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Modern Neo-Idealistic Confucianism

Doctrines The doctrines of modern neo-idealistic Confucianism is a combination of the idealistic tradition of the Sung-Ming dynasties and idealism in other traditions, notably that of the Buddhist tradition.
Following the line of the Confucianist doctrines of Wang Yangming and incorporating Buddhist idealism into their own thinking, the neo-Idealistic Confucians took the heart/mind as the seat of ultimate reality. For them, the heart/mind is not only the locus of cognition but also emotion and action; consequently, the unity of knowledge and action is fundamental to all theoretical deliberation and all forms of practical work. The heart/mind manifests itself in a creative process wherein the separation of the external and the internal is completely transcended.
As the ultimate reality, the heart/mind is identified with benevolence/humanity (jen) and with the original substance common to people, heaven, earth and all things. The heart/mind guards and dominates body and experiences, and as the substance of benevolence/humanity it is the source of all transformations and the foundation of all things. Social reformation cannot be attained unless the heart/mind has been fulfilled and benevolence/humanity has been realised. Chinese culture cannot be revived unless the Confucian view of life has been adopted and practised.

History The doctrines of the modern Neo-Idealistic Confucianism were developed against the background of the attempt of Chinese intellectuals' to reconstruct Chinese culture, in order to strengthen the nation, to overcome China's weakness and to resist t he overwhelming power of Western culture. However, it would be misleading to say that there is a single school of modern neo-idealistic Confucians; nor would it be possible to pin down a central theme running throughout the theories explored by those Confucians. Modern neo-idealistic Confucianism is only a rough name for a group of Confucian scholars who endeavoured to revive the idealistic Confucian tradition in a complicated and difficult situation during the twenties and thirties of this century.
Neo-Idealist Confucianism is represented by the modern Confucianist thinkers, Hsiung Shih-li (1885-1968) and Liang Su-ming (1893-1988), both of whom first engaged with Buddhism, and then turned to Confucianism and became the modern representatives of the neotraditional expression of the Lu-Wang School. Their books such as the Eastern and Western Culture and Philosophy (Liang Su-ming, 1921) and the New Exposition of Consciousness-Only (Hsiung Shih-li, 1932) were received with great enthusiasm and were regarded as the modern embodiment of idealistic Confucian doctrines.
The mixture of Buddhism and Confucianism had been obvious in Liang's life as well as in his publications, although he later came to criticise Buddhism in favour of the Confucian view of life, and to adapt the former to the latter. He disagreed with the School of Cheng-Chu and identified himself with the School of Lu-Wang, declaring that he would carry on and transmit the teachings of Wang Yang-ming. Hsiung was indebted to the influence of the Vijnaptimatra or better known in China as the Wei-shih ('Consciousness Only') tradition, which is characterised by the subtlety of its understanding of the mind (consciousness). In fact he himself had been devoted to the teachings of Asanga and Vasubandhu and searched inwardly for the true self and true heart/mind before abandoning Buddhism and becoming a Confucianist, which came as he found that his inner experience was in complete harmony with what is recorded in the Confucian classics. Compared with Liang who emphasised the intuitive heart/mind, Hsiung stressed the significance of the rational heart/mind.
The philosophical and ethical theories of Liang and Hsiung were carried on by the new generations of Confucian scholars such as Mou Tsung-san (1909-), Tang Chun-I (1909-1978) and continue to command a great following in Taiwan and Hong Kong.

Symbols Modern Neo-Idealist Confucianism does not have a distinctive symbol system.

Adherents It is not possible to estimate the numerical size of the school.

Main Centre
 The school does not have a headquarters or main centre.