among earlier Confucian scholars in Japan as
well, there is no one who has really understood them clearly. If one expends all of one=s energy in thinking and pondering, one=s understanding should surpass that
of the average person. Now, if among Japanese books there were those by which we could seek the Way of Heaven-and-earth and the natural world without depending
on Chinese books, it would be a very fortunate thing. But alas, untalented as I am, I have not yet found such a book. For that reason I have had no choice but to seek
the Way by reading the Chinese books that I discovered in my youth, though I must read them with a Japanese accent. . . .@
Someone asked, AJapan is a small country, but ever since the seven ages of heavenly gods and five ages of earthly gods it has had the superb teaching
called Shinto. Accordingly, those who do not study Shinto lose the benefit of having been born in Japan, and they do not accord with the will (mikokoro) of the gods.
Thus their descendants will not be able to flourish. From ancient times Japan has been called the country of the gods (shinkoku), and it is a superb country that
surpasses all other countries.@
Master Naokata replied, AWhat sort of countries are China, India and Europe? Who is to determine that only Japan is a country of the gods and that it is
an especially wonderful place? Do the gods referred to in the term <country of the gods= not exist in other countries as well?. . .
AIf one says recklessly like the Shintoists that one should revere and believe in our country without regard to good or bad or right or wrong, then we
don=t even need to have any learning. Since one would not expect anyone to be so lacking in discernment as to say such reckless things, the Shintoists who speak so
must have some sort of hidden agenda. This is something I would like to ask the Shintoists about. . . .
ANow further, the statement by Shintoists that Japan is the Middle Kingdom and that it surpasses all other countries is difficult to understand. The
concept of the Middle Kingdom is something fixed since ancient times according to geography. Of course, in the Middle Kingdom the Way is clear and the customs
are good, and in barbarian countries the customs are inferior. Nevertheless, fundamentally, the meaning of the concepts is fixed on the basis of geography, and not on
the basis of the goodness or badness of the customs.
AIf one examines the ancient records of Japan, they say that in our country the emperors would marry women of the same surname to take as their queens,
and everyone in the populace followed this practice. In addition, there were cases where they took their own sisters as their consorts. In that case, they acted in
violation of the way of husband and wife taught by the sages. There are also many cases where a minister murdered his ruler and set up his younger brother or son in
his place. Those whose fathers or older brothers had been killed acceded to the throne of the Son of Heaven on the instructions of the minister who had done the
killing, without feeling any shame in the matter and without any idea of taking revenge. Where there is such a thing as a ruler-vassal relationship where the vassal kills
the father or older brother and then sets up the son or younger brother as the ruler, it is difficult to say that the country is superior to all other countries and the
righteousness between lord and retainer is correct. Now it is said that Japan has the splendid tradition of one family ruling the realm continually and not transferring
the right to rule to any other family. However, for a brother or cousin of the legitimate heir to become Son of Heaven by getting rid of the legitimate heir is even worse
than for a person of another family to get rid of the legitimate heir. Even though the family line has not changed since Emperor Jimmu, the cases of murder, rebellion
and usurpation of the throne are too many to count. For instance, if a person kills his older brother and takes the throne from him, should we say there is nothing wrong
with it because they are of the same family? If I don=t do the killing, but my vassal does so, and then he sets me up on the throne, it is a shameful thing. Since this is
the case, it seems that in Japan, on the contrary, the way of the five relationships was opened up in later times, while in antiquity it was not clearly established. For
scholars to read the ancient chronicles but not discern this fact is disgraceful . . .
[Yamazaki Ansai gakuha, NST, v. 31, pp. 420-25; BS]
The Mito School
The interest of Ieyasu's grandson, Tokugawa Mitsukuni (1628-17000, in Chinese studies was aroused by the great histories Chinese writers had produced,
rather than by religion or philosophy. This may well be considered one of the distinctive influences of Chinese culture on Japan, in contrast to Indian influence, which
was confined to religion, philosophy, and the arts. Mitsukuni inaugurated the project of compiling a national history in 1657, when he established a historiography
bureau at his alternate residence at Komagome in Edo.1 This was four years before he became the second daimy of the Mito domain. Fortunately Mitsukuni was able
to persuade a Chinese political refugee of wide experience and considerable scholarship to participate in the new undertaking as general advisor. Zhu Shunsui (1600-
1682), a steadfast adherent of the Ming dynasty who had crossed the Eastern seas many times in hopes of raising outside help for the Ming cause, was finally forced by
the collapse of the Southern Ming Court to seek refuge in Nagasaki in 1659. In 1665, after repeated invitations from Mitsukuni to serve on this historical commission,
Shunsui accepted and came to settle in Mito. To Japanese Confucians Shunsui symbolized above all else unswerving loyalty to his dynasty. This was what Zhu Xi had
called the "highest duty in fulfillment of one's proper role (taigi meibun)," and what had served as a guiding principle in the composition of his Outline and Details of
the Comprehensive Mirror (Tongjian gangmu). There is no doubt that the presence of this staunch loyalist made itself felt, for patriotism and loyalty to the throne
became the paramount themes of Mitsukuni's history, as well as the cardinal doctrines of those who later carried on the tradition of the Mito School. Through them
these ideas were to exert a profound influence on the course of Japanese history during the Restoration period. Still later, Zhu Shunsui's unceasing resistance to the
Manchus was to serve as an inspiration to Chinese students in Japan, who returned home to lead in the struggle that brought the Qing dynasty to an end.
1In 1672 Mitsukuni moved the history bureau to his main residence at Koishikawa in Edo, naming it the Shkkan on the basis of a passage from the preface to the Zuo zhuan (a classical commentary on the Chunqiu) meaning "illuminate the past in order to ponder [what should be done in] the future." After Mitsukuni's death, a branch of the bureau was established in Mito as well; in 1829 the two branches of the academy were unified in Mito by Tokugawa Nariaki.
The History of Great Japan (Dai Nihon shi), as Mitsukuni's history came to be called, is most famous for its "three great innovations" concerning the
history of the imperial line in the Northern and Southern Courts period (1331-1392).1 The question of legitimacy is of course intertwined with the definition of loyalty,
since a minister's or vassal's loyalty can properly be directed only to a legitimate ruler or lord (and, conversely, a vassal loyal to a lord defined as illegitimate must
normally be relegated to the ranks of rebels and traitors). As we have seen in the case of the Kimon school, this Neo-Confucian historiographical concern for
elucidating the relationship between conduct and the moral norms implicit within status-defining titles, i.e., in the clarification of meibun, is rooted ultimately in the
study of the Spring and Autumn Annals (Chunqiu), which was traditionally believed to have been compiled and edited by Confucius. But the moral lessons of history
that scholars found in the Chunqiu were communicated simply through a bare account of events, not by the addition of evaluative comments on the part of the historian.
As Zhu Xi put it, "Confucius simply described things as they were, and right and wrong became apparent of themselves."2
1The Three Great Innovations were "revisionist" views to the effect that the ancient empress Jingu was not an "emperor" in her own right but a regent for her son the Emperor jn; that the Emperor Temmu had usurped the throne of Prince Otomo; and, as in the case cited here, that the Southern court represented the legitimate imperial line. 2Zhuzi yulei, Ch. 83.
Thus, in Chinese histories the practice had developed of keeping the historical accounts themselves free of overt expressions of opinion, while striving for
the greatest possible accuracy and objectivity, adding a separate section of Appraisals (ronsan) wherein the compiler offered his own evaluations of the personages and
events recorded. The Hayashis had decided not to include such evaluative comments in their General History of Our State (Honch tsgan) because of their fear of
offending the shogun or powerful bakufu leaders by expressing their opinions on sensitive issues. Mitsukuni, however, felt that the purely chronological form of the
Hayashis' account failed to make the moral lessons of history sufficiently clear. This led him to adopt the kiden (chronological annals plus biographies) style of Sima
Qian's Shiji and the Chinese dynastic histories, since in the biographies it is possible to consider the implications of a person's actions that are merely recounted in the
chronological accounts. A similar desire to clarify the lessons of history led Mitsukuni's successor to instruct Asaka Tanpaku (1656-1737), one of the chief Mito
historians and a former director of the Shkkan, to write Appraisals on both the chronological accounts and the biographies. When the first completed portion of the
Dai-Nihon-shi was presented to the bakufu in 1720, in two hundred and fifty fascicles, these Appraisals were included.
After 1720, work on the Dai-Nihon-shi virtually ceased until 1786, when Tachihara Suiken (1724-1823) became director. Little work had yet been done
on two other sections of the history as originally planned, the Essays and Tables. The former were to focus on the history of institutions, rather than emperors and other
individuals, and many Mito scholars, stimulated by the Sorai school's interest in concrete institutions, (see Ch. 23), were eager to move on to this new stage. Tachihara,
however, was unwilling to commit the resources for this, leading to a major factional dispute. Tachihara's opponents, led by Fujita Ykoku (1774-1826) and
Komiyama Fken (763-1840), also objected to the name "Dai-Nihon shi," on the grounds that Japan had never been called "Dai-Nihon." Further, they insisted that
Tanpaku's Appraisals be expurgated, arguing that in China, a country where there are dynastic revolutions, it is allright to make retrospective judgements about the
merits and demerits of the previous dynasty, but in Japan, with an unbroken imperial line, even when a military leader takes hold over the government, the status
distinction between ruler and subject [lord and vassal] is never upset (so a subject is never in a position to judge past rulers unreservedly). Reiterating Zhu Xi's
statement quoted above, they argued that the views expressed in the Appraisals were only the views of a private individual, and not part of the original intention of
Mitsukuni in initiating the project. Moreover, they said, Tanpaku's Appraisals are often harsh in their judgement, verbose, and filled with pedantic allusions to Chinese
history. When Hayashi Jussai (1768-1841), then head of the bakufu college, was consulted, he agreed that the Appraisals might be removed, but suggested that they be
preserved in a separate form so that Tanpaku's labors would not be lost to future generations. Most of the Mito historians agreed, but a decision on the matter was
blocked by a few scholars who objected that without the Appraisals the reasons behind the three great innovations would become obscured. In 1809 a decision was
finally reached, and after some modifications to the three great innovations, twenty-six fascicles of a revised block-printed edition without the Appraisals were
presented to the bakufu. A year later the same edition was presented to the imperial court. The Appraisals were eventually published separately, and they came to
exert considerable influence on later loyalist historiography, most notably that of the independent Kyoto-based historian Rai Sany (1780-1832).1 The full completion
of the Dai-Nihon shi project was not achieved until 1906, a time when Japan's recent victory in the Russo-Japanese War had given rise to a flood of emperor-centered
1Sany's histories, particularly his Unofficial History of Japan (Nihon gaishi), were widely read in the late Edo period, exerting great influence on the development of imperial loyalist thought.
Preface to the History of Great Japan (Dai Nihon shi)
The authenticity of the story related here is suspect because it is not mentioned in any earlier source. However, there is an important parallel between the story of Bo Yi and Shu Qi and Mitsukuni's personal situation, in the fact that Shu Qi, the younger of two brothers, had, like Mitsukuni, been chosen as heir over the older brother. Mitsukuni was quite concerned about this matter (a fact related to his concern with the question of legitimate succession in history), leading him to designate a son of his elder brother as his successor.
This preface was written in 1715 by Tsunaeda, then head of the Mito branch of the Tokugawa family, who records the aims of his predecessor Mitsukuni in launching the monumental history project. Two points are emphasized: loyalty to the legitimate imperial house (though not at this time suggesting active rule by the Emperor), and the contribution of accurate historiography to the social order. Accuracy, however, did not preclude moral judgement; objectivity did not mean "value free".
My Sire [Mitsukuni] at the age of eighteen once read the biography of Bo Yi1and became a staunch admirer of his high character from that time on.
Patting the volume containing it, he remarked with emotion, "Only by the existence of this book is the culture of ancient China made available to us; but for the writing
of history how could posterity visualize the past?"
Thereupon he resolved to compile a history of Japan. Official chronicles were sought out as sources, and private records were hunted for far and wide.
Famous religious centers were visited for rare documents, and eminent personages were approached for their personal memoirs. Thus scores of years have been spent
in the work of compilation and editing in order to complete this history.
It was the Sun in person who laid the foundation of this nation over two thousand years ago. Since then, divine descendants have occupied the throne in
legitimate succession; never did an impostor or traitor dare to usurp it. The Sun and the Moon shone bright where the Imperial Regalia found their abode, splendid and
wondrous. The ultimate reason for this can only be traced, I respectfully surmise, to the benevolence and charity of our imperial forebears, which served to keep the
people's hearts united in solid support of the country. As to the doings and sayings of the wise ministers and able officials of early times, they may in general be
ascertained from ancient records. In the Middle Ages, able sovereigns appeared who preserved the dynasty and maintained its prestige, pursuing policies as beneficial
as those of early times. But because there is a dearth of sources for this period the contributions of individual ministers and advisers are gradually fading into oblivion,
to my profound regret. That is the reason why this history is planned.
1Bo Yi, legendary figure of classical China whose biography is contained in the Records of the Historian by Sima Qian. He and his brother were said to have starved themselves in the wilderness rather than live on the bounty of King Wu of Zhou, whom they considered a usurper of the Shang throne. Since King Wu was a great hero to Confucians, many of them have condemned the account as fraudulent.
Having lived close to my Sire, [I], Tsunaeda, enjoyed the privilege of listening to his pregnant remark concerning history as a record of the facts. "Write it
faithfully on the basis of the facts, and the moral implications will then make themselves manifest. From antiquity to the present time, the customs and manners of the
people, whether refined or vulgar, as also the government and administration of successive eras, whether conducive to prosperity or ruin, should be put down in black
and white as clearly as if they were things held in our own hands. Good deeds will serve to inspire men and bad deeds to restrain them, so that rebels and traitors may
tremble in fear of history's judgement. The cause of education and the maintenance of social order will thus greatly benefit. In writing one must be true to fact, and the
facts must be presented as exhaustively as possible. Arbitrary selection or willful alteration has no place in authentic history. So in this history, all pains have been
taken to make it true to fact, even at the expense of literary excellence. An excess of detail is preferable to excessive brevity. As to its final form and arrangement. I
shall leave that to some great writer to come." Before the history was completed, my Sire passed away.
[From Dai Nihon shi, v. 1, pp. i-ix]
Appraisal [Appended] to the Chronology of Emperor Godaigo
In 1221 (Shky 3) the cloistered emperor Go-Toba took advantage of continuing political struggles within the Kamakura bakufu following Minamoto Yoritomo's death to raise troops against the bakufu, hoping to assert the authority of the throne. His forces were soundly defeated, and as punishment the bakufu banished three cloistered emperors to the Oki Islands north of Izumo. In 1333, emperor Go-Daigo escaped from banishment in Oki, beginning his "Kemmu Restoration" when the Kamakura general Ashikaga Takauji switched sides and seized Kyoto in his name. In the same year, Hj Takatoki, the 14th Hj regent, was driven to commit suicide with his whole family by an attack on Kamakura by Go-Daigo's general Nitta Yoshisada, bringing an end to Hj power.
In Tanpaku's appraisals, we can see evidence of another principle of historiography corollary to the Confucian rectification of names: the belief that a person's actions will have good or bad repercussions on his descendants (and that descendants are bound to fulfil the unfulfilled will of their ancestors)Ca principle important in trying to explain the history of the imperial line. We can also see how the clarification of the past was thought to reveal the course of the future.
The appraisal states: Duke Xiang of Qi carried out revenge against the state of Ji for a wrong they had committed against Qi nine generations earlier, and
the Spring and Autumn regards this as righteous. The emperor executed Hj Takatoki and his whole family in order to wipe out the shame of the banishment of the
three emperors. This was something more difficult to accomplish than the revenge of Duke Xiang, and it is a meritorious deed of imperial restoration that should be
held up as a model for all time. In it we see the expanding fulfillment of cloistered emperor Kameyama's wish.1 Nevertheless Ashikaga Takauji nourished a rebellious
intent, even relying on the prestige he would gain through betrayal. This was cunning and craftiness even worse than that of Takatoki. Why is it then, that even though
Emperor Go-Toba still had the hope of returning from his tour of inspection in Oki, Go-Daigo's court was left stranded so long in the mountains of Yoshino?
