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Between Virtues and Blessings: A Discussion on Zhang Jiucheng’s Thoughts

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As an important thinker in the early South Song dynasty, Zhang Jiucheng differed in his thinking from the School of Principles of the Song and Ming dynasties, which was the mainstream at that time, and was thus excluded by Zhu Xi and his followers. The relation between virtues and blessings was a characteristic part of Zhang’s thought. By analyzing concepts like Heavenly mandates, virtues, blessings, luckiness and unluckiness in Zhang’s thought, this essay re-defines the complicated but manifest relations between virtues and blessings; clarifies the trajectory of Zhang’s thoughts on Heavenly mandates, virtues, and blessings; and displays the efforts of the Neo-Confucians of the Song dynasties to stress the value of human nature in the tension between Heavenly mandates and virtues.


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