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DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-G023-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved May 22, 2024, from

Article Summary

Tian, conventionally translated as ‘Heaven’, is both what our world is and how it is. The myriad things are not the creatures of tian or disciplined by a tian which stands independent of what is ordered; rather, they are constitutive of it. Tian is both creator and the field of creatures. There is no apparent distinction between the order itself and what orders it. This absence of superordination is a condition made familiar in related notions of the Daoist dao and the Buddhist dharma, which also refer to concrete phenomena and the order that obtains among them. On this basis, tian can be described as an inhering, emergent order negotiated out of the dispositioning of the particulars that are constitutive of it. In the human world, tian is the experience of meaningful context felt differently by each person in the fellowship of family and community.

Citing this article:
Hall, David L. and Roger T. Ames. Tian, 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-G023-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2024 Routledge.

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