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All People Are My Brothers and Sisters, and All Things Are My Companions.

This idea was first put forward by Zhang Zai (1020-1077)of the Northern Song Dynasty, who held that people and things are all created by the vital force of heaven and earth, and thus are similar in nature. He advocated love for all people and things in the world, and his view transcended the old anthropocentric viewpoint and aimed to reach harmony between oneself and other human beings as well as between oneself and other creatures and things. It is the same as the idea that a true gentleman has ample virtue and cares for all things. This notion is an important part of the School of Principle of the Song and Ming dynasties.

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Therefore, what fills heaven and earth constitutes my body; what governs heaven and earth forms my nature. All people are my brothers and sisters, and all things are my companions.

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