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Persons in Chinese History - Zhang Miao 張邈

Periods of Chinese History
Note: There is another Zhang Miao 張邈, a lesser warlord who lived during the late Eastern Han period 東漢 (25-220 CE).

Zhang Miao 張邈 (died 292 CE), courtesy name Zhang Shuliao 張叔遼, was a philosopher of the Western Jin period 西晉 (265-316). He came from Julu 巨鹿 (modern Julu, Hebei) and was governor (taishou 太守) of the commandery of Liaodong 遼東 under the Wei dynasty 曹魏 (220-265), and was then appointed governor of Chengyang 城陽, but the died on the way to take over this post. Zhang Miao was influenced by Wang Bi 王弼 who had interpreted the Confucian Classic Yijing 易經 "Book of Changes" in a Daoist way. The primary origin of all things, the great voidness (wu 無), can be used to explain the nature of things. Zhang used human emotions as an evidence for the affects of nature. All eight forms of emotions (joy, anger, sorrow, delight, love, hatred, desire and fear) are given to man by birth, and are not learned by instruction. All social interaction, learned behaviour like the Confucian rules of propriety, or the study of the "six arts" (the Confucian Classics), cannot influence this natural behaviour.
Zhang Miao criticized the superstitious belief that life might be prolonged with certain alchemist methods, or that illness was caused by evil spirits. Whoever wants to live longer, he says, has first to known the real origin of natural disasters and illness, in order to be prepared against them. Diseases are caused by a change in the shape (i.e. the body), like boundless drinking or sexual pleasures, or what Chinese physicians call "wind" (feng 風, causing inflammations), or moisture. Diseases can not origin in the unfavourable conditions of a building, as was often believed in his time. A lot of suffering and shortcomings were only caused by ignorance (ji sui sheng yu bu zhi 忌祟生於不知 "fear of evil spirits is caused by ignorance").
Zhang Miao's writings Ziran haoxue lun 自然好學論 and Zhai wu jixiong shesheng lun 宅無吉凶攝生論 are included in Ji Kang's 嵇康 collected writings Ji Kang ji 嵇康集.

Source: Fu Qingsheng 傅慶升 (1996), "Zhang Miao 張邈", in Feng Kezheng 馮克正, Fu Qingsheng 傅慶升 (ed.), Zhuzi baijia da cidian 諸子百家大辭典 (Shenyang: Liaoning renmin chubanshe), p. 83.

March 1, 2013 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail
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