zūn déxìng 尊德性
Revere One’s Virtuous Nature
This phrase, which first appears in The Doctrine of the Golden Mean, refers to the need to revere the virtuous nature bestowed on human beings by heaven. Together with quest for knowledge, it constitutes an ethical standard. According to The Doctrine of the Golden Mean, everyone has a heavenly bestowed virtuous nature. Scholars of later generations developed this notion further, suggesting that this inherent nature is actually a manifestation of the heavenly law in human nature. People should revere and fully express their inherent virtuous nature so as to act in keeping with the heavenly law and realize their full virtue.
Therefore, a gentleman should revere the virtuous nature of human beings and constantly pursue knowledge. This way, he will acquire extensive knowledge and gain command of it in an in-depth way. He can thus reach mastery and observe the doctrine of the Mean. He can review what he has learned in the past and acquire new understanding of them. He will be honest and sincere by observing rites and etiquettes. (The Doctrine of the Golden Mean)