Response and Responsibility:
Chou Tun-i and Confucian Resources for Environmental Ethics

Joseph A. Adler
Dept. of Religious Studies
Kenyon College

In Mary Evelyn Tucker and John Berthrong, eds., Confucianism and Ecology: The Interrelation of Heaven, Earth, and Humans (Cambridge: Harvard University Center for the Study of World Religions, 1998), pp. 123-149.


Issues in environmental ethics can be grouped broadly under two headings: questions of human nature and destiny, and questions of moral responsibility. Under the first, for example, are such questions as: What is the place of human beings in the natural order? What is the relationship of human nature to the nature of animals, plants, and non-living matter? Is human nature (or destiny) fulfilled in shaping, developing, perfecting the non-human natural world? Or is it fulfilled by adapting and conforming to nature? Should we -- and if so, how can we -- strike a balance between the anthropocentric and ecocentric (or biocentric) perspectives?

Questions of moral responsibility include: To what extent (if any) are human beings morally responsible for the fate of the earth? For the spotted owl? The snail darter? Is a concern with the natural environment merely prudential, as a way of protecting human health and life? This would imply that ecological concern is a matter of our responsibility to human interests but not to the environment per se. If, on the other hand, we accept some level of responsibility to the natural world, how then do we balance it with our responsibility to the human, social world?

In this paper I shall argue that the Neo-Confucian concept of "moral responsiveness" (ying)(1) plays a role functionally equivalent to that of moral responsibility to the natural world, and is particularly well-suited to serve as a basis for an environmental ethic -- despite the fact that environmental concerns never figured prominently enough in traditional Confucian agendas for this to be developed. Moreover, by focusing on the thought of Chou Tun-i (1017-1073),(2) we shall see how the concept of moral responsiveness is linked to the concept of authenticity (ch'eng), the moral-metaphysical basis of Sagehood. This complex of ideas, therefore, addresses both sets of questions in environmental ethics in an integrated, systematic fashion. It also establishes a basis for mediation of the tension between anthropocentric and ecocentric perspectives on environmental issues.

Response and Responsibility

The concept of moral responsibility in Western theology and philosophy has generally been expressed in terms of questions of justice and free will.(3) The "response" implied by the term "responsibility" is the proper or just reward or punishment for voluntary actions. To act responsibly is to act in such a way as to deserve reward or approval (whether or not an actual reward or response is likely to occur in the given situation). The root metaphor here is that of judgment, whether legal, soteriological, or moral; i.e. the judgment of either a representative of a sovereign state (king or judge) meting out reward or punishment, or a personal deity deciding one's fate, or simply a moral observer approving or disapproving of the behavior in question.

While in Chinese philosophy the metaphor of judgment by a semi-personalistic Heaven is sometimes invoked, in general the functional equivalent of the concept of moral responsibility occurs in a different discursive context.(4) In Classical Confucianism, the most pertinent term in this connection is reciprocity (shu). Reciprocity is defined against a background of social or kinship relations between individuals as members of a family or a wider social group modeled on the family. The root metaphor here is kinship, not judgment.(5) An act that embodies the virtue of reciprocity is one that is correct (cheng) in terms of the established norms of ritual propriety (li), and appropriate (i) to the specific social relationship in question.

The functional equivalent of "moral responsibility" in this context is therefore twofold. First, it is the act's "correspondence" with the normative patterns of social behavior.(6) Secondly, it is the appropriateness of the act in "response" (so to speak) to the given social circumstances, defined in terms of the personal relationships obtaining between the subjects involved.

Reciprocity, as a functional equivalent of moral responsibility, thus presupposes a relationship of conscious moral subjects. Although these subjects can be either human or spiritual (ancestors and deities also have relations of mutual reciprocity with living people), reciprocity in Classical Confucianism does not apply directly to human relations with the non-human natural world.

From the beginning of the Neo-Confucian revival in the Sung Dynasty (960-1279), the term ying ("response") entered the Confucian ethical lexicon in such a way as to extend the concept of reciprocity to the natural world. The term was employed by such Northern Sung Confucians as Chou Tun-i and Ch'eng Hao (1032-1085) to refer to a crucial aspect of Sagehood. The Sage is the "authentic" (ch'eng) human being whose thoughts, intentions, desires and behavior naturally and spontaneously respond in an active sense to the natural/moral order (t'ien-li/tao-li) in which he is embedded.(7) Thus the Sage responds morally not only to other moral subjects but also to the myriad things of Heaven and Earth. What the Chung-yung had called "assist[ing] (ts'an) in the transforming and nourishing process of Heaven and Earth"(8) was reformulated by the Ch'eng-Chu Neo-Confucians in terms of the metaphysics of li (order, principle) and an epistemology in which mind was considered to be a natural organ (or substance) that followed the same principles as non-human things.

"Moral responsiveness," under this model, is not conceived as a just reward or punishment meted out by a king or judge to a freely-acting subject; rather it is the subject's own proper response to his or her environment. What is "proper" or "right" is determined not by an abstract or divinely decreed standard of justice, but rather by the actual conditions defining the subject's relationship with the object; by the interrelationship and interdependence of the moral subject with his or her environment. In Neo-Confucian terms, then, moral responsiveness, rather than moral responsibility, provides a framework for the discussion of environmental ethics.

Both reciprocity and moral responsiveness imply a network of concrete relations as the context in which actions can be morally evaluated. Kinship relations are, of course, the fundamental model of all human relations in Confucian discourse. The extension of kinship to the non-human natural world is seen most eloquently in Chang Tsai's (1020-1077) "Western Inscription," which begins:
Heaven is my father and Earth is my mother, and even such a small creature as I finds an intimate place in their midst. Therefore that which fills the universe I regard as my body and that which directs the universe I consider as my nature. All people are my brothers and sisters, and all things are my companions.(9)

It is instructive to compare and contrast this notion of kinship with the etymology of the word "ecology," which was coined by Ernst Haeckel in 1866(10) from the Greek roots oikos "house" and logia "discoursing." "Ecology" thus means the science of the household.(11) The closely-related word "economy" comes from oikos "house" and nemein "to manage"; an oikonomos was a person who managed a household, i.e. a steward.(12) The notion of stewardship is commonly used by Jewish and Christian theologians to provide a basis for a Biblically-based environmental ethic. In the stewardship model, it should be noted, the "owner" of the house is God; human beings are merely caretakers.

Given the connection of the word "ecology" with the concept of the household, Chang Tsai's use of the family as the model for an authentic relationship with the natural world is a perfectly appropriate starting point for an environmental ethic. In fact, it suggests the potential for a deeper relationship than that implied by the Jewish and Christian concept of "stewardship," for a steward is one who is appointed to care for the household, not a family member.

