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Zhu Xi 朱熹 (1130–1200) has long been widely recognized as one of, if not the most, influential philosophers of Neo-Confucianism; some even regarded him as one of the most significant philosophers throughout the history of Chinese philosophy. As acclaimed modern Chinese historian Qian Mu observes, “In the history of China, there were Confucius in the early ancient times and Zhu Xi in the near ancient times. Both of them shined out for their greatest brilliance and impact on the Chinese intellectual and cultural history. It seems that no other is comparable to them throughout Chinese history” (Qian 2011: 1–2). Chan Wing-tsit also held that “No one has exercised greater influence on Chinese thought than Chu Hsi [Zhu Xi] (Chu Yüan-hui, 1130–1200), except Confucius, Mencius, Lao Tzu [Laozi], and Chuang Tzu [Zhuangzi]. He gave Confucianism new meaning and for centuries dominated not only Chinese thought but the thought of Korea and Japan as well” (Chan 1969: 588).
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