Ritual propriety freedom manifesto: Li Zhi’s “Explanation of the Four ‘Do Not’ ”

Vostok/Oriens '2018, №1

DOI: 10.7868/S0869190818010156

The article offers the translation and analysis of Li Zhi’s «Explanation of the Four “Do Not”» (四勿說si wu shuo), included into the chapter “Diverse Writings” (雜述Za shu) of “A Book to Burn”. The essay mostly concerns ritual propriety (禮li) reinterpretation, rethinking it as something strongly connected with inner nature, and free from any verbalization. Li Zhi claims the incorrectness of any compulsion in the sphere of ritual propriety managed by people, and gives the only privilege to define what ritual propriety is to the Heaven. The thinker numerously quotes Confucian canons as arguments to his statements, opposing them to the thoughts of Song Neo-Confucianists from “Classified conversations of Zhu Xi” (朱子語類 Zhuzi yu lei). The ideas of the essay seemingly belong to the “school of heart-mind” (心學 xin xue) and evidently stand against the “school of principle” (理學li xue). In addition, the absence of Buddhist terminology and ideas should be noticed, as long as it fully corresponds with the period of Li Zhi’s biography, when he wrote his essay.

Keywords: Neo-Confucianism, Li Zhi, A Book to Burn, Si wu shuo, Explanation of the four “Do Not”

Pages: С. 167–183

© Российская академия наук. © Редколегия журнала "Восток/Oriens"(составитель).