However, the kinship model begs the question: What precisely is the common nature shared by the human being and the natural object? Members of a family share a common genotypic and phenotypic inheritance; what do human beings and rocks share?

On one level it is ch'i (vital energy, or psycho-physical stuff) that is the philosophical basis of human beings' kinship with the natural world, as expressed in Chang Tsai's "Western Inscription" and in Ch'eng Hao's statement that "The man of humanity (jen) forms one body with all things without any differentiation."(13) Let us call this the organic level of commonality.(14) As Tu Wei-ming puts it,

Forming one body with the universe can literally mean that since all modalities of being are made of ch'i, human life is part of a continuous flow of the blood and breath that constitutes the cosmic process. Human beings are thus organically connected with rocks, trees, and animals.(15)

Parallel to this organic commonality there is also, in Neo-Confucian thought, the metaphysical continuity described in terms of li "order/principle."(16) This concept rose to prominence in the school of the Ch'eng brothers during the Northern Sung (960-1126) and was later codified by Chu Hsi (1130-1200), through whose influence this school (referred to here as the Ch'eng-Chu school) became the dominant school of Confucian thought.(17)

Linking the metaphysical and organic levels of Neo-Confucian discourse is the concept of "authenticity" (ch'eng), a term that is most prominent in the Classical Confucian text Chung-yung ("Centrality and Commonality")(18) and in Chou Tun-i's T'ung-shu ("Penetrating the Book of Change").(19) In Chu Hsi's formulation, ch'eng means "actualized order" (shih-li),(20) i.e. the metaphysical order instantiated in a concrete thing or activity; hence its mediating role between the metaphysical and organic levels of discourse. It is closely related in the T'ung-shu to the terms ying "responsive" and t'ung "penetrating, circulating, comprehensive." The dynamism of these concepts reflects both the organic process implied by the term ch'i and the developmental (yet atemporal) order implied by li. By pursuing this functional, dynamic sense of commonality or "kinship" in Neo-Confucian discourse we can show that the concept of responsiveness functions not only as the equivalent of moral responsibility, but also as an authentic expression of the metaphysical ground of human nature. Moral responsiveness in Neo-Confucian thought therefore constitutes, at least in part, both the goal and the basis of a proper and healthy relationship with the natural world.

Responsiveness (ying) in early Chinese thought

Like such notions as harmony, unity, and order, the concepts of reciprocity and responsiveness, broadly conceived, have been characteristic of Chinese thought since the beginning of the written record. For example, the relationship between the Shang king and his ancestors, as evidenced in the oracle bone inscriptions, can clearly be understood as the same type of reciprocity or interdependence that still characterizes the relationship between the living and the dead (as well as deities) in Chinese popular religion. Likewise, the early Confucian concept of t'ien-ming, or Mandate of Heaven, can be seen as the responsiveness of Heaven to the moral character of the ruling family. Conversely, the term "responding to Heaven" (ying-t'ien) was used to mean being attentive to Heaven's decree.(21) Both reciprocity (in the case of relations between conscious subjects) and responsiveness (as a more general concept operative in the natural as well as the social realms) can be conceived as corrolaries of the holistic, organic tendencies in traditional Chinese thought, according to which particulars are defined in terms of their functional relationships with larger wholes.(22)

Philosophical use of the term ying probably goes back to the Yin-Yang school of the late Warring States period, whose chief exponent was Tsou Yen (3rd century BCE), since the term emerges as an important concept in texts influenced by yin-yang thought. It is found, for example, in the Lü-shih ch'un-ch'iu and in Tung Chung-shu's Ch'un-ch'iu fan-lu. In chapter 57 of the latter text we read that "things of the same kind arise in response to each other" (lei chih hsiang-ying erh ch'i yeh).(23) The "kinds" (lei) referred to here are chiefly the categories of yin and yang and the Five Phases (wu-hsing). The nearly-contemporaneous Huai-nan Tzu (139 BCE), one of the central texts of Huang-Lao Taoism, says in a similar vein, "The mutual response (hsiang-ying) of things belonging to the same category (lei) is darkly mysterious and extremely subtle (shen-wei)."(24)

Acccording to Charles Le Blanc, the concept of "resonance," or "stimulus-response" (kan-ying), is the central conception of the Huai-nan Tzu, where it is used to explain the classical Taoist concept of "non-action" (wu-wei) and is a hallmark of the "True Man" (chen-jen) or perfect ruler.(25) This True Man or Sage is "merged with the Grand Harmony (t'ai-ho) and holds fast to the Responses of the Natural (tzu-jan chih ying);"(26) he therefore "is like a mirror, neither sending [things] away nor welcoming [things], responding (ying) but not storing."(27) People can become Sages
by concentrating their essences (ching) and disciplining their thoughts, discarding all concerns and gathering together their spirits (shen)...(28)


when the Sage rules, he treasures Tao and does not speak; yet his kindness (tse) reaches the Ten Thousand People. [But] when ruler and minister distrust each other in their heart, concave and convex halos appear in the sky [on each side of the sun]. These are indeed evidences of the mutual influence (hsiang-ying) of the marvellous ch'i (shen-ch'i)(29)... because Yin and Yang share a common ch'i and move (tung) each other.(30)

Under the rule of a Sage,

[T]he Son of Heaven reigns supreme, sustaining [all] with Tao and Te, assisting [all] with human-heartedness (jen) and equity (i).(31)

This fusion of cosmology, self-cultivation, and ethics, although distinctly Taoist (the Confucian concepts jen and i are subsumed under Taoist ones(32)), foreshadows in significant ways certain features of Neo-Confucian thought, especially that of Chou Tun-i, who was strongly influenced by Taoism. (Chou, of course, subsumed his Taoist concepts under a Confucian framework.) Le Blanc's account of the epistemological basis of the Taoist Sage's capacity to respond to all things is also worth quoting here, for it bears on the topic of environmental ethics:
[T]he human mind [according to the Huai-nan Tzu], being itself in continuity with nature, has the capacity 'to know', 'to become' and 'to reproduce' the cosmic process, not through divinely granted revelation, reflection or contemplation, but on the affective and participative level of being. In this sense true knowledge (chen-chih) is not a mirror-image -- neither a representation of 'what's out there' nor a focal or peripheral vision of the intellect -- but rather a direct and immediate affectus of things themselves, an affinitive correspondence and union that precedes any reflected awareness of it. It is this ontological relation of an affinitive rather than causal type that actualizes in the discrete world of space, time, species and individuals the primal unity of the cosmos.(33)

The organic basis of the human mind's "continuity with nature," in both Huang-Lao Taoism and Neo-Confucianism, is the immanence of ch'i. Neo-Confucianism adds to this the metaphysical commonality of li. The Confucian Sage realizes or instantiates the perfection of the natural/moral order in his or her thought and action. Thus in Chou Tun-i's thought we shall find the same kind of "affinitive correspondence" of the Sage and the natural world as we see in the Huai-nan Tzu, but worked out in Confucian terms (with a substantial Taoist flavor).

