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Liu Yü-hsi (772-842) : a study of his thought Wong, Kwok-yiu 1993

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Liu YU-hsi (772-842): a study of his thoughtbyKwok-yiu WongB.Sc., The University of British Columbia, 1989A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OFTHE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OFMASTER OF ARTSinTHE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES(Department of Asian Studies)We accept this thesis as conformingto the required standardDecember, 1993© Kwok-yiu Wong, 1993In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanceddegree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make itfreely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensivecopying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of mydepartment or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying orpublication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my writtenpermission.(Signature)___________________________Department of_______________The University of British ColumbiaVancouver, CanadaDate /. /DE-6 (2/88)AbstractThis thesis examines the thought of Liu Yü-hsi (772-842), a participant of themid-T’ang (Ca. 750-850) Confucian revival movement. In this study, I haveattempted to construct an approximation of Liu’s thought through the discussionsof two major elements in his thought: Confucianism and Buddhism. In addition, Ialso discuss his famous philosophical dissertation T’ien Lun” (“On Heaven”) inorder to present a basic understanding of Liu’s world view.These discussions reveal that Confucianism occupied a central position inLiu YU-hsi’s thought. His major concern in life was how to “bring benefit to thepeople” (“chi-wu”). Buddhism, while it occupied an important place in Liu’s life,never took charge of his inner life completely. He conceived that Buddhism andConfucianism share a similar goal in their teachings. In particular, Buddhismshould form a complement to Confucianism. Hence, he selected elements fromvarious Buddhist schools that best fit his major concern in life. In this way,Buddhism and Confucianism co-exist in a harmonious and connected fashion inhis thought.To achieve the goal of “chi-wu,” Liu also believed that humans are totallyresponsible for their own future. The phenomenal world, according to Liu, isregulated by a pair of concepts -- shu (numerical dimensions) and shih(conditions). These concepts explain the basic principles behind which eventsoccur in the world. If human beings are to optimize the state of their existence,they have to exert themselves to construct a well-regulated society. Such a societycan be achieved by the use of laws that are based on Confucian moral values.Therefore, Liu’s thought can be characterized by his social concern.11Table of ContentsAbstract iiTable of contents iiiIntroduction 1Chapter One: A biographical sketch of Liu Yü-hsi 5Chapter Two: Liu Yü-hsi as a Confucian 26Chapter Three: Liu Yü-hsi’s outlook on Buddhism 68Chapter Four: Heaven & Humanity 103Conclusion 135Abbreviation 139Glossary 140Selected Bibliography 156111IntroductionLiu Yü-hsi (772-842), a famed poet and essayist of his time, is the focus ofthis study. However, the aim of this thesis is not to study his literary achievement,but, rather, to present the main thrust of his intellectual tendencies.Ever since the outbreak of the An Lu-shan rebellion (755-786), Tangintellectuals were confronted with a major crisis. The Tang empire, in theaftermath of the rebellion, was on the brink of disintegration.’ The devastation ofthe rebellion presented the Tang intellectuals with the task of re-building theempire. Many literary intellectuals, with growing concerns about the situation,sought to re-establish a stable political environment through an attempt to reestablish morality. A major consequence of the efforts of these like-mindedintellectuals is manifested in the form of the mid-Tang Confucian revival.2By theearly ninth century, this attempt to revitalize Confucianism as the guiding principleof both state and personal affairs reached its apogee with the emergence ofcardinal intellectual figures like Han Yü (768-824), Li Ao (774-836), Liu TsungyUan (773-8 19), and Po ChU-i (772-846).Our protagonist, Liu YU-hsi, was not only a contemporary of these figures,but was good friend of some of them, and can be viewed as a participant in theirmovement to revitalize Confucianism. However, he has attracted little attentionfrom scholars in this respect. Most of the studies by Chinese scholars in premodern times on Liu’s intellectual tendencies focused mainly on his literary‘For the background of the An Lu-shan rebellion, see Edwin G. Pulleyblank, Thebackground of the rebellion of An Lu-shan. London: Oxford University Press, 1966. For abrief outline of the rebellion and its aftermath, see Michael T. Dalby, “Court politics inlate T’ang times,” (in Denis Twitchett ed. The Cambridge history of China, vol. 3. NewYork: Cambridge University Press, 1979), pp. 561-571.2For a discussion of intellectual atmosphere in the early and middle T’ang dynasty, seechapter one of Chen Jo-shui, Liu Tsung-yUan and intellectual change in T’ang China. 773-New York: Cambridge University Press, 1993. (Henceforth: Liu Tsung-yUan).1achievements. This is likewise the case in modern studies of Liu, although anumber of articles have been published in Chinese on Liu’s famous philosophicalessay “T’ien Lun” (“On Heaven”).Modern studies of Liu Yü-hsi’s thought in Western languages seem minimal.I have not been able to find a single article on Liu YU-hsi in English. PerhapsWolgang Kubin’s two-page entry in The Indiana Companion to traditional Chineseliterature can be counted as the only English “article” on Liu.3 H.G. Lamont haswritten a two-part essay entitled “An early ninth century debate on Heaven: LiuTsung-yuan’s T’ien Shuo and Liu Yü-hsi’s T’ien Lun.” This essay discusses quiteextensively issues concerning the “debate” on Heaven between Han YU, LiuTsung-yUan, and Liu Yü-hsi. It also provides some good discussion of Liu Yü-hsi’sthought.4Hence our present understanding of Liu Yti-hsi’s thought is very limited. Thefocal point of most of these studies of Liu’s thought seems to be on his famousessay “T’ien Lun.” There is no doubt that a study of this philosophical discourseshould reveal a basic characterization of Liu’s intellectual outlook. However, I feelthat these studies may, to a certain extant, have decontextualized the significanceof this essay from the whole of Liu’s thought.Hence, given the lack of a general understanding of Liu YU-hsi’s thought, abasic contribution of this thesis, I hope, is to provide a fair approximation of Liu’sthought. This is the basic motive of my choosing Liu Yü-hsi as the subject of thisthesis.3For Kubin’s entry see, William H. Nienhauser, Jr. ed. The Campanion to TraditionalChinese Literature. pp. 592-593. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1986.4See H.G. Lamont, “An early ninth century debate on Heaven: Liu Tsung-yUan’s T’ienShuo and Liu Yü-hsi’s T’ien Lun,” in Asia Major, New series, part I, 18:2 (1973), pp. 181-208; part II, 19:1 (1974), pp. 37-85.2While the main purpose this study aims to contribute to a betterunderstanding of Liu Yü-hsi’s thought, I believe that this study can also enlarge ourpicture of the mid-T’ang Confucian revival movement, for the nature of Liu’sparticipation in the movement can provide us a different perspective on how someintellectuals exerted themselves in such a major project to re-vitalizeConfucianism as the guiding principle to rebuild the social and political order.The basic approach of this thesis is simple. After a preliminary reading ofLiu’s works, I have been able to identify two major elements in his thought:Confucianism and Buddhism. While the former, as a system of political ideology,was relatively dormant during the post-An Lu-shan period, the latter enjoyedgeneral acceptance among the intellectual elite throughout the T’ang dynasty. Onecan often find among the T’ang intellectuals a tendency to maintain Confucianismas an ideology solely for the assertion of oneself in the worldly affairs, whileaccepting Buddhism (and/or Taoism) to take charge of one’s spirituality. Hence,the notion “Buddhism (and/or Taoism) within and Confucianism without” can beused to characterize the basic intellectual outlook of many T’ang intellectuals.5Inthe case of Liu Yü-hsi, this characterization, while adequate, still seems crude.Hence, in our discussion, we will first demonstrate the significant positionthat Confucianism has occupied in the whole of Liu’s thought. Then we willproceed to discuss his outlook on Buddhism. This should provide a more refinedcharacterization of how his Buddhist outlook is related to his Confucian outlook.After gaining a general understanding of what kind of roles these two majorelements play in the whole of Liu Yü-hsi’s thought, we can then discuss Liu’sfamous essay “T’ien Lun” (“On Heaven”). Through a discussion of how Liu viewsthe relationship between Heaven and Humanity, we should be able to demonstrate5See Chen Jo-shui, Liu Tsung-yuan, pp. 20-24.3the originality of Liu as a thinker. More important, such a discussion shouldfurther demonstrate the major concern of Liu YU-hsi’s life.4Chapter One: A biographical sketch of Liu Yü-hsiLiu Yü-hsi1 (style-name Meng-te) was born in 772, the seventh year of theTa-li reign (766779).2 According to his autobiography, his clan had moved Southafter the outbreak of the An Lu-shan rebellion in 7553 We do not know preciselywhere Liu’s birthplace was, but based on his writings,4 there is no doubt that LiuYü-hsi’s childhood years were spent in the region around Su-chou.51According to Ch’ü T’ui-yuan, the name Yü-hsi is from the Book of Documents, and Liu’sstyle-name, Meng-te, is from a text of prognostications known as Hsiao-ching kou-mingchüeh. See Ch’ü T’ui-yüan, Liu Yü-hsi chi chien-cheng (3 vols., Shanghai: Shanghai shuchü, 1989), p. 1553 and p. 1585, n. 1.2Liu mentions in a couple of places that he and Po Chü-i were born in the same year.According to Po himself, he was born on the twentieth day of the first month of theseventh year of the Ta-li reign. Since part of the last month of the seventh year of Ta-lifalls in 773, there is always a chance that Liu was actually born in 773. However, thechance that Liu was born in 772 is much greater. In converting the Chinese date to themodern one, we use Ch’en YUan, Erh-shih-shih shuo-jun piao. Peking: Chung-hua shuchU, 1962. See Pien Hsiao-hsUan, Liu YU-hsi nien-p’u (Peking: Chung-hua shu-chü, 1963.Henceforth: Nien-pu), p. 6, and Chu Chin-ch’eng, Po Chü-i nien-p’u (Shanghai: Shanghaiku-chi, 1982), p. 1. Also see p. 187 of Lo Lien-tien, “Liu Meng-te nien-p’u,” in Wen-shihche hsUeh-pao, vol. 8 (July 1958), pp. 18 1-295.3See Liu YU-hsi chi. (2 vols. Peking: Chung-hua shu-chU, 1990. Henceforth: LYHC), pp.590-592. This autobiography is probably one of the most important pieces of workpertaining to the life of Liu YU-hsi. His biography can also be found in Liu HsU et al.Chiu T’ang Shu (16 vols. Peking: Chung-hua shu-chU, 1975. Henceforth: CTS),160:4210-4213; Ou-yang Hsiu et al. Hsin Tang Shu (20 vols. Peking: Chung-hua shuchü, 1986. Henceforth: ffi), 168:5128-5132; Hsin Wen-fang, Tang tsai-tzu chuan(Peking: Chung-hua shu-chU, 1965), pp. 87-88.41n 833, when Liu was Prefect of Su-chou, he compiled a collection of his own works. Ina preface to this collection, he indicates that he selected one quarter of the forty chapters(t’ung) of his works to make up this collection. This collection, which is known as Liushih chi-lUeh, thus contains only ten chapters. According to the Sung scholar, Ch’enChen-sun, the collection of Lius work known as Liu Pin-k’o wen-chi has a total of fortychapters (chüan). However, by the early Sung (960-1279), ten chapters had been lost.Sung Tz’u-tao (10 19-1079) collected some of Liu’s lost works and compiled a tenchapters supplement to the thirty chüan Liu Pin-ktowen-chi. However, Ch’en Chen-sunhad already expressed doubts that these lost works collected by Sung Tz’u-tao might notoriginally been part of the Liu Pin-kTowen-chi. See Chten Chen-sun ed., Chih-chai shu-luchieh-t’i (Kuo-hsUeh chi-pen ts’ung-shu edition. Taipei: Commercial Press, 1968), p. 453.Nonetheless, this Sung dynasty edition of the Liu Pin-k’o wen-chi is the earliest edition of5Liu tells us in his autobiography that he is a descendant of the Han imperialhouse. In particular, Liu claims, his family belongs to the line of the Liu Sheng, ason of Emperor Ching of Han (r. 156 - 141 B.C.).6 Because Liu Sheng was thefeudal prince of Chung Shan, thus Liu Yü-hsi often refers himself as Liu Yü-hsi ofLiu’s collected works extant. For a photo reprint of this edition, see Liu Pin-k’o wen-chi(Tokyo: Taian publishing co., reprint 1967). At the end of this edition, there are twopostfaces. One was written by Sung Min-chiu (styled Tz’u-tao), the other by Tung Fen in1138. The second postface indicates that the missing ten chapters were chapters twenty-one to thirty of the Liu Pin-k’o wen-chi. Another Sung edition of Lius collected works isthe Liu Meng-te wen-chi (Ssu-pu ts’ung-kan chu-pien edition. Taipei: Commercial Press,196?). This edition is a photocopy of the Liu Meng-te wen-chi kept in Fukui-shi Sorankanin Japan. In this edition we can also find a postface by the Japanese sinologist Naito Tora.This edition also contains a total of forty chapters, with the last ten being supplements.Compared with the Sung version of the Liu Pin-k’o wen-chi, the last ten chapters areidentical. However, the material of the first thirty chapters of these two versions differs inorder. The Liu Pin-ko wen-chi begins with prose works, while the Liu Meng-te wen-chibegins with poems. These two Sung editions are the two most important versions of Liu’scollected works today. Liu’s works can also be found in sources like ChUan T’ang Wenand ChUan T’ang Shih. For more detailed discussion of other versions of Liu’s collectedworks, see Wan Man, T’ang-chi hsU-lu (Peking: Chung-hua shu-chU, 1980), pp. 201-204.In modern times, three major versions of Liu’s collected works have been published. Theearliest one is Liu Yü-hsi chi, Shanghai: Shanghai jen-min, 1975. This version is basedon Chu cheng, Chieh-i-lu sheng-yu ts’ung-shu edition (1905) of the Liu Pin-k’o wen-chi,and it uses the Sung dynasty edition of Liu Pin-k’o wen-chi and a number of other sourcesas references. The second version is Ch’ü T’ui-yuan, Liu Yü-hsi chi chien-cheng, 3 vols.,Shanghai: Shanghai ku-chi, 1989. It is also based on the Ch’ing Chieh-i-lu sheng-yuts’ung-shu edition of Liu Pin-k’o wen-chi. The third version is Liu YU-hsi chi, 2 vols.,Peking: Chung-hua shu-chü, 1990. This version is based on the Sung edition of Liu Pink’o wen-chi, and makes reference to five different editions of Lius collected works,including the Sung edition of Liu Meng-te wen-chi. It is also collated with twentydifferent sources. This version has a number of advantages over the other two modernversions. First, it makes use of more sources in its collation. Second, it also includes asupplementary selection which contains works of Liu YU-hsi that are not already includedin the Sung edition of Liu Pin-k’o wen-chi. Third, it also points out works that aremistakenly included in the Liu Pin-k’o wen-chi. Thus, for this study, we will base ourdiscussion on this modern version of Liu Yü-hsi’s collected works.5According to Pien Hsiao-hsUan, Liu was actually born in Su-chou. See his Nien-p’u, pp.6-7. From the evidence that Pien provides, it is quite possible that Liu did indeed spendhis childhood in areas around Su-chou. However, it is a bit far-fetched to conclude thatLiu was born there.6See LYHC, p. 590.6Chung Shan.7 But modern scholars, investigating the discrepancies of certainaccounts in the autobiography with those of the records in the dynastic histories,have proved convincingly that not only was there no connection between Liu’sfamily and the Han imperial house, but also that Liu was probably descended fromthe Hsiung-nu.8It was not an unusual practice for a T’ang intellectual to intentionally falsifyhis family tree.9 However, there is not sufficient information to indicate that LiuYü-hsi intentionally falsified his family tree. T’ang society was extremelyhierarchical. A man’s social status could be measured, to a certain extent, by whatkind of family he was from.’° In the case of Liu YU-hsi, his clan associated itselfwith the Han imperial house.”7For some examples, see LYHC, pp. 587, 588.8See Yao Wei-yuan, Pei-chao hu-hsing k’ao (Peking: K’o-hsüeh ch’u-pan-she, 1958), pp.48-49. Here Yao expresses his suspicion that Liu Yü-hsi may have been a descendant ofthe Hsiung-nu. Pien Hsaio-hsUan, agreeing with Yao, has shown quite convincingly thatLiu was indeed a descendant of the Hsiung-nu. See his Nien-p’u, pp. 1-2, and his Liu Yuhsi ts’ung-kao (Ssu-ch’uan: Pa-shu shu-she, 1988), pp. 1-12.9For a discussion of some of the Tang intellectuals who falsified their family histories,see Ch’en Yin-k’o, T’ang-tai cheng-chih-shih shu-lun-kao, in Chen Yin-k’o wen chi (6vols. Shanghai: Shanghai ku-chi, 1982. Henceforth: CYKWC), vol. 5, pp. 89-9 1.‘°For a discussion of the role one’s family could play in one’s political career during theT’ang dyansty, see Sun Kuo-tung’s article, “T’ang-Sung chih-chi she-hui meng-ti chihhsiao-yung” in Sun Kuo-tung, T’ang-Sung shih lun-ts’ung, Hong Kong: Lung-meng shutien, 1980. While Sun’s use of a statistical approach to argue the relative insignificance ofthe ascendency of scholar-officials with obscure family background is debatable, hisarticle does note some of the advantages of those who were from prominent families overthose who were from less well-to-do families.“Lo Lien-tien takes this statement literally and believes that Liu’s prominent clan wasindeed Chung Shan. See his “Liu Yü-hsi nien-p’u,” p. 181. Because of his last name, Liu,some of Liu Yü-hsi’s friends referred him as ‘Liu Yü-hsi of Peng-cheng.’ The Liu clan inPeng-ch’eng was the most prominent clan among all the Lius in the T’ang. Thiscomplicates the picture further. Liu’s biography in the TS 160:4210 also claims thatPeng-ch’eng is his clan, and a similar statement is found in Chi Yun et al., Ssu-k’u ch’üanshu chung-mu t’i-yao (40 vols. Taiwan: Commercial Press, 1965), p. 3146.7It seems that Loyang, as Liu mentions in his autobiography, was indeed hisnative place. Since the times of Liu Liang the Lius had resided in Loyang for sevengenerations, and their burial ground was originally located in the Pei-shan ofLoyang.12 After the insurrection of An Lu-shan broke out in 755, Liu Yu-hsi’sfather, Liu Hsü (?-796), was forced to move with his clan to the south. He laterserved in various offices of the military commissioners, and took up the position ofassistant of the Salt Distribution Commissioner (yen-t’ieh shih) in the office inYung-chiao.13Yung-chiao, relatively close to Yang-chou, the headquarters of theSalt Commissioner, was probably one of the places to which Liu YU-hsi traveled inhis childhood.In his autobiography, Liu also mentions the names of his great grandfather,Liu K’ai, and that of his grandfather, Liu Huang. Liu K’ai is said to have reachedthe post of Prefect of Po-chou (in modern Shangtung). For Liu Huang, Liu YU-hsi’saccount is more detailed. Huang is said to have taken positions such as recorder(chu-pu) in Loyang, aide in palace (tien-chung ch’eng), and attendant censor (shihyll-shih). He was also posthumously given the title Director of the Ministry of12Pei-shan was also known as Pei-mang Shan. It was located somewhere north-west ofLoyang. Pien Hsiao-hsüan argues convincingly that this ancestor of Liu Yü-hsi is not theLiu Liang in the Chou Shu and Pei Shih. He believes that this Liu Liang must haveserved the Northern Wei dynasty (386-420). However, we are not able to find anybiographical material concerning Liu Liang in the Wei Shu, and thus it is not possible tofurther verify Pien’s claim.‘3The salt monopoly was perhaps the most lucrative income source of the Tang empireafter the An Lu-shan rebellion. For a discussion of the salt monopoly, see D. C.Twitchett, Financial administration under the Tang dynasty (London: CambridgeUniversity Press, 1963), pp. 50-58. Yung-chiao, in An-hui province, was a majortransportation center for salt at the time. Ch’ü T’ui-yuan suggests that Liu Hsü wasappointed to his position by Liu Yen himself. See his Liu Yü-hsi chi chien-cheng, p.1506.8Sacrifices.14 Unfortunately, I have been unable to find any biographicalinformation about these ancestors.15In his account of his father’s career, Liu Yü-hsi also indicates that when hisfather retired from office, he travelled back to Che-yu (Che-hsi). On his waythere, however, he fell sick and died in Yang-chou. It is not clear exactly whatHsü’s destination was, but the government of Che-yu was in Su-chou. Hence thismay further suggest that the Lius probably settled in Su-chou, or, at least, that theyowned some real-estate there.The above account gives a rough sketch of Liu Yü-hsi’s family backgroundand an approximation of where he resided during his childhood years, since little iscertain about this period of his life. While it is not clear to us whether Liu YU-hsibelonged to any old aristocractic families, it seems safe, based on Liu’s ownaccounts of his immediate patriarchal ancestors, to assume that the Liu’s familybelonged to the literati class.Now, we can proceed to discuss Liu’s childhood activities. Again, there islittle certainty about this early stage of Liu’s life, but there are three facts that weare sure about, and they are of importance in our understanding of Liu’s laterintellectual activities.The first two concern the intellectual environment in which Liu was situatedbefore he passed his chin-shih examination in 793. Based on our earlier discussion,‘4See LYHC, p. 590. Another account of Liu’s ancestors can be found in Yuan-ho hsingtsuan, compiled by Lin Pao. Ssu-k’u ch’Uan-shu chen-pen pieh-chi edition. chüan 5, p.38a. According to this account, Liu family would belong to a different line of the Hanimperial house; also, Liu YU-hsi’s father is said to be a Liu Shu. Since there is little doubtthat the Liu clan was unrelated to the Han imperial house, Lin’s account seems alsounreliable.15J am able to find a Liu HsU in the ffl 71a:2250. However, this Liu Hsü is obviously adifferent person.9we know that Liu Yti-hsi grew up in a region that was financially and culturallyflourishing, particularly after the An Lu-shan rebellion.’6 Many talentedintellectuals also sought shelter in nearby areas, and some took up careers similarto that of Liu HsU.’7 The arrival of these intellectuals stimulated the culturalenvironment. The figures with whom Liu YU-hsi came into contact before passingthe chin-shih examination clearly exerted a great impact on the shaping of hisintellectual outlook. Among them, the famous statesman Tu Yu (735-812) was themost notable.’8 His monumental work, T’ung Tien, in two hundred chapters‘6After the An Lu-shan rebellion, the economic and cultural center of the T’ang empiremoved from the north (around the Yellow river) to the south (around the Yangtze river).For a general discussion of this issue, see Ch’ien Mu, Kuo-shih ta-kang (2 vols. Taipei:Commercial Press, 1956), pp. 505-563; Ts’ao Erh-ch’in, “T’ang-tai ching-chi chung-hsin tichuan-i,” in Li-shih ti-li, vol. 2 (November 1982), pp. 147-155. For a discussion of theflourishing economy of Yang-chou after the An Lu-shan rebellion, see Ch’Uan Han-sheng,“T’ang-Sung shih-tai Yang-chou ching-chi ching-kuan ti fang-yung yu shua-lo,” in Kuo-lichung-yang ven-chiu-vüan li-shih vu-yen yen-chiu-so chi-kan, vol. 11(1943), pp. 149-176.‘7See Ch’ü T’ui-yuan, Liu Yü-hsi chi chien-cheng, p. 1589, for a short list of some of Liu’scontemporaries who resided in nearby areas. Ch’üan Te-yu (759-8 18) also served as anassistant of the Salt Commissioner in Yang-chou. It is quite possible that he and Liu’sfather, Liu Hsü, knew each other because of the nature of their jobs. See Ch’ü T’ui-yUan,Liu YU-hsi chi chien-cheng, p. 1557.‘8See E.G.Pulleyblank, “Neo-Confucianism and neo-Legalism in T’ang intellectual life,”in Arthur F. Wright ed., The Confucian Persuasion, pp. 77-114. (Stanford, California:Stanford University Press, 1960), p. 110. It is not easy to answer the question concerningexactly when Liu Yü-hsi first came into contact with Tu Yu. Perhaps we can speculate alittle here by using some of the results obtained by modern scholarship. According to hisautobiography, Liu served as a secretary of Tu Yu after he passed the chin-shihexamination. However, following a thesis of Ch’ü T’ui-yUan, based on a memorialwritten by Liu for Tu Yu, it seems that Liu had already become aquainted with Tu at anearlier time. For Ch’ü’s argument, see his Liu YU-hsi chi chien-cheng, pp. 1485-1487.However, Pien Hsiao-hsUan has dated this memorial in 803. See his Nien p’u, pp. 24-25.Cheng Ho-sheng, in contrast, has dated this in the year 801. See his Tu Yu nien-p’u(Shanghai: Commercial Press, 1934), pp. 97-98. In these two cases, Liu was age 31 and29 respectively. It is not easy to judge which of these different datings of the work ismore plausible, but, judging from the tone of Liu in his autobiography, it is quite obviousthat Liu Yü-hsi and Tu Yu already knew each other before the year 800, when Liu beganformal service in Tu Yu’s office. In Liu’s account of Tu’s inviting Liu to serve as hissecretary, Liu remarked that they “knew each other formerly” (“su hsiang-chih”). See10(chUan), reflected clearly his pragmatic approach to the Way of goodgovernment.’9As a mentor of Liu Yü-hsi, Tu Yu might have imbued the youngLiu with his political pragmatism.With respect to his early education, it is quite likely that Liu spent sometime studying with famous Buddhist poet-monks like Chiao-jan and Ling-ch’e.2°On another occasion, Liu YU-hsi recalled that he was very fond of making theacquaintance of literary figures, and he often received praise from these people.2’Among the names Liu mentions, we find poet-monks and future statesmen.22 Thisearly contact with men of letters not only proved to be significant in Liu’s latersuccess in the chin-shih examination,23 it also reflected Liu’s great passion forLYHC, p. 591. However, this still leaves the possibility open that Liu met Tu after hepassed the examination. According to Ch’ü T’ui-ytian, Tu Yu and Liu Hsü probably kneweach other before Liu Yü-hsi was born. Hence, it is quite possible that Liu YU-hsi met TuYu in his teens. Nonetheless, given the fact that Tu Yu had achieved great fame in theTang bureacracy when Liu was in his teens, we might surmise that even if Liu met Tu Yuafter the age of twenty, it is quite likely that the youthful Liu Yü-hsi had looked upon Tuas a model.‘91n his preface to T’ung Tien (5 vols. Peking: Chung-hua shu-chU, 1988. Henceforth:[), Tu Yu remarks that “the priority of the Way of government is in teaching andtransforming [the people], and the basis of teaching and transforming [the people] is theprovision of enough clothing and food [to the people]...Carrying out the teaching andtransforming [the people] depend on the establishment of [proper] official positions.Establishing [proper] official positions, depends on evaluation of the officials’ abilities...”Seefl,p. 1.20There is no clear evidence to support such a claim. However, Liu’s contact with thesemonks in his teens is unquestionable. Also, there is no doubt that Liu at least studied theart of poetry writing with these monks. For an account by Liu of his youthful contact withthese monks, see LYHC, pp. 239-240. For more discussion of Buddhist influence on Liusthought, see chapter three.2’See LYHC, p. 25022Jn the preface to a poem sent by Ch’üan Te-yu to Liu Yü-hsi after Liu had passed thechin-shih examination, Ch’üan clearly indicated that Liu was in his teens when they metfor the first time. Liu YU-hsi also writes about his early acquaintance with Ch’Lian in aletter. See LYHC, p. 121.23For a discussion of the attempts of the examinees of the chin-shih examination toestablish a good reputation by presenting their works to the examiners and influentialpeople before the examination see Fu Hsuan-tsung, T’ang-tai k’o-chü vu wen-hsueh (Sian:Shaan-hsi jen-min ch’u-pan-she, 1986), pp. 247-286.11literary activities. In addition, it also suggests that the social status of Liu’s familymust not have been too low.Another activity that Liu was involved in at this stage of his life was thestudy of Chinese medicine. He probably started his medical training at the age ofseventeen.24His interest in Chinese medicine seems purely to have been a result ofhis weak constitution.25 ‘While it is difficult to associate this interest with the mainthrust of Liu’s thought, it does, nonetheless, reveal certain traces of Liu’s mentalityat an early age. At the age of forty-seven, when Liu was Prefect of Lien-chou, hewrote a letter to HsUeh Ching-hui. In it, he ridiculed those who are ignorant, andthose who have a short-sighted view of things:[I] often think that people usually do not [study] only one medical recipe,and when they get sick they entrust [their bodies, worth] thousands ofchin to the hands of incompetent doctors. When they are in extreme peril,then [the doctors] will say that they are just unlucky. Are they reallyunlucky? There are some who are worse. Because of their youthful andvigorous ch’i, they laugh at those who talk about medicine, and think thatit is not something urgent. They speak openly that: “My mouth is eatinggood food and my stomach is full; what is the use of medicine to me?” Thech’i that they are depending on will disperse in time. [When the vigorousch’i is gone] then they pray to the spirits and flatter the Buddhas, and theywill be contented. If you (Hsüeh Ching-hui) observe again my words,definitely, [you will see that] there are many who [fit my description] 26This passage reveals that Liu Yü-hsi was a very practical person. As we willdemonstrate in later chapters, this characteristic of Liu’s thought constitutes acentral position in his intellectual outlook. Certainly, Liu’s attitude toward Chinese24See Nien-p’u, p. 11; Lo Lien-tien, “Liu Meng-te nien-p’u,’ p. 190.25Jn a letter to a doctor Hsüeh Ching-hui, Liu recalled vividly a childhood experience thatresulted in his pursuing medical knowledge. See LYHC, p. 129. In addition, we can see inthis letter that Liu’s interest in Chinese medicine was a life-long one.26LYHC, pp. 129-130.12medicine was both a serious and life-long one.27 Liu’s interest in medicine alsoexplains why, in a number of places, he makes use of his medical knowledge toexpress his views on other subjects.28At about the age of twenty, Liu traveled to the capital Chang-an,29 and stayedthere for two to three years. There he engaged in literary activities, and also madecontacts with influential figures in order to establish a good reputation.3°In 793 hepassed the chin-shih examination on his first attempt, at the age of twenty-two.3’Only thirty two candidates passed the examination that year, and among them wealso find Liu Tsung-yUan.32 In the same year, Liu Yü-hsi also passed the EruditeLiteratus examination (po-hsüeh hung-tz’u).33 In 795, Liu passed yet anotherexamination, the Preeminent Talent examination (pa-ts’ui). Both theseexaminations were held by the Ministry of Personnel (li-pu), but the latter was forthe actual recruitment of candidates to state office. After passing this examination,Liu was assigned the position of Editor in the Secretariat of the Heir Apparent(t’ai-tzu chiao-shu).3427Jn 818, Liu compiled a text known as Ch’uan-hsin fang in two chüan. It contains overfifty medical recipes. However this book is no longer extant. For the preface to this text,see LYHC, p. 587. The title of this text can be found in jjI 59:1572. This text has beenreconstructed by Feng Han-yung under the title Ch’uan-hsin fang chi-shih (Shanghai:Shanghai k’o-hsüeh chi-shu ch’u-pan-she, 1959). Also see Wu Tso-hsin, “Liu Yü-hsi ti ihsUeh chu-tso,” in Chung-hua wen-shih lun-ts’ung, vol. 14, p. 54. Shanghai: Shanghai kuchi, 1980.28See LYHC, pp. 76-78, 84.29According to Nien-p’u, Liu travelled to Chang-an at the age of nineteen. Lo Lien-tien in“Liu Meng-te nien-pu” puts it at the age of twenty.30Liu recalls his activities before and after his passed the chin-shih examination in anumber of places. See LYHC, pp. 289, 591.3’See Hsü Sung, Teng-k’o-chi k’ao (3 vols. Taipei: Ching-sheng wen-wu, 1972), pp. 839,842-843.32See Nien-p’u, p. 13.33See Nien-pu, p. 14.34See Nien-p’u, p. 17.13But Liu YU-hsi did not stay in this office for long. During the next year, hisfather died in Yang-chou.35Hence, for nearly three years, Liu retired from office inorder to observe the mandatory mourning period.36 In 800, Liu was appointed aspersonal secretary of Tu Yu, the then Military Commissioner (chieh-tu shih) ofthe Huai-nan Circuit. He served Tu Yu for about two years, and then wastransferred to be the recorder serving in the provincial government of Hui-nan inthe capital Chang-an.37 In the winter of the next year, 803, he was assigned to bean Investigating Censor (chien-ch’a yu-shih). Among his co-workers in theCensorate were Liu Tsung-yuan and Han YtL38The next two years mark a major stage in Liu Yü-hsi’s life. It was about thistime that he came to know Wang Shu-wen (735-806).3 Of obscure background,Wang served as an attendant official to the Heir Apparent, Li Sung (76 1-806), thefuture Shun-tsung emperor (r. 805), because of his skill in the game of chess.Eventually, Wang’s ability to gain Li Sung’s trust paved the way for his ascendancyto power in 805, though only for a very short time.4°Wang gathered around him agroup of young, talented men, which included Liu Tsung-yuan, Lu Wen (772-811),35See Nien-p’u, p. 18.361t was a criminal offense to seek government jobs during a period of twenty-sevenmonths immediately after the death of either of one’s parents. See Wang Shou-nan,“T’ang-tai wen-kuan jen-yung chih-tu chih yen-chiu,” (in Wang Shou-nan, T’ang-taicheng-chih-shih lun-chi, pp. 1-132. Taipei: Commercial Press, 1983), pp. 82-83.37The main reason for this transfer was Liu’s mother was unhappy living in the ChiangHuai (Yangtze and Huai rivers) area. See LYHC, p. 591.38See Nien-p’u, p. 33.39For his biography, see ffl 168:5124-5126.40See Han Yü et al., “Shun-tsung shih-lu” in Han Ch’ang-li wen-chi chiao-chu. (HongKong: Chung-hua shu-chü, 1984. Henceforth: HCLWC), p. 405; Bernard S. Solomon,The Veritable Record of the T’ang Emperor Shun-Tsung, (Cambridge, Mass., 1955), pp.3-4. Issues concerning the authorship and authenticity of this text are controversial.Questions concerning authorship should not, however, cause any significant problems inour present discussion. For an argument as to the relative faithfulness of this text as arecord of historical events during the Shun-tsung reign, see Chen Jo-shui, Liu Tsungyiin, pp. 66-67, n. 1.14and Han T’ai.4 The members of this group engaged in various intellectualactivities.42 Of course, our protagonist, Liu Yu-hsi, was a member of this group,and it is also said that Liu was highly regarded by Wang Shu-wen.43In the first month of 805, Emperor Te-tsung (r. 779-805) died. The crownprince Li Sung ascended the throne three days later as the Shun-tsung emperor.However, prior to Li Sung’s enthronement, he was ill and unable to speak. Thisfact quickened, in a way, Wang Shu-wen’s ascendancy to power, and Wanglaunched a reform movement with the help of the above-mentioned young literati.However, things did not turn out the way Wang Shu-wen’s clique anticipated.Within an eight months period, Shun-tsung abdicated, and his eldest son, Li Shun(778-820), ascended the throne. This event marked the formal end of the reformefforts of Wang Shu-wen’s clique.4541This group of young literati shared similar political ideals. See Chen Jo-shui, jjTsung-yUan, p. 58. For discussion of Liu Yü-hsi’s associations with some of these figures,see Pien Hsiao-hsüan, Liu YU-hsi ts’ung-k’ao, pp. 20, 38-44, 55-60.42T’ang Yu Lin preserves an entry from Wei Hsuan’s Liu Pin-k’o chia-hua lu (Pai-puts’ung-shu chi-cheng edition. Taipei: 1-wen, 1966) that tells us Liu Yü-hsi, Liu TsungyUan, and Han T’ai attended lectures on the Book of Poetry by Shih Shih-kai (734-802).See Wang Tang, T’ang YU Lin (Shanghai: Shanghai ku-chi, 1978), p. 50. Also, in FanShu’s Yün-hsi yu-yi (in Yang Chia-lo ed. Tang Kuo-shih-pu teng pa-chung. Taipei: Shihchieh shu-chU, 1962), there is a record of Liu Yü-hsi recalling some of his activities inthis period at Chang-an. Among them, he discussed with Liu Tsung-yuan issuesconcerning the writing of dynastic history, and issues about the drafting of royal edictswith LU Wen. See YUn-hsi yu-yi, p. 49. Liu Tsung-yUan, LU Wen, and Han T’ai alsostudied the Spring and Autumn Annals with Lu Ch’un (737-805). For more discussion onthis issue, see chapter two of this study.43See 160:4210; llIS 168:5128. In both of these texts, Wang is said to haveremaked that Liu had the capacity to be a prime minister.See HCLWC, p. 404. The date of Te-tsung’s death leaves out the exact month. Also seeBernard S. Solomon, The Veritable Record of the Tang Emperor Shun-tsung, p. 2.45For details of events occurring in this eight month period, HCLWC, pp. 403-424;Bernard B. Solomon, The Veritable Record of the T’ang Emperor Shun-Tsung; Ssu-maKuang, Tzu-chih t’ung-chien (20 vols. Peking: Chung-hua shu-chü, 1987. Henceforth:TCTC), pp. 7606-7624. For a discussion of the 805 reform movement and its failure, seeChen Jo-shui, Liu Tsung-yUan, pp. 66-77; Michael T. Dalby, “Court politics in late T’ang15Following our present interest, we will briefly investigate Liu YU-hsi’sinvolvement in this reform movement. Soon after the enthronement of Li Sung,Liu was recommended by Tu Yu to be his administrative assistant in his duties asthe commissioner of the imperial tomb of Te-tsung (Ts’ung-ling).46 In the thirdmonth, Tu Yu was assigned the position of Salt Monopoly Commissioner and theHead of the Minister of Revenue. This was perhaps the most important position inthe handling of the state finance. Wang Shu-wen was assigned to be the assistantof Tu Yu. This move allowed the Wang Shu-wen group to gain control ofgovernment finance.47 Liu Yü-hsi’s role in this maneuver seems to have been tofacilitate cooperation between Tu Yu and Wang Shu-wen, since Liu was probablythe only member of the Wang Shu-wen clique who had already established closeties with Tu Yu. Thus, Liu was concurrently assigned to be an assistant of Tu Yuin both affairs of state revenue and the salt monopoly. In addition, he was alsoassigned the post of vice director of the State Farm Bureau (t’un-t’ien yüan-wailang) 48The positions above were the major posts that Liu Yü-hsi took up before thedownfall of Wang Shu-wen’s clique. Although the actual downfall of the cliqueoccurred before the abdication of Shun-tsung, it was only after his son, Li Shun,posthumously known as Hsien-tsung, ascended the throne in the eighth month ofthe year that Liu Yü-hsi and his comrades finally faced their sentences.In the ninth month, Liu Yti-hsi, together with others in Wang’s clique, weresent into exile. Liu was first banished as Prefect (tz’u-shih) of Lien-chou (intimes,” in Denis Twitchett ed. The Cambridge history of China, (vol. 3, part I, pp. 561-681. