A Brief Chronology

Of the Life of Thomé H. Fang




1899,    aged 1     Born on Feb. 9 (Luna Calender) at the Dali (Great Ni) Estate, Yangshu Wan (Poplar Tree Gulf) -- now, Shuangxing Village, Yijin Town -- Zongyang Xian, Tongcheng City, Anhui, China.


The 23th generation descendant of the Guilin Fang Clan,[1] usually known as the Great Fang Clan, beginning with Fang Deyi of the later Song and early Yuan Period; the 16th generation descendant of Fang You (1418-1483),[*] Imperial Inspecting-General of the Ming Dynasty, who served briefly as Mayor of Guilin, Guangxi (now the most fascinating scenic spot in world tourism).


Geneological name: Fang Dehuai; official name: Fang Xun, personal name: Dongmei, (hence Thomé), meaning thereby “Beauty of the east”; Father: Fang Jianzhou (Grantee of Honorary Advanced Official Candidate); mother, Lady Yang; 1st elder brother: Fang Daohuai, farmer; 2nd elder brother Fang Yihuai (Fang Chen 方琛), Principal of the nation-wide famous Tongcheng Middle School; Director, Education Bureau of Tongcheng City; two elder sisters died in their early youth.


1901,    aged 2      Death of father; death of mother in 1903; entrusted to the guardianship of Fang Chen, his 2nd elder brother.


1902,    aged 3      Education began at home with the study of The Book of Odes; a prodigal wonder child able to learn by heart the entire book just by listening to the odes chanted; thus, bred up in the atmosphere of a typical Confucian family.


1913,    aged 14    Attending the nationwide famous Tongcheng Middle School founded by the great scholar and educator Wu Rulun; met life long good friend Zhu Quangqian, later Acting Dean of Liberal Arts, Beijing University; a leading authority on aesthetics of 20th century China.                  


1917,    aged 18    Entering Jinling University, Nanking, one of the most advanced educational institutions in China.


President, the Students Self-Government; Editor-in-Chief, The Light of Jinling (a campus Bulletin); President, the Chinese Philosophical Society of the Students Body.


Well-known across the campus for his intellectual brilliance: with superior knowledge of classical Chinese literature surpassing the teacher; and better command of English than Professor of Philosophy of Religion, the  British educated Dr. Wang, Dean of Students. But soon designated for dismissal for having been caught in reading novels on Sunday ceremonies. Dr. Clarence H. Hamilton (later Special Writer for Encyclopedia Britainica on Chinese philosophy and Buddhism) came to his rescue with protest, saying, “I would rather see the whole university closed than such a brilliant young man dismissed (for such trivial blunders)!” In an interview with the President, Dr. Baldwin, Fang proposed (1) that the University shall register with the Chinese government for due respect of China’s educational sovereignty; and (2) the missionary educational institutions shall respect Chinese cultural tradition and heritage by appointing top qualified scholars for relevant courses, rather than hiring the shams. President Baldwin so impressed with his presentation; decided to send him to study in the U. S. upon graduation with a fellowship.


1918,    aged 19      Met Wang Guangqi for the first time; Wang and other co-founders of the Young China Society (hereafter referred to as YCS) came from Beijing to visit Nanking in July for developing the Society in Southeaster China.


1919,    aged 20               Outbreak of the May 4th Movement in Beijing; conducted chiefly by Li Dazhao and Chen Duxiu there; Fang playing a key-role in support by mobilizing the entire student bodies of Nanking and Shanghai.


On May 5, received student leaders from Beijing University (Duan Shuyi, Zhou Binglun, etc.). With Students Self-Government of Jinling University as Headquarter, Fang was able to accelerate, timely and in full scope, the spread of this epoch-making May 4th New Cultural Movement across Southeastern China..


Joined YCS in November for love of its cultural and intellectual ideals as independent of political power struggles, endorsing to the Society’s goalset for creation of a Young China by way of social activities on the scientific spirit and to its guiding principles for lifestyle: Strive, Practice, Perseverance, and Simplicity.


Founding Member for the Nanking Branch, YCS.


The American pragmatist philosopher John Dewey arrived in Shanghai on May 1; Hu Shi was there to receive him; hence actually neither in Beijing nor Nanking was Hu Shi directly involved in the May 4th Movement.


1920,    aged 21                Editor-in-Chief, The Young World an offerspring of The Young China founded by Wang Guangqi and edited by Li Dazhao and Kang Baiqing in Beijing.  Soon joined the Editorial Board thereof.  Met Mao Zedong for the first ime in Nanking, AprilZuo Shunsheng was then with the China Books Co. in Shanghai. 


