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Flowing Within the Text: A Discussion on He Lin’s Explanation of Zhu Xi’s Method of Intuition

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The author examines He Lin’s interpretation of Zhu Xi’s method of intuition from a phenomenological–hermeneutical perspective and by exposing Zhu’s philosophical presuppositions. In contrast with Lu Xiangshan’s intuitive method, Zhu Xi’s method of reading classics advocates “emptying your heart and flowing with the text” and, in this spirit, explains the celebrated “exhaustive investigation on the principles of things (ge wu qiong li).” “Text,” according to Zhu, is therefore not an object in ordinary sense but a “contextual region” or “sensible pattern” that, when merged with the reader, generates meanings. Furthermore, by discussing the related doctrines of Lao Zi, Zhuang Zi, Hua-Yan Buddhism, Zhou Dunyi, and Zhu Xi’s own “One principle with many manifestations (li yi fen shu),” the author identifies the philosophical preconditions of Zhu’s method. Based on this analysis, the author goes on to illustrate Zhu’s understanding of “observing potential yet unapparent pleasure, anger, sorrow and happiness” and “maintaining a serious attitude (zhu jing).”


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