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1962), pp. 601-607.46LYHC, p. 591.47See HCLWC, p. 409.48LYf{C, p. 591.16modern Kuang-tung).49A month later, when Liu was on his way to Lien-chou, hewas further banished as adjutant (ssu-ma) of Lang-chou (in modern Hunan).5°While Lang-chou was closer to Chang-an than Lien-chou,5’ the position ofadjutant carried no administrative responsibility at all. This marked the beginningof a long period of exile in Liu’s life. For the next ten years, Liu remained in Langchou. In the eighth month of 806 an imperial edict was decreed which specificallystated that members of the Wang’s clique would not be pardoned even if therewere a general amnesty.52 This was clearly a great blow to everyone in this group.However, the period of prolonged exile also allowed Liu Yü-hsi to embark onvarious intellectual activities.When he arrived in Lang-chou, Liu resided near the Yuan river, a narrowriver flowing into Tung-ting Lake, and not far from his residence, the pavilion tobeckon Ch’U Yuan (Chao-Ch’U t’ing) was situated.53 As an adjutant Liu YU-hsi hadno administrative responsibility or power at all. Hence, at the age of thirty-six, andwith great political ambitions, Liu experienced bitterly, for the first time in his life,a prolonged period of political idleness.Intellectually, however, Liu Yti-hsi was far from dormant. Soon he began totravel around and seek intellectual acquaintances. He made friends with Ku T’uan(7347-812) and Tung T’ing (7-812). Ku was particularly praised by Liu for his49See TCTC, p. 7622; CTS 14:412; LYHC, p. 591.50See 12:413. There is a slight discrepency between cis and TCTC. The latterrecords that it was in the eleventh month that Liu was further banished to Lang-chou. SeeTCTC, p. 7623. Together with Liu Yü-hsi, seven other members of Wang’s clique facedsimilar sentences. They were all sent away as Prefects first, and were later banished asadjutants.51Lien-chou is more than three thousand six hundred Ii (a measure of length) from Changan, while Lang-chou is about two thousand ii. See Hu San-sheng’s annotation of TCTC,pp. 7622-7623.52See CTS 14:4 18.53See Nien-p’u, p. 51.17knowledge of the Book of Changes (I-Ching),54 and Liu discussed with himmatters related to this Confucian classic. Similarly, Tung T’ing was alsoknowledgeable about this classic; as a result of his discussions with Tung oncertain issues in the text, Liu produced a long essay on the concepts of “Nine andSix.”55 Hence, Liu’s associations with these two figures seem to be characterizedby mutual interest in the Book of Changes.56During his ten years of exile in Lang-chou, Liu YU-hsi did not sever his tieswith other members of Wang Shu-wen’s clique. Liu Tsung-yuan, for example,remained Liu Yu-hsi’s closest friend until Tsung-yuan’s death in 819. Theycommunicated with each other by letter. It is very possible that they engaged in thewell-known philosophical discussion about Heaven and human during this periodof banishment.57The time in Lang-chou was also a period of literary activity for Liu YU-hsi. Agreat number of his most celebrated poetical and prose works were composed atthis time. Perhaps because of his frustration in politics, a basic characteristic of hispoetry at this period is a blending of sarcasm and nostalgia.58 Stylistically, he is541n an epitaph, Liu YU-hsi recalled a visit he paid to Ku soon after he arrived in Langchou. In it, he also gave a detailed discussion of Ku’s study of the Book of Changes. SeeLYHC, pp. 597-599.55For this essay, see LYHC, pp. 86-93. Liu also wrote an epitaph for Tung. In it, Liuremarks that Tung was well-versed in the Confucian classics. In addition, he was also aBuddhist. See LYHC, pp. 596-597.5611 seems that this classic exerted a great impact on Liu’s intellectual outlook. For a moredetailed discussion of the various aspects of Liu’s thought that might have beeninfluenced by this classic, see chapter two.57This was a major intellectual activity of Liu Yü-hsi. Chapter four of this study isdevoted mainly to discussing Liu’s conception of Heaven and Humanity.58For some examples of this kind of poetry, see LYHC, pp. 6-8, 13, 14-15, 267-269.Allegorically, Liu often uses the image of a horse to express his frustration in life. SeeMedeline K. Spring, “Equine allegory in the writings of Liu Yü-hsi” in Te-i-chieh kuo-chiT’ang-tai hsUeh-shu hui-i lun-wen-chi (Taipei: Chung-hua min-kuo T’ang-tai yen-chiuhsUeh-che lien-i-hui, 1989), pp. 1-35.18considered a major innovator in the composing of heptasyllabic quatrains. He notonly started a tradition of taking history as the main theme in this sub-genre, but healso employed this form of Chinese poetry to imitate native folk literature of theSouth.59In addition, this was also a time at which Liu’s contacts with Buddhist figuresintensified.60 As we have already indicated earlier, Liu’s associations withBuddhist monks started very early in his life, when he was still in his teens.However, now that Liu was facing a major crisis in his life, his frequent contactwith Buddhist figures seems to indicate a natural attempt to seek spiritualconsolation. At the same time, Buddhist philosophy might have strengthened hisConfucian political ideals.6’Near the end of the year 814, together with Liu Tsung-yuan, Liu YU-hsi wassummoned back to Chang-an,62 and arrived in the capital in the second month ofthe next year.63 After ten years of banishment, it is very likely that Liu expectedsome improvement in his political career. However, some of Liu’s politicalenemies, such as Wu YUan-heng,64were still in power, and they soon struck Liuanother violent blow. In the third month, Liu was assigned to the position ofPrefect of Po-chou (in modern Kuei-chou).65 Although his rank had been raised59See Sung Hsin-chang, “Liu Yü-hsi ch’i-chUeh lun-ping,” in Chung-chou hsüeh-kan,(1992, no. 2), pp. 109-112, and 90. Actually, some of Liu’s most famous peoms werecomposed after he left his post in Lang-chou. Some of these, however, recall hisexperiences while he was in Lang-chou. Also see TS 160:4210; Nien-p’u, p. 65. Formore discussion of his literary activities see chapter two.60See Nien-p’u, p. 66.61For a detailed discussion of Liu Yü-hsi’s Confucian outlook, see chapter two. For adiscussion of Buddhist elements in his thought, see chapter three.62See Nien-p’u, pp. 66-67.63See Nien-p’u, p. 80.64See Pien Hsiao-hsüan, Liu YU-hsi lun-ts’ung, pp. 128-129.65See 15:452; TCTC, pp. 7708-77 10.19from adjutant to Prefect, Po-chou was said to be “uninhabitable by humans.”66Hence, in receiving such an assignment Liu Yü-hsi was extremely frustrated.67However with the help of Pei Tu (765-839), Liu was re-assigned the position ofPrefect of Lien-chou, a position to which he had first been assigned ten yearsago.68 Compared with his previous post in Lang-chou, Lien-chou was even furthersouth.Liu Tsung-yUan, facing a similar fate, was sent away as Prefect of Liu-chou(in modern Kuang-hsi). The two Lius traveled together from Chang-an until theyparted from each other at Heng-yang (in modern Hunan) by the Hsiang river.69There the two poets exchanged poems to commemorate the event. In one of thepoems, Liu Tsung-yUan echoed the wish that they could be together if they couldescape harsh punishment for their previous involvement in political reform:For twenty years, we have had the same experiences in ten thousanddifferent affairs.Today, at a forked road, we suddenly go east and west.If the imperial grace allows us to return to the farmland,in our old age, we should be neighbors.7°66Tffls phrase was allegedly used by Liu Tsung-yUan. See TCTC, p. 7709.67See LYHC, p. 217.68For a discussion as to why Liu was assigned to Po-chou, and of those who wereinvolved in helping Liu to obtain a better assignment, see Nien-p’u, pp. 8 1-83. PienHsiao-hsüan has indicated that Pei Tu was related to Lu Po and Lu Hsiang, both membersof the clan to which Liu’s mother belonged. See his Liu Yü-hsi ts’ung-k’ao, pp. 17-18,214-216.691ii a poem in which Liu Yü-hsi commemorates Liu Tsung-yuan, when the formerarrived at Heng-yang once again one year after the latter died, Liu Yü-hsi recalls, in hispreface, their parting by the Hsiang river five years previously. See LYHC, p. 407.70Liu Tsung-yUan, Liu Tsung-vuan chi (4 vols. Peking: Chung-hua shu-chU, 1979.Henceforth: LTYC), pp. 1160-1161. This poem is also mistakenly collected in Liu’scollected works. For example, see Liu Meng-te wen-chi (Ssu-pu ts’ung-kan chu-pienedition), p. 244b. LYUC, p. 553. The modern punctuated and collated edition by Chunghua shu-chü in 1990 has demonstrated this mistake. See LYHC, p. 553.20However this wish of Liu Tsung-yuan never become reality, for he died fouryears later in 819, and therefore this was the last time these two T’ang literati andgood friends saw each other.Liu YU-hsi’s stay in Lien-chou lasted about four and a half years. In 819, hismother died. Hence he had to retire from office for close to three years to observethe mourning period. On his way back to Loyang, having buried his mother there,he received more bad news. Liu Tsung-yuan had passed away in the eleventhmonth.During the period before his friend’s death, Liu Yü-hsi continued tocommunicate with Liu Tsung-yUan on matters related to literature. He compiledabout fifty medical prescriptions in two chapters called the Ch’uan-hsin fang.7’ Inaddition, his contacts with Buddhist monks continued.72Liu also came into contactwith the aboriginal peoples in the south. Together with his earlier ten years exile inLang-chou, this period enabled Liu to have the opportunity to observe the verydifferent life-style of a different people, and this provided him a source for hisliterary creativity. He started to write about the life of these people in his poetry.73In the winter of 821, at the age of fifty, his mourning period over, Liu wasassigned the position of Prefect of K’uei-chou (in modern Ssu-ch’uan). There hestayed for about two and a half years until he was transferred to the position ofPrefect of Ho-chou (in modern An-hui). Within this period, Liu composed hisfamous “Chu-chih tz’u” (“Bamboo songs”) and other poems that reflect the life of71See Nien-p’u, pp. 94-95.72For a list of some of the Buddhist figures Liu associated with at this period, see Nienp, pp. 97-98.73For a few examples, see Richard H. Schafer, The Vermilion Bird: T’ang images of theSouth (California: Cambridge University Press, 1967), pp. 51-54.21the native people with whom he had previously come into contact.74 It is also atthis time that Wei Hsüan, the son of Wei Chih-i (c. 765-807) and the son-in-law ofYuan Chen (779-831), came to study with Liu.75In the preface of Liu Pin-k’o chia-hua lu (Record of Counselor Liu’s beststories) Wei recalled that he “and others (chu-tzu) rose and rested together.. .in thespare time after [Liu Yü-hsi] discussed the classics and histories, [he] sometimeschatted about [stories] of some literati of the present dynasty.”76 Hence, it seemsthat Liu took in a number of students while he was in Kuei-chou.In the winter of 826, Liu’s duties as Prefect of Ho-chou were terminated andhe returned to Loyang. On his way back, Liu met Po Chü-i in Yang-chou.77 Soonafter he arrived in Loyang, Liu was assigned to the post of director of the branchoffice of the bureau of receptions (chu-k lang-chung), belonging to theDepartment of State Affairs (shang-shu sheng), in Loyang.78 A year later, he wentto Chang-an and was transferred to the position of scholar of the Academy ofScholarly Worthies (chi-hsien tien hslleh-shih). In 829, he was also given theposition of director of the ministry of rites (li-pu lang-chung).79He remained in theAcademy of Scholarly Worthies for four years, and was responsible for thecompilation of some two thousand chapters (chllan) of scholarly works.8°In the ten month of 831, at the age of sixty, Liu was sent away as Prefect ofSu-chou. On the sixth day of the second month of 832. Liu arrived in Su-chou.74For some of these poems, see LYHC, pp. 358-359, 364.75See Nien-p’u, p. 107. About thirty years later, Wei compliled the Liu Pin-k’o chia-hua luin which he collected a number of stories that he had heard from Liu. This book alsocontains information pertaining to Lius ideas sbout various issues. For a good discussionof this text, see T’ang Lan, “Liu Pin-k’o chia-hua lu ti chiao-chi yü pien-wei” inShili. vol. 4 (June 1965), PP. 75-106.76See Liu Pin-k’o chia-hua lu, p. la.77See Nien-p’u, pp. 128-129.78See Nien-p’u, p. 134.79See Nien-p’u, p. 154.80See LYHC, p. 186.22Instead of returning to a place of prosperity, Liu found himself facing a greatflood,81 and therefore was immediately busy facilitating relief efforts.82 Becauseof his hard work, he was given the right to wear a purple goldfish ornament (chinyü tai) in 833.83Liu?s stay in Su-chou lasted for about two and a half years. During thisperiod, he exchanged many poems with Po ChU-i. Perhaps because YUan Chen haddied in 831, the literary interchange between Liu and Po increased. It was also inthis period that Liu compiled a collection of his own works known as Liu-shih chilUeh.84From 835 to the autumn of 836, Liu was Prefect of Ju-chou (in modernHonan). Because of a disease of his feet, he was transferred to the position ofAdvisor to the Heir Apparent (t’ai-tzu pin-k’o) in the branch office in Loyang. Thiswas the last position he took in his life. Hence he was also known as Liu Pink’o.85This period can perhaps be characterized as a time of retirement.86 In Loyang, hefound companions like Po ChU-i and Pei Tu, and they traveled and composedpoems together.81See 17b:544. Both Su-chou and Hu-chou suffered from serious flooding. Thegovernment released two hundred and twenty thousand piculs (tan) of grain to relieve thedistress of these regions.82Liu sent two memorials to the central government reflecting his concern for the wellbeing of the people in Su-chou. See LYHC, pp. 186-187.83See Nien-p’u, p. 179. This ornament was usually given to certain members of theimperial house or high ranking officials. There were two kinds of ornament, onedecorated in gold color, the other in silver. The golden one was only for officials withranks higher than the third grade. The silver one was for those with ranks between fourthand fifth. See Tang hui-yao, compiled by Wang P’u et al. (16 vols. Taipei: CommercialPress, 1968. Henceforth THY), pp. 579-580; [T, pp. 1769-1770.84For the dating of this collection, see Nien-p’u, p. 180.85He was given other titles in later years, however, they are all honorary in nature.86See Wang Chi-lin, “Wan-Tang Loyang ti fen-ssu sheng-ya” in Wan-T’ang ti she-hui viiwen-hua, pp. 239-249. Taipei: Hsueh-sheng shu-chü, 1990.23In 842, at the age of seventy-one, Liu wrote his autobiography. In it, heremarks about his family background and recounts some major events in his life.87A specific remark that he makes in this autobiography is his opinion of Wang Shuwen and his reform movement. After more than thirty years, Liu’s final statementabout Wang is that “what he has done, people do not think is improper.”88 At theend of his biography, Liu wrote his own epitaph. It reads as follows:[That I] have not died young and poor,is a blessing from Heaven.[I have experienced] many difficulties.This is because of my misfortune.The ability with which Heaven has endowed meI have not been allowed to perform.Some people may utter slander about me;But my heart has no blemishes.I lie [on a bed] under the northern window;[I am near to] the end of my time.To be buried in the familial burial groundIs similar to the time when [I am] alive.The soul can travel everywhere.Can I possibly know about this?89Interestingly, although Liu begins the epitaph with a sense of contentment,the rest of this poem conveys precisely the opposite feeling. Liu Yü-hsi was wellaware he was near the end of his life. Perhaps the very act of writing his ownbiography just a few months before his own death signifies the self-assertivenature of Liu’s personality. His recalling of Wang Shu-wen in this autobiographyis significant because it shows how seriously Liu considered his participation in87This work is, of course, one of the most important sources for the study of the life ofLiu Yü-hsi. Some historians have also made use of it in the study of the political situationduring the transition period of Shun-tsung and Hsien-tsung. For one example of such astudy, see Ch’en Yin-k’o, “Shun-tsung shih-lu yu hsU Hsüan-kuai-lu,” in CYKWC 3, pp.74-81.88LYHC p. 591.p. 592.24the 805 reform movement. In a way, this movement best represented Liu Yü-hsi’spolitical ideals and ambitions. Hence its failure also translated into Liu’s failure tofulfill a major goal in his life. The epitaph precisely reflects Liu Yü-hsi’sfrustration regarding his unfulfilled life, a frustration that was buried with Liuwhen he died in the seventh month of 842, at the age of seventy-one.9090See 160:4213; Nien-p’u, p. 229.25Chapter Two: Liu Yü-hsi as a ConfucianIn a letter to Tou Ch’ün (760-814), written between the years 813 and 814,’Liu Yu-hsi wrote:The swift-footed Liu Tzu-liang arrived, and I received your letter and yourteachings. [You] consider me a person who longed to be a Confucian.These words of high regard expressed, the official robe cannot now be[considered] precious. In this world, those who wear the Confucianclothing and hat, talk in the language of antiquity, and take up thepositions of instructors in schools, are not rare. [But] if one seeks for thosewho know why [things] are so, how many are there? Even if there aresome, it is not necessary that they would not rail at [those who do nounderstand why things are so]. Now, for those who are holding the bow,aiming the arrow, and shooting [it] at an [empty] space, they all regardthemselves as yj2 [If you] put them into a Tse-kung,3then they are silentand do not dare to talk. Why it this so? Because there is a target onecannot be cheated. Now, the Confucians attack one another with armorand arrow. They quarrel with each other with noises like those of thecicadas. [This situation] is not different from those who draw back thebow to the full and shoot the arrow into empty space. What is theirtarget?4In this passage we can discern at least two points concerning Liu’s views ofConfucianism. First, we can detect his strong affinity to Confucianism.5Second,1 to the title of this letter Tou had already taken up the position of MilitaryCommissioner in Yung-chou (in modern Kuang-hsi); and according to his biography inthe 155:4 121 he only took up such a position in the last two years of his life, that is,from 813 to 814.2Yj refers to Hou Yi, the legendary archer.3Tse-kung is the place where archers competed with each other in ancient times in orderto be selected to serve the government. Here the word is used metaphorically to representthe equivalent of an examination hail.4LYHC, p. 126.5Ch’ü T?uiyUan has pointed that because Tou Ch’ün was hostile to many major figures ofthe Wang Shu-wen clique, including Liu YU-hsi, the words Liu used in this letter are verysuperficial, and thus, one should not take the content of this letter at face value. See hisLiu Yü-hsi chi chien-cheng, pp. 263-265. For Tou’s hostility to Liu, also see Pien Hsiaohsüan, Liu Yü-hsi ts’ung-k’ao, pp. 93-96. However, it seems to us that Liu’s pride in being26Liu clearly expresses his dissatisfaction with the behavior of some of the so-calledConfucians of his time. Reflecting this by using the analogy of the arrow and bow,he expounds upon one of the Confucian doctrines : Rectification of Names (chengming).6 Liu’s basic dissatisfaction with his Confucian contemporaries is that theydo not have any conception of exactly what the duties of being a Confucian are.Not only have they missed their target, but they simply do not have any idea ofwhat and where their target is. This leads us to the question of what actually is thetarget to which Liu refers. Liu provides a hint regarding the answer to this questionin the same letter as he continues to write:That which is called upon to nurture sagacity and the myriad citizens is theproper meaning of the I. [And one] should not go against it. If one acceptswholeheartedly to wait in order to bring benefit to the people (chi-wu),then, to nurture oneself and to nurture the people are not two differentWays.7This passage provides us a number of clues to what Liu considered a trueConfucian should do, but the overall, underlying message stresses the politicalaspects of Confucianism. It is perhaps the idea of “bringing benefit to the people”(chi-wu) that best characterizes Liu YU-hsi’s Confucianism. But before we engageourselves in a detailed discussion of this particular aspect of Liu’s Confucianism,a Confucian, as expressed in this letter, is consistently echoed throughout his oeuvre.Also, even if Tou and Liu were unable to reconcile their political differences, this stilldoes not constitute a logical reason for us to suspect the reliability of Liu’s words. Forexamples in which Liu identifies himself as a Confucian or mentions that his family has along tradition of Confucian study, see LYHC, pp. 171, 186, 191, and 590.6Liu Yü-hsi had used this analogy in other places. For another example, see LYHC, pp.254-255. For a discussion of the doctrine of Rectification of Names, see Fung Yu-lan, AHistory of Chinese Philosophy (tr. by Derk Bodde. 2 vols. Princeton, New Jersey:Princeton University Press, 1952), vol. 1, pp. 59-62. Liu made direct reference to thisdoctrine in a memorial, although this memorial was written for Tu Yu. See LYHC, p.135.7LYHC, p. 127. The line “to nurture the sagacious and the myriad citizens, to nourishthings properly” is basically taken from the II(providing nourishment) hexagram of theBook of Changes. See Nan Huai-chin and HsU Ch’in-t’ing, Chou I chin-chu chin-i (Taipei:Commercial Press, 1974), p. 176.27we should first consider whether there are directions other than political concernsin his conception of Confucianism.While Confucianism in pre-An Lu-shan rebellion T’ang China continued toact as a “pillar of the Chinese social and cultural order,”8 and was by and large anideology that dealt with one’s this-worldly endeavors, it was intellectually lessprominent than Buddhism and Taoism, which attracted more interest from allquarters of rang intellectual society. T’ang scholars’ attitudes toward canonicalstudies were complex. Since it was necessary for them to concentrate on theConfucian classics in order to pass civil examinations, and thus possibly enterofficialdom, the activities of Confucian classicists were mainly confined to thephilological and exegetical study of the classics.9 However, after the An Lu-shanrebellion, a dramatic change emerged in the attitude of T’ang’s intellectuals tocanonical study’° in particular, and Confucianism in general.The devastation of the An Lu-shan insurrection brought about a sense ofurgency among many Tang intellectuals. Many began to see a need to re-build theempire, and hoped for a renewal of state control in divided rang China. Clearly,Confucianism stood out as relevant in this environment because a major concern8See Chen Jo-shui, Liu Tsung-yuan, p. 18.9For a general discussion of the status of Confucianism in the pre-rebellion Tang China,see Chen Jo-shui, Liu Tsung-vUan. pp. 17-24. For a discussion of canonical scholarship inthis period, see David McMullen, State and Scholars in T’ang China (New York:Cambridge University Press, 1988), pp. 67-94.10This is shown by the “new” approach to canonical study by figures like Tan Chu (724-770), Chao K’uang (fi. 770-780), and Lu Chun (also known as Lu Chih). While Tan andChao were not active in the capital Chang-an and were not well known to the intellectualelite, Tan’s disciple, Lu Ch’un, was a participant in the Wang Shu-wen clique. Also, thereis clear evidence to show that people like Liu Tsung-yuan, Lu Wen, and Han Yeh studiedthe Spring and Autumn Annals, under Lu’s instruction. See LTYC, p. 819. For adiscussion of Tan, Chao, and Lu’s approach to the Annals, see Chang Ch’ün, “Tan-ChaoLu san-chia Ch’un-ch’iu chih-shuo” in Ch’ien Mu hsien-sheng pa-shih-sui chi-nien lunwen-chi, pp. 149-159. Hong Kong: Hsin-ya yen-chiu-so, 1974.28of this school of thought is the Way of government. However, there was nodramatic change in the intellectuals’ attitude toward Buddhism and/or Taoism.”The ku-wen (ancient-style prose) movement was a particular example of theultilization of Confucian values by intellectuals in an attempt to acheive unity inthe state. More specifically, the ku-wen movement was a manifestation of theConfucian revival movement.’2 A defining feature of this movement was theassertion of a connection between composition (wen) and the Confucian Way(tao).’3 For example, Han Yü, a leader of the movement in early ninth century,consistently emphasized that the tao he was talking about was exclusively theConfucian Way; he also emphasized a close relationship between wen andAnother leader of the movement, Liu Tsung-yUan, put forward the slogan“literature illuminates the Way” (“wen I ming tao”).’5 The interpretation of taot1Han YU is also known for his vehement opposition to Buddhism. However, anti-Buddhist sentiment of this kind is rarely found among the majority of those who wereparticipating in the mid-T’ang Confucian revivial movement. For a discussion of thisissue, see Lo Lien-tien, “Lun T’ang-tai ku-wen yun-tung” in his T’ang-tai wen-hsüeh lunhi (2 vols. Taipei: Hsueh-sheng shu-chU, 1989), vol. 1, pp. 3-31; Sun Ch’ang-wu, Tangtai wen-hsUeh vu fo-chiao (Sian: Shaan-hsi jen-min, 1985), pp. 1-24.12A number of studies on the ku-wen movement are available. See Ch’ien Mu, “Tsa-lunT’ang-tai ku-wen yun-tung” in Ch’ien Mu, Chung-kuo hsUeh-shu ssu-hsiang-shih lunts’ung (8 vols. Taipei: Tung-ta t’u-shu, 1978), vol. 4, pp. 16-70; Liu Kuo-ying, T’ang-taiku-wen vün-tung lun-kao Sian: Shaan-hsi jen-min, 1984; Sun Ch’ang-wu, T’ang-tai kuwen yun-tung t’ung-lun, T’ien-ching: Pai-hua wen-i, 1984.‘3For a discussion of how major literary intellectuals sought to re-establish political andsocial order after the An Lu-shan rebellion through the efforts to restore wen, see Peter K.Bol, “This Culture of Ours”: intellectual transition in T’ang and Sung China, pp. 108-147.Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, 1992.14For a discussion of Han Yü’s position in the T’ang intellectual scene, particularly hiscontributions to the establishment of the “orthodox” lineage of the Confucian tradition,see Ch’en Yin-k’o, “Lun Han YU” in CYKWC 2, pp. 285-297. We should point out thatthe “orthodox” lineage that Han refers to is a fabrication by Han himself. For a study ofthe connection between Han’s identification of wen and tao, see Charles Hartman, HanYU and the T’ang Search for Unity (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press),chapter 4.15For Liu Tsung-yuan’s theory of literature and its connection with the tao, see Ch’en Joshui, Liu Tsung-yUan, pp. 127-134.29differed among individual intellectuals, but, generally speaking, tao refered to theConfucian Way, an all-embracing concept which included all the values sanctionedby Confucianism.Another movement that emerged in the first half of the ninth century, parallelto that of the ku-wen movement, was the New Yueh-fu (ballad style poetry)movement. The defining feature of this movement was its promotion of realisticreflection of social problems through usage of simple language in the writing ofballad-style poetry.’6The ku-wen movement and the New Yueh-fu movement demonstrate theefforts of many of the Tang Confucian intellectuals to re-establish proper stateorder during the century after the An Lu-shan rebellion. We can now proceed toexamine if any of these intellectual activities occupied a place in Liu Yü-hsi’sintellectual interests. This should allow us to establish a basic understanding ofLiu’s Confucianism before we embark upon a discussion of Liu’s major Confucianconcerns.Nowhere in Liu’s extant works does he show any interest in philologicalstudy of the classics. Indeed, since philological study of the Confucian classics wasby and large an unattractive academic endeavor throughout the Tang, it seemsquite unsurprising that Liu was indifferent to this particular area of Confucian16The best known leaders of this movement were Po Chü-i, a close friend of Liu in thelater part of his life, and YUan Chen. For a discussion of this movement, see Ch’en Yink’o, Yüan-Po-shih chien-cheng kao, in CYKWC 6, pp. 117-120. This movement can betraced as least back to the time of Yuan Chieh (719-772), who advocated the didacticfunction of ballad-style poetry. See Yuan Tzu-shan chi, ed. by Sun Wang (Peking:Chung-hua shu-chU, 1960. Henceforth: YTSC), pp. 18-22; David McMullen, “Historicaland literary theory in the mid-eighth century” (in pp. 307-342, Dennis Twitchett andArthur F. Wright ed. Perspectives on the T’ang. New Haven: Yale University Press,1973), p. 340. Obviously the theory he put forward differs somewhat from that of PoChü-i and YUan Chen, but YUan and Po would agree with YUan Chieh on thesociopolitical function of this sub-genre.30scholarship. Regarding exegesis, we know that some of Liu Yü-hsi’s good friends,including Liu Tsung-yuan, Lu Wen (772-8 1 1), and Han Yeh, studied the Springand Autumn Annals with Lu Ch’un (d. 805). The major thrust of their approachwas to reveal the “underlying” meanings of this classic. While Liu YU-hsi wassurely aware of this intellectual activity among his friends,’7 there is no evidenceindicating that he was one of Lu’s disciples, or that he was influenced by Lu’sapproach to the Annals.The only account that indicates Liu’s involvement in canonical study isfound in the Liu Pin-k’o chia-hua lu (Record of Counselor Liu’s best stories):Together with Liu Pa and Han Ch’i18 [we] visited Shih Shih-kai to listen[to his lecture on] Mao’s commentary of the Book of Poetry (ShihChing). 19Apart from the Book of Poetry, Shih was also known by his contemporaries as ascholar on the Annals.2°Therefore, it is quite possible that Liu had also studied the17Both Liu Yü-hsi and Lu Ch’un were members of the Wang Shu-wen clique. However,while Liu and Lu probably shared similar political ideals, there is no evidence, whetherfrom other people’s works or from Liu’s own writings, to suggest any close personal tiebetween the two. Pien Hsiao-hsUan has also noted this. See his Liu Yü-hsi ts’ung-k’ao, p.130. In a preface to the collection of works of Lu Wen, Liu remarks that Lu studied theSpring and Autumn Annals with Lu Ch’un, but this is the only time Liu mentions Lu’sname in his works. See LYHC, p. 235.t8Liu Pa is Liu Tsung-yüan and Han Ch’i is Han T’ai. For the identification of these twopersons see Ts’en Chung-mien, T’ang-jen hang-ti lu (wai san-chung) (Peking: Chung-huashu-chU), pp. 77 and 180.t9This particular entry is no longer extant in the Liu Pin-k’o chia-hua lu, but it is found inWang Tang’s T’ang YU Lin, p. 50. Liu’s study of the Book of Poetry under Shih Shih-kaiprobably lasted only for a very short period of time, since it was in the year 802 that hereturned to Ch’ang-an, where Shih lectured on the Confucian classics, and Shih promptlydied in the tenth month of this year. For more detail see Nien p’u, pp. 28-29.a tomb inscription written for Shih by Han YU, Shih is said to”illuminate in theMao’s and Cheng’s commentaries of the Book of Poetry, and penetrate Tso’s commentaryof the Spring and Autumn Annals. See HCLWC, p. 203. Also see kiI 200:5705. Wemay also note that, according to the short account of Shih in the ffl, Shih’s approach tothe Annals is similar to that of the Tan Chu, Chao K’uang, and Lu Ch’un.31Annals with Shih. Even if this is the case, however, it seems that he had very littleinterest in the exegetic study of the Confucian canon. While he may have hadnothing against canonical study, unlike his friend Liu Tsung-yuan who wrote asubstantial number of critiques of this subject,21 Liu wrote very little concerningthis aspect of Confucian intellectual endeavors. The only piece of his extant workswhere he discusses extensively a part of the Confucian canon is his “Pien-I chiu-liulun” (“Debating on the theory of Nine and Six in the Book of Changes.”)22In his involvement in the ku-wen movement,23 Liu’s outlook was quitedifferent from that of Han Yu and Liu Tsung-yuan. Perhaps he acted more as awriter experimenting with a new style, rather than as a ku-wen theorist.24 However,he did have something to say on the relationship between wen and tao, and what hesaid should further our understanding of his views on Confucianism.21For a discussion of Liu Tsung-yuan’s canonical studies, see Chen Jo-shui, Liu Tsungyuan, pp. 134-144.22LYFJC pp. 86-93. In the Book of Changes, “Nine” refers to the yang line in the trigram,and “Six” the yin line. For a brief explanation of this concept of “Nine” and “Six,” seeChang Chi-ch’eng, I-hsüeh ta-tz’u-tien (Peking: Hua-hsia ch’u-pan-she, 1992), p. 388.When Liu was banished to Lang-chou, he became acquainted with a local scholar namedKu T’uan simply because he was said to be an expert in the Book of Changes. See LYHC,pp. 597-599. Liu’s interest in this particular classic seems to reflect his interest in abstractthinking. More detailed discussion on the connection between this classic and Liu’s worldview, and its possible influence on Liu’s political ideology, will be given later in thischapter.23Perhaps we should also point out that despite the implications of the word “movement,”the ku-wen movement, even in the ninth century, was not an organized movement in anysense. It rather consisted of sentiments shared by many original thinkers and men ofletters that formed the motivating force that pushed for a resurgence of Confucian valuesin government.24There are a number of studies which touch on Liu’s connection with the ku-wenmovement. See Wu Ju-yu, “Lun Liu Yü-hsi ti san-wen” (in T’ang-tai wen-hsUeh lunt&ung, no. 7, pp. 13 1-146. Sian: Shaan-hsi jen-min, 1986), pp. 13 1-134; Liu Kuo-ying,“Lun Liu Yü-hsi ti wen-i ssu-hsiang” in Liu Kuo-ying, T’ang-tai ku-wen vUn-tung lunlcao, pp. 243-251; Sun Ch’ang-wu, T’ang-tai ku-wen vün-tung t’ung-lun (T’ien-ching: Pahua wen-i, 1984), pp. 267-275.32In a letter to Ch’üan Te-yu, written probably in the year 793,25 Liu expressessome of his views on wen, which also provide us a hint regarding what he meantby the word tao:Now that the Way (tao) does not yet extended to the people, what [I have]accumulated is aspiration. As a tool to express one’s aspiration, what betterto use than composition (wen)?. . .It is not that I am really interested in itspassages and sentences, and fondness of excessive euphemism. [For] thecustoms of the time and the prevailing practices upheld by most people[are things that I] regard defects, [and I] cannot [follow them] 26In this passage, Liu, like many who were participating in the ku-wenmovement, attacks euphemism in literary writing.27 However, this is perhaps theonly place in his works that reflects an anti-euphemistic sentiment. This issomething difficult to account for, since nowhere in his works does he give a clearreason for his stance. Perhaps, if we may speculate, it is because ornateness was nolonger a serious problem in the writing of poetry or composition by Liu’s time.25For a discussion on the dating of this letter, see Nien-p’u, pp. 16-17. Ch’U T’ui-yUanholds a similar view to that of Pien on the dating of this letter; however, he also points outthe possibility that this letter might have been written before Liu passed the chin-shihexamination in 793. See his Liu YU-hsi chi chien-cheng, p. 250. It seems to me that theevidence provided by Ch’u is rather speculative. However, as Ch’U also points out, thetone of this letter seems to suggest that it was written before the Preeminent Talentexamination in 795, or before its writer took office.26LYHC,p. 121.27The attack on ornateness, particularly that of the tradition from the Ch’i (479-502) andLiang (502-557) dynasties, emerged before the T’ang dynasty. See Liu K’ai-jung, T’ang-taihsiao-shuo yen-chiu (Shanghai: Commercial Press, 1947), pp. 18-21. Perhaps the mostnoted early figure in the Tang ku-wen movement is Ch’en Tzu-ang (656-695), whosimilarly attacked the defects of euphemism of the Ch’i and Liang poetic tradition. SeeChen Tzu-ang chi (Peking: Chung-hua shu-chU, 1960), p. 15. Another figure is YUanChieh, a pivotal figure who turned the fu-ku sentiments into the sentiments of amovement. For an example of how he expressed his dislike of euphemism in poetry, seehis “preface to the Ch’ieh-chung Chi” in YTSC, p. 100.33What is more important in this passage is the idea that a basic function ofliterature is to express one’s aspirations. This idea actually emerged very early inthe history of Chinese literature, and it is repeatedly echoed in Chinese classics. Inthe Book of Documents (Shang Shu), we read :“Poetry is the expression of earnestthought; singing is the prolonged utterance of that expression.”28Similar theses canalso be found in the Book of Poetry and the Book of Rites (Li Chi).29Liu may be merely repeating an age-old message; however, because he wasat the same time a poet, a position that he was both conscious of and serious about,this prevents him from completely disregarding the aesthetic value of literarystyle.3°This may be another reason, although not a major one, why he did not oftenattack the defects of ornateness and euphemism in literature. Nevertheless,euphemism is still, to Liu, something that should be avoided because euphemismin poetry implies an essentially empty sequence of words.Liu once expressed his conception of good poetry explicitly:28See James Legge tr., The Chinese Classics (5 vols. Hong Kong: Hong Kong UniversityPress, 1960), vol. 3, p. 48.291n the “Great Preface” of the Book of Poetry we read: “The poem is that to which whatis intently on the mind goes. In the mind it is ‘being intent;’ coming out in language, it is apoem. The affections are stirred within and take on form in words. If words alone areinadequate, we speak them out in sighs. If sighing is inadequate, we sing them. If singingthem is inadequate, unconsciously our hands dance them and our feet tap them,”following Stephen Owen, Readings in Chinese Literary Thought (Massachusetts: HarvardUniversity Press, 1992), pp. 40-41. In the chapter “Record of Music” (“Yüeh chi”) in theBook of Rites we read similar idea concerning the relationship between poetry and one’sinner feelings : “All tones that arise are generated from the human mind. ...