Giving special favor to his ravishing consort, he [Go-Daigo] distributed reward and punishment arbitrarily; the remonstrating minister2left and public
order was thrown into confusion. Even though loyal ministers and righteous warriors died bloody deaths for his cause on the battlefield, in the end there was no one
who could save him. Yet what is particularly unfortunate is that even though his talent for overcoming disorder was sufficient to bring heroes to his side, his
intelligence remained hidden and he was unable to distinguish between loyal followers and flatterers. Even though he hoped to restore the good government of the
Engi era (90-923), was it possible for him to succeed?
1Go-Daigo was the grandson of Kameyama, who was involved in a succession dispute with his older brother , Go-Fukakusa, beginning in 1272. The dispute was finally resolved through shogunate intervention by an arrangement whereby the imperial succession would alternate between the two lines. It was Go-Daigo's desire to break this agreement and retain the succession within his own line that led in the first place to his split with the shogunate. 2Fujiwara no Fujifusa, an aristocratic confidant of Go-Daigo who became one of his chief strategists. In 1334, after Go-Daigo ignored his remonstrances over unfairness in distributing rewards and insufficient attention to government, Fujifusa left him and became a monk in the mountains.
Since ancient times it has always been the case that initiating the great enterprise [of ruling the empire] is difficult, but holding on to it is even more
difficult. With anxiousness and hard work it is possible to restore the fortunes of one's country; with a life of ease and comfort it is possible to forget one's
responsibilities. How could the emperor have failed to reflect on this? Nevertheless, the emperor's intrepid spirit would not give up even if broken a hundred times.
His declaration refusing to hand over the regalia to the new king was correct in righteousness and rigorous in its choice of words. His decree dispatching a prince to
pacify Mutsu kept the civil and military arts from splitting into two paths.1 How great are they, these words! This is something that rulers have not been able to
achieve since middle antiquity. The thought of restoration only grows more intense when it is frustrated; facing death he took hold of his sword and braced himself for
battle. Thus he was able to keep the regalia safe among deep mountain crags and lay down the foundation for a court that held out for more than fifty years.2 The place
where the legitimate line dwells shines bright like the sun and the moon! Was this not a great accomplishment?
........................................................................................................................................................................[From Dai Nihon shi sans, in NST, v. 48, pp. 66-67; BS]
Kaibara Ekken: Human Nature and the Study of Nature
1Mutsu is a province in the far north of Honsh (modern Aomori prefecture). Kitabatake Akiie, Chikafusa's son, became governor there in the name of one of Go-Daigo's sons, building up a strong military force which fought on the side of the southern court. As a member of a courtier family, he was a representative of civil power who also took on military functions, thus combining civil (bun) and military (bu) as they were believed to have been combined in ancient times. 2The exiled southern court of Go-Daigo was preserved from 1334 to 1392, when a compromise was reached that led Emperor Go-Kameyama to surrender the regalia to Emperor Go-Komatsu of the northern court.
Among Japanese Neo-Confucians there is perhaps none who combines more strikingly than Kaibara Ekken (1630-1714) the cosmoligical, moral, and
rational tendencies of this movement. More than anyone else he brought Confucian ethics into the homes of ordinary Japanese in language they could understand.
Other Neo-Confucians might have taken great pride in demonstrating their command of Chinese style writing. Kaibara was content to set forth in comparatively simple
Japanese the basic moral doctrines which should govern the everyday conduct of the people, their relations with others, their duties within the family and to their feudal
lords, their duties in war and peace, etc. Though Kaibara addressed himself particularly to the samurai, his writings had a broad appeal to all classes and ages, and he
gained a reputation for having made Confucian moral teachings Ahousehold talk@ among the people. To do this he had especially to reach the women and children.
In this way he performed for Confucian ethics the service which the leaders of the Pure Land Sect had performed for Buddhism in the medieval periodCbringing it
down from the realm of philosophical discussion and into the households of all who could read.
Raised in a lower ranking samurai family in Fukuoka, Ekken was educated in Kyoto at the expense of his own domain (han) and employed by his own
lord (daimyo) as an official advisor. This assured him of a career as scholar and writer relatively free of financial concerns. His remarkable productivity was, no doubt,
owing to his moderate but secure income, as well as to the peaceful conditions established by the unification of the country under the Tokugawa Shogunate.
For seven years Ekken studied in Kyoto, still the intellectual capital of the time. There he met many of the most illustrious Confucian scholars in Japan
including Kinoshita Junan (1621-1698), Yamazaki Ansai (1618-1682), and It Jinsai (1627-1705). He remained in contact with several of these scholars on successive
trips to Kyoto, but also traveled on occasion to the political capital, Edo (Tokyo) where he met one of the leading government advisors, the Confucian scholar Hayashi
Gah (1618-1680). Also, in Kysh he frequently visited the port city of Nagasaki where, despite the ban on imported Western books, he purchased Chinese books
and occasionally even Western ones. It was there that at age twenty-one he obtained a copy of one of the Song Neo-Confucian scholar Zhu Xi's most important works,
Reflections on Things at Hand (Jinsilu). Some seventeen years later he wrote the first Japanese commentary on this text (Kinshiroku bik).
Ekken's breadth of concerns reflect his varied life experience, his opportunities for travel, and his contacts with scholars and other groups in the society.
Especially impressive in Ekken is the range and volume of his writings, and the unpretentiousness of his learning. From high level Confucian scholarship to popular
treatises on Confucian morality, and from botanical and agricultural studies to provincial topographies and genealogies, Ekken demonstrated a range of intellectual and
ethical concerns rarely matched in the Tokugawa period. In this, he is said to have been aided in some of his work by his wife, Tken.
In addition to his commentary on Zhu Xi's Reflections on Things at Hand, Ekken's most important philosophical work is the Record of Great Doubts
(Taigiroku), which takes issue with some of Zhu Xi's metaphysics. Here Ekken argues for a philosophy of vitalistic naturalism as a basis for moral self-cultivation and
for an active engagement with social and political affairs. He rejects any tendency in Neo-Confucian thought toward transcendentalism, quietism, or self-centered
cultivation. Instead he articulates a dynamic philosophy of material force (Ch. qi; J. ki) as a unifying basis for the interaction of self, society, and nature. He observes
that because ki is the vital spirit present in all life, it should be cultivated in both one's self and in nature.
In articulating his monism of qi Ekken is especially indebted to the Ming Confucian Luo Qinshun (1465-1547) who had raised questions about Zhu Xi's
metaphysics in his important work Knowledge Painfully Acquired (Kunzhiji). This was first published in China in 1528 and made its way to Japan via Korea. A
Japanese woodblock edition was issued in 1658 and read shortly afterward by Ekken, as well as by It Jinsai 1627-1705), And Seian (1622-1701), and others.
Earlier in Korea similar doubts had been expressed by Yi Yulgok (1536-1584). Thus these three thinkers in successionCLuo, Yi, and EkkenCbecame central figures in
the development of a line of Neo-Confucian thought in East Asia centering on the monism of qi, a vitalistic naturalism, and practical or substantive learning (Ch.
shixue; K. sirhak; J. jitsugaku)..
An underlying intention of Ekken's was to identify the lingering traces of Buddhism and Daoism in Zhu's thought which he saw as tending toward
emptiness and disengagement from worldly affairs. Thereby he hoped to maintain the important connection between a dynamic cosmology and an active engagement
with the world. In other words, he was concerned that one's metaphysics not negatively affect one's ethical stance in the world.
Ekken did not allow his Record of Great Doubts to be published until after his death. Although it came to be highly valued by the revisionist Ogy
Sorai, Ekken did not wish to associate himself with It Jinsai's more radical critique and eventual abandonment of Zhu Xi. While disagreeing with Zhu Xi on some
points, Ekken remained profoundly indebted to his synthesis of Song Neo-Confucianism.
In order to spread Confucian ideas among a wide variety of people Ekken wrote moral treatises (kunmono) in a simplified Japanese style addressed to
particular groups including samurai, families, women, and children. This was part of his deep commitment to Confucian ideas and practices as the foundation for a
new moral, socio-political order in Japan's emerging period of peace and stability. Ekken's writings and teachings also contributed significantly to Confucianism's
rapprochement with Shinto. As naturalistic philosophies with an emphasis on virtues such as authenticity and sincerity, as well as on the vitality of nature,
Confucianism and Shinto were seen by Ekken and other scholars as having shared values.
Ekken's equal concern for moral practicality and rational inquiry, combined in what Zhu Xi had called Apractical learning@ (Ch. shixue; J. jitsugaku),
encompassed fields such as medicine, botany, and agriculture, as well as astronomy, geography, and mathematics. One of his best known works is his Plants of Japan
(Yamato honz), a classification of plants, herbs, shells, fish, and birds in the style of a natural history. This is based on a long-established tradition in China of plant
taxonomy. In addition, Ekken wrote Precepts for Health Care (Yjkun) a practical guide still popular today, as well as an introduction to Miyazaki Yasusada's
agricultural compendium (Ngy zensho), which was an important exposition of farming techniques (earlier a concern also of Zhu Xi). Ekken's practical learning also
encompassed local history and topography through his gazetteers of the Kuroda domain and his travel diaries.
Kaibara Ekken: Precepts for Children
This opening passage to his Precepts for Children (Shgaku-kun) sets forth with great simplicity Kaibara's view of the interrelation of humankind and nature through the supreme Confucian virtue of humaneness (Ch. ren; J. jin). Here it is precisely that which makes human beings truly human which unites him with nature.
In the first paragraph the compound standing for Anature@ is rendered literally as AHeaven and earth@ so that the correspondence to Afather and mother@ may be brought out. Ekken's views echo those in the Neo-Confucian philosopher Zhang Zai's AWestern Inscription@ (Sources of Chinese Tradition, Ch. 20).
All human beings may be said to owe their birth to their parents, but a further inquiry into their origins reveals that human beings come into existence
because of nature's law of life. Thus all humans in the world are children born of Heaven-and-earth, and Heaven-and-earth are the great parents of us all. The Book of
History says, AHeaven-and-earth are the father and mother of all things@ (Taishi I). Our own parents are truly our parents; but Heaven-and-earth are the parents of
everyone in the world. Moreover, though we are bought up after birth through the care of our own parents and are sustained on the gracious bounty of the ruler, still if
we go to the root of the matter, we find that we sustain ourselves using the things produced by nature for food, dress, housing, and implements, thus not only do all
humans at the outset come into being because of nature's law of life, but from birth till the end of life they are kept in existence by the support of Heaven-and-earth.
Humans surpass all other created things in their indebtedness to the limitless bounty of nature. It will be seen therefore that one's duty is not only to do one's best to
serve one's parents, which is a matter of course, but also to serve nature throughout his life in order to repay one's immense debt. That is one thing all people should
keep in mind constantly.
As humans mindful of their obligation constantly to serve nature in repayment of this great debt, they should not forget that, just as they manifest filial
piety in the service of their own parents, so they should manifest to the full their humaneness toward nature. Humaneness means having a sense of sympathy within,
and bringing blessings to humans and things. For those who have been brought up on the blessings of nature, it is the way to serve nature. It is the basic aim of human
life, which should be observed as long as one lives. There should be no letting up on it, no forgetting of it. Humaneness in the service of nature and filial piety are one
in principle: it is a principle which must be known and observed by anyone insofar as they are human. There is none greater than this, none more important. All those
living in their parents' home should expend themselves in filial service to their father and mother; and in serving their lord should manifest single-minded loyalty to
him. Just so, living as we do in the wrap of nature, we must serve nature and manifest to the full our humaneness. For a human being to be unaware of this important
duty, to let the days and years pass idly by and let one's life go for naught, is to make oneself unworthy of being a human being. Indeed, how can anyone who would be
a human being ignore this fact? It is in this that the way of humanity lies. Any way apart from this cannot be the true Way.
To persist in the service of heaven means that everyone who is human should be mindful of the fact that morning and evening one is in the presence of
Heaven, and not far removed from it; that one should fear and reverence the way of Heaven and not be unmindful of it. One should not, even in ignorance, oppose the
way of Heaven or commit any outrage against it. Rather, following the way of Heaven, one should be humble and not arrogant toward others, control one's desires and
not be indulgent of one's passions, cherish a profound love for all humankind born of nature's great love, and not abuse or mistreat them. Nor should one waste, just to
gratify personal desires, the five grains and other bounties which nature has provided for the sake of the people. Secondly, no living creatures such as birds, beasts,
insects, and fish should be killed wantonly. Not even grass and trees should be cut down out of season. All of these are objects of nature's love, having been brought
forth by her and nurtured by her. To cherish them and keep them is therefore the way to serve nature in accordance with the great heart of Heaven-and-earth. Among
human obligations there is first the duty to love our relatives, then to show sympathy for all other human beings, and then not to mistreat birds and beasts or any other
living things. That is the proper order for the practice of humaneness in accordance with the great heart of Heaven-and-earth. Loving other people to the neglect of
parents, or loving birds and beasts to the neglect of human beings, is not to be humane.
[Ekken zensh, v. 3, pp.2-3; MET]
Record of Great Doubts
In the opening passage Ekken establishes himself in a manner characteristic of Neo-Confucian discourse, in relation to Zhu Xi's concept of the ASuccession to (or Reconstitution of) the Way." He sees the Way, not simply as a system of received authority, subject to some attenuation and loss, but as subject also to successive stages of clarification, revivification and expansion. Even the Song masters can be amended by invoking their own insistence on the need for doubt and questioning and by appealing to the higher ideal and authority of the ancient sages as the ground for reinterpretation.
(1.) As regards the Way of the Sages, although in high antiquity some persons received Heaven's charge and set forth the supreme norm [of human
conduct and governance] the method of instruction for the Way had not yet been made known. From the time of Yao and Shun, people received the charge to ABe
discriminating and become one [with the mind of the Way], and hold fast to the Mean,@1and also to AReverently spread the teachings of the five constant virtues.@2
This was how teaching first became established. There followed the three periods of the Xia, Shang, and Zhou during which an educational method was gradually
provided. However, it had not yet been clearly articulated, so Confucius greatly clarified it. The Way of Confucius then found its true heir in Mencius who expounded
it with clarity.
From primordial antiquity the material energies of Heaven-and-earth have undergone gradual change over time. The unfolding of human civilization has
also followed these changes unceasingly. Although even in the enlightened period of Yao and Shun and the three early dynasties civilization was unable to flower
fully, it was only natural that further developments should await later generations. Thus, for the many generations to come, civilization would gradually yet ceaselessly
unfold with each age.
1 Shujing, Dayumo, as recounted in Zhu Xi's Preface to the Mean, see Sources of Chinese Tradition V. 1, p. 732. 2 Shujing, Shun dian; Legge, Book of History, p. 44.
After Mencius, from the Han through the Tang periods, the transmission of this Way was nearly cut off. Indeed, it hung by a slender thread. However, in
the Song dynasty several exemplary leaders appeared who resuscitated the Way and brought it again to people's attention. Particularly noteworthy were the
commentaries and the explanations of the Confucian classics by the Cheng brothers and Zhu Xi. Since the time of Mencius there had been many remarkable scholars
but the Cheng brothers were the most illustrious among those who understood the Way and explicated the teachings. After them came Zhu Xi. Although neither the
virtue nor the learning of the Chengs and Zhu quite compared to that attained by the early sages, later generations naturally respected and trusted them. Still in their
manner of expression there could well have been various points not exactly in agreement with Confucius and Mencius. Therefore, we must not regard the Song
Confucians as equal to Confucius and Mencius. Scholars should have an open mind and be discerning with regard to the similarities and differences, and the
correctness and mistakes of their teachings. If one reflects deeply, selects carefully, and believes what should be believed and doubts what should be doubtedCthat will
be all right.
A former scholar said, ATo learn is to understand; it is to realize what we do not know [fully].@1 Accordingly, the way of learning is one which resolves
doubts and dispels misgivings. Thus, if we can doubt, our learning will be clarified; if we can not doubt, our learning will not be
clarified. In this spirit, Zhu Xi said, AIf our doubt is great, our progress will be significant; if our doubt is small, our progress will be insignificant. If we do not have
doubts we will not progress.@
However, even in doubting there is a right and a wrong way. It is correct to doubt when, upon careful reflection, one cannot help doubting. To doubt
indiscriminately however is to divert and diffuse one's efforts into unimportant things, which is incorrect. [12-13]
(2) In their teachings, the Song Confucians regarded the non-finite (wuji) as the basis of the Supreme Ultimate (taiji), and Nothingness as the root of the
existent. They divided principle (li) and material force (qi) and regarded them as two things. They did not consider yin and yang as the Way but as physical vessels.
They separated the nature of Heaven-and-earth from physical nature, viewing human nature and principle as beyond birth and death [i.e. unchanging]. These ideas are
the residue of Buddhist and Daoist thinking, and different from the teachings of the early Confucian sages. Scholars must distinguish this precisely and clearly.
