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The concept of cheng and confucian religiosity

To conceptualize Confucian religiosity is to reveal the ultimate concern contained in the Confucian concept of life. Conceptually, ultimate concern connotes an understanding of the foundation of life, the ultimate goal of life, and the way to it. Based on this perspective, this paper attempts to analyze existentially the concept of cheng (诚), the central concept of the Zhongyong. I will endeavor to demonstrate that cheng expresses a religious feeling that sustains Confucianism. Conceptually, cheng is a disposition of feeling in which one is able to see the Tian-endowed nature, free from internal and external influences. Since the Tian-endowed nature is the foundation of human existence, it is the primary sustaining force for human beings. To be in touch with this force and follow its drive are then the ultimate concern for Confucians. In the Zhongyong, we can read a systematical effort to reveal the fundamental disposition of human existence in terms of cheng, from which a Confucian’s religiosity is nurtured.

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