/de/, n.
(in philosophical Taoism) the virtue or power inherent in a person or thing existing in harmony with the Tao.
Also, Teh.
[ < Chin (Wade-Giles) te2, (pinyin) ]

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      (Chinese: “virtue,” or “potentiality”), in Chinese Taoism (Daoism), the potentiality of the mysterious Tao, or Way, the undefinable, transcendent reality that produces all things. In contrast, Confucianism views te as the virtue of internal goodness and proper behaviour toward others. As such, it was Confucius' answer to social and political disorders.

      As the activity of Tao, te occurs in all things and is the latent power that transforms, for example, a seed into a tree with no effort on the seed's part. Te is thus a manifestation of the invisible Tao. In the great Taoist classic the Tao-te Ching (Daodejing) (“Classic of the Way of Power”), te is described as the unconscious functioning of the physical self. Whoever is attuned to this inner process will live in harmony with the forces of nature, which, in any case, are irresistible. Personal te flourishes when one abandons ambition and the spirit of contention for a life of “naturalness” (tzu-jan). Two kinds of strength result: a type of external charisma in the social order whereby others feel compelled to adopt freely a similar way of life, and an internal enlightenment whereby the individual becomes aware of the underlying principle of unity within the universe.

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Universalium. 2010.

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