1 Ban Gu, Bohutong, 302-3.
In discussing the method of preserving the mind-and-heart the Song Confucians spoke of making tranquility central, of quiet sitting and of apprehending
Heavenly principle through silent sitting to purify the mind-and-heart. They regarded quiet sitting to be the everyday method for preserving the mind. This all tends
toward quietism, rather than seeing activity and tranquility as practices adaptable to circumstances. In other words, this is the same as the Zen practice of meditation to
achieve Nirvana. This is not something true Confucians should approve of. Song Confucians also spoke of the original mind-and-heart as being empty, unobstructed,
and transparent and regarded Heaven's principle as limitless and trackless. This is the residue of Buddhist and Daoist thinking, different from the teachings of
Confucius and Mencius. Originally the Song Confucians claimed to speak for Confucius and Mencius, but some of their teachings did not originate with Confucius
and Mencius but emerged from Buddhism and Daoism. Scholars must be selective. Song Confucians were most severe in their rejection of Buddhism and Daoism;
why then should they resort to heterodox ways to interpret the teachings of Confucius and Mencius? The foregoing comments arise from doubts I have been unable to
(7) From my youth I have read Zhu Xi's writings. I respected his Way, followed his model and devoted myself to his teachings. At the same time, with
regard to points I could not resolve, I have tried to analyze them thoroughly, not simply following the fashion of the times, but still hoping for the day when some
clarification might come. . . . 
(40) The Confucian teachers of the Song were all intelligent men. Their scholarship and character far exceeded that of most people. The Confucians from
the Han to the Tang did not reach their level. However, Song doctrines seem close to the teachings of Buddhism and Daoism and there are many dubious points. Most
human beings are not sages; they are not without bias. To illustrate this, we realize that the light of the sun and the moon is not without shadows. Even a pearl shining
like the moon is not without flaws. Shao Yong said: AAlthough Heaven gives birth to things, it cannot nourish them [as earth does]. Although earth can nourish
things, it cannot create them [as Heaven does]. Although fire boils things, it cannot soak them. Although water soaks things, it cannot boil them. Even Heaven-and-
earth are not self-sufficient, so why should fire and water be?1In my opinion, since Heaven and earth are not self-sufficient [omni-competent], how much more is that
true of wise men? How can they be without bias or deficiency? Thus even though the learning of the Song Neo-Confucians is close to being pure and correct it does
not equal that of the sages. That there are sometimes biases or deficiencies is only natural. How can we rely on them completely as if they were wholly unbiased?
1 Shao Yong, Yichuan jijangji, Siku ed. 16:6b.
Surely the Way of the sages is fair and impartial. The sages hold fast to virtue so as to extend its influence widely. In their actions they are skillful.
Worthies who rank below the sages, although intelligent, are no doubt less than perfect. The learning of the Song Confucians is genuine but still it does not match that
of the sages. They cannot avoid having prejudicial personal viewpoints. Thus teachings have frequently appeared which are different from the teachings of Confucius
and Mencius. These include the following, which are the reasons for my own doubts: (1) taking the non-finite as the basis of the Supreme Ultimate; (2) separating
principle and material force into two separate things; (3) differentiating the nature of Heaven-and-earth from the physical nature; (4) regarding yin and yang as not
being the Way but as being concrete things in the world of form; (5) taking the reason for the alternation of yin and yang as the Way; (6) seeing material force and the
physical body as subject to life and death; (7) taking principle and the nature as not subject to life and death (changeless); (8) regarding quiet sitting as a method of
regular daily practice and taking Aholding to tranquility@1as a method for achieving human perfection; (9) using the theories of Confucius and Mencius concerning
nature to make a distinction between the physical nature and the nature of heaven and earth. [31-32]
The following discussion focuses on the interpretation of Zhou Dunyi's expression Anon-finite and yet the Supreme Ultimate@ (wuji er taiji) at the beginning of his Diagram of the Supreme Ultimate. Ekken sees it as expressing the Daoist notion that what exists comes from Nothingness. Zhu Xi had said however that wuji did not represent Nothingness as Athe infinite,@ a stage prior to existence but as the non-finite, limitless, formless aspect of the Supreme Ultimate. To Ekken this was not adequate to correct the misleading connotations of the Daoist concept. It was a matter of endless dispute among Neo-Confucians, contaminated, as Ekken saw it, by other Daoist notions of quiescence and mind-control imported into Neo-Confucianism.
To regard Nothingness as the origin of all things and this as the essential teaching is a Buddhist and Daoist idea. To regard existence as the origin of all
things and this as the essential thing is the teaching of the sages. Hence how one views Existence and Nothingness is the dividing line between the Way of the sages
and other paths, which we must be careful to distinguish. If we wish to speak of the Supreme Ultimate we should not assert ANothingness@ as prior to it. The
Supreme Ultimate is formless; even a foolish person like myself understands that. Therefore, on the question whether people might misunderstand the Supreme
Ultimate as a thing, there is no need to worry about that [as Zhu did]. Nor need the character ji (ultimate) be misunderstood as meaning form [as Zhu feared it might
1 Laozi 40.
In Zhu Xi's Commentaries he speaks of Anon-finite@ as being formless,1but this does not express the original meaning of the term (wuji). Zhu Xi wanted
his interpretations to be accepted without question and hoped that people would have no doubts about the believability of his Explanation of the Diagram of the
Supreme Ultimate. Therefore, he overemphasized these words. The language he used was overdone and he overstated his case. Why should he not have used ordinary
language and plain, understandable speech [rather than metaphysical language]? 
(81) The Inseparability of Principle and Material Force. If one searches out the Way of Heaven and earth at its source, it is not yet divided into yin and
yang. Rather, there is a single primal undifferentiated material force. That is the state where highest principle exists but the configuration of yin and yang has not yet
appeared. Given a name, it is called the ASupreme Ultimate.@ Supreme means highest and Ultimate means the extreme pole. The Supreme Ultimate is the source of
the Way and the root of all things. Among all things, there is nothing more to be valued and honored. No name suffices for it, so we refer to it as the ASupreme
When the primal material force moves into operation it is called Ayang.@ That is the movement of the Supreme Ultimate. It moves and then becomes
quiescent. Quiescent, in this stolid state is called Ayin.@ This is the tranquility of the Supreme Ultimate.
After being tranquil, it moves and alternates between movement and tranquility, operating ceaselessly. This is yin and yang, distinguished by the
movement and tranquility of the one primal material force. They are not two material forces. Yang is the movement of the one primal material force and yin is the
congealing of the primal material force. Both are the activity and tranquility of the Supreme Ultimate. Confucius [in the Yijing] said, AIn the changes there is the
Supreme Ultimate and it gives rise to the two elements of yin and yang.
1 Zhuzi yulei 94:4904
When the single material force is not yet differentiated, the nebulous matter of the single primal material force is regarded as the Supreme Ultimate. When
a distinction is made between yin and yang, the way of yin and yang is regarded as the movement of the Supreme Ultimate. As the Supreme Ultimate and yin and yang
become differentiated into prior and posterior, they are given different names but as the ultimate principle there is no difference between them. The Supreme Ultimate
is the name for the one primal material force before it is differentiated into yin and yang. Yin and yang is the name of the Supreme Ultimate after this differentiation.
In actuality it is not two things. Once yin and yang are differentiated through the movement and tranquility of the Supreme Ultimate, the flow of yin and yang is still
regarded as the principle of the Supreme Ultimate. Thus the Changes says, AThe alternation of yin and yang is called the Way.@
The Way is like a path. It is called this because it affords movement and passage. That is the movement and passage of the one primal material force and
for this reason it is called the Way. Yin and yang are the movement and tranquility of the primal material force. As yin and then yang, they alternate ceaselessly. In its
primal undifferentiated condition it is called the Supreme Ultimate; in the condition of flowing alternation, it is called the Way. Hence the Supreme Ultimate and the
Way actually are one. The Way is the circulation of the Supreme Ultimate, and the Supreme Ultimate is the term used before the movement of the primal material
force. The Way and the Supreme Ultimate are not two separate circulation things.
The of the two phases of yin and yang is logical, is not chaotic, is always orderly, and is called the Way. This is the essence of the two aspects
of the primal material force. That which is confused and disorderly cannot be called the Way because it is not natural.
Spring's warmth, summer's heat, autumn's cool, winter's cold are normal and correct and represent Heaven's Way. If yin and yang are normal, they are the
Way. This is the natural state of yin and yang and it is exactly the same as Aestablishing the Way of Heaven and calling it yin and yang.@1 Similarly every year there
is an unchanging order from growth to harvest. That too is the flow of yin and yang and is also called the Way. . . .
1 Yijing, Xuzi, AShuogua;@ A Concordance to Yijing; AShuogua,@ II, p. 49.
There is only one material force between Heaven and earth, and when there is movement and tranquility we call it yin and yang. The virtue of ceaseless
production we call life-generation. In the Changes it says, AThe great virtue of Heaven-and-earth is its life-generation.@ The flow of this material force, sometimes
yin and sometimes yang, we call the Way. Since it has its logical and orderly flow, we also call it principle. Although the referents are not the same, and the names are
different, it is actually all one reality [of the primal material force].
Because of this, the movement of yin and yang is pure and orderly and this is the Way. Thus, principle and material force are definitely one, not two
things. In other words, principle does not exist without material force or vice versa. Principle is not divided into prior and posterior. No distinction can be made of
principle regarding temporal sequence. If there were no material force how could principle exist? This is the reason principle and material force cannot be separated.
We cannot say principle exists before and material force comes after1and so we cannot have a relationship of prior and posterior. Again, principle and material force
are not two; we cannot separate them. Principle is not something which exists separately; it is simply the principle of material force. . . .
1 Zhuzi yulei 242.
As movement and change are functions [of the Way], its ceaseless generating of life is called material force. As planting, growth, harvest, and storage
follow a definite order without confusion, it is called principle. In reality these [principle and material force] are only one thing. However, when we call it principle
this refers to the purity and perfect goodness of material force. Thus, it can be described as unchanging. When we speak of material force as disorderly, this refers to
those chaotic and turbulent aspects which lack regularity. This happens because material force moves, changes, and never stops. It may then lack regularity. However,
this [chaotic stage] is not the original state of yin and yang. If we speak of the constancy of material force, we mean it is not disorderly. That constancy is the original
state of material force. This is simply principle. [55-7]
(20) Views of Human Nature. The teachings of the Song Confucians frequently differ from those of the sages. In the Changes it is said [the alternations
of] AOne yin and one yang are the Way.@1 This defines the founding of the Way of Heaven as yin and yang. We should know that when the movement of yin and
yang is normal and undisturbed, it is the Way. When the movement is disordered, it is not the Way. Thus, the sages never regarded principle and material force as two
things. But Zhu Xi did claim that principle and material force were definitely two things. Confucius taught that, ABy their nature, human beings closely resemble each
other.@ Zisi said, AWhat Heaven has ordained we call human nature.@ Similarly Mencius said, AOur body and flesh are given us by Heaven,@ and AHuman nature
is good.@ These phrases refer to our original endowment which we all receive. Since we all receive it from Heaven, naturally there are not two kinds of natures.
Confucius, Zisi, and Mencius all shared the same view.
1 Zhu Xi said, AWhat are called principle and material force are certainly two different entities. But considered from the standpoint of things, the two entities are merged one with the other and cannot be separated with each in a different place. However, this does not destroy the fact that the two are each an entity in itself.@ See the Zhu zi daquan (Complete Works of Zhu Xi), 49:5b-6a, 1714 ed. Wing-tsit Chan, Source Book in Chinese Philosophy, p. 637.
Claiming that human nature is all the same refers to the goodness of human nature. Although there are differences of tall or short, fat or thin, wise or
foolish in endowment, everyone receives a mind-and-heart which is capable of commiseration, shame, modesty, and the discernment of right and wrong. When human
beings are born each has his or her own Heavenly-endowed, original nature, and in this respect we say, AHuman nature is good.@ In the past and at present human
nature is not so different and consequently we say that Ahuman nature is the same.@
All people, in the past and at present, have only one nature. It is not necessary to divide the nature of Heaven-and-earth and the physical nature. Is not the
nature of Heaven-and-earth embodied in one's physical nature. If one's physical nature is separate, wherewith can one receive Heavenly nature? Is not even one's
physical nature derived from Heaven-and-earth? We cannot divide the two. Confucius and Mencius never spoke of two natures. The indivisibility of physical nature
and Heaven-and-earth is self-evident.
Human nature is the name of something which humans receive from Heaven. . . . This is the common root and trunk. When we speak of branching out
there are myriad differentiations. However, it is no doubt a mistake to think of the nature of Yao and Shun as the same as that of ordinary people. The reason is that
Yao and Shun naturally have natures specifically for them, and ordinary people naturally have their own natures specifically for them. Since what each receives is
different, we should not confuse them as being one and the same. It is a fact that things are not uniform because all things differ.
One's human nature is received at birth. The destiny one receives from Heaven is inherently good, and originally without evil. It has a common origin.
Indeed, individual human nature actually exists as an embodiment of the good which is one's heavenly destiny. Yet when one originally receives material force there
cannot but be unevennesses of purity and impurity, or thickness and thinness. As each receives his or her own psycho-physical endowment, it constitutes an individual,
defined nature. Therefore, the natures of the wise or foolish differ from the beginning.
In teaching others, the Song Confucians wanted to be very explicit. They regarded principle and material force as two. Moreover, in their doctrines they
distinguished between the nature of Heaven-and-earth and the physical nature. In doing this, they were excessively analytical. Confucius and Mencius spoke of human
nature, but they were not overly analytical and their explanations were clear. What Confucius meant by Aa human nature is much the same@ is like saying human
beings closely resemble each other in regard to the goodness of human nature. Therefore, the view of Confucius and Mencius on human nature should not be regarded
as different. The basic principle is clear, without any need for precise analysis.
A holistic view is superior to minute analysis, for without being analytical the meaning is clear. If people who teach later generations follow the same line
as Confucius and Mencius they will be correct. If they set forth different teachings departing from Confucius and Mencius, that is unacceptable. The creation of things
by Heaven-and-earth begins and gradually evolves. This is a natural principle in accordance with the evolution of material force.
Likewise, there are things which the ancients did not discuss and which await [a contribution from] later generations. Confucius spoke of things that Yao
and Shun had not spoken of, Mencius spoke of things that Confucius had not spoken of, and what Confucius and Mencius omitted, the Song Confucians addressed.
The discussions of the Song Confucians derived from the same source as Confucius and Mencius. By doing this, the Song Confucians contributed to spreading the
Way of the sages. Nevertheless, in the course of so doing there appeared some teachings that diverge from the words of Confucius and Mencius.
The Song Confucians explain the Supreme Ultimate in terms of the non-finite (wuji), they regard principle and material force as two; they see yin and
yang as not being the Way but as concrete things; they think there is a nature of Heaven and earth and a psycho-physical nature, they explain innate goodness in terms
of AHuman nature as principle.@ Such things do not conform to the original intent of Confucius and Mencius, and they do not keep to the same teaching. If scholars
would examine this matter fairly, without favoring or adulating the various Song teachers, they would perceive the differences. [25-7]
[In Neo-Confucian cultivation a key question was which virtue, value or practice should be the guiding principle. Shu, for Amaster,@ or in this case Aguiding principle, of the mind, could, depending on context, also function as a verb: Ato give primacy or first importance, to . . . .@ Some Neo-Confucians like Yi Toegye and Yamazaki Ansai who practiced Aquiet sitting@ stressed Areverence@ or Areverent seriousness@ as the controlling spiritual principle or as a primary orientation of the mind-and-heart that combined moral, rational awareness with religious consciousness, as opposed to a trans-rational religiosity (Buddhism and Daoism). Ekken saw this as taking Areverence@ too seriously and making too much of it.]
(72) Reverence as the Master of the Mind. Zhu Xi said, AReverence should be the master of [i.e. should control] the mind-and-heart and be the basis for
[dealing with] all matters.1 He believed that Aself-cultivation through reverence@ was the ultimate teaching of the sages. Without reverence one could not preserve
the mind-and-heart. Thus he advocated reverence as a way to hold the moral mind firmly. . . .
