ASIA212Varley

On the basis of views such as these yamaga sok is

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Unformatted text preview: shion. Tòju observed that, despite their claim that people should be allowed to act with complete freedom once their inherently moral nature has been cultivated, the orthodox Neo-Confucianists in fact made sure of right action by dictating elaborate rules of social conduct. Tòju asserted that the most important consideration was man’s mind or will to action (shin). In other words, whereas the orthodox Neo-Confucianists talked about the r i-nature and prescribed how man should behave to prove that he had it, Tòju said that man should act according to the dictates of his mind or “intuition,” and should not be fettered by the need to conform to arbitrary norms of social behavior. The creed he Heterodox Trends 207 thus espoused was formally based on the writings of the Ming dynasty philosopher Wang Yang-ming (1472–1529). The Neo-Confucianism of Wang Yang-ming, which stressed that man had the inherent or intuitive capacity to act morally, held a powerful attraction for many Japanese of the Tokugawa period, especially samurai whose class background and outlook made them logically receptive to a doctrine of personal independence and direct action. Yet, the Wang Yang-ming emphasis on intuition was also close to the spirit of Zen Buddhism and, toward the end of his life, Nakae Tòju became less concerned with social action than with the cultivation of a Zen-like inner tranquility. It remained for others, particularly in the tumultuous final years of the Tokugawa period, to employ Wang Yang-ming Neo-Confucianism as a rationale for political activism. Another group of scholars who attacked the Neo-Confucian orthodoxy was the so-called School of Ancient Studies (kogaku-ha). The leading members of the kogaku-ha had such diverse personalities and viewpoints that it may at first seem inappropriate to group them together as a school. Nevertheless, they were similar at least insofar as each sought to go back beyond Neo-Confucianism—and indeed beyond all the major accretions to Confucianism of the preceding two millennia—to rediscover the original teachings...
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