“What is Jingjie? Defining Confucian Spirituality in the Modern Chinese Intellectual Context,” (Review article) Monumenta Serica 50 (2002): 441-462. 21 pages.

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“What is Jingjie? Defining Confucian Spirituality in the Modern Chinese Intellectual Context,” (Review article) Monumenta Serica 50 (2002): 441-462. 21 pages.
  WHAT IS JINGJIE? DEFINING CONFUCIAN SPIRITUALITY IN THE MODERN CHINESEINTELLECTUAL CONTEXTAuthor(s): Jiang WuReviewed work(s):Source: Monumenta Serica, Vol. 50 (2002), pp. 441-462Published by: Monumenta Serica Institute Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40727508 . Accessed: 08/11/2012 12:22 Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at  . http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp  . JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new formsof scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org.  .  Monumenta Serica Institute  is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to  MonumentaSerica. http://www.jstor.org  Monumenta erica % £ Review Article 50 (2002) 44 1 462 & 4 WHAT IS JINGJIE1 DEFINING CONFUCIAN SPIRITUALITY IN THE MODERN CHINESE INTELLECTUAL CONTEXT Jiang Wu ^M Contents I. Introduction 441 II. Wang Guowei's Elaboration f ingjie and ts Spiritual imension 446 III. The New Confucian Spiritual ealm" 450 1. Feng Youlan 450 2. Tang Junyi 452 3. Mou Zongsan 453 IV. The Dispute ver Ontological ommitment 455 V. Concluding emarks 460 I. Introduction The term spirituality" s far from eing clearly defined ven in the Western world. Moreover, his oncept s admittedly bsent n certain eligious raditions. According o Ewert Cousins' clarification, pirituality an be described s the "inner imension f the person alled by certain raditions the spirit.' This spiri- tual core s the deepest enter f the person. t is here that he person s open to the transcendent imension; t is here that he person xperiences ltimate eal- ity."1 his definition, erving s the working ypothesis or he project f "world spirituality," ighlights he notions f transcendence nd ultimate eality. The quest for Confucian pirituality s part of this project. The accomplish- ments f Tu Weiming t^l^» Rodney Taylor, John erthrong, nd Mary Eve- lyn Tucker, mong thers, ave established onfucian pirituality s "a response to the transcendent." hrough heir work, he spiritual imension f Confucian- ism has been appreciated y more nd more cholars n religious tudies. n their interpretations, he concept f transcendence s equally emphasized. However, the validity f the erm transcendence" or ddressing onfucian pirituality as * The early version f this rticle was presented t the Harvard ast Asia Society Graduate tu- dent Conference, ebruary 999. I want o thank my advisor Tu Weiming or his comments. During my research n this ubject, have received helpful dvice from rofessors ang Keli ii'SLÍL, Guo Qiyong JPffJi, nd Jing aifeng tf§4t. 1 Ewert ousins ed.), "Preface o the eries," World pirituality: n Encyclopedic istory f the Religious Quest New York 1987).  442 Jiang Wu been challenged n the recent transcendence ebate." The perspective hrough which view this ssue is the philosophy f the New Confucians r the "Third Epoch"-Confucians s defined y Tu Weiming. Among hem will analyze four thinkers, ang Guowei £HJfê 1877-1927), Feng Youlan $§£if (1895-1990), Tang Junyi MMWi (1909-1978), and Mou Zongsan £^H (1909-1995), who share common enominator n their heories f spirituality, amely, he term jingjie ^^.2 In this rticle, my ntention s to establish he erm ingjie as a category o de- scribe Confucian pirituality rom he New Confucian oint f view. I will first demonstrate hy Confucian pirituality eeds o be redefined n terms f the new development f Confucian cholarship; will treat Wang Guowei' theory n jingjie n detail o reveal ts ong-ignored piritual ignificance. fterwards, will deal with eng Youlan, Tang Junyi, nd Mou Zongsan s a group o explain heir common oncern or Confucian pirituality nd their iffering nterpretations f jingjie. The Spring 1998 issue of Philosophy ast and West 48.1) and the Confer- ence of Confucian pirituality eld n the ummer f 1997 at Harvard University appear o have rekindled nthusiasm mong Confucian cholars bout Confucian spirituality.3 he fruitful esearch onducted y Tu Weiming, Rodney Taylor, John erthrong, nd others as laid out a basic formula f Confucian pirituality which s most loquently laborated y Tu Weiming: We can define he Confu- cian way of being religious s ultimate elf-transformation s a communal ct and as a faithful ialogical response o the transcendent. 