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On Ethics and HistoryEssays and Letters of Zhang Xuecheng$
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Philip J. Ivanhoe

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780804761284

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804761284.001.0001

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Reply to Shen Zaiting Discussing Learning1

Reply to Shen Zaiting Discussing Learning1

(p.118) Letter 3 Reply to Shen Zaiting Discussing Learning1
On Ethics and History
Stanford University Press

This chapter presents the English translation of a reply written by Zhang to Shen Zaiting. Zhang says that learning must be aimed at personal understanding; its true goal is moral improvement. The aspiring student of the dao must be on guard so as not to be seduced by promises of worldly renown or reward or led astray by the popularity of intellectual fashions. Different intellectual fashions come and go, and everyone has its underlying merits, but one must realize that each is but one facet of the dao. Students must keep their eyes on the true prize: a personal understanding of the Way, and the first step in this process is grasping what the dao is and what it is not; this, of course, is the focus of Zhang's “On the Dao.” Zhang then presents a summary of his view of the dao.

Keywords:   Zhang Xuecheng, essay, dao, learning, moral improvement

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