Li Guangdi (Chinese: 李光地; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: Lí Kong-tē; 1642–1718), also known by his courtesy name Jinqing (Chinese: 晉卿; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: Chìn-kheng) and sobriquet Hou'an (Chinese: 厚庵; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: Hō͘-am), was a Chinese neo-Confucianist court official during the reign of the Kangxi Emperor of the Qing dynasty.

Li Guangdi

Biography edit

Li was a native of Hutouzhen An-khoe County, Fujian Province. In 1670, he was promoted to the rank of jinshi and moved to Beijing, leaving his brother Li Guangpo behind to look after his family.[1] Li's career prospects improved when the Emperor pacified Fujian and acted on Li's suggestion to defeat Wu Sangui. He also helped defeat Geng Jingzhong, persuading his friend Chen Menglei to work as a spy in Geng's camp.[2] Later in life, he was responsible for planning Shi Lang's conquest of Taiwan. During the course of his life, Li held various court positions, including Chancellor of the Hanlin Academy, Governor of Zhili and Grand Secretary, and positions on the Board of War, Board of Civil Service and the Board of Public Works.[3][4]

Philosophy edit

Li's philosophy was rooted in the Cheng-Zhu school. However, despite being a follower of Zhu Xi he did not entirely disregard the teachings of Zhu's rivals Lu Jiuyuan and Wang Yangming. He also highlighted similarities between the teachings of Confucius and those of Buddha and Lao Tzu. Li felt that human nature (which he believed to be inherently good) was the ultimate subject of his study, and that nature was the guiding principle on which to base human morality. He had an interest in the sciences.[4]

Li wrote or edited a number of philosophical texts, including the Complete Works of Master Zhu (Zhuzi daquan), the Essential Ideas of Nature and Principle (Xingli jingli) and the Interpretation of the Meaning of the Four Books (Si shu Jieyi). An expert on the I Ching, he also wrote two books on the subject, the Penetrating Discourse (Zhouyi tonglun) and the Balanced Annotations (Zhouyi zhezhong); the latter took the (at the time) unusual editorial step of segregating the original text of the I Ching from its subsequent commentaries.[5] A complete collection of Li's works (around thirty books) was published around a hundred years after his death, entitled the Complete Works of Rongcun (Rongcun quanji).[3][4]

References edit

  1. ^ Family Matters: Women's Negotiation with Confucian Family Ethics in Qing and Republican China. 2007. p. 78. ISBN 978-0-549-40571-9.
  2. ^ Zhu Weizheng (23 April 2015). Rereading Modern Chinese History. BRILL. p. 168. ISBN 978-90-04-29331-1.
  3. ^ a b Ng, On-Cho (2010). "Li Guangdi and the Philosophy of Human Nature". Dao Companion to Neo-Confucian Philosophy. Springer. pp. 381–398. doi:10.1007/978-90-481-2930-0_18. ISBN 978-90-481-2929-4.
  4. ^ a b c Xinzhong Yao (11 May 2015). The Encyclopedia of Confucianism: 2-volume Set. Routledge. pp. 362–363. ISBN 978-1-317-79349-6.
  5. ^ Hon, Tze-ki (2005). "Constancy in change: A comparison of James Legge's and Richard Wilhelm's interpretations of the Yijing". Monumenta Serica. 53: 315–336. doi:10.1179/mon.2005.53.1.010. JSTOR 40727466. S2CID 163921161.

Further reading edit