Born 1032; died 1085. Chinese philosopher; a founder of neo-Confucianism.
Ch’eng Hao, together with his brother Ch’eng I, developed one of the fundamental ideas of neo-Confucianism—the concept of li. Li is a universal law that is both singular and diverse; it is inherent in and governs all people, things, and phenomena. Li is self-evident and independent, and it can be neither increased, or strengthened, nor diminished, or weakened. Ch’eng Hao was greatly concerned with the idea of existence as a continual process of birth and rebirth; all things possess a “life-giving principle”—namely, jen, or “humaneness.” Jen eliminates the barriers between the self and all else, and it unites the heavens, earth, and man.