Mencius’ Thoughts of Poetry Teaching Interpreted from the Viewpoint of the “Arising”

Vol. 20 No. 2   12/1990    


Mencius’ Thoughts of Poetry Teaching Interpreted from the Viewpoint of the “Arising” 


Nien-feng Chiang 









Key words



This article aims at achieving a systematical interpretation of Mencius’ thoughts of Poetry Teaching from a new viewpoint. This article is composed of six arguments. The first one is to reveal the fact that the reason why Mencius was regarded as being distinguished in the Poetry Teaching is basically concerned with his linguistic expressions of allegories, and then proceed to show how Mencius’ strong personality and literary styles does not run counter to the fundamental spirit of the tradition of the Poetry Teaching – tenderness and mildness. The second argument quotes many materials from Mencius’ works to demonstrate the point that he adopts quite insightfully the basic idea of the Poetry Teaching – the Arising to grasp the spiritual 

phenomena of moral activities. The third argument first establishes the point that Mencius’ view of ancient Chinese history as being-governed-by-saints embodies the spirit of the Arising, and this spirit actually permeates through Mencius’ views of the Poetry Teaching and Chun-chiu Teaching a long tradition beginning from Mencius and inherited by subsequent Confucianism. The fourth argument tries to expose the Arising as an conscious activity of willing intentionality from Mencius’ view of “detecting the original will of authors through meanings”. Again an appeal to Husserl’s notion of intentionality serves to point out the fact that this view of Mencius draws a picture of the structure of consciousness, which appears Husserlian-like. The fifth argument shows that Mencius’ “theory of nourishing chi” is also filled with the spirit of the Arising, and that Mencius’ presentation of this spirit coincides quite squarely with the original meaning of the Arising. The last argument then leads readers to examine Mencius’ theory of the good of human nature with a view to coming to a conclusion that only through interpreting the arising acivities of jen as the Arising, we arrive at a more perfect understanding of this theory of Mencius. 



Author: Nien-feng Chiang
Genre: Article