Mao Zedong jointed the YCS in November, introduced by Kang Baiqing. Li Dazhao organized secretly the Marx Studies Society in the Library of Beijing University where Mao worked with him. 


Living in the South, Fang joined neither the Marx Studies Society nor the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) founded the year following (1921).  Thus, by such a non-partisan position Fang was enabled to server as re-conciliator during the final split between the Left and Right Wings of the Society in 1926, Shanghai.


Publications in The Young World: (1) “The Bergsonian Philoso9phy of Life”; (2) “The Realistic Philosophy of Life”; (3) “The Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association”; (4) “Russia in 1919”; (5) “The Soviet Russia in Bertrand Russell’s eyes” (translation); (6) “Two International Academic Organizations.”; and (7) “William James’ Philosophy of Religion.”


Finished in June translation of Pragmatism by D. L. Murrary, published by China Books Co., Shanghai.


Delivered the “Welcome Speech” in honor of John Dewey’s visit to the Jinling University, Nanking. Took one year course with Dewey in “History of Philosophy: the Ancient Period.” At first interested in Dewey as a scholar and teacher of ideas; but unable to appreciate the teacher’s pragmatism because (in Fang’s own words) of their temperamental differences; but admired Dewey as an earnest and genuine person.


1921,    aged 22    Set out in August for U.S.A. for graduate studies taking the ship “China”; on board were many future distinguished figures in various fields, e.g., Pu Xuefeng, Guyuqun, K. C. Wu (later Governor of Taiwan), etc.; studied first at University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI.


1922,   aged 23     Completed Master Thesis “A Critical Exposition of the Bergsonian Philosophy of Life”; Thesis Director: Professor Evander Bradley McGilvary; wan high praise from the graduate philosophical faculty; Thesis still available at the University of Wisconsin Library, Madison, MI.


Visited Bertrand Russell with several other Chinese students at a hotel of Madison, Wisconsin; so enthusiastically engaged in discussion on “The Problem of China” that Russell forgot entirely his lecture appointment with the local community, leaving the audience to have waited in vain at the lecture hall! 


Remained at Madison in summer working hard on German.  Came in time to the rescue of a dying young man, the son of his landlord, who hugges the young Chinese philosopher, exclaiming, “You have saved my son’s life!”


With rather limited financial resource, could afford to hire a tutor from the German Department for only two hours (at $5.00 per hour), learning the pronunciation of the language; afterwards, by self-study with perseverance, could read Goethe, Kant, Hegel, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Dilthey, Cassirer, Heidegger, etc., in the original. Often fond of saying, “With ten dollars have I mastered the German!”


Disappointed at no courses offered on Hegel at Madison, transferred to Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, intent upon studying Hegel with J. A. Leighton for one year, but promised to return in time.



1923,    aged 24                Joined the Society for Chinese Education Reform in U.S.; met Tao Xingzhi, a senior member thereof, later the fostering father for an orphan child, Li Peng (Premier of China of the late 80s).


1924,   aged 25     Completed Doctorial Dissertation “A Comparative Study of the British and American Neo-Realism”; Dissertation Director: Professor Evander Bradley McGilvary; passed oral defence; returned home, for financial reasons, without having Dissertation published as required for the doctorate.


Associate Professor of Philosophy at Wu Chang Normal College (now Wuhan University), after having passed successfully the toughest 3-step faculty entrance examination: (1) publishing one article on the campus Bullletin, (2) delivering an Inaugural address, and (3) accepting the oral examination by students and faculty conjointly.


1925,   aged 26    Professor of Philosophy, National Southeastern University, Nanking (until 1927); colleague with Zong BaihuaLi Zhenggang, He Zhaoqing, etc.


Taught Ludwig C. H. Chen in logic, introduction to philosophy, idealism, realism, especially Plato; Chen later became a world authority on Aristotle (with one year’s study at London University and ten years’ at Berlin University, 1929-41).


1927,   agd 28       Concurrently Professor of Philosophy, Jinling University (soon changed into National Central University), Nanking.


Finished Science, Philosophy and the Significance of Human Life, Chapters I-V.


Taught Chen Shih-chuan and Tang Junyi (transferred from Beijing University); the former later became an acclaimed authority in the study of The Book of Change and the latter, a leading authority of contemporary Neo-Confuciansim.