“ as translatedby Stephen Owen, jd, pp. 50-5 1.30From his childhood years, Liu was actively involved in literary activity. In LYHC, p.250, there is a line which clearly depicts his interest in poetry when he was young: “In thebeginning when I was a child, I lived in regions around the rivers and lakes. I was happyto be acquainted with those who were good at writing poetry.” Also see LYHC, p. 239.This work describes Liu’s relationship with the famous poet-monk and literary theoristChiao-jan. We can see that Liu’s major activities at that time was to participate in thewriting and chanting of poetry. One example which reflects his concerns regarding stylein writing of poetry can be found in Liu Pin-k’o chia-hua lu, pp. 2a-2b, where Liudiscusses the usage of unusual diction.34In a few words, a hundred ideas can be illuminated; sitting still while thethoughts roam far afield, [one] can bring ten thousand scenes undercontrol. Those who are good at poetry are capable of this. The styles offeng and ya31 have changed but the hsing (evocative image)32 remains thesame. The tunes of the past and in the present are different, yet theirprinciples subtly agree with each other. Those who can penetrate [thewriting of] poetry can achieve this. Being good at poetry comes from one’sability, and being able to penetrate [the principle of] poetry comes fromone’s wisdom. When these two are in turn employed together, then the wayof poetry is complete. I always hold onto this way of criticism as acommonly shared correct standard .. . .33Here, two points stand out in Liu’s characterization of good poetry. One ofthem concerns the external features of a poem. To Liu, a good poem should be acompact unit which can convey all its meaning in a minimal number of words.Although this emphasis on style is not the most important element in his theory, itdoes reflect Liu’s concerns about the significance of stylistic maturity in goodpoetry. Ch’an sentiment is also detectable in this passage as part of Liu’s theory ofgood poetry.34The main purpose of writing poetry, to Liu, is the expression of one’s innerfeelings. While the poetic styles feng and ya have changed over the centuries,hsing, the deep meaning, retains its central position in a poem. But unlike31The Book of Poetry contains three parts. They are feng, ya, and sung. Feng refers to“folksongs and lyrics collected from thirteen different localities.” Ya refers to “lyrics of amore polished type, and narratives,” and sung refers to “ceremonial and sacrificial songs,which accompanied dance.” See Vincent Yu-chung Shih tr., The literary mind and thecarving of dragons (Hong Kong: The Chinese University Press, 1983), p. 41, n. 2.32The translation of the term hsing is highly problematic. The translation “evocativeimage” used here follows Vincent Shih. One translation of this term provided by StephenOwen is “affective image.” Both these translations carry similar conntations. As Owenhas pointed out: “In the tradition of interpretation that grew up around the Book of Songs,hsing refers to an ‘affective image’ which will elicit a particular response from the reader.”See his Readings in Chinese Literary Thought, p. 587.33LYHC, p. 237.34This aspect of Lius thought will be discussed in chapter three of this study.35composition, which emphasizes a deep meaning in a clear manner, a poem shouldexpress the deep meaning in a subtle way. According to Liu:Poetry is what composition has accumulated! When the meaning is therebut the words are lost, that is why subtlety is difficult to achieve.35So, proper diction is necessary in achieving subtlety in poetry. Compactness is, inparticular, a measure of how efficiently the poet uses diction in order to subtlyexpress the poem’s meaning.This brings us to the second concern of Liu’s theory, the concept of hsing(evocative image). Hsing is perhaps the most important standard in Liu’sevaluation of good poetry. The concept of hsing has a long tradition in Chineseliterary theory, and is highly charged with ambiguity.36 While there are differentinterpretations of this notion, it is generally correct to understand hsing as a levelof meaning that is inspirational in nature. Unlike the interpretation given by LiuHsieh (465-522). Liu Yü-hsi’s concept of hsing operates in an opposite direction --subtlety is the consequence of hsing, not hsing of subtlety. This probably is closerto Chung Hung’s (469-518) interpretation. It is the extra layer of meaning whichlingers after words have been exhausted that creates a subtle effect in the reader’smind.35LYHC, p. 238.36For a discussion on the meaning(s) of the concept hsing see James J.Y. Liu, ChineseTheories of Literature (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1975), pp. 106-111. For theconvenience of our discussion, I will quote two interpretations of this notion. Accordingto Liu Hsieh’s Wen-hsin tiao-lung, “...hsing responds to stimulus.. .we formulate our ideasaccording to the subtle influence we receive.” (See Vincent Yu-chung Shih tr. IhLiterary Mind and the Carving of Dragons, p. 276). From the preface of Chung Hung’sShih P’in, “Now there are three modes of expression in poetry: one is called the evocativeimage (hsing), another is comparison (pi), and the third is direct description (fit). Theevocative image yields a meaning beyond words;...” Translation taken from Chia-yingYeh and Jan W.Walls “Theory, standards, and practice of criticizing poetry in ChungHung’s Shih-p’in” in Ronald C. Miao ed. Studies in Chinese poetry and poetics (SanFrancisco: Chinese materials center, 1978), p. 52.36The above discussion of Liu YU-hsi’s evaluation of good poetry reveals thatpoetry, to Liu, expresses one’s inner feelings subtly. Although he seems toprivilege content over form, he acknowledges the need for balance betweencontent and form,37 because form assists in bringing out the meaning of a poem.Thus, Liu feels that good poetry should be a union of form and content. However,these inner feelings may or may not be personal in nature. On a different occasionLiu again expresses his conception of a direct link between poetry andcomposition:The fineness and subtlety of one’s mind, when expressed, is manifest in theform of composition. The subtlety of composition, when chanted out, ismanifest in the form of poetry.38Here Liu provides a more detailed characterization of the link between poetry andcomposition. It is the mind of the author that links both of these sub-genres.Clearly, then, both poetry and composition serve to reveal inner feelings. Yet, it isstill difficult to tell whether these inner feelings, when expressed in the form ofpoetry, are personal or not.A general survey of Liu’s poems does lead to the conclusion that the majorityof them express Liu’s personal feelings. Perhaps the place where Liu expresses hisawareness of this function of poetry most clearly is in the preface to a collection ofpoems written by Ling-hu ch’u39 (766-837) and Liu himself:37See Liu Kuo-ying, T’ang-tai ku-wen yUn-tung lun-kao, p. 247.p. 233.39After Ling-hu Ch’u was banished to Heng-chou, Liu Yü-hsi exchanged poems withLing-hu. Later, after the death of Ling-hu, Liu collected and compiled these poems intothree chapters, known as Peng-yang chang-ho chi. This work is no longer extant. For thepostface of this work by Liu, see LYHC, pp. 588-589. For a discussion of Liu’srelationship with Ling-hu, see Pien Hsiao-hsüan, “Liu YU-hsi yU Ling-hu Ch’u” in Chunghua wen-shih lun-ts’ung, vol. 13 (January 1980), pp. 211-239. Shanghai: Shanghai ku-chi,1980. Pien also reconstructs the Peng-yang chang-ho chi in this article.37When I was young, I also always used my ability in poetry to climb up andtravel around.4°In the middle of my journeys I encountered dangers. Idrifted about, and gained no opportunities. And the ch’i in my bosom[turns into] frustration and undulation. It disperses into [the form] ofpoetry in order to send away [my] melancholy. It is sad like the [sound ofthe] burned paulownia lute and of the ku-chu music. And [my poetry] isalso well-known in the world.4’This probably explains why there is in no place in Liu’s writings in which hetries to advocate a connection between poetry and tao. However, Liu consistentlysuggests an organic relationship between tao and composition.42In the preface toLi Chiang’s (764-830) collected works, Liu expounds that:Heaven endows the great man with the ch’i of righteousness. It isnecessary to refine [this ch ‘ij in order to make it glorious in the world.Essence and harmony are obscurely accumulated within. [With sounds likethe] jangle of bells, when ch’i is sent out and transgresses [the boundary],it is manifested in the form of composition (wen). The greatness andsmallness of a composition depend on the passage and the remaining ofthe tao. That is why for those who have obtained their positionscompositions are not empty words...The idea of composition as an expression of one’s inner feelings is echoed hereagain. However, these inner feelings are not characterized strictly as personal ones.40”To climb up and travel around” is used metaphorically; it clearly refers to moving upthe ladder of officialdom, and establishing of ties with scholar-officials through Liu’spoetic ability.41LyHC pp. 587-588.42This is a salient feature of the ku-wen movement. Perhaps Liu Tsung-yUan’s idea that“literature is to illuminate the Way” (“wen i ming tao”) is the best illustration of this. Theidea that literature can illuminate the Way can be found in early writings. For example,Liu Hsieh, the author of Wen-hsin tiao-lung, had already used this idea in the famouschapter “The Essentials of the Way” (“Yuan Tao”) when he said: “...From these things weknow that tao is handed down in writing through sages, and that sages make Tao manifestin their writings.” Translation is taken from Vincent Yu-chung Shih, The literary mindand the carving of dragons, p. 12. For a discussion concerning the connection betweenwen and tao, see Mou Jun-sun, “T’ang-tai nan-pei hsüeh-jen lun-hsüeh chih i-ch’ü ytiying-hsiang” (in pp. 50-88, Hsiang-kang chung-wen ta-hsüeh chung-kuo wen-hua yenchiu-so hsUeh-pao, vol. 1, September 1968), pp. 60-65.43LYHC, p. 224.38The correspondence between composition (wen) and tao is obvious. It is also clearthat the tao that Liu refers to is defined politically.While this feature of Liu’s characterization of the correlation between wenand tao can be found among many ku-wen writers, Liu is different from many ofthem in the sense that he never attempts to posit a connection between the tao andthe teachings of the Confucian sages like Yao, Shun, Confucius, and Mencius.44He has practically nothing to say about this lineage. However, at the same time, henever disregards the importance of Confucian moral values. Rather, he simplytakes them for granted:Loyalty and filial piety, to humans, are like food and clothing. [One]cannot depart from them for a moment. Why [is it necessary] for me toexert myself [about this]? Humanity, righteousness, tao, and virtues arenot something that can be achieved by giving instructions.. .45Therefore, to Liu, moral values like loyalty, filial piety, humanity, andrighteousness are not something that one can acquire simply through learning.They are things that one must practice in one’s everyday activities, just as one eatsfood and wears clothes. Apart from this reference, Liu hardly ever dwells on the44The advocacy of an “orthodox” lineage of Confucian traditon is a specific feature of kuwen theorists like Han Yü. However, it is by and large a creation by these ku-wenadvocates. As a consequence of such a creation and its correlation with the tao asilluminated by wen, wen is now sanctioned with the mission to bring harmony to thesocio-political order and to the world. This concept of orthodoxy is not something thathas been passed down since the time of Confucius; rather, it is an invention of the ku-wenadvocates. One of the most salient contributions of Han YU in this movement is preciselyhis attempt to manufacture an “orthodox” lineage for the Confucian tradition. In hisfamous work “YUan tao” (“The Essentials of the Way”), Han stated that “Yao taught it toShun, Shun to Yu, Yu to T’ang, and T’ang to Kings Wen and Wu and Duke of Chou.These men taught it to Confucius and Confucius to Mencius, but when Mencius died itwas no longer handed down.” See Wm. Theodore de Bary et al., Source of ChineseTradition (2 vols. New York: Columbia University Press, 1979), vol. 1, p. 379. For adiscussion of this aspect, see Ch’n Yin-k’o, “Lun Han Yü” in CYKWC 2, pp. 285-297,and Charles Hartman, Han YU and the T’ang search for unity, p. 147.45LYHC, p. 252.39issues concerning Confucian moral values and their relation to self-cultivation inany great detail. It seems, therefore, he pays little attention to “abstract” moralconcepts in Confucianism even if they are embedded in the tao.For Liu, tao is something that concerns both one’s private and publicendeavors. From his letter to Ch’üan Te-yu mentioned earlier, it is obvious that thetao Liu was referring to does carry such a connotation. Another aspect of Liu’scharacterization of tao that may have been different from that of some of hiscontemporaries is that his tao is not necessarily identifiable with that of theconcept of “antiquity.”46He once criticized the idea that antiquity is faultless:Tseng Tzu once said:”The way that a gentleman loves others is throughvirtue, and the way in which the small man loves others is throughexcessive indulgence.” Saying that the ancients are all frugal andsagacious, then these words should not be uttered by [those who resided inregions] between the Chu river and the Ssu river.47 Perhaps those whowere upheld by those in the Three Dynasties (Hsia, Shang, Chou) are notwithout faults..His suggestion that “antiquity” is not necessarily without faults further implies thatit is not necessarily a symbol of ideal human existence. This passage may alsosuggest that Liu is more of a practical person than a theorist or idealist. This can besaid of his involvement in the ku-wen movement. His major contribution was inhis participation in experiments in a new compositional style; during his own time,he stood out as a major prose writer.4946For a discussion of Liu Tsung-yuan’s and Han Yü’s usage of the terms tao and ku, seeChen Jo-shui, Liu Tsung-yUan, pp. 84-89.47These two rivers are in Shangtung. Because Confucius resided by these two rivers, theterm Chu-Ssu has been used as a synonym of Confucianism.48LYHC, p. 132. The idea that “the Three Dynasties are not without fault” can be foundin Ssu-ma Chien’s Shih Chi (10 vols. Peking: Chung-hua shu-chü, 1987. Henceforth: )8:393-394.491n a preface to the collected works of Wei Ch’un (d. 828), Liu quoted Li Ao’s (774-836)words that apart from Li Ao himself and Han YU, only Liu Tsung-yUan and Liu YU-hsicould be considered their equals. See LYHC, p. 228. This clearly indicates Liu’sawareness of his prominent position in literary circles. Chao Lin, a T’ang scholar,40As to his involvement in the New YUeh-fu movement, it seems that he wasnever a participant. It is true that Liu was a close friend of Po Ch’ü-i, and wasacquainted with YUan Chen, both leaders of the New Yueh-fu movement. Inaddition, Liu exchanged numerous poems with Po; but, there is no evidenceshowing their discussion of issues related to the New Yueh-fu movement. In fact,practically all the poems exchanged between the two concern matters related totheir personal affairs or their interest in Buddhism.5°In the collected works of Liu there are two chapters of poems written in theballad style.5’ These poems, in general, reflect little of the social problems or thesufferings of the populace. Some of them are basically landscape poems, whilesome, even if they convey a sense of suffering, operate subtly and at a personallevel.52recorded that, in the Yuan-ho reign (806-820), Liu Yü-hsi was considered a person goodat composition and poetry. See his Yin hua lu (in T’ang kuo-shih-pu teng pa-chung.Taipei: Shih-chieh shu-chU, 1962), p. 16. For later scholars’ evaluation of his prose, seeLo Lien-tien, T’ang-tai shih-wen liu-chia nien-p’u (Taipei: HsUeh-sheng shu-chU, 1986),pp. 42 1-427.50The poems exchanged between these two poets were compiled into a collection knownas Liu-Po ch’ang-ho chi. However, this collection is no longer extant. Some of thesepoems are found in their collected works. Hanabusa Hideki has reconstructed thiscollection: see his Hakukvoi Kenkyu (Kyoto: Sekai shiso sha, 1971), pp. 286-329. In thisreconstruction, more than two hundred titles are included. Such a large number of poemsshould allow one to draw a conclusion with a high level of confidence. After readingthese poems, we are drawn to conclude that they were little concerned with the sociopolitical situation at the time. The preface of this collection can be found in Po Ch’U-i’scollected works. See Po Ch’U-i chi chien-chiao (6 vols. Shanghai: Shanghai ku-chi, 1988),p. 3711. For a discussion of the difference between Liu’s poetic style and that of Po ChU-iand YUan Chen, see Pien Hsiao-hsüan and Wu Ju-yU, Liu Yü-hsi (Shanghai: Shanghaiku-chi, 1980), pp. 92-96. For a discussion of Liu’s peotic, see Ch’en Yin-k’o, CYKWCvol. 6, appendix 5, pp. 339-345.51LYHC, pp. 337-364.52Wu Ju-yU has suggested that some of Liu’s yueh-fu poems are related to the New yuehfu movement. However, Wu seems to base his reasoning on the fact that Liu’s poemswere written roughly at the time when Po and Yuan were advocating the New yueh-fu41Furthermore, some poems are written with the intention to imitate Ch’üYUan. In the preface to the “Bamboo Branch Song” (“Chu-chih tz’u”), Liu wrote:When the great Ch’u (a warring state kingdom) poet Ch’ü YUan (3 32-295B.C.) was banished to Hunan, [he heard] country songs to invoke gods andregarded them as fearfully crude. So he composed the “Nine Songs.”Today, the inhabitants of Hunan use these songs when they dance and beatdrums in festivals. Therefore I have composed the nine chapters of “TheBamboo Branch” and made the good singers sing them.53In a sense, these poems do reflect the lives of the people in areas remote from thecenter of Han culture, but they are not written in the style that Po and YUan hadadvocated. For example, YUan, in a summary of Po’s New yueh-fu poetry,indicated clearly that the first line of a poem should point out the theme, while theintention of the poet should be expressed at the poem’s end.54 If we look at Liu’syueh-fu or “Bamboo Branch songs,” we discover that many of them begin bypointing out the setting (time-space) rather than indicating the theme of thepoem.55 Thus, stylistically, Liu’s ylleh-fu poetry differs from that of YUan and Po.movement. I do not find this very persuasive. Although Wu does acknowledge the factthat Liu’s approach in writing poetry is quite different from that of Po, the exampleswhich he uses in his argument are too allegorical to be useful in concluding whether theyindeed serve to reflect the sufferings of the populace. In fact, I find those poems servemore as a means to express Liu’s own frustrations. For Wu’s argument, see his Liu Yü-hsichuan-lun (Sian: Shaan-hsijen-min, 1988), p. 12.53LYHC, p. 359. Translation follows that of Hisayuki Miyakawa,”The Confucianizationof South China” (in Arthur F. Wright ed. The Confucian Persuasion, pp. 2 1-46. Stanford,California: Stanford University Press, 1960), p. 40, with minor changes.54See Ch’en Yin-k’o, CYKWC 6, p. 119.55For a discussion of Liu’s yueh-fu poems and his “Bamboo Branch songs,” see Fang Yu,“Liu Meng-te ti ku-feng yueh-fu yU ‘chu-chih t’zu” (in Wen-hsüeh p’ing-lun, vol. 2, pp.81-105. Taipei: Shu-p’ing shu-mu, 1975). J.D. Schmidt in his Stone Lake: the poetry ofFan Chengda. 1126-1193 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1992) also contendcontends that the folk element in Liu’s “Bamboo Branch Songs” is “frequentlysubordinated to his own concerns.” See pp. 76-77 of his book.42These features of Liu’s ballad poetry therefore reflect first his lack ofintention to expose the sufferings of the populace, and second, his lack of intentionto employ straightforward language in the writing of ballad poetry.Now we can begin a detailed discussion of Liu’s political concerns and howthey are related to Confucianism. However, in order to understand Liu’s politicalideology, it is necessary for us to know first the sources from which he drew hisinspiration.In an attempt to define Confucianism, particularly the political aspect of it,Liu wrote:Confucianism [attempts to] govern the living beings with the Middle Way(chung-tao), rarely talking about human nature (hsing) and fate (ming).Hence it ceases to flourish as the world declines.56Here Liu defines Confucianism in terms of its connection with the way ofgovernment. We can see that Liu mentions specifically the notion of the MiddleWay in such a definition. This notion of the Middle Way was expounded byConfucius himself, and appeared in a number of Confucian classics.57 To Liu, theMiddle Way is the underlying principle in the Confucian approach to government,and he was aware of the importance of such a concept in Confucian politicalideology from his early years.5856LYHC, p. 57. Translation taken from Chen Jo-shui, Liu Tsung-vUan, p. 121.57For a discussion of the meaning of chung and its usage in Confucian classics, see Ch’enMan-ming, Chung-Yung Ssu-hsiang yen-chiu (Taipei: Wen-chin ch’u-pan-she, 1980), pp.2-16.an essay written for the chin-shih examination in 793, Liu quoted a line from theBook of Documents: “My Way is one that sincerely holds fast the Mean.” (Translationtaken from James Legge, Chinese Classics, vol. 3, pp. 62-63.) For the identification ofthis prose work as an essay written in the chin-shih examination, see Hsü Sung, Teng-k’ochi-k’ao (3 vols. Taipei: Ching-sheng wen-wu. 1972), pp. 840, 846-847. Clearly, it is notpossible for us to use this essay as a strong evidence to support our argument that MiddleWay constitutes the center of Liu’s political ideology because the ideas expressed in thisessay are very much dictated by its title, which is “A rhapsody on the balance of power”43While Liu does, in a number of places, emphasize the idea of the MiddleWay in the approach of government, he writes practically nothing about thesources from which he draws this idea. Therefore, it is not possible for us topinpoint precisely the sources of this specific aspect of his political ideology,although we can say with confidence that Liu’s political ideology was very muchinfluenced by the Confucian classics. However, we may still be able to drawparallels between this aspect of Liu’s Confucianism and some of the Confucianclassics. This will show clearly the close connection between Liu’s politicalthought and the Confucian classics, and further explicate the nature of his politicalideology.In a preface to a poem given to a monk called Ch’ün-su, Liu made specificreference to a Confucian classic, The Doctrine of the Mean (Chung Yung), as atext which had provided him insights into the “deep mystery”:In the past I studied the chapter Chung Yung in the Book of Rites. When I[read] up to the line “Without effort, hit what is right, and apprehend,without the exercise of thought,”59I was terrified and realized the virtue ofthe sages. [They] study until they reach the point of not needing to study.However, this kind of saying is just like telling the workman the subtlemethod of [building a] house, [but] to seek for the path and method inorder to carry it out to all over the world, it is not easy to be obtained... .SoI realized the deep mystery in the Chung Yung.(“P’ing ch’uan-heng flu”). However, we can use the essay as a supplementary referencedocumenting his awareness of such an idea in his early years. Also, we can use it to tracethe sources in which he obtained this idea of the Middle Way. The line “sincerely holdfast the Mean” is taken directly from the chapter “The counsels of the Great Yu” in theBook of Documents; a similar line can be found in the Analects. See James Legge tr.,Chinese Classics, vol. 1, p. 350. We can also note that in a preface to a poem written byCh’üan Te-yU, Ch’üan recorded the account that Liu had studied the Book of Poetry andthe Book of Documents since he was a child. See Ch’üan T’ang Wen (compiled by TungKao et al. 20 vols. Taipei: Hui-wen shu-chU, 1943. Henceforth: CTW), p. 6345.59See James Legge tr., The Chinese Classics, vol. 1, p. 413.p. 389.44Exactly what “deep mystery” Liu is referring to is unclear, nor does this passageprovide any strong connection between the text The Doctrine of the Mean andLiu’s political thought, or the idea of of the Middle Way. However, twoimplications raised by it provide us with some insight into the matter.First, according to Liu in the above passage, his uneasiness with the line“Without effort, hit what is right, and apprehend, without the exercise of thought”arises precisely from its impractical nature. The line thematizes the centralconcept of The Doctrine of the Mean -- Sincerity. It reads as follow:Sincerity is the way of Heaven. The attainment of sincerity is the way ofmen. He who possesses sincerity is he who, without effort, hits upon whatis right, and apprehends, without the exercise of thought; he is the sagewho naturally and easily embodies the right way. He who attains sincerityis he who chooses what is good, and firmly holds it fast.61Sincerity, in this characterization, is clearly an ontological concept which ishighly ambiguous.62 It is not something that can be understood and attained byeverybody. Those who can apprehend Sincerity “without the exercise of thought”are the sages. Perhaps it is the ambiguity in this characterization of Sincerity thatLiu finds it difficult to use it in actually dealing with concrete real-life situations.Yet this, in a way, reflects exactly what Liu was seeking for-- the “path andmethod” of government.Second, although Liu expressed his dissatisfaction with The Doctrine of theMean, there is no doubt that this particular text did exert an influence upon him.This text, as its title may suggest, dwells upon the notion of chung, a notion which,unlike sincerity, is something that one can employ in dealing with real-lifeproblems.61Translation taken from James Legge tr., The Chinese Classics, vol. 1, p. 413.62For a discussion of meaning of “T’ien” (“Heaven”) in Chung Yung, see Wang Manming, Chung-Yung ssu-hsiang yen-chiu, pp. 85-101.45For example, in his criticism of antiquity mentioned earlier, Liu further statesthat:” [I] abhor the demerits [of the prevailing practices] and [I want to] save [theworld] and return it to the Middle Way.”63 What Liu is saying here is that he isagainst those who blindly follow prevailing practices or established rules. To Liu,the restoration of the Middle Way is a solution to the problem.One basic definition of Chung provided by The Doctrine of the Mean is asfollows:63LYFJC, pp. 132-133. Another example where Liu makes reference to the concept ofchung-tao can be found in LYHC, p. 249. For a discussion of Liu YU-hsi’s useage ofchung-tao, also see Fang Chieh “Liu Tsung-yuan ti ssu-hsiang pei-ching” (in Shu-mu chikan, vol. 15 (June 1981), no. 1, pp. 9-36), pp. 30-31. However, to Fang, Liu’s idea ofchung-tao is influenced by the canonical study of the Annals. The reason that Fangprovides for such an argument is that Liu was an admirer of Lu Wen. It is true that Liu’sadmiration Lu is clearly displayed in Liu’s writing, but this does not necessarily lead tothe conclusion that Liu’s conception of chung-tao directly results from study of theAnnals. I therefore cannot agree with Fang in this respect. See H. G. Lamont, “An earlyninth century debate on Heaven,” part II, p. 45. Sun Ch’ang-wu also argues that Liu wasinfluenced by Lu Ch’un’s approach to the interpretation of the Annals. Sun supports hisargument with Liu’s statement that “[When] reading a text one should observe itmeanings; when admiring a person of virtue one should admire his heart.” See Sun’sT’ang-tai ku-wen yün-tung t’ung-lun, p. 268. For Liu’s statement, see LYHC, p. 64. Asimilar idea can also be found in LYHC, p. 235. While this may imply the possibility thatLiu did share a similar view to Liu’s on the approaches to canonical study, this is still notsufficient evidence to allow us to confirm a direct or even an indirect influence from Lu.Another argument may further strengthen our doubts about such an influence. In a letterto, probably, YUan YU, during the discussion of issues concerning the Annals, Liu TsungyUan lists those who were connected with Lu’s approach to the Annals. Only Han Yeh,Han T’ai, LU Wen, and Ling Chun are mentioned, and Liu YU-hsi is not included in thelist. If Liu also studied the Annals with Lu or any of these people, then it seems strangethat Liu Tsung-yUan did not mention Liu YU-hsi in the letter. Also, as a close friend ofLiu who had communicated with Liu YU-hsi throughout his life after the abortive reformin 805, Liu Tsung-yUan never once discussed the Annals with Liu Yü-hsi in any greatdetail. The above should suggest at least that Liu Yü-hsi was not someone who paid muchattention to canonical study of the Annals. However, it cannot be asserted that the Annalsnecessarily exerts no influence on Liu’s political thought because all the intellectuals inTang, particularly those who were candidates of the chin-shih examination, needed to bewell-versed in all the Confucian classics. For the letter by Liu Tsung-yuan, see LTYC. pp.818-820.46[The state that exists] before the feelings of pleasure, anger, sorrow, andjoy are aroused is called equilibrium (chung, centrality, mean). When thesefeelings are aroused and each and all attain due measure and degree, [thestate] is called harmony (ho). Equilibrium is the great foundation of theworld, and harmony its universal path. When equilibrium and harmony arerealized in the highest degree, heaven and earth will attain their properorder and all things will flourish.64Here chung (equilibrium) appears to be a measure of one’s mental state. It is a stateprior to the emergence of one’s inner feelings. That is why the name chung is used,implying a state in which there is no leaning to one side. When one’s actions arecarried out according to the principle of chung, these actions are in a state of ho(harmony). Thus chung, in this passage, has no strong connection with concretepolitical philosophy. However, if “all things will flourish” when one brings about astate of chung-ho in the world, the implication is that there is a possible linkagebetween the notion of chung and that of the well-being of the world. Hence,chung-ho, as a manifestation of Sincerity in Man (Sage), does impose an outwardexertion of oneself to bring benefits to all creatures in the world.Therefore, in a theorectical plan, chung-ho may constitute an underlyingpolitical principle in The Doctrine of the Mean. But how can one follow theprinciple of chung-ho? The answer is by acting flexibly:Chung-ni (Confucius) said, “The superior man [exemplifies] the Mean (chung-yung). Theinferior man acts contrary to the Mean. The superior man [exemplifies] the Meanbecause, as a superior man, he can maintain the Mean at any time. The inferior man [actscontrary to] the Mean because, as an inferior man, he has no caution.6564See Sung T’ien-cheng, Chung-Yung chin-chu chin-i (Taipei: Commercial Press, 1977),p. 3. Translation taken from Chan Wing-tsit, A source book of Chinese philosophy(Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1963), p. 98, with minor changes.65Sung T’ien-chen, Chung-Yung chin-chu chin-i. p. 7. Translation taken from ChanWing-tsit, A source book in Chinese philosophy, pp. 98-99.47To “maintain the Mean at any time” (“shih-chung”)66 is perhaps one of the mostimportant concepts from the Confucian classics that influences Liu YU-hsi’spolitical thought and world views. Since chung is a standard that changes withtime, so one must always modify one’s actions with the changing of time and inchanging accord with chung. While one’s actions are not rigidly prescribed, theymust always be in accordance with a state of chung-ho that corresponds to theirtime.An example which reflects the idea of not insisting upon a rigidly fixed causeof action can also be found in The Doctrine of the Mean:Confucius said, “To be stupid and like to use his own judgment, to be in ahumble station and like to dictate, to live in the present world and go backto the ways of antiquity - people of this sort bring calamity onthemselves....”67This example also suggests the possibility of The Doctrine of Mean directlyinfluencing Liu’s idea that antiquity may not be faultless.A similar message can also be found in Mencius:Tzu-mo holds on to the middle, half way between the two extremes.Holding on to the middle is closer to being right, but to do this without theproper measure (ch’üan) is no different from holding to one extreme.68This passage provides a further qualification, ch ‘Uan, to the concept of the MiddleWay.69 Liu personally did not discuss ch’üan in detail. But, he did use ch’Uan,66For a discussion of the concept of shih-chung, see Yang Liang-kung, “Shih-chung” inHsueh-Yung yen-chiu lun-chi in pp. 2 17-226 of Wu Kan et al ed. Taipei: Li-ming wenhua shih-yeh, 1981.67See Sung T’ien-cheng, Chung-Yung chin-chu chin-i, p. 58. Translation taken fromChan Wing-tsit, A source book in Chinese philosophy, p. 110.68See D.C. Lau tr., Mencius (2 vols. Hong Kong: Chinese University Press, 1979), p.275.69See Hu Chih-k’uei, “Kung-Meng-Hstin yung-’chung’ ssu-hsiang fang-fa ti yen-chiu” inYu-shih hsüeh-pao, vol. 4, no. 1-2 (October 1961). In this article, Hu also points out thatthe ideas of chung, shih, and ch’üan are more developed in Hsün-tzu’s thought than inConfucius or Mencius. We will discuss the philosophical impact of HsUn-tzu’s thought onLiu’s intellectual outlook at greater length in chapter four.48together with the concept of ching (constancy), to praise YUan YWs ability togovern.70 Liu Tsung-yuan once provided a definition to these two concepts andhow they are related:That which is ching, is constant (chang). Ch’üan is that which [allows oneto] arrive at the ching. These are all matters of benevolence and wisdom.To depart from them [is to] stir up confusion! Ching without ch’üan willbe conservative. Ch’üan without ching will be perverse. These two arenames that are artifically imposed. [The term] proper (tang) can totally[explicate their meanings.] That which is Proper is the Way of the GreatCentrality (ta-chung).. 71To Liu Tsung-yUan, the concept of constancy is also closely tied to theMiddle Way.72 And, in this passage, ching and ch’üan are not two separateconcepts; they must always be employed together.Although we are not suggesting that Liu Yü-hsi necessarily shared LiuTsung-yUan’s understanding of these two concepts, Liu Tsung-yuan’s definitionwhich is in general agreement with Mencius’ characterization of the Middle Way --can serve as an exemplification of how some of Liu YU-hsi’s friends may haveunderstood the meaning of the Middle Way. It is also clear from the abovediscussion that the notion chung-tao occupies an important position in Confucianphilosophy.Liu Tsung-yUan and some other members of the Wang Shu-wen clique, likeLiu Yü-hsi himself, also considered the Middle Way an extremely importantconcept in Confucianism. One rather unique item of vocabulary that Liu YU-hsi70See LYHC, p. 123.71LTYC, p. 91. We may also note that in the second chapter of the Han-shih wai-chuan,annotated by Lai Yen-yuan. Taipei: Commercial Press, 1972. Mencius is said to havegiven his definition of the terms ching and ch’üan. See Han-shih wai-chuan chin-chuchin-i, p. 41. Liu Tsung-yUan’s definition of these two terms is similar to Mencius.72See LTYC, p. 88.49chose to use is the term ta-chung (Great Centrality). Among Liu’s friends, LiuTsung-yUan is perhaps the one who used it with the highest frequency.73Another member of the Wang Shu-wen clique, LU Wen, who was highlyrespected by the two Lius, was considered by Liu Tsung-yuan a man who hadgreat insight into the Middle Way.74 In addition, it is interesting to note that in theeulogy written for LU by Liu Tsung-yuan, Liu remarks that he and LU havedisscussed the deep meaning of the concept shih-chung in matters related to theWay of government.75Furthermore, Liu Tsung-yUan, in a tomb inscription writtenfor Lu Ch’un, describes Lu as a person who illuminated the “Great Centrality.”76Itseems, therefore, that Middle Way was considered by Liu YU-hsi and some of hisfriends an important way to achieve good government.The notion ta-chung, unlike the term chung-tao, is rarely found in Confucianclassics.77 It appears in the Kung An-kuo’s (second century B.C.) commentary onthe Book of Documents, it is used to define the term “kingly perfection”78 (huangchi), and it is discussed in great detail in Kung Ying-ta’s (574-648) sub73For a discussion of the importance of the Middle Way or Great Centrality in Liu Tsungyuan’s political thought, see Chen Jo-shui, Liu Tsung-vUan, pp. 92-94.74LTYC, p. 209. For a general discussion of LU Wen’s political thought, see Liu Chienming, “Lun LU Wen ti cheng-chih sheng-ya chi-ch’i cheng-chih ssu-hsiang” in Shih-huoyueh-kan, vol. 13, no. 1-2 (May 1983), pp. 58-71.See LTYC, p. 220.76 See LTYC, p. 209.77This term appears once in the Book of Changes. However, its usage basically refers tothe position of a line under discussion in the trigram. Thus chung, in this case, refers tothe fact that the particular line under discussion is situated at the center of the trigram.See Kung Ying-ta sub-commentary to this term in the Shang-shu cheng-i in Shih-sanching chu-shu vol. 1, p. 30b. Also see Huang P’ei-yung, “Lun I-chUan ti ‘chung,’ ‘cheng,’‘ying” in Ch’U Wan-li hsien-sheng ch’i-chih vung-ch’ing lun-wen-chi, pp. 501-5 10. Taipei:Lien-ching, 1977.78This translation of the term huang-chi is taken from Benjamin Schwartz, The world ofthought in ancient China (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1985), p.367.50commentary on the classic.79 There are at least two texts in which the notion tachung is used during the Han dynasty in the discussion of matters related to theWay of good government.80It seems very likely that Kung An-kuo’s commentaryon the Book of Documents serves as the textual source of the notion ta-chung forLiu YU-hsi and others.Liu Yü-hsi uses the term ta-chung only twice in his writings.81 However, inboth of these occurrences, it is used precisely to describe Confucian politicalideology. In one incident, it describes the teachings of Confucius in general, whilein the other it describes a famous Confucian at the end of the Sui dynasty, WangT’ung (584?