Changes in the Song Era

Paul U. Unschuld

in What Is Medicine?

Published by University of California Press

Published in print September 2009 | ISBN: 9780520257658
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520944701 | DOI:
Changes in the Song Era

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Philosophers of the Song era took initiatives to tackle the renewal of Confucianism. They had a prescription for the problems of Confucianism. They opened the door to an intensive occupation with nature, thought up by cosmologies to link the world of men with the natural universe, and created metaphysics to compete successfully with the Buddhist doctrine. The main thinkers that include Zhang Zai, his two nephews Cheng Hao and Cheng Yi, their teacher Zhou Dunyi, and finally the great philosopher Zhu Xi, synthesized the individual thoughts into an impressive whole. Zhang Zai confronted Buddhism by convincingly arguing that the material world is real, not imagined. He wrote that finely distributed matter, qi, can form anything and disperse again. The Cheng brothers came to the conclusion that an abstract structural pattern underlies all real phenomena. Every thing and every person has a certain structure (li). The structures of all people are connected and all people are also connected with the universe. Zhu Xi showed that both qi and li must be considered in order to understand people and nature.

Keywords: Buddhist doctrine; Confucianism; Song era; Buddhism; economic centers

Chapter.  836 words. 

Subjects: Medical Anthropology

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