Neo-Confucianism

Neo-Confucianism (Chinese: 宋明理學; pinyin: Sòng-Míng lǐxué, often shortened to lixue 理學, literally "School of Principle") is a moral, ethical, and metaphysical Chinese philosophy influenced by Confucianism, and originated with Han Yu and Li Ao (772–841) in the Tang Dynasty, and became prominent during the Song and Ming dynasties under the formulations of Zhu Xi. After the Mongol conquest of China in the thirteenth century, Chinese scholars and officials restored and preserved neo-Confucianism as a way to safeguard the cultural heritage of China.[1]

Neo-Confucianism
Chinese name
Traditional Chinese宋明理學
Simplified Chinese宋明理学
Literal meaning"Song-Ming [dynasty] rational idealism"
Vietnamese name
VietnameseLý học
Chữ Hán理學
Korean name
Hangul성리학
Hanja性理學
Japanese name
Kanji宋明理学
Kanaそうみんりがく

Neo-Confucianism could have been an attempt to create a more rationalist and secular form of Confucianism by rejecting superstitious and mystical elements of Taoism and Buddhism that had influenced Confucianism during and after the Han Dynasty.[2] Although the neo-Confucianists were critical of Taoism and Buddhism, the two did have an influence on the philosophy, and the neo-Confucianists borrowed terms and concepts. However, unlike the Buddhists and Taoists, who saw metaphysics as a catalyst for spiritual development, religious enlightenment, and immortality, the neo-Confucianists used metaphysics as a guide for developing a rationalist ethical philosophy.[3][4]


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