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In Daoism, the potentiality of dao that is present in all things; in Confucianism, the virtue of internal goodness and propriety. In both systems it is regarded as the active principle of dao, and it is thus the life or moral principle. In the Daodejing, de is described as the unconscious functioning of the physical self, which can live harmoniously with nature. Personal de is thought to flourish when one abandons ambition and the spirit of contention for a life of naturalness, leading to an awareness of the underlying unity that permeates the universe.
Variants of DE
de or te
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on de, visit Britannica.com.