Chou Tun-i and the conceptual framework of Sagehood(34)

The word "responsive" occurs only once in the T'ung-shu, and not at all in the T'ai-chi t'u shuo ("Explanation of the Supreme Polarity Diagram"). But in the T'ung-shu it is situated in a conceptual framework that enables us to say more about it than we could by reading only the passage in which it occurs. That passage is chapter 4, which reads (in its entirety):

4. The Sage (sheng)(35)

(a) That which is "silent and inactive" (chi-jan pu-tung)(36) is authentic (ch'eng). That which is "penetrating when stimulated" (kan erh sui t'ung)(37) is spiritual (shen). That which is active but not yet formed, between existence and nonexistence, is incipient (chi).

(b) Authenticity is essential (ching), and therefore clear. Spirit is responsive (ying), and therefore mysterious. Incipience is subtle (wei), and therefore obscure.

(c) One who is authentic, spiritual, and incipient is called a Sage.(38)

Here we have a definition of Sagehood in terms taken from three of Chou Tun-i's most important sources. The concept of "authenticity" (ch'eng) is most prominently discussed in the Chung-yung (Centrality and Commonality). The concepts of activity and stillness (tung-ching), spirit (shen), penetration (t'ung) and incipience (chi) together form an important theoretical unit in the "Appended Remarks" (Hsi-tz'u) wing of the I-ching.(39) And the concept of "responsiveness" (ying), as we have seen above, is associated with "spirit," "essence" (ching,) and the "subtle" (wei) in the Taoist Huai-nan Tzu.(40) Overall there are eight key terms in the chapter:

1. Authenticity (ch'eng)

2. Spirit (shen)

3. Incipience (chi)

4. Activity-stillness (tung-ching)(41)

5. Penetrating (t'ung)

6. Responsive (ying)

7. Essential (ching)

8. Subtle (wei)

By examining other chapters of the T'ung-shu that contain these terms (mainly chapters 1, 2, 3, 9, 16 and 20), we can construct a conceptual framework in which the significance of responsiveness can be elucidated.

"Authenticity" is the central topic of the first four chapters of the T'ung-shu. The major textual source of this term is the Chung-yung ("Centrality and Commonality"), which, in chapter 22, contains the classic Confucian statement of a moral relationship with the natural world:
Only those who are absolutely authentic (ch'eng,) can fully develop their nature. If they can fully develop their nature, they can then fully develop the nature of others. If they can fully develop the nature of others, they can then fully develop the nature of things. If they can fully develop the nature of things, they can then assist in the transforming and nourishing process of Heaven and Earth. If they can assist in the transforming and nourishing process of Heaven and Earth, they can thus form a trinity with Heaven and Earth.(42)

Ch'eng, in Tu Wei-ming's words, is "the most genuine manifestation of human virtue" and "the truth and reality of man's heavenly endowed nature."(43) This alludes to the first two lines of the Chung-yung, which make the claim that human nature is endowed by Heaven and that its natural course of development is the Way (tao), which is to say that it is good.(44) The connection with Heaven -- what Tu calls the "transcendent anchorage" of Confucian morality(45) -- suggests "a strong belief in the organismic unity of man and nature,"(46) which of course is quite explicit in the last two lines of Chung-yung 22 (quoted above). In these lines we have what Tu calls a "covenant" with Heaven (in which the concept of "moral duty" is not entirely out of place),(47) and an attitude of "reverence" (ching) toward Heaven that is the counterpart of "filial piety" (hsiao) in the social realm. These two are, in this context, "ecological principles humanly designed but heavenly inspired for the primary purpose of bringing peace and harmony to the universe."(48) Note that reverence and filial piety are forms of reciprocity; they are dyadic relationships in which mutual obligations are understood. But in Chung-yung 22, the implied dyadic relationships (self and others, self and things) are subsumed under the concept of ch'eng, which does not easily lend itself to a dyadic, personalistic model. Ch'eng, understood as "authenticity," is in fact the link between the personalistic concept of reciprocity and the naturalistic concept of moral responsiveness.

Chu Hsi, in his commentary on the T'ung-shu, defines ch'eng as "being perfectly actualized (chih-shih),"(49) or "actualized principle/order" (shih-li).(50) Ch'eng in this sense is the actualization in moral activity (or function, yung) of the true nature (hsing) or fundamental substance (pen-t'i) of a thing. Only human beings can fail to be ch'eng -- a rock is a rock, but not every human is humane (jen).(51) As Tu puts it in reference to human beings, "Ch'eng as a state of being signifies the ultimate reality of human nature and, as a process of becoming, the necessary way of actualizing that reality in concrete, ordinary human affairs."(52) It is manifested in a human being when one is truly being or actively manifesting what one truly is by nature; when one is a morally-actualized agent.(53)

Chapter 1 of the T'ung-shu primarily concerns the metaphysical foundation or substance of authenticity, framed in terms of the "Way of Ch'ien" (hexagram 1 of the I-ching), creativity and transformation. It begins:
Being authentic is the foundation of the Sage. "Great indeed is the originating [power] (yüan) of Ch'ien! The myriad things rely on it for their beginnings."(54) It is the source of being authentic. "The Way of Ch'ien is transformation, each [thing] receiving its correct nature and endowment."(55) In this way authenticity is established.

Here the substance or source of authenticity is identified with the order or principle underlying the ceaseless transformation of the cosmic process of "life and growth" (sheng-sheng).(56) From the perspective of ch'eng as "actualized order," this underscores the notion that the ultimate cosmic order (t'ien-li), while atemporal itself, is the pattern of change, mutual response, and creativity.

Chapters 2, 3, 4 and 9 contain the core of the conceptual matrix of responsiveness. They are reproduced below (with chapter 4 repeated for the convenience of the reader). Following the texts is a chart of the key terms of these chapters, intended as a helpful interpretive device. (Chinese words in the texts indicate terms included in the chart.) Chapters 16 and 20 will be included in the discussion following the chart.

2. Being Authentic (ch'eng) (B)(57)

(a) Sagehood (sheng) is nothing more than being authentic (ch'eng).

