Zhu Xi's Life


Zhu Xi, whose family originated in Wu-yuan County of Hui Prefecture (located in contemporary Jiangxi Province), was born in Fujian, where his father worked as the subprefectural sheriff. After his father was forced from office due to his opposition to the government appeasement policy towards the Jurchen in 1140, Zhu Xi received instruction from his father at home. Upon his father's death in 1143, he studied with his father's friends Hu Xian, Liu Zihui, and Liu Mianzhi. In 1148, at the age of 19, Zhu Xi passed the Imperial Examination and became a presented scholar. Zhu Xi's first official dispatch position was as Subprefectural Registrar of Tong'an (同安县主簿), which he served from 1153 - 1156. From 1153 he began to study under Li Tong, who followed the Neo-Confucian tradition of Cheng Hao and Cheng Yi, and formally became his student in 1160. In 1179, after not serving in an official capacity since 1156, Zhu Xi was appointed Prefect of Nankang Military District (南康军), where he revived White Deer Hollow Academy (白鹿洞书院). and got demoted 3 years later for attacking the incompetency of some officials. There were several instances of receiving an appointment and subsequently being demoted. Even though his teachings had been severely attacked by establishment figures, almost a thousand people attended his funeral. In 1241 his tablet was placed in the Confucian Temple.