-617). It is difficult to tell if Wang himself ever made use of the termta-chung because some of his works are no longer extant. But a survey of hisChung Shuo (Discourses on the Mean)82 does show that Wang repeatedly79See Shang-shu cheng-i in Shih-san-ching chu-shu (2 vols. Taipei: Wen-hua tu-shu,1970), vol. 1, pp. l88a and l89c. Also see Chen Jo-shui, Liu Tsung-yuan, pp. 93-94.Apart from being used to define huang-chi, ta-chung is also used in a number ofoccasions by Kung An-kuo as a synonym of the term chung. See Shih-san-ching chu-shu,vol. 1, pp. 135c and l6lc-162a.800ne useage can be found in the biography of Chou ChU in Fang Yeh, Hou Han Shu (12vols. Peking: Chung-hua shu-chU, 1987. Henceforth: HHS) 5 1:2025. The second useageis by the Confucian scholar Kung Kuang, who used the term ta-chung together with theterm huang-chi in the discussion of the political implications of an eclipse. See Pan Ku etal. Han Shu (12 vols. Peking: Chung-hua shu-chU, 1987. Henceforth: jj) 51:3359.Because Kung An-kuo was the great grand uncle of Kung Kuang, it is very likely thatKung Kuang’s usage of these notions was directly adopted from Kung An-kuo’scommentary on the Book of Documents.81LYHC, pp. 43 and 56.82lssues concerning the authorship of Chung shuo and the person Wang T’ung are highlycontroversial. But modern scholarship seems to agree that Wang T’ung is indeed theauthor of Chung shuo. Nonetheless, there is no doubt that Liu YU-hsi never suspected theauthenticity of this text and the identity of its author. For a general discussion of thecontroversey, see Howard J. Wechsler, ‘The Confucian teacher Wang T’ung (584?-617):one thousand years of controversy” in T’oung Pao, vol. LXIII (1977), pp. 225-272.51expounded the ideas huang-chi, chung-tao, and ch’Uan.83 It is therefore alsopossible that Wang’s works might have inspired Liu’s understanding of the notionof ta-chung. At the least, it is quite clear that Liu Yü-hsi’s conception of theMiddle Way as a politcal ideology was indeed inspired by the Confucian classics.Possessing poetic abilities, Liu tends to convey his ideas subtly. Liu’s idea ofacting according to the Middle Way may perhaps be best illustrated in his fable“Chien-yao”(”To discern about medicine”).84It tells a story in which Liu obtaines akind of medicine, poisonous in nature, from a doctor to cure his measles. However,when he recovers, he continues to take the medicine. Now that his sickness hasgone, the medicine becomes harmful to his body, and so he becomes sick again.Hence he returns to the doctor and is given a different kind of medicine to alleviatethe situation.At the end of the fable, Liu writes:Master Liu sighed and said, ‘Good is the doctor! He uses poison inattacking the measles, and mild (ho)85 [medication] in pacifying one’sspirit. If they change [their order] then these two [scenarios] will turn intoproblems. This is clear, if [one] follows the previous [examples] to copewith changes, and ignores the concepts of restraint and letting go, is thisonly the fault of small men like us in the taking care of our bodies?86The rhetorical question at the end of the passage clearly suggests the process Liuis referring to applies widely to all human’s affairs. It is hard to prove that Liuintended to expound the concept of chung-ho in this piece, yet, nevertheless, one83See Wang T’ung, Chung Shuo (in Chung-kuo tzu-hsüeh ming-chu chi-cheng, vol. 30.Taipei: Chung-kuo tzu-hsüeh ming-chu chi-cheng pien-ying chi-chin-hui, 1977), pp. 3001, 306, 324, 335, 38 1-2, 397, 414, 443 473, 489, 490-1, 538.84LyHC p. 77.85The term ho, in this particular context, probably carries with it a special conntation inthe theory of Chinese medicine. Liu was well-trained in the tradition of Chinesemedicine; hence, it is not rendered “harmony.”86LyHC p. 77.52underlying teaching of this fable is that one should not go to the extreme. Liu thusexpounds a flexible approach in the handling of problems, and urges his readersnot to stick blindly to established ways. This clearly agrees with the concept ofch ‘üan.This feature of Liu Yü-hsi’s political ideology is echoed in a letter sent to aprime minister in 823,87 in which Liu advises his correspondent how to solve aproblem in the educational system. Liu remarks that “it is not that the educationalofficials do not want to bring prosperity [back to the schools], it is that they areworried that there is no money to provide for their needs.”88 Thus, the problem toLiu is one that should be dealt with financially by the central government. Thebasic cause of insufficient funding for educational institutions, according to Liu, isthat a huge amount of money was used in the shih-tien ritual that are performed allover the state each year. Liu thus criticizes the memorial of HsU Ching-tsung (592-672) and others in 646 which advised the state to appoint three offertory officialsfor the shih-tien ritual in every prefecture and district, and its suggestion of usingsacrificial animals in the ritual. This meant that a huge amount of funds had to bere-distributed from the existing funding for education to pay for offertory officialsand sacrificial animals. Although Emperor HsUan tsung (r. 712-755) had stoppedthe practice of using animals, and substituted them with dry meats in the shih-tien87According to the letter, Liu was the Prefect of K’uei-chou (in modern Ssu-ch’uan) at thetime. It was only during the years 822 to 824 that Liu occupied such a position. See Nienpu, pp. 106-114. In a memorial dated on the seventh day, eleventh month of the year 823,Liu mentions that he has dispatched a person called Fung Sui to deliver report(s) on hisadvice on government. In the letter under discussion, only the day and month are stated,and they match with those of the memorial. Therefore, it is quite likely that this letter wasdelivered by Fung Sui, and possibly was written in 823. For the memorial, see LYHC, pp.178-180. Also see Lo Lien-tien, “Liu Meng-te nien-p’u,” pp. 250-25 1.88LYHC, p. 252.53ritual in 723,89 and this was later issued as a legal order, Li Lin-fu (d. 752) later,according to Liu, ordered Wang Ching-ts’ung (679-740) to revoke this order andthus HsU’s policy was re-adopted.9°Liu’s basic disagreement with this policy wasthat it diverted existing funding allocated for educational purposes to the carryingout of the shih-tien ritual.To solve the problem, Liu proposes:.to stop using sacrificial animals, clothing and money in the ceremoniesin all prefectures and townships under Heaven. If there are students, then,in spring and autumn, follow the imperial decree of the Kai-yuan reign(713-741), and use wines, dry meat mixed with ginger and cassia, the driedmeat of birds and fishes, and dried nuts to show respect in the ceremony.And the provincial government offices should follow the old rules. Then,confiscate the funds [for the carrying out of these rules]. Half [will go to]improving the province that it belongs to, to increase [the number of]schools. Send [the other half] to the state’s schools. This amount will notbelow tens of thousands. [This amount can be used in the] construction ofschool buildings, purchase of equipment, enriching of the food supplied,and to increase [the numbers of] clerks to look after [the schools]. In thecase of all Confucian instructors, their salaries should be increased. Forpapers, brushes, lead powder and yellow ochre, according to the provinceswhere they are produced, let them all be calculated as income...9189See THY, p. 642.90Liu’s accounts of HsU’s memorial and Emperor HsUan-tsung’s policy are basicallyreliable. See THY, pp. 640-643. Also see fl, pp. 1474-1475. The basic differencebetween Liu’s account and that of these two texts is that Liu says that HsU’s memorial waspresented in 646 while the two texts indicate that it was presented in 647. But the Ts’e-fuyüan-kuei (compiled by Wang Chin-jo et al. 12 vols. Peking: Chung-hua shu-chU, 1960.Henceforth: TFYK) recorded that it was presented in 646. See TFYK, p. 7245. As to Liu’saccount of Li Lin-fu’s re-adoption of HsU’s policy, I am unable to find historical records tosubstantiate it. For a discussion of some different accounts of the education system atLiu’s times, see LU ssu-mien, LU ssu-mien tu-shih cha-chi (Shanghai: Shanghai ku-chi,1982), pp. 1253-1257. For a discussion of the shih-tien ritual in T’ang and its functions inthe education system, see Kao Ming-shih, “T’ang-tai ti shih-tien li-chih chi-ch’i-tsai chiaoyu-shang ti yi-i” in Ta-lu tsa-chih, vol. 61, no. 5 (November 1980), pp. 20-38. Chaptertwo of David McMullen’s State and scholars in T’ang China also provides a rather cleardescription of the shih-tien ritual in the T’ang dynasty. For addition references to thisritual, see jd., p. 273, n. 9.91LYHC, pp. 253-254.54So, instead of seeking financial resources from without, Liu scrutinizes the internaldefects of the system. In doing so, he pinpoints the expenses that divert a greatportion of existing funding to things that are unnecessary or impractical. Theimproper policies carried out since the time of Li Lin-fu, Liu argues, have forcededucational institutions to finance the shih-tien ritual. Therefore, Liu proposes tore-distribute properly the existing funding to the area that was supposed to be thetarget of education: the training of able persons to run the state.Here, Liu’s line of reasoning is not moralistic or didactic in its outlook. It israther a practical approach to the problem. Ever since the An Lu-shan rebellion,one major problem that the T’ang empire had to face was the provision ofsufficient funds to run its daily operations. So, being practical, Liu’s approach wasone that did not require any further effort to relocate resources to finance his plan.All his plan required was a re-consideration of the distribution of a financialbudget that was already in place. Therefore, we can see, in this specific example,not only Liu’s interest in practical solutions to problems in the educational systemof his day, but also his views on the purpose of the education. This, again, reflectsthe political aspects of Liu’s Confucianism : the major function of the educationinstitute, run by Confucian scholars, should be to train capable persons to run thestate efficiently.Liu’s political pragmatics of practical and flexible action characterize hispolitical stance as reformist. Being flexible, he looked at each situationindependently. While Liu held that antiquity might not be faultless, he did not goso far as to reject all the possible merits of the ancients. He had once stated that:The Way of the Three Kings is like going around in a cycle. It is not that itmust be changed. It is merely to examine on things that must be aided. Didthe faults of the Sui dynasty only lie in its established regulations? [Of55course not!] It is only that the established regulations did not correspond tothe real situations. What is the harm in following them?92Flexibility thus does not necessarily imply change. To say that the fault of the Suidynasty lay in its inability to police the established regulations again properlyreflects Liu’s seriousness regarding the doctrine of Rectification of Names.In his preface to LU Wen’s collected works, Liu characterized LU’s ambitionto be one that “assists the kingly way and brings about [well-being] to the people(chi-wu).”93 This characterization of LU’s thought reflects also the main thrust ofLiu’s political ideology. As we have already seen earlier in Liu’s letter to TouCh’Un, the idea of chi-wu is the final goal of Liu’s political endeavor.94Clearly, themajor feature of Liu’s Confucianism is his expounding of the idea of the Way ofgood government. In a letter to the Perfect of Jao-chou (in modern Chiang-hsi)95,Liu expressed in great detail his conception of the Way of good government:92LyHc p. 63.93LYHC, p. 235.94This idea of chi-wu is repeatedly expounded by Liu. For other examples where he madeuse of this term, see LYHC, pp. 30, 131 and 220,95According to the Nien-p’u, this letter was written when Liu was in Lang-chou in theposition of adjutant (806-814). Ch’U Tui-yUan suggested that this letter might have beenwritten later when Liu had the position of Prefect in Lien-chou. However, his argument isagain rather speculative in nature. See his Liu YU-hsi chi chien-cheng, p. 261. There areat least two different theories about the identity of the Prefect of Jao-chou. One assertsthat this Perfect was YUan YU: see ChU T’ui-yuan, Liu YU-hsi chi chien-cheng, pp. 260-262 and Chang Shih-chao, Liu-wen chih-yao (14 vols. Peking: Chung-hua shu-chU,1971), pp. 965-966, 1003. The other affirms YUan Hung was Prefect. See Yu Hsien-hao,Tang t’zu-shih k’ao (5 vols. Nanking: Chiang-su ku-chi, 1987), vol. 4, p. 2033 and PienHsiao-hsUan, Liu YU-hsi t&ung k’ao, pp. 185-186. All of them agree that the letter waswritten between 812 and 814. It seems that YU Hsien-hao presupposes Yuan Hung to bethe receiver of the letter, and he, therefore, basing his assumptions on this rathergroundless presupposition, regards YUan Hung as being the Perfect of Jao-chou betweenthese few years. Pien also believes that Yuan Hung was the reciever. Although heprovides a number of points to support this belief, they are all circumstantial in nature.Chang Shih-chao argues the possibility that YUan YU might have stayed on as Prefect ofJao-chou for more than six or seven years. If we add to this the evidence that YUantransferred from the position of Prefect of Jao-chou to that of the Prefect of Hang-chou in56Perhaps the different policies [that are carried out] in years of good andbad harvest depend on the [corresponding] times. The fact that differentlaws apply to the barbarians and the Chinese is linked to [differences] incustoms. Accordance with the times consists of [the ability to provide]correct observations. Accordance with customs consists of [the ability toprovide] convenience [to the people]. [If one is] unable to grasp the properway of taxation and distribution [of resources], then, even when there is ayear of good harvest, [the consequence] is like flood and drought. [If oneis] unable to know the meaning of daily usage and needs [of the people]and the sharing of the fruits of harvests (le-cheng),96 even if the commonpeople are [living] peacefully, [the consequence] is just like times whenfamilies are forcibly] separated. [If the] promise regarding ‘moving thewooden pol&’97 is always carried out, then people will not be confused.This is the prerequisite of good government. [If one is able] to encourage[the people] through the model of putting out a cup of clear water,98 thepeople will know to respect [the officials]. This is the foundation of goodgovernment, If the information box99 [for the reporting of corruption] isused, then the wicked [officials] will not dare to decieve [their superiors].This is something that assists the way of government. [But], it is necessarythat the looseness and flexibility, the strength and weakness [of these820, it seems quite possible that he was the receiver of the letter. On page 1003, Changclaims to be certain that Yuan Yü was indeed the receiver, but he does not attempt tosubstantiate his claim. Nevertheless, the identification of the Prefect of Jao-chou shouldpose no difficulty in our understanding of Liu’s ideas as expressed in the letter. Forconvenience, we will thus take YUan Yu to be the receiver of the letter in our discussion.In addition, Liu Tsung-yUan also wrote a letter to the Prefect after Liu YU-hsi in which hediscusses with YUan the same topic and expresses his agreement with Liu YU-hs?s ideason the Way of good government. See LTYC, pp. 83 1-833.96We should note that the term le-cheng is probably taken from the first chapter ofShang-chun Shu. See Chu shih-ch’e, Shang-chUn-shu chieh-ku ting-pen (Peking: Ku-chichu-pan-she, 1956), p. 2.97This story is from the biography of Shang Yang in S. It tells that Shang Yang,erecting a wooden pole at the south gate of the city, promised the citizens that whoevercould move the pole to the north gate would be given ten chin (unit of monetarycurrency). At the beginning, no one dared to move the pole. Then Shang raised the rewardto fifty chin. After this, one man did move the pole to the north gate. Shang thereforerewarded him with the promised amount in order to show the people that they would notbe cheated. See SC 66:223 1.98This story is from the biography of Fang Ts’an in HHS 51:1689. When Pang arrived inHan-yang to take up the position of governor he went to visit a virtuous person, JenTang. However, Jen did not talk to Pang but simply put out a bundle of shallots and acup of clear water. P’ang soon realized the hidden meaning that Jen wanted to convey. Inparticular, by putting out a cup of clear water, len advised Fang not to become corrupt.99This story is in the biography of Chao Kuang-han in ll±S 76:3200.57approaches] should apply in accordance to the changing situations only...When the people are satisfied [with what they need], they will long forstability. When stability [is achieved] then they will be concerned withpersonal well-being and will be afraid of the laws. When [the people are]destitute then they will contemplate improper acts. [When they]contemplate improper acts, then they will be compelled [to seek for]profit and disrespect the prohibitions. That is why people [living duringthe time of] Emperors Wen and Ching [in Han] enriched their lives. Andthose who were officials all manifested benevolence and reciprocity.People living during the reigns of Emperors Wu and Hsuan were draftedfor labor service. Those who were officials, were all known for theirferocity. The alternate usage of lenient and fierce [policies] is like therotation of refinement and substance. It is necessary to examine theproblems in order to solve them. [One] ought to examine oneself carefullyin the assistance and deprivation of [the people] 100This passage clearly displays Liu YU-hsi’s conception of the Way of goodgovernment. We can discern three major points. The first point emphasizes theneed for a flexible approach to government. This emphasis is based on theunderstanding that real-life situations do not always arise from identical causes.Since Chinese society was agrarian in nature, seasonal climatic changes dictatedthe customs. And differences in customs, as Liu understood it, were the basicreasons why different kinds of laws were adopted by the Chinese and by thebarbarians. Therefore, a basic requirement of good government, for Liu, is that itact in accordance with customs. If the officials are ignorant of this, theconsequence of their policies will be disastrous, notwithstanding the fact thatmight be a good harvest in any particular year.The second point outlines detailed requirements for good government on thepart of the officials: trustworthiness, frugality, and a concern for the peoples wellbeing. In addition, Liu also suggests that people should be provided a channelthrough which they can convey their dissatisfaction with bad officials. This will inturn help to stop any improper acts by the officials. All Liu’s suggestions are100LYHC, p. 124.58targeted at the officials, reflecting his acknowledgement that a high institutionalmoral standard is necessary in the Way of good government.The third point expresses Liu’s understanding of why people disobey laws.According to Liu, the failure to provide for peoples’ basic material needs inducesinstability among the populace. One implication of this is that law is lessimportant than moral standards. This further implies that while Liu’s politicalideology is one that contains legalist elements, these elements never outweigh theinfluence of Confucianism.101 Law is required only when the people are unable to101A number of articles published in the PRC, particularly during the mid-seventies,portrayed Liu as a legalist, and stated that his intellectual outlook was diametricallyopposite to that of a Confucian. For examples, see Wen Chün, “Lun Liu YU-hsi ti chengchih shih” in Pei-cbing ta-hsüeh hsüeh-pao, 1974, no. 4, pp. 46-51; Ching Tang, “Liu YUhsi ti ch’ung-fa ssu-hsiang ho ke-hsin ching-shen” in Wen Wu, (September 1974), no. 9,pp. 13-19, 44. This characterization of Liu is crude, simplistic, and politically motivated.For a refutation of this characterization of Liu’s intellectual outlook, see Ch’en Yün-chi,“Lun Liu Yü-hsi chi-ch’i wen-hsüeh cheng-chiu” in T’ang-ving fo-chiao pien-ssu-lu(Shanghai: Shanghai ku-chi, 1988), pp. 204-232. However, E.G. Pulleyblank in hisarticle, “Neo-Confucianism and Neo-Legalism in T’ang intellectual life,” has suggestedthat Liu belonged to the Legalist intellectual tradition which was “drawn upon andintroduced in Confucian dress.” (See p. 114 of his article). Without doubt, it is true thatLiu did draw inspiration from Legalism. On a number of occasions, Liu makes referenceto Han Fei (d. 233 B.C.) or his works. For two examples, see LYHC, pp. 116 and 133. Inthe first example, Liu makes reference to Han Fei’s “Ku Fen”(”Lonely exasperation”). Hissympathy with this particular piece clearly reflects his frustration due to the failure of the805 reform. In the second example, Liu quotes a line directly from the chapter “HsienHsUeh” (“The illustrious Schools”), and here Liu is certainly borrowing ideas fromLegalism. However, he is still arguing against the conception that antiquity necessarilyexemplifies perfect human existence. Thus, he uses a quotation from Han Fei to push forhis idea of practicality and flexibility. Indeed, this usage may be one reason for Liu’sinterest in Legalism. It is also true that this aspect of Liu’s thought might have beeninfluenced by Tu Yu. Liu’s hostility to merchants in his works may also provide anargument for a Legalist characterization of Liu’s thought. (see Pulleyblank’s article) For adiscussion of status of merchant and particularly Liu’s hostility toward mercantileactivities see Dennis Twitchett, “Merchant, Trade and Government in Late T’ang” in LaMajor, new series, vol. XIV, part I, pp. 63-95. However, it seems to me that Liu’sadoption of Legalist ideology is for the purpose of serving his Confucian political goal.As we have already mentioned, laws are, to Liu, of a second order of importance ratherthan a primary approach in the Way of good government. Also, it seems that while Liudoes focus his discussion on the proper method of rule, the underlying purpose of his59obtain their basic needs, and it is the responsibility of the government to providethe populace with these basic needs. If the government is incapable of providingthe people with a basic living standard, social disorder will naturally result.We have already mentioned above Liu’s requirement of a high moralstandard from officials. This aspect is expanded further in the following letter:The Grand Historian said: “[In the case of] those who have cultivatedthemselves, their governance has not been chaotic.” However, there aresome who have cultivated themselves but are unable to govern properly.There are none who are unable to [cultivate] themselves and able togovern the people properly. Now, [speaking of] those who are said to beintent on good governing, all of them know that the people are burdenedwith taxation, and tired out through labor. They say, “[In] the way ofgoverning, nothing comes before simplicity, frugality, and following thelaws.” The ability of some of them may be restricted by narrow-mindedness. Their intellect is restricted by weakness of character. Theycannot consider [the situations] of profit and loss, and rid the people oftheir burdens. [They] consider ignorance as simplicity, personal purity asfrugality, and the following the evil practices of the past as the followingof laws. So, within their own households, their minds [might be] set clear,and their power is transferred to the hands of the clerks. When the year isgood, and affairs are simple, they are able to govern by luck. In a bad year,when the affairs that need to be taken care of are numerous, then [thepopulace] will become disaffected in a destructive manner. Therefore it issaid that there are some who are cultivated but unable to govern. What youhave said on the way of government is reasonable and closely related tothe actual situations.. .Cultivation does not stop at one’s own body, [but] itmust bring benefit to the people (chi-wu).’°2This passage expresses an interesting idea on the issue of self-cultivation inthe way of good government. While Liu has previously acknowledged theendeavor is to advocate the interests of the ruled. Liu’s conception of a proper way togood government requires a balance between the ability and moral cultivation of theofficials. Thus, while I do acknowledge specific legalist elements in Liu politicalideology, I cannot accept a relatively strict characterization of Liu as a Legalist. Forinformation on Liu’s contemporaries’ interest in Legalism, see Chen Jo-shui, Liu Tsungyuan, p. 120, n. 84. We will discuss in more detail the role of the conceptfa plays in Liu’sthought in chapter four.102LYHC, p. 124.60importance of a high moral standard on the part of the officials, this passage seemsto suggest that self-cultivation is not, in the last analysis, directly related to the wayof good government. However, a closer look at the way Liu defines the term“cultivation” may lead us to a different conclusion.As in the letter to Tou Ch’ün, but now in greater detail, Liu attackes theprevailing practices of officials. Instead of following the proper way ofgovernment -- simplicity, frugality, and the upholding of laws - these peopledistort the way of government, yet still consider themselves able persons in thegoverning of the people. They simply miss the target: to them, self-cultivation,becomes solely a personal affair. But to Liu, the purpose of self-cultivation is notat all a personal matter. The final goal of cultivation is to bring well-being to thepeople. Thus Liu defines self-cultivation as both a private and a public matter.The idea of a close connection between self-cultivation and conduct ofgovernment is expounded in various Confucian classics. In The Doctrine of theMean we read the following passage:Therefore the conduct of government depends upon men. The right menare obtained by the ruler’s character. The cultivation of the person is to bedone through the Way, and the cultivation of the Way is to be donethrough humanity. Humanity (jen) is [the distinguishing characteristic of]man, and the greatest application of it is in being affectionate towardrelatives.. .Therefore the superior man must not fail to cultivate hispersonal life. Wishing to cultivate his personal life, he must not fail toserve his parents. Wishing to serve his parents, he must not fail to knowman. Wishing to know man, he must not fail to know Heaven.103Clearly, Liu’s advocacy of the need for self-cultivation in order to run thegovernment properly is not unique. However, Liu’s idea of self-cultivation doesnot go as far as that of The Doctrine of the Mean. While his concepts as expressed103See Sung T’ien-cheng, Chung-Yung chin-chu chin-i, p. 35. Translation taken fromChan Wing-tsit, A source book of chinese philosophy, pp. 104-105.61in the letter to Yuan Yu about self-cultivation do carry a certain moralistic weight,he never associates self-cultivation with the “knowing” of Heaven.104Here, self-cultivation is clearly a process of developing one’s mind. HoweverLiu posits another dimension in the connection between self and others. Apartfrom the need to prepare oneself mentally in the proper governing of the populace,Liu seems to perceive also the subsidiary importance of physical cultivation of thebody. In the letter to Tou Ch’ün quoted earlier, Liu remarks that “to nourishoneself and to nourish the people are not two different ways.” Here the word“nourish” (yang) refers to the fostering of better physical health rather than mentalimprovement. Liu’s idea can perhaps be related to his life-long interest inmedicine.’05Also, the fact that some of Liu’s best and most respected friends diedat young age might have had enought psychological impact on Liu to cause him toconsider seriously the need for a physically sound body in order to carry out hisWay of government.’06 Thus, self-cultivation, for Liu, is both a personal andimpersonal endeavor, though the ultimate purpose of such an endeavor is to bringwell-being to the people (chi-wu).Here we have made clear the basic imperative of Liu’s conception ofConfucianism -- to bring well-being to the populace. But in order to realize such aConfucian goal, Liu stresses the necessity for one to obtain a proper position inofficialdom.’°7After the 805 reform was aborted, Liu, and many others in theWang Shu-wen clique, were banished to remote areas. For ten years Liu was104For discussion of Liu’s idea of Heaven, see chapter four of this study.105k his letter to a doctor named HsUeh Ching-hui, Liu again expressed the importanceof nurturing the people. See LYHC, p. 130. For the identification of HsUeh, see Ch’üT’ui-yUan, Liu Yü-hsi chi chien-cheng, p. 279.106For example, LU Wen and Liu Tsung-yUan died at relatively young ages. Liu died in819 at the age of forty-six, and LU died in 811 at the age of thirty-nine. We may also notethat the letter to Tou was written around 813-814, at most three years after LU’s death.107For examples, see LYHC, pp. 128, 216, and 224.62assigned the position of marshal, a position that carried no administrativeresponsibility, in Lang-chou. For the rest of his life, although he took up positionswith greater administrative responsibilities, mainly in areas away from the capital,he was given no opportunity to participate in the decision-making process ofcentral government. Politically ambitious, he was intensely frustrated, anddeveloped a way to deal with this frustration: the concept of shih (situation). It israther difficult to give a precise translation of this word; in Liu’s usage, it conveysthe ideas of proper situationu and “proper opportunity.”108 Liu’s works clearlyshow that this idea played an important role in his world view.’09 As we have notedearlier, the concept of shih-chung in The Doctrine of the Mean exerted animportant influence upon Liu’s political ideology. It is thus possible that Liu alsoobtained idea of shih from this Confucian text. But the idea of shih is alsorepeatedly expounded in the Book of Changes. a text in which Liu showed greatinterest.”0In particular, the idea of shih-chung can also be found in the judgmentof the Meng hexagram.”The idea of shih not only provided a way for Liu to theorize about thesetbacks in his political career, it also provided a means for him to keep alive hispolitical ambitions. In a rhapsody written while he was banished to Lang-chou, Liuexpressed his understanding of shih through the mouth of a diviner:The diviner said, ‘You called on me rashly, and yet asked me subtlematters. There is right and wrong [for all] under the heaven, and there isright and wrong for each person. There are things that are judged beautiful108See Kao Chien, “Shih - Hsien-Chin k’o-hsüeh yu che-hsüeh ssu-hsiang-chung ti i-kochung-yao kai-lien” in Chung-kuo che-hsUeh-shih yen-chiu, April 1987, no. 2, pp. 3-9.109For examples in which Liu expounded the idea of shih, see LYHC, pp. 5, 12, 17, 21,38, 113, 221, 228, 235, 236, and 238.110The Ch’ing scholar Hui Tung discusses the importance of shih-chung in the Book ofChanges. See Hui Tung, I-Han hsUeh (Ts’ung-shu chi-cheng edition. Shanghai:Commercial Press, 1937), pp. 107-109.1115ee Nan Huai-chin, Chou-I chin-chu chin-i, p. 52.63over here, but are judged ugly over there. There are things that havesucceeded in the past, but fail in the present. You have asked me why thisis so. This is all determined by situations (shih). Shih! Shih! When it isgone, one cannot call it back. When it is coming, one cannot escape it.Over this long period of time, who can escape it, and who can control it?The poisonous sprout of the monkshood, and the small seedlings of thefoxnut, can each, in the proper situations, dominate the other [medicalingredients]. The skill of dragon-slaying cannot be said to be not great, butwhen there is no use for it at the time, it is inferior to the skill of checkingthe plumpness of a pig by one’s feet.. .Therefore, it can be said that: Rightor wrong are determined by the situation! Certainly, good and bad inoneself originate from the same source. It all depends on one’s experience.If this is so, then, I am not proud to be successful and ashamed of failing.When the situation has gone, why think about it? When it is coming, whyanticipate it? For the time being, let us carry on in the usual way and wait.Why does one need to divine?” When he finished his words, he held histurtle [shell in his hand] and got up. I retreated and composed the“Rhapsody on why one should divine” (“Ho-pu fu”). Therefore myintention in following the Way is devotedly fixed, and my will to wait forthe situation (shih) is strong. When I examine my various internal doubts,they disappear like melting ice.112One the one hand, this passage clearly shows Liu’s conception of the ever-changing nature of the consequence of events. While there are basic principlesaccording to which one should act, these actions by themselves do not determinethe consequence. On the other hand, the passage displays the way in which Liuconsoled himself with the notion of shih. An important consequence of Liu’sconception of shih is its provision of a way for the writer to rid himself of hisdoubts and frustrations. Furthermore, Liu’s characterization of shih contains aflavor of fatalism, since it is something that is outside individual control. However,while the coming and going of shih is uncontrollable by any individual, this doesnot necessarily imply that future opportunities may never arise. It is precisely theunpredictability of the coming and going of shih that provides Liu with a sense of112LYFJC,p. 12.64hope. While he was banished far away from the capital Ch’ang-an, Liu thus nevergave up the hope of a future opportunity to serve in the central government.113We have seen in the above paragraph how the idea of shih influenced Liupsychologically. This idea may appear to exert its influence mostly at a personallevel; but within his basic world view, it also helps to strengthen Liu’s confidencein his political thought. Therefore, while the idea shih helps to release Liu’sfrustration, it also serves to strengthen his faith in public spiritedness. Hence, shihexerts its influence on Liu both inwardly and outwardly. There is another instancein Liu’s works that reflects a possible influence from the Book of Changes, andwhich shows clearly a bi-directional linkage between a personal and publicconcern. “In addition to the observation of things, I thereupon observe my life.”4The possible connection with the Book of Changes is that the term “observe mylife” (“kuan wo sheng”) is from the KuanlContemplation (View) hexagram:Six in the third place:a) Contemplation of my life decides the choice between advance andretreat.b) “Contemplation of my life decides the choice between advance andretreat.” The right way is not lost.Nine in the fifth place:a)Contemplation of my life. The superior man is without blame.b)t’Contemplation of my life,” that is, contemplation of the people.Nine at the top:a)Contemplation of his life. The superior man is without blame.b)”Contemplation of his life.” This will is not yet pacified.”5113For some other examples which show Liu’s positive outlook see LYHC, pp. 4-5, 17-18, and 258.114LYHC, p. 8.1t5See Nan Huai-chin, Chou-I chin-chu chin-i, p. 138. Translation is taken from RichardWilhelm (rendered into English by Cary F. Baynes) The I Ching (Princeton, New Jersey:Princeton University Press, 1950), pp. 488-489.65The ideas expounded above clearly closely resemble aspects of Liu’s world view.Although the phrase “kuan wo sheng” only occurs once in his extant works it isdifficult for us to miss the inward and outward implication of tao.”6Apart from this important influence from the Book of Changes, it is alsoevident that Liu made frequent use of this Confucian classic in his discussions ofpolitical issues.’17 The Book of Changes thus serves as both a comforting agent inthe relief of Liu’s frustrations, and a source of his political ideology.To recapitulate, the central feature of Liu’s Confucianism, as we have shown,is its political nature; the purpose of such political endeavor is to bring prosperityto the populace (chi-wu). Drawing his political ideology from such Confucianclassics as The Doctrine of the Mean and the Book of Changes, and partly fromLegalist texts, Liu expounds a practical approach to politics, having little to sayabout the moral aspect of Confucianism. He identifies, in a specific way, certainkinds of compositions (wen) and the tao. Instead of “illuminating” or “conveying”the essence of tao, Liu perceives wen as the actual tool that could bring about thewell-being of the people. In Liu’s thought, tao is not a synonym for “antiquity.” ToLiu, the fulfillment of the tao is both a private and public matter. When he sufferedfrom political setbacks, he drew upon the Confucian classics for the wisdom that116n a poem written after Liu read the collected works of Chang Chiu-ling (673-740), weread the lines: “The sayings of the sages value highly the principle of loyalty andreciprocity; the ultimate Way concerns the observation of oneself.” LYHC, p. 263. K’ungYing-ta identified sheng as tao. See Chou-i Cheng-i, under the line “six in the third place”in Shih-san-ching chu-shu, vol. 1, p. 24c.1170ne example, already mentioned earlier, is found in the letter to Tou Ch’ün. There Liuclearly indicated that he was making use of the TiThe Corners of the Mouth (providingnourishment) hexagram in his discussion of bringing well-being to the populace when hesaid, “The proper meanings of the I [hexagram is something that one] must follow. Forother examples where he made use of the Book of Changes see LYHC, p. 11 (T’ailpeaceand the P’i/standstill hexagrams), 110 (Hsiao KuofProponderance of the small), 123(Chenl(shock,thunder)).66provided him the comfort he so desperately needed. At the same time, suchwisdom also provided him with the motivation to exert himself politically, and tofulfill his Confucian belief when opportunities (shih) arose.67Chapter 3: Buddhist sentiments in Liu YU-hsi’s thoughtIn the twelfth month of 814, after ten years of exile in Lang-chou, Liu YU-hsiwas summoned back to the capital Chang-an.’ Only two months later Liu foundhimself facing yet another humiliation. This time, in spite of being assigned to thehigher-ranking position of Prefect, he was sent to an even more remote area: Lienchou (in modern Ssu-ch’uan). In a memorial “giving thanks”2 for such anassignment, Liu states that he studied only the Buddhist sutras in his spare time,“in the hope of prolonging the life of the emperor.”3This statement is quite clearlyformulaic, but is nonetheless interesting, since it gives insight into Liu’s activitiesrelated to Buddhism.Buddhism was introduced into China during the early part of the first centuryAD,4 and it flourished during the T’ang. A number of major Chinese Buddhistschools emerged in this dynasty.5 As we have already noted in earlier chapters,Buddhism took charge, to a great extent, of both the spiritual and mental life of‘See Nien-p’u, p. 66.2As we have noted in chapter one, Liu was originally assigned the position of Prefect ofPo-chou (in modern Kuei-chou), a place which was said to be unfit for human habitation.I think Liu’s gratitude for the re-assignment was genuine. For Liu’s frustration in thisparticular political setback, see his letter to Chang Hung-ching in LYHC, p. 218.3See LYHC, p. 582. The reigning emperor to whom Liu addressed his memorial wasHsien-tsung (r. 805-820), who was a devout patron of Buddhism. For a description of hisdevotion to Buddhism, see Stanley Weinstein, Buddhism under the Tang (New York:Cambridge University Press, 1987), pp. 99-105.4A number of stories concerning the origin of Chinese Buddhism exist, but most of themhave been proved to be legendary in nature. For an examination of these legends and thetheory that Chinese Buddhism began during the early years of the first century AD, seeT’ang Yung-t’ung, Han-Wei liang-Chin Nan-pei-ch’ao fo-chiao shih (2 vols. Peking:Chung-hua shu-chü, 1979), chapters one to three.5These Buddhist schools include the Wei-shih, Hua-yen and Ch’an. The Tien-tai schoolbegan shortly before the T’ang. For a brief discussion of the major schools of Buddhistthought in the Sui and T’ang dynasties, see T’ang Yung-t’ung, Sui-T’ang fo-chiao shih-kao(Peking: Chung-hua shu-chU, 1982), pp. 105-223.68Tang intellectuals.6It is therefore not surprising to discover that Liu YU-hsi wasattracted to this religion and philosophy.There is no information pertaining to a connection between Liu’s family andBuddhism. Liu’s own connections with Buddhism can be dated back to his earlyteens. We have already noted that Liu’s earlier years were spent in an area near Suchou.7 This area was one of the regions where Buddhism flourished in the T’angdynasty, particularly after the An Lu-shan rebellion.8Thus Liu’s early contact withBuddhism, and even the nature of his Buddhist thought, were related to his closeproximity to the major centers of Buddhist activity.In a preface written for the collected works of the poet-monk Ling-ch’e, Liurecalled his encounter with Ling-ch’e and another famous poet-monk Chiao-jan:6The state attitude towards Buddhism and Taoism during the Tang was complex innature. Generally speaking, the position of these two religions depend very much on thepersonal interest of each individual emperor. For a discussion of the oscillating nature ofthe T’ang court’s policies towards Buddhism and Taoism, see Stanley Weinstein,Buddhism under the T’ang.7See chapter one of this study.8According to Yen Keng-wang, the region in which the majority of famous Buddhistmonks were active clearly shifted from the north to the south after the outbreak of the AnLu-shan rebellion. The demarcation line which Yen uses to divide the Tang into twoperiod is the Ta-li reign (766-779). Yen also points out that in the early period, it was theFa-hsiang school that was most representative of Buddhism in China, while in the laterperiod, it was the Ch’an school that took precedence over the other schools. Statisticallyspeaking, coastal cities, like Hang-chou and Su-chou, contained a relatively high numberof famous monks. See Yen’s article, “T’ang-tai fo-chiao chih ti-li fen-pu” in Min-chuping-lun, vol. 4 (1953), pp. 680-682. Using the An Lu-shan rebellion as a demarcationline, Hsin Te-yung provides a more detailed statistical analysis of the geographicaldistribution of famous monks active in the T’ang dynasty and also the distribution of theirhometowns. See his “Tang kao-seng chi-kuan chi chü-hsi-ti feng-pu” in Shih Nien-hai ed.T’ang-shih lun-ts’ung, vol. 4, Sian: San-Ch’in chu-pan-she, 1988, pp. 287-306. Giving usmore information, Hsin’s article further supports Yen’s conclusion of the shift of Buddhistcenters from north to south in the T’ang dynasty. For a study of the geographicaldistribution of Ch’an Buddhist monks in the T’ang, see Li Chieh-hua, “T’ang-Sung Ch’antsung chih ti-li fen-pu” in Hsin-ya hsueh-pao, vol. 13 (October 1979), pp. 211-362.69Previously, the supreme one (Ling-ch’e) was in Wu-hsing (in modern Chechiang), residing in the mount Ho, with Chou-kung (Chiao-jan) as hiscompanion. At that time, with my hair in bangs (mao), I carried brushesand an ink stone to accompany them in their chanting [of poetry]. Theyboth said that I was a promising young man.. .9Liu’s description of his hair style as mao, that is, hair in a fringe or bangs,suggests that he was young when he met the monks. This tells us that Liu*s contactwith Buddhism began at a rather young age, and also provides us with hints as tothe nature of Liu’s early association with Buddhism. In the whole of Liu’s preface,not a single word can be found on Ling-ch’e’s or Chiao-jan’s Buddhist sentiments;rather, Liu assesses their poetic achievement.10This reflects that a basic feature ofLiu’s early association with Buddhism can be characterized by his interest in theliterary activities of Buddhist figures. Because of the lack of textual evidence, wehave no information pertaining to Liu’s childhood interest in the doctrinal aspect ofthis religion. However, the above passage may suggest a possibility that somemembers of Liu’s family might be devout patrons of Buddhism. If not, it is quitedifficult to explain why the young Liu Yü-hsi could study with these two famouspoet-monks.From the way in which Liu describes himself in the passage above, there isno doubt that he was probably in his early teens when he traveled to Mount Ho.11Mount Ho, located in the Wu-hsing prefecture in Che-chiang province, is not farfrom Su-chou, and it is quite possible for us to conjecture here that Liu YU-hsiactually received part of his education, not just instruction in poetry, from monks9LYHC, p. 239.10Chiao-jan, who authored the work Shih-shih (Rules for poetry-writing), is particularfamous for his contribution to Chinese poetic theory. For a discussion of Ling-che’s andChiao-jan’s poetics, see Stephen Owen, The great age of Chinese poetry: the High T’ang(New Haven: Yale University Press, 1981), pp. 28 1-295.11Pien Hsiao-hsUan has tentatively dated this event as happening when Liu was ten. Seehis Nien-p’u, p. 9.70like Chiao-jan and Ling-ch’e.’2 This education characterizes Liu’s early contactwith Buddhism. While he might not have been strongly attracted to the doctrinalaspect of Buddhism at this stage, Liu would have certainly been thoroughlyexposed to the teachings of Buddhism in such an environment.There is ample evidence pointing to the fact that Liu’s contact with Buddhistfigures increased after he was banished from the capital after 805. A major reasonfor this was the setback he had suffered in his political ambition. Liu onceattempted to deny that his interest in Buddhism arose totally from his politicaldecline in fortune:.Those who do not understand me, will ridicule me, saying it is only after[encountering] difficulties that I became reliant on Buddhism. They saidthat there are two [different] Ways [for me]. [One’s] enlightenment doesnot depend on others but on one’s mind only. The consummation ofenlightenment is like that of the mute who enjoys a sacrificial feast.Certainly he knows of the taste but is unable to describe it in words so thatit can be heard by [other] ears. The mouth and the ears are only inches12We know very little detail about Liu’s early education. Modern scholarship has shownbeyond doubt that Buddhist and Taoist temples, particularly after the An Lu-shanrebellion, provided educational facilities to many. Detailed studies of this issue are thoseof Yen Keng-wang, “T’ang-jen hsi-yeh shan-lin ssu-yüan chih feng-shan” in his Tangshih yen-chiu lun-ts’ung, pp. 367-424. Hong Kong: Hsin-ya yen-chiu-so, 1969. and KaoMing-shih, “T’ang-tai ssu-hsüeh ti fa-chan” in Wen-shih-che hsüeh-pao, vol. 20 (June1971), pp. 2 19-289. Yen’s article notes that Li Tuan (d. 785?), one of the Ten Tallents ofthe Ta-Li reign resided in Lu Shan when young, and studied with Chiao-jan. If this isreally the case, then it is not impossible that, given the fame of Chiao-jan and theproximity of mount Ho, Liu YU-hsi would have travelled there to study under this famouspoet-monk. See p. 391 of Yen’s article. In Kao’s article, the author contends that both LiuTsung-yuan and Liu Yü-hsi were students of Wei Chih-i when they were young. I amskeptical of Kao’s view, because it is based on a tomb inscription written by Tu Mu (803-852) for Niu Seng-ju (779-847). According to this inscription, the two Lius were said tobe meng-hsia of Wei. This term, meng-hsia, can be understood as disciple. However, itwas used very loosely by scholar-officials in medieval China to express their relationshipwith their protégd. Wei Chih-i was indeed the mentor of the two Lius. It is thereforerather risky to conclude that the two Lius actually studied under Wei. For Kao’sstatement, see his article, p. 231. For the tomb inscription by Tu Mu, see his Fan-ch’uanwen-chi (Shanghai: Shanghai ku-chi, 1978), p. 114.71apart, and yet it is not possible to make them (ears) hear. That the othersare unable to understand me is naturaL13A number of points can be discerned in this passage regarding Liu’s views onBuddhism in general. First, while ostensibly Liu is stating that his interest inBuddhism has nothing to do with his political setbacks, this passage, nonetheless,suggests the possibility that his contemporaries were aware of an increase in hisinterest in Buddhism after his banishment from the capital in 8O5.’ Second, theprocess to enlightenment is a personal one, and it does not require assistance fromothers. Third, it seems that Liu is also denying that he adheres to two differentWays : the Buddhist Way, and, probably, the Confucian Way. If the third point isvalid, then the validity of the second point seems to be questionable, for, if LiuYU-hsi really thinks that there is no difference between the Buddhist and theConfucian Way, that it would be difficult to see how he reconciles differencesbetween the purely personal endeavor of oneself in achieving enlightenment, as hehas characterized in this passage, on the one hand, and the assertion of oneself inpublic affairs in order to fulfil the Confucian goal on the other. An answer to thisquestion can probably reveal the true nature of Liu’s Buddhist sentiments.For the first point, we can see that after Liu had been exiled to Lang-chou forabout nine years, he expressed his frustration at being banished for so long to sucha remote place, depicting clearly that his appreciation of Buddhism had much to dowith his frustration:I worked for examinations and officialdom for twenty years; from them Ireceived one hundred worries, but not a single gain. After this, Iunderstand that what the world calls the Way is nothing but dangerous‘3LYHC, p. 389.‘4For a partial listing of Liu’s association with Buddhist monks, particularly in Lang-chou,see Nien-p’u, p. 66.72roads, and that only the teaching of living in the [mundane] world can bestsatisfy one’s mind. Thus, on my mat and beside my ink-slab, there aremany books with {Sanskrit] horizontal lines and [Buddhist] four-linehymns; those people whom I am always prepared to welcome are thecompanions of priests and monks.’5Hence, it is obvious that Liu’s appreciation of Buddhism, at this stage of hislife, is closely related to the setbacks in his political career. Furthermore, thispassage also points to the fact that he frequently associated himself with Buddhistmonks.’6However, from the poems that Liu sent to some of these Buddhist monks,we can see the reason monks traveled to visit Liu was because they were interestedin obtaining poems from Liu, who had achieved great fame as a poet.’7 Thus, Liu’sself-characterization as a devout Buddhist may have been merely a catalyst tostimulate more Buddhist clergymen to come knocking at his door.While the above discussion clearly suggests that Liu’s increased contact withBuddhism was very much a result of his political downfall after 805, we cannotmaintain that Liu’s affiliation with Buddhism was not genuine, particularly interms of his appreciation of Buddhist tenets. As early as the Sung dynasty, thefamed Neo-Confucian thinker Chu Hsi (1130-1200) was already aware that a‘5LYHC, p. 392. Translation is taken from Chen Jo-shui, Liu Tsung-vuan, p. 186, withminor changes. In his “Che chiu-nien fu” (“Rhapsody on being banished for nine years”),a work probably written in the same year, Liu Yü-hsi also depicted clearly his frustrationafter being banished in Lang-chou for nine years. For this rhapsody, see LYHC, p. 13.‘6lii his account of his contact with the monk Yüan-kao, Liu said that this monk, “uponhearing that [Liu] patronized Buddhism to the point of being sycophantic, [Yüan-kao]promptly came to follow [Liu].” See LYHC, p. 392. It is interesting to note in thispassgae that Liu used the rather negative adjective “sycophantic” (“ning”) to describe hisattitude toward Buddhism. This may further demonstrate Liu’s overall acceptance of thisreligion.‘7h fact, many of them were themselves poet-monks. We also see that some of the monkswho visited Liu were praised by Liu as being skillful in the art of chess-playing. In otherinstances, Liu expressed his admiration of some of the wandering monks who could sofreely travel in the world. See Hsiao Tuan-feng, “Lun Liu Yü-hsi shih-chung-ti fo-chiaob-yin” (in Kuei-chou wen-shih ts’ung-kan, 1986, no. 3. pp. 125-130), p. 127.73whole chapter (chllan) in Liu’s collected works is devoted to poems sent toBuddhist monks.’8 This is a unique act of Liu if the present editions of Liu’scollected works are faithful to the T’ang edition.’9 In addition, a whole chapter inLiu’s collected works is devoted to tomb inscriptions for Buddhist monks andrecords related to Buddhist matters.2°Furthermore, there are also poems and prosepieces throughout his oeuvre which reflect his Buddhist sentiments. These writingsassist us in demonstrating the nature of Liu YU-hsi’s Buddhism.Among Liu Yü-hsi’s friends, Liu Tsung-yuan and Han YU had diametricallyopposed attitudes towards Buddhism. Han YU is, of course, well known for hisanti-Buddhist sentiments.2’Liu Tsung-yuan’s affinity for Buddhism is also wellknown. However, Liu Tsung-yuan attitude towards Buddhism was notcompletely uncritical. In particular, he held a very negative view of Ch’an Buddhist‘8For this chapter of Liu’s poems sent to Buddhist monks, see LYHC, pp. 389-404. Atotal of twenty four poems are collected in this chapter. Ch’en Tsu-lung has commentedupon most of Liu’s writings in connection with Buddhism in his article, “Liu Yü-hsi yUfo-chiao” in Chung-hua fo-chiao wen-hua shih san-ts’e ch’u-chi. Taipei: Shin-wen-feng,1978. For Chu Hsi’s statements, see Chu-tzu vü-lei (8 vols. Taipei: Cheng-chung shu-chU,1962), vol. 8, p. 6635.‘9As we have already discussed in chapter one, Liu wrote a preface to an edition ofcollected works of his known as Liu-shih chi-lüeh. See LYHC, pp. 250-251. In thispreface we know that Liu personally selected from his writings, forty chapters in total,material to form the collection in ten chapters. This suggests that there was indeed a fortychapter version of Liu’s collected works during Liu’s time, and this collection was verylikely compiled by Liu himself. Chapter twenty-nine of the Sung edition of Liu Pin-k’owen-chi contains twenty-four poems that were sent to Buddhist monks. These poemsconstitute chapter seven of the Sung edition of Liu Meng-te wen-chi. Both of these twochapters are not in the supplement. It is possible, then, that this chapter of twenty-fourpoems was originally belonged to the forty chapter version, and, thus, was compiled byLiu Yü-hsi himself.20See LYHC, pp. 5 1-62.21For some discussions on the anti-Buddhist sentiments of Han Yti, see Ch’en Yin-k’o,“Lun Han Yti” in CYKWC 1, pp. 285-297; Sun Ch’ang-wu, Tang-tai wen-hsüeh yü fochiao, pp. 24-55; and Chen Teng-yuan, Kuo-shih chiu-wen (3 vols. Peking: San-lienshu-chti, 1958), vol. 2, pp. 209-2 14.74teachings.22Interestingly, it seems that Ch’an philosophy had significant impact onLiu Yü-hsi’s thought. Before we begin our discussion of this aspect of Liu’sBuddhist sentiments, however, we should first examine how Liu viewed Buddhismas a whole.In 818, when the vinaya master Chih-yen passed away, his disciplesrequested Liu to write a tomb inscription for him. The inscription begins in thisway:In China (chiu-chou), the dharma of the Buddha follows its location [inorder to carry out its] transformation [of the people]. People of the centralplains of China (chung-hsia) are confused by glory. There is nothing moresuitable than mysterious enlightenment for overcoming [the sense] ofprosperity. Hence, those who talk about the tranquility of dhyâna honourMount Sung.23 People in the North are audacious and violent. There isnothing more suitable in the pacification of violence than the revelation [ofthe Bodhisattvas]. Hence those who talk about the supernormal honour theMount Ch’ing-liang.24 People in the South are agile and emotional. Tosuppress emotions, there is nothing better than decorum. Hence those talkabout the vinaya pitaka (lu-tsang) venerate the Mount Heng [in modernHunan]...25In this passage, Liu YU-hsi depicts some of the popular Buddhist sectsdemographically. His conception of the popularity of the these Buddhist sects isrelated to their ability to remedy the weaknesses of people’s character. This seemsvery simplistic. Nonetheless, this passage helps us to probe the question of howLiu viewed some of the Buddhist tenets that prevailed in China at the time.22For a discussion of Liu Tsung-yUan’s Buddhist sentiments, see Chen Jo-shui, LiuTsung-yuan, pp. 172-180.23Mount Sung is in Honan province, near the eastern capital of Tang, Loyang. Here it is areference to the dyâna of Bodhidharma, the first Patricarch in China of the Ch’an school,because he resided in this place.24Mount Ch’ing-liang is Mount Wu-t’ai in Shan-hsi province. According to the Hua-yensutra, this is the place where various bodhisattvas resided.25LYHC, pp. 53-54.75Perhaps the answer is afready provided by Liu himself, in the very firstsentence of this inscription, “the dharma of the Buddha follows its location [inorder to carry out its] transformation [of the people].” Thus, Liu’s overallevaluation of Buddhism does not imply the superiority of a particular Buddhistsect over the others. He seems to suggest that each of these sects have theirspecific features so that they can fulfill the purpose of transforming the peoplemore properly in some specific environments. It is the prevailing custom thatdetermines which particular Buddhist teaching is more suitable in transforming thepeople. Thus the idea of “flexibility” seems to play an important role in Liu’sconception of the teachings of various Buddhist sects, and Liu’s acceptance ofBuddhism as a whole is quite positive. Certainly when compared to the attitude ofhis close friend, Liu Tsung-yUan, Liu Yü-hsi’s was much less critical.26Liu Yü-hsi had once stated explicitly that a major feature of Buddhism is to“provide salvation for the various sufferings.”27Thus, in order to fulfil such a goalof universal salvation, Buddhist religion should also participate in the worldlyaffairs. Indeed, a basic feature of Mahayana Buddhism is its concern with worldlyaffairs. Unlike Hinayana Buddhism, which is concerned with the salvation of theindividual self, Mahayana Buddhsim, with its conception of the bodhisattva,emphasizes the idea of universal salvation.2826For a discussion of Liu Tsung-yuan’s criticism of the Ch’an school, see Chen Jo-shui,Liu Tsung-yUan, pp. 176-178. Sun Ch’ang-wu also notes Liu’s criticism of the Ch’anschool, but, based on the inscription written for Hui-neng, he seems to construe also thatLiu appreciated the theory of “mind” and “nature” of the same school. See his Liu TsungyUan chuan-lun (Peking: Jen-min wen-hsUeh, 1982), pp. 298-300.27LYfIC, p. 57.28For a discussion of the “this-worldly” concerns of Mahayana Buddhism, see Wu JuchUn, “Yin-tu ta-sheng fo-chiao ssu-hsiang ti te-se” in Chung-hua fo-hsUeh hsUeh-pao,vol. 1 (March 1987), pp. 123-136.76In an allegorical prose work, Liu illustrates clearly this feature of MahayanaBuddhism. Entitled “Chiu-chen chih” (“A record of the event of saving thedrowning”), this work tells the story of how a Buddhist monk, in his attempt tosave people and animals from drowning in a flooded region, became involved in adebate with his assistants whether or not they should save a tiger. Upon hearingthe monk’s instruction not to save the tiger from the water, his assistants protested.They put forward the idea that Buddhist teachings esteem highly the concept ofemptiness, and from emptiness arises universality. From universality, in turn,arises great mercy. Hence, they argued, they should save all forms of life, andshould not consider whether they were good or bad in nature. The monk refutedthis interpretation of Buddhist teaching and its implication, and argued thatBuddhist teachings do distinguish the good from the bad. He concluded that if theysaved the tiger from the water, more people would be harmed as a consequence.Upon hearing the monk’s argument, Liu agreed with the monk, and he commented:I have heard that it is not a good omen when a good man is not saved fromdifficulty. And when a wicked one is in authority, it is [also] not a goodomen if he is not removed. The words of the monk show great foresight,and hence I recorded this event.29Clearly, this final statement by Liu shows rather explicitly the allegoricaltheme of the whole story.3° However, the whole story depicts a Buddhist monkwho led others in an act to save people from a flooded region. This shows anexample of the Buddhist concern of worldly affairs. While Liu’s interpretation ofthe concept “universal salvation” seems to be confined within the realm of Man, he29LYHC pp. 256-257.30For a brief discussion of the dating and the allegorical nature of this work, see Ch’UT’ui-yuan, Liu Yü-hsi chi chien-cheng, p. 553.77probably did it in a way that was congruent with his own understanding of thereligion.With his general acceptance of Buddhism, and with his frequent contactswith anti-Buddhist figures like Han Yü, it is quite likely that Liu Yu-hsi wouldhave been engaged in numerous debates to defend Buddhism. There is, however,no place in Liu’s oeuvre where he explicitly debates against the anti-Buddhistpolemics. The most famous anti-Buddhist figure in Liu’s times was Han Yu, whodisplayed “typical”3’ anti-Buddhist polemics in the essay “Yllan Tao” (“TheEssentials of the Way”) and the memorial “Lun fo-ku piao” (“A memorial on theBuddha’s finger bone”).32 His attack on Buddhism is basically on the negativeeconomic, social, and political impact that this religion had upon the state. Inparticular, he attacked Buddhist monks who, in taking the tonsure, obviouslyviolated the basic ethical principle of Confucianism: filial piety. Perhaps, it wasbecause Han did not criticize Liu Yü-hsi’s affinity to Buddhism that Liu neveractively attempted to refute Han’s anti-Buddhist polemics.33However, there is evidence that Liu was aware of the attack upon the unfilialpractices of Buddhist clergy expressed by Han YU and others. In the preface to apoem with the purpose of sending off a monk called YUan-kao34 to the South, Liuwrites that Yuan-kao tells the reason why he left home life and became a Buddhistmonk:31Han’s criticism of Buddhism is said here to be “typical” because the critiques he uses arebasically a repetition of some of the Confucian criticism of Buddhism made by earlierfigures. See Stanley Weinstein, Buddhism under the T’ang, pp. 103-105.32See HCLWC, pp. 7-11, 354-358.33This conjecture is based on the fact that Liu YU-shi’s close friend, Liu Tsung-yUan, hadtaken great pains to rebut Han Yü’s criticism of his affinity with Buddhism. For adiscussion of this issue, see Chen Jo-shui, Liu Tsung-yuan, pp. 178-179.34We are not sure which Buddhist school(s) this monk belonged to. However, accordingto the preface, he was said to be well-trained in both vinaya and dhyana.78When I was young I lost my parents. I put aside my childhood mind toseek for the superior vehicle (shang-sheng).35 [My search for the superiorvehicle] has accumulated for more than forty years. [I am] approach anold-age and have not relaxed. I begin to grieve over [the fact that] thespring of Chün is cold.36 Now I am sad that the tomb in Fang has not beenmoved.37.Although myriad natures all belong to the Buddha, all [creatures] areseeds of Buddhahood, just like the rivers that flow into the ocean, nolonger keep their names. However, for those who are equipped withBuddha wisdom, how could they abandon the hundred deeds [paihsing] ?38Thus, the death of his parent when YUan-kao was still in his childhoodcontributed to his leaving home life and becoming a Buddhist monk. In his answerhe used a number of allusions that emphasize the virtue of filial piety. This clearlyreflects the fact that Yüan-kao’s melancholy as expressed in the passage is directlycaused by his inability to fulfil his duty to be a filial son. Thus, after listening toYUan-kao’s speech, Liu was emotionally moved. It is obvious that the “hundreddeeds” to which Yüan-kao refers must include filial piety, as there is a saying that“filial piety comes first in the list of the hundred deeds.”39Later, we find that Yüan-kao traveled to Yung-chou and presented Liu Yühsi’s poem, together with the preface, as a visiting gift to Liu Tsung-yUan. In35Shang-sheng refers to Mahayana Buddhism.361TThe spring of Chün” is an allusion taken from the peom “Kai feng” in The Book ofPoetry. It praises the seven filial sons who were capable of mitigating their mother’sintention to remarry. For this poem see Mao-Shih cheng-i in Shih—san-ching chu-shu, pp.301-302.37This allusion is taken from the chapter “T’an-kung” in the Book of Rites. It tells thestory that when Confucius’ mother died, he buried her together with his father, who hadpassed away earlier and was buried in a place called Fang. Confucius built a burial-mound with a height of four ch’ih (a chinese foot). Because of heavy rain, however, theburial-mound was damaged. However, because of the rites of Chou, Confucius should notrepair the damaged burial-mound. See Sun Hsi-tan, Li-chi chi-chieh (3 vols. Peking:Chung-hua shu-chü, 1989), pp. 168-169.38LYHC, p. 392.39The idea that filial piety comes first in the list of the hundred deeds can be found in anumber of places. For one example, see Pan Ku et al., Pai-fu-tung (Ts’ung-shu chi-chengch’u-pien edition. Taipei: Commercial Press, 1936), p. 159, line 4.79reading the preface, Liu must have been impressed by Yüan-kao’s filial devotion,since he greatly praised this virtue of YUan-kao in a preface to a poem he gave tothis monk. In this preface, Liu not only praised Yüan-kao’s fihialness, but alsoupheld Liu YU-hsi’s trustworthiness in his remarks regarding Yüan-kao’s virtue.Liu Tsung-yuan wrote the following words concerning Liu YU-hsi’s praise ofYüan-kao:Among the writings of Buddhism there is the sutra of the Ta-pao-en4°inten chapters (chüan). [Each chapter] expounds that it is through filial pietythat one can reach the epitome of on&s [Buddhist] practice. Those who arelicentious and arrogant, although they practice the way [of Buddhism], liketo go against its writings. [But as to] master YUan-kao, I can see that hedoes not go against [its teachings]. In addition, he is in accord withConfucianism.... [When] he came to visit me, I observed his personality. Itreflects clearly Liu [Yü-hsi]s wisdom and trustworthiness. Thus,repeatedly, [I] talk about this with him, and mention this matter.41In this passage, in praising YUan-kao’s filial virtue, Liu Tsung-yuan assertsthat Buddhism and Confucianism are not in conflict, even in respect to ethicalissues. Furthermore, Liu Tsung-yuan’s repeated praise of Liu YU-hsi’strustworthiness in this work suggests strongly the possibility that Liu YU-hsi wasalso aware that the virtue of filial piety was used as a argument by some in anattempt to attack Buddhism. Hence, in responding to the attacks that Buddhisttradition violates the Confucian ethical principle of filial piety, some Buddhistfigures and those, like Liu Tsung-yUan, who accepted certain Buddhist elements intheir thought, attempted to argue that Buddhist and Confucianism (or evenTaoism) were not in conflict.4240This is the Ta-fang-pien-fo pao-en-ching in seven chapters. See Takakusu Junjiro andWatanabe Kaigyoku eds. Taisho shinshu daizokyo. (85 vols. Tokyo: Society for thepublication of the Taisho edition of Tripitaka, 1924-1932. Henceforth: I). vol. 3, no. 156.41LTYC, pp. 678-679.42Among the poems that Liu sent to Buddhist monks, we find one that was addressed tothe famous Kuei-feng Tsung-mi (780-841), who was honored as the Fifth Patriarch in80Compared Liu Tsung-yuan’s forceful assertion that Buddhist teachings, attheir core, do not violate the ethical principles of Confucianism, Liu Yü-hsi hadlittle to say. One possible reason, as we have already mentioned earlier, is thatthere was simply no one who brought up this issue and challenged Liu personally.Another possible reason, we may speculate here, is that the issue of ethical conflictbetween Confucianism and Buddhism simply does not pose a problem in Liu Yuhsi’s thought.43 To prove such a speculation, we are led to the following question:What particular elements of the Buddhist religion are found in Liu Yü-hsi’sthought, and how are they displayed in his works?both the Hua-yen school and the Ho-tse line of the Southern Ch’an. Tsung-mi, who wastrained originally in the Confucian tradition of scholarship, had on a number of occasionsattempted to link Confucianism and Buddhism. With regard to the issue of filial piety, wefind that Tsung-mi begins his commentary on the Yu-lan-p’en-ching in the following way:“That which began during the primordial chaos and now saturates heaven and earth,unites man and deity, connects the high and the low, and is revered alike by theConfucians and the Buddhists, is none other than filial piety,” as translated in KennethCh’en, Chinese transformation of Buddhism (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton UniversityPress, 1973), p. 29. In his preface to the “Hua-yen yuan-jen-lun,” Tsung-mi attempted toequate Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism in terms of their common goal of bringingwell being to the world, although Tsung-mi does suggest that Buddhism is superior to theother two teachings. For this preface, see Chung-kuo fo-chiao ssu-hsiang tzu-liao hsUanvol. 2:2, pp. 386-387. Peking: Chung-hua Shu-chU, 1984. For a sound study ofTsung-mi’s thought, see Peter N. Gregory, Tsung-mi and the sinification of Buddhism(Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1991). Gregory asserts that it wasthrough Po ChU-i that Liu Yü-hsi came to know Tsung-mi. He also dates Liu’s poem toTsung-mi as written in the early part of 833. See ibid.. pp. 79-80. For this poem, seeLYHC, p. 404. Jan YUn-hua dates this poem in 831. See his Tsung-mi (Taipei: Tung-tatu-shu, 1988), p. 32. Because of a lack of information, we are not able to accuratelypinpoint when Liu and Tsung-mi came to know each other. For more discussions ofBuddhist attempts to adjust teachings to Chinese ethical practices and beliefs, see chaptertwo of Kenneth Ch’en’s book. The full name of the YU-lan-p’en-ching is Fo-shuo Yü-lanp’en-ching. It can be found in T 16, no. 685.43We can recall from the previous chapter that Lius concern with ethical issues was farfrom enthusiastic. While he acknowledged the importance of these norms and values, hesimply took them for granted.81In answering the above question, we will first attempt to show that Liu’saffinity with Ch’an Buddhism is unequivocal,44and then to show that this affinityresults in an obvious impact of Ch’an philosophy on Liu’s world view andintellectual outlook. After this discussion, we will make use of an example to showthe selective nature of Liu in his preference for certain Buddhist doctrines.A year after Liu wrote the inscription for Chih-yen, the monk Tao-untraveled from Ts’ao-hsi (in modern Kuang-tung) to request Liu to write a secondtomb inscription for the Sixth Patricarch of the Ch’an school, Hui-neng (63 8-713).45 It may not be safe for us to use this inscription alone as an indication ofLiu’s affinity towards Ch’an Buddhism.46 However, soon after he wrote thisinscription, Liu wrote another stone inscription dwelling on the reason why thecassock of the first Patricarch of the Ch’an school, Bodhidharma, which had beenpassed down to each of the sucessive patricarchs, was no longer passed on afterHui-neng. In it, he wrote:44See Ch’en YU-chi, “Lun Liu Yü-hsi chi-ch’i wen-hsüeh cheng-chiu,” p. 217. By Liu’stime, Ch’an Buddhism, particularly the Southern Ch’an, had ascended a dominatingposition among other Budhhist schools. While it is quite obvious that there are Ch’anelements in Liu’s thought, it is not safe to assume that he adhered necessarily to theSouthern Ch’an only. For a study of Northern Ch’an Buddhism, see John R. McRae, TheNorthern school and the formation of early Ch’an Buddhism. Honolulu: University ofHawaii Press, 1986.45The first tomb inscription was written by Liu’s friend, Liu Tsung-yuan, in 816. SeeLTYC, pp. 149-151. Hui-neng was one of the most famous figures in the history ofChinese Buddhism. However, there are numerous controversal issues concernings his lifeand his supposed authorship of the Platform Sutra of the Six Patricarch. For thebiography of Hui-neng in the sutra, see I 48, (no. 2007), pp. 337-338. For a translation,see Philip Yampolsky, The Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patricarch (New York: ColumbiaUniversity Press, 1967), pp. 125-134.46k the case of Liu Tsung-yUan, for example, the tomb inscription that he wrote for Huineng might mislead one to believe that his association with Chan was friendly in nature.82When Confucius was alive, he did not even own a [square] ii of land.After he passed away, his shoes survived thousands of years.47 In the past,there was the Liang [dynasty]. [The time] was like that of a mad elephant.Bodhidharma [wanted] to save the world, and he came as the King of thephysicans. Because words cannot cure [people’s problems], it [must] relyon substance then the [problems] can be corrected.. .The common peopledo not understand Buddhism, [they consider the one who] possesses thecassock as honourable. The cassock that can deteriorate, is not where theWay is. People believe in the Way because of it (cassock), thus, it isconsidered valuable. When the Sixth Patricarch had not made himselfknown [to the world], he came from a humble origin. When he returned tothe desolate land, [he tried to] enlighten the stupid people. Without a tokenof trust, how would the people come [to listen to him]? This is to open adoor of convenience. It does not end with the passing on of thecassock.. .When its (cassock’s) function has already been set forth, is it notthe same as a straw dog? 48Since this inscription was written of Liu Yü-hsi’s own will, not at the requestof any person, it may reflect Liu Yü-hsi’s real opinion towards its subject matter.Here Liu’s notion that Bodhidharma was a savior of the world shows clearly thatLiu was an admirer of Ch’an Buddhism. In addition, Hui-neng’s discontinuing ofthe tradition of passing on the cassock, as Liu suggests in the passage, is becausethe Way of Buddhism had already spread all over the world. Thus, the function ofthe cassock as a token of trust has diminished, and there is no need to pass it to thenext patriarch. This, again, reflects Liu YU-hsi’s veneration of Hui-neng, and,probably, the Ch’an sect. We should now explore the nature of Liu’s Ch’ansentiments, and how they are manifested in his intellectual outlook.47According to the “Wu-hsing chih” in Chin shu, on the fifth year of the YUan-kang reign(29 1-299), Confucius’ wooden shoes were destroyed because of fire. See Fang HsUan-linget al., Chin shu (10 vols. Peking: Chung-hua shu-chU, 1974) 27:805. Ch’ü T’ui-yuanquotes Tao Ku’s Ch’ing-i lu that during the reign of Hsuan-tsung (847-859), shoes,modeled on Confucius’ wooden shoes, were sent to the court. Thus, the pattern ofConfucius’s shoes still exists at Liu’s time. See Ch’U T’ui-yuan, Liu Yü-hsi chi chiencheng,p. 110.48LYHC, pp. 52-53.83By the time of the mid-eighth century, Ch’an, particularly the Southern Ch’an,had ascended to the dominant position in T’ang Buddhism. The ascendency of theSouthern Ch’an was probably a by-product of the An Lu-shan rebellion.49 No onlydid it find an audience in the upper echelons of T’ang society, but it also founditself popular among commoners. By the early ninth century, after the works ofmonks Ma-tsu Tao-i (709-788) and his disciple Pai-chang Huai-hai (720-841) hadbeen produced, the teachings of Southern Ch’an also emphasized personal, this-worldly endeavor.50 This feature would have been attractive to intellectuals likeLiu Yü-hsi, who were immensely influenced by the this-worldly philosophy ofConfucianism. Thus, Liu’s acceptance of certain Ch’an teachings would pose nomajor conflict with his socio-political and spiritual concerns.Hence we see, in the tomb inscription written for the Ch’an master Shenkuang, a lucid characterization of Confucianism and Buddhism:Heaven gives birth to humans but is unable to regulate their emotion anddesires. The ruler governs his subjects but is unable to get rid of theirpower and authority with principle. So there is that which takes advantageof an opening of heavenly deeds to supplement its transformation, and torelieve the ruler’s post in order to transform the people. The uncrowned49Stanley Weinstein has pointed out that “the most significant feature of Buddhism of thepost-An Lu-shan era was its ‘popular’ character.” See his Buddhism under the T’ang, p.62. This statement also refers to other Buddhist schools like the Vinaya, Fa-hsiang andthe Hua-yen school’s emphasis on scriptural study that reduced their ‘popularity’ amongthe commoners, who were mostly illiterate. Unlike these schools, Ch’an Buddhismstressed that in order to achieve enlightenment, there was no need to pay attention toscriptural study or strict observance of the vinaya. In particular, the Southern Ch’anschool, since the time of Hui-neng, stressed that enlightenment could be achieved bysudden awareness, as opposed to the gradual approach of the Northern Ch’an school. Thisfeature of the teachings of the Southern Ch’an proved to be attractive to the masses. Foran insightful study of the history of Ch’an Buddhism, see In-shun, Chung-kuo Ch’an-tsunghili (Shanghai: Shanghai shu-tien, 1992).50For a discussion of this aspect of the Southern Ch’an, see Yu Ying-shih, Chung-kuochin-shih tsung-chiao lun-li yu shang-jen ching-shen (Taipei: Lien-ching, 1987), pp. 16-26. Also see Nan Huai-chin, Ch’an-tsung ts’ung-lin chih-tu vu chung-kuo she-hui. Taipei:Jen-wen shih-chieh tsa-chih, 1964.84king (Confucius, su-wang)5’established the teaching of the middle way, tomanifest the great centrality; and the Buddhist teaching emerges in thewest, its practice to achieve the correct enlightenment. How true is this!When the Ch’ien and the Kun are properly established in their positions [ofthings], the Ways of the sages are carried out intermixedly in them. It is asin the different kinds of ch ‘i of water and fire; their forming tastes are withthe same inner power. Wheels and shafts are of different shape, yet inreaching great distances, their functions are the same. Hence,Confucianism governs the living beings with the Middle Way, and rarelytalks about nature and fate. Thus, when the world is on the decline, itgradually ceases flourishing. Buddhism, with great mercy, [attempts to]provide salvation for the [people’s] suffering, and widely reveals [thedoctrine of] casuality and karma. Thus, when the world is becoming evil,it is more venerated.52Overtly, Liu’s conception of the importance of Buddhism is one that ischaracterized by the this-worldly nature of Buddhist teachings. He considersBuddhism and Confucianism to function in a complementary manner. The term“sage” that Liu uses in the above passage does not refer only to Confucian sages. Italso refers those who belonged to the Buddhist tradition. However, Liu YU-hsi alsopoints out the basic difference between Buddhism and Confucianism. Simply put,the goal of Confucianism is to assist the ruler to govern the world properly withthe Middle Way. Thus Confucians seldom talk about the concepts of nature53 andfate because they are more concerned with problems related to our individualexistence rather than those concerning the well-being of the whole society. In thissense, Buddhism plays a complementary or supplementary role. It deals with thequestions that concern one’s individual existence. It helps to provide salvation to51According to Huang Chin-hsing, the term su-wang refers to Confucius after the time ofPan Ku. See his “Ch’Uan-li yü hsing-yang: Kung-miao chi-ssu chih-tu ti hsing-cheng,” inTa-lu tsa-chih, vol. 86, no. 5 (May 1993), p. 25, n. 51.52Jjy, pp. 56-57.531t seems to me that the term “nature” (hsing) should not be interpreted simply as humannature because Confucian thinkers do talk about human nature. This term, I think, shouldrather be understood in a Buddhist context. Thus, we may consider the term “hsing” as“tzu-hsing” (self-nature).85every individual from his or her sufferings with its doctrines such as causality andkarma. Despite the difference in their approach, the final goals of this twoideologies, according to Liu, are the same: to bring well-being to the people. Thisis why Liu conceives of Buddhism as a supplement to Confucianism. Of course, itis quite obvious that the Confucian definition of the term “well-being” differs quitesubstantially from that of the Buddhists. Nonetheless, in Liu YU-hsi’s mind,Buddhism does carry a socio-political function, and this function is in tune with hisConfucian concerns.Buddhism, as a religion, stresses individual spiritual concerns. A major goalof Buddhism is individual salvation through enlightenment. Hence, it plays animportant role in the guidance of one’s inner life. However, different Buddhistsects emphasize different approaches to enlightenment. One aspect in which Ch’anBuddhism differs from other Buddhist schools is in its strong emphasis on theability of the individual in his or her own salvation. Hence, Ch’an venerates thevalue of Man.54This salient feature of Ch’an Buddhism is quite clearly displayed inthe Platform Sutra:.Therefore, although the Buddhas of the three worlds and all the twelvedivisions of the canon are from the beginning within the nature of man, ifhe cannot gain awakening with his own nature, he must obtain a goodteacher to show him how to see into his own self-nature. But if youawaken by yourself, do not rely on teachers outside. If you try to seek ateacher outside and hope to obtain deliverance, you will find it impossible.If you have recognized the good teacher within your own mind, you havealready obtained deliverance..One is therefore innately equipped with all that one needs for salvation.Although Ch’an Buddhism does not totally reject the need to obtain a good teacherto provide guidance to enlightenment, it does consider such an approach suitable54See Kuo Peng, T’an-ching tao-tu (Ssu-ch’uan: Pa-shu shu-she, 1987), pp. 45-46.55Philip Yampoisky, The Platform sutra of the Sixth Patriarch, p. 152.86for those who are of shallow spiritual capacity. Thus, it is not suprising to see inthis sutra Hui-neng ridiculing the teachings of Pure Land Buddhism. When WeiCh’ü, the prefect of Shao-chou (in Kuang-tung), inquires whether one can really bereborn in the Pure Land if one follows the teachings of this sect, that is, byinvoking the name of the Buddha Amitabha, Hui-neng answers in the followingmanner:• .At Sravasti the World-honored One preached of the Western Land inorder to convert people, and it is clearly stated in the sutra, ‘[The WesternLand] is not far.’ It was only for the sake of people of inferior capacity thatthe Buddha spoke of distance; to speak of nearness is only for those ofsuperior attainments. Although in man there are naturally two types, in theDharma there is no inequality..Prefect, people of the East (China), just by making the mind pure arewithout crime; people of the West (The Pure Land of the West), if theirminds are not pure, are guilty of a crime..• . .Since Buddha is made by your own nature, do not look for him outsideyou body.58Here, Hui-neng acknowledges that there are two kinds of person in theworld. One is superior to the other in terms of attainment. However, this does notnecessarily imply that Ch’an is only for those who are of superior attainment. Infact, as we have seen in the previous passage quoted from the sutra, those who areof inferior capacity need the guidance of good teachers, and these good teachersare, in turn, people of superior capacity who can obtain their own enlightenmentthrough the practice of Ch’an teachings. Thus, in this way, Ch’an Buddhism is stillfor all to follow.56Philip Yampoisky, The Platform sutra of the Sixth Patriarch, p. 156.57Philip Yampolsky, The Platform sutra of the Sixth Patriarch, p. 157.58Philip Yampolsky, The Platform sutra of the Sixth Patriarch, p. 158.87The central Ch’an teaching that everyone is capable of individual salvationwithout any assistance from others can be seen in Liu Yü-hsi’s poem “Ou Tso”(“Poem written by chance”):[As for] the ten thousand chüan of books that pile up on the bed,[Only] the learned ones understand their real meaning.[Along] the ten thousand ii of water of the Yangtze river,The warrior crosses at a strategic spot.To nurture onself, one does not solely depend on medicine;To apprehend Buddhism, one does not rely on others.Why debate the value of the stone from the Munt Yen?When the time is reached, then it will be [considered] precious.59To understand the real meanings of books, and to be able to pinpointstrategic locations along the Yangtze river, both the scholar and the warrior rely ontheir own judgement. It is through learning that they can achieve the abovementioned abilities. However, finally, when the scholar is asked about the truemeaning of books, or when the warrior has to look for a strategic spot on theYangtze river, they cannot rely on others. No one can tell the scholar what the realmeaning of the books that pile up on the bed are; he must seek it himself. Muchthe same can be said of the warrior. While Liu discusses worldly affairs at thebeginning of the poem, these two first lines at the same time, as the later lines ofthe poem retrospectively suggest, convey a message that runs parallel to the Ch’anteaching that an individual is responsible for his or her own salvation.The message is then explicated in the next two lines,60 showing anapprehension of the way in which one can achieve salvation at an individual level.As we have noted, Liu had a life-long interest in medicine, and was constantly59LYHC, p. 259. A similar statement is also found in the preface of a poem to monkCh’ün-su. See ii2jd., p. 389.60Tu Sung-po considers Liu’s poem to be one that employs Ch’an sentiments. For his briefdiscussion of the poem, see Tu Sung-po, Ch’an-hsüeh vU T’ang-Sung shih-hsüeh (Taipei:Li-ming wen-hua shih-yeh, 1976), pp. 303-304.88aware of his weak constitution. Thus, in a number of places, when he writes aboutnuturing oneself, he also refers to the nourishment of the body. However, in thispoem, he boldly pronounces that in order “to nuture oneself, one does not solelyrely on medicine.” With this pronouncement, the semantic content of the line shiftsfrom physicality to the dimension of spirituality. And when Liu finally exclaimsthat in order to “apprehend Buddhism, one does not rely on others,” he makes itclear that the kind of spiritual realm that he has in mind is none other than that ofBuddhism. However, this appreciation of the realm of the spirit is soon replacedonce again by concerns regarding worldly existence. In the last two lines of thepoem, Liu makes a final statement regarding his philosophicallspiritualapprehension of life. This is expressed in terms of the importance of the concept ofshih (opportunity/situation), a concept, as we have already seen in the previouschapter, provided Liu Yü-hsi with a sense of hope and confidence.The stone of Mount Yen (Yen-shih) is an allusion taken from the biographyof Yin Shao in the Hou Han Shu. In it, a stupid man from the state of Sungdiscovered a colored stone from Mount Yen. Believed that it was very precious, hebought it home and hid it. Later, a guest from the state of Chou heard of this andwanted to see the stone. The owner then made the fuss of performing all kinds ofceremonies before showing the stone to the guest. When the guest saw the stone,he covered his mouth with his hand and start laughing. He then told the owner thatthe stone was from Mount Yen, and yet was no different from tile or brick. Theowner was very angry. However, he thought the guest was lying. Hence, hestubbornly persisted in his belief that this stone was really very valuable and kept ithidden ever more secretly.6’Thus, Liu YU-hsi, like the man from Sung, might be61See HHS 48:1613-1614.89looked down by others: In Liu’s case, because of the political setback that heexperienced. However, when the situation is proper, Liu firmly believed, he wouldonce again be considered precious. Thus, in this sense, one’s value is totallydependent upon the situation.Judging by the order in which the two realms, this-worldly and other-wordly,are presented and re-presented within the poetic space, we may argue that Liu’sultimate concerns in life are related to this-worldly endeavor. Here, by employingthe allusion of the colored stone from Mount Yen, Liu in a sense takes up the roleof the ‘stupid’ man from the state of Sung. However, the question “Why debate thevalue of the stone from Mount Yen?” turns the negative image of the man fromSung into a positive one. Like the man from Sung, Liu might be looked down onby others because of the political setback that he experienced. However, when thetime is right, Liu firmly believed, he would once again be considered precious.Thus, in this sense, one’s value is totally dependent upon others.We have provided one particular reading of this poem that it is by no meansthe only possible reading. Nonetheless, the Ch’an Buddhist sentiment in thisparticular reading of the poem is obvious, in spite of the fact that, according to ourinterpretation, it is subordinated to Liu Yü-hsi’s this-worldly concerns.There are a number of examples in Liu’s writings, and his poetry inparticular, which substantiate the supposition that he was a practicing Buddhist.For example, in a poem written to Po Chü-i and Yang Kuei-hou,62probably in thespring of 825, Liu recalls his earlier practice of meditation in Buddhist tradition:62For the relationship between Liu Yü-hsi and Yang Kuei-hou, see Ch’ü T’ui-yUan, LiuYü-hsi chi chien-cheng, pp. 1686-1687.90Previously I learned the method of practising meditation in Buddhism.Now, because of myraid affairs,I [am like the fisherman who has] forgotten the bamboo fish-trap.63This poem was probably written in 825.64 It is difficult to tell when Liu Yühsi began practicing meditation. However, it seems that his interest in meditationcontinued till the end of his life. For, from the title of another poem, we can see, atleast, Liu’s association with Buddhist meditators at a later stage of his life. The titleof this poem is: “Ping-chung san-Ch’an-k’o hien-wen yin-i hsieh-chih” (“When Iwas sick, three guests who are practitioners of meditation visited me; hence, Iwrite this poem to thank them”).6563LYHC, p. 418. For another example that may suggest Liu’s participation in meditation,see LYHC, p. 615.64See Ch’ü T’ui-yuan, Liu Yü-hsi chi chien-cheng, p. 1034.65LYHC, pp. 286-287. Pien Hsiao-hsüan thinks that this poem was written near the end ofLiu’s life, around 436 to 442. See his Nien-p’u, pp. 23 1-232. Ch’U T’ui-yuan also takes asimilar view, although his reason differs from that of Pien. See Ch’U T’ui-yUan, Liu YUhsi chi chien-cheng, p. 637. If this poem was indeed written near the end of Liu’s life,then it is quite possible that his practice of meditation continued for the rest of his life. Ina poem to a wandering monk (dhuta), Liu writes:The unorthodox ways and evil mountains are tens of thousand in number;[But] once the Buddha’s words (chen-yen) are manifested, the peaks [ofthese evil mountains] are all crushed.Sometimes, in a moonlight night, and in a place where human traces arenone,I, alone, approach towards Lake Chao, to subdue the wicked dragon.The term chen-yen has various interpretation. For a discussion, see Ting Fu-pao, FohsUeh ta-tz’u-tien (2 vols. Taipei: Fo-chiao tzu-chi wen-hua fu-wu chung-hsin, 1988), pp.175 lb-1752b. However, because it is not easy to pinpoint the precise connotation of thisterm in this poem, hence we render it as “Buddha’s words.” Lake Chao is located inHunan Province. According to the Li Tao-yuan, Shui-ching chu (Shanghai: Shih-chiehshu-chü, 1936), p. 475, it is so deep that its depth cannot be measured. In addition, thislake is located near the ilsiang river. Hence, this poem was likely written between 805and early 815 when Liu was in Lang-chou. For this poem, see LYHC, p. 393. Where thispoem, particularly the last line, depicts clearly the experience one encounters duringmeditation, it is not easy to tell if this describes that of Lius or the wandering monk. Evenit describes that of the wandering monk, we can still use it as another example of hisassociation with people who practice meditation.91The Bamboo fish-trap is used here as a synonym for written words orlanguage.66 While this usage alludes to Chuang-tzu, a Taoist text, Liu’s usage ofthe allusion seems to point to a unique tenet of Ch’an:• . .in the original nature itself the wisdom of prajña exists, and by usingthis wisdom yourself and illuminating with it, there is no need to dependon written words.67Again, the idea that there is no need for written words in the process of spiritualcultivation is based on the idea that one’s own-nature is equipped with the wisdomof prajula.However, apart from a few occasions, Liu does not dwell extensively on thisaspect of his Buddhist sentiments. He remarks on his Buddhist conceptionsthroughout his oeuvre, but mostly in a fragmentary manner. There are ampleexamples of references to Buddhism in Liu’s poetry; however, most of these are,for example, poems written to Po Chü-i relating Liu’s Buddhist activities.68 Thusthey are not of great use in our understanding of Liu’s personal involvement in theBuddhist religion beyond the scope of our discussion above.However, more can be said about the impact of Buddhism on Liu’sintellectual outlook. In particular, there is again noticeable Ch’an influence on LiuYü-hsi’s conception of the writing of poetry, a major and esteemed intellectualacitivity among the members of the T’ang’s high culture. In one instance, in the66The bamboo fish-trap is an allusion from Chuang-tzu: “The purpose of a bamboo fish-trap is to catch fish; when fish is caught, one can forget the purpose of a bamboo fish-trap. The purpose of hare trap is to catch the hare; when the hare is caught, one can forgetabout the hare trap. The purpose of words is to convey meaning, when meaning isconveyed, one can forget the words.” See Wang Hsien-chien, Chuang-tzu chi-chieh (Ssuch’uan: Cheng-tu ch’u-pan-she, 1988), p. 66.67Philip Yampolsky, The Platform sutra of the Sixth Patriarch, p. 149.68 some examples of these kind of poems, see LYHC, pp. 483-4, 492, and 508.92preface to a poem sent to the vinaya master Hung-chU, Liu expressed how heperceived the process of writing poetry:The Sanskrit word sa-men (srmana) is similar to the Chinese term “gettingrid of desire” (“chu-yu”). If one is able to depart from desire, then one’smind can be empty. When [the mind is] empty, then myraid scenes canenter [into the mind]. When they enter, then some things must leak out.Hence, [what leaks out] will manifest itself as words. When the words aremysterious and deep in meaning, they must obey the rules of tones andrhymes. Hence, from recent history onwards, Buddhist monks known fortheir poetry in the world emerged one after another. If in accord with thestate of complete cessation of thought, one can apprehend the state ofaffairs. Hence, silently one [arrives at the state of] purification. Fromwisdom, one can manipulate words. Thus, purely, [these words are]beautiful. This is really the calyx of the flower in the Ch’an monasteries.. 69Certainly, as we can see in this passage, Liu Yü-hsi’s conception of how goodpoetry is created is very much indebted to Ch’an Buddism. The focus of Liu’s ideasis the role of one’s mind in relation to good poetry. That one’s mind ultimatelydetermines the nature of a poetic work is an age-old concept in Chinese literaryhistory,7°but Liu, in this case, adds Ch’an Buddhist elements to the arts of writinggood poetry.7’Emptying one’s mind, Liu contended, is fundamental in the processof creative writing. Without such a state of mind, one is unable to apprehend thetotality of myriad phenomena and scenes. As a consequence, the final product,when manifested into written words will not be aesthetically sound.69LYHC, p. 394. Also see Pauline Yu, The reading of imagery in the Chinese poetictradition (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1987), pp. 207-208.70For one example, Lu Chi (26 1-303) in his “Wen fu” (“A rhapsody on literature”) depictsin a rather detailed fashion the process of creative writing. His emphasis is on the abilityto observe the ever-changing environment; in this process of observation, it is the ‘heart’(mind) that manipulates all the incoming information and produces the final product ofthis process. For this rhapsody, see Kuo Shao-yu ed., Chung-kuo li-tai wen-lun hsüan (4vols. Shanghai: Shanghai ku-chi, 1980), vol. 1, pp. 170-175.71See Tu Sung-po, Ch’an-hsUeh vU T’ang-Sung shih-hsUeh, p. 371. Tu has made use ofthis passage of Liu’s to support the idea that Ch’an sentiments not only do not conflictwith the composing of poetry, but are, in fact, helpful to such an act.93In another instance, Liu gives a general view of his standards of good poetry,providing a statement that hints at the possibility of Ch’an influence:In a few words, a hundred ideas can be illuminated; and to sit still whilethe mind is roaming far afield, one can order a myriad scenes.72It is not safe for us to claim that this conceptualization of the creative processof poetry writing is necessarily influenced by Ch’an, but the idea that one’s mindpossesses the ability to manipulate myraid scenes in the above poem does indicatesa possible parallel with Buddhist elements in Liu’s poetic theory.The term “sitting still while the mind is roaming far afield” (“tso-ch ‘ih”) istaken from Chuang-tzu.73 Meditation, in Buddhist tradition, aims to cultivateoneself spiritually in order to discover one’s own-nature. In the Platform sutra, wefind a passage expounding the idea of “sitting in meditation.” It reads as follow:Now that we know that this is so, what is it in this teaching that we call‘sitting in meditation’ (‘tso-ch’an’)? In this teaching ‘sitting’ means withoutany obstruction anywhere, outwardly and under all circumstances, not toactivate thoughts. ‘Meditation’ is internally to see the original nature andnot become confused.”74While Liu YU-hsi’s characterization of the process of writing poetry may nothave much in common with the process of spiritual cultivation, it is still possiblefor us to argue that his general characterization is blended with both Taoist andBuddhist elements. From the two passages that we have quoted above thatareconcerned with Liu’s theory of poetry composition, there is no doubt that thefirst one, the preface to the poem sent to the vinaya master Hung-chu, reflects clearBuddhist influences. In the second, as we have noted, the key term, tso-ch’ih,signifies a Taoist sentiment. However, if we look at the particular context in whichthis term appears in Chuang-tzu, we can find an alleged conversation between72LYHC, p. 237.73See Wang Hsien-chien, Chung-tzu chi-chieh, p. 23.74See Philip Yampoisky, Platform sutra of the Sixth Patriarch, p. 140.94Confucius and his disciple, Yen Hui. In this conversation, Confucius is said toexplain the concept of “fasting of the mind” (hsin-chai) to Yen. The definition of“hsin-chai” is precisely the emptying of one’s mind, while the term “tso-ch’ih” ismentioned to signify the opposite.75This seems to pose a problem in our understanding of Liu’s theory of poetrycomposition, for the concept “tso-ch’ih” describes a diametrically opposite state ofmind to the Buddhist practice of meditation. However, if we look at the preface tothe poem sent to Hung-chU, we can see a parallel between Buddhist meditation andthe concept of “hsin-chai”: “If one is able to depart from desire, then one’s mindcan be empty.” It is interesting to note, however, that Liu’s theorization of poetrycomposition shares certain similar features with that of the concept of “tso-ch’ih,”because the emptying of the mind, as Liu contends, should anticipate the influx of“myriad scenes” into the mind. Futhermore, the passage suggests that when one’smind reacts with these “myriad scenes,” one will naturally express one’s innerfeelings, as a result of such a reaction, in the form of words. This further suggeststhat poetry composition is a dynamic process, rather than a static one. One’s mindis in constant contact with its surroundings. Thus, this seems to imply a parallelbetween Liu’s general theory of poetry composition and theory that was influencedby Buddhist elements.Finally, we shall discuss Liu YU-hsi’s understanding of Buddhist doctrine. Insuch a discussion, we will attempt to show how Buddhist thought is coherentlysynthesized by Liu so that it can operate within his “Confucian universe.”75See Wang Hsien-chien, Chuang-tzu chi-chieh, pp. 22-24.95Quantitatively, Liu wrote many poems and inscriptions for Buddhist monks,but he wrote very little that reflects clearly his understanding of the doctrinalaspects of Buddhist religion.To Liu, Buddhism, as a religion, was mystical in nature. Thus, the ultimatetruth of Buddhist teachings is indescribable, and transcends all linguisticexpression. Indeed, Liu on a number of occasions expressed the indescribability ofBuddhist philosophy.76Nonetheless, we do find a short passage in Liu’s writingsthat provides a means to analyze the nature of Liu’s understanding of Buddhistdoctrine. While this passage alone does not allow us to make any strong statement,it does, nevertheless, shed light on our understanding of Liu’s thought as a whole,especially Liu’s affinity to Buddhism and its conformity to his ultimate concern forthe well-being of the people.In the third month of 829, the pagoda built specifically for Fa-jung, thelegendary first patriarch of the Ox-head (Niu-tou) school,77 was completed. Uponrequest of Li Te-yU (787-849), then Surveillance Commissioner of the Che-hsicircuit, Liu composed an essay to commemorate this event.78 This essay begins76See LYHC, pp. 5 1-52 and 54.77Legend has it that this school originated as a branch of the Ch’an school because thefourth patriarch of Ch’an Buddhism, Tao-hsin is said to have transmitted the dharma toFa-jung. Liu’s essay contributes to the formation of such a legend. The Ox-head schoolwas later absorbed by the Southern Ch’an tradition. For a discussion of the history anddoctrinal features of this school, see In-shun, Chung-kuo Ch’an-tsung shih, pp. 85-128.Also see John McRae, “The Ox-Head school of Chinese Ch’an Buddhism, from earlyCh’an to the golden age” in Robert M. Gimello & Peter N. Gregory ed. Studies in Ch’anand Hua-yen, pp. 169-252. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1983.78Li Te-yu played an important role in the suppression of Buddhism during the reign ofWu-tsung (840-846). Liu indicates in this essay Li’s prohibition of monks frommisleading the people. But at the same time, the essay also indicates that Li alsoappreciated those Buddhist clergymen who he believed had really attained enlightenment.See Fu Hsuan-tsung, Li Te-yu nien-p’u (Chi-nan: Ch’i-lu shu-she, 1984), pp. 203-204. Fora discussion of the suppression of Buddhism by Wu-tsung, see Stanley Weinstein,Buddhism under the T’ang, pp. 114-136.96with a genealogy sketching the Ch’an tradition from the time of Mo-k’o Chia-yeh(Mahakasyapa), the first patriarch of Ch’an Buddhism in India, and then gives anaccount of Fa-jung’s life. At the end of the essay, Liu makes the followingstatements:The superior one unties [the concept of] emptiness and departs fromappearances. The mediocre one holds on [to the idea of] emptiness andhates [the concept of] being. If it is not because of appearances, how canenlightenment be demonstrated? If it is not from being, how can oneapprehend non-being? Those who have arrived at the real truth andachieved the Middle Way (chung-tao), realize, of course, that acting is notthe same as clinging to being. [This realization] is superior [to the ideathat] to not cultivate [onseif] is equivalent to non-action.79In the above passage, the occurrence of the term ‘Middle Path’ should attractour attention immediately. In our discussion of Liu Yü-hsi’s Confucian sentimentsin the preceding chapter, we have already concluded that Liu’s political ideologycan particularly be characterized by this idea of the ‘Middle Way.’ However, in thisparticular context, Liu’s usage of this term carries with it a specific Buddhistconnotation. Indeed, this term points to the teaching of Madhyamika Buddhism, orBuddhism of the Middle Way.This Buddhist school was formed by Nagarjuna, the great synthesizer ofMahayana Buddhism.8°In China, the school was best represented by the ThreeTreatise School (San-lun tsung), the three treatises referred to being The MiddleTreatise (Chung-lun), The Twelve Topics Treatise (Shih-erh-men lun), and the79LYHC, p. 56.80For a discussion of early Indian Madhyamika, see Richard Robinson, EarlyMadhvamike in India and China (Madison: The University of Wisconsin Press, 1967), pp.2 1-70. For a discussion of the history San-lun School in China, see T’ang Yung-tung, SuiT’ang fo-chiao shih-kao, pp. 107-126.97Hundred Treatise (Pai-lun).8’All of them are said to be written by Nagarjunahimself.82In the most famous and important verse in the Middle Treatise, we find astatement which emphatically asserts the idea that emptiness is simply a“conventional designation” (“chia-ming”):All things which arise through conditioned co-arising.I explain as emptiness.Again, it is a conventional designation.Again, it is the meaning of the Middle Way.83This verse implies the idea of not falling to either side of two extremes. Toaccept the view that the phenomenal world is non-empty is wrong. But, similarly,to acknowledge it as empty is also wrong. Emptiness is by itself a ‘conventionaldesignation’ used solely for the purpose of helping one understand the truemeaning of Buddhist dharma. Hence Nagarjuna expresses in this verse that thisfact is precisely the ‘meaning’ of the Middle Way.Apart from the fact that the term ‘Middle Way’ is found in Liu’s passage, wecan also provide here other concrete evidence which can further support our idea81These three treatises are collected in I 30, no. 1564, 1568, and 1569 respectively.82Richard A. Gard has expressed doubts regarding the authenticity of these three treatises.However, until modern times, probably no one had questioned the authenticity of thesetreatises. For Gard’s opinions on this issue, see Richard A. Gard, “On the authenticity ofthe Pai-lun and Shih-erh-meng-lun,” in Indogaku Bukkyogaku kenkyu (Journal of Indianand Buddhist studies), vol. II, no. 2 (March 1954), pp. 75 1-742; Richard A. Gard, “On theauthenticity of the Chung-lun,” in Indogaku Bukkyogaku kenkvu, vol. ifi, no. 1(September 1954), pp. 376-370.83T 30, p. 33b. This verse has been translated by a number of scholars. The translationgiven here follows that of Paul Swanson, Foundations of T’ien-T’ai Philosophy: theflowering of the Truth Theory in Chinese Buddhism (Berkeley, California: AsianHumanities Press, 1989), p. 4. In page 3, Swanson provides a list of some of the Englishtranslations of this verse.98that Liu’s passage is directly related to Madhyamika philosophy. From Liu’saccount in the essay, one of Fa-jung’s masters was known as monk Chiung,84 and,from Fa-jung’s biography in Hsü kao-sheng chüan, we know this monk to be amaster of the Three Treatises.85Thus, logically, Madhyamika philosophy may haveexerted a considerable degree of influence on Fa-jung’s thought. In fact, the mostimportant text of the Oxhead School, Chueh-kuan lun, which is attributed to Fajung, contains certain elements of Madhyamika philosophy.86With the above discussion of Madhyamika Buddhism and its connection withthe Ox-head School, and with the Ch’an School in general, we can now proceed toanalyse Liu’s passage in order to understand how he interpreted the concept of theMiddle Way. The first two lines echo the idea of clinging neither to emptiness ornon-emptiness, but, at the same time, distinguish the differences in capacity amongthe people.87 Hence it is only superior people, Liu contends, who are capable of84We have not been able to identify positively the full name of this monk, and thus we areunable to find out if a biographical account exists.85See Hsü Kao-seng chüan, in I 50, p. 604b, line 3.86A Tun-huang version of the ChUeh-kuan lun is collected in Hisamatsu Shin’ichi et al.ed. Suzuki Daisetsu zenshu (Tokyo: Iwanami shoten, 1968), vol. 2, pp. 188-198. Inparticular, under the entry number 13, we find that the idea of Middle Way is employed inthe discussion of whether there is any difference between a commoner and a saint. For adiscussion of this aspect of the Ox-head School, see John McRae, ‘The Ox-head Schoolof Chinese Ch’an Buddhism: from early Chan to the golden age,” pp. 221-235. For adiscussion of Madhyamika affiliations of Ch’an Buddhism, see Cheng HsUeh-li, “Zen andSan-lun Madhyamika thought: exploring the theoretical foundation of Zen teachings andpractices.” On page 357 of this article, the author also indicates that Fa-jung employed theMadhyamika concept of the Middle Way to preach a “wholesale negation of all views.”87Here we can make use of a passage from “The chief ideas of the Mahayan&’ (“Tach’eng-ta-i-chang”). This text is found in I 45, pp. 122b-143b. It is also known as “Chiumo lo-shih fa-shih ta-i” in three chüan. It contains Chiu-mo lo-shih’s (Kumarajiva)answers to questions raised by his disciple Hui-yuan on issues regarding the meanings ofMahayana’s sutras. This passage further supports the idea that Liu’s first two statementsin the passage agree with Madhyamika philosophy: “The Buddhas, accomodating to whatliving beings understand, explain three classes of doctrine within the one meaning[ekartha]. For beings with dull faculties they declare emptiness, suffering, and99getting rid of preoccupations with the idea of emptiness, and, simultaneously,capable of departing from appearances, thus arriving at the ‘middle’ of the twoextremes.Most interesting in the whole passage are the third and fourth lines. “If it isnot because of appearances, how can enlightenment be demonstrated? If it is notfrom being, how can one apprehend non-being?” The point of interest here is theemphasis on the importance of ‘appearances’ and ‘being’ in the process of spiritualcultivation. This idea accords with another salient feature of Madhyamikaphilosophy, for we can find in the Middle Treatise the following verse:All Buddhas depend on two truthsIn order to preach the Dharma to sentient beings.The first is the worldly mundane truth.The second is the truth of supreme meaning.88The above-mentioned verse concerns the issue that while one is taught inBuddhist teachings that the phenomenal world, including oneself, is non-substantial, it is through such a non-substantial world of existence thatenlightenment is achieved. Hence, the Buddhas all talk about two kinds of truth,impermanence. These beings, having heard that all dharmas are impermanent andsuffering, become profoundly detached, succeed in cutting off craving, and attainliberation. For beings with medium faculties, they declare that everything is without self,secure, quiescent, and in nirvana. When these beings hear that all dharmas are withoutself and consist of only nirvana, security, and quiescence, they cut off craving, and gainliberation. For those with keen faculties, they declare that all dharmas from the verybeginning are unarising, unceasing, utterly empty, and like nirvana. Therefore, within theone meaning, according to the fetters and mental faults of beings, there are differences ofprofundity.” See I 45, p. 137a. Translation is taken from Richard Robinson, EarlyMadhyamika in India and China, p. 189. Clearly, except for the fact that Liu only dwellson those who belong to the categories of superior and mediocre capacity, his depiction ofthese two groups is very much in conformity with that in the above passage.881 30, p.32c, as translated by Paul Swanson, T’ien-T’ai philosophy, p. 1.100and not reject the ‘worldly mundane truth,’ since an acceptance of this level of truthwill assist one to comprehend the ‘truth of supreme meaning.’89It is also interesting to note that in the ChUeh-kuan lun, we find the followingstatement:YUan-men asked: “According to the principle that all things are after allempty, then from where shall I seek for enlightenment?...Ju-li answered: “You should seek it from within all existence.. 