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Kuan Tsu

  1. Mar 26, 2004 #1
    Question for a Taoist.

    I've come across a reference to a text called 'the Kuan Tsu'. I thought Kuan Tsu was a person. Is there also a text by this name? I've searched but can't find it.
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 26, 2004 #2


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    Tsu is an appellation for a "master", someone reknown for his thinking. His collected works could simply be known for by his name. I have heard people refer to "The Lao Tzu".

  4. Mar 26, 2004 #3
    Thanks. I thought that might be it but wasn't sure.
  5. Mar 26, 2004 #4
    Kuan Tsu to me was one of the great philosophers in China. He was more known for his political insight as the prime minister of the first overlord in the Spring and Autumn Period (770-446 B.C.). His sayings that "the senses of rite, justice, honour and shame are the four ropes that hold a state in place", "men well clothed and fed will know honour and shame" and "receiving by giving" are still very much part of everyday parlance. He has written on Shepherding the Populace, Perfection of Authority, Rule of Law, Military Deployment, Four Seasons, Five Elements and Righting the World etc. The book you refered to could have been written by someone else (Liu Xiang) in the Western Han Dynasty (206 B.C - 24 A. D.). :smile:
  6. Mar 27, 2004 #5
    Ah, now you've brought some doubt back in. Are you saying it's not known who wrote it? And if someone esle wrote it does it nevertheless contain Kuan Tsu's teachings?
  7. Mar 28, 2004 #6
    Sorry, I should have said the earliest surviving book on Kuan Tsu was written by Liu Xiang. I have dug out some more information on the origin of the book and it seems that it is now generally accepted that as the book contains ideas from the schools of the Toaist, the Confucianist, the Jurist, the Mohist, the Logician, the Military Strategist, the Yin-yang, the Financier, the Politician, the Agronomist and the Healer that it could not have been written by a single person in a single life time. It is believe that the book was largely based on Kuan Tsu's philosophy as recorded by his aids, progeny, stay-in visitors or subjects (so I was wrong when I said he had written on something) though the metaphysical chapters on essence and Qi you may be interested in have been confirmed to be the works of other scholars :smile:
  8. Mar 29, 2004 #7
    Thanks for that.
  9. Mar 29, 2004 #8
    :smile: It is my pleasure.
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