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Zhu Xi, China Neo-Confucianism, Ideologist, Philosopher


 

zhuxiZhu Xi, whose courtesy name is Yuan Hui, was born in Wuyuan County, today’s Wuyuan, Jiangxi province, which is crowned to be the most famous village of China. Zhu Xi became Jinshi at the age of 19. Zhu Xi was a famous neo-Confucian, ideologist, philosopher, educator, poet and politician. Historically famous as the representative of Neo-Confucianism, Zhu Xi was respected to be Zhu Zi and the most outstanding Confucian after Confucius and Mencius in history of China culture. Zi(子), in traditional China was exclusively used for those figures who created a great achievement in thought or academics and brought an unprecedented influence on the social change. So Zhu Xi was called Zhu Zi.

Zhu Xi created a new branch of Chinese ancient academic system, which is called Li Xue(理学), which is closely and deeply rooted in neo-Confucianism. Li Xue is also an important part of Chinese traditional philosophy to a most degree. Li, Qi and Dao or Xuan are all the vital items in Chinese academic history. His contribution to Chinese culture is mainly in the aspect of critically inheriting the traditional thought from the former thinkers. In this way, his philosophical system was formally named Neo-Confucianism, though this name was not created by Zhu Xi personally. Zhu Xi was the greatest master of Li Xue, and also one the greatest Confucianism of ancient China.In Yuan, Ming and Qing Dynasties, his academic thought was the all the time the authoritative philosophy under the support and recommendation of government. The popularity of his thought absolutely symbolized the ideological construction of Chinese feudalistic society has been thoroughly shaped.

In 1313, the imperial examination was resumed in Yuan Dynasty, and Zhu Xi’s masterpiece Si Shu Ji Zhu(四书集注, the collective interpretation of four books), the authoritative interpretational books of Four Confucianism Books, was selected to be the textbooks and all the examinational standards and circles were all set based on these books. Since then, Zhu Xi's thought was tremendously extended via this nationwide examination. In 1369, his authority was further consolidated and basically became the base of stability of the feudalistic society. Though some experts criticized that Zhu Xi’s thought blocked the social reforms and new thoughts appearance. In Ming Dynasty, Zhu Xi’s thought directly promoted the formation of Heart Study of Wang Yangming(王阳明)



 

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