Natural Order and Divine Will in The Three Virtues
The publication of The Great Drought of the State of Lu 《鲁邦大旱》, in the second volume of the Shanghai Museum’s Chu bamboo manuscripts, has sparked a renewed interest in the views Confucius held concerning ritual sacrifice. This issue further instigated the reconsideration of whether or not Confucius really believed, or to what extent he believed, in the existence of a transcendent Mandate of Heaven or Divine Will. This problem is complex and must be approached carefully. For example, if one begins with either the perspective of the Three Dynasties religious traditions or that which later completely opposes the old tradition, one will easily reach faulty conclusions when investigating Confucius’ stance on religious issues. 1 We must recognize that rise of the “learning of the masters” in the Spring and Autumn period, and the competition between the different schools both generated a trend of valorizing philosophical rationality and led to a transformation and fragmentation of religion.
KeywordsNatural Order Strange Star Ritual Sacrifice Great Famine Solar Term
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- 1.We cannot view the relationship of the religion of the Three Dynasties and the philosophy of the Eastern Zhou as one unified linear historical transformation. For more on this, see Christian Jochim, Chinese Religions: A Cultural Perspective (New York: Pearson, 1985)Google Scholar
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- 3.Cao Feng 曹峰 feels it is highly compatible with the Huangdi sijing. However, The Three Virtues clearly has Confucian tendencies, especially in regards to its notion of “ritual” li 禮, and “the farming season” nongshi 農時. It certainly does not incorporate any Daoist ideas, let alone Legalist ones. Therefore, it overall must be identified as Confucian. As for the issue concerning the similarities between the Huangdi sijing and The Three Virtues, and the question of which text influenced which, these require further investigation. See Cao Feng 曹峰 San De yu Huangdi sijing duibi yanjiu 《三德》与《黄帝四 经》对比研究, in Shang Bo Chujian sixiang yanjiu 上博楚简思想研 究 (Taibei: Taiwan wanjuanlou tushu gufen youxian gongsi, 2006).Google Scholar
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