4 In this definition, Confucian eligiosity s expressed n terms f the ripartite elation f individual, community, nd the transcendent. ere the notion f "the ranscendent" s obvi- ously very rominent. he notion f transcendence, ccording o Tu Weiming, s not radical ranscendence. ather, t s "immanent ranscendence": Hsin heart-mind] an never maintain pure bjectivity s the bsolute ranscen- dental ind y ccording tself he tatus f the wholly ther. or ts wn ealiza- tion, t must work hrough he ubjectivity f a person n time nd pace. .. Its 2 Several translations f ingjie are available for this term: James Liu and Joey Bonner' "the world"; Adele Austin Rickett's sphere f reality elineated"; Diane Obeinchain's spiritual realm"; Tang Junyi's world r horizon"; Feng Youlan's "sphere f living." ts etymological srcin s the Buddhist erm isaya which means a region, erritory, nvironment, urroundings, field, phere." ee William dward oothill Lewis Hodous, A Dictionary f Chinese uddhist Terms London 1937), p. 421. I would rather eave the erm ntranslated ue to the richness f its mplications s explained y the four hinkers am going o discuss. Occasionally, will use some of the translations ndicated bove to fit he context; he transliteration ill still be pro- vided n the parenthesis fter he ranslation. 3 See Tu Weiming Mary Evelyn Tucker eds.), Confucian pirituality New York 2002). As conference ssistant, was indebted o the nsightful iscussion bout his opic during he wo- day conference. 4 Tu Weiming, entrality nd Commonality: n Essay on Confucian eligiousness Albany, N. Y. 1989), p. 94.  What st JingjieI AA2> true ature ies not n radical ranscendence ut n mmanence ith transcendent dimension.5 However, his notion f "immanent ranscendence" ormulated y Mou Zongsan has been challenged y David L. Hall and Roger T. Ames. In their rilogy (Thinking hrough onfucius 1987], Anticipating hina [1995], and Thinking Through he Han [1998]) they have contended hat he concept f transcendence in its "strict ense" is not appropriate o characterize hinese philosophy.6 c- cording o them, he nterpretations f Benjamin chwartz, Mou Zongsan, nd Li Minghui B^)ïf are misunderstandings ade from Western erspective. all and Ames's thesis s that China has a tradition hat s at once nontranscendent and profoundly eligious."7 ccording o them, we should, herefore, top mpos- ing the anguage f transcendence n Chinese piritual ensitivity. here re also Confucian cholars ike Lauren Pfister8 nd Philip vonhoe9 who have cried out for the proper reatment f this complexity. he question s, if the Confucian movement tself s composed f many ifferent igures with different ntellectual orientations, he pirituality hey isplay s also multidimensional. For example, how do we appreciate heir pirituality hich s manifested n the equally mportant iterary radition wen ~$Q in Chinese ntellectual istory represented y iterary igures uch s Wang Guowei n modern imes? f the c- tivity f iterary omposition s full f spiritual meaning, what s the piritual ig- nificance ontained n other esthetic ctivities uch s painting, eal making, nd stone arving which were often ssociated with Confucian iterati? f Confucian spirituality s based on philosophers hose expression s basically "philosophi- cal," how could this xplanation e extended o those iterati ho found he ex- pression f their rofound pirituality n artistic reativity? he recent tudies done by Jordan aper10 re quite nspiring n this espect. Although e did not fo- cus on Confucian pirituality, ne point he made s very lear: the aesthetic c- tivities chieved y literati re of high religious ignificance n addition o their aesthetic alue. He suggests hat he tudy f the pirituality f Chinese religions should pay more ttention o this rait. n sum, the question ere s whether e 5 Ibid., pp. 120-121. 