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Tsing Hua Journal of Chinese Studies
ISSN 0577-9170; DOI 10.6503/THJCS


On Kong Sun Ni Tzu’s Theory of Cultivating Ch’i

Vol. 22 No. 3   12/1992    


On Kong Sun Ni Tzu’s Theory of Cultivating Ch’i 


Rur-bin Yang









Key words



  Kong Sun Ni Tzu is a long forgotten Confucian scholar of philosophy. Because only a fragment of his writings have preserved since the T’ang dynasty, modern scholars have neglected his contributions to Confucianism, especially to the theory of cultivation of Ch’i in Mencius. This paper maintains that there is a strong connection between Mencius and Kong Sun Ni Tzu, and that Kong Sun Ni Tzu’s ideas are very compatible with those of Yue Chi, which some claims to be written by Kong Sun Ni Tzu, although there is a fundamental difference in their ideas regarding the concept of human nature. In short, Mencius believed that human nature is fundamentally transcendental, while Kong Sun Ni Tzu viewed man as a product of the interaction between mind-society and mind-cosmos. 

    This paper claims that there are several main point in Kong Sun Ni Tzu’s theory of cultivation of Ch’i. first, the human body is not just a physical entity, but is also the moral being which can express spiritual values. The glowing of body is one of the signs of spiritual achievement. Second, ch’i is considered to be the basic element of the body. When ch’i converges with moral will, they penetrate and transform the condition of the phenomenal body. Kong Sun Ni Tzu proposed the body-will-ch’i schema which contrasts the western schema of mind and body. Third, the human body reaches perfection when there is a harmony between the ch’i in the human body and the Ying-Yang force, which flows in the cosmos. Finally, Kong Sun Ni Tzu emphasized that emphatic feeling is the essence of human nature, and that ritual and music are the organic expression of human subjectivity. 



Author: Rur-bin Yang
Genre: Article
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