chapter  15
4 Pages

Chen Yi (active 1613–1649)

On a visit to Nanjing, I met Mr Matteo Ricci 利瑪竇 in the home of my teacher Mr Zhao Canlu 趙參魯 [d. 1609].101 I learned that he had some new and interesting ideas, but there was no time to discuss them in depth. Later, during his stay [in Beijing], Mr Ricci wrote and published a number of books to claim that heaven and earth and man are all created by the Lord of Heaven, who is the father and mother of the whole world. If people can serve and worship the Lord, and not act against his wishes, they can go to heaven and enjoy all sorts of happiness; otherwise, they will go and suffer in hell. When I first heard of this view, I thought it was a little preposterous. Upon careful reflection, I realized that it is what we followers of Kongzi 孔子 have always advocated: respect for and awe of heaven. We of the Ru School take “heaven” [tiān 天] in an all-encompassing sense. Westerners are more specific and use the term “Lord of Heaven” [tiānzhǔ 天主]. This heavenly king watches our world from on high and wills that we act according to his wishes as he is the lord and master of the universe. There is nothing vague or unclear about the view.