These days however, there are people who want to adulate Zhu Xi.2 They say, AIf we make reverence the master of the mind, what harm could this be to
the Way?@ I do not know if this is the way to express it however. What then should we take as guide [master] of the human mind and heart? As Confucius says,
ATake loyalty and trustworthiness as your guide [master].@3 In the same vein the Mean says: AThe attainment of sincerity is the Way of humankind.@4 How could
we abandon the Way of humankind, and not take this as our guiding principle but instead make mind control the master of the mind-and-heart and no longer give
primacy to virtue and good deeds?
1 Daxue huowen 5:4. 2 Probably referring to Yamazaki Ansai and his school, following in the vein of Yi T'oegye in Korea. 3 Analects 1:8; 4:25; 12; 10 4 Mean 20.
Reverence is alright as a method of self-cultivation. Since [the time of] Yao and Shun, it has been the method of the mind-and-heart (shinp) transmitted
by the sages and worthies down through the ages.1 However, since Confucius, Zengsi, Zisi and Mencius did not speak of giving primacy to reverence, we should know
that giving primacy to reverence is not what the ancient sages and worthies regarded as primary.
Loyalty [fidelity] means not being deceitful. This is substance. Trustworthiness means being true to one's word. This is function. If we join loyalty and
trustworthiness we have sincerity [genuineness]. With sincerity, as the master of the mind-and-heartCthis is the Way of Humankind. . . .
The Changes say, ALoyalty and trustworthiness are the means whereby one progresses toward virtue.2 Without sincerity humaneness, rightness, ritual
decorum, and wisdom are empty and inauhentic. If primacy is not given to loyalty and trustworthiness, the pursuit of learning will lack a foundation and one will not
be able to progress. Reverence is, of course, a method for preserving the mind-and-heart, and a matter of concern to all scholars. Reverence, however, should not be
made the master of the mind-and-heart.
1 As formulated by Zhu Xi in his Preface to the Mean. 2 Yijing, AWenyan@ commentary to hexagram no. 1, AQian@ (Concordance to Yijing, p. 2)
Sincerity is true principle for humankind. It is having an authentic mind-and-heart. Accordingly, it is alright to give primacy to mind-and-heart, but it is
not acceptable to give primacy to a method of mind control. . . . The way to pursue learning for the noble person ought to value reverence, as, so to speak, a method for
giving primacy to loyalty and trustworthiness. Indeed with reverence we can attain sincerity. However, we cannot take reverence itself as the master of the mind-and-
heart. . . .
If we regard loyalty and trustworthiness as primary and then also regard reverence as primary, it will be like having two masters in one mind. Among the
virtues, we ought to distinguish between principal virtues and complementary ones. Loyalty and trustworthiness are principal virtues, while the four virtues of
humaneness, rightness, ritual decorum, and wisdom are corollary virtues. If we make central what should be corollary, even though one may call it splendid virtue, it
cannot but be flawed.
If we over-emphasize [are biased toward] humaneness, we are apt to be partial [in our sympathies]. If we overemphasize rightness, we are apt to be rigid.
If we overemphasize ritual decorum we are apt to be fussily polite. If we over-emphasize wisdom we are apt to be too critical. How much more so if we give primacy
to the method of mind control [quiet-sitting or abiding in reverence]? If a person makes reverence the master rather than loyalty and trustworthiness, he will be
inclined toward being outwardly solemn, overly scrupulous about details, restrictive, fearful, and narrow-minded. The excesses are too numerous to count.
Those who stress Aholding to reverence@ today do not understand the Way of reverence. Frequently they become externally solemn but in fact have a
false austerity and formality. On the surface they appear self-disciplined and respectful, but actually they are Aoutwardly strong and inwardly weak.@1 This is
because they do not give first primacy to loyalty and trustworthiness. Only those who give primacy to loyalty and trustworthiness will be without fault. Indeed giving
them primacy is the foundation of all virtue. . . . [50-2]
[Taigiroku, NST v. 34, pp. 12-14, 16, 31-2, 50-2; MET; deB]
1 Analects 17:12.
The Ymei (Wang Yangming) School in Japan
Deep and lasting as was the influence of Zhu Xi's teaching in Tokugawa Japan, its dominance was far from complete. Indeed, from the vantage point of
history one of the most striking features of Japanese thought in this period is its diversity and vitality. Not only during the waning years of the shogunate when its
control was loosened, but even during the heyday of its power there were men of independent mind who offered alternatives to the Neo-Confucian schools patronized
by the Tokugawa. Among them an important strain of independent thought is represented by Nakae Tju (108-1648), regarded as the founder of the Wang Yangming
school in Japan, and Kumazawa Banzan (1619-1691), an outstanding example of those personal and political virtues which had already made this school a center of
reformist activity in China.
Ymei is the Japanese rendering of the name of Wang Yangming, the sixteenth century Chinese thinker who became the outstanding spokesman for a
new learning of the mind in the Ming period that emerged out of Zhu Xi's earlier Learning of the Mind-and-heart based on the Great Learning and Zhu's preface to and
commentary on the Mean.1 Two features of Wang's teaching appealed especially to Nakae Tju, who came upon it through the writing of Yangming's disciple Wang
Ji2after he had spent many years studying the texts and rituals of the Zhu Xi school. One was Wang's stress upon people's intuition or moral sense, rather than upon the
intellect and scholarly learning. Everyone does not have to be a scholar but everyone ought to fulfill their moral nature. For Nakae the moral sense innate in every
man, the inner light which he later called the ADivine Light of Heaven,@ is man's only sure guide in life.
Nakae was also attracted to Wang's teaching because of its emphasis on deeds rather than words. The dictates of one's conscience should be carried out
directly in action. Wang had explained the unity of knowledge and action by showing that no matter how much a person read and talked about filial piety, he could not
be said truly to have learned or understood it until he had put it into practice. Nakae himself gave an example of this. Because he believed that the well-being of his
parents should be the first concern of every pious son, Nakae resigned a stipended post he held in the service of a feudal lord in Shikoku and returned to his native
village in mi province, near Lake Biwa, in order to look after his aging mother. This meant taking up the life of a farmer in a region removed from the cultural life of
the capital. Nevertheless his fame was spread abroad as a teacher whose precepts were taken to heart by country folk as well as by educated men. That he attracted
such able men as Kumazawa Banzan to his school, and influenced such great scholars as Arai Hakuseki and Dazai Shundai, was due less to his intellectual brilliance
than to his gentle-hearted and single-minded pursuit of this way of life, guided only by the Heavenly voice within him.
1 See Sources of Chinese Tradition, Ch. 21, 22, 24. 2 Ibid. Ch. 24.
It is this same single-minded and selfless determination that we find among the followers of Ymei learning in the late Tokugawa, such as the radical rebel shio
Chsai and those zealous patriots, Sakuma Shzan and Yoshida Shin, whose example made such an impression upon the leaders of the Meiji Restoration. Even in
the nineteenth and twentieth centuries the philosophy which Nakae Tju espoused has had a considerable vogue (see Ch. Xx). The famous Western-trained preceptor
to the Emperor Taish (1912-26), Sugiura Jg, paid the following tribute to Nakae: AHe was the Sage of mi province; but is he not also the sage of Japan, the sage
of the East, and indeed, the sage of the entire world? For a sage is a sage in the same way in the present as in the past, in the East and in the West. That he was already
the sage of mi province is reason enough for calling him the sage of the entire world.@1
Nakae Tju: Control of the Mind Is True Learning
According to Nakae Tju the fundamental truths of life were the same for all human beings, regardless of their station or role in life. Where other Confucians addressed themselves generally to scholars and officials, Nakae offered guidance to the humblest of men and even to women, whom other Confucians and Buddhists often neglected.
There are many degrees of learning, but the learning that teaches control of the mind is the true learning. This true learning is of the utmost importance in
this world and the chief concern of all mankind. The reason is that it aims at Amanifesting luminous virtue,@2which is the greatest treasure of mankind. Gold, silver
and jewels are treasures, of course, but they are incapable of severing the root of all human suffering and of providing lasting happiness. So they are not man's greatest
When luminous virtue shines forth, human suffering of all kinds will cease and our hearts will be filled with lasting happiness. Everything will be as we
want it. Wealth and rank, poverty and lowliness, prosperity and adversity, will have little effect upon our enjoyment of life. Moreover everyone will love and respect
us, Heaven itself will help us, and the gods will protect us, so that natural calamities and disasters will not harm us, thunder and earthquake will not injure us. Storms
may destroy buildings but will leave us untouched. . . . Because of its boundless merits and blessings, this is called Athe greatest treasure in the world.@ It is found in
every human being, high or low, old or young, male or female, in the inexhaustible treasure-house of the mind-and-heart, but not knowing how to seek it, people in the
their pitiful ignorance go on searching for treasure in external things, only to sink into a sea of suffering. . . .
1 Inoue, Nihon Ymei gakuha, p. 18. 2 From the opening lines of the Great Learning.
Some say that learning seems not to be the business of women. I say that there are many women busy composing poetry in both Chinese and Japanese,
and though poetry would seem not to be the business of women, they are not criticized for it. Control of the mind is of the utmost importance to women, and it would
be a great mistake to say that it is not their business. The outward manner and temper of women is rooted in the negative (yin) power, and so temperamentally women
are apt to be sensitive, petty, narrow and jaundiced. As they live confined to their homes day in and day out, theirs is a very private life and their vision is quite limited.
Consequently, among women compassion and honesty are rare indeed.
[Tju sensei zensh, v. 2, pp. 569-73]
Filial Piety as the Core of Confucian Practice
Dialogue with an Old Man (Okino mond, 1964) is Tju's most famous work. At a time when Confucianism was struggling to establish itself against the deep-rooted world-view of Buddhism, he presented Confucianism as a religion similar to Buddhism in being concerned with the enlightenment of the mind, yet superior to it because it affirmed the reality of human nature based on the primacy of the moral sentiments. Filial piety had always formed the core of Confucian arguments against Buddhism, but Tju, drawing also on the language of Wang Ji, develops this concept into a religious world-view centering on filial piety, seen as the ultimate source of all ethical action and all existing things. Underlying this view is the key Neo-Confucian doctrine concerning the humaneness that forms one body with Heaven, Earth and all things. This Way is compatible with the traditional worship of the Japanese kami and is ideally fitted to serve as the Way of the samurai in his life of loyal service in an age of peace.
1. Within all human beings there is a spiritual treasure with which nothing else in the world can compare, known as the supreme virtue and the essential
Way. The most important thing in life is to make use of this treasure, keeping it in our hearts and practicing it with our bodies. Above, this treasure communes with
the Way of Heaven; below, its luminosity shines over the four seas. For this reason, if we use this treasure and extend it into the five relationships, all of our
relationships will be harmonious and without malice. If we use it in serving the gods, the gods will accept our offerings. If we use it in ruling the realm, the realm will
be at peace. If we use it in ruling our domain, the domain will be in good order. If we use it in regulating our family and clan, our family and clan will be well
regulated. If we put it into practice in our personal life, our personal life will be in order. If we preserve it within our hearts, our hearts will become luminous. If we
extend it outward, it will spread beyond heaven and earth. If we draw it inward, it will hide itself within the innermost reaches of our heart. It is truly a marvelous and
supreme spiritual treasure.
Accordingly, if this treasure is well protected, the Son of Heaven will long retain the wealth within the four seas, the feudal lords will long see their
domains prosper, and the great officials will see their families flourish. Samurai will win a good name and rise in rank, and the common people will store up wealth
and grain and enjoy the pleasures appropriate to their station. If this treasure is discarded, however, the human Way cannot be sustained. Not only the human Way, but
the Way of Heaven-and-earth cannot be sustained. Even the spiritual transformation of the Great Vacuity which gives rise to the ten thousand things will not function.
The Great Vacuity, the three powers [heaven, earth and man], the infinity of space and time, the ancestors and gods, the production and transformation of things, even
life and death itself, are all encompassed within this treasure. The pursuit of this treasure through study is called the learning of the Confucian scholar. . . .
Because the five relations are external to one, people who do not know the highest principle think that the ways of the five relationships are external and not within one's own heart. This is a delusion. Heaven-and-earth and the ten thousand things are all produced and transformed within the Divine Radiance (shinmei reik), so that if the filial virtue within my heart is clear, it will commune with the gods (shinmei) and shine over the four seas. Therefore, Heaven-and-earth and the ten thousand things are all present within my own original mind of filial virtue. Although deluded people think that the mind is only inside the body, on the most fundamental level the body is born from within the mind [consciousness]. For that reason, in the eye of the enlightened person, there is no discrimination between inner and outer, dark and bright,1and being and non-being. To see the way of the five relationships as external to one and abandon them, setting up a dualistic view of inner versus outer, dark versus bright, and being versus non-being, is only a delusion that seems to be enlightenment (satori). . . . Before all else, it is the filial action of the child that is the fountainhead of all human actions and the matter of greatest urgency within human ethics. Therefore, in the sages' five teachings, the principle that was taught first is the need for affection between parent and child. [Note: The following passage is noteworthy for its graphic and very intimate portrayal of the inception of life and the parents' (especially mother's) role in the process.]
If one wishes to manifest filial virtue, one should first meditate on the blessings (ontoku) received from one's father and mother. During the ten months
between conception and birth, the mother endures all the hardships of carrying a child, subjecting herself to countless risks of illness and death. At the same time, the
father worries and prays that the fetus will be safe and pregnancy will proceed smoothly, unable to forget the pains and troubles that his wife is going through. When
the time of birth arrives, the mother has to endure the pain of having her body ripped open, while the father is feverish with anxiety over the safety of both mother and
child. If by good fortune both mother and child are all right, then he experiences the joy of knowing that the family line will continue.
1 The other world and this world.
The mother lies exhausted on her bed drenched with sweat, and lays her new-born child on a dry mat. If the child is sleeping, the mother will not even
stretch her body for fear of waking it, and even if her body is dirty and stained with blood, she has no time to bathe or wash her hair. Her clothes and her make-up are in
total disarray, but she gives thought to nothing but whether her child is all right. If the child shows the slightest sign of any sickness, she anxiously summons the doctor
and prays to the gods, wishing only that she could take the place of her child in its pain. During the three years of nursing, there is no calculating the amount of trouble
the parents have to go through. When the child reaches school age, they find a teacher to teach the child the Way, arrange for training in the arts, and hope that their
child may surpass other children in talent and virtue. When the child reaches marriage age, they seek out an appropriate marriage partner and get the child set up in an
occupation, doing everything they can to assure that their child will prosper. If their child surpasses others in talent and virtue and is happy and prosperous, the parents
experience limitless joy. If their child falls behind others in talent and virtue and is not happy, they will know no rest for their grieving and worrying.
The father and mother pile up so much of this love and affection, so much of this care and trouble, in raising and nurturing their child that there is not even
one hair on the body of the child that does not exist by virtue of their care. The blessings received from one's parents are higher than the sky and deeper than the sea.
Because it is something so vast and unparalleled, uncultivated people whose original minds are obscured forget to try to repay it. On the contrary, they seem not even
to consider whether such a debt of gratitude really exists. No being who possesses human formCno matter how ignorant or unworthy they may beCshould fail to think
of repaying the debt of gratitude for every bowl of rice received. Because every person possesses the original mind of filial virtue, in every thought of repaying the
blessings (on) one has received, a little bit of that original mind is revealed. If a person forgets to repay this debt in spite of the existence of that original mind, it is
because the sunlight of luminous virtue has been obscured by the clouds of human desires and the heart is lost in darkness. By extending every thought of repaying
even the tiniest of blessings received, one will come to truly understand the depth of the blessings received from one's parents. In this way, the clouds of human desire
will disperse and the sunlight of luminous virtue will become bright. So should one strive to extend and develop without limit the original mind's spontaneous filial
desire to repay the blessings received from one's parents. . . .