90Hence, the message is clear. Liu expression of this feature of Madhymikaphilosophy may enhance our understanding of what attracted his attention the mostin this Buddhist school, the thesis that in order to attain enlightenment, one shouldnot blindly reject one’s mundane existence. Perceived in this way, Liu YU-hsi’sstatements fit well in their particular context. Liu’s use of the two rhetoricalquestions here not only signifies that he agreed with this teaching of MadhymikaBuddhism, but it also displays his emphasis on the importance of the worldly truth.That is why he goes on to characterize those who indeed understand the concept of“Middle Way” as those who have arrived at the “real truth” (“chen-ti”) The term“real truth” is used in opposition to the idea of “mundane truth” (“su-ti”). While thetwo truths are diametrically opposed to each other, they are not separable.In our discussion of Liu YU-hsi’s Buddhist thought, we have identified anumber of prominent features. Since he was young man growing up on thesoutheastern seaboard of China during the last two decades of the eighth century,Liu established close ties with Buddhism at an early age. It is very likely that Liu89For a discussion of this verse, see In-shun, Chung-kuan lun-sung chiang-chi (Taipei:Fu-yen chin-she, 1973), pp. 53-461. For a discussion of the “Two Truths” see PaulSwanson, T’ien-t’ai philosophy, pp. 18-37.90See Suzuki Daisetsu zenshu vol. 2, pp. 19 1-192, under entry 36.101received a fair amount of his education in a Buddhist setting, and there is no doubtthat some of the most talented literary figures he admired were either devoutBuddhists or Buddhist clergymen. After the downfall of his political career at 805,Liu’s contact with Buddhist figures increased, accompanied by an increase in hisinterest in Buddhist philosophy. Among the various Buddhist teachings, it seemsthat Ch’an Buddhism attracted Liu the most. Not only did this Buddhist schoolexert great influence on his spiritual life, it also influenced his intellectual life. Asa testimony to this, one can find traces of Ch’an elements in Liu’s poetry and hispoetic theory.While Buddhism was, for centuries, in contention with strong-mindedscholar-officials who were patrons of such indigenous schools of philosophy andreligion as Confucianism and Taoism, Liu Yü-hsi seems to have bothered littleabout anti-Buddhist polemics. However, his genuine Buddhist beliefs did not posea conflict with his strongly Confucian concerns. This was due to the kind ofBuddhist doctrine he found himself most comfortable with.While there is no doubt that Liu had a generally positive view of variousBuddhist schools of thought, our discussion on his inscription to Fa-jung suggestthat he selected certain elements from various schools that best fitted his concernsfor worldly affairs. In the case of Madhyamika Buddhism, Liu selected thoseelements that provided a way for him to incorporate Buddhism into his strongConfucian ideology without causing conflict. Hence, Buddhism and Confucianismco-existed harmoniously in Liu’s thought.102Chapter 4: Heaven & HumanityAs a thinker, Liu Yü-hsi is perhaps best known for his three-part essay “T’ienlun” (“On Heaven”). Through a discussion of Heaven, he expresses his ideasconcerning human beings and how they should and must control their owndestiny. We can find a number of interesting features in the essay. For example,Liu attempts to posit a theory that explains away all the mysteries andcontingencies that one may encounter in life, and directly refutes the concept of“k’ung” (sunyata?) in his argument. This refutation of “k’ung” has been used bymany who have written about the essay as a clear sign of anti-Buddhist sentimentin Liu’s thought.1 If this is indeed the case, then it may point to a possibleinconsistency with the explanation of Liu’s Buddhist sentiments developed in theprevious chapter.We have already, in the preceding two chapters, explored the Confucian andBuddhist dimensions of Liu’s thought, and we have, to a certain extent, indicatedthe dominant nature of these two elements across the whole spectrum of hisphilosophy. Now, through a discussion of the specific issue of Heaven andHumanity, we would like to further explore the position of these two elements inLiu’s system of thought. The focus of our present discussion is on the essay “T’ienLun.” However, some of the ideas and concepts that Liu expresses in this essaycan also be found in his other works.2 Most often, they are expressed in a1For some examples, see Hou Wai-lu, Chung-kuo ssu-hsiang t’ung-shih, vol. 4, part I,(Peking: Jen-min ch’u-pan-she, 1959) p. 374; Fu Yun-lung, “Liu Yü-hsi che-hsüeh ssuhsiang yen-chiu,” in Chung-kuo che-hsUeh-shih lun-ts’ung, (Fu-chou: Fu-chien jen-minchu-pan-she, 1984), pp. 376-377.21t is true that “T’ien Lun” is the only work of Liu Yü-hsi that deals with the concept ofHeaven in an extensive way. However, I do not agree with Lamont’s statement that “thereis little in Liu YU-hsi’s writings to give us any direct background to his attitude towards103consistent fashion, although there are some cases at which these ideas andconcepts show clear signs of contradiction. Thus, it is necessary for us to take intoaccount all the occurences of these useages because they definitely enhance ourunderstanding of Liu’s thought. We will begin our discussion with an examinationof some peripheral issues, and then proceed to a close reading of the essay.It is impossible to date Liu’s essay. A difference of opinion exists amongcontemporary scholars as to the dating of this essay, and since there is no cleartextual evidence pointing to any definite date, we will follow a generally acceptedview that it was written some time after Liu’s banishment in 805. There is nodoubt that this essay could not have been written after the year 819, the year LiuTsung-yuan died, since he wrote a letter discussing the essay “T’ien Lun.” Hence,we can tentatively date the essay between the years 805-819. Unfortunately, theletter from Liu Tsung-yuan is not dated, and it contains no useful information thatHeaven per Se.” See his article,”An early ninth century debate on Heaven,” part II, p. 45.There is no doubt that, except for the essay “T’ien Lun,” Liu’s idea of Heaven is notexpressed in any systematic way. However it does not mean that he writes nothing aboutthis subject. In fact, he does refer to Heaven in his other writings. While such referencesmay not appear to represent his reflective thinking on Heaven, and are scatteredthroughout his oeuvre, they do provide us with additional information as to how Liuthought of Heaven at various stages of his life.3Hou Wai-lu in his Chung-kuo ssu-hsiang t’ung-shih, vol. 4, part 1, argues that this essaywas written after Liu’s banishment in 805. He bases his argument on a certain passage inthe essay. Pien Hsiao-hsüan agrees with Hou’s argument. See his Nien-p’u, pp. 69-70.E.G. Pulleyblank, while agreeing that “T’ien Lun” was written some time after 805,suggest the idea that “the essay purports to be a record of a conversation between himself(Liu Tsung-yuan) and Han Yü.” If this is the case, then the essay could either have beenwritten before 794, or after 801. For Pulleyblamk’s idea, see his article, “NeoConfucianism and neo-Legalism in T’ang intellectual life, 755-805,” pp. 110-111. H.G.Lamont rejects Pulleyblank’s thesis and agrees with that of Hou. See his article, “An earlyninth century debate on Heaven,” part II, p. 39. As Lamont has pointed out in this article,the key item of evidence that supports the dating of the essay as written after 805 is anexpression used in the essay.104can assist us in narrowing down the date of “T’ien Lun” further.4Nevertheless, theapproximate dating of the essay allows us to explore issues such as the connectionbetween Liu’s state of mind during this period and the messages that are conveyedin the essay, and the relevance of his intellectual endeavors during his years ofbanishment to some of the concepts that he developed in the essay.Liu’s motives for writing the essay are clear, since he clearly indicates in thefirst part of the essay his reasons for writing the ‘Tien Lun.” It is simply aresponse to the ‘debate’5 between Liu Tsung-yuan and Han YU on the relationshipbetween Heaven and Man.6Liu YU-hsi tells us of his motive in the following way:My friend Liu Tzu-hou (Tzu-hou is the style name of Liu Tsung-yUan)from the Hsieh district of Ho-tung (in modern Shan-hsi) composed the41n an eulogy for Yang Kuei-hou, Liu recalls that “In the past when I was aquainted withyou, both of us were in the prime of life (chuan).We were angry with people talking aboutfate, and laughed at those who talked about Heaven.” See LYHC, p. 611. Usually, chuanrefers to an age between thirty and late forty. It should therefore correspond to the yearsof 802 to 822. Since we are sure that the essay must have been written before 819, thisphrase reduces the range of possible composition dates to 802 to 819, which is a little bitwider than the range 805-8 19. Such information further strengthens the probability thatthe range of dates is a valid one.51t is questionable whether or not these intellectual exchanges between Liu Tsung-yuanand Liu Yü-hsi and Han YU(?) can be characterized as a debate. As Lin Shu has alreadyindicated, “following Liu [Tsung-yUan]’s disgrace, he [Han YU] composed these words ofresentment and grief to comfort Liu...” See Lin Shu, Han-Liu-wen yen-chiu-fa. (Taipei:Kuang-wen shu-chti, 1964), p. 91. Translation is taken from H.G. Lamont, “An earlyninth century debate on Heaven,” part II, p. 38. The fact that we cannot find anything inHan Yü’s collected works that responds to Liu Tsung-yUan’s essay “T’ien Shou” does notnecessarily mean that Han never wrote a reply. There is always the possiblity that some ofHan’s writings have been lost. However, when Liu Tsung-yUan responded to Liu Yü-hsi’sessay ‘Tien Lun,” we also cannot find any attempt on Liu Yü-hsi’s part to prolong thediscussion. Thus, it seems that while the two Lius were very serious about the opinionexpressed in their writing, their correspondence never developed fully into a debate.6For the exchange of ideas on Heaven between Liu Tsung-yuan and Han YU, see Liu’sessay “T’ien Shuo,” in LTYC, pp. 441-443. This essay has been translated by H.G.Lamont, with annotations. See his article, “An early ninth century debate on Heaven,”part II, pp. 66-69.105essay “Tien Shou” to argue with Han T’ui-chih’s (T’ui-chih is the stylename of Han Yü) words. His essay is really elegant. But, because it waswritten with a burst of emotion, it cannot exhaustively explain therelationship between Heaven and Human. This is why I have composedthe essay “T’ien Lun” in order to develop completely his argument.7Apart from telling us that the essay “T’ien Lun” was a direct response by LiuYU-.hsi to Liu Tsung-yuan’s rebuttal of Han YU’s conception of the relationshipbetween Heaven and Humanity,8 this passage also indicates that Liu Yü-hsi didagree with some of Liu Tsung-yuan’s ideas. If the two Lius shared the sameconception of Heaven and Humanity, then there would be no need for Liu Yü-hsito make further efforts to discuss the same issue. Hence, we might surmise that LiuYü-hsi’s idea of Heaven is not quite in tune with that of Liu Tsung-yuan. Indeed,this is why Liu Yü-hsi felt that the essay “T’ien Shuo” had not completely madeclear various issues about Heaven and Human, and why he wanted to write morematerial on this subject to further develop Liu Tsung-yUan’s argument. We canalso see a strong sense of confidence when Liu YU-hsi said that his discussion onthis subject could actually “develop completely his (Liu Tsung.-yuan) argument”(“chi ch’i pien”). But when Liu Tsung-yuan responded critically to “T’ien Lun,” itseems that Liu Yü-hsi did not write a further reply.To start our discussion of Liu YU-hsi’s idea of Heaven, particularly in hisessay “T’ien Lun,” we should logically begin with the word “T’ien” (“Heaven”).7LYHC, p. 67.8ff what Han Yü had said in “T’ien Shuo” is really to give comfort to Liu Tsung-yUan, asLin Shu asserts, then Han’s idea of Heaven and Human as represented in “T’ien Shuo”should not be taken at surface value. Fang Chieh is aware of this, and he shows quiteconvincingly that the passage in Liu’s essay is in general agreement with Han’s conceptionof the relation of Heaven and Human. For Fang’s discussion, see his article, “Liu TsungyUan ti t’ien-jen ssu-hsiang,” (in pp. 87-109, Kuo-li pien-i-kuang kuang-kan, vol. 12, no.1, 1983), pp. 96-103.106The concept of T’ien emerged as early as the Shang dynasty, and occupied acentral place in the history of Chinese thought. However, our understanding of theterm T’ien is not without problems. Indeed, various theories have been put forwardby scholars to explain the origin of this term.9 Nevertheless, by the time of theearly Chou, T’ien had emerged as something like an omnipotent deity governingboth the realm of human and that of natural affairs. By the time of the Spring andAutumn Period (770 - 477 B.C.), there is no doubt that the relationship betweenHeaven and Humanity was moralistic in nature, and that natural phenomena wereconsidered to be the reflection of Heaven’s will.’°With the development of an “anthropomorphic”1Heaven, the concept wasused with the implication that it might present a force to help maintain order inthe human world. Furthermore, it might also be used by some to present a strongargument to legitimize the existing political order.’2 However, other creativethinkers disagreed with such a concept of Heaven. Taoist thinkers, in particular,9For some modem studies on this issue, see Wang Kuo-wei, “Shih T’ien” in pp. 282-283of his Kuan-t’ang chi-lin, 4 vols. Peking: Chung-hua shu-chU, 1961; Kuo Mo-jo, HsienCh’in T’ien-tao-kuan chih chin-ch’an. Shanghai: Commercial Press, 1936; H.G. Creel,“The Origin of the Diety T’ien” in The origins of statecraft in China, vol. 1, pp. 493-506.Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1970.‘°This description of the term “T’ien” during the Chou period (11th century-77 1 B.C.) is,of course, very simplistic. The concept of T’ien went through various stages ofdevelopment from the time of early Chou down to the time of Liu Yü-hsi. A well knownexample is the emergence of a correlative cosomology, which presented a systematictheory to explain the correlation between human and Nature. Behind this correlationbetween the human world and the phenomenal world we find the conscious T’ien. For adiscussion of this aspect of Chinese thought, see chapter nine of Benjamin Schwartz’s Thworld of thought in ancient China. However, since there are numerous differing ideas onthe development of the connotations of T’ien, and many of them are not conclusiveenough to allow us to use them, for the purpose of this chapter we will discuss only ageneral outline of the the development of the concept of T’ien.The term “anthropomorphism” is borrowed from Benjamin Schwartz. For his definitionof this term see Benjamin Schwartz, The world of thought in ancient China, p. 33.12See Kuo Mo-jo, Hsien-Ch’in t’ien-tao-kuan chih chin-ch’an, pp. 23-24.107identified Heaven (T’ien) with Nature (tzu-jan).’3 In addition, in the later part ofthe Warring States Period (476-222 B.C.), the highly original thinker, Hsün Tzu(fi. 298-238 B.C.) emerged, expounding that Heaven is neither conscious normoral. There is no direct connection, HsUn Tzu argues, between the realm ofhuman affairs and the realm of natural phenomena. He begins his essay “T’ienLun” as follows:Heaven’s ways are constant. It does not prevail because of a sage like Yao;it does not cease to prevail because of a tyrant like Chieh. Respond to itwith good government, and good fortune will result; respond to it withdisorder, and misfortune will result. If you encourage agriculture and arefrugal in expenditures, then Heaven cannot make you poor. If you providethe people with the goods they need and demand their labor only at theproper time, then Heaven cannot afflict you with illness...’4This naturalistic view, we will see later, exerted a considerable influence onLiu YU-hsi’s conception of Heaven. It is interesting to note that both HsUn Tzu andLiu YU-hsi most clearly express their conceptions of Heaven in the essays bearingexactly the same title: “T’ien Lun.” Liu YU-hsi himself never indicates clearlywhether or not his conception of Heaven is inspired by HsUn Tzu. The only timeLiu mentions HsUn Tzu’s name is in his preface to LU Wen’s collected works. Liuassociated Lu with HsUn Tzu in terms of their ability to understand the kinglyWay.’5 Nevertheless, there is no doubt that Liu Yti-hsi was familiar with HsUnTzu’s works. That Liu intentionally chose to give his essay an identical title, “T’ienLun,” must hint at the possibility of a certain level of influence from Hsün Tzu.Indeed, when we proceed to discuss the main ideas of Liu’s essay later, we will‘3See Fung Yu-lan, A history of Chinese philosophy, vol. 1, pp. 284-286.‘4See HsUn Tzu chi-shih, p. 362. Translation taken from Burton Watson, HsUn Tzu, (NewYork: Columbia University Press, 1963), p. 79.‘5Se LYHC, p. 235.108find that there is common ground between the two thinkers on the issue of Heavenand Humanity.16In “T’ien Lun,” Liu YU-hsi begins his essay with a characterization of twoprevailing and opposing theories of the relationship between Heaven andHumanity:In the world there are two doctrines concerning Heaven. Those who adhereto (chü) the obvious will say: “Heaven and Human are really like shadowand echo: calamity will certainly be sent down because of crimes; goodfortune will certainly be sent down because of goodness [in one’s deeds].When one cries out in great distress one will certainly be heard. When oneprays in hidden pain, one will certainly be answered.” It is as if there isreally someone who is in control. So the theory of secret determination(yin-chih) prevails. For those who are bigoted (ni) in obscure matters, theywill say: “Heaven and Humanity are very different. When thunder shakesthe domestic animals and plants, this is not necessarily the result of crimes.When spring nourishes the clay and rushes, it is not necessarily because[Heaven] has selected the good. In the case of Chih and Ch’iao,17 theysucceeded. In the case of K’ung and Yen,’8 they had difficulty. These[matters] are so confused that there are no one in control.” So the theory ofnaturalness (tzu-jan) prevails.’9In this passage, it is clear that Liu Yü-hsi considers both the two theories --secret determination and naturalness-- inadequate in their characterization of therelationship between Heaven and Humanity. When referring to those whofollowed the theory of secret determination, Liu speaks of them as people who‘6That Liu Yü-hsi’s conception of Heaven and Humanity is reminiscent of HsUn Tzu’sidea is geneally acknowledged by most scholars. For an example, see H.G. Lamont, “Anearly ninth century debate on Heaven,” part II, pp. 62-63.17Chih refers to Tao Chih from the state of Ch’in, and Ch’iao refers to Chuang Ch’iao fromthe state of Ch’u. Both of these men were said to have been leaders of bandits during theWarring States period.‘8Kung refers to Confucius. Yen refers to Confucius’ disciple Yen Hui, who suffered frompoverty and died at an early age.‘9LYHC, p. 67.109“adhere to the obvious.” Because the occurence of events match people’sexpectations, therefore people firmly believe that a conscious, supernormal power,Heaven, exists and control human affairs. In the case of the naturalists, hecharacterizes them as those who are “bigoted in obscure matters.” Because thingsoccur in ways that go against people’s expectations, hence it is not clear to themthe reason why things happen in such a way. Both of these characterizations carrya clearly negative tone.It is true that, as H.G. Lamont has indicated, “Heaven, in general, was for LiuYU-hsi a term for nature; his separation of Heaven and Humanity was conceived ofin terms of morality and purposeful action.”2°But the focal point of the essay“T’ien Lun” is the relationship between Heaven and Humanity, and hence the essayconcentrates upon the relationship between the realms of nature and human affairs,not merely on Heaven alone. In this respect, I cannot agree with those who contendthat Liu Yü-hsi simply sides with the naturalists.2’What Liu tries to show in thispassage is the two extremes of how people preconceive the relationship betweenHeaven and Humanity, in order to pave the way for Liu to state the “Middle Path”approach in his conception of Heaven and Humanity.22The fact that Liu Yü-hsi’s idea of Heaven and Humanity differs from thesetwo theories is further shown by the structure of the essay. Immediately afteroutlining the two different theories of Heaven and Humanity, Liu proceeds tostate that his motive in writing the “T’ien Lun” was inspired by the background ofthe exchanges between Han YU and Liu Tsung-yUan. From Liu Tsung-yUan’s20H.G. Lamont, “An early ninth century debate on Heaven,” part II, p. 59.21For an example of this view, see Fu Yun-lung, “Liu Yü-hsi che-hsüeh ssu-hsiang yenchiu,” p. 376.22There is no direct textual evidence in the whole of the essay to support this statement,yet Liu’s theory of Heaven and Humanity, as we will soon see, attempts a compromisebetween the two theories by acknowledging a linkage between the two realms in aspecific way.110‘Tien Shuo” it is quite obvious that the so-called theory of secret determinationrefers to that of Han Yü, while the theory of naturalness refers to that of LiuTsung-yUan. We have already indicated earlier that Liu YU-hsi did not totally agreewith Liu Tsung-yuan’s ideas regarding the essay “T’ien Sbuo.” Clearly, then, it isquite conclusive that the passage expresses a different theory, one unique to LiuYü-hsi.23Showing great coherence in the development of his ideas, Liu YU-hsi doesindeed announce his own theory of Heaven and Humanity immediately afteroutling the theories above:In general, things that belong to the realm of shape all have things thatthey are capable and incapable of. Heaven is the greatest [among those]with form, and human beings are the greatest among all living creatures.What Heaven is capable of, humans, of course, are incapable of. [Amongthose things] humans are capable of, there are some that Heaven islikewise incapable of. So, I say: “Heaven and Humanity are superior(sheng) to each other.” This theory says that: “The way of Heaven is togive birth to and nourish things. Its function is manifested in strength andweakness. The way of humanity is in laws and regulations. Its function ismanifested in right and wrong.24Here Liu delimits the realms of Heaven and Humanity by drawing up certainboundaries. Both Heaven and Humanity, according to Liu, belong to the realm ofform and shape. Thus, this classification scheme allows Liu to confine the subjectsunder discussion to a narrowly-defined space. Specifically, it reduces Heaven to anentity with physical form, hence removing any possibility of a metaphysical23Certain elements of Liu’s theory, as we will see later, already existed. Liu’s theory maynonetheless be unique in the way in which he incorporated various existing elements intoa relatively coherent theory to explain of various questions concerning Heaven andHumanity. For a general discussion of the development of the concept of Heaven prior toLiu’s times, see H.G. Lamont, “An early ninth century debate on Heaven,” part I.24LYHC, pp. 67-68.111interpretation of Heaven. With such a characterization of Heaven and Humanity,Liu then further denies the possibility of an omnipotent Heaven, thus allowing thepossibility that human beings might surpass Heaven.As to the basic relationship between Heaven and human beings, Liu makes itquite clear that physically humans originate from Heaven, since the “way ofHeaven is to give birth to and nourish things.” In addition Liu YU-hsi employs theidea that Humanity is created from ch ‘I (material force).25 Liu elaborates his ideaof ch ‘i as follow:With yang, there is abundant growth; with yin, there is withering anddeath. Water and fire are harmful to things. Wood is hard and metal issharp. When young, one is strong and healthy. When old, one is weak anddim-sighted. Those whose ch’i is strong, contend to rule. those whosestrength is great, contend to dominate [the others]. These are the functionsof Heaven.26Here Liu makes use of the yin-yang and five elements to describe the basicmechanism of the phenomenal world. He uses the concept of ch’i to explain thenature of the world. In particular, he stresses that, in the natural world, livingcreatures dominate one another through their physical fitness. It is those who arephysically strong and powerful that take charge of things. Of course, when he talksabout humans, Liu asserts that human society differs greatly from that of othera number of places of his works, Liu again indicates quite clearly that it is from ch ‘ithat Humanity is produced. Also, the character of a man is directly related to the kind ofch’i with which he is endowed. However, Liu never discuss what determines theendowment process. For some of the places at which he indicates this connection betweenHeaven and human beings, see LYHC, pp. 14, 29, 128-130, 224, 234, 608, 610-611. Theconcept of ch’i is important in both the history of Chinese thought, and in Chineseliterature. For some discussions of this concept, see Ch’ien Chung-lien, “Shih ‘ch’i’,” inKu-tai wen-hsUeh li-lun, vol. 5 (August 1981), pp. 129-150; David Pollard, “Ch’i inChinese literary theory,’ in Adele Austin Rickett ed. Chinese approaches to literaturefrom Confucius to Liang Ch’i-ch’ao, pp. 43-66. Princeton, New Jersey: PrincetonUniversity Press, 1978.p. 68.112creatures in terms of the ability to set laws and regulations. Specifically, the lawsand regulations that Liu is referring to are based upon moral norms such as rites(ii) and righteousness (j)27However, we can already see some shortcomings in Liu YU-hsi’s theory,caused unnecessarily by the use of certain incorrect terms. In particular, it is ratherpuzzling for Liu to say that “What Heaven is capable of, Humanity, of course, isincapable of.” After this statement, it is quite illogical to expect human to be ableto surpass Heaven, since nothing that Heaven is capable of can be better performedby humans. Furthermore, Liu continues to say that “[Among those things thatjhumans are capable of, there are some that Heaven is likewise incapable of.” Thisseems to suggest some human functions can also be carried out by Heaven.If this statement is changed into something like “what humans are capable of,Heaven is incapable of,” it may solve the logical discrepency between the twostatements, even though the latter one is a redundant statement, for the firststatement already implies a total separation between Heaven’s realm of action andthat of Humanity. However, Liu did not envision Heaven and Humanity as realmsthat are mutually exclusive of each other. For sure, there is an “animal” nature inhumans, which explains why law and regulations are needed for humans tomaintain order.28 In addition, the usage of the word sheng (to surpass) implies theinvolvement of a conscious mind. This will, as Liu continues to develop his27This idea shows great similarity to that of HsUn Tzu. In his essay “T’ien Lun,” we cansee HsUn Tzu’s idea of the importance of rites and righteousness in the maintainance ofsocial order: “. ..among men nothing is brighter than ritual principles [li-i].. .He who doesaway with rites blinds the world; and when the world is blinded, great disorder results.”See Hsün-tzu chin-chu chin-i. (Taipei: Commercial Press, 1975), pp. 336-337.Translation taken from Burton Watson, Hsün Tzu, pp. 86-87.28This can be seen clearly from the examples of travellers given in the second part of theessay.113concept of the naturalistic nature of Heaven, create some problems in hisargument.Nevertheless, the central idea that an overlapping of the realms of Heavenand Humanity exists is clear. Thus Liu goes on to specify what the realm of humanaffairs is like:With yang, he plants. With yin, he collects.29 He prevents calamity [causedby water]30 and uses water to irrigate. He prevents fire hazards and usesfire for lighting. He cuts down woods and hollows (k’uan) them out tomake them strong.3’He saps and mines; he sharpens [his tools] with thewhetstone. With righteousness, he controls the powerful and the wicked.With rites, he differentiates the elder and the young. He elevates theworthy and upholds the meritorious. He establishes regulations andprevents evils. This is what a human beings is capable of.32Here, we can see two different levels of human affairs, one amoral, and theother moral in nature. One concerns human beings’ relationship with the naturalworld, the other the internal stability of human world. In an earlier passage, Liuhas already stated that water and fire are harmful to things. Here this idea is furtherelaborated. While humans need to prevent destructive fires, they can, at the sametime, make use of fire for lighting. Similarly, while we guard against calamitiescaused by water, we can also make use of water in the irrigation of fields. Theseexamples show how humans can make use of their environment for their ownbenefit. At this level of human affairs there are no moral issues.But when he talks about the relationships between humans themselves, LiuYU-hsi presents a more moralistic outlook. Righteousness and rites maintain a29The translation of this line may cause some ambiguity. Yang, in this context, probablyrefers to the warm season of the year. Likewise, yin should refer to the cold season of theyear.30Literally the word hai means only some kind of harm. Due to the parallel structure withthe next line, it makes more sense to interpret this term as calamity caused by water.31Literally, the word “k’uan” means “to hollow.” This line seems to refer to the making oftools by wood.32LYHC, p. 68.114proper social order. Liu has already stated that the human way is in laws andregulations, and it is clear that these are established on a Confucian moralfoundation. To Liu, a system of laws and regulations based on Confucian moralvalues plays a central role in maintaining the stability of the human world. Inaddition, the system also determines whether or not people can understand the wayof humans. By presenting three different scenarios of how well laws andregulations are followed by the people in the human world, Liu attempts to showhow one might or might not be confused about the relationship between Heavenand Humanity.The first of these three scenarios demonstrates how one would not attributeone’s life experience to Heaven were the law to be strictly enforced in the humanworld:Humanity can surpass Heaven in the [area] of law. When the law is strictlyenforced, then right is the commonly accepted right, and wrong is thecommonly accepted wrong. People under Heaven, who follow the waywill certainly be rewarded. If they go against [the way] they will certainlybe punished. In the case of those who ought to be rewarded, even if theyare honored as one of the Three Senior Statesmen, and are given tenthousand chung33 in salary, these actions are all said to be proper. Why? Itis because they have done good deeds. In the case of those who ought to bepunished, even if their clans and those to whom they are related areexterminated, or they submit to the cruelty of swords and saws, all theseactions are said to be proper. Why? It is because they have done evildeeds.. .Prosperity can be obtained by goodness, and calamities can beencouraged by evil acts. How can [these] things be interfered with byHeaven?34Clearly, it is because of law, Liu contends, that human beings are capable ofsurpassing nature. The law should be set up in accord with the Way of humanbeings, and the function of the this Way is manifested as right and wrong, but it is33Chung is an ancient measurement equal to four pecks (tou).34LYHC, p. 68.115based on the standard of right and wrong that humans can establish laws. Thuswhen one follows the law, one is also following the Way of Humanity. Hence, thelaw, as a code of behaviour, is situated immediately between human beings and theWay of Humanity, and without such a code human beings will probably lose theirWay. But what kind of standard is this law? As we have already indicated,righteousness and rites form the basis of such a standard, and are tied to good andevil deeds.Of course, when Liu propounds that “in the case of those who ought to bepunished, even if their clans and those to whom they are related areexterminated...all these action are said to be proper,” placing strong emphasis onlaws and regulations, one tends to see in him a strong legalist tendency. It is truethat there are legalist elements in Liu’s thought, but I do not think that theseelements play a dominant role. This is because Liu had always emphasized theidea that law (fa) must be closely associated with moral values.35When he talks about a worst case when the law is greatly relaxed, Liu writes:.right and wrong change places. Reward is always given to the deceitful,and punishment is always given to the honest. When righteousness isunable to restrain the powerful, and punishment is insufficent to humble35For a discussion of the political ideas of Shang Yang and Han Fei, two Legalistthinkers, see Hsiao Kung-chuan, A history of Chinese political thought. (Translated byF.W. Mote. vol. 1: from the beginnings to the sixth century A.D. Princeton, New Jersey:Princeton University Press, 1979), pp. 368-424. For example, Hsiao has indicated that“...Han Fei Tzu not only placed ethics beyond the scope of politics, but he also regardedpersonal ethics and political needs as mutually incompatible, and attacked the former.”See ibid., p. 386. Hsiao Kung-chuan has also provided this statement on the basicdifference between the political thought of Confucianism and Legalism: “Theoretically,there was a basic difference between Confucian and Legalist political thought. TheConfucians set up the welfare of the people as the goal of government, whereas theLegalists regarded the interest of the ruler as paramount...” See his “Legalism andautocracy in traditional China,” (in Tsing-hua Journal of Chinese studies, new series IV,no.2, 1964., pp. 108-121), p.114.116the criminals, then the tools on which humanity relies to surpass Heavenare completely lost.36Law provides one with a sense of right and wrong. It is closer to a moral code thanto a penal code. Hence, when people are confused, not only is righteousness unableto restrain the powerful from acting improperly, but also even with strongpunishment, criminals will not be afraid. A natural consequence of this is thatwhen right and wrong are confused, the Way of Humanity is also confused, and atthis time an individual tends to attribute his success and failure in life to Heaven’swill.Liu YU-hsi opens the second part of his essay with an example to show hisideas regarding the relative superiority of Heaven and Humanity:Now the travellers, in a group, arrive in the wilderness, and they seek aresting place in the green forest, and they drink from rivers and springs. Itis certain that the strong and the powerful will take precedence there. Eventhe sagacious cannot compete with them. Is this not a case where Heavenis superior? When the group arrives at a city, they seek shelter under thedecorated rafter (house), and feast themselves upon sacrificial feasts. It iscertain that the sagacious will take precedence there. The strong and thepowerful cannot compete with them. Is this not a case where Humanity issuperior?.. .So I said: “When [a sense of] right and wrong exists, evenwhen one is in the wilderness, Humanity’s principle is superior. When [thesense of] right and wrong is lost, even if one is in a [civilized] state, theprinciple of Heaven is superior. In this way, Heaven does not intend to besuperior to Humanity. Why? When Humanity does not govern [properly]then things will be attributed to Heaven.. .37This example further clarifies Liu’s ideas concerning Heaven and Humanity.In the first part of the example, Liu presents a scenario of how people competewith each other in a totally uncivilized environment. In the wilderness, when the36LYHC, p. 68.37LYHC, pp. 69-70.117norms of human society no longer prevail, people compete with each other underthe laws of nature. Moral values then play no role in the behavior of people. Thisidea may echo Hsün Tzu’s concept of human nature.38 Thus, when Liu asksrhetorically “Is this not a case where Heaven is superior?” we are quite sure thatHeaven, to Liu, refers simply to the state of nature, in which the essential qualitiesof human beings, the sense of right and wrong, are lost. Of course, if this sense ofright and wrong cannot be maintained, particularly by laws and regulations, as LiuYu-hsi might contend, then human society is no different from the uncivilizedenvironment that Liu had depicted in the passage above.When the situation is reversed so that the travellers arrive in a civilized state,moral values serve as the standard that determines relationships between people,and these values help to maintain a proper social order. In this case, humans aresuperior. This superiority results from human beings’ ability to follow their ownWay, and not that of Heaven’s. In other word, humans can only surpass Heaven(Nature) when they can control their “animal” quality. Whether or not humans aresuperior, depends on humans themselves. Heaven never “attempts” to subdueHumanity, or “tries” to be superior. That is why “Heaven does not intend to besuperior to Humanity.” This phrase seems to imply that Heaven is unconscious,and this fact balances the problem of using the word sheng, which, as we haveindicated earlier, connotes a sense of consciousness. Also, from this example, Liumakes it quite clear that Humanity’s relationship with Heaven depends on Man’sactions alone. When people govern themselves properly, they are superior to38Hsün Tzu’s idea that human nature is “evil” is a well-known issue in the history ofChinese thought. Often, HsUn Tzu’s and Mencius’ conceptions of the nature of humanhave been viewed as the diametrical opposite of those of pre-Ch’in Confucanism. For adiscussion of Hsün Tzu’s idea, see Benjamin Schwartz, The world of thought in ancientChina, pp. 291-302. Chang Heng has provided an interesting argument that these twothinkers’ ideas of man’s nature are not, in fact, in conflict. See his “Hsün Tzu tui-jen tijen-chih chi-ch’i wen-t’i,” in Wen-shih-che hsUeh-pao, vol. 20 (June 1971), pp. 175-2 17.118Heaven. When they do not, then Heaven is superior, or, more correctly, Humanityis submerged in the current of natural phenomena.The next task that Liu takes up is to explain why, since the time of antiquity,people have attributed their success or failure in life to Heaven. Liu’s answer tothis question is very simple. He believes that this is solely caused by people’signorance. In explicating this he again makes use of the example of travelling.Instead of travelling on land, however, this time the people in Liu’s example aretravelling on water:When a boat is travelling on the Wei river, Tzu river, I river, and Loriver,39 its swiftness and slowness depend on human beings. Its arrival anddeparture depend on human beings. The angry roar of the wind cannotincite great waves. The upstream flow of current cannot rise so high that itcan overwhelm one. If it happens that there is a swift and safe voyage, it isdue to human beings. If it happens that the boat overturns and runsaground, it is likewise due to human beings. People inside the boat neveronce speak of Heaven. Why? Because the reason (ii) [why things happenin such a way] is clear. For the boat that travels on the Yangtze, Yellowriver, Hui river, and the oceans, its swiftness and slowness cannot bepredicted in advance. Its arrival and departure cannot be ascertained. Awind that makes the branches whistle can create a maelstrom, and [large]clouds with the shape of a carriage’s canopy can make manifest strangephenomena. If it cross quietly, this is due to Heaven. If it sadly sinks, thisis likewise due to Heaven.. .Those who are in the boat, never for once say[that this is due to] human beings. Why? Because the principle (ii) [whythings happen in such a way] is obscure.4°Here we see a picture of human beings confronting the world of nature.When travelling on small rivers, where the waters are calm, human beings have thepower to bring themselves safely across the water. Because it is within the ability39The Wei and Tzu river are in modern Shangtung, and the I and Lo are in modernHonan. These four rivers, compared with the Yangtze and Yellow rivers, are muchsmaller in size.40LYHC, p. 70.119of travellers to control their destiny in these navigable conditions, they neverattribute their successful crossing to Heaven. However, when travelling in therough sea and big rivers, travellers are overwhelmed by the power of nature.People are confused and scared; they do not know why things happen in such away. The outcome of travelling, crossing successfully or sinking, is thereforeattributed to Heaven.In the previous example, when Liu talks about people travelling in differentenvironments -- civilized and uncivilized-- he stresses the importance of moralvalues. In the present example, the travellers are in a state of motion. It isimportant for us to point out the dynamic nature of Liu’s second example, becauseit enhances our understanding of an important concept that Liu employs later tocharacterize the structure of the phenomenal world -- shih (conditions).After his second example Liu makes a more important point, attempting toestablish a general theory that explains why things happen in a certain way. Hechooses to use two highly abstract and ambiguous concepts-- shu (numericaldimensions) and shih4’ -- to formulate a general model that explains the basicmechanism behind all events in the phenomenal world. However, while Liu’senvisoning of the laws of nature can be described with such a general model, Liuhas yet to take accounts of the elements of contingency. Therefore, it is important41Liu Yü-hsi never provides a clear definition to this two terms. Hence it is difficult toprovide a precise translation of them. H.G. Lamont translates “shu” as “numericaldimensions.” See his article, “An early ninth century debate on Heaven,” part II, pp. 76-77. Chen Yu-shih renders it as “numerical determinism.” See her Images and ideas inChinese classical prose. (Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, 1988), p. 191, n.14. The literary meaning of shu is “number,” and, as we shall see later, Liu’s usage of theterm shu does carry a certain conotation similar to that of the word “number.” Hence, forthe convenience of our discussion, we will translate it as “numerical dimension.” As tothe term “shih,” Lamont translates it as “actual condition.” See p. 77 of part II of hisarticle. We will translate this term simply as “condition.”120for us to make clear the way in which Liu attempts to explain why, under identicalconditions, outcomes may nonetheless be different.Using a dialogue format, Liu begins with the question as to why events undersimilar situations do not necessarily result in similar outcomes:The questioner said: “I saw boats crossing [the water] together. The windand water [conditions] were the same, [and there were no other factorsinvolved]. However, some sank and some did not, If it is not because ofHeaven, then what is responsible for these [discrepencies]T’ It is answeredthat: ‘Water and boats are two things. When things are joined together, itis certain that shu (numerical dimensions) exists between them. When shuexists, then shih (condition) is formed between them. If one boat sinks andone boat crosses safely, it happens because they match their shu, and theyseize on (ch’eng) their shih, and that is all. This shih is created when shu isattached to things; it is like shadow and echo. That which originates fromslowness, has slow shih. Hence human beings are capable ofunderstanding it. That which originates from quickness, has