(b) Being authentic is the foundation (pen) of the Five Constant [Virtues] (wu-ch'ang) and the source of the Hundred Practices (pai-hsing).

(c) It is imperceptible when still (ching-wu) , and perceptible when active (tung-yu),(58) perfectly correct and clearly pervading.

(d-h) When the Five Constants and Hundred Practices are not authentic, they are wrong; blocked by depravity and confusion.Therefore one who is authentic has no [need for] undertakings. It is perfectly easy, yet difficult to practice; when one is determined and precise, there is no difficulty with it. Therefore [Confucius said], "If in one day one could subdue the self and return to propriety, then all under Heaven would recover their humanity."(59)

3. Authenticity, Incipience, and Virtue (ch'eng chi te)

(a) In being authentic there is no [intentional] acting (ch'eng wu-wei).

(b) In incipience there is good and evil (chi shan-wu).

(c-f) As for the [Five Constant] Virtues (te), loving is called humanity, being right is called appropriateness, being principled is called propriety, being penetrating is called wisdom, and preserving is called faithfulness. One who is by nature like this, at ease like this, is called a Sage. One who recovers it and holds onto it is called a Worthy. One whose subtle signs of expression are imperceptible, and whose fullness is inexhaustible, is called Spiritual.

4. The Sage (sheng)

(a) That which is "silent and inactive" (chi-jan pu-tung) is authentic (ch'eng). That which is "penetrating when stimulated" (kan erh sui t'ung) is spiritual (shen). That which is active but not yet formed, between existence and not existence, is incipient (chi).

(b) Authenticity is essential (ching), and therefore clear. Spirit is responsive (ying), and therefore mysterious. Incipience is subtle (wei), and therefore obscure.

(c) One who is authentic, spiritual, and incipient is called a Sage.

9. Thinking (ssu)

(a) The Hung-fan [Great Plan] says: "[The virtue of ] thinking is called perspicacity.... Perspicacity makes one a Sage."(60) To be without thinking (wu-ssu) is the foundation (pen). When thinking is penetrating (t'ung), this is its function (yung). When there is incipient activity (chi-tung) on the one hand, and authentic activity (ch'eng-tung) on the other, with no thinking and yet penetrating everything (wu-ssu erh wu pu-t'ung)(61) one is a Sage.

(b-e) If one does not think, then one cannot penetrate subtleties. If one is not perspicacious, then one cannot penetrate everything. Thus, [the ability] to penetrate everything arises from penetrating subtleties, and [the ability] to penetrate subtleties arises from thinking. Therefore thinking is the foundation of the Sage's achievement and the opportunity for good fortune or misfortune. The I says, "The superior person perceives incipience and acts, without waiting all day."(62) It also says, "Knowing incipience is his spirituality."(63)

In the T'ung-shu Chou Tun-i refers to ch'eng mainly in the cosmological terminology of the I-ching, not in terms of li. But by applying Chu Hsi's interpretation of ch'eng to this text (as the later tradition invariably did), we can flesh out Chou's often cryptic pronouncements.

As the congruence of activity with the natural/moral order, authenticity per se is not activity (chs. 3 and 4); yet it is imperceptible in the absence of activity (ch. 2). It becomes perceptible when a stimulus (kan) produces a response (ying) that "penetrates" like a spirit (ch. 4) -- when incipient activity emerges or develops without the intervention of deliberate thought and is expressed as authentic activity (chs. 3 and 9), i.e. activity that is perfectly consonant with the natural/moral order (ch. 2). (While it may seem surprising to find the absence of thought valorized in a Confucian text, the point here is not that thinking is misleading but that the responsiveness of a Sage is spontaneously correct.(64)) "Penetrating" (t'ung) here refers to activity that, because of its consonance with li, resonates with, responds to, and pervades the entire natural/moral order, beyond the empirically immediate and observable situation. Hence it is like a spirit (shen), which is not limited to empirical cause-effect conditions.

Further light may be shed on the key terms of the T'ung-shu by extracting them and placing them under the major categories found in the "Explanation of the Supreme Polarity Diagram" (T'ai-chi t'u shuo). In the chart below, the numbers on the left side correspond to the chapters and sections of the T'ung-shu given above:

Figure 1: Supreme Polarity
yin / stillness yang / activity
4 (c) Sage: authentic, incipient, spiritual
ch'eng chi shen
    (a) silent and inactive stimulated and then penetrating
chi-jan pu-tung kan erh sui t'ung
    (b) essential subtle responsive
wei ying
2 (c) Authenticity:
imperceptible when perceptible when
still (ching-wu) active (tung-yu)
perfectly correct clearly pervading
chih-cheng ming-ta
    (b) the foundation of the Five Constants
and Hundred Practices
wu-ch'ang pai-hsing
3 (a) Authenticity:
no [intentional] acting
(ch'eng wu-wei)
   (b) Incipience:
good and evil
chi shan-wu
    (c) [Five Constant] Virtues
te (jen, i, li, chih, hsin)
without thinking: thinking penetrates:
wu-ssu ssu-t'ung
foundation function
pen (= t'i) yung
incipient activity authentic activity
chi-tung ch'eng-tung

The two outer columns of the chart correspond on the most general level to the yin-yang polarity (manifested as stillness and activity) discussed by Chou in the T'ai-chi t'u shuo, which outlines the Taoist-influenced cosmogonic scheme that became a standard element in the Neo-Confucian synthesis:
Non-polar (wu-chi) and yet Supreme Polarity (t'ai-chi)! The Supreme Polarity in activity (tung) generates yang; yet at the limit of activity it is still (ching). In stillness it generates yin; yet at the limit of stillness it is also active. Activity and stillness alternate; each is the basis of the other. In distinguishing yin and yang, the Two Modes are thereby established.(65)

The relationship between stillness and activity here is primarily a temporal one: the two are different phases of the cosmic process. But in chapter 16 of the T'ung-shu ("Activity and Stillness"), Chou implies that the two modes interpenetrate one another:
(a-d) Activity as the absence of stillness and stillness as the absence of activity characterize things (wu). Activity that is not [empirically] active and stillness that is not [empirically] still characterize spirit (shen). Being active and yet not active, still and yet not still, does not mean that [spirit] is neither active nor still. For while things do not [inter-]penetrate (t'ung),(66) spirit subtly [penetrates/pervades] the myriad things.
(e-h) The yin of water is based in yang; the yang of fire is based in yin. The Five Phases are yin and yang; yin and yang are the Supreme Polarity. The Four Seasons revolve; the myriad things end and begin [again]. How undifferentiated! How extensive! And how inexhaustible!

