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The Shundai Zatsuwa (A Japanese Philosopher)

The Shundai Zatsuwa (A Japanese Philosopher)
  • #: 122612
  • Price: $3.99 In Apple Store
  • Category: Books
  • Updated: 2010-04-03
  • Current Version: 1.1
  • 1.1
  • Size: 1.70 MB
  • Language: English
  • Seller: Indianic, LLC
  • Requirements: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 2.2 or later
  • © IndiaNIC, LLC
  •  Add to Favorite apps

 

Description

The Shundai Zatsuwa (A Japanese Philosopher)

by Kyusō (Murō Naokiyo) translated and edited by George Wm. Knox

"This book is an exposition of orthodox neo-Confucian thought from Tokugawa Japan. Kyuso lived from 1658-1734, and the Shundai Zatsuwa was compiled and published posthumously by his grandson in 1750. According to Knox, the work is not considered to be a classic, but it was well respected and "[i]n the Shundai Zatsuwa of Kyuso Muro we have the ruling ideas of the Japan that has forever passed away."

In addition to philosophy, the book has many anecdotal stories from Chinese and Japanese history illustrating the results of the virtuous conduct of the Confucian sage and the honorable samurai. This translation was originally published in the Transactions of the Asiatic Society of Japan, volume 20, part 1 [1892] under the title A Japanese Philosopher. The remainder of that issue (60 more pages) was also taken up with discussions relating to this article, which are not presented in this iteration."

About the Author:

"Muro Kyuso (1658-1734), a Chu Hsi scholar, denied that there existed any relationship between Confucianism and Shinto, and attacked Suika Shinto in particular. According to Kyuso, people in his times believed in the unity of Confucianism and Shinto because they misread the hexagram kuan. He asserted that the term shen-tao (shinto) in the I Ching simply meant "the wonderful way" (shen-miao chih tao), and not "the way of the gods" (shen-tao):

[The I Ching reads:] "The sages gave instructions according to shen-tao." We call the way of the sages shen-tao because of its wonder. We can also call it the way of benevolence. Shinto is not the only way. I have tried to understand the theory of today's Shinto, which regards the way of our country as superior to the way of the sages. I find it hard to understand.

According to Kyuso, the basic difference between Confucianism and Shinto was that the former put emphasis on ethical principles, whereas in the latter it was mystery:

Is the so-called Shinto of the present day the same as the way of the sages or different? Its [Shinto] books have many subtle words and few explicit [moral] lessons. The more they talk about gods and ether, the fewer ethical lessons they present.... The I Ching says: "Even if the difference [at the beginning] is only an insignificant unit of measure, [later] their difference will be as wide as a thousand miles."

The second difference was that Confucianism was universal, whereas Shinto was national. In a letter to a friend, Kyuso criticized Shinto for its exclusiveness, and insisted that the Way should belong to the world and not be a private thing of Japan. The third difference was that Confucianism was political, while Shinto was religious. He regarded the way of the sages as a way to govern through politics and education, and quoted the following sentence from Ch'eng I to explain this idea: "Rulers before the Early Three Kings laid down their instructions in accordance with the wonderful way. It goes without saying that their purpose was to educate the people. We saw the success of the Way in Yao's times. " The fourth difference was that Confucianism was historical, but Shinto ahistorical. Kyuso pointed out that Japan had a short history of slightly more than two thousand years, and therefore the Age of the Gods was only a myth."

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