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Three Theses on the Ruling Philosophy of Ming Tai Tzu-Principally on the Analysis of "Commentary of Dao Der Zhen Jing"




老子御注 常與變 天命

Parallel abstracts

This article deals with the internal context of Ming Tai Tzu's political philosophy, principally based on the analysis of the book Commentary of Dao Der Zhen Jing written by Ming Tai Tzu (明太祖, the founder of Ming Dynasty). There are three parts in this article. The discussion of Dao or permanence reveals the first part and the relationship among Dao (the great origin), Li (the great rule) and Qi (the vital energy) will be also discussed. The second part unfolds the discussions in two dimensions the legitimacy of the Mandate State, and the interaction of the monarch and the bureaucracy (or the gentry). The last part focuses on the ruling skills and the ideal of non-action that offers a kind of platform where tri-religions may occur to dialogue. Ming Tai Tzu had shown the methodology (or kind of Aesthetics) of governance in many writings, especially in Commentary of Dao Der Zhen Jing. The purpose in the commentary is to deliver the legitimacy of state building by initiating or re-shaping a metaphysical system that not only monitors the statecraft but also embraces or orders the world. And through the activity of making commentary of the Daoist texts, Ming Tai Tzu discussed the dialectical relationship between "classics" (經) and "changes" (變). He emphasized that changes can be normal and have the legitimacy just under the qualification by following the great rule (Dao, Li, or permanence). There won't be any variations that should alter the ultimate. And this is valid not only in the sphere of daily living, but also in the sphere of governing. The basic understandings of body politics that come from ancient philosophers are also exemplified in Ming Tai Tzu's ruling philosophy. And through this "scriptures postil the commentators" tradition, Ming Tai Tzu revealed his political ideas, strengthened his influence and shared or even dominated the power of discourse.