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The Way of Water and Sprouts of Virtue
The Way of Water and Sprouts of Virtue
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Sarah Allan - Author
SUNY series in Chinese Philosophy and Culture
Hardcover - 196 pages
Release Date: June 1997
ISBN10: 0-7914-3385-4
ISBN13: 978-0-7914-3385-0

Out of Print
Price: $31.95 
Paperback - 196 pages
Release Date: June 1997
ISBN10: 0-7914-3386-2
ISBN13: 978-0-7914-3386-7

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Summary Read First Chapter image missing

Explicates early Chinese thought and explores the relationship between language and thought.

This book maintains that early Chinese philosophers, whatever their philosophical school, assumed common principles informed the natural and human worlds and that one could understand the nature of man by studying the principles which govern nature. Accordingly, the natural world rather than a religious tradition provided the root metaphors of early Chinese thought. Sarah Allan examines the concrete imagery, most importantly water and plant life, which served as a model for the most fundamental concepts in Chinese philosophy including such ideas as dao, the "way," de, "virtue" or "potency," xin, the "mind/heart," xing "nature," and qi, "vital energy." Water, with its extraordinarily rich capacity for generating imagery, provided the primary model for conceptualizing general cosmic principles while plants provided a model for the continuous sequence of generation, growth, reproduction, and death and was the basis for the Chinese understanding of the nature of man in both religion and philosophy.

"I find this book unique among recent efforts to identify and explain essential features of early Chinese thought, because of its emphasis on imagery and metaphor." -- Christian Jochim, San Jose State University

Sarah Allan is Burlington Northern Foundation Chair of Chinese Studies in honor of Richard M. Bressler at Dartmouth College. She is the author of Shape of the Turtle: Myth, Art and Cosmos in Early China, also published by SUNY Press; The Heir and the Sage: Dynastic Legend in Early China; Chinese Bronzes: A Selection from European Collections (with Li Xueqin); and Oracle Bone Collections in Great Britain (with Li Xueqin and Qi Wenxin); and editor of Legend, Lore and Religion in China (with Alvin P. Cohen) and Dunhuang Manuscripts in British Collection (with others).

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Table of Contents




Chapter 1. Introduction

The Sources
Root Metaphors and Conceptual Schemes
Early Chinese Religion
Water and Plant Life

Chapter 2. Water

Shui "Water"
Water with a Source Flows Continuously
Water Flows along a Course
Water Flows Downward
Water Carries Detritus
Soft and Weak, Yielding, and Uncontending
Water Takes Any Shape
Still Water Becomes Level
Still Water Clears Itself of Sediment and Becomes Reflective
Water is Difficult to See
Mountains and Rivers
Water and Fire

Chapter 3. The Way and Other Ideas

The "Way" (Dao )
The Analects and the Mencius
The Laozi and the Zhuangzi
"Doing Nothing" (Wuwei )
The Mind/Heart (Xin )
"Breath," "Vapor," "Vital Energy'' (Qi )

Chapter 4. Sprouts of Virtue

The Myriad Living Things (Wan Wu )
Virtue or Inner Power (De )
Nature (Xing )
The "Shoots" (Cai , ) (Original Material or Natural Endowment)
The Sprouts (Duan ) of The Mind/Heart
Humaneness (Ren )
That which Is So of Itself (Ziran )
The Artificial and the Natural (Wei and Xing )

Chapter 5. The Philosophers

The Analects
The Mencius
The Laozi Daodejing
The Zhuangzi




Chinese Texts

Index of Translations from Chinese Texts

Index of Chinese Terms

Subject Index

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