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The Spirit of the School of Principles in Zhu Xi's Discussion of "Dreams"—And on "Confucius did not Dream of Duke Zhou"

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Dreams were a topic of study even in ancient times, and they are a special spiritual phenomenon. Generations of literati have defined the meaning of dreams in their own way, while Zhu Xi was perhaps the most outstanding one among them. He made profound explanations of dreams from aspects such as the relationship between dreams and the principles li and qi, the relationship between dreams and the state of the heart, and the relationship between dreams and an individual’s moral improvement. He summarized previous generations’ understanding of dreams and infused a new dimension from the School of Principles, pointing out a direction for individuals’ moral cultivation and spiritual pursuit. Zhu Xi also examined the opinions of Zhang Zai, Cheng Yi, Hu Hong and other thinkers on Confucius not dreaming of Duke Zhou in his later years, revealing differences between thinkers in the School of Principles. An analysis of Zhu Xi’s thoughts on dreams will provide deeper insight into the research on the School of Principles.


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