Like Dai Zhen in China and Jeong Dasan in Korea, Jinsai argued against the orthodox neo-Confucian conceptions of principle and qi. Like them, he argued that such ideas were never part of Confucianism and had insidiously crept into the tradition from Daoist and Buddhist sources. Also like them, he sought to unmask and root out foreign elements in the Confucian tradition and return to the original intent of the sages as revealed in the true meaning of the classics by employing a philologically based method, which he called the “Learning of Ancient Meanings.” But Jinsai offered a novel justification for the universal obligation to care for the world as oneself by advancing a view about how a creative and sustaining “Way of Heaven” shapes “single original qi” into the diverse phenomena of the world, making them all parts of a single “living thing.”
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