VOLUME 7 ISSUE 2 FALL 2021

4 2 S p i r i t ua l i t y S t u d i e s 7 - 2 Fa l l 2 0 2 1 hended (Chan 1969, 89). At this time, we come to understand all the essences of all things and know that they are born from one root and one body with ourselves. It means that the self is transformed as cosmic Self who can embrace all things and unite with the universe. In Yeoheon’s words, it is perfectly harmonized with Heaven and Earth and has a pro - found understanding of the mystery of the Great Ultimate and the Ultimate of Non-Being in the Universe. At this stage, a Self is not only a transcendent being in harmony with the universe, but it also breaks down the boundaries of others, and then becomes an immanent moral subject who cares for all beings as oneself. In summary, Confucian retirements of the elderly have plen- ty of philosophical and transcendent meanings, which is a spiritual dimension different from the secular life of the earlier period. Because retirement means to devote oneself to self-cultivation for the enhancement of spirituality and the achievement of transcendent cosmic unity. It seems to correspond to what Erickson mentioned deeply involved, disin- volvement . He states (1997, 195) that “ this type of withdrawal, in which one deliberately retreats from the usual engagements of daily activity, is consciously chosen withdrawal. A ‘deeply involved, disinvolvement’. This paradoxical state does seem to exhibit a transcendent quality, a shift universal and transcen- dent vision from a materialistic and rational vision. ” Confucian withdrawal can be defined as a state of both deeply involved, disinvolvement , which indicates not only deep involvement in tranquil stability and the mystical cosmic unity, but also dis- involvement from materialistic desires and the secular world. 4 Moral Transcendence and Decent Death What is the ultimate destination of Confucianism that can only be expected when one reaches old age after such a long process of cultivation? The answer to this question is not only important because it is deeply related to the ultimate concern of Confucianism, but also meaningful in what to set for old age. And more directly, it is more important for un- derstanding the meaning of death. The Tornstam’s concept of gerotranscendence has notable implications for the accep- tance of death. He thought that the increasing feeling of cos- mic communion with the universe might decrease the fear of death (Tornstam 1989, 60). Tornstam argues that we must turn to the exotic frame of reference of Eastern philosophy to find a new way of gerotranscendence (Tornstam 2005, 37). According to Eastern philosophy, all things in the universe are only made of this monistic Qi – “vital force or matter”. Each thing is respectively a part of Qi totality, and the subject and the object are homogeneous on the ontological level of Qi. Based on this theory, life and death are only regarded as phenomena that have arisen in process of the flow of monis - tic Qi. Death is understood as the reduction of an individual to the original state of the Qi substance. For example, the following famous anecdote in Zhuangzi illustrates that death is just a return to the original state: When his wife died, he cried at first, but after a while, he realized that his wife was lying in the vast room and resting, and sang joyfully (Chan 1969, 209). This is like the cosmic dimension in gerotrans- cendence theory. But this explanation seems far from reaching a complete understanding of life and death. This is because they do not fully expound on the axiological implications of the cosmic substance itself. In this respect, the ideal integration of indi- viduals and the reality of the universe is also considered to be a meaningless unity, and the meaning of death does not seem to be anything more than the individual dissolving into the whole. But are our lives and deaths as meaningless and worthless as a small drop of water that flows into the wide sea? The Confucian details the significance of unity between

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