Here Chou is speaking of the metaphysical foundation of stillness and activity. On this level they are interpenetrating, not mutually exclusive, categories. This underlying unity became the basis, in Chu Hsi's system, for access to the ultimate reality by the mind in its ordinary activity.(67)

In the terminology of the Ch'eng-Chu school, the two outer columns of the chart correspond to the substance (t'i) and function (yung) of the human mind, or human nature (hsing) and dispositions (ch'ing), or order (li) and psycho-physical stuff (ch'i).(68) Note that "authenticity" occurs in both outer columns: under "stillness" in lines 4c and 2c, and under "activity" in 9a and (by implication) 2c. This reflects the notion that authenticity is the condition in which the metaphysical substance is fully realized in function.

The center column corresponds to the crucial moment of incipient (chi) change or response, when a stimulus has been received but the response has not yet become manifest. I have discussed this phase of change elsewhere,(69) so here I will be brief; it will suffice to quote some of Chu Hsi's comments on Chou's treatment of incipience in chapter 3 of the T'ung-shu. Chu says:
Incipience is the imperceptible beginning of activity. It is that according to which good and evil are distinguished. With the first sign of activity in the human mind, the Heavenly/natural order (t'ien-li) will certainly appear there; yet human desires (jen-yü) have already sprouted amidst it.(70)

Incipiencies, or the subtle indications of activity, lie between deciding to act and imminent activity, where there is both good and evil. One must understand them at this point. If they reach the point of becoming manifest, then one cannot help anything.... The point of subtle incipience is extremely important.(71)

Thus, according to Chu Hsi, the incipient phase of mind is the critical point at which either evil human desires or the original goodness of human nature and the natural order can become actualized in the world; hence its importance in the task of moral cultivation.

Equally significant to Chu is moral responsiveness, which in our chart falls under the right column as an aspect of moral activity. In commenting on chapter 4 Chu says:
The primary and unmanifest [ground] is the substance of the actualized order (shih-li, i.e. ch'eng). Good (shan) yet unfathomable response is the function of the actualized order. Between activity and stillness, substance and function, suddenly in the space of an instant there is the beginning of the actualized order and the auspicious and inauspicious omens of the multitudinous phenomena.(72)

"Good yet unfathomable response" refers to the "spiritual" (shen) characteristic of the Sage, which, as we have seen above, Chou Tun-i defines as "penetrating" (t'ung) and "responsive" (ying).

The overall picture we have here is that of a mind that is perfectly still and therefore perfectly good (since good and evil arise first in incipient activity, according to line 3b). When stimulated, this Sagely mind immediately and without deliberation responds to and penetrates, or comprehends, the external object. In line 9(a) we have a similar scenario: "With no thinking and yet penetrating everything, one is a Sage."

Thus the Sage is one who effortlessly, spontaneously and properly responds to external stimuli. The significance of this spontaneously moral response to things was widely acknowledged in the Ch'eng-Chu tradition of tao-hsüeh (Learning of the Way). For example, in Ch'eng Hao's "Letter on Stabilizing Human Nature" (written to his uncle, Chang Tsai) he says:
The constant principle of Heaven-and-Earth is that its mind pervades all things, yet it has no [personal] mind. The constant principle of the Sage is that his dispositions accord with all phenomena, yet he has no [private, selfish] dispositions. Therefore, in the education of the chün-tzu (gentleman or superior person), there is nothing like being completely broad and impartial, and responding in accordance with things as they come (wu-lai erh hsün-ying).(73)

The significance of moral responsiveness was also frequently noted by Chu Hsi. In his commentary on Mencius 7A.1, he says:
Mind is man's spiritual clarity (shen-ming). It is that by which one embodies (chü) the various principles and responds to the myriad phenomena.(74)

And in his "Treatise on the Examination of the Mind" Chu says:

The learning of the Sages is to base one's mind on fully investigating principle, and to accord with principle by responding to things.(75)

The Sage responds to things not only with clear understanding, but also with moral activity. This we see in T'ung-shu 2(b) and 3(a-c), where Chou describes the response of the still substance of the mind as the Five Constant Virtues and the Hundred Practices, referring to "moral activity" (te-hsing).(76) In chapter 11, Chou suggests that this moral activity applies as much to the non-human world as to the human:
Heaven gives birth to the myriad things through yang, and completes the myriad things through yin. Giving birth is humanity. Completion is appropriateness. Therefore when a Sage is above [on the throne], he nourishes () the myriad things with humanity and corrects the myriad people with appropriateness.

Here we are reminded again of Chung-yung 22: "If they can assist in the transforming (hua) and nourishing () [process] of Heaven and Earth, they can thus form a trinity with Heaven and Earth." Responding to the non-human world is not just a matter of passively fitting into the flow of nature, nor is it merely a cognitive understanding of the natural order for the benefit of the social order. The Confucian Sage actively "transforms" the world around him by "nourishing the myriad things with humanity/humaneness (jen)." This is not limited to the social world and it does not mean manipulating the natural world to suit human purposes. As Ch'eng Hao said (above), "The constant principle of the Sage is that his dispositions accord with all phenomena, yet he has no [private, selfish] dispositions." By "according" with things, or "responding in accordance with things as they come," the Sage does not impose his own will on nature. According to Shao Yung (1011-1077), the Sage
reflects the universal character of the feelings (dispositions) of all things. The Sage can do so because he views things as things view themselves; that is, not subjectively but from the viewpoint of things.(77)

The Sage benefits things and forgets his own ego.(78)

Thus it is the Sage's identification with things and his active, nourishing, life-giving response to things (including but not limited to human beings) that constitutes his transforming influence on the world. In Chou Tun-i's terms, this is what it means to be an authentic human being.

Responsiveness as authenticity

We have seen that Chou Tun-i defines Sagehood in terms of (a) authenticity, (b) the capacity to perceive incipient change, and (c) the spiritual capacity to penetrate (or comprehend) and to respond spontaneously to things, i.e. without deliberate mental activity or thought. Adding to these propositions Chu Hsi's interpretation of authenticity as "actualized order" (shih-li), we find that moral responsiveness is a defining characteristic of the Sage (one of several -- i.e. necessary but not sufficient) because responsiveness and interpenetration are essential characteristics of the natural world. The Sage is responsive because he or she fully manifests the natural principles (t'ien-li) of yin-yang, stillness-activity (tung-ching) and stimulus-penetration (kan-t'ung) or stimulus-response (kan-ying). As Chu Hsi describes the responsiveness of the Sage:
When there is nothing happening then his mind is silent (chi-jan), and no one can see it. When there is something happening then the operation of his spiritual understanding (shen-chih) responds when stimulated (sui kan erh ying).(79)

In chapter 20 of the T'ung-shu, Chou explicitly links Sagehood to stillness and activity (as also in chapter 4); the chapter title is "Learning to be a Sage":
Someone asked:] "Can Sagehood be learned?"

