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A History of the Japanese People by F. Brinkley

Wang held that these two were inseparable


THE

PHILOSOPHIES OF CHUTSZ AND WANG YANG-MING

It will be interesting to pause here a moment in order to inquire briefly the nature of the philosophies which occupied Japanese thought throughout the seventeenth and the eighteenth centuries. We need not go beyond the schools of Chutsz and Wang Yang-ming, for the third, or "ancient," school adopted the teachings of Confucius and Mencius in their purity, rejecting all subsequent deductions from the actual words used by these sages. These two schools have been well distinguished as follows by a modern philosopher, Dr. Inouye Tetsujiro:

"(1) Chutsz maintained that it is necessary to make an extensive investigation of the world and its laws before determining what is the moral law. Wang held that man's knowledge of moral law precedes all study and that a man's knowledge of himself is the very highest kind of learning. Chutsz's method may be said to be inductive; Wang's, deductive.

"(2) The cosmogony of Chutsz was dualistic. All nature owed its existence to the Ri and Ki, the determining principle and the vital force of primordial aura that produces and modifies motion. Wang held that these two were inseparable. His teaching was therefore monistic.

"(3) Chutsz taught that the primary principle, Ri, and the mind of man were quite separate, and that the latter was attached to the Ki. Wang held that the

mind of man and the principle of the universe were one and the same, and argued that no study of external nature was required in order to find out nature's laws. To discover these, man had only to look within his own heart. He that understands his own heart understands nature, says Wang.

"(4) Chutsz's system makes experience necessary in order to understand the laws of the universe, but Wang's idealism dispenses with it altogether as a teacher.

"(5) Chutsz taught that knowledge must come first and right conduct after. Wang contended that knowledge and conduct cannot be separated. One is part of the other. Chutsz may be said to exalt learned theories and principles, and Wang to extol practice.

"The moral results of the systems briefly stated were as follows: Chutsz 'a teaching produced many learned men in this country, but not infrequently these men were inferior, being narrow-minded, prejudiced, and behind the age. Wang's doctrines, on the other hand, while they cannot escape the charge of shallowness on all occasions, serve the moral purpose for which they were propagated better than those of the rival school. Though in the ranks of the Japanese followers of Chutsz there were numbers of insignificant, bigoted traditionalists, the same cannot be said of those who adopted Wang's views. They were as a class fine specimens of humanity, abreast, if not ahead, of the age in which they lived. No system of teaching has produced anything approaching such a number of remarkable men. If a tree is to be judged by its fruit, Wang's philosophy in Japan must be pronounced one of the greatest benefits that she received from the neighbouring continent, though not a little of its power in this country is to be traced to the personality of the man who was the first to make it thoroughly known to his fellow countrymen, Nakaye Toju."*


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