Led the faculty’s demonstration on October 22, as one of the three professors carrying the student’s coffin on their shoulders in march straight towards the Government Mansion, protesting for the student leader Yuan Daxi’s being killed on the previous day’s demonstration, to the effect that Acting President Li Liejun resigned and Chiang Kai-shek returned from Japan to resume office in Nanking.


1927,   aged 28     Met Hu Shi for the first time in Shanghai, disagreeing with the latter’s article “The World Philosophy during the Last Fifty Years,” the 50th Anniversary Special Issue of The Shen Bao, Shanghai (1922).


1928,    aged 29    Married to Miss Lilian Kao, aged 22, in Shanghai.


1929,   aged 30     Chairman and Professor, Philosophy Department, National Central University (until 1948).


Eldest son Fang Tianhua born, later became a scientist in Chemistry.


1931     Aged 32   “The Sentiment of Life and the Sense of Beauty” published in Journal of Literature and Fine Arts, National Central University, Vol. I, No. 1.


1932,   aged 33     Twin children Fang Tianjue and Fang Tianni born; Tianjue became a scientist in mechanics and Tianni, in electricity.


1933,   aged 34     First daughter Fang Tianxin born, later became a library scientist, but finally joined the Catholic Order as a num.


1936,   aged 37     Address to the 1st Annual Meeting of CPS (Chinese Philosophical Society), Nanking, on “The Tragedy of Life: A Duet of the Greek and modern European Motif.”


Science, Philosophy, and the Significnce of Human Life published by the Commercial Books Co., Shanghai.


Outbreak of the Xi An Accident, December 12; Generalissmo Chiang Kai-shek was kidnapped by General Zhang Xueliang and General Yang Hucheng at Xi An, Shan Xi; released as a result of Stalin’s intervention.


1937,   aged 38     Accepted Generalissmo Chiang’s invitation to tutor him in philosophy at his native town Xikou, Fenghua, Zhejiang; teaching schedule postponed because of Chiang’s injuries on the waist caused during the said Incident of the previous year (1936).


On the eve of the Japanese Invasion, invited by Ministry of Education, spoke over the Central Broadcasting Station, Nanking, April 6 to 24, in a series of eight lectures, later published in book form entitled The Chinese Philosophy of Life: An Outline; generally regarded the author’s Address to the Chinese Nation, paralleling Fichte’s Address to the German Nation (while facing the invasions by Napoleon).


Spoke 30 minutes at the Lu Shan Conference called by Generalissmo  Chinag, calling for “Fighting United against the Japanese Invasion.” – An inspiring address with tears and blood, reminiscent of Winston Churchill’s vigorous and sonorous oration after “the Dunkirk Retreat.”


Outbreak of the Resistance War against the Japanese Invasion on July 7, known as the Lugou Bridge Incident, Hobei, Northern China.


Member of Executive Committee, CPA (Chinese Philosophical Society); address to the 2nd Annual Meeting, CPS, Nanking, on “Three Types of Philosophical Wisdom”


Retreated in October with the Nationalist Government to Shaping Dam, Chongqing, Sichuan.  Private library including the original copy of Doctorial Dissertation all destroyed with the fall of Nanking; only the manuscripts of “Three Types of Philosophical Wisdom” survived retreat inland.


2nd daughter Fang Tianxi died in the course of rertreat.


1937,   aged 38     Chairman and Professor, Philosophy Department, and Director of Graduate Institute of Advanced Studies in Philosophy, National Central University, Chongqing, Sichuan.


Address to the 3rd Annual Meeting of CPA on “The Eastern and Western Types of wisdom.”


Resumed the tutoring schedule with Generalissmo Chiang in courses of Hegel, Dialectics, Philosophy of Change, and Wang Yangming, etc. Exchange of courtesy between teacher and student proceeded that between citizen and head of the state, in accordance with ancient rules of propriety.


1938,   aged 39    “Three Types of Philosophical Wisdom” published in China Times, Sunday Supplements, Chongqing, June 19, 22.


1939,   aged 40     “Logical Formulation of the Philosophy of Change” published in The Joint Studies of the Book of Change,” Commercial Books Co., Changsha, Hunan and Hong Kong.


1940,   aged 41     Early disciples Professor Tang Junyi and Ludwig C. H. Chen joined the philosophical faculty, NCU, as colleagues with Zong Baihua, Li Zhenggang, He Zhaoman, Xiong Wei, Hu Shihua, etc.


Senior poet and scholar Ma Yifu, on reading “The Sentiments of Life and the Sense of beauty” sent sincere greetings via their common friend Professor Xiong Shili – A rarely heard of anecdote of “the elder seeking to befriend the younger” in conventional China.


