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Mou Zongsan, His Times, And His Aims

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Chapter Summary

Mou Zongsan emerged as one of the leaders of the "New Confucian" movement, which is now one of the most influential forces in Chinese-language philosophy. This chapter explains Mou's mature opinions about the "what?" and the "so what?" of Buddhist philosophy, and thereby answers the question of why he prized it so much as a boon to Confucian philosophers and indeed all philosophers. Modern Chinese patriots assumed that in order to save their motherland and outfit it for survival in a harsh and unfriendly world, it was most important that somehow they fix China's culture. In 1927, when Mou arrived at Peking University, a cultural and political struggle intensified in China which set the agenda for his intellectual life to come. Mou's solution is to look for a philosophy which is fundamentally "idealist," in the sense that its foundation is one's minds, and in particular its moral sensibilities.

Keywords: Buddhist philosophy; Chinese culture; intellectual crisis; Mou Zongsan; New Confucian movement



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