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Chinese Literature
Shenmengzi 伸蒙子 "The Master Reaching out for Obscurity"

The Shenmengzi 伸蒙子 "Master reaching out for obscurity" is a philosophical treatise written by the Tang period 唐 (618-907) scholar Lin Shensi 林慎思 (jinshi degree 869). The 3 juan "scrolls" long book is a revision of Lin Shensi's seven chapters long book Rufan 儒範 "Models for a Confucian". When he had finished his book, Lin consulted the divinatory book Yilin 易林, an exegesis of the Confucian Classic Yijing 易經 and obtained the hexagram meng 蒙 "obscurity", with the explanation that an investigation of obscure matters is necessary to obtain the right view of things. The book itself is an investigation of how rulers in the past had managed to govern the empire with Confucian means. In the first chapter, the relationships between Heaven, Earth and man is explained. In the second chapter, the relationships between ruler, minister and the people is highlighted. The last chapter described the relationship between civilian and military matters in government. The text is structured in dialogues with a question-and-answer pattern. The participants of the dialogues are allegoric persons, in the first chapter Mister Official-emolument 干禄先生, Mister Well-Instructed 知道先生, and Mister Search-for-the-Self 求己先生; in the second chapter Mister Broad-culturedness 弘文先生, Master Like-a-fool 如愚子 and Master Black-milk 盧乳子; and in the third chapter the author resp. the reader themselves, that discuss Confucius' view of smallness of earthly matters.
The oldest surviving print is from the Ming period 明 (1368-1644). The Shengmengzi is included in the collectaneum Baizi quanshu 百子全書.

Source: Li Xueqin 李學勤, Lü Wenyu 呂文鬰 (1996). Siku da cidian 四庫大辭典, vol. 2, p. 1548. Changchun: Jilin daxue chubanshe.

1. 槐里辨 Kuilibian
2. 澤國紀 Zeguoji
3. 時喻 Shiyu
Chinese literature according to the four-category system

December 30, 2010 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail