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Liaofan sixun 了凡四訓

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The Liaofan sixun 了凡四訓 "(Yuan) Liaofan's Four Instructions" is a text for primary education written by the Ming period 明 (1368-1644) scholar Yuan Liaofan 袁了凡 (1533-1606), original name Yuan Huang 袁黃, courtesy name Yuan Kunyi 袁坤儀. It is China's oldest text particularly written as a textbook for schools. It is still used today in Taiwan. Yuan Liaofan prepared for a long time for the state examinations, but a soothsayer told him that he would not pass and would die at the age of 53 sui without a heir, and therefore he decided to at least compile a book that would make the preparation easier for later generations. In 1569 he became acquainted with the Chan Master Yungu 雲谷禪師 who made clear to Yuan Liaofan that there was no fate that can be prognosticated. Yuan Liaofan indeed fathered a son in old age, and with 69 sui began to write down his book, as a kind of instruction for his son, for which reason the book was originally called Xunziwen 訓子文 "Instructions for my son". The aim of the book is to explain to the readers that virtuous conduct would lead to happiness and enable anyone to change his fortune. It is divided into four chapters that combine Confucian concepts of virtual conduct with Buddhist and Daoist teachings. The late Qing period 清 (1644-1911) politician and thinker Zeng Guofan 曾國藩 was highly impressed by the Liaofan sixun, likewise the philosopher and professor Hu Shi 胡適 from the Republican period.

1. 立命之學 Liming zhi xue How to make your own life
2. 改過之法 Gaiguo zhi fa How to learn from lesser faults
3. 積善之方 Jishan zhi fang How to accumulate good deeds
4. 謙德之效 Qiande zhi xiao How to put virtue into effect

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September 21, 2013 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail
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