Vol.3 No.6 (November 2013)
Discussion of a Confucian Theory on Bereavement
This article discusses the psychological mechanism of the Confucian theory on bereavement, “Huibumiexing” (the not carrying emaciation to such an extent to affect life) that argues against grieving excessively to the point of hurting the virtual nature in ethical life. Such an argument is based on the theory of Confucian spirituality and the related viewpoints. According to the Confucian principle of Filial Piety, grief is one’s natural ethical reaction. However, it should be expressed in proper ways and to proper extent. Spiritually, Confucianism maintains that human being is formed through the way of Heaven (Tiandao). Man has the responsibility to develop his innate sense of benevolence to the stage of stateliness and kingliness. From the perspective of Confucianism, life and death are as natural as the rise and fall of the moon and sun. Grief should be expressed on the principle of Zhongyong (the golden mean). The funeral ritual custom called “QiQi” (seven seven days), which involves the participation of kin and neighbors, functions as social support and behavior therapy. This bereavement theory in Confucianism, including its explanation of grief, recognition to grief, and cultural behavior therapy, can be adaptively included in clinical psychology to further develop Chinese bereavement theory.
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