Abstract

By identifying the basic meanings of de as “spiritual endowment” and “grateful offering,” this treatise aims to clarify the original meanings and structure of de and to establish the early Chinese moral and political order based on dezhi as the virtuous rule of benefaction. A critical reexamination of the influential mana thesis will lay bare the spiritual power of de as the sympathetic correspondence (gantong 感通) of cosmic forces of yin and yang. As a principle of genus, de stands for the grounding spiritual power nurturing the growth of human communities in empathetic and reciprocal harmony with the cyclical rhythm of cosmic forces. The true foundation of the early Chinese rule of benefaction consists precisely in such senses of empathy and reciprocity originating in the poetical correspondence of sky, earth, and humankind. The investigation of de here shall reveal a distinctively Chinese understanding of human person that is based not on the philosophy of entitlement but on the poetical way of embodiment. As a distinctive site of embodiment, the primary function of a Confucian political leader is not to uphold the consigned spiritual power with exclusive authority, but to promote its proper dissemination for the harmonious coalescence of all kinds of beings. I shall argue further that such sagacious personalities should be regarded as the archetype and origin of early Chinese and Confucian moral virtues.

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1529-1898
Print ISSN
0031-8221
Pages
pp. 81-124
Launched on MUSE
2015-02-02
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.