81. The birth of human beings seems to be by the action of their parents, but it is not. Actually, they are brought into being by the transforming and
nourishing powers of the gods of heaven and earth according to the mandate given them by the August Lord on High of the Great Vacuity. . . . Since the gods of
heaven and earth are the parents of the ten thousand things, the August Lord on High of the Great Vacuity is the supreme ancestor of all mankind.1 If we look from the
point of view of this divine principle, the sages and wise men, Shakyamuni and Bodhidharma, the Confucian and the Buddhist, oneself and other peopleCall in the
world who possess human formCare all equally the descendants of the August Lord on High and the gods of heaven and earth. Moreover, since the Confucian way is
1 The theistic terms used here come from Wang Ji (see Sources of Chinese Tradition, Ch. 24), but the concept of the Great Vacuity derives from the teaching of Zhang Zai (1020-1077) in which the original pre-form state of the elemental force (Ch. qi; J. ki) which generates matter and life is called the Great Vacuity (Ch. Taixu; J. taikyo). When the universe first comes into being, Athat which is dispersed, differentiated and capable of assuming form becomes material force (ki), and that which is pure, penetrating and not capable of assuming form becomes spirit. On the basis of this same distinction between material force and spirit, Tju claims that Buddhist satori consists merely of an awakening to Athe spiritual awareness (reikaku) of the primordial material force (genki),@ while through the practice of filial piety the Confucian realizes Athe spiritual awareness of the primordial spirit (genshin)@ (question 83).
nothing other than the divine way (shint) of the August Lord on High and the gods of heaven and earth, if one possessing human form slanders and disobeys the Way
of Confucianism, it is equivalent to slandering the Way of his own ancestors and parents and disobeying their commands. As I have explained earlier, to fear and
revere the decrees of our great First Ancestor, the August Lord on High, and our great parents, the gods of heaven and earth, and to accept and practice their divine way
with deep reverence, is called filial piety, the supreme virtue. . . .
98. Your erroneous conception of Arenouncing desires@ comes from the fact that you have again and again heard people refer to things like
Shakyamuni's renunciation of the royal throne or Layman Pang's throwing away of his family assets as Adesirelessness.@ In Confucianism, renouncing one's position
or throwing away one's wealth without good reason are greatly disdained, and they are likened to the desirelessness of a lunatic. If a person regards having a position
as desire and renouncing one's position as desirelessness or accumulating wealth as desire and throwing one's wealth away as desirelessness, it is because his luminous
virtue is still obscured and deep in his heart he still is fond of position and covetous of wealth. He still has an ego (watakushi) that calculates personal advantage and is
caught up with external things. Because the mind of the sage rests permanently in the highest virtue while dealing freely with all the affairs of life (konpai teki), 1nd
has no ego that insists on things being one way or the other, 2e has no trace of feelings of preference for high over humble station, wealth over poverty, greatness over
insignificance, purity over impurity, or beauty over ugliness. His eye is filled with one thing and one thing only: the divine principles of the Supreme Ultimate
(kkyoku). . . . Only when one disobeys the divine principles of the Heavenly Way (tent) 3s it desire and delusion; to accord with these principles [however] is
desirelessness and non-delusion. Desire or freedom from desire does not lie in the nature of one's actions, but in the quality of the ground of the mind.
[Okino mond, NST v. 29, pp. 222-3, 31-4, 123, 147-8; BS]
The Divine Light in the Mind
1 Konpai teki (Ch. Genbei diying) refers to Yi jing hexagram 52 (gen), called the Adouble mountain@ since it combines two gen trigrams which are associated with mountain. The virtue of mountain is stillness, firmness and rootedness in the earth. The top and bottom halves of the hexagram are in perfect correspondence, back to back (diying). Gen is stopping; stopping is becoming settled; when one is settled one is illuminated. The mind that has come to rest where it should [in perfect goodness] remains tranquil even when the body moves. This concept was greatly popularized by a member of the Wang Yangming school, Lin Zhaoen (151798) whose teaching influenced Fujiwara Seika andTju. 2 An allusion to Analects 9:4, which reads, AFour things which Confucius eschewed: he had no preconceptions, no prejudices, no obduracy, no egotism.@ 3 Tent in late medieval Japanese also means the God of Heaven, so it would seem to have the same meaning for Tju as Tentei and Kjtei. The compound for Tent also occurs in the Classic of Documents where it is described as having the power to reward good and punish evil in response to the people's pleas to the gods of heaven and earth. The compound for Kjtei is also derived from the Documents.
Nakae Tju's doctrine of innate or intuitive knowledge has strong theistic overtones which reflect his tendency to reinterpret both Confucianism and Shinto in order to show their essential unity.
The superior man will be watchful over those inmost thoughts known to himself alone. In his everyday thinking, he will not think anything for which he
would have to fear if brought into the presence of the Divine. In his everyday actions he will not perform an act of which he might be ashamed if it were known to
others. By mistake an evil idea may arise, a wrong deed may present itself; but since there is within the mind a divine awareness illuminating it, what we call
Aenlightenment@ will come. Once this realization occurs, rectification will follow, the evil idea and wrong deed will disappear, and the mind will revert to its normal
state of purity and divine enlightenment. The ordinary man, unfortunately, continues to think such evil thoughts and goes on doing what he knows is wrong.
Nevertheless, since the divine light in the mind makes the man aware [that he is doing wrong], he tries to hide it. In everybody's mind there is this divine light, which is
one with the Divinity of Heaven, and before which one stands as if in a mirror, with nothing hidden either good or bad. [p. 81]
There is no distinction among men, be they sages or ordinary persons, so far as their Heaven-bestowed nature is concerned. They are all gifted with the
divine light that tells good from bad. All men hate injustice and are ashamed of evil because they are born with this intuitive knowledge. 1It is only from the self-
watchfulness of the one and the self-deceit of the other that the vast distinction arises between the superior man and the inferior man. If, however, the inferior man
realizes where he has erred and becomes watchful over himself, correcting his mistakes and turning to the good, he may then become a superior man. [pp. 84-85]
[Inoue, Ymei gakuha no tetsugaku, pp. 81, 85]
The Supreme Lord and God of Life
Following Wang Ji in the school of Wang Yangming, Tju identified the Supreme Value with the idea of a personal God, which harmonized readily with Shinto belief.
The supreme Lord Above is non-finite (mukyoku) and yet the Supreme Ultimate (taikyoku). He is absolute sincerity and absolute spirit. All forms of ether
(ki) are His form; infinite principle is His mind. He is greater than all else and yet there is nothing smaller. That principle and that ether are self-sustaining and
unceasing. Through their union He produces lives throughout all time, without beginning or end. He is the father and mother of all things. Through division of His
form He gives form to all things; through division of His mind He gives all things their nature. When form is divided, differences result; when mind is divided, the
minds remain the same.
1 rychi, the Agood-knowing@ of Wang Yangming.
The Great God of Life 1s called in the Classic of Documents the Supreme Lord Above. The Supreme Lord Above is the spirit of the God of Life. He is
the ruler and parent of all things in the universe; not a single particle of the six directions of the universe, nor a single second of all time, is hidden from the light of His
omniscience. But all particular things in the universe partake of just one virtue, and do not combine all of the virtues of the Supreme Being. The sun and the moon
shine only at certain periods, and cannot match the everlasting splendor of the Supreme Lord. The sun and moon are dimmed at times, yet He shines on; heaven and
earth may come to an end, yet His life is infinite. Trace back, and you cannot tell where He has arisen; stretch forward and you cannot tell where He reaches to. Stop
Him, and His organs will continue to operate. Start Him, and He will leave no trace of His activity. There is nothing He does not know, nothing He cannot do. His
body fills all space. Without noise, without scent, His mysterious activity pervades all space. Most miraculous, most spiritual, reaching to where there is no
circumference, penetrating to where there is no center, He alone is worthy of devotion and without peer. His virtues are exquisite and unfathomable. Nameless
Himself, He has been called by the sages AThe Supreme Heavenly God of Life,@ in order to let men know that He is the source of all creation so that they may pay
homage to Him.
[Tju Sensei zensh, I, pp. 128, 137-38]
1 A Chinese Deity, Daiotsu-Sonshin, incorporated into medieval Shinto as -kinoto no -mikoto.
34. A person who is born with a stout spirit and a natural talent for military prowess can master the military arts and achieve merit in battle even without
training himself in the Learning of the Mind. But because he will be lacking in virtue, he will get intoxicated with his physical prowess and find killing people
enjoyable. He will thus act unrighteously and unjustly, causing much suffering and lamentation among the populace. In the end he will inevitably meet with Heaven's
punishment, at the cost of his own life and the destruction of his domain. . . . One only has to look at the history books of both China and Japan. The original purpose
of the military arts is to assure the peace and tranquility of the state, preserve the good fortune of the warrior class, and bring the blessings of peace to the populace. If
instead they become the cause of the misery of the populace, the loss of warrior lives, and the destruction of the state, then the mastery of military arts and the
achievement of military merit are nothing but useless vanity. What is more, if a person knows only of intrigues, trickery and violence and nothing of the virtues of
humaneness and rightness, then even if he has the prowess of a Han Xin or Xiang Yu, 1e will not be able to hold his shield against an enemy who has self-control. . . .
If one really wants to study military arts, then why not study the military arts of the man of humaneness against which no man under heaven can stand up?
In a battle situation or at a time when the application of martial prowess is required, those involved must act valiantly. However, this is something which
is useless in ordinary times of peace. In times of peace, to devote oneself constantly to acts of valor and bravery on the grounds that one is preparing oneself for battle
is an ignorant pursuit, and it will not be of any use in times of emergency. . . . Those who are fond of proving their fearlessness by unprovoked acts of violence will
inevitably end up treating other people with contempt and come to love conflict for its own sake, getting into fights (kenka) that end in nothing more than a meaningless
death. They will cause anxiety to their parents and steal the fiefs of their lords. Even if they manage to perform Aheroic deeds@ in the defense of their honor, they are
no different from a dog that has a strong bite. A samurai who has a heart should be ashamed of such things.
[Nakae Tju, NST v. 29, pp. 65, 115; BS]
Kumazawa Banzan: Confucian Practice in 17th Century Japan
1 Han Xin was a famous general who served Liu Bang, the first emperor of the Han; Xiang Yu was the great Chu general who fought Liu Bang for the empire.
The achievement of Nakae Tju had been to lay the basis for a Japanese Confucian practice that recognized the individual's subjectivity. He taught that
human beings were endowed with a faculty akin to conscience enabling them to determine their own conduct. But Tju had achieved this only after withdrawal from
feudal society. Moreover, his later thought was colored by a mystical concern with salvation at the cost of the commitment to social action that is one aspect of the
Confucian vision. It was left to Tju's best-known disciple, Kumazawa Banzan (1619-1691), to test his ideas more actively in contemporary feudal society.
Banzan was born in Kyoto, the son of a masterless samurai (rnin). At the age of 16 (sai) he entered the service of Ikeda Mitsumasa (1609-1682), the
Confucian-minded daimyo of the Okayama domain, celebrated as one of the "enlightened rulers" of his generation. But Banzan left Mitsumasa's service four years
later, and, like Tju, retired to the countryside. From the autumn of 1641 he studied for some six months under the direct supervision of Tju himself. Re-entering
Mitsumasa's service in 1645, he attempted secretly at first, to practice the Confucianism that he had learnt under Tju. His efforts came to the attention of Mitsumasa
and he was rapidly promoted to a position of influence in domain affairs. His appointed tasks were twofold: to exemplify the samurai profession and to disseminate
Confucian teaching, particularly Tju's doctrines, known as Shingaku ("Learning of the Mind-and-Heart"), in the Okayama domain. For a brief period during
reconstruction following a destructive flood in 1654, he seems to have influenced domain policies in a Confucian direction. However, the rapid promotion of an
outsider aroused hostility from Mitsumasa's hereditary vassals; furthermore, Banzan's deviant form of the Learning of the Mind-and-Heart became perceived as
subversive by high bakufu authority. He himself became ill and in 1657 resigned.
His mission to Confucianize the Okayama domain a failure, Banzan now moved to Kyoto. He turned to the study of Japanese culture including the court
musical tradition and the Tale of Genji. He taught, gathering around himself a circle of court nobles and others. In 1667, however, he was expelled from the capital.
Thereafter, an outsider, he lived a life of exile or semi-exile, devoting his time to writing and teaching.
Like Tju, Banzan was concerned with the problems of Confucian practice in Japanese society. His reflex was evangelical: he wished to see his country
adopt Confucian morality and to recreate the arcadian society believed by Confucians to have existed in high antiquity. Like Tju, he was a relativist. His approach,
however, was broader, more empirical and, above all, more historical than Tju. Banzan saw both the problems of Confucian practice in Japan and the wider problem
of political control against the background of cyclical historical evolution. He also explored the particularities of the Japanese environment. His positive valuation of
Japanese cultural identity did not, however, lead him to chauvinism. Banzan remained impressively a universalist at heart.
The Way and Methods
Banzan adopted Tju's basic dualistic distinction between the absolute, transcendent, noumenal aspect of morality and its relative, objective manifestations in the phenomena of time and place. He phrased this dichotomy from the point-of-view of Confucian practice in terms of a transcendent "Way" and its objective manifestations or "methods" which were relative to and prescriptive for only their particular time and place.
The Way (michi) and methods (h) are separate. There is much misunderstanding of this and identifying of methods with the Way. Methods, even where
the Sages of China are concerned, vary with successive ages. Still more, when transferred to Japan, there is much that is impracticable. The Way consists of the Three
Bonds and the Five Constants. 1It is correlated with Heaven, Earth and Humankind and with the five elements. Even when there was still no name for virtue nor any
teachings of Sages, this Way was already practiced. Before humankind came into being, it was practiced in Heaven and Earth; and before Heaven and Earth were
parted, it was practiced in the Supreme Void. Even though man should be extinguished and Heaven and Earth return to nothing, it will never perish. Still less [will it
do so] in [these] latter ages.
As for methods, the Sages systematized the good of things in response to time, place and rank. For this reason methods are correlated with the Way in any
one age. But when that age has passed and the human estate has changed, they cannot be employed, even by Sages. When what is incongruent is used, harm is
actually done to the Way. What modern scholars practice as the Way is mostly methods. Since they are not congruent with the perfect good of time, place and rank, it
is not the Way (II, 64-64).
[Ztei Banzan zensh, v. 2, pp. 63-4; IJM]
The Categories of Morality
Banzan's doctrine of the relativity of institutions to historical, geographical and social environments is reflected in his analysis of the categories of moral and immoral action. He created a precisely articulated hierarchy of values, at the top of which stood the transcendent and absolute Way that defined humanity itself. Actions of less moment should be conditioned by knowledge of history and human nature and an underlying motivation of humaneness.
Question: What of the claim that "the evil of a man with a heart of compassion is not evil but is [simply] wrong?
Answer: There are cases where the use of language of people in the world fails to differentiate between right and wrong (zehi), good and evil (zen'aku)
and righteousness and unrighteousness (gifugi). But right and wrong are light. Good and evil are more important than right and wrong. Righteousness and
unrighteousness are very important. They are matters which occur only once or twice in a person's life.
1The "Three Bonds" are those between ruler and minister, parent and child, and husband and wife; the "Five Constants" are, for Banzan, the values of "humaneness, righteousness, ritual decorum, wisdom, and trustworthiness."
Right and wrong are daily matters; when one commands knowledge, one is mostly right; when one is ignorant, one is mostly wrong. There are cases
where one's actions are right because one is informed about the matter concerned and wrong because one is uninformed. For example, with the decrees of a domain or
realm, when, even though the mind of those above issues them with the perception that they are right, but because those above are uninformed, they are [in fact] wrong.
But when one knows the differences in matters between past and present, superior and inferior, there is never any incongruity. . . .Good and evil are matters that
everyone knows and are self-evident. Therefore, one who does good is a good man, and one who does evil is an evil man. But right and wrong have no fixed form.
There are things which in one country are right, but in another are wrong. This reflects differences in place. There are matters that are right for this man but wrong for
that; this is a difference of rank. There are matters that were right in the past but are wrong in the present. This is difference in time. . . . However, [the rider that] "the
wrong of a person who lacks compassion is not wrong but evil" is made because to lack compassion is to be inhumane. There is nothing greater among the evils of
men than inhumanity. Nothing inflicts greater damage on the creation and transformation of the Spirits than inhumanity. . . .
The five human relations 1re the universal Way all-under-Heaven, and great right (rightness) exists therein. Being wrong about a matter is a minor thing.
Therefore the superior man, even though he knows something to be wrong does not damage the Great Way on behalf of a small thing. This is the justification of the
claim that the wrongdoing of a man of virtue is not wrong but humaneness. Therefore, in matters of right and wrong, the superior man follows common [practice]. As
regards good and evil, he does good on his own and on his own refrains from evil. He does not make charges against others, nor does he affront their eyes and ears.