6 The definition f a "strict ense" of transcendence, s Hall and Ames formulate, s as follows: "A is transcendent ith espect o B if the existence, meaning, r B cannot e fully ccounted for without esource o A, but he reverse s not rue" Thinking hrough he Han. Self, Truth, and Transcendence n Chinese nd Western ulture Albany, N.Y. 1998], p. 190). 7 Hall - Ames, Thinking hrough he Han, p. 233. 8 Lauren Pfister, The Different aces of Contemporary eligious Confucianism: n Account f the Diverse Approaches f Some Major Twentieth entury hinese Confucian cholars," n: Journal f Chinese hilosophy 2 (1995) 1, pp. 5-79. Philip J. Ivanhoe, On the Metaphysical oundations f Neo- and New Confucianism: eflec- tions n Lauren Pfister' Essay on Religious Confucianism," n: Journal f Chinese hilosophy 22(1995) l,pp. 81-89. 10 Jordan aper, The Spirits re Drunk: Comparative pproaches o Chinese Religion Albany, N.Y. 1995).  444 Jiang Wu can redefine he ommon enominator f Confucian pirituality n order o reflect the omplexity f the Confucian amp. The translation f spirituality s ingshenxing t #14 is certainly ot atisfac- tory. As Julia Ching has observed, he word "spirituality" s usually nderstood within he context f Christianity.11 ts literal ranslation n Chinese jingshen- xing) mplies belief n the dualistic istinction f spirit nd body nd the notion of transcendence, hich may be at odds with he Chinese piritual radition hat emphasizes he nondualistic haracter f the universe. propose ingjie as a valid expression f Confucian pirituality ather han the problematic erms uch as "transcendence" x ingshenxing. ot only has this erm, riginally erived rom the Buddhist erm visaya, merged nto Chinese culture, ut several prominent New Confucians ave also built heir heory f Confucian pirituality n it: Wang Guowei first indled he fever ver ingjie; Feng Youlan, then, apped his New Rationalistic hilosophy xinlixue rS#) with the theory f "four ingjies"' Tang Junyi, n his ast work, oncluded is thought ith he ystem f "nineymg- jies"; even Mou Zongsan egarded he quintessence f Chinese philosophy s the metaphysics f ingjie jingjie xingshangxue H|?# _tíP). Scholars f the New Confucian movement ay question my nclusion f Feng Youlan and Wang Guowei nto the New Confucian amp. It is generally eld that he "Manifesto or Re-appraisal f Sinology nd Reconstruction f Chinese Culture"12 arks he rise of the New Confucian movement. hus, the figures who were closely onnected o this declaration hould be regarded s New Con- fucians. Among hem, Xiong Shili's ÄI+^J (1885-1968) disciples Mou Zong- san, Tang Junyi, nd Xu Fuguan fëMÛ (1903-1982) remain rominent. he exclusion f Feng Youlan, as Liu Shu-hsien ij^fî^fe rgued, s due to his misrep- resentation f Confucian hilosophy s "empty" nd to his failure o understand the meaning f "ceaseless reativity" shengsheng £).13 Obviously, iu Shu-hsien' criterion or he New Confucians s based on his understanding f his mentor Mou Zongsan's eaching. owever, ather han im- ply focusing n the monolithic iong-Mou tradition,14 would ike to adopt a 11 Julia Ching, What s Confucian pirituality, in: Irene Eber ed.), Confucianism. he Dynam- ics of Tradition New York London 1986), pp. 63-81. 12 In: Carsun Chang, The Development f Neo-Confucian hought. ol. II (New York 1962), pp. 455-483 Appendix). 13 Liu Shu-hsien, Ping xin un Feng Youlan" ¥>ùìk1SkWa [A Fair Evaluation f Feng You- lan], in: Dangdai gfC 35 (March 1989). Repr. in: id., Dangdai Zhongguo hexuelun enwu pian mX* ■WAX»* (Xianggang 996), pp. 111-123. 14 Yu Yingshih HB# contended hat he ntellectual rientation f his mentor ian Mu is very different rom iong nd his disciples. ee Yu Yingshih, Qian Mu yu xinrujia" ill^ÜrMI^ [Qian Mu and New Confucians], n: Youyi eng chui shui shang lin: Qian Mu yu xiandai Zhongguo ueshu fäÄnbiC±»: AftflSifttHPíB [Qian Mu and Modern Chinese Scholarship] Taibei 1991). In mainland, he research roject n the Contemporary ew Confu- cianism, ed by Fang Keli and Li Jinquan g|:£ and funded y national ndowments rom 1985-1995, ended o be inclusive. ee Lin Tongqi - Henry Rosemont r. Roger T. Ames,
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