Dao

, Volume 17, Issue 2, pp 187–201 | Cite as

Reverence and Cheng-Zhu Ecology

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Abstract

The Cheng-Zhu 程朱 school of Confucianism congealed from the larger Learning of the Way school in the 11th and 12th centuries. In contrast to Buddhist conceptions of human nature, Cheng-Zhu advocates claimed an understanding that gave a significant role to the natural world. Addressing the ecology of the human organism in its relationship with the natural environment revealed a complex moral psychology that characterized human beings. Self-cultivation was indispensable for connecting to our inborn nature that revealed no separation between ourselves and nature. Cultivating the mental state of maintaining reverence (chi jing 持敬) was an indispensable form of self-cultivation. This mental state initially expressed itself in courteous and caring behavior that could be taught to the young; but, when more highly developed, reverent attention was disciplined, focused thinking that revealed the mind of the Way. A new single-mindedness might then be maintained as the master of one’s actions. The morally perfected states of being called humaneness and sagehood confirmed that one was in touch with one’s inborn connection to nature.

Keywords

Cheng-Zhu 程朱 thought Zhu Xi 朱熹 Humaneness Ecology Reverence Self-cultivation 

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Notes

Acknowledgments

This paper was presented at the 11th East-West Philosophers’ Conference, May 25–May 31, 2016, in Honolulu, Hawai’i.

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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of HistoryDenison UniversityWorthingtonUSA

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