But righteousness and unrighteousness are great. Even though he turns his back on vulgar practice and affronts others, he does not fear. This is where the superior man
[Ztei Banzan zensh, v. 3, pp. 142-50; IJM]
The Transmission of the Way to Japan in Remote Antiquity
1The relations between parent and child, ruler and minister, husband and wife, elder and younger brother, and friends,
Like many Japanese Confucians, Banzan took a Sinocentric view of the world that acknowledged the world-wide moral and cultural leadership of China. He believed also that the Japanese imperial house had been founded by a Chinese sage, Tai Bo, uncle to King Wen, the founder of the Zhou dynasty (1122-206 BCE) in China. Tai Bo had performed much the civilizing role in Japan that the ancient culture heroes of China had performed in that country. He had also brought the universal teachings of Confucian morality. For, Banzan, therefore, Japan though her culture might have its own idiom, was part of a universal moral and cultural order. At the same time, the Tai Bo legend provided Banzan with a rational and euhemerist account of the origins of the Japanese imperial heritage.
At this time [remote Japanese antiquity], men were like animals. Since they were ignorant of agriculture, they lacked the five cereals; since they were
ignorant of cooking, they ate the fruits of plants and trees and consumed raw meat. Since they were without women's work, they used layers of leaves and made furs
and skins their apparel. Parents and children possessed the mind of mutual love, but were ignorant of respect through ritual decorum.
After Tai Bo had crossed [to] Japan, he established the Way of human relations and, through love, he taught respect; transferring the attitude of respect
towards parents, he determined the categories of superior and inferior; he instituted rituals, and, through acknowledging the sources of things, he informed [people]
whence they had come. Finally, there existed the rituals of venerating ancestors and Heaven and Earth. [Tai Bo] systematized the rituals of marriage through go-
betweens and emphasized the beginnings of human relationships. He established teachings, using as a basis the Nature that men receive from Heaven, and he illumined
the principles endowed in all phenomena.
He taught men how, by cutting wood, to make spades; by bending wood, to make mattocks. Later, [under his instruction,] they forged iron and used
wood for handles. Placing yokes on oxen, they made them drag heavy weights; they attached bits, saddles and bridles to horses, and rode them to distant places.
Making boats, they transported things across unfordable [waters]; and, finally, taking fine seeds, they performed the tasks of agriculture; observing the seasons of
Heaven and the advantages of Earth, they created wet and dry fields; they scattered the five cereals and in spring and summer they planted and mowed, and in autumn
and winter they harvested and stored. . . .
Birds, beasts, serpents and scorpions approached mankind and inflicted harm. Therefore, he had them, by making bows and arrows to repel them, perform
the tasks of the hunter. By making nets, catching birds and fish, he caused them to perform the tasks of fisherman. Had it not been so, birds and beasts would go
among men and they would be unable to cultivate. Finally, he made them ward off the wind and rain by making houses; he taught women's work to the womenfolk,
and, making clothes, created the ritual manifestations of the Way of man. Using the five colors, he divided the honorable from base; installing the hundred offices, he
brought peace to the realm. His compassion and beneficence to the realm and to the populace was like Heaven and Earth giving birth to and nurturing the myriad
creatures with no exception. His knowledge was spiritually intelligent like a mirror reflecting forms. The people of this land submitted to his virtue like [children] to
their father and mother, and, in awe of his spirit-like martiality, they made him their lord. This is the phenomenon of the Great Shun becoming a commoner, and within
a year at the place of his residence the people gathering as at a metropolis. 1How much more in Japan was [Tai Bo] an unprecedented Spirit Sage, and so the people
held that he was not of human pedigree. Pointing to Heaven, they called him a god.
[Ztei Banzan zensh, v. 6, appendix, pp. 3-4; IJM]
1 Cf. Mencius, 5A: 5 (vii).
Banzan believed that the transforming influence of Tai Bo had persisted throughout the long period of Japanese history that he called the "royal age" (dai), up until the reign of Go-Shirakawa and the beginning of the transition to warrior rule in the twelfth century. He found that the latter stages of this period had been recorded in a great work of literature, the Tale of Genji. He evaluated this fictional romance very highly, even comparing it to the Chinese Confucian canonical Classic of Odes. This enthusiasm, unique in a major Confucian, inspired him to write a commentary on it. In his introduction to this work, he explained its value together with the historical mission of the imperial court to preserve Japan's ancient moral, cultural and esthetic heritage.
Now, the long duration of the Royal Way of Japan is because it has not lost rites, music and letters,and has not fallen into vulgar practices. Things that are
excessively hard and strong do not last long; those that are generous and soft are long enduring. Such phenomena as teeth being hard but dropping out quickly, or the
tongue being soft but lasting to the end, embody the principle of all things. The warrior houses take the power of the realm for a while through the awesomeness of
their invincible strength, but, like teeth falling out, they do not last long. The kings rest in softness and compliance, but do not lose their rank. However, when they are
soft and have no virtue, the respect of others [toward them] is weak. When [the kings] are not the object of the shame and respect of others, even though they exist, it is
as though they do not. In the end, they verge on extinction. What can perpetuate what has become extinct and afford the sight of the rituals, music and letters of olden
times is preserved in this novel alone. Therefore, the first thing to which one should pay attention in this novel is the fine style of remote ages. Rituals were correct
and peaceable; their style of music harmonious and elegant, men and women alike were courtly; constantly they played court music and theirs was an attitude that was
Next, the description of human feelings in the book is detailed. When one is ignorant of human feelings, there is frequent loss of the harmony of the
human relationships. When they are contravened, the state lacks regulation and the home is not ordered. For this reason, the preservation in the Maoshi [Classic of
Odes] of the debauched airs is in order to inculcate familiarity with human feelings, both good and evil. Were the state to consist wholly of superior men,
administration and punishments would serve no function. Since the Way of administration exists simply in order to teach ordinary people, it is impossible unless one
knows human feeling and historical change. In these circumstances, this novel also contains exhaustive accounts of human feelings in various contexts and good
descriptions of the way in which times continue to change. From the poems right down to the prose, [Murasaki Shikibu] provided descriptions of the temperaments of
the respective characters as though drawing their portraits. This again is the great marvel of the grasp of human feelings in this novel.
[ Ztei Banzan zensh, v. 2, pp. 420-21; IJM])
Banzan attributed the demise of the royal age, the transition to warrior rule and the instability that he believed to have characterized Japanese history since to a number of causes. Most salient were the ascendancy of Buddhism and the related problem of extravagance. He passionately believed Buddhism to have had an almost entirely destructive influence in Japan. Like other Confucians of the period, he directed a sustained and vehement polemic against this rival persuasion, of whose numerical superiority and deep roots he must have been acutely aware. Banzan's hostility was directed both against the fundamental metaphysical assumptions of Buddhism and its belief in transmigration, and against what he perceived as the moral degeneracy of particular sects. He especially delighted in quoting Buddhists' own selfrecrimination.
Some time ago, a friend of mine questioned a Zen believer, asking him his opinion of the present day Pure Land, Nichiren and Honganji sects.
The Zen believer replied: "They are lees and chaff of Shakyamuni, sherds and pebbles craving for Buddhahood."
"How About Shingon?"
"It incorporates Taoism and Shinto and possesses only the form of Buddhism. They are the stupid ones among the masters of Yin and Yang."
"How about Tendai?"
"It is as though they cling to the theories of the sutras and become fixated with the footprints of the hare in the snow. They also bear a resemblance to
Shingon. The rest are not worth speaking of."
"What about Zen?"
"Our sect is referred to as the sect of the Buddha's heart, and regards enlightenment as the ultimate."
My friend said that: "You are clear about other [sects]. Why should you be darkened over yourselves? Tendai, Shingon, and Zen may all have been good
in the past, but now they are `pillagers of the people'. 1Though the [miscreant rulers] Jie and Zhou were the descendants of [the paragon emperors] Yu and Tang, their
evil had to be smitten. Lees, chaff, shards and pebbles do no harm. But the harms inflicted on the realm by the Buddhists of the present is very great. The attitude and
conduct of the rice wholesalers is to crave for a typhoon when the rice is in bud and flowering. In summer, they rejoice in expectation of a drought. Their purposes are
to inflict pain and suffering on the people of the realm, to cause them to starve to death and so to get the profit for themselves. People like these are the disciples of the
Ikk and Nichiren sects, and when they go to a temple they are told, with no attempt made to enliven their evil hearts that, through the efficacy of the nenbutsu
[invocation of the Amida Buddha], still with their evil desires, they will attain Buddhahood. When they go to a Nichiren temple, [they are told that] 'even those who
have slandered the Lotus [Stra] will actually attain Buddhahood'. The reason is that even slandering [implies] having heard the name of the sutra]. Still more, they
are told that when, even if only with one voice, they invoke Namu myh rengeky [Hail to the Lotus Stra of the Marvelous Law], even an evil man who has killed
lord or parent will, without doubt, achieve Buddhahood. There can be no greater demons in the world than they. To call them lees and chaff is flattery.
1Mencius, 6B: 9 (i).
"The Zen sect has an even worse aspect than this. One understands that in the Zen of former days, unless one had the incipient springs of enlightenment,
[monks] had no truck with one. But the Zen of the present, deludes even those who were not deluded. Provided only that one has obtained enlightenment, they say, it
does not matter what one does. When the minds of eminent men of great estate have thus become confused [by Zen], they become overwhelmed by debauchery, take
extravagance to the limit, impoverish the peasantry, cause suffering to the samurai, forget their civil and military occupations, and possess none of the attitudes and
actions [appropriate to] rulers of men. This is the symbol of the destruction of the state. But without this kind of teaching, there would not be this many followers of
Zen, nor would they achieve ascendancy. Offer your defense."
When [my friend] spoke thus, the Zen believer blushed and was speechless.
[Ztei Banzan Zensh, v. 2, p. 76; IJM]
Another, related, cause of instability, had been extravagance. For Banzan, this was both a moral vice, in the form of pride, and an economic failing, in the form of high consumption. High consumption of timber, in particular, was dangerous, for it resulted in deforestation, silting of rivers and flooding. Banzan believed that the condition of a country's forests determined its political fortunes. He went so far as to base a theory of history on this belief.
From the three generations of the houses of [Minamoto] to the beginning of the Hj house, there pertained the aftermath of an age of disorder, and the
commodities of the realm were in insufficient supply. Thus, spontaneously, there was frugality, and halls and temples were not erected at will. During this period, the
mountains grew luxuriant and the rivers became deep. Hj no Yasutoki and Tokiyori liked frugality and exercised a non-extravagant control, so that [the Hj
house] continued for nine generations. But with the long period of civil order, the temple buildings became more numerous year by year and the spirit vapours of
mountains and rivers again became weak. Since the world could not persist on this basis, the Taiheiki disturbance came about. For a long time, the world was
disunited. During this period, the rivers, marshes, and mountain forests again became deep. The house of Ashikaga continued for several generations, the
extravagance of the world grew, temple buildings were everywhere constructed, and the strength of the mountains and rivers was again exhausted. When you see the
splendid fancier's implements that have survived till the present as "articles from the age of Lord Higashiyama" [Ashikaga Yoshimasa], the extravagance of that age is
obvious. After that, a major disorder was precipitated, there was competition for possession of the realm, the government became only a name, and the disorder of the
realm lasted a long while till [Oda] Nobunaga. During this time, the hills grew luxuriant as originally, and the rivers grew deep as originally. During the fourteen
generations of the descendants of [Ashikaga] Takauji, for 240 years, Nobunaga's exercise was [a mere] twelve or thirteen years. Since Nobunaga, the unification of the
world has proceeded rapidly and the world has become tranquil. The campaigns of Sekigahara and Osaka were sedentary affairs, and were concluded with just one
battle each. Hence they did not constitute an age of disorder. in fact, from Lord [Toyotomi] Hideyoshi continuing up to the present the extravagance of the realm has
grown day by day and month by month.
[Ztei Banzan zensh , v. 2, pp. 236; IJM]
The Relevance of Ritual to Modern Times
Growing extravagance or high consumption set contemporary Japan off from the ancient Chinese past and made the rituals of the Confucian canon impracticable. What was needed was moral suasion, example and education, rather than reliance on formal institutions.
The abundance of utensils and objects and the extravagance of men must now have surpassed the richness of the height of prosperity of the Zhou dynasty.
However, the unfamiliarity of the minds of the populace with rituals and ceremonies is like the time of Fu Xi. Although the people of Fu Xi were unfamiliar with
rituals and ceremonies, they were frugal, pure and bounteous, their affects and desires were slight and they had no [sense of] profit and loss. The strengths of the
affects and desires of the people of today and the depth of their [concern with] profit and loss has not been acquired in just decades or centuries. Its root is hard and its
dye deep. Were one to suddenly suppress the human feelings of worldly custom and abruptly to block up [its concern with] profit and loss, the Way would not be
Teaching the people of today is like leading an infant. With children, one should nourish them and await the opening of spirit wisdom (shinchi). With the
world, one should put education first and await the desire for rites and ceremonies. When the beginning of [a sense of] righteousness is a little manifest in a child of
three, four, or five, it has an attitude of bashfulness. When the beginning of knowledge is a little opened, it has the faculty to distinguish the beautiful and the ugly.
However, it does not yet distinguish righteousness and unrighteousness, nor has it attained to knowledge of good and evil or right and wrong. When it reaches the age
of six to eight years, the attitude of declining and yielding (jij) is born. Therefore, the Sage waited till the arrival of the age of eight and only then admitted children
to school. There was no coercion, but compliance with their endowment and age.
Worldly customs for the last five or six hundred years have been like the age of a child of five or six. One should first, through the ordinances of schools,
open the knowledge that discriminates right and wrong, good and evil, and stimulate the righteousness that knows shame. After the passage of several decades and
centuries, one should await the superior man of the future and have him inaugurate rites and ceremonies.
[Ztei Banzan zensh, v. 1, pp. 122-23; IJM]
The Difficulty of Confucian Exogamy in Modern Society
Banzan also addressed particular 'rites' , such as the Confucian prohibition on adoption of a non-patrilineally related son, and the system of mourning. His emphasis on history is well illustrated by his discussion of enforcing the prohibition on marriage with another of the same surname.
Furthermore, although modern students practice the Zhou methods of abstaining from [marriage with another of] the same surname, they fail to conform
perfectly with the Zhou method. The reason for this is that from the end of the era of [Ashikaga] Takauji up to the houses of Oda and Toyotomi, for more than 100
years up to the present, the surnames and clan [names] of the warriors of the realm have been in confusion and are unverifiable. Although genealogies are often
compiled, there is no evidence nor any reliable transmission: they merely claim in writing that this is that. From the long Warring States up till now, during several
generations, for the most part genealogies have been lost. Again, those without surnames or clan names assume the name of a clan that appeals to them; and even
those in possession of surnames and clan names have altered them to clan names that take their fancy, so that even those with the same clan name do not have the same
surname. Those in the realm whose clan genealogy is reliable must be 10 out of 1,000. Even there, a grandchild through a daughter has been adopted or a younger
sister's son established as heir, so that, almost unawares, [the lineage] has assumed a different surname. Seven or eight out of ten people are uncertain. The court
nobility has been stable since of old and might seem reliable, but here too it is not so, since they have resorted to such measures as adopting a Genji into a Fujiwara
[clan]. Even those patently of the same clan are described as possessing the same surname and abstain from [intermarrying], this does not amount to the abstention
from [marrying within] the five degrees of mourning of Zhou times. It is impossible to establish this in the present circumstances. In these circumstances, it would be
an exaggeration to claim a one or two percent success in observance of "not marrying those with the same surname". In truth, nothing can be done, and one conforms
with time and place. If one is not to apply the prohibition, and to follow time and place, why not chose the mean of time, place and status? Why, through an imperfect
method go against the crowd and obstruct the blessing of practicing the Way of the Grand Commonality? Ritual methods are things that arise gradually. Meanwhile,
when someone tries to coerce them, it invariably does harm to the Great Way.
[Ztei Bazan zensh, v. 1, pp. 126-27; IMJ]
Banzan's interest in the contemporary world extended to economic problems. He provided one of the earliest analyses of the operations of the system of exchanging rice for specie, showing how it worked to the disadvantage of the samurai estate. The reactionary, anti-mercantilist tone of his writing in this area influenced the direction of samurai economic thought for much of the Tokugawa period.
Question: In latter ages, when there is a good harvest and food is sufficient, the gentlemen are in "distress and want"; 1when there is crop failure and food is
insufficient, the people starve, high and low by turns suffer, and the phenomenon of impasse results in civil disorder. Why is this? Answer: There are many causes for
this, but the major sources are three:
First, when large and great cities alike are located in places of easy access by river or sea, extravagance grows daily and is difficult to stem. Merchants
grow rich and gentlemen poor.
Secondly, the rise of unhulled grain as a medium of exchange has gradually declined. When gold, silver and copper are predominantly used, commodities
gradually become expensive and the gold and silver of the realm come gradually into the hands of the merchants, and those of great and small estate alike have
insufficient for their use.
