Natural justice and its political implications: Legal philosophy revealed in The Doctorine of the Mean

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Vol: 9, Issue: 1

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Chun, Shan
cosmological harmony; natural justice; sages and rulers; cosmic dynamics; Cheng; Doctrine of the Mean; Zhong Yong; Zhongyong; Chung-Yung; Buddhism in China; Confucianism
article description
The Doctrine of the Mean is one the major Confucian classics focusing on natural justice and its political implications via cosmic dynamics (Cheng) and its concepts of equilibrium and harmony. The rule of the sages modeling themselves after heaven’s virtue is advocated as the so-called ‘rule of man’ or ‘rule of virtue’, in which natural harmony in the cosmos is believed to be the manifestation of eternal and universal justice. Both the editors of this Pre-Qin Dynasty text and its commentators in the Tang Dynasty have availed themselves of its ideas on natural justice and cosmic fairness (in a Heaven-Mandated-Nature Theory) to repudiate Legalist utilitarianism (abused in the despotic Qin Dynasty) and the ‘Empty-World’ concepts of Buddhism prevalent during the Tang Dynasty. Their academic endeavors were directed at consolidating cosmological faith and moral fairness as the basis for a Confucian political ideology focused on self-regulation, family relationships, moral governance and world-harmony.