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Frontiers of Philosophy in China

Front. Philos. China    2016, Vol. 11 Issue (2) : 222-235
Orginal Article |
The Meaning of Xing 形and Moral Transformation in Wuxing
WANG Miquan()
School of Philosophy, Renmin University of China, Beijing 100872, China
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The popular reading of xing yu nei 形於內 (being actualized from the internal) in Wuxing creates a predicament in the understanding of “xing 行 (behaviors)” which is not xing yu nei. As stated in Wuxing and other early Confucian texts, including The Doctrine of the Mean, The Great Learning, the Mencius and Xunzi, xing 形 is a process involving multidimensional content including not only deliberated decisions and actions, but also attitudes, facial expressions, and even the charisma that possesses power to transform the world. Xing 形 always operates in an effortless natural style, rather than under cognitive control. Xing yu nei signifies that virtues are possessed to a perfectly deep degree. Therefore, “not xing yu nei” does not mean that “behaviors” are forced by external pressure and thus hypocritical, but rather that although they also originate from internal virtues, the virtues in this case are not deep enough to enable multidimensional and natural manifestations. Xing 行, representing the way of the “human,” is the approach to and is on a continuum with “de zhi xing 德之行 (the behavior of Virtue),” which matches the way of Heaven. Shendu 慎 獨requires paying close attention to and regulating the intentions and emotions emerging at the heart/mind, which is the fundamental work when making the effort of “xing” towards “de zhi xing.”

Keywords xing      cheng      shendu      Wuxing      moral transformation     
Issue Date: 21 July 2016
 Cite this article:   
WANG Miquan. The Meaning of Xing 形and Moral Transformation in Wuxing [J]. Front. Philos. China, 2016, 11(2): 222-235.
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