The Research of Hsin, Hsing, and Ching Hsuo of the Confucian School during the Warring States：A Research Centered on Three Chapters of “Li-chi” and “Hsing-tzu-ming-chu”
Confucian philosophy is centered on human being all the time. It pays attention to the issues of human feeling (ching 情), nature (hsing 性) and mind (hsin 心). Hsin, hsing, and ching are employed to illustrate the conceptual framework of the subject of human nature. Different explanations or inclinations towards hsin, hsing, and ching establish various hsin and hsing ideological systems, and construct different comprehension of human nature at the same time. The ideas of hsin, hsing, and ching play a significant role in the Confucian theory of human nature during the warring states; however, researchers generally lay particular stress on the exploration of good nature and evil nature in moral aspects, and put emphasis on moral consciousness and virtue cultivation of human nature. Does the Confucian School merely put emphasis on the cultivation of personality and morality? Is the most direct expression of feeling ignored? Does the Confucian School deny all the need of feeling by human being? As a matter of fact, the issues of hsin, hsing, and ching are related. It is impossible to discuss merely one or two of them. If we only focus on hsin or hsing, omitting the feeling, hsin-hsing-lun would easily become a concept of formality and lose its inherent enrichment.
The structure of this research primarily explores the meanings of hsin, hsing, and ching in order. The application of hsin, hsing, and ching by various documents will lead to similarity or difference. This is also a sign that inner sects of the Confucian School disagree with each other in the pre-Qin period. Furthermore, it is a main symbol of the division among the sects. Therefore, the scope of this research is mainly based on three chapters of Li-chi (《禮記》)-- Ta-hsüen (《大學》), Chung-yung (《中庸》) and Yûeh-chi (《樂記》)—and the bamboo slips of Guodian Hsing-tzu-ming-chu (〈性自命出〉), takes Shih-ching (《詩經》), Shang-shu (《尚書》), Tso-chuan (《左傳》), Guo-yu (《國語》), and Lun-yu (《論語》) as the origin-tracing documents for hsin, hsing, and ching issues and applies the discourse of Meng-tzu (孟子) and Hsün-tzu (荀子) which were developed later on. Therefore, the second chapter of the research “The Origin and Development of Hsin, Hsing, and Ching Issues” applies Chinese classical documents handed down for generations before Confucius--Shih-ching, Shang-shu, Tso-chuan, and Guo-yu—to explore the general situation of hsin, hsing, and ching in the initial stage, and attempts to locate the reason why Confucian hsin, hsing, and ching ideas depend on the above-mentioned document with simple concepts. Secondly, Confucius himself as the founder of the Confucian School in the pre-Qin period, his proverb “By nature, near together; by practice far apart.” (「性相近，習相遠」)in Lun-yu had had a great influence on his disciples’ viewpoints of the theory of human nature even though he had not presented a complete hsin, hsing, and ching doctrine or theory. Finally, the research discusses the two major and distinct sects of the Confucian School-- Meng-tzu and Hsün-tzu—and their development. The third chapter “three chapters of Li-chi explores hsin, hsing, and ching in Ta-hsüen, Chung-yung, and Yûeh-chi, and we can see that Confucius’ disciples made efforts to explain the source which benevolence (jên 仁) is regarded as the inner disposition, and attempted to have a thorough knowledge of benevolence, tian dao and hsing ming to establish metaphysical basis for benevolence. The fourth chapter “Hsing-tzu-ming-chu” primarily explores the indistinct outlines of the Confucian hsin-hsing-ching-hsuo in the initial stage during the transitional period, and elucidates the reason why the goodness of human nature is illustrated to the utmost in Meng-tzu (《孟子》) so that the Hsin-hsing-ching-hsuo varies evidently between Confucius’ theory of human nature and Meng-tzu’s theory of good nature. From the exploration of Hsing-tzu-ming-chu, we can get a clear answer to a degree. The fifth chapter “Conclusion” sums up the result which this research explores the study of hsin, hsing, and ching hsuo of the Confucian School during the warring states, and prospects into the future.
Key words: Hsin, Hsing, Ching, the bamboo slips of Guodian, Confucian