China History Podcast

The Five Elements

The ninth and final part in the History of Chinese Philosophy podcast series

Laszlo emerges from the post-holiday festivities to finish off the series, picking up from last episode with the life and work of Wang Yangming. The differences between the two main schools of Neo-Confucianism is further discussed: the Lu-Wang School of the Mind (xinxue) and the Cheng-Zhu School of Principle (lixue). We also saved philosopher Zou Yan and the Five Elements (wuxing) for last. And that completes this nine-part set course meal in the History of Chinese Philosophy. If anything spoke to you, you're now armed and ready to do as many deeper dives into all these schools of thought as your heart desires. For more like it, explore Laszlo’s archive of podcasts at Tea Cup Media.

China History Podcast

The Tang of Philosophy

Part seven in the History of Chinese Philosophy podcast series

In the late Han Dynasty, philosophy was a lot more complex than in Confucius's time. The focus in this episode is on philosophical thought in the Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD). From the fall of the Han dynasty in 220, all the way through the Six Dynasties, Buddhism had spread quickly throughout the disunited kingdoms of China. By the time the father and son team of Yang Jian and Yang Guang stabilized and united China into a new empire in 589, Buddhism had taken root and appealed to the weary masses and the aristocrats. Later in the Tang Dynasty, Confucianism reasserted itself, and after the brilliant work of Han Yu, Li Ao and Liu Zongyuan, it set the stage for the third epoch in Confucianism during the Song dynasty. Laszlo also briefly introduces three of the founding fathers of Neo Confucianism:

China History Podcast

Follow the Dao

Part six in the History of Chinese Philosophy podcast series

Laszlo gives the subject of Daoism, the Daodejing and the Zhuangzi a fresh makeover, covered before in an old China History Podcast episode from days gone by. The history of Daoism is explored as well as its main characters, Laozi and Zhuangzi, and what they called for in those dark Eastern Zhou times. Daoism is both a philosophy and a religion, but this episode only explores the former. The Xuanxue thinkers Wang Bi, Guo Xiang and Xiang Xiu are also discussed, as well as the Neo-Daoism that evolved in the Han. As Daoism and Confucianism evolved in China, side by side, there was occasionally some interesting overlap. Confucians from here on out actively explored ways to reconcile their philosophy with the other major contending schools of thought, Daoism and Buddhism:

China History Podcast

Follow the Law

Part five in the History of Chinese Philosophy podcast series

Legalism takes front and center stage in this episode. After the conquest of the competing Warring States in 221 BCE by Qin Shihuang, a new ideology was embraced by the new Chinese state. The Legalist philosophers Shang Yang, Shen Buhai, Shen Dao, Han Fei and Li Si are all introduced as well as their individual and collective contributions in laying the Legalist foundations for what was to follow in the Qin dynasty, and over the next two thousand years of imperial Chinese history. Laszlo also shows what happened to Legalism right after the Qin Emperor met his untimely end, and how this led to Confucianism's greatest triumph in the Han dynasty thanks to Dong Zhongshu and others:

China History Podcast

A Hundred Schools of Thought

Part four in the History of Chinese Philosophy podcast series

Laszlo picks the story up where we left off in part two following the death of Master Kong in 479 BCE. A lot happened in the world of Chinese philosophy right after Confucius passed. He had both disciples who carried on his teachings, and naysayers who pointed to flaws in this Ru School of philosophy and offered an alternative kind of thought. As the countdown to the milestone year of 221 BCE gets nearer, a hundred schools of thought contended like never before, each offering their solutions to the tumultuous and bloody times of the latter half of the Eastern Zhou dynasty: