Fan Zhen

Philosopher, Deceased Person

0450 – 0515


Who was Fan Zhen?

Fan Zhen was a Chinese philosopher of the Southern Dynasty, remembered today for his treatise Shén Miè Lùn.

He was born into a poor family in today's Zhumadian, Henan province. Later he became a high-ranked official for his erudition. Reacting to Buddhism prevailing in his time, he wrote Shen Mie Lun at 507, denying the ideas of reincarnation and body-soul dualism. A courtier tried to persuade Fan to give up his opinion, in exchange of a higher official title, but was refused. Emperor Wu of Liang, unhappy with his subject's work, made an imperial decree to criticize the treatise, and ordered 64 of his courtiers to answer Fan back. 75 pamphlets were produced against Shen Mie Lun. Fan did not surrender, though, and wrote back to hold fast to his opinion. The debate failed to disprove the treatise, and Fan Zhen was exiled by the emperor for his "heresy".

In Shen Mie Lun, Fan writes that:

⁕"The soul is the body; the body is the soul. There is the body, there is the soul; when the body annihilates, so does the soul."(神即形也,形即神也。是以形存則神存,形謝則神滅也。)

⁕"The body is the substance of the soul; the soul is the effect of the body. That means the body refers to the substance, and the soul the effect. The body and the soul is one."(形者神之質,神者形之用,是則形稱其質,神言其用,形之與神,不得相異也。)

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  • China

on July 23, 2013


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