1941,   aged 42     Death of Rabindranath Tagore in India; composed  “Memoriam” for him on behalf of the CPA; selected in At the Soild and White Study: Complete Poetical Works of Thomé H. Fang, Taipei: The Liming Cultural Enterprise Co., Ltd., 1980.


As requested, sent poems to Professor Zhu Guangqian, Dean of College of Liberal Arts, National Wuhan University; with ecstacy Zhu commented admiringly, “ethereally vigorous and vividly alluring!”


1942,   aged 43     Kept correspondences with Professor Xiong on Buddhist Philosophy, clarifying certain points of difference between them.


1943,   aged 44     In February President Gu Mengyu of NCU resigned; Generalissmo Chiang took over the office as Concurrently President. On inauguration, his staffs (unfamiliar with the academic custom) treated the faculty rudely by ordering all the sitting chairs in the Auditorium be removed in wait for Chiang’s arrival.  Fang asked, “Who is coming today?” “President Chiang of the University.” “How can one be the University President without showing due respect for the Faculty!  In protest, I quit!”  All stunned.  Even with all the sitting chairs restored, Fang still insisted to keep his words by resigning as Director for the Institute of Advanced Studies in Philosophy at NCU.


1944,   aged 45    Received the visit at NCU by Dr. Servepalli Radhakrishnan heading the Indian Delegation of Culture and Education; accepted the latter’s most friendly challenge to serve as spokesman for China’s cultural and philosophical traditions, as he was doing for India.


1945,   aged 46     September, invited by Mao Zedong, Chairman of the Chinese Communist Party, to attend the Reunion Reception for the YCS members in Chongqing, during the peace talks period (August 28 –October 11) for the two parties, the Nationalist and the Communist. The philosopher addressed Mao simply as “Big Brother Mao” – an expression that changed totally the atmosphere of the reception.[2]


Returned to Nanking after the Japanese Surrender; gave the first public speech at the Campus Auditorium blaming the corrupt Nationalist Government officials for misconduct and mis-speech (e.g., calling those innocent citizens who remained in the fallen Capital during the wartime “pseudo-students,” “pseudo-people,” etc.); all the audience burst out in sobs and tears.


1946,   aged 47     Made a lecture tour of Taiwan in summer, subsequently after the tragic “228 Accident”; apparently urged by the Nationalist Government to soothe the wounds caused thereby; wan admiration and respect from the local people with sincere communication and genuine personality; even through translation his words received with tears; acclaimed by local classical poets as “truly a great authentic personality of comprehensive transformation” (博大化人) -- in Daoist terms.


Accompanied by Mr. Xie Dongmin, later Vice President of Nationalist Government, and Professor Xu Keshi, German educated, Director of Education, Taiwan Provincial Government, to visit the Grass Mountain for sightseeing, now the Yangmingshan, situated in the suburb of Taipei, a scenic spot that served as the reception center for Prince Hirohito of Japan (later Emperor) in 1923 and Alexandr Solzhenitsyn, the Russian Nobel Laureate, in the early 80s; who stayed at the China Hotel nearby.


1948,   aged 49     Professor and Chairman, Philosophy Department, and Concurrently Director, Graduate Institute of advanced Studies in Philosophy, NTW (National Taiwan University). 


1949,   aged 50     Strongly recommended Zhu Guangqian, (then Acting Dean of Liberal Arts, National Peking University) for a Professorship in Philosophy at NTW. In protest of the case being boycotted by the Dean of Liberal Arts, Fang resigned both his Chairmanship and Directorship, remaining only in the capacity as a teaching faculty in the department until his retirement in 1973. – undoubtedly a great loss for the subsequent development of the department toward excellence.


1951,   aged 52     Address to the banquet reception for university professors, hosted by President Chiang, on “Hegel’s Philosophy: Its Present-Day Predicament and its Historical Background


1953     Reformed the CPS (Chinese Philosophical Association), Taiwan Branch.  Elected to Executive Committee.


1955,   aged 56     Concurrently Professor of Classical Chinese Literature, Taiwan Provincial Normal College (until 1956), and Suchou University (until 1959).


1956,   aged 57     Address on Hegel published in Collected Essays of Hegel’s Philosophy, Vol. I, China Cultural Enterprise Co., Taipei.


Awarded “Medal of Distinguished Service Professor” by Ministry of Education, Nationalist Government.


