The Concept of Benevolence and Justice during the Song Dynasty
|Keywords:||成仁取義;正君心;行仁政;仁心義行;慕義勉仁;martyrdom;good government;benevolence;justice;imperial education||Issue Date:||Dec-2006||Source:||臺大歷史學報||Start page/Pages:||001-023||Abstract:||
Before his martyrdom, Wen Tien-hsiang (文天祥), the last prime minister of the Song Dynasty, wrote to demonstrate his determination to die for the cause of justice by referring to Confucius and Chinese traditional ethics. A typical intellectual in China must stand for the view professed in I Ching (Book of Change, 《易經》) that, 'Without the concepts of benevolence and justice one cannot establish oneself or get along in the world.' Scholars and officials in the Song Dynasty, such as Ssu-Ma Kuang (司馬光), Chen Yi(程賾), Fan Tsu-yu (范祖禹), Chu His(朱熹), and Chien Teh-shiou(黃德秀), cherished Confucian humanism and demanded that emperors should be educated to cherish moral laws and social duties. The imperial tutors and mentors developed a radical political philosophy putting the ruler under an obligation to save the world, They considered benevolence to be the main theme of morals; to them, benevolence is much more than kindness, and cannot be separated from justice. A benevolent man can love the people in the right way only after having realized the meaning of justice. As Chu Hsi points out, 'Benevolence is the highest ethical principle, by which one cares for others.' Benevolence is thoroughly applicable: many philanthropic enterprises carried out by the wealthy and influential families in the Song Dynasty were based upon the philosophic teaching of benevolence. That the Song governments were earnestly devoted to social relief was a proof of the success of the intellectuals in promoting the idea of benevolence and justice. And it is arguable that the Song Dynasty, though weak in military might, had been able to survive fierce foreign invasions and to last for more than three centuries because of its good government.
|Appears in Collections:||歷史學系|
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