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Asian Traditions of Meditation$
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Halvor Eifring

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780824855680

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824855680.001.0001

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“Quiet Sitting” in Neo-Confucianism

“Quiet Sitting” in Neo-Confucianism

Chapter:
(p.207) 11 “Quiet Sitting” in Neo-Confucianism
Source:
Asian Traditions of Meditation
Author(s):

Masaya Mabuchi

Publisher:
University of Hawai'i Press
DOI:10.21313/hawaii/9780824855680.003.0011

In China, meditation is primarily associated with Buddhism and Daoism, but also played a significant role in Neo-Confucianism. Often referred to as “quiet sitting”, such practice was seen as a means to achieve an intuitive comprehension of the “original nature” or “universal principle” that lay at the bottom of Neo-Confucian thought. However, the attitude toward such practice was ambivalent, since it could undermine traditional teachings and norms. “Quiet sitting” was one of the factors behind the emergence of syncretist trends. When Confucian scholars began to write meditation manuals, the techniques described were mostly inspired by Buddhist and Daoist models, including regulated breathing, the circulation of qì, concentration on the “cinnabar field” (dāntián), as well as complete silence and lotus posture. However, late Ming scholar Gāo Pānlóng tried to make up a manual of strictly Confucian meditation, such as that of “recovering [the original state of mind] in seven days”.

Keywords:   quiet sitting, original nature, syncretism, Confucianism, Buddhism, Daoism, meditation manual

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