The passage below is from “Japanese Philosophy – A source book.”

*Their reproductive activity has neither beginning nor end; it is without temporality. The sovereign Lord Above alone is thus the father and mother of the myriad things. Through portioning its form, it gives life to all things that have form; through portioning its mind, it decrees the natures of the myriad things. When its form is portioned out, differences result, yet when its mind is portioned out, they remain the same.

*‘Their’ refers to ‘principle(理)’ and ‘ki(気).’ They are two forms of force makes all things possible.

It’s so confusing reading this book on Japanese Philosophy. I want to ask what the italicized ‘they’ refer to? Is it refer to ‘differences’ or is it to ‘natures’ or is it to any other?

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    Can you give at a minimum a page reference in the book you are reading but also ideally an indication of what this is quoting. / This does not sound at all like Confucius btw. This sounds like the Daodejing or Changzi or perhaps Zhu Xi. – virmaior Dec 13 '18 at 5:23
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    See Japanese Confucian Philosophy : "An important Neo-Confucian contribution to the philosophical consciousness of early-modern Japan was its metaphysical account of the world of ordinary experience as fully real. Essentially, this metaphysics explained reality in terms of two components, ri (“principle” or “pattern”) and ki (“generative force”)." – Mauro ALLEGRANZA Dec 13 '18 at 7:28
  • You’re right. It’s about Japanese Confucianism tradition, but it was greatly influenced by Zhu Xi’s neo-confucianism. – morti Dec 13 '18 at 7:37
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    You have to "expand" the quotation for more context... "when its miind [of the Lord Alone] is portioned out, they remain the same" it seems to refer to "the myriad things". See : "portioning its mind, it decrees the natures of the myriad things". But IMO it makes little sense : the sense more likely is referring to the two components : ri and ki. – Mauro ALLEGRANZA Dec 13 '18 at 9:56
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    They refers to the individual portions of the Mind of the sovereign Lord Above. I've actually been thinking about this quite a lot lately. I believe that our physical differences somehow delude us into thinking our minds are bound to our own bodies. But these bodies are temporal, so in a sense only on 'loan' to us for awhile. And there is an important purpose for such a state of affairs. But to know and love God is to realize that our minds, in order to maintain objectivity and thus sanity, should resonate with, and may become merged with, the universal Mind. – Bread Dec 13 '18 at 11:50

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