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The Rite, The Norm And The Dao: Philosophy Of Sacrifice And Transcendence Of Power In Ancient China

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Chapter Summary

The way in which authority was at once thought and exercised in China during the Warring States thus depends on representations of the cosmic principle which governs the universe and which is called Dao, Heaven, or Great One. This chapter reveals the links between this system and the exercise of authority, it limits itself to a ritual which is particularly significant in this regard. The rite in which the desire to create a total order by means of a sequence of perfectly ordered acts is most obvious is the great sacrifice to Heaven in the southern suburb. The cult of Heaven creates a dynamics that is nothing other than the capacity of the cascade of remainders to generate a hierarchy without acting and without participating, just as the Dao, source of all beings but itself pure nothingness and transcendence, does not participate in phenomena as an immanent principle.

Keywords: authority; China; Dao; norm; power; rite; ritual; sacrifice; transcendence; warring states

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