Skip to main content

Tʾien

Tʾien. Chinese supreme source of power and order, usually translated as Heaven. Initially associated with Shang-ti (see HEAVEN AND EARTH, SACRIFICES TO), Tʾien achieved independent importance during the Chou dynasty. Tʾien was early associated with a moral life. To live according to the way of Heaven (and for an emperor according to Tʾien-ming, the Mandate of Heaven) becomes a summary of the goal of the appropriate life, however defined. The arrival of Buddhism led to Tʾien being divided into different realms (along Buddhist lines), and led also to Tʾien becoming the impersonal power of nature which brings things into appearance. This was congenial to Taoists, who could relate Tʾien to Tao. It follows that Tʾien bears many different meanings: it is a place where gods, spirits, and immortal beings live; it is a supreme order, or a personal Lord, governing the cosmos in all its manifestations; or it is the unity of that cosmos as a single system.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Tʾien." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions. . Encyclopedia.com. 10 Dec. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Tʾien." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 10, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/tien

"Tʾien." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions. . Retrieved December 10, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/tien

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.