1957,   aged 58     The Chinese View of Life published by the Union Press, Hong Kong -- as an initial response to Servapalli Radhakrishnan’s most friendly challenge in Chongqing, 1944.


1959,   aged 60     Lecture tour in the U. S. A at the invitation of the US State Department. Visiting Professor, University of South Dakota, September.


Science, Philosophy, and the Significance of Human Life reprinted by the Rainbow Books, Taipei.


1960,   aged 61     Visiting Professor, University of Missouri, Columbus, Missouri, February to June; met for the first time Professor Lewis E. Hahn (awarded “Man of the Year in Philosophy 1967” and “Lifetime Achievement” by APA).


Address to Oberlin Theological Seminar, Oberlin, Ohio on “A Philosophical Glimpse of Man and Nature in Chinese Culture,” where his first mentor in Western philosophy and religion (1917-21) Dr. Clarence H. Hamilton resided and taught.


Continued lecture tour throughout the U. S. A. from coast to coast. visiting 37 campuses.


1964,   aged 65       Heading the Chinese Delegation attending the 4th East and West Philosophers’ Conference on “The World and the Individual in Philosophy East and West,” University of Hawaii, Honolulu, HI, June to August.


Address to Section of Metaphysics on “The World and the Individual in Chinese Metaphysics,” culminating in the climax of his debate with Professor A. N. Findlay of London University, England.  Wan high admiration from all participants.  D. T. Suzuki of Japan sent his personal greetings and invited him to meet at the Japanese Garden on the campus of UH.  Dr. Charles Moore, Conference Host and Department Chairman, openly declared, “I never know, until now, who the greatest philosopher of China is!”


Visiting Professor, Michigan State University, East Lanson, MN, beginning with September.  Offered seminar courses “Plato and Socrates,” “Comparative Philosophy East and West,” etc.


Awarded “Medal of Distinguished Service Professor for over Forty Years,” Ministry of Education, Nationalist Government, Taiwan.


1965,   aged 66     At the request of Michigan State University, his tenure of Visiting Professorship extended for one more years until 1966.


2nd reprinting of Science, Philosophy, and the Significance of Human Life, the Rainbow Books Co., Taipei.


Off-Campus Examiner. Chinese University of Hong Kong, a lifetime offer as permanent honor and distinction.


1966,   aged 67     Awarded “the Most Distinguished Visiting Professor” by President of Michigan State University at Farewell Reception


Offer as Visiting Professor from State University of New York at Buffalo, NY (for over $20,000.00 per year).  Declined.  Determined to return to his home institution NTU.


Beginning with October, offered a series of special courses in Chinese Philosophy at NTW, e.g., “Metaphysical Studies of the Wei-Jin Period” “Buddhist Philosophy of the Sui-Tang Period”; “Neo-Confucianism of the Song-Ming-Qing Period”; “Chinese Mahayana Buddhist Philosophy,” etc. until his retirement in 1973.


1967,   aged 68     Launched the writing project in English, beginning with “Primordial Confucianism,” mostly at night.


Address on “The World and the Individual in Chinese Metaphysics” selected in Chinese Mind, Honolulu, HI, University of Hawaii Press


1969,   aged 70     Composed the poem “Wintry Plums without Blossoming” on the 70th birthday anniversary.


Address to the Section of Metaphysics, the 5th East and West Philosophers’ Conference, June 22, on “The Alienation of Man in Philosophy, Religion, and Philosophical Anthropology”; published by Taipei Cultural Products Supplies the year following.


Rejected unreasonable request from Professor Abraham Kaplan, Director for the 5th East and West Philosophers’ Conference: At the first session, Section of Metaphysics, Kaplan asked if the speaker would consider  skipping over the formal presentation and moving directly to discussion. Fang replied, “Yours is a procedural question.  This session has been assigned to me.  How to present is my business. Discussion without presentation is against my style. I refer your motion to Section Chairman, Dr. Paul Weiss (a great disciple of Whitehead) for decision.  If your motion is accepted, I quit!” Paul Weiss at once gave Fang full support.


1970,   aged 71     Address to the Confucius and Mencius Society, Taipei, September 28 (Teachers Day), on “Primordial Confucianism:  Its Conservative and Its Creative Aspects.” Edited with annotation by Uen-fu Kuo, later published in Universitas:A Monthly Review of Philosophy and Culture, Taipei, 1974, Vol. II, No. 22.


1971,   aged 72     lecture on “The General and Special Characteristics of Chinese Philosophy,” October 15, 20, Classroom #17, College of Liberal Arts, NTW. Edited with annotation by Uen-fu Kuo, later published in Speeches of Thomé H. Fang, the Liming Cultural Enterprise Co., Ltd., 1978, Taipei.


