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Xun Zi
Portrait of Xun Zi

Xun Zi(313BC---238 BC). As for Xun Zi's introduction and biography, Wikipedia's illustration and words are not accurate and something they mentioned is wrong. Xun Zi was not only the Confucian Scholar but the comprehensive learner of other different academic schools. In Chinese academia, Xun Zi was traditionally esteemed as the multi-oriented academician of Chinese Pre-Qin Academics, which surely include Confucianism, serving as one inferior school to Taoism and Mohism.

Approximately, Xun Zi, living in the period of Warring States, had a formal name: Xun Kuang, and courtesy name was Xun Qing. (Courtesy Name, different from literary name which means Hao, and also called Zi or Character, is another important tradition in ancient China. Generally, a man when he got mature used to be additionally named by his father, forefather or respectable senior people in his large family with the similar or opposite characters to his name. These similar or opposite characters were called Zi or Character, which was used for replacing an adult man's formal name. Literary name usually has the humble meaning and called by peers, colleagues and the seniors. In ancient China, Calling others' literary names was a way to show the respect. If a man’s formal name is called, the caller would be considered as an arrogant or uncourteous person). In West Han Dynasty, for avoiding the shared pronunciation of their names between Emperor Xuan Di(Liu Xun) and Xun Zi, Xun Zi’s name was changed to be Sun Qing.( In ancient times, Sun and Xun, two different Chinese Characters, had the same pronunciation. Additionally, Bi Hui, Avoiding the same pronunciation as the names of the emperors, the seniors and the respectable people, is also the important tradition in ancient China). Xun Zi was the person of Yi Shi of Zhao State in the late period of Warring States of Zhou, where is located in An Ze of Shanxi Province today.

Xun Zi was the great ideologist, litterateur, politician and the representative of pre-Qin academics. Xun Zi acted as the Ji Jiu, the superior academic leader or the leader of the think bank of Qi State three times in Ji Xia Xue Gong(Ji Xia Academic Center) and later he acted as the administrator of Lan Ling Area of Chu State, which is today’s Lan Ling of Shandong Province. In academia, Xun Zi further developed the Confucianism and advocated the Theory of Human Nature Rooted in Badness, which is absolutely opposite to the theory of Human Nature Rooted in Goodness which maintained by Mencius, another most important Confucian master. What is more, Xun Zi inferior to Confucius also did a great contribution to rearranging the classics of Confucianism.

In Sama Qian’s Records of the Grand Historian, Xun Zi at the age of 50 begun its academic visit to Qi State and was highly respected by King Xiangwang of Qi State as The Most Qualified Teacher. Subsequently, someone spoke ill of Xun Zi, and Xun Zi had no choice but leave from Qi State to Chu State. With the help of Lord Chun Shen, who was the one of the Four Top Honorable Gentleman-Like and Young Lords in Warring States Period, Xun Zi acted as the administrator of Lan Ling till the death of Lord Chun Shen. Several students of Xun Zi were also quite famous and influential such as Li Si who was the first prime minister of Qin Dynasty and Ancient China and Han Fei who was the representative of Legalism, which was one of the most prominent academic schools in Warring States Period. Even Zhang Cang, a famous high official and scholar of early West Han Dynasty, also learnt indirectly from Xun Zi. Xun Zi’s Academic Works were collected in his book---Xun Zi, and his portrait was painted by Yang Jing of Tang Dynasty.