Zhu XI's prayers to the spirit of confucius and claim to the transmission of the way

Philosophy East and West 54 (4):489-513 (2004)
: What philosophical and historical insights might be gained by juxtaposing and linking two distinct areas of Zhu Xi's comments, those on guishen (conventionally glossed as ghosts or spirits) and those on the transmission and succession of the Way (daotong)? There is considerable evidence that he regarded canonical rites for ancestors and teachers as insufficiently satisfying, and thus he sought enhanced communion with the dead. His statements about spirits and especially his prayers to Confucius' spirit served to enhance his confidence that he had gained the transmission of Confucius' dao and that nothing being passed down to him had been lost. In the rituals and prayers to Confucius, Zhu Xi also projected himself as mediator between his students and Confucius' spirit. After hearing such prayers and participating in the ritual sacrifices, Zhu's students would become more convinced of his special status in the transmission of the Way. This inquiry into these spiritual and philosophical issues ultimately demonstrates the compelling importance of Zhu's practical concerns
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DOI 10.1353/pew.2004.0036
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