CHINA HERITAGE QUARTERLY China Heritage Project, The Australian National University ISSN 1833-8461
No. 28, December 2011


Liu Yu-yun's Autobiographical Sketch | China Heritage Quarterly

Liu Yü-yün's Autobiographical Sketch[1]

The following short autobiographical account of Liu Yü-yün is taken from the collection 'Nothing concealed': essays in honor of Liu Yü-yün, edited by Frederic E. Wakeman and published in Taipei by the Ch'eng wen ch'u pan she in 1970.

My patronymic is Aisin Gioro, my ming Yü-yün, and my hao An-jen the [Buddhist] layman. I am the grandson of Prince Li (Shih-to) who served on the Grand Council during the Kuang-hsü period (1875-1907). As a youth I received a court education, and as I grew older, became the pupil of Ch'en Pao-ch'en (Tutor to the Heir Apparent], Cheng Hsiao-hsü [first Prime Minister of Manchukuo], Lo Chen-yü, K'o Shao-min [scholar of Mongol history], Wang Kuo-wei [the philologist], K'ang Nan-hai (Yu-wei), Liang Ch'i-ch'ao, and Yeh Yü-lin. All of these great teachers instructed me in the classics, the histories, works of philosophy, and literature. The Englishman [Reginald] Johnson taught me western studies. After that I studied by myself for thirty-odd years, taking the greater meaning of the Kung Yang Commentary to the Spring and Autumn Annals as yung (function), and the Book of Changes as t'i (essence).

I have read the classics one and all, and have written drafts of 'The Ultimate Meaning of the Eight Classics for Aisin' (the Book of Changes, Book of Documents, Odes, Book of Rites, Kung Yang Commentary to the Spring and Autumn Annals, Analects, Mencius and Classic of Filial Piety), as well as 'A New History of the Ch'ing Dynasty,' a collection of writings on matters before 1945 [when I was an official in the Manchurian government] called 'Feeling-Ideation-Reaction-Consciousness', and one on matters since then called 'without Feeling-Ideation-Reaction-Consciousness.'[2]

In 1948, I came to Taiwan and lived in retirement in the countryside, taking my pleasure in daily reading. Dressed in simple clothes and sandals, I delighted in whiling away my time with the older residents of the neighborhood who seldom knew my real name but simply called me 'Venerable Sir'. I also liked to practice calligraphy and painting, seeking consolation therein. In October of 1958, I first began to take on foreign students who had come to China on fellowships in order to study or to write their dissertations. It has been over ten years now, and many of my students have gone on to receive their doctorates and teach in universities: thirty-three Americans, two Germans, two Japanese, two Englishmen, one Canadian and one Vietnamese.

Related material from Nothing Concealed in the current issue:


[1] The Chinese version of this follows directly.

[2] These are the four immaterial skandhas of Chinese Buddhism: vedana, sanjna, samskara, vijnana.