Reply: It can.

"Are there essentials?"

Reply: There are.

"I beg to hear them."

Reply: To be unified (i)(80) is essential. To be unified is to have no desire. Without desire one is vacuous when still (ching-hsü) and direct in activity (tung-chih). Being vacuous when still, one will be clear (ming); being clear one will be penetrating (t'ung). Being direct in activity one will be impartial (kung); being impartial one will be all-embracing (p'u).(81) Being clear and penetrating, impartial and all-embracing, one is almost [a Sage].

Thus we can conclude that the Neo-Confucian Sage, who symbolizes the perfection of human virtue and fulfillment, is attuned to the conditions and changes in the environment, even in their incipient (chi) stages, with no intervening egoistic or prudential considerations. He responds to the environment spontaneously and directly, i.e. as a direct expression of his essential nature, with "penetrating thought," "spiritual clarity", and "authentic activity," which includes "nourishing things." Confucian spirituality is therefore not just interiority, as it is sometimes conceived; it involves contact, sensitivity, and interpenetration with external things.(82) In fact, "spirit" (shen) in Neo-Confucian discourse is a characteristic of ch'i itself: it refers to the underlying continuity and interpenetration (kuan-t'ung) of natural processes, whether empirically observable or not.(83) For the mind of the Sage, such spiritual interpenetration is based on and enabled by authentic contact with and expression of the ultimate reality within.

Furthermore, in Neo-Confucian theory at least, the distinction between ecocentric and anthropocentric interests is a false one. A situation that seemed to demand a choice between them from this perspective would not been fully understood; it would be necessary to dig deeper to discover the level of order/principle on which human and natural interests coincided. In practice, of course, this would be extremely challenging; it would require the subject to confront a bedrock article of faith on which the Confucian worldview rests: the claim that the underlying order of things (li), or the Way (tao), comprehends both the natural order and the moral order.

Authentic selfhood, according to this way of thinking, manifests itself (among other ways) by nourishing, creative responsiveness with the environment. The authentic human being fully manifests his or her inherent nature and moral potential by actualizing in practice the natural/moral order, which includes the principles of creativity, life and growth. One completes oneself by participating in the completion of heaven, earth, and humanity. Thus nourishing, moral responsiveness to the natural environment, in Neo-Confucian terms, is a necessary expression of an authentic or genuine human life.

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1. Ying is more literally translated simply as "response" or "responsiveness." But since the Confucian use of the word clearly means "moral responsiveness," I shall use this term where appropriate.

2. Chou Tun-i (or Chou Lien-hsi) lived during the period of the revival of Confucianism that has come to be known in the West as Neo-Confucianism. He was for a short time the teacher of the Ch'eng brothers, Cheng Hao (1032-1085) and Ch'eng I (1033-1107), who were instrumental in this revival. Although he did not play a prominent role in intellectual circles during his lifetime, he was posthumously declared by Chu Hsi (1130-1200) -- the real architect of what became the orthodox version of the tradition -- to be the founder of the revival and the first true Confucian Sage since Mencius in the 4th century BCE. His two major works are the "Explanation of the Supreme Polarity Diagram" (T'ai-chi t'u shuo) and a longer text called T'ung-shu ("Penetrating the Book of Change"). For the translation of t'ai-chi as "supreme polarity," see note 65 below.

3. See Arnold S. Kaufman, "Responsibility, Moral and Legal," in Paul Edwards, ed., The Encyclopedia of Philosophy (NY: Macmillan and The Free Press, 1967).

4. In Chinese popular religion the picture is quite different. There, judgment is quite explicitly an important role of the Ten Kings of Hell to whom the recently deceased must report. See Stephen F. Teiser, The Scripture on the Ten Kings and the Making of Purgatory in Medieval Chinese Buddhism (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1994).

5. It is also worth noting that the etymology of the word shu suggests similarity or likeness (ju).

6. One could add the further point that by fitting with the general patterns or principles of ritual propriety (li), the act also matches (p'ei) the natural principles upon which the li are based (e.g. according to the Li-chi, ch. 17; see Fung Yu-lan, A History of Chinese Philosophy, trans. Derk Bodde [Cambridge: Harvard Univ. Press, 1952], vol. 1, pp. 343-344). But this correspondence with natural principle is more explicit in Neo-Confucian discourse, and will be discussed below.

7. I translate li here as "order," in the sense of the natural order and the moral order, because the conception of li in the Ch'eng-Chu school of Neo-Confucianism is precisely the sum or confluence or congruence of these two concepts. The common terms t'ien-li and tao-li correspond roughly to these two aspects of order: the former connotes more the natural order, and the latter the moral order. While in most cases I find the word "principle" too vague as a translation of li , in some cases it is appropriate; for example when a particular principle is meant, such as the principle of yin-yang bipolarity.

8. Chung-yung 22; trans. Wing-tsit Chan, A Source Book in Chinese Philosophy (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1963), p. 108.

9. Chan, op. cit., p. 497.

10. Donald Worster, Nature's Economy: The Roots of Ecology (Garden City, NY: Anchor Books, 1979), p. 192; cited in David Kinsley, Ecology and Religion: Ecological Spirituality in Cross-Cultural Perspective (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1995), p. xv.

11. This is the reason for the title of Gary Snyder's book of poems and essays, Earth House Hold (New York: New Directions, 1969). The Oxford English Dictionary (1971 reprint of 1933 ed.) defines "œcology" as "The science of the economy of animals and plants; that branch of biology which deals with the relations of living organisms to their surroundings, their habits and modes of life, etc."

12. Ibid.

13. Ho-nan Ch'eng-shih i-shu, in Erh Ch'eng chi (Beijing: Chung-hua shu-chu, 1981), 2A, p. 15. Trans. Chan, op. cit., p. 523.

14. I take "organic" to mean "having parts arranged and subordinated as instruments (organa) towards the end of keeping the whole being alive and enabling it to perform its function" (W. K. C. Guthrie, A History of Greek Philosophy [Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1962], v. 1, p. 207). Regarding the "instrumental" sense of "organic," cf. the well-known passage from the Book of Change (I-ching), "What is above form is called the Way; what is below [and within] form is called an instrument (ch'i)." Hsi-tz'u (Appended Remarks), A.12.4; in Chu Hsi, Chou-I pen-i (Original Meaning of the Book of Change) (1177; rpt. Taipei: Hua-lien, 1978) 3:16a.