1Analects, 20: 1.
Thirdly, when there are not the appropriate ceremonial forms (shiki), matters become fussed and objects proliferate. Gentlemen exchange their stipend
rice for gold, silver, and copper to purchase things. When rice and unhulled grain are low in price and commodities high, they have insufficient for their use.
Furthermore, when business is fussed and things proliferate they become increasingly poor and in distress and want. When the gentlemen are in "distress and want",
they exact twice as much from the people. Therefore, in years of good harvest there is insufficiency, and in years of crop disaster, [the people] sink to starvation and
exposure. When gentlemen and people are in distress and want, the artisans and merchants lose the wherewithal to exchange for rice. Only the great merchants
become wealthier and wealthier. This is because the power over resources is in the hands of the commoners. But the ruler of a state or lord of the world should not for
a moment lend the power over wealth and honor to others. When one entrusts power over wealth and honour to merchants, there ensues a struggle with the feudal
princes over wealth. Later, the wealth of the domains dries up, the state perishes and the realm is thrown into disorder. 1When the realm is in disorder, the wealth of
merchants becomes an enemy to their persons. Because the tiger has a pattern showing in its skin, it suffers the calamity of the hunt; because merchants have much
gold and silver, they become the slaves of bandits or lose their lives. Even insentient plants and trees, when their time comes, drop their leaves and wither. Their
prosperity and decline is natural to them. Why should there be any reason for those who devote themselves to their own profit and cause suffering to the crowd, to last
............................................................................................................................................................................................[Ztei Banzan zensh, v. 1, pp. 333-35; IJM]
The Court Nobility as Carriers of the Neo-Confucian Way to the Provinces
1Accepting the emendations to the second edition attributed to Banzan himself.
In the final years of his life, Banzan, out of fear of a Manchu invasion and the perceived crisis of his country, was inspired boldly to propose a program of reconstruction. His views are expressed in his Questions on the Great Learning (Daigaku wakumon) of circa 1686. Since he held no official position entitling him to make policy proposals , when his opinions became known to high political authority in Edo, they were taken as seditious and he was imprisoned in Koga castle. Essentially, Banzan proposed the devolution of samurai society, deurbanization, a degree of demilitarization and reversion to rice as staple currency. These measures would be accompanied by a reduction in taxes and a program of reforestation. Banzan also proposed measures for cultural renaissance through the diffusion of court culture to the feudal provinces.
The following passage, urging the promotion of the Neo-Confucian Way (Dgaku), echoes the ideal of universal schooling set forth by Zhu Xi in his preface to the Great Learning. 1anzan believes the court nobility, instead of withdrawing from society into Buddhist orders, should take a leadership role in spreading education as the essential means to achieve a national reformation. (See also the plan for Banzan's Shizutani school in Okayama, Ch. 25.)
Question: If only those who embraced Buddhism with their hearts and practiced the three disciplines of the precepts, meditation, and wisdom were permitted to take
Buddhist orders, those among the imperial princes and sons of the court nobility who were sincerely motivated would be rare. How would [the others] do?
Answer: There is a solution, when the Way is practiced, without royal children and the sons and daughters of the nobility taking Buddhist orders. . . .At some time in
the past, when, because of civil disorder, there was no income from the estates of the palace and the court nobility, there were many people who sought out relatives
and stayed in the country, I heard that among those court nobles, there was someone who cherished [the following] hope:
1See Sources of Chinese Tradition, Vol. I, 721-5.
"Would that the person who unified the realm and became shogun might be fond of the Neo-Confucian Way (Dgaku)! Were the ancient schools to be
revived in the capital and there to be schools as of old in the provinces, there would not be enough qualified teachers. Even the school which survives in form only at
Ashikaga has no teachers, and so has been entrusted to monks. There is no justification for entrusting schools for human relations to monks. In order to increase the
numbers of teachers in the provinces, in the schools of the capital the sons of those from the emperor down to the court nobility, with no grant of office or rank being
made from birth, would all go to school like commoners, and be made to learn letters and music. The sons of [professional court] musicians and of Shinto priests would
[also] be enrolled to wait on and serve the princes and court nobles. Grants of expenses should be made to them by the government; during classes they should have
the same seats and study together, so that [the princes and nobles] would learn music. A prince among them who has the virtue of humaneness should succeed to rank,
and those among the court nobility who possess talent and knowledge should be made to perpetuate their lineages, while those who have attained to expertise in letters
and music should be sent to the provinces.
[In the provinces,] princes should be awarded a rank equivalent to the sons of regents or ministers; the sons of regent families, a rank equivalent to
councillors, [thus] lowering their ranks; and they should be made the guests of their respective provinces. Could they not have salaries of 2,000 koku for a large
province; and those provinces of around 1,000 koku should combine to summon a teacher. Some should be attached to the schools of provinces assessed at more than
100,000 koku. Those among the sons of musicians and Shinto priests able in music and letters should go as their assistants. Large provinces would take five to six;
medium-sized provinces, four to five; small ones, three to four; and they should be granted income support lands separately. The princesses and daughters of court
nobles should go reciprocally as brides for those provincial guests.
These arrangements would be restricted to one generation. From their sons on, they become commoners of their respective provinces. Some might
become rural primary school teachers. Those with the talent and aptitude should discharge provincial [administrative] business. But appointees should be sent afresh
from the capital to the provincial schools. Were this to come about, the manners in the provinces would become peaceable and not base. The lord of the province
would, a fortiori, grasp correct rites and music and not learn from evil. Those even more outstanding should be appointed teachers to the government and summoned
as guests. These would be called "national teachers", [for] to regard monks as national teachers, here, too, like the teachers of the Ashikaga School, is a mistake.
Since warriors are all vassals of the shogunate, rituals are strict and dialogue is difficult. But since the court nobility would be like a guest to the
shogunate, were the shogun to make a man of learning and talent his teacher and one expert in scores his musical companion, there would be many benefits. The
feudal princes, also, are rulers of their provinces. so that the [samurai of the] entire province are their vassals. Here, too, if the sons of the court nobility were to come
as guests [to serve as] teachers at schools, there would be friendship and [other] benefits."
So he spoke. This person's words were right.
[Ztei Banzan zensh, v. 3, pp. 276-78; IJM]
Institutional Reconstruction of Society
At the same time, the institutional framework of society was to be reformed through "ceremonial forms" (shiki), codes of conduct whose sanction, in the high Confucian manner, was to be social shame rather than laws and punishments.
Question: How should the ceremonial forms be determined?
Answer: A person of warrior provenance who knows the Way and who is expert in human feelings and historical change is to be made an officer to determine the
ceremonial forms. He should be aided by someone erudite in matters Japanese and Chinese, and they should draw up several tens of articles. The ruler, his senior
vassals, upper, middle and lower samurai, are to be seated close together and discussion and classification should be undertaken. Opinions on disadvantages are to be
expressed, and the ruler and officer should decide where reason settles and have a fair copy made. Furthermore, again, orders are to be issued to the domains and
discrepancies with place and human feelings audited, the "admirable words"
o1 people of intelligence obtained and adjustments made. The world undergoes small
changes every 50 years and every 500 years a major change. There are things among the ceremonial forms of old that may be used now, and things that may not be
Ceremonial forms are not legal regulations (hatto). With legal regulations, fewness in number is regarded as good. Gaozu of the Han [dynasty] shortened
the law into three articles, and the realm was greatly settled. But when ceremonial forms are detailed, the world becomes calm, and honourable and base are at peace.
Those who violate law undergo punishments; but those who violate ceremonial forms have no punishments, but merely face shame. When shame accumulates, it
becomes impossible to appear in company. Therefore, although there are no punishments, offenses die out.
Question: Are there any items of ceremonial forms that can be applied in both past and present?
Answer: When a lord has occasion to give something to a vassal, [the latter] receives it with an obeisance. He sees the messenger off as far as his gate. After the
messenger has returned, he goes to the lord's place and expresses his beholdenness with a bow. When a major vassal makes a presentation to the samurai, he receives it
with an obeisance. He escorts the messenger to the doorway. He goes [later to express his thanks], but does not make an obeisance. If the visit occurs during his
absence, he makes an obeisance to acknowledge his coming. Enquiries after illness and expressions of condolence are mutual affairs. There is no obligation for a
reciprocal courtesy. When someone comes to one's house on a ritual [occasion], one also, on [a similar] mutual occasion, goes to his, and one reciprocates a mutual
gift. Token gifts one does not reciprocate.
1Classic of Documents, "The Counsels of the Great Y", xxi.
When one has a coming of age ceremony or a wedding in one's house, and others make gifts to one, when they have a coming of age or a wedding in their
families, one does the same to them. "The man of virtue uses words to make gifts to others. The rich man uses [his] resources to help others. Old people do not
expend effort; the poor do not reciprocate with resources. When someone enquires after a failure to communicate, one should do the same for them at a later date.
When someone calls during one's absence from home, one goes and makes an obeisance. Should the first person not be at home, one should not go again, nor need one
send a messenger. When one calls on another during his absence, he need not come to reciprocate the courtesy. If one makes an appointment for a later day to meet
together, it is appropriate to trust that intention.
Rituals are repeated three times at the limit. The first refusal is called "courtesy declining"; the second, "firm declining", the third, "final declining". The
host extends courtesy to the guest. Although the seat is appropriate for him, the guest declines once. This is courtesy. When the host again extends courtesy, the guest
does not decline but accepts the seat. A repeated declining by the guest is regarded as a firm refusal. The host insistently bows, and the guest should not decline.
When, on [sufficient] grounds, the guest declines three times, it is a final declining. The host does not insist, and adopts a seat below his guest. To make a formal
declining of a seat that it is appropriate to adopt is not ritual propriety. It is referred to as vexing the host. Declining another's gift or declining office and stipend are
the same. When there is an obligation to not accept them, one does not do this. The rest can be inferred. When the ceremonial forms are settled, the items are
There is a text that records the Kamakura ceremonial forms in a daimyo house of the Kamakura period. Amongst them, there are ones that could be used
even now. The feudal princes are divided into three watches and come to headquarters once every three years. There are regulations to avoid the seasons of
agricultural [activity] and relative distances are determined. Journeys do not overlap in time. The journey is unhurried. When in their provinces, the [daimyo] offer
tribute of a large sword and "horse money" (badai) through messengers once a year. Arrival at headquarters is timed for the first lunar month. But cold provinces
make their departure in the second or beginning of the third months, and calculations are made for the number of days on the journey.
[Ztei Banzan zensh, v. 3, pp. 274-75;IJM]
Successors of Nakae Tju in the (ymei) School
After Nakae Tju's death, the inheritors of his teachings tended to split into two streams, one emphasizing introspective self-cultivation and personal
ethics, and the other endeavoring to apply Tju's teachings to the practical problems of government and public ethics. The latter direction, as we have seen, was
typified by Kumazawa Banzan. Tju's most prominent disciple of the introspective bent was Fuchi Kzan (1617-86), a samurai from Sendai who went to Edo to serve
a bakufu vassal with a fief in mi. When his lord sent him to mi, Kzan heard about Tju, and became his disciple in 1644. After Tju's death some four years
later, Kzan set up a small academy in Kyoto and built a shrine in Tju's memory. His reverence for Tju and promotion of his teachings seem to have contributed
significantly to Tju's later reputation as a sage. Kzan is said to have had disciples in twenty-four provinces, the most prominent being in Osaka, Mimasaka, Ise,
Edo, Kumamoto, and Aizu.
Later, in the early eighteenth century, Miwa Shissai (1669-1744) revived the Yangming School (Jap. Ymeigaku), propagating it as a distinct teaching
unmixed with other strands of Neo-Confucianism for a sustained period of three decades. By contrast Sat Issai (1772-1859) (see
Ch. 39, p. xxx) stands as an outstanding example, at the very center of late Edo-period bakufu education, of an influential teacher of Yangming's ideas who synthesized
them with those of Zhu Xi.
Miwa Shissai's earlier efforts at propagation helped make Yangming learning widely known during the eighteenth century, to the point that it became one
of the four schools of learning prohibited at the bakufu college in the Kansei Prohibition of Heterodoxy of 1790. It is unclear how much this prohibition reflects a
perception of the subversive potential of Ymeigaku; a long time had passed since Hayashi Razan had accused Banzan of involvement in subversive plots, and
teachers like Shissai taught nothing that was politically questionable. After the prohibition, however, the number of Ymeigaku followers paradoxically grew more
rapidly than ever before, largely through the influence of Sat Issai and shio Chsai.
Fuchi Kzan: Innate Knowledge (Filiality) as the Essential Life-force
The emphasis in Tju's teachings on family-centered ethics and on the link between the natural/spiritual world and human society, as opposed to the Zhu Xi school's emphasis on scholarship and political ethics, helps to account for their appeal among the peasantry, especially among the rising class of independent cultivators in Aizu. Kzan seems to have emphasized even more than Tju that not only is innate knowledge (here equated with filial piety) inherent in human beings at birth, but it is the fundamental life force generating, underlying, and penetrating all things and affairs.
1. Human beings are originally born through innate knowledge (rychi).
2. There is nothing innate knowledge does not penetrate, and no matter of human concern that it does not touch. . . . Even in the most ordinary person, the
perfect sincerity (shisei) of the innate knowledge does not cease to operate. . . . All of the idiosyncrasies of the mind come from
believing in thoughts. . . . If you believe instead in innate knowledge, how will the various desires be able to move your mind?
3. The way of ordinary human relationships should not be seen just as a realm of moral effort unconnected with the original substance. If one seeks innate
knowledge in the realm of high abstractions, it will only make it into something far away. One's facial expression and one's manner of speaking are themselves the seat
4. People usually have a tendency to stiffen up out of fear or worry. But if you have the slightest stiffness in your body, everything you do becomes
difficult and you cannot feel free. Teaching people how not to stiffen up is the whole secret of Tju's teaching. 1. . The original mind is the true master (shusai) of
the self. When expanded, it reaches beyond Heaven and Earth; when rolled up, it hides itself within the mystery of the square inch [of the heart organ]. Accordingly,
one should revere this master (shujink) as the highest thing in Heaven and Earth and as the first principle of human life.
5. A person who wishes to realize the great Way for himself should first purify his body and mind and seek the assistance of the gods. No one has ever
achieved something great without some reliance on divine assistance.
[Kzan Sensei jikyroku, kan 5, 1, 3, 4; BS]
1 Literally, Athe family recipe@ of Tju,@ a metaphor based on the tradition of keeping the knowledge of specific medicines secret within a family to assure the future livelihood of the family.
Miwa Shissai, born in 1669 as the son of a Kyoto physician whose ancestors had been officiants at the Miwa Shrine, resolved early in life to become
either a physician or a Confucian scholar. At the age of nineteen he became a disciple of Sat Naokata of the Kimon school. But after five years of study under
Naokata and three of service as a tutor to Naokata's lord, Shissai resigned his position because of growing doubts about Naokata's version of Confucianism. Between
1697 and 1699 he openly rejected Naokata's teaching of seeking moral principles externally, with its emphasis on intellectual inquiry (kyri) over everyday moral
practice, turning instead to the philosophy of Wang Yangming. In general terms, Shissai's rejection of Naokata shares some similarities with the critique of Zhu Xi put
forward by It Jinsai, and indeed Naokata lumped both the Yangming School (Ymeigaku) and Jinsai's learning together under what was for him a pejorative term,
"practical learning" (jitsugaku), i. e. learning that gave too little attention to the correct understanding of objective moral principles. It was several years before he
forgave Shissai's apostasy.
I1 1712, Shissai published the first Japanese-annotated edition of Wang Yangming's Chuanxi l (Instructions for Practical Living). In 1726
he founded his own academy in Edo, the Meirind (Hall for the Clarifying of Moral Relations), where he taught many disciples until his death at 76 in 1744.
"Shissai's Everyday 'Method of the Mind'" (Shissai nichiy shinp)
The method of mind-control central to Neo-Confucian moral cultivation and spiritual praxis is based on Zhu Xi's 16-word formula (set forth in his Preface to the Mean) concerning the human mind and Mind of the Way, and the need to direct human thought and feelings according to the dictates of moral principle in the Mind of the Way. The following extracts are from an account of Shissai's views on the matter, referring to those of the Cheng brothers, Zhu Xi, Wang Yangming and the Korean scholar Yi T'oegye (not reproduced here). Shissai views the matter primarily in relation to one's active engagement of the willCone's personal resolve (kokorozashi) or fundamental commitment to the Way.
