ABSTRACT

This chapter introduces the core ideas of neo-Confucian philosophy and considers the relationship between that philosophy and ideas from the School of Names, Daoism and the emergent Chinese Buddhist philosophy. It traces a remarkable convergence of views drawn from several Confucian traditions. Perhaps the most striking point of convergence concerns the understanding of sageliness found in the neo-Confucianism of the School of Heart-Mind and the conception of enlightenment developed by Huineng's Southern School of Chan Buddhism. Several forms of Chinese Buddhist philosophy evolved once Buddhism took root in China. Moreover, Chan was the only school of Chinese Buddhist philosophy to outlast the Tang dynasty. The assimilation of Indian Buddhism into China occurred in four stages: The Period of Preparation, The Period of Domestication, The Period of Acceptance and Independent Growth, and The Period of Appropriation. Neo-Confucianism developed under the influence of Buddhism—especially that of Chan Buddhism was itself indebted to philosophical Daoism.