Filial Piety in Chinese Thought and History

By Alan K. L. Chan; Sor-Hoon Tan | Go to book overview

6

Filial piety and "authentic parents" in religious Daoism

Mugitani Kunio

The concept of xiao (filial piety) in Chinese culture has a long history. The concern with procreation and ancestor worship reaches deep into the ancient Chinese past. The family emerges as the organizing principle of society, and the resultant ethics of filial piety, especially in its Confucian form, becomes a defining feature of Chinese identity. While the Confucian ethical worldview permeates every level of Chinese life and culture, critical challenges do arise occasionally. The first major challenge occurred with the introduction of Buddhism into China. During the period of the Six Dynasties (third to sixth centuries), the Buddhist call to join the sangha and to lead a celibate life became a serious point of contention. Another critical current surfaced in religious Daoism, which from the third century attempted to formulate a doctrinal response to the dominant Confucian xiao worldview. In this chapter, I focus on this development in early medieval religious Daoist history. 1


Birth and cosmogony in religious Daoism

What is the early Chinese understanding of the process of human birth? The Guanzi explains that birth arises from "the union of the essence and vital energy between a man and a woman" (). 2 The Zhouyi (Book of Changes) offers a similar account: "Heaven and earth mesh together, and the myriad things develop and reach perfect maturity; male and female blend their essences together, and the myriad creatures are formed and come to life." 3 This may be regarded as the common view of the generative process in early Chinese writings.

The union of male and female is understood to have been a process of the union of the yin and yang vital energies (qi ). What is the origin of this process? In Daoist understanding, of course, it is the Dao that generates all life. The Laozi has this to say: "The Dao gave birth to the One. The One gave birth to the two. The two gave birth to the three. The three gave birth to the myriad creatures. The myriad creatures carry the yin and embrace yang, and through the blending of qi they attain harmony" (Chapter 42). Although the interpretation of the "One" varies, there is little doubt that the

-110-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Filial Piety in Chinese Thought and History
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 246

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.