Destiny or decision: revealing the change of the concept of Ming命 and its pedagogical implications

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In Chinese philosophy, scholars have been discussing a long-standing and unresolved matter, that is, Ming命. Ming, often translated as life, fate, or command, was initially understood as orders and arrangements from heaven. However, since Kongzi (Confucius) period, the focus of Ming命 has shifted to people themselves and how they should live their lives. Furthermore, Ming命 has been recognised by people as human life as well as survival on one's life journey. In the modern age, the concept of Ming命 has shifted again so that people, instead of the predetermined power of nature and its kind, have most of the ability to decide how to live their lives. The study of Ming命 has thus become one of the essential philosophical fields for Chinese and international thinkers and academic researchers to explore the question of heaven and human existence. In this paper, four texts throughout Chinese history are selected as examples to indicate the development of this concept's meaning in those texts and its pedagogical implications in motion.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages14
No.1-2 Part II
Specialist publicationGlobal Education Review
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jul 2023


  • Ming 命
  • contextual meaning
  • pedagogical implication
  • transition


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