swift shih. Soit is difficult to understand. ,42Shu and shih constitute a pair of concepts, Liu contends, that can explain allthe events in the world.43 A basic presupposition of this model that Liu posited inthis passage is that shu must exist between two or more objects because “when42LYHC, pp. 70-71.BJn an essay titled “Kuan po” (“Observing gambling”) Liu presents a rather different viewof the relationship between shu and shih. Commenting on an event in which Liu’s friendlost both a dice game and a chess game, Liu writes: “. ..As to these two (dice and chessgame), how could any shu exist among them (winning and losing)? It is only because theshih that they differ...” See LYHC, p. 246. It is difficult to account for this difference inLiu’s view of the pair of concepts (shu, shih). However, as Lamont as pointed out, in apreface of a poem to a monk called Wei-liang, Liu YU-hsi expounds the “same theoryabout the nature of Heaven as he did in the Tien Lun.” In this preface, Liu wrote:Those who observe Heaven by its outward appearance say, “It is like Ch’ien and strong; itis vast and high.” Those who look up to Heaven in accordance with its numerical value(shu) say, “Those used are forty-nine.” Heaven, in fact, because it has form (hsing) cannotescape from its numerical value...See LYHC, p. 403. Translation is taken from Lamont’s article, “An early ninth centurydebate on Heaven,” part II, p. 51.121things are joined together, there is certainly the shu between them.” This shu henceprovides a way to describe the interrelationship between various entities in thephenomenal world. As we have indicated in chapter two, Liu shows a profoundinterest in the Book of Changes, particularly in the years after 805. One specificcharacteristic of this classic is its emphasis on numbers.44H.G. Lamont’s interpretation of the term shu as “in some sense like the neoConfucian concept of “principle” (li)”45 seems quite reasonable too. Of course, theusage of the term ii in Liu’s times was quite different from its usage during theSung. Liu does use the term ii in his essay, but it refers to the basic reason behindthings.46 However, in the first part of the essay, Liu uses the term shu to meansomething similar to “principle” (li).47 This shows again the difficulty in the studyof this essay because of imprecision in Liu’s use of language.Let us return now to our discussion of the passage. On the surface, shu andshih seem to determine totally the outcome of all events. But since Liu is trying toanswer the question of why under similar conditions some boats cross successfullyand some sink, the way in which Liu characterizes the pair (shu, shih) still appearsto be unable to answer the question posed at the very outset. Liu only discusses the44For a discussion of a possible connection between the concept shu and the Book ofChanges, see Lamont’s article, “An early ninth century debate on Heaven,” pp. 50-54. Inparticular, on p. 54, Lamont points out that the idea that shu must exist between thingsmay be inspired by a phrase in the chapter “The Way of Heaven” in Chuang Tzu. SeeChuang Tzu chin-chu chin-i, p. 394. This phrase is in a story about a wheelwrightexplaining the subtlety of his skill. There, the term shu refers to something like “method”or “technique,” which is, of course, quite different from Liu’s usage. However, Lamontcontends that “it is possible that when Liu uses shu as ‘number’ with this same phraselifted from Chuang-tzu, he is trying to express a similar idea about the subtle numericalrelationship between things.”45See his article, “An early ninth century debate on Heaven.” part II, p. 47.46Liu uses this term ii in the example of people travelling by water.47LYHC, p. 68.122mechanism behind the phenomenal world, but he does not explain why, under thesame wind and water conditions, some boats, assuming these boats are of similarmake, cross safely and some sink.According to Liu, when two or more things are brought together, shuautomatically arises between them. In our example, it arises between the boat andwater. This concept of shu represents the rule behind the dynamic of “movement”between the elements within the group. However, it does not constitute the actualforce which determines the “movement” of the elements. Thus Liu employs theconcept shih. It gives rise to such “movement.” This concept resembles that of theconcept of “field of potential” in physical science. When the boat is travelling onthe Yangtze river, say, the shih is fast, hence the boat will travel at a high speedbecause the speed of water is swift. When the shih is slow, the boat will travel at alow speed. The inability of humans to comprehend the principle behind theseevents, for Liu, explains why people believe that it is Heaven that controls theirfate.But, at a deeper level in the human world, we have to take into account thehuman factor. Shu and shih do not necessarily dictate the occurrence of all eventsin the world. When considering human being’s relationship to their environment, itis the triplet -- shu, shih, humanity-- that constitutes all the determinating factors.That is perhaps why Liu says, “If one boat sinks and one boat crosses safely, [it isbecause they] match their shu, and seize on (ch’eng) their shih. The term “to seizeon the shih” (ch’eng-shih) carries with it a clear sense of consciousness. Since shuand shih exist objectively, it must be human beings who “seizes on the shih.” Theimplication of this is that humanity does play a role in its own destiny. With suchan understanding, one can answer the question of why, under a similar conditions,some boats can cross safely, while some cannot. Those who understand the123principles that are behind the operation of natural phenomena can act inaccordance with shih, so that calamity can be avoided.In this way, shu and shih help to explain human affairs. Liu then furtherextends his theory to the realm of Heaven. He reduces Heaven to an entity that isalso under the governance of this basic principle of objective existence:The questioner said: “You say that shu exists and then shih will be created,and this is not because of Heaven. Is it really true that Heaven is controlledby shih?” It is answered that: “The shape of Heaven is constantly roundand its color is constantly blue. Its revolution can be measured. Dawn anddusk can be measured by [a sun-dial]. Is this not because of the existenceof shu? Heaven is always lofty and never low; it is always in motion andnever comes to a halt. Is this not in accord with shih? Now Heaven, havingreceived its form as lofty and great, cannot return to something small andlow. Once it rides on the ch’i in motion , it cannot rest for even a shortmoment. Hence, how can it escape from shu and transcend shih? So I saidwith certainty: “The reason why the myriad things are inexhaustible is[because] they are superior to each other and, also, each makes use of theother and that is all. Heaven and Humanity are the greatest among themyriad things.”48Obviously, Heaven, under this consideration, is no longer an omnipotententity. It is restricted, like Humanity, by shu and shih. Its shape and color are fixed,as is its path of motion. It follows the same set trajectory every day. Moreover, it iswithin the power of Humanity to measure the dimensions of Heaven and its periodof revolution.49It is not up to the Heaven to determine its own form, and thereforethere is nothing mysterious about Heaven.48LYHC, p. 71.49This idea of the measurability seems to suggest that Liu Yü-hsi did envisioned a“numerical” dimension in his coining of the concept shu. If this is the case, then we cansee some parallels between this concept of shu with Plato’s useage of numbers to describethe cosmic order. For a discussion of this aspect of Plato’s thought, see Donald J. Munro,The concept of Man in early China. (Stanford, California: Stanford University Press,1969), pp. 52-58.124In Liu’s characterization of Heaven, the term shu seems to refer to some kindof numerical dimensions. It is the measurability of Heaven-- its circumference andits period of revolution -- that Liu is talking about. Even its shape- round- and itscolor - blue - are perceived as constant and unchanging.We can also see in this passage the possible influence of the Han philosopherWang Ch’ung (27-100?), when Liu says that Heaven, “having received its form aslofty and great, cannot return to something small and low.” In the chapter “Wuhsing” (Formless), Wang Ch’ung writes: “Human beings, upon receiving theprimordial ch ‘i from Heaven, each receive the fate of long or short life... .When thecapacity and shape [of a person] is formed, he cannot return to something smalleror greater.”5° In this chapter, Wang Ch’ung repeatedly expounds the idea thathumans should not pursue immortal life, basing his argument on the above ideathat our capacity and shape are totally perdetermined and it is impossible to changethem. Although Wang does not use this idea to discuss anything other thanhumans, it seems quite possible that Wang’s idea did exert a certain impact on Liu.Compared to those of Liu Tsung-yuan and Han Yü, Liu YU-hsi’s argumentsin his essay are the most sophisticated. At the beginning of the essay, we havealready noted, Liu confines Heaven and Humanity within the realm of form andshape. Such a confinement of Heaven within the same realm as Humanity pavesthe way, at the least, for Liu’s thesis statement that “Humanity and Heaven aremutually superior to each other.” But this leaves the realm of formlessnessunexplored. Hence, Liu proceeds to deal with this aspect:The questioner said: “If Heaven is really unable to escape from shubecause it has form, in the case of those that are without form, how are yougoing to account for their shu?” It is answered that: “What you have called‘formless,’ is it not the same as emptiness? Emptiness is the subtlest andsmallest of forms. [In its substance], it is not [a solid thing which50See Liu Pang-sui, Lun-heng chi-chieh. (Peking: Ku-chi ch’u-pan-she, 1961), p. 29.125provides] an obstacle to things, and in its function, it constantly relies onthe existence of things. It must rely on things before it manifests [itself inform]. [If one] constructs a house, the height and width are embedded inits interior. In making of utensils, the forms of compasses and squaresemerge from within. When sounds are produced, they are large and small,but echoes cannot exceed them. When sundials are set up, some may bebent, and some straight. But their shadows cannot surpass them [inlength]. Is this not the shu of emptiness? When the eyes see [things], it isnot because they [emit] light. They rely on the sun, moon, and fire for lightto exist. Those things which are called dark and gloomy, are unable to bedetected by the eyes. The eyes of the fox, weasel, dog, and mouse, canthey be said to be dark and gloomy? So I said that “seeing with the eyes,one can obtain rough image of forms. Seeing with one’s intellect, one cancomprehend the subtlely of forms. How is it possible that within Heavenand Earth there is anything that has no form? The ‘formlessness’ that wasspoken of by the ancients refers to things that have no regular form, andthat is all. They must rely on other things, before they can be seen. How,then, is it possible that they can escape from shu?”5’In the above passage, Liu YU-hsi does not actually deny the concept ofemptiness (k’ung). What he does is first equate formlessness with emptiness.Then, he asserts that emptiness is not actually the same as absence, but it is thesubtlest of all forms. For some, Liu’s passage shows a clear anti-Buddhistsentiment.52 It appears to me more of a structural tool for the completion of hisarguments than an anti-Buddhist polemic. Without his assertions concerningformlessness, the whole of Liu’s argument simply cannot stand up to seriouschallenge. Liu claims that the complement of our physical universe is a completevoid, and that Heaven and Earth thus constitute the whole of our universe; nothingexisting beyond them. With this argument, Liu covers the whole range ofcosmological phenomena, including those that are not comprehended or detectedsimply by one’s sensory powers.51LYHC, p. 71.52For an example, see Hou Wai-lu, Chung-kuo ssu-hsiang t’ung-shih, vol. 4, part I, pp.373-374.126The idea of k’ung (sunyata) in Buddhist philosophy is very different from thekind of emptiness that Liu is talking about in this passage. The central doctrine ofBuddhist philosophy, k’ung, rejects the ontological existence of being. Hence, thewhole of the phenomenal world, arising as a result of causality, is illusory innature. But Liu’s argument is aimed at a rather different direction. He only focuseshis argument on things that are with or without physical forms. His argumentscontain no ontological speculation at all. Thus, it is not plausible to make aconclusive statement as to whether or not there is any anti-Buddhist messageconveyed in this passage.Other critics remark that the idea that “formlessness” (“wu-hsing”) or“emptiness” (“k’ung”) is that which has no regular form is adopted from Taoistphilosophy.53 This seems a bit far-fetched, since the term “wu-chang-hsing”(“without regular form”) is not a specialized term whose origin can be firmlylocated in specific texts.In the last part of the “T’ien Lun,” Liu Yü-hsi begins with the assertion thatthe phenomenal world can be understood by the same principle. Thereore, theworld must be completely intelligible:Someone said: “Among those who talked about astronomical phenomenain the ancient times, there were the theories of hsuan-yeh, hun-t’ien, andthe book of Chou-pei.54 There was [also] Master Tsou (Tsou Yen), who53See Chang Shih-chao, Liu-wen chih-yao, pp. 504-505.54According to an annotation in the biography of Chang Heng in 59:1898, these werethe major schools of thought on astronomy in ancient times. The hsüan-yeh theorycontended that the various stars and planets floating randomly in infinite space. However,the writings of this school are no longer extant. The school of Hun-t’ien believed thatHeaven and Earth were like an egg. Enclosing the Earth, Heaven was like an eggshell.Half of Heaven was above Earth, while half was below. The Earth was just like the eggyolk. The north and south poles were fixed to the two opposite ends of Heaven, and theplanets and stars revolved around the axis joining these two poles. Chou-pei refers to theChou-pi suan-ching, in Ch’ien Pao-chung ed. Suan-ching shih-shu. 2 vols. Peking:127taught that Heaven is lofty and distant, and it is outstanding andextraordinary. Now, for what you have said [about Heaven], is there anytheory that you use for a basis?” It is answered that: “I am not the discipleof these people. In general, for those things that belong to the realm of shu,one can extrapolate from small things to the large, and they must be inaccordance. Human affairs must also be in accordance with those ofHeaven. Examing things based on [such] a principle, [we see that] themyriad things can be understood by the same principle.55In this passage, Liu dissociates his conception of Heaven from that given inthe ancient theories. They cannot provide a clear explanation of the various eventsin the phenomenal world with any degree of regularity. The occurrence of eventsmay appear to be random, and even chaotic. However, bacause of his a belief in abasic principle (shu) underlying everything in the world, Liu posits that allphenomena can be understood by a process of extrapolation. Through such aprocess, the regularity of the theory can be guaranteed. This is perhaps the majorthrust of Liu YU-hsi’s conception of the world. Everything is embedded in a matrixof correlations. In a sense, all things exist in a closed temporal-spatial continuum.Liu’s emphasis on regularity is further made clear in the next passage bysome examples:Humans have [skin] complexion, eyes, ears, nose, teeth, hair, chin, and thepureness and fineness of hundreds of parts of the body; however, theyoriginate from the kidneys, intestines, heart, and the stomach. The Threeilluminations (sun, moon, and stars) of the Heaven, hanging up high inChung-hua shu-chü, 1963. This text is still extant. It is full of numerical measurements ofthe phenomenal world. Of course, it also provides a theory of what Heaven and Earth arelike. For example, it theorizes that Heaven is like a canopy and Earth is like a chessboard. Interestingly, this book emphasizes the importance of numbers (shu), and themeasurability of the phenomenal world. It says nothing about whether or not Heaven isomnipotent. Hence, it is difficult to tell why Liu rejects the merits of this text. A moredetailed discussion of some of these theories can be found in Joseph Needham, et al.Science and civilisation in China. (5 vols. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1962),vol. 3, pp. 210-224.55LYHC, p. 72.128space, are the divine brilliances of myraid phenomena. However, theirorigins are in the mountains, rivers, and in the five phases. Turbidity is themother of clearness; heaviness is the origin of lightness. When the twopositions (yin and yang) are set, they make use of one another. Theirbreathing out turns into rain and dew; their belching turns into thunder andwind. By riding on the ch’i, [things] are created, and the variouscharacteristics are put in proper order. The category of planted things iscalled ‘planted life’ (sheng), and the category of moving things is called‘animal life’ (ch ‘ung). The greatest among the forms of naked animal life isthe wisest one. He can uphold the principle of Humanity, and is able tomutually surpass Heaven. He can make use of the advantages of Heaven toestablish human order. If the order [of Humanity] declines, then [he] willreturn to his origin.56The external physical composition of the human body is linked directly to itsinternal organs. Similarly, the Heavenly57 objects -- sun, moon, and stars-- aredirectly linked to the mountains and rivers on earth. It is interesting to note alsothat Heaven, in this characterization, originates from Earth, and, furthermore, it isgoverned by the operations of the five phases. In this interrelationship betweenvarious objects, the only connection between Heaven and Humanity is ch’i.Humans are created from ch’i, just like other living things. But human beingsdiffer from others because their intellect surpasses that of other living things. Thusthey can make use of their environment to create benefical living conditions forthemselves. In this context, the “human order” that Liu talks about does notexclude realms of existence other than that of human beings. On the contrary, it iswithin the totality of existence which all kinds of creatures inhabit that humanbeings must establish their own order. This is because humans are notdisconnected from other form of life.In closing his argument, Liu raises a few examples concerning the ancients:56LYHC, pp. 72-73.57Here Heaven seems to be equivalent to sky, instead of a synonym for nature.129The documents of Yao and Shun begin by stating ‘On investigatingancient times,”58 but not by stating “on investigating Heaven.” The poemsabout Yu and Li start by referring to the Lord-on-High (Shang-ti),59but donot speak of human affairs. In the court of Shun, the worthy and virtuous(yuan-k’ai)6°were employed. It was said that they were employed by Shun,but not by Heaven. Under Kao-tsung of Yin,61 the world was resurrectedfrom disorder. He realized the worthiness of [Fu] YUeh, but he claimedthat [his position] was bestowed by the Lord. It was once difficult todeceive the people of Yao by spirits. When the mores of the Shang werecorrupted, Heaven was used [by the rulers] to control the people. Fromthis, I can ask: “Does Heaven really interfere in human [affairs] ?62Liu presents in this passage two very different sets of ancient rulers. Yao andShun were two ancient sage-kings, whereas Yu and Li were two tyrants. With thesupports of Confucian classics like The Book of Documents and The Book ofPoetry, Liu reasserts the idea that when the human world is properly governed, asin the times of Yao and Shun, people will not attribute their well-being to Heaven.On the contrary, when the world is in chaos, as in the times of Yu and Li, peopleare confused, and thus they believe that it is Heaven that causes all their sufferings.In addition, Liu’s quoting the Confucian classics not only helps to prove his case,58This refers to the beginning lines of the chapters “Yao-tien” and “Shun-tien” in theBook of Documents. See Shih-san-ching chu-shu, vol. 1, p. 1 18c and 125c. It seems thatLiu lifts these line without being aware of the fact that they do not reject the existence ofan omnipotent deity controlling human affairs. In fact, in the “Shun-tien” we can find aclear reference to the Lord-on-High. See p. 126b.59Yu and Li are two famous tyrants in Chinese history. The two poems about them are“Wan Liu” in Shih-san-ching chu-shu, vol. 1, p. 92a, and “Pan” in jijd., pp. 548c-550b.60Yüan-k’ai refers to the sixteen clans that were employed by Shun. For this allusion, see1:35. In this passage, it refers generally to people of virtue and ability.61There seems to be a corruption of the text. Chung-tsung should be Kao-tsung. This isalluded to the chapter “YUeh Ming” (“The charge of YUeh”) in the Book of Documents.This chapter begins with a story that Kao-tsung saw a virtuous man call Fu YUeh in hisdream. Hence he dispatched people to search for him. Finally, he found Yüeh in the placecalled Fu-ya. Kao-tsung therefore made Yüeh his minister. See Shang-shu cheng-i, inShih-san-ching chu-shu, vol. 1, p. 62b.62LYHC, p. 73.130but it is also a conscious attempt to establish his theory of the relationship betweenHeaven and Humanity within the Confucian tradition.The essay “T’ien Lun” is a highly structured philosophical discourse, despitea few defects in Liu Yü-hsi’s use of language. Strangely, it seems to have exertedlittle impact upon later thought. Of course, Liu Tsung-yuan responded soon afterreading this essay with some negative comments.63 The major reason why LiuTsung-yUan had problems in agreeing with some of Liu YU-hsi’s arguments seemsto relate to certain ambiguities in “T’ien Lun.” Perhaps, it is also because theconcerns of the two Lius were not identical.64 At any rate, the study of this workdoes enhance our understanding of Liu Yü-hsi’s world view and the focus of hisintellectual concerns.There is no doubt that Liu opposes the idea that human affairs are determinedby Heaven. Heaven is simply a synonym of Nature. This idea is echoed in anumber of places in Liu’s works. For example in a poem titled “A song of theotter” we read:Upon catching fine fish, the otter believes that this is all because ofHeaven’s mercy.First offers it in sacrifice, not daring to eat.Holding the fish, it looks up to the mysterious blue.Standing up on the chilly beach like a man does,Its mind is one, its neck is straight.The fisherman thinks that it is a demon,and he throws stones at its throat.He calls his children to thread together the fishes and bring them backhome63Basically, Liu Tsung-yUan feels that most of the ideas in “T’ien Lun’ can only serve ascommentary on his essay “T’ien Shuo.” There are some of Liu Yü-hsi’s ideas with whichhe cannot agree. In particular, the idea of the mutual superiority of Heaven and Humanityis rejected by Liu Tsung-yUan.64See Chang Li-t’ien, Chung-kuo che-hsüeh fan-ch’ou fa-chang-shih (T’ien-tao pien).(Peking: Chung-kuojen-min ta-hsüeh, 1988), pp. 78-81.131[So that] they can be cooked together with the otter.The mind of Heaven is not able to control all these things,It is useless to make sacrifices to Heaven with presents.65In this satirical piece, Liu makes use of an allusion to the otter from thechapter “Monthly Ordinances” (“Ylleh-ling”) in the Book of Rites.66 In contrast tothe order of the natural world in which living things compete with each other forsurvival, Liu shows that the otter is killed because of its ignorance. The otterthinks that Heaven is moral and merciful. But in the end, because of such a beliefthe otter becomes the food of the fisherman and his family. Near the end of thepoem, Liu expounds clearly his thesis that Heaven is not responsible for theoccurence of the world’s events, and it is pointless for us to expect any return fromHeaven.This poem was probably written when Liu was banished to Lang-chou duringthe years 805 and 814,67 which is also roughly the same period during which hewrote the “T’ien Lun.” Clearly, it conveys a message that is consistent with that ofthe “T’ien Lun.” We can also find other works which echo a similar message.68Some of Liu’s writings do reflect an opposite view, but these are quite obviouslytinted with a strong sense of frustration as a result of his political downfall.69 Liu’s65LYHC, p. 271.66See Li-chi chi-chieh, p. 409. This chapter is also found in Lü-shih ch’un-ch’iu. See Ch’enChi-yu, Lü-shih ch’un-chiu chiao-sh’ih. (2 vols. Taipei: Hua-cheng shu-chU, 1985), p. 1.For a very brief discussion of this poem, see Wang YU, “Liu Tsung-yuan Liu Yü-hsihsien-yang Hsün-hsüeh erh-wei neng-fo lun,” (in pp. 157-169 of Hsin-ya hsüeh-shu chiin, vol. 3, 1982), pp. 163-164.67See Nien-p’u, p. 78.68See LYHC, pp. 123 and 265.69See LYHC, pp. 1-3. In this work, “Wen Ta-chün fu” (“A rhapsody in questioning theGreat Potter”). Liu expresses his frustration unambiguously. There is also a differentoccasion on which Liu expresses a rather contrary view. This can be found in a poemwhich relates to religion. On page 297 of LYHC, we can read these lines: “People onearth believe their ears and eyes; they speculate about Heaven with their heart. How can132decline in political fortunes may have resulted in a sense of doubt about hispolitical future, and even about his view of things.7°Nonetheless, the essay “T’ienLun” still represents Liu Yü-hsi’s most conscious and serious effort to to outlinehis own world view, and, therefore, can serve as a pointer towards his majorconcerns in life.We can detect two major themes in Liu’s essay. The first concerns Liu’sbasic view of the phenomenal world. He presents a world of nature that is dynamicand well-regulated. The relationships between things in the universe are governedby a law that is founded upon the pair of concepts shu and shih. The behaviour ofmaterial things embedded in this highly complex matrix of interrelationship, isdictated, to a certain degree, by the “force field” that is created by the matrix. Theterm shih carries with it a definite dynamic aspect. Thus, while things are“trapped” within this rigid space, they are not at all static. They must “move.”The second theme, and the more important, stresses the idea that humans“can” control their own destiny. Shu and shih determine the basic operations ofsomething, but they do not necessarily dictate the path of human action. Humanbeings can transcend this basic structure of existence, but, at the same time, existinside it. Confined within a closed and well-regulated universe, humans aresuperior to all living things because of their intellect, and their ability to set uplaws to regulate their own behaviour. These laws, based on Confucian moralvalues, enable human beings to understand their own world and, therefore, enableyou know that, beyond our capacity of hearing and seeing, there are mysteries that cannotbe explained7 Our knowledge of things is small, [but] the world is vast; how can onecomprehend the truth of things?” This clearly presents a rather different view of things.At any rate, it shows that one cannot expect complete consistency in Liu’s writings.701n the preface of “A rhapsody in questioning the Great Potter,” we can find a clear signof Liu’s doubts about human situations. As a result, he attempts to question the “GreatPotter”, that is, the “Creator.”133them to improve his own conditions of existence. With an understanding of themechanism of how things operate, human beings can then seize upon situations inorder to transform their world. In this way, Liu’s overall conception of the universeis an “open” one. It is up to humans themselves to determine their own destiny.134ConclusionLiu Yü-hsi died in 842, the second year of the Hui-ch’ang reign period (841-846). His life spanned seven decades, and he served a total of seven emperors inhis lifetime. Liu had a highly successful career in the early part of his life. Hepassed both the chin-shih and the Po-hsüeh hung-tz’u examinations before the ageof twenty-five, and gained fame as poet and essayist. He had also established tieswith famous statesmen like Tu Yu and Ch’Uan Te-yu. All these facts seemed topredict an exalted rank in his future political career. However, with the collapse ofthe 805 reform, Liu’s career took a sudden turn for the worse. For the rest of hislife, for nearly four decades, Liu was either banished far away from the court orbarred from participating in any significant role in the central government. Duringthis period of political idleness Liu continued to think and communicate withothers, particularly those who suffered from similar political setbacks, concerningthe state’s affairs and philosophical issues.In this study I have tried to make clear the main thrust of Liu YU-hsi’sthought. Through a study of his Confucian and Buddhist sentiments it is clear thatLiu Yü-hsi always tried to exert himself in the world. The goal of such an exertionwas to bring well-being to the people (chi-wu). This clearly stemmed from hisstrong affinity with Confucianism. His approach to achieve such a goal, as isoutlined in his writings, can be summarized by the notion of Middle Way (chungtao) or the Way of Great Centrality (ta-chung chih-tao). More specifically, theMiddle Way implies a flexible approach to deal with worldly affairs. However,this advocacy of flexibility does not imply a trade-off of moral principles. To Liu,moral principles are the guiding principles of human behavior. Thus, while hestressed the importance of law in the running of state affairs, this law must be135based on Confucian values, and is created only for the purpose of bringing wellbeing to the people.Spiritually, Buddhism played an important role in Liu’s inner life. Hisassociation with Buddhist clergymen can be traced back to his childhood years, butthese kind of activities increased after his banishment in 805. His attitude towardsvarious Buddhist schools was positive in general. However, his affinity withBuddhism did not merely provide Liu consolation when he was in despair. Ourdiscussion reveals that Liu also viewed Buddhism as a teaching to bring well-beingto the people. It seems that Liu selected elements from various Buddhist schoolsthat best fitted this major concern in his life. In this sense, Buddhism andConfucianism exist in a complementary fashion in Liu’s thought.Hence, while “Buddhism within and Confucianism without” does provide abasic characterization of Liu’s intellectual outlook, we can further refine this basicmodel. Buddhism and Confucianism are not disconnected elements so that eachtakes charge of a separate dimension of Liu’s system of thought. They are actuallyconnected together and, according to Liu, should serve the same purpose of bringwell-being to the people.This major concern of Liu can also be demonstrated by his famousphilosophical dissertation, “T’ien Lun.” In this essay, Liu presents a naturalisticview of Heaven. Liu basically perceives Heaven as Nature. He makes use of thetwo concepts, shu and shih, to explain the occurrence of various events in thephenomenal world. In this way, the world is in principle intelligible in all its parts.While the world is a naturalistic one, human beings are capable of “transcending”the force of nature, Liu contends, with the help of laws, to control their owndestiny. This does not necessarily mean that Liu perceives a separation betweenHumanity and Heaven. Human beings are still part of nature. However, becausehumans are the “greatest among all living creatures,” they are capable of136understanding the nature of things through their intellect. With such a capability,humans can then control their destiny.With the concepts of shu (numerical dimensions) and shih (conditions), LiuYU-hsi presents a well-structured and well-regulated universe. Humans, being partof this well-regulated universe, follow the force of nature. However, becausehumans are capable of understanding the basic principles behind the mechanism ofthe world, they can devise their own methods so that they can choose their ownway while being embedded within this well-structured world. This method is a setof laws based on Confucian moral values. Hence, this implies that if human beingsare ever able to “transcend” the force of nature and to create a proper social order,they must also create a well-structured and well-regulated society.The central thesis of Liu’s essay “T’ien Lun” actually focuses on the humanrealm. The goal of achieving a well-regulated society is, again, for the purpose ofbringing well-being to the people. Therefore, the final message of this essay isconsistently coherent with the major concern of Liu’s Confucian and Buddhistsentiments.Finally, a few words should be added concerning prospects for futureresearch in light of this presentation of Liu Yü-hsi’s thought. As I have alreadyindicated in the introduction, a basic understanding of Liu’s thought should provideus more materials to construct a larger and clearer picture of the mid-T’angConfucian revival movement. As to the impact of Liu’s thought, it seems that thereis little evidence of its direct influence on others. However, as Lamont hassuggested, Liu’s concept of shu “may have been of some importance as a linkbetween an earlier divination tradition and the numerology of the Neo-Confucians137Shao Yung (1011-1077) and Ts’ai Ch’en (1 167-1230)...’ Hence, this would be apossible direction in which to turn, for such research may shed light on ourunderstanding of the connections between the mid-T’ang Confucian revivalmovement and Sung Neo-Confucianism.‘See H.G. Lamont, “An early ninth century debate on Heaven,” part II, p. 77, n. 255.138AbbreviationCTW Ch’üan Tang WenCTS Chiu Tang ShuCYKWC Ch’en Yin-k’o Wen-chiHCLWC Han Chang-li Wen-chi Chiao-chuHS Han ShuHHS Hou Han ShuHTS Hsin Tang ShuLTYC Liu Tsung-yuan ChiLYHC Liu YU-hsi ChiNien-p’u Liu YU-hsi Nien-p’uSC Shih ChiT Taisho shinshu daizokyoTCTC Tzu-chih T’ung-chienTFKY T’se-fu YUan-kueiTHY T’ang Hui YaoTT Tung TienYTSC YUan Tz’u-shan Chi139GlossaryAn-huiAn Lu-shanjJ-\Ch’anchangChang-anChang Chiu-lingChang HengChang Hung-chiChaoChao-Ch’ü tingChao LinChao K’uangChao Kuang-hanChe-chiang-p >i.“Chju chiu-nien fu” 1L- 1&Che-hsiChe-yuchenchen-ming ±z.chen-tichen-yenCh’en Tzu-angCheng (surname)ch’eng (sincerity)ch’eng (to seize upon)140ch’eng-shihChichi (preface) 2ch’i -chi-ch’i-pienchi-hsien-tien hsUeh-shihchi-wuchia-mingChiang-hsiChiang-Huai ‘Ch’iaoChiao-janChiehChieh-chung chichieh-tu shihch’ienchien-ch’a yu-shih“Chien-yao”ch’ihChihChih-yenchinCh’inchin-shih 4t.chin-yu-taiching (constancy)Ching (name of a Han emperor)141Ch’ingCh’ing-liangchiu-chouChiu-mo lo-shih“Chiu-mo lo-shih fa-shih taiHCh lungChouChou ChüChou Kung’’Chou-peiChouShuChuChuchü“Chu-chih tz’u”Chu Hsichuk’o 1angchungchu-tzuchu-yuCh’ü YUan\)chuan-fchüanch’UanChuan-hsing fang 35Ch’Uan Te-yUChuang Ch’iaoChuang-tzu142Chüeh-kuan lun UCh’Un-suchung (centra1ity47chung,4.I -chungchung-hoChung-hsiaChung Hun,4tChung lunChung-iChung ShanChung Shuochung-taoChung YungfaFa-hai >4Fa-hsiangFa-jungFang..yangfeng j>fufu-ku irI.Fu-yaFu YUehFungSuihai -Han143Han Ch’iHan FeiHan T’aiHan-yangHan YehHan YUHang-chouHengHeng-yangHo (mount)/ho (harmony)Ho-chou 4’4“Ho-pu fu” “t‘HonanHo-tse‘ JHo-tung i bJHou-yi ).. -HsiaHsiangHsiao-ching kou-ming-chUehhsiao-kuoHsieh“Hsien-hsüeh”Hsien-tsunghsin-chai (7‘4hsing (nature)hsing (evocative image)144hsing (form)Hsiung-nu -3Z..>L-Hsü Ching-tsungi *HsU Kao-seng chUanHsuan <-‘Hsuan-tsungHsuan-yehHsüeh Ching-huiHsUn TzuHu-chouHua-yen“Hua-yen yüan-jen-iun’ 1sHuaihuang-chi j.Hui-nengHuiyUanHun-tienHunanI (river)1-chingJao-choujen/fJen T’ang 4:4cJu-chou‘u-liKai-feng145Kai-yuanKao-tsung ‘<q-F-4/wku-chu 1I\ I \‘Ku-fen”KuT’uanku-wenk’uankuan“Kuanpo1’,ØJ“kuan-wo-sheng”Kuang-hsiKuang-tungKuei-chouKiei-chou (in Ssu-ch’uan)Kuei-feng Tsung-mikunk’ungKungKung An-kuoKung KuangKung Ying-taLang-choule-chengii (principle)li(measurement of distance)’LLi Ao146••LiChiLi Chiangli-iLi Lin-fu‘i-pu‘i-pu 1angLi ShunLi SungLi Te-yULi TuanLiangLien-chouLin ShuLing-ch’e S_Ling ChunLing-hu Ch’uLiu-chou 4Liu HsiehLiuHsULiu Liang \fLiuPa/Liu Pin-k’oLiu Pin-k’o chia-hua luLiu-Po ch’ang-ho chi jLiu ShengLiu-shih chi-lüehLiu Tsung-yuan147LuLu ChiLu ChihLu Ch’unLu Hsi:LuPoLu Shan1U-tsangLu Wen“Lun fo-ku piao”Ma-tsu Tao-iMao (surname)maomengmeng-hsiaMeng-temingMo-k’o Chia-yehniningNiu Seng-juLiuLiu Tzu-liangLiuLiu148Niu-touo-lungpa-ts’uiPai-chang Huai-haipai-hsingPai-lun“Pan”P’ang Ts’anPei-mang Shang tJ>PeiShanI 1,JNPei ShihPeiPeng chengchi )4iJçPeng-yang ch’ang-hopi“Pien-I Chiu-liu lun” i—.“P’ing ch’uan-heng fu” ii4“Ping chung san-Ch’an-k’o chien-wen yin-i hsieh-chih”7’4L ,LkZ_Po-chou (in Kuei-chou)1)4fPo-chou (in Shangtung)Po ChU-ipo-hstieh hung-tz’uS a-men /L7/San-lun tsungShan-hsiShan-tung149Shangshang-shengShang Shu \i;JçShang-shu sheng-.25shang-tiShang YangShao-chouShao Yungshengshengshih (condition)shih-chungShih ChingShih-erh-meng lun-j’i%i”ShihP’inShih ShihShih Shih-kaishih-tien 4shu (numerical dimensions)Shun“Shun-tien”Shun-tsung )Shun-tsung shih-luSsuSsu-ch’uanssu-maSu-chou150su-hsiang-chih/—?su-tisu-wangSuiSung (dynasty)Sung (mount)sungta-chungta-chung chih-taoTa-li-;(Ta-pao-enTa-sheng ta-i-chingT’ai Lt’ai-tzu chiao-shut’ai-tzu pin-kTotanTan Chu‘Tan-kung”T’ang (dynasty)T’ang (ancient ruler)tang (proper)taoTao ChihTao-un [;icTe-tsung 17*T’ienTienLun151.—>N1“T’ien Shuo”T’ien-taiTou Ch’UnTs’ai Ch’en,L<)Ts’ao-hsiTse-kungTseng-tzu9 -II)tso-ch’antso-ch’ihTsou Yen 4?97ZfTs’ung-lingrn-lungTuMuTu YuT’ui-chih—>1 1Tun—huangt’un-t’ien yuan-wai-lang i)jlTung TienTung T’ingTung-ting (lake)Tzutzu-j anTzu-motz’u-shih“WanWang Ching-ts’ungWang Ch’ung / u152c. It:.- \Wang Shu-wenWang T’ung j.L_Wei (a state)fWei (surnarne)Wei (river)Wei Chih-iWei Ch’UWei Ch’unWei HsüanWei LiangWei-shihWei Shuwen“Wen Fu”Wen-hsin tiao-lung 1.Jc“wen-i ming-tao” L.L i—“WenTachün fu”’wu-chang-hsingWu-hsing (five elements)“Wu-hsing” (“Without form”)Wu.-hsing (place name)“Wu-hsing chih”Wu-t’aiWu-tsungWu Yuan-hengyaê153yang (to nuture)yangYang-chou/-Yang Kuei-houYYao“Yao-tien”Yen (name of a mountain)Yen (a surname)Yen HuiYen-shihyenfiehshihYinyinYuYüYü-hsi-Yu-lan-pen chingYUanYuan ChenYUan Chieh 4C MzYUan-ho 1L4YUan Hung 1L 2,&YUan K’aiyin-chihYin Shao154YUan Kao//?— .t2IYUan-men“YUan Tao”YUan YU“YUeh Chi”yUeh-fu“YUeh-ling”“YUeh-ming”Yung-chiao155Selected BibliographyPrimary sources on Liu Yü-hsi:/f,J 714Liu Pin-k’o wen-chi,, /k 441Sung edition. Thirty chUan plussupplement in ten chüan compiled by Sung Min-chiu.) Tokyo: Taianpublishing co., reprint 1967.Liu Meng-te wen-chi edition. Photocopy of the LiiiMeng-te wen-chi in Fukui-shi Sorankantscollection. 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