An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Er Cheng cuiyan 二程粹言

Feb 19, 2011 © Ulrich Theobald

Er Cheng cuiyan 二程粹言 "Perfect words of the two Cheng brothers" is a treatise on the philosophical, social and political theories of the two Northern Song-period 北宋 (960-1126) Neo-Confucian philosophers Cheng Hao 程顥 (1032-1085) and Cheng Yi 程頤 (1033-1107). It was compiled by one of their disciples, Yang Shi 楊時 (1053-1135).

The 2 juan-long book has been compiled after Yang's withdrawal from office. It consists of ten chapters that in a systematic way summarize the teachings of the brothers Cheng in order to compensate the fact that the two philosophers never wrote personally down their teachings. Plans for such a book have been made by the great philosopher Zhu Xi 朱熹 (1130-1200), and Zhang Shi 張栻 (1133-1180) planned to write a book with the title Yichuan cuiyan 伊川粹言. For the understanding of the philosophical teachings and views of Cheng Hao and Cheng Yi, the Er Cheng cuiyan is a valuable and concise tool.

There is a print from the Kangxi reign-period 康熙 (1662-1722) published by Master Lü's 呂氏 Baogao Studio 寳誥堂 of which Master Tu's 涂氏 Qiuwo Studio 求我齋 printed a facsimile in 1821. In 1936, the Zhonghua shuju Press 中華書局 published a modern edition. The Er Cheng cuiyan is included in the series Siku quanshu 四庫全書 and Sibu beiyao 四部備要 (as part of the collection Er Cheng quanshu 二程全書).

Table 1. Contents of Er Cheng cuiyan 二程粹言
1. 論道 Lundao On the Way
2. 論學 Lunxue On learning
3. 論書 Lunshu On writing
4. 論政 Lunzheng On governing
5. 論事 Lunshi On (political) affairs
6. 天地 Tiandi Heaven and Earth
7. 聖賢 Shengxian Saints and worthies
8. 君臣 Junchen Lords and ministers
9. 心性 Xinxing The human character
10. 人物 Renwu Human affairs
Li Xueqin 李學勤, Lü Wenyu 呂文鬰, eds. (1996). Siku da cidian 四庫大辭典 (Changchun: Jilin daxue chubanshe), Vol. 2, 1551.