The Characteristics and Meaning of Ji Ben’s Sishu Sicun in the Late Ming

Vol. 42 No. 3   09/2012    


The Characteristics and Meaning of Ji Ben’s Sishu Sicun in the Late Ming


Zhu, Xiang-yu  









Key words

Sishu sicun 《四書私存》, The Teaching of Sishu, Zhuzi, Ji Ben, Wang Yangming’s Teaching  


        ‘How to expound the doctrine of realizing innate knowledge’ was a core issue among Wang Yangming’s disciples that touched upon the correct way to cultivate the self, lecture and study. Among Wang’s many followers, a member of the Zhezhong branch of Wang’s school, Ji Ben, advocated a unique approach, which sought to expound Wang’s teaching through the use of classical commentary. Since Wang objected to this method of exposition, Ji Ben’s insistence on using it reveals that he strongly believed in its efficacy. Ji’s classical expositions represent an important and worthwhile topic of investigation; however, they have yet to be adequately studied. In an effort to remedy this situation, this paper analyzes the format and intellectual content of Ji Ben’s commentaries, focusing on the Sishu sicun, which was one of his most important works. The paper first compares the format used in the Sishu sicun to that of the imperial examinations. Ji Ben intentionally included his teacher's quotations in this book, which distinguished it from works that adopted the perspective of Zhu Xi. Second, in terms of content, Ji Ben criticized Zhu Xi’s theory of the nature, comparing him with Gaozi. Ji moreover included new explanations regarding the extension of knowledge, which reveals that his writings on the classics were aimed at expounding Wang Yangming’s learning.



Author: Zhu, Xiang-yu
Genre: Article