'Rectifying or Correcting the Nature' is the meaning of the title, and expresses sufficiently well the subject-matter of the Book. It was written to expose the 'vulgar' learning of the time as contrary to the principles of the true Tâoism, that learning being, according to Lû Shû-kih, 'the teachings of Hui-dze and Kung-sun Lung.' It is to be wished that we had fuller accounts of these. But see in Book XXXIII.
Many of the critics are fond of comparing the Book with the 21st chapter of the 7th Book of Mencius, part i, where that philosopher sets forth 'Man's own nature as the most important thing to him, and the source of his true enjoyment,' which no one can read without admiration. But we have more sympathy with Mencius's fundamental views about our human nature, than with those of Kwang-dze and his Tâoism. Lin Hsî-kung is rather inclined to doubt the genuineness of the Book. Though he admires its composition, and admits the close and compact sequence of its sentences, there is yet something about it that does not smack of Kwang-dze's style. Rather there seems to me to underlie it the antagonism of Lâo and Kwang to the learning of the Confucian school. The only characteristic
of our author which I miss, is the illustrative stories of which he is generally so profuse. In this the Book agrees with the preceding.