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Spirit, Qi, and the MultitudeA Comparative Theology for the Democracy of Creation$
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Hyo-Dong Lee

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780823255016

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823255016.001.0001

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The Democracy of Numinous Spirits

The Democracy of Numinous Spirits

The Panentheism of “Subaltern” Ultimate Energy in Donghak

(p.211) 8 The Democracy of Numinous Spirits
Spirit, Qi, and the Multitude

Hyo-Dong Lee

Fordham University Press

This chapter connects the Nongmunian trinity with the theology of Donghak. With a striking similarity to Nongmun’s conception of qi, the Donghak teaching speaks of the Lord Heaven as jigi (Ultimate Energy), which is precisely qi brimming with harmonizing and unifying creativity. At the same time, the Donghak teaching avers that one can have an intimate, personal encounter with Ultimate Energy in the form of a personal deity, Lord Heaven. The experience of the personal encounter with Ultimate Energy as Lord Heaven makes one a “bearer of Lord Heaven” (sicheonju) who has become one with the rest of the universe and whose entire psychophysical being shares in the cosmic creative-transformative agency of Ultimate Energy. Through its monistic yet explicitly panentheistic reformulation of the Neo-Confucian “qualified dualism” of li and qi, Donghak liberates the latter’s largely suppressed pluralistic and democratic potentials.

Keywords:   Su-un, Donghak, jigi, Ultimate Energy, sicheonju, Lord Heaven

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