In the book Essentials for Reading the Classics (讀經示要, Dujing Shiyao), Xion Shi-li expatiated “Great Learning” (大學, Da-xue) and “Confucian Scholar Practice” (儒行, Ru-xing) from The Book of Rites (禮記, Li-Ji). He regarded reading these materials as the beginning of understanding Confucian classics thoroughly. However, his viewpoint and the value accompanied with the expatiation of “Confucian Scholar Practice” seem to be underestimated by contemporary scholars. His expatiation is not merely an exemplification of how to read and to explain classics, but more importantly, it is a revelation of a Confucianist knowledge of how to embody the principal of Ren (仁). One of the purposes for this article is to compare the predecessor’s expatiation with Xion’s by which Xion’s understanding toward a Confucianist’s main character will be made clear.
By investigating his work’s merits and faults, what his expatiation means in intellectual history will be explored. The facts about hypocritical Confucianists will also be exposed in Xion’s expatiation. He tried to reverse the hypocrites’ crooked characters, such as cowardice, insincerity and selfishness. Meanwhile, he pointed out what a confidant authentic Confucianist ought to be: brave, forge with effort, and won’t subjected to the outrank when they see the right course. Additionally, the status of “Confucian Scholar Practice” on Chinese academic history is redefined by Xion, and the mistakes made by those scholars in Han, Tang Dynasty, as well as by Neo Confucianism, were also pointed out by him. Through his expatiation, he represented the access to read and explain Confucian classics.