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Explorations of Zhou Dunyi's Confucian Cosmology for an Ecological Promise


Correspondence address: Kwang Sun Choi, Honam Theological Seminary and University, 108 Yangrim-dong, Nam-gu, Gwangju-si, South Korea. E-mail:


The purpose of this article is to explore Zhou Dunyi's cosmology for an ecological promise. Zhou (1017–1073, China) is considered to be the pioneer who laid the pattern of cosmology for later Neo-Confucianism. His cosmology is presented in his texts: An Explanation of the Diagram of the Supreme Ultimate (Taijitu shuo) and Penetrating the Book of Changes (Tongshu). While Zhou's organic and ethical cosmology became the foundation of an officially recognized East Asian worldview and moral philosophy that flourished during the Song dynasty and until the early twentieth century, the explorations of Zhou's cosmology for the development of an ecological worldview has not been studied sufficiently. By exploring his cosmology, this article will show the inseparability of the universe from the ultimate reality, the ongoing process of the universe from its beginning to the emergence of myriad things, and finally the relationship between part and whole as the basis for a holistic and ecological worldview. These ecological implications of Zhou's cosmology will be examined in light of Confucian influence on Thomas Berry's functional cosmology. Thus, a closer reading of Zhou's cosmology and Confucian influence on Berry's thought will unpack an ecological promise of Confucian heritages.