Meaning of WANG PI in English

born AD 226, , China died 249, China Pinyin Wang Bi one of the most brilliant and precocious Chinese philosophers of his day. By the time of his death at the age of 23, Wang was already the author of outstanding commentaries on the Taoist classic, the Tao-te Ching, or Lao-tzu, and the Confucian mystical classic, the I Ching ("Classic of Changes"). Through these commentaries he helped introduce metaphysics into Chinese thought, anticipating the work of the later Neo-Confucianists. According to Wang, there is one principle that underlies and unites all phenomena. Everything is governed by its own principle, but there is one ultimate principle that unites all things. This ultimate principle is Tao, which he interprets as nonbeing (pen-wu). Unlike earlier Taoists, Wang does not see nonbeing as essentially in conflