The Philosophy of Qi

The Philosophy of Qi: The Record of Great Doubts

KAIBARA EKKEN
TRANSLATED, WITH AN INTRODUCTION, BY Mary Evelyn Tucker
Copyright Date: 2007
DOI: 10.7312/ekke13922
Pages: 208
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7312/ekke13922
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  • Book Info
    The Philosophy of Qi
    Book Description:

    The Record of Great Doubts emphasizes the role of qi in achieving a life of engagement with other humans, with the larger society, and with nature as a whole. Rather than encourage transcendental escapism or quietism, Ekken articulates a philosophy of material force as a basis of living a life of commitment to the world. In this spirit, moral cultivation is not an isolated or a self-centered preoccupation, but an activity that occurs within the dynamic forces of nature and amid the rigorous demands of society. In this context, a vitalism of qi is an emergent force, not only providing the philosophical grounding for this vibrant interaction but also giving a basis for an investigation of the natural world that plumbs the principle within things. Ekken thus aimed to articulate a creative and dynamic milieu for moral education, political harmony, social coherence, and agricultural sustainability.

    The Record of Great Doubts embodies Ekken's profound commitment to Confucian ideas and practices as a method for establishing an integrative ethical vision, one he hoped would guide Japan through a new period of peace and stability. A major philosophical treatise in the Japanese Neo-Confucian tradition, The Record of Great Doubts illuminates a crucial chapter in East Asian intellectual history.

    eISBN: 978-0-231-51129-2
    Subjects: Philosophy, Religion, History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. ix-xiii)
  4. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 1-76)

    Kaibara Ekken (1630–1714) was one of the leading Neo-Confucian thinkers of early modern Japan. Born in the beginning of the Tokugawa era (1600–1863), he had a significant intellectual influence during the period and is well respected in his birthplace of Fukuoka in northern Kyushu down to the present.¹ Ekken was raised in a lower-ranking samurai family, was sent to study in Kyoto by the local provincial government (han), and subsequently was employed by the provincial lord (daimyo) as a government adviser. This ensured his career as a scholar and writer relatively free from financial concerns. His remarkable productivity...

  5. Taigiroku:: The Record of Great Doubts
    • PREFACE
      (pp. 79-80)
      Kaibara Atsunobu
    • PART I
      (pp. 81-113)

      Although in great antiquity there were people who received Heaven’s will and established the basis of moral principles, the method of instruction regarding the Way of the sages was not made known. From the time of Yao and Shun,⁷ people were urged to “be refined and single-minded, holding fast to the Mean”⁸ and to “reverently spread the teachings of the five constant virtues.”⁹ This may be considered the beginning of the establishment of education. The three periods of the Xia, Shang, and Zhou10 followed and gradually this educational method was refined. However, it was not yet clearly articulated. Confucius greatly...

    • PART II
      (pp. 114-166)

      An ancient person said: “Frequently people do not realize that they are blinded by their own desires. There are indeed not a few people who are deluded by knowledge acquired from the senses.”119 In my humble opinion, from ancient times people have often been deluded [by sense knowledge]. Since the end of the Song, the number of prejudiced scholars who were deluded by sense knowledge and were not enlightened have been even more numerous. It is a problem on which scholars ought to reflect.

      Following the end of the Song, Confucian scholarship was too focused on details, and, being verbose...

  6. GLOSSARY
    (pp. 167-172)
  7. BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 173-190)
  8. INDEX
    (pp. 191-200)
  9. Back Matter
    (pp. 201-210)