15. Tu Wei-ming, "The Continuity of Being: Chinese Visions of Nature," in J. Baird Callicott and Roger T. Ames, Nature in Asian Traditions of Thought (Albany: SUNY Press, 1989), p. 74. It should be added that there is clearly another level to Ch'eng Hao's remark, since "one body" (i-t'i) also means "one substance," referring to the metaphysical ground or principle (li) which the man of humanity fully expresses in his moral activity. Without taking account of this level it would be difficult to explain the implication that only the man of humanity, or the humane person, is continuous with the natural world.

16. The precise relationship between li and ch'i has been the subject of vigorous debate at least since the 12th century, but we shall conveniently sidestep it here.

17. After the 12th century, the term tao-hsüeh, or "Learning of the Way," came to be used primarily in reference to this school -- although during the Northern Sung it had included a much wider variety of thinkers. See Hoyt Cleveland Tillman, Confucian Discourse and Chu Hsi's Ascendancy (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1992).

18. Frequently translated as "Doctrine of the Mean." See Chan, Source Book, pp. 95-114, and Tu Wei-ming, Centrality and Commonality: An Essay on Confucian Religiousness (Albany: SUNY Press, 1989).

19. Chan, Source Book, pp. 465-480.

20. See Chu's comments on T'ung-shu, chs. 2-4, in Chang Po-hsing, comp., Chou Lien-hsi hsien-sheng ch'üan-chi (Complete Collection of Master Chou Lien-hsi; 1708), in Cheng-i t'ang ch'üan-shu (Pai-pu ts'ung-shu chi-ch'eng ed.), 5:9a-11a, 17b. Hereafter cited as Chou Lien-hsi chi..

21. The traditional adage "Heaven and man are one" (t'ien jen ho i) expresses this dyadic relationship subsumed under a more fundamental unity.

22. See Joseph Needham, Science and Civilisation in China (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1956), vol. 2, p. 281. By "holistic" I mean both (a) that the whole is more than the sum of its parts and (b) that the whole is reflected in each of its parts.

23. Tung Chung-shu, Ch'un-ch'iu fan-lu (Luxuriant Gems of the Spring and Autumn Annals) (Shanghai: Ku-chi Publishers, 1989), p. 75. Trans. Chan, op. cit., p. 283.

24. Huai-nan Tzu 6:3a. Trans. Charles Le Blanc, Huai Nan Tzu: Philosophical Synthesis in Early Han Thought (Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 1985), p. 116. For the claim that the Huai-nan Tzu is a major Huang-Lao Taoist text, see ibid., pp. 6-7, 37, and Harold D. Roth, "Psychology and Self-Cultivation in Early Taoistic Thought," in Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies, 51:2 (1991), pp. 599-650.

25. Le Blanc, op. cit., pp. 8-9. Chen-jen is Chuang Tzu's term for the fully-realized person.

26. Huai-nan Tzu 6:6a; trans. Le Blanc, op. cit., p. 133.

27. Ibid., 6:6b; trans. Le Blanc, p. 135, again echoing Chuang Tzu (ch. 7).

28. Ibid., 6:1b; trans. Le Blanc, p. 104.

29. Ibid., 6:4a; trans. Le Blanc, p. 118.

30. Ibid., 6:4b; trans. Le Blanc, p. 121.

31. Ibid., 6:15a; trans. Le Blanc, pp. 180-181.

32. See Le Blanc, p. 186. Note that these passages refer to the three fundamental "substances" of the human body understood as a microcosm of the universe: ch'i (psycho-physical stuff, or vital energy), ching (vital essence), and shen (spirit). See Thomas Boehmer, "Taoist Alchemy," in Michael Saso and David W. Chappell, eds., Buddhist and Taoist Studies I (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1977), p. 66. See also Kristofer Schipper, The Taoist Body (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993).

33. Le Blanc, pp. 207-208.

34. Here I will be examining only those aspects of Chou's concept of Sagehood that are most directly related to our topic. And since I am not primarily concerned here with isolating Chou's own ideas as distinct from their interpretation and use in the later tradition, I shall freely make use of Chu Hsi's (1130-1200) interpretations, identifying them as such in cases where they go beyond what Chou might have intended. Where there are differences, it is clear that Chu Hsi's interpretations were the more historically influential, as it was his commentaries that became the "orthodox" basis of the civil service examinations. Chu's interpretations are in any case much more accessible to us, since he not only wrote commentaries but also discussed Chou's texts extensively with his students. And Chou's texts are epigrammatic at best, and in some places probably corrupt (fragmentary).

35. The chapter titles are those of Chu Hsi. The divisions into sections simply indicate where Chu Hsi divided the text for his commentary; they are used here to facilitate reference to the following chart.

36. Chou-I, Hsi-tz'u A.10.4 (Chou-I pen-i, 3:12b).

37. Ibid.

38. Chou Lien-hsi chi, 5:17b-18a.

39. I have elsewhere discussed the significance of responsiveness, spirit, and incipience in relation to Chu Hsi's understanding of divination and self-cultivation. See Kidder Smith, Jr., Peter K. Bol, Joseph A. Adler, and Don J. Wyatt, Sung Dynasty Uses of the I Ching (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1990), pp. 190-199.

40. It should be noted, however, that Chou apparently does not use the term "essence" (ching) in its standard Taoist meaning, which is a concentrated form of vital ch'i, such as semen. See T'ung-shu 30 for his use of ching in a way that is clearly different from this.

41. Although ching "stillness" does not occur literally in the chapter, "silent and inactive" (chi-jan pu-tung) is clearly synonymous with it, and ching is paired with tung in chapter 16.

42. Trans. Chan, op. cit., pp. 107-108, with "authentic" substituted for "sincere."

43. Tu Wei-ming, Centrality and Commonality, p. 77.

44. "What Heaven imparts to man is called human nature. To follow our nature is called the Way (Tao)." Trans. Chan, op. cit., p. 98.

45. Tu, op. cit., p. 69.

46. Ibid., p. 78.

47. Ibid., pp. 98-99.

48. Ibid., p. 107.

49. Chou Lien-hsi chi, 5:2b.

50. Ibid., 5:9b, 5:11b, etc.

51. In the Mencian tradition of Confucianism, which by the Sung dynasty had become normative, humanity or humaneness (jen) is the hallmark of human nature (hsing); human nature is the principle (li) of being human, and is thus continuous with the natural/moral order (t'ien-li/tao-li).

52. Tu, op. cit., p. 80.

53. Given this interpretation of ch'eng, I think it is clear that "authenticity" is a better translation than "sincerity" (the usual translation), as "authenticity" connotes the reality and genuineness of one's moral subjectivity, agency or "authorship".

