East Asian History Questions Essay

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.....Zhu Xi understood daotong ( "transmission of the dao" or Confucian orthodoxy). What texts, in sequence, were to be studied? Keeping in mind the context in which he wrote, accept, qualify or refute his position.

Central to the evolution of Confucian orthodoxy, the teachings of Zhu Xi understood the transmission of the dao, the daotong, in terms of the natural ordering and hierarchy of the universe, and of universal laws. Daotong is conceptualized as a flow, a transmission of actual energy from a source higher on the cosmological hierarchy, or from the principle of Heaven, tianli (Adler 143). Moreover, the transmission of the dao is presented as an ongoing flow, more like a waterfall than a tap that gets turned off or on according to the will or desire of the human being. Zhu Xi's understanding was, however, ironically rigid and inflexible. His teachings deeply conflicted with prevailing Confucian ideology, and were yet later embraced. Zhu Xi's perspective was rooted in the selective transmission of the dao; daotong was not as arbitrary as simply receiving the heavily outflowing of wisdom but instead was categorically refined and distilled into essential texts.
The authors of those texts as well as their content determined their orthodoxy and their efficacy in Zhi Xi's eyes, reflecting a moral and doctrinal hierarchy that is essentially compatible with the underlying Confucian philosophy, cosmology, and worldview. Zhu Xi, for example, harbored a strong belief in an inherited line of succession, as if the waterfall of heavenly knowledge could be transmitted directly through specific individuals not unlike the western prophetic traditions. For example, the daotong could be traced directly from Confucius onto Mencius. These sort of mystical underpinnings of Zhu Xi's teachings contradict somewhat the rational and logical spirit conveyed through his work.

Zhu Xi affirmed a hierarchy also of Confucian texts, codified later into the Four Books (Great Learning, the Doctrine of the Mean, the Analects and the Mencius, which were to be disseminated and received in a specific order from Great Learning to Xunz. The texts were imbued with power, as with scripture and wisdom teachings. There were also false doctrines, according to Zhu Xi, which is why he drew attention to his self-described wisdom teachings


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