The Religious Philosophy of Liang Shuming

The Hidden Buddhist


Liang Shuming (1895-1988) is one of the most important Chinese philosophers in twentieth century China. Generally considered to be a Confucian, and even the last Confucian, the author argues that he was in fact a Buddhist. Liang’s thoughts are analysed within the background of the intellectual debates on religion in republican China. He reshaped the Western concept of religion from the standpoint of Yogācāra Buddhism. Yet, he advocated for the present time Confucianism as the ethical religion that would lead ultimately to the Buddhist liberation. Examining Liang’s religious belief sheds new light on his fascinating life, particularly his involvement in the Rural Reconstruction movement of the nineteen-thirties. It also explains why Liang was the only intellectual who dared to publically oppose Mao in the nineteen-sixties and seventies.

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Biographical Note
Thierry Meynard, Ph. D. (2003) in Philosophy, University of Peking, is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China. He has written extensively on Chinese philosophy, comparative philosophy and the cross-cultural history of China and the West.
Review Quotes
"[ The Religious Philosophy of Liang Shuming] is a very good contribution to the intellectual biography of Liang Shuming. In his book, [Meynard] gives witness to his extensive reading in Liang's many works and a good grasp of his most important ideas."

Zbigniew Wesolowski, Monumenta Serica 59 (2011)

"Thierry Meynard has not only shared with us an inspiring account of a fascinating thinker, admirable and courageous activist and a unique personality in China's modem history, but also made a serious contribution to our understanding of the evasive issue of what Chinese religiousness means."

Geir Sigurdsson, University of Iceland, Journal of Chinese Religions, No. 39 (2011)
Table of contents
Chapter 1: The Shaping of the Concept of Religion in China
Chapter 2: A Philosophy and Typology of Religion
Chapter 3: Christianity as a Social Religion
Chapter 4: Buddhism as the True Religion
Chapter 5: Buddhist Practice and Yogācāra Epistemology
Chapter 6: Buddhist Ontology
Chapter 7: Opposition to Humanistic Buddhism
Chapter 8: Confucian Morality as a Substitute for Religion
Chapter 9: Religious Aspects of Liang's Private and Public Lives
The book will be of interest to readers of 20th century Chinese thought as well as specialists of Buddhist thought and inter-religious dialogue.
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