54. Chou-I, T'uan commentary on hexagram 1 (Chou-I pen-i, 1:3a).

55. Ibid.

56. See Hsi-tz'u A.5.6 (Chou-I pen-i, 3:6a).

57. This is a continuation of the first chapter.

58. I take wu and yu here to mean "without characteristics" and "having characteristics"; hence "imperceptible" and "perceptible."

59. Analects 12:1, referring to the ruler.

60. Hung-fan chapter of the Shu-ching. See James Legge, trans., The Chinese Classics, 2nd ed. (1893; rpt. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 1960), v. 3, p. 327.

61. This is undoubtedly a pun on Lao Tzu 37, "No doing and yet nothing undone" (wu wei erh wu pu wei).

62. Hsi-tz'u B.5.11 (Chou-I pen-i, 3:22b).

63. Ibid.

64. The terms "without thinking" and "without acting" (wu-ssu, wu-wei), which we have here in chapters 3 and 9, are both taken from the "Appended Remarks" wing of the I-ching: "Change [both the book as an oracle and, by extension, the universal cosmic process] is without thinking and without acting. Silent and unmoving, when stimulated it penetrates all situations under Heaven" (Hsi-tz'u A.10.4; Chou-I pen-i 3:12b). It should also be noted that, despite Chu Hsi's enshrinement of Chou Tun-i as the first true Sage since Mencius, Chou's Confucian credentials were not entirely beyond reproach. Lu Hsiang-shan (1139-1193), in a famous exchange of letters with Chu Hsi, argued strongly that Chou's ideas were too Taoist to include in the Confucian tradition (see Tillman, Confucian Discourse and Chu Hsi's Ascendancy , ch. 9). In fact, Chou's T'ai-chi t'u shuo (but not the T'ung-shu) was included in the Taoist Canon (Tao-tsang).

65. For a complete translation of the T'ai-chi t'u shuo, see Chan, op. cit., pp. 463-464; and Joseph A. Adler, "Zhou Dunyi: The Metaphysics and Practice of Sagehood," in Wm. Theodore de Bary and Irene Bloom, eds., Sources of Chinese Tradition, 2nd ed. (Columbia University Press, 1999).

T'ai-chi is usually translated as "Supreme Ultimate," which in my view fails to convey a clear idea of what the term means to Chou Tun-i and Chu Hsi (although it is justifiable). The clearest support for translating t'ai-chi as "Supreme Polarity" comes from Chu Hsi. According to him, the most fundamental ordering principle (li) is the yin-yang polarity; it is this pattern or principle of interaction, not yin and yang themselves, that is t'ai-chi. Commenting on the line from the I-ching (Hsi-tz'u A.11.5), "In change there is the Supreme Polarity," he says: "Change is the alternation of yin and yang. The Supreme Polarity is this principle (li)" (Chou-I pen-i, 3:14b). Also: "[The sentence] 'The alternation of yin and yang are called the Way' (T'ung-shu 1, quoted from Hsi-tz'u A.5.1) refers to the Supreme Polarity" (Chou Lien-hsi chi, 5:5b). In other words, t'ai-chi is the name for the most fundamental, all-embracing pattern of the natural/moral order (li), and this pattern is the principle of yin-yang bipolarity. Hence the translation "Supreme Polarity" for t'ai-chi, and "Non-Polar" for wu-chi.

66. I.e. they are limited by their physical forms.

67. See Joseph A. Adler, Divination and Philosophy: Chu Hsi's Understanding of the I-ching (Ph.D. diss.: Univ. of California at Santa Barbara, 1984), ch. 4.

68. Although this is not precisely consistent with the system of the Ch'eng-Chu school, it clearly constitutes a logical precursor. The major discrepancy is that in Chu Hsi's system, only t'ai-chi or li is classified as metaphysical substance; yin and yang are cosmological function. Also, Chou's claim that the Supreme Polarity acts was a problem for Chu Hsi because he defines t'ai-chi as li, and li as order itself is atemporal. Chu's solution was to say that t'ai-chi does not act but contains the principle of activity. Of course, if this were what Chou Tun-i had really meant to say he could have expressed it quite easily, rather than saying "T'ai-chi tung..." (literally, "The Supreme Polarity acts...").

69. Smith, Bol, Adler and Wyatt, Sung Dynasty Uses of the I Ching, pp. 190-192.

70. Chou Lien-hsi chi, 5:10b.

71. Ibid., 5:12b.

72. Ibid., 5:17b.

73. Ming-tao wen-chi, in Erh Ch'eng chi, vol. 1, p. 460. Cf. Chan, op. cit., pp. 525-526.

74. Chu Hsi, Ssu-shu chi-chu (Collected Commentaries on the Four Books) (Ssu-pu pei-yao ed.), 7:1a.

75. Chu Wen-kung wen-chi (Ssu-pu pei-yao ed., entitled Chu Tzu ta-ch'üan), 67:19b. Cf. Chan, op. cit., p. 604.

76. There is another slight discrepancy here with Chu Hsi's system: for Chu, the "virtues" (te) are principles (li) of moral activity, and so would properly belong in the left column of this diagram. But for Chou, the virtues clearly refer to moral activity.

77. Shao Yung, Kuan-wu (Contemplating Things), Nei-p'ien 12, in Huang-chi ching-shih shu (Book on Supreme Principles Governing the World) (Ssu-pu pei-yao ed.), 6:26b. Trans. Chan, op. cit., p. 488.

78. Shao Yung, Hsin-hsüeh (Learning of the Mind), in ibid., 8B:27b. Trans. Chan, op. cit., p. 494, slightly modified.

79. Chou-I pen-i, 3:13b.

80. This means to focus the mind on fundamentals, to be composed and reverently attentive (ching) to the seriousness of the task.

81. Cf. Ch'eng Hao's "Letter on Stabilizing the Nature," quoted above.

82. Note the importance of the term "investigating things" (ko-wu), or "contacting things" (chi-wu), in Chu Hsi's program of self-cultivation. See Chu Hsi's commentary on the Great Learning, especially his "supplement" to chapter 5, in Ssu-shu chi-chu (Ssu-pu pei-yao ed.), Ta-hsüeh 4b-5a.

83. According to Chu Hsi (quoting Chang Tsai), "Ch'i has [the two modes] yin and yang. When it proceeds slowly, it is transformation (hua). When it is unified and unfathomable, it is shen" (Chou-I pen-i, 3:21a). For a more extended discussion see Smith, Bol, Adler and Wyatt, Sung Dynasty Uses of the I Ching, pp. 190-194.

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