Fayan 法言, often called Yangzi fayan 揚子法言 "Model words by Master Yang", is a philosophical treatise written by the mid-Han period 漢 (206 BCE-220 CE) scholar Yang Xiong 揚雄 (53 BCE-18 CE). The book is 13-chapters long and imitates the structure of the "Confucian Analects" Lunyu 論語.
The Fayan is mainly oriented towards Confucianism. It stresses the importance of the Classics for the cognition of the nature of the "way" (dao 道). Daoism, on the other side, neglected the social prominence of ritual and etiquette. Yang Xiong reproaches Zhuangzi 莊子 and the individualist Yang Zhu 楊朱 for their social irresponsibility, he criticizes Mozi 墨子 and Yanzi 晏子 for the simplicity of their social concepts, and the legalists for their impotence of transforming society into a better stage of living together. Yang nevertheless accepts the self-sufficiency and modesty brought forward by Daoists and the Yin-Yang theoretician Zou Yan 鄒衍.
The Fayan focuses on the attainment of knowledge and studies as an important method of perfecting the self and society. In spite of his clearly Confucian attitude, Yang Xiong interpreted the human nature as a mixture of both good and bad. His critique of superstitious beliefs might have made him a pioneer of the later rationalists Huan Tan 桓譚 (23 BCE-56 CE, author of Xinlun 新論) and Wang Chong 王充 (27-97 CE, wrote Lunheng 論衡) at the end of the Later Han period 後漢 (25-220).
There are several commentaries on the Fayan, namely Liu Gui's 李軌 Yangzi fayan zhu 揚子法言注 from the Jin period 晉 (265-420) , Sima Guang's 司馬光 (1019-1086) Fayan jizhu 法言集注 from the Northern Song period 北宋 (960-1126), and Wang Rongbao's 汪榮寶 (1878-1933) Fayan yishu 法言義疏 from the late Qing period 清 (1644-1911).
|1.||學行||Xuexing||Practicing what has been learned|
|3.||修身||Xiushen||Cultivating the self|
|4.||問道||Wendao||Asking about the way|
|5.||問神||Wenshen||Asking about high spirits|
|6.||問明||Wenming||Asking about enlightenment|
|9.||先知||Xianzhi||Putting formemost knowledge|
|10.||重黎||Zhongli||Estimating the masses|
|11.||淵騫||Yuanjian||Yuan and Jian|
|12.||君子||Junzi||The perfect man|
|13.||孝至||Xiaozhi||Filial piety perfected|