(1) At fifteen Confucius set his heart on learning. At thirty he established himselfCthat is, he established his resolve (kokorozashi). At forty, he was no
longer perplexedCthat is, his resolve no longer vacillated. Passing through age fifty and sixty, [finally] at seventy he was able to follow whatever his heart desired
without overstepping the bounds.
I2 other words, without overstepping the bounds of his resolve. Thus we know that resolve is the whole substance of learning from
1 Perhaps with the Ako rnin in mind, Naokata wrote gaku rondan (A judgment on Wang learning), AIf you just act with the belief that you have loyalty and filial piety within yourself, but without a knowledge of moral principles, then even if you have no selfishness in your heart you may end up as a criminal in the eyes of your lord and father.@ 2 See Analects 2:4.
the stage of beginner right through to sagehood. . . . Establishing this resolve is the practice (kuf) of preserving the Heavenly principle of the original mind-and-
heart. . . .
(2) If the mind is truly set on sagehood, like a cat waiting to pounce on a mouse, there will be no leisure for the mind of [selfish] desire to arise. . . . One's
words and actions are the vestments of one's resolve; if they are let go of for a moment, one's resolve freezes. Rightness and the Way are the nourishment of one's
resolve; once neglected, the resolve starves. . . .
(3) Former scholars [Cheng Yi and Zhu Xi]
s1id that Confucius spoke only of humaneness (jin), but also that he spoke only of resoluteness
(kokorozashi). Thus we know that humaneness is the same as resoluteness. Accordingly, rightness, ritual decorum, and wisdom are also resoluteness.
The moral senses of commiseration, shame, modesty, right-and-wrong are all things that the heart aims at, as are the five virtues. Thus they are also nothing other than
resoluteness . . . . [228-230]
(4) According to Zhu Xi, that which feels hunger and thirst and perceives heat and cold is the human mind, while that from which the four beginnings of
virtue arise is the mind of the Way . . . . But if the so-called mind of the Way exists outside of the physical nature, it is something other than the everyday practice of
human ethics. That would make it something empty, mysterious, and silent like the deviant Buddhist teachings of directly perceiving one's nature and achieving
[Shissai Nichiy shinp; Nihon no Ymeigaku A, v. 1, pp. 228-31, 260-61; BS]
Regarding the "Four Maxims" of Wang Yangming
(2) AThe absence of good and evil is the substance of the mind.@
1 Zhu Xi, preface to Meng Zi jizhu (Collected commentaries on the Mencius). 2 See Sources of Chinese Tradition, 2nd ed., Ch. 24, p. 850.
In the human mind and heart, before it moves, there is nothing to be approved as good or condemned as evil. It is only one brightness. 1or this reason, it
reflects good and evil without distortion. It is like a mirror, which because it has no outside or inside, no ugliness or beauty, is able to reflect beauty and ugliness just as
they are without distortion. This is also nothing but a single brightness. This brightness is called perfect goodness. It is the original substance, the place where the
God of Heaven (or Divine Spirit) lodges within man, the naturalness (shizen) under Heaven.
(2) AWhere good and evil are present, it is [due to] the movement of thoughts and intentions.@
The Lord of the life-giving power of Heaven and Earth takes lodging within man and becomes his mind and heart. Therefore, the mind is a living thing,
always in a state of illumination. When it is affected by contact with things and moves, it is called thoughts and intentions (i). When it moves, the person becomes
governed by material force (ki). Therefore, it can become good and it can become evil. What issues from the natural will-to-life and does not cross over to the physical
is humaneness (jin). This is called the good. What arises from the physical and goes against the
natural original substance is called evil. It is the selfishness (watakushi) of the individual person.
(3) "What is conscious of good and evil is innate knowledge (rychi)."
1 That is, both clear and bright, reflecting like an untarnished mirror.
Although at the point where thoughts move there is bifurcation into good and evil, the spiritual light of the original substance of these thoughts remains
always luminous. When that spiritual brightness manifests itself from nature without crossing over to human intention and is able to illuminate the good and evil that
has arisen, it is called innate knowledge. It is the light of the God of Heaven or Divine spirit. This light, when manifested in the ruler becomes benevolence (jin);
manifested in the minister, it becomes reverent attentiveness (kei); manifested in the parent, it becomes love; manifested in the child, it becomes filiality. Although no
human being is lacking this light, as it is constantly buried by the wild movement of thoughts, it is difficult for it to manifest itself. Thus in the relationship between
ruler and minister (lord and retainer) there may be inhumaneness or lack of respect, in the relationship between parent and child a lack of love or filiality. If one can
just turn back on oneself to this innate knowledge and allow its light to extend into all of one's interactions (kann) with things and affairs, then the disordered
movements of the mind will cease, and all of one's interactions with things and affairs will become the functioning of the Original Mind itself. Therefore it is said that
turning back on oneself is the key to the extension of one's innate knowledge of the good [into external affairs].
(4) "Doing good and eliminating evil, this is the rectification of affairs."
"Rectify" means to correct. The use of the word "rectify" instead of "correct" means that one should revert to complete correctness without allowing the
slightest thing to weigh upon one's mind. "Things" refers to the practical affairs of daily life and human relations, whether minor matters or great, which are to be
illuminated by the innate knowledge and which form the contours of our thoughts. When one's original mind moves outward towards one's parents and elders, what
enables one to act filially and respectfully, never losing the naturalness of the original mind, is the natural light of the God of Heaven. If one is able to keep that natural
light, things and affairs too will not lose their inherent laws. This is the condition where all of one's thoughts are good, where one's thoughts are themselves nothing
other than the original mind. This is the naturalness of the sage. However, if one is not able to retain that natural light, then what issues from the mind will not be able
to be completely filial, completely respectful, completely loyal, or completely trustworthy. Thus unfiliality, disrespect, disloyalty, and untrustworthiness themselves
constitute the condition wherein one's thoughts are evil. These evil thoughts cover up the light of the original mind and make it impossible for it to shine forth.
Therefore, the work of the student in the face of such incorrect thoughts is to turn oneself back to that innate knowledge, correct and eliminate these evil thoughts, and
do good. To do so is to return things and affairs to their correct condition and to allow the innate knowledge to attain its full realization. This is the true ground of the
student's effort. 
These maxims constitute the vow and the guideline by which one enters into the practice of the Way. One should receive and practice [this teaching] only
after purifying oneself mentally and physically. In becoming a disciple of Yao and Shun, one must understand that the original aspiration
(honb) is to let go of one's body and one's life. One should make a personal vow to the Original Mind to this effect. By means of this vow one will be able to plant
firmly the root of one's nature and establish an unwavering resolve.
[Nihon no Ymeigaku A, v. 1, pp. 118-31; BS]
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Immunology 4 Introduction to Microbiology Drs. Shuman and Young 8/29/03 Transcriber: Dan Hwang Introduction to Bacteriology Bacteria -Size ~10-6 m (around 1000 will fit into an animal cell) -Focus on important structures of bacteria and how they ar
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MID/Micro 4 10/2/02, 10:00 am lecture Dr. Figurski Beth Harre (esh16) Note: Waiting for edits from Dr. Figurski. GENETICS III Conjugation is the most prevalent from of gene transfer in bacteria, and can be very efficient. It requires that 2 bacterial
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Shock/ Hemorrhage/ Thrombosis Shock- A low-perfusion circulatory insufficiency state leading to an imbalance between metabolic needs of vital organs and available blood flow. -The tissues are effected by: 1. decreased oxygen and nutrient delivery 2.
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MID Lecture #6 Dr. Shuman: Bacterial Physiology 10/11/02 Chris Daley (ctd2003) Major theme: Bacteria have a lot of physiological things in common. There are also areas with a lot of diversity. When thinking about the physiological differences, think
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Hematology Transcript: Acute Leukemias Dr. David Savage, lecturer Noah Raizman, transcriber 1. Acute vs. Chronic Leukemias: -Acute Leukemias are characterized by monoclonal proliferation of hematopoietic precursor cells, or blasts, which have the fol
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Dana Critchell email@example.com Dr. Despommier Lecture #3 (10/21/02) Cestodes Dr. Despommier started out by going over how to treat the parasites that we discussed last week. -Treat hookworms with Mebendazole -Treat Strongyloides stercoralis with
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MID - 45 Rickettsia, Ehrlichia, and BorreliaLecturer: Dr. Deborah Rudin, M.D. firstname.lastname@example.org Transcriber: Marc Russo email@example.comWho's at risk? those exposed to areas where they can be bitten by a tick/louse/mite or work with animals: farme
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Teaching To Teach Seminars for Medical Students January 2006Module 1: Assessing The LearnerTeaching To Teach Faculty Pablo Joo, MD Director of Predoctoral Education, Center for Family Medicine Mark Graham, Ph.D. Director of Education Researc
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Module 2: Feedback Skills Teaching To Teach SeminarsPrepared by the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine Presented by Pablo Joo MD Center for Family Medicine / NYP / P&STeaching To Teach Sponsors Center for Education Research and Evaluation Ce
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5- Protozoa: Malaria (Plasmodium falciparum, Plasmodium vivax, Plasmodium ovale, Plasmodium malariae)General Protozoa/Malaria Info: Single celled eukaryotic organisms Equatorial disease, worldwide, very prevalent in Africa Most are free-living L
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6- AIDS Opportunistic Infections (Toxoplamsa gondii & Pneumocystis carinii/jiroveci)Protozoan Toxoplasm a gondiipg 68HostsCats, humansLife CycleDEFINITIVE HOST (CATS): 1) cats ingest oocysts in cat feces or pseudocysts in infected carrion Ing
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Enterobius vermicularis* Embryonated eggsEnterobius vermicularis Adult FemaleTricuris trichiura Adult female and adult maleEnterobius vermicularis* (pinworm) Embryonated eggs (see larvae inside) Symptoms- itchy perianal region Diagnose- eggs in
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7-Protozoa that cause diarrheal disease: Giardia lamblia, Entamoeba histolytica, Cryptosporidium parvumProtozoan Host Life Cycle, Pathology Beavers, 2 stages: Giardia dogs, humans trophozoite lambliaPg 7Clinical Disease, DiagnosisCLINICAL PRESEN
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Heme8 He-ma-tol-o-gy: the medical specialty that pertains to the anatomy, physiology, pathology, symptomatology, and therapeutics related to the blood and blood-forming tissues. REGULATION OF COAGULATION/DISSEMINATED INTRAVASCULAR COAGULATION Ahh, go
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Haematology 7: Coagulation/Secondary HemostasisElizabeth J. Fontana Thursday, February 26, 2004 9 am The focus of this lecture is the coagulation cascade and secondary hemostasis. The goal is to demystify some of the issues behind coagulation.Coa
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NS 15 Transcript Pain and Analgesia February 25, 2003 Dr. Amy MacDermott Transcriber: Matt Yurgelun (firstname.lastname@example.org) Early view of pain was as an extreme form of touch simply lots of action potentials this is NOT the case there are genuine no
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SBPM EXAMApril 3, 2002Time: three hours NameLast, FirstSS#:--Please follow the instructions carefully: 1. Write your name and Social Security number on the top of this page 2. PRINT your name on the answer sheet. Last Name First. 3. PRINT
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Iron-Deficiency Anemia and the Anemia of Chronic DiseaseHematology lecture #2 2/11/03 Transcribed by Megan Patrick, mcp2003 Anemia, the most common hematological disorder, is defined as a decrease in the number of circulating red blood cells (RBCs).
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Hematologic Malignancies #1-Chronic Lymphoproliferative Disorders Lecturer: Dr. Savage Transcriber: Niels Heilmann Hem. Malignancies can be split into two categories based on phenotype: 1)hematopoeitic precursor cell, eg. acute leukemia, or 2) Differ
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Hematology transcript 5 Dr. Bank Disorders of Hemoglobin Dr. Bank began the lecture by reviewing what Dr. Diuguid has said about the production of blood cells. Their main site of production is in the bone marrow, from hematopoietic stem cells, which
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Pulmonary Function TestsSpirometry and Maximal Expiratory and Inspiratory Flow Volume Curves "Dynamic function"SpirometryObstructive Ventilation Decrease in expiratory airflow due toairway narrowing FEV1 decreased FVC normal or decreased
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Cerebral Edema, Intracranial Shifts, and Herniations I. Anatomic Considerations 1. Know anatomic relationships among medial temporal lobe, tentorium cerebelli, brainstem, upper CNs, and vertebro-basilar artery system (posterior circulation) 2. Brain
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SBPM EXAM 2October 25th, 2002Time: three hours NameLast, FirstSS#:--Please follow the instructions carefully: 1. Write your name and Social Security number on the top of this page 2. PRINT your name on the answer sheet. Last Name First. 3.
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Hematology 7: Coagulation/Secondary Hemostasis Natalie Bowman 27 February 2003 This transcript will make the most sense if you follow along with the slide he handed out in class. I'm sorry if it's a bit repetitive. Physicians often don't like to deal
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Mail Box #GGGNameSS#:GGG-GG-GGGGINSTRUCTIONS FOR SBPM EXAM December 20th, 1999 TIME ALLOTTED: THREE HOURSPlease follow the instructions carefully:GGGYour Mail Box Number1. Write your name, social security number and your three digit m
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The Interactive Role of Inorganic and Organic Nutrients in Controlling Coral Health and Bioeroding and Algal Communities.Glover's Reef, Belize Summer, 2002 Diana Pietri Columbia University Advisor: Tim MclanahanIntroduction Recent decline of cora
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Mathematics V1207x Honors Mathematics IIIFall 2002 Instructor: Oce: Oce hours: Prof. Michael Thaddeus Classroom: Mathematics 414 Lectures: F. 9:3011:30 am, or by appointment. Mathematics 203 M.W. 2:403:55 pmPrerequisite: Honors Mathematics II, or
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Calculus III (Prof. Manolescu) - Solution Set 6Page 1Calculus III (Prof. Manolescu) - Solution Set 6Page 2Calculus III (Prof. Manolescu) - Solution Set 6Page 3
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Name:Calculus III sec. 003 - Second MidtermYou have 1 hour and 15 minutes. No books, notes or calculators are allowed. Do not open the exam until told to do so.Part I No justifications are needed in this part. 1. True/False: Circle the correct
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THE JOURNAL OF BIOLOGICAL CHEMISTRY 2002 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.Vol. 277, No. 6, Issue of February 8, pp. 4079 4087, 2002 Printed in U.S.A.A Novel Leucine Zipper Targets AKAP15 and Cyclic AMP-dependen
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articlesEndophilin I mediates synaptic vesicle formation by transfer of arachidonate to lysophosphatidic acidAnne Schmidt*, Michael Wolde, Christoph Thiele*, Werner Fest, Hartmut Kratzin, Alexandre V. Podtelejnikovk, Walter Witkek, Wieland B. Hut
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letters to nature29. Luo, J. et al. Negative control of p53 by Sir2a promotes cell survival under stress. Cell 107, 137148 (2001). 30. Rodriguez, M. S., Desterro, J. M. P., Lain, S., Lane, D. P. & Hay, R. T. Multiple C-terminal lysine residues targe
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Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA Vol. 93, pp. 92709275, August 1996 PharmacologyCommon molecular determinants of local anesthetic, antiarrhythmic, and anticonvulsant block of voltage-gated Na channelsDAVID S. RAGSDALE, JANCY C. MCPHEE, TODD SCHEUER,Con
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letters to natureships. This protocol was repeated in Krebs solution with 6.5 mM K+. To identify the postsynaptic leptin current, IV relationships were performed similarly with slow voltage ramps (5 mV s-1 from -100 to -20 mV) before and 10 min afte
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COLUMBIA vs YALE11/29/96200 MEDLEY RELAY1.Yale1:37.72(Bradford 24.71, Antonelli 27.86, Newton 23.73, Malpass 21.42)2.Columbia1:39.09(Tennyson 26.48, Yamamoto 26.91, Sherman 24.10, Poropat 21.60)3.Columbia 1:39.13(
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Columbia Lions vs. Cornell Big Red December 4, 1999400 Yard Medley Relay(1) Columbia A 3:24.72 (Matt Schultz, Arpad Sebe, Gered Doherty, Russell Perkins)(2) Cornell A 3:27.7
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Journal of Colloid and Interface Science 253, 329352 (2002) doi:10.1006/jcis.2002.8529A Single-Site Model for Divalent Transition and Heavy Metal Adsorption over a Range of Metal ConcentrationsLouise J. Criscenti and Dimitri A. Sverjensky1Earth a