Monthly Archives: July 2010

The Confucian Gita?

I’ve been thinking a bit about the Bhagavad Gita recently–partly because I’ve been studying Sanskrit (as I mentioned in a previous post), and have been looking toward reading the Gita in the original Sanskrit, since I teach it so much and because it’s one of my favorite books.  One passage in particular on a recent reading (which echoes a major theme of the Gita in general) struck me as not too different from something we find in the Analects (on certain interpretations):

2.47: (Barbara Stoler Miller trans.) “Be intent on action, not on the fruits of action; avoid attraction to the fruits and attachment to inaction!”

This strikes me as a Confucian point.  One acts in certain ways (adhering with 禮 li, Continue reading

New Works, the Importance of Neo-Confucianism, and Han Philosophy

I’ve been reading some new works in Chinese philosophy this summer, and I’ve noticed that a number of books on Neo-Confucian thinkers and topics have recently been published.  This strikes me as a relatively new development in the field, and one that is far overdue.  This is not to say that there have never before been major works on the Neo-Confucians, but there has not before now been very much philosophical interest in the Neo-Confucians in the west.  I have argued before, of course, that it is essential to understand the Neo-Confucians (or at least Zhu Xi) if one is working on Pre-Qin Confucianism.  The main reason for this is that we read texts such as the Analects and Mencius through the lenses of past interpretations, and most of these (so far as I’ve seen) have been enormously influenced by Zhu Xi’s readings.  This is Continue reading


For those who have been checking up here recently–apologies for the long absence!  Just finished up some projects though (finally), and I’m starting some new ones, so I should be deep back into the blogging soon.  In the meantime, there’s an interesting discussion of the new Columbia University Press translation of the Huainanzi going on at Frog in a Well–check it out!