Mencius' View of life: Chi Hsin and Hsing

Vol. 19 No. 1   6/1989    


Mencius' View of life: Chi Hsin and Hsing


Chun-Chieh Huang









Key words




The present paper is an attempt at an examination of the concept of life in the thought of Mencius in the contest of Chinese intellectual history. Three leading concepts in Mencius’ view of life can readily be observed. i.e., Ch’I(),Hsin() and Hsing(). As an aspect of Mencius’ conceptualization of self, the concept of Ch’I () is a “common discourse” among ancient Chinese Thinkers. Mencius is baptized in the spirit of Shamanism in ancient Chinese culture and shares with the yin-yang philosophers and Taoist thinkers in seeing the harmony between human and man. Yet, Mencius’ concept of Ch’i comprises the ontological and ethical sense. It should be noted , moreover , that Mencius stresses that Ch’i must be guide by the mind(hsin, ) and transformed into the “flood-like Ch’i, 浩然之氣” In this way, the Ch’i, in physical sense and the mind in psychological sense interacts with each other and achieves dynamic unity. Mencius’ thought is also removed from Chuang Tzu in their reflections upon the relationship between Ch’i and human body (hsing ). While Chuang Tzu articulates the theory of the transferability between Ch’i and the myriad things including human body, Mencius devotes his attention to the confluences between them. It is concluded that Mencius’ view of life shows not only that Mencius’ thought has something to do with the Sharmanistic tradition in ancient Chinese culture, but also the Confucian-Mencian priority of cultural world in creative sense over the natural world in the ontological or physical senses. 



Author: Chun-Chieh Huang
Genre: Article