Lecture on a synoptic relegation of the various strains of Indian philosophy in terms of the formula “11236” -- “One Source, One Stream, Two Books, Three Schools, and Six Systems.”


1972,   aged 73     Address to 5th Centennial Symposium on Wang Yang-ming, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, HI, on “The Essence of Wang Yangming’s Philosophy in a Historical Perspective,” later published in Philosophy East and West, 1973, Vol. 23, Nos. 1-2.


Gave a Farewell Dinner Reception inviting all participating Chinese scholars: Professors Tang Junyi, Mou Zongsan, Li Fanggui, Nelson Wu, Zhang Zhongyuan, Wing-tsit Chan (absent), Zheng Zhongying, Du Weiming, Suncrates, and his son Fang Tianni, etc.


1973,   aged 74     Retired as Research Professor of Philosophy from NTW, June 8, exactly on the 50th Anniversary of his teaching career since 1924; A Candlelight Farewell Tea Reception given in his honor by groups of students of various stages at Cardinal Tian Gengxin Memorial Hall, Taipei; each participant with a candle light in hand, listening to his Farewell Speech “Deep Meaning of the Transmission of Lanterns” concluding, “I have none of my own children to pass on to the torch of wisdom that is in my hand; I have only my intellectual heirs!” featured by interflow of candle-lights with lights of tears. Selected in Speeches of Thomé H. Fang, 1978.


Chair Professor of Philosophy, Fu Jen Catholic University, Xinzhuang, Taipei, beginning with September. Delivered thereat a series of lectures exclusively on Chinese philosophy for a period of three years, culminating in a monumental contribution to world thought at large.


Address on “Chinese Philosophy and Its Impacts on the World to Come“ November 2, at Cardinal Tian Gengxin Memorial Hall, “Introductory Remarks” by Suncrates; edited with annotation by Uen-fu Kuo, selected in Ibid.


Address to the 2nd World Congress of Poets, at Grand Hotel, Yuanshan Taipei, November 17, on “Poetry and Life”; selected in Ibid.


1974,   aged 75     Lecture Notes on “Confucius’ Creative Spirit in the light of The Zhou Book of Change”; a student had it published on The Central Daily News, Supplements, January 21-22; it called for studies of Confucius’ thought as not confined to The Analects alone; provoked harsh criticism from orthodoxy Confucians in Taiwan and Hong Kong.


Address to the Chinese Classical Studies Society, Taipei, on “Confucian Philosophy: Confucius’ Philosophy” as rejoinder to the critics of op cit., selected in Ibid., pp. 212-251; especially p. 224.


1976,   aged 77     Completed the entire work of Chinese Philosophy:  Its Spirit and Its Development, typed manuscripts totaling to 800 pages in 8 volumes – the outcome of a lifetime scholarship for conception and ten years of dedicated workmanship for execution! Professor Lewis E. Hahn of SIUC and Professor Kenneth K. Inada of SUNY at Buffalo expected for his arrival for a colloquium presentation; the work originally intended for publication in the U.S. being in process of consideration by Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey, submitted through Suncrates. 


Physical examination before departure (December) confirmed of symptoms for cancer spread from the left lung to the lymphatic gland areas; the whole visiting plan to U. S. forced to abort.


1977,   aged 78     Converted to Buddhism in late March, initiated by Chan Monk Rev. Guang Qin, Tucheng, Taipei District, Taiwan.


March 1977, composed “To Visitors -- in appreciation of all relatives and friends for their kindness”:


            Here now I fall ill

            Because all the sentient beings do

            And yet without being aware of illness as illness![3]


            Thus try I will,

            With my own illness, to

            Wish them all to get well, nonetheless.


            For only with true freedom from ill-

            Ness can one be expected to

            Be capable of such a self-awareness.[4]


            The mysteriously mysterious

             (Dao) and the wondrously wondrous

             Dharma accord perfectlt with Heaven

            And Spontaneous Nature.


On April 3 designated Suncrates as authorized translator for his last opous magnum Chinese Philosophy:  Its Spirit and Its Development.


On May 4, composed “From Śūnyatā Have I come”:


            From Śūnyatā have I come,

            Whereto am I returning.

            What can be possessed from

             Śūnyatā to Śūnyatā? Wherein

            The loci to find

            For the“Attaching Mind”?


Both published as his final works in Universitas: A Monthly Review of Philosophy and Culture, Vol. IV, No. 5.


Passed on July 13, after seven months of suffering from cancer.


Testament: All his private library collections donated to the state, opening to the public. Now catalogued in Professor Thomé H. Fang Room at the Dr. Sun Yatsen Memorial Hall, Dunhua South Road, Section III, Taipei.  


Declined any official obituary service; but memorial service still held with solemn simplicity, July 19, by groups of his friends, students, and admirers; attended by such celebrities as Cardinal Paul Yupin, the great historian Qian Mu, the senior economist Wang Zuorong, the senior physicist Dai Yungui, etc; over thousands gathered together to see him off for cremation.


Distinguished Neo-Confucian authority Professor Tang Junyi in Hong Kongcomposed “Memoriam” in the form of a Chinese couplet of antithetical structure:


To Master Thomé H. Fang on His Way to Eternity:


Having been a disciple of yours for over half a century, I often remember your profound utterances on Dao as if they were all issued from Heaven!


Sharing the same illness with Virma for over half a year, I always cherish your radiances as a Wisdom-Sun; why dessert me with so early a sunset?



            Tang Junyi 


On July 22, in accordance with his Will, sea-buried as close as possible to Mainland China; ceremony held in Jinmen, Fujian; A marble urn containing his ashes sunk down to the deep waters of the Liaoluo Gulf of Taiwan Strait; attended by his eldest son Dr. Fang Tianhua, his wartime disciple Army General Wang Sheng, and the student representatives Professors Huang Zhenhua and Liu Fu-kuen, etc.


*  *  *  *  *


Posthumorous Events:


1978     In commemoration of the 1st anniversary of his passing, a Memorial Pavilion in his honor erected by local people in Jindong and Shamei, Jinmen, Fujian Province – notice what a perfect linguistic coincidence (for dong-mei)! a Tablet calligraphed in the handwriting of his grand pupil President Chiang Ching-guo (Jiang Jingguo); a marble monument inscribed by his wartime disciple Army General Wang Sheng.


Complete Works in Chinese published in 11 volumes, the Liming Cultural Enterprise Co. Ltd., Taipei


1980     August, Mrs. Lillian K. Fang visited the Liaoluo Guld, Jinmen, gazing silently and affectionately at the deep waters as the resting place for her philosopher-husband, accompanied by her lifelong friend Professor Chen Yusheng of NTW and a few students, e.g., Professor and Mrs. Elmer H. H. Fung, Professor Edward Shih-I Wang, and Suncrates, etc.  


Complete Works in English published in three volumes, the Linking Publishing Co., Ltd., Taipei.


1983     Suncrates (tr.), Thomé H. Fang, Chinese Philosophy: Its Spirit and its Development, Vol. I, published, University (Chengjun) Press, Taipei.


1985     The idea of founding a Thomé H. Fang Institute in America first discussed by Suncrates with Professor Lewis E. Hahn and Professor Dale. A. Riepe during the 11th Annual Meeting of the Inter-American Philosophical Congress, University of Guadalajara, Guadalajara, Mexico, November 10-15, 1985; both Hahn and Riepe gave their sincerest support.


Professor Paul A. Schilpp, Charles Hartshorne, Professor Ludwig C. H. Chen and Professor Tsung-I Dow, etc., approached as Advisors.  Professor Dow, a recipient of the Government Fellowship for advanced studies in the U.S. in the same year as the later Nobel Prize Winning scientists Dr. Yang Zhengnin and Dr. Li Zhengdao, and now a world known distinguished historian of scientific thought, was taught by Professor and Mrs. Fang at the NCU, Chongqing, during the wartime.


Two projects being discussed: (1) publication in Fang’s honor of an international journal or bulletin in comparative philosophy and culture, and (2) promotion of Fang’s works in translation.


1986     August, the same idea and project further discussed with Professors Rose-Mary Barral, Sandra A. Wawrytko, James Sellmann, James W. Kidd, and Mrs. Sunnie A. Kidd at the International Symposium of Philosophy and Psychology, University of Las Vegas, Las Vegas, Nevada.


1987     The 1st International Symposium on the Philosophy of Thomé H. Fang held in Taipei, Taiwan, July 15-17, participated by over forty scholars all over the world; mostly the Master’s former students and friends; Proceedings published under the title The Philosophy of Thomé H. Fang,  the Youth Press, Taipei, 1989.


Keynote Address by Professor Lewis E. Hahn on “Thomé H. Fang and the Spirit of Chinese Philosophy,” published in Ibid, pp 9-22.


Distinguished literary critic Qian Zhongshu of Beijing, China, met Mr. I-chuan Chen at a reception in Washington D. C., expressed regrettably: “Professor Thomé H. Fang is the last of the great classical Chinese poets – irretrievably gone!”


1991     Professor and Mrs. Lilliam K. Fang passed at the National Taiwan University Hospital, at the age of eighty-five.


1999     The Centennial International Symposium on the Philosophy of thomé H. Fang held in Taipei, Taiwan.


2003     The first Thomé H. Fang Institute, Inc., installed in Mobile, AL., legally registered with the State and the Federal through Attorney Claude Paton (grand nephew of General George Paton). The first Web Site www.thomehfang.com for Comprehensive Harmony: An International e-Journal for Comparative Philosophy and Culture, established, June 23.


2004  Suncrates (tr.), Thomé H. Fang Chinese Philosophy: Its Spirit and Its Development, Vol. II, finished, August.


2005     Complete Works of Thomé H. Fang in Chinese, Revised Edition, totaling to 13 volumes, published by the Liming Cultural Enterprise, Co., Ltd.; A New Books Exhibition Reception given at the NTU Alumni Association, Building, Taipei. December 8.


2007     Mr. Chen Jing, Editor-in-Chief, History and the Huamnities Column, Zongyang Web Site, Zoingyang, Anhui, China, at the request of Suncrates, undertook the geneological research work on the genesis of Thomé H. Fang, culminating in the most enlightening end-results.[5]


2008     The first Institute for Thomé H. Fang Studies established with official “Unveil Ceremony,” October 14, at the National Anhui University, Hefei, Anhui, China.


2009        Suncrates and Sandra A. Wawrytko (trs.), Thomé H. Fang, “Three Types of Philosophical Wisdom”; “Hegel’s Philosophy: Its Present-Day Predicament and Its Historical Background,” Part I; and “The Spirit of Chinese Philosophy – Inaugural Address as Chair Professor at the Fu Jen Catholic University” (1973) first published in Comprhensive Harmony: A Bulletin of Comparative Philosophy and Culture, Alibris, Philadelphia, PA., September, as part of the Kumārājiva Project, Thomé H. Fang Institute, Inc., Mobile, AL., U.S.A.


[*] For the first accurate geneological account of our subject, we are all deeply indebted to  the fruitful research work of Mr. Chen Jing (陈靖):  “A study of the Genesis of Thomé H. Fang, the Great Philosopher of Our Time,” Zongyang News--Anqing Daily, Supplements (in the 4th Column), Anqing, Anhui, China, September 22, 2007.  For further relevant details, see endnotes.




[1] The title “Guilin Fang” is a great honor officially conferred upon the familyhead Fang Mao for five of his sons having all passed successfully the state examination, acclaimed as “the five dragons” of the Fang family.  For all this Fang You (1418-1483) is crucially important as the first one of his whole family to win the honorable status of “Jinshi” --Advanced Candidate for Official Service.


[2] Confirmed in a conversation between Suncrates and  Mr. Wang Chong-wu, former Major of Jinan, Shangdong, China, who heard the anecdote from his friends in the Youth Party present at the reception. Wang expressed to Suncrates his admiration of the philosopher’s wit and courage.


[3] A classic allusion to The Virmalakirti-Nedesa-Sūtra, Chapter V. “Mañjūśrī Sent to Ask after Layman Vimalakirti in Illness. The latter replies, “I fall ill because all the sentient beings do (yet without being aware of illness as illness).”


[4] A classic allusion to The Works of Laozi, Chapter 71: “The Sage is aware of illness as illness; and hence free from it.”


[5] We learn from Chen Jing’s most updated genealogical research (2007) that our subject Thomé H. Fang is truly the 23th generation descendant of the Guilin Fang (Great Fang) Clan; the 16th generation descendant of Fang You (1418-1483), Imperial Inspecting General of the Ming Dynasty -- Fang Yizhi (1611-1671) being his 14th, and Fang Bao (1668-1749) his 16th, generation ancestral uncle, respectively. Their 7th generation ancestors Fang Lin, Fang You, and Fang Guan being brothers of the same family.  This discover is enlightening in that it perfectly clarifies Thomé H. Fang’s ancestral relationship with Fang Yizhi and Fang Bao -- two towering figures in the glorious Tongcheng cultural tradition. The former is revered as the Enlightenment Philosopher of 17th Century China and the latter, the founder of the Tongcheng School that has proved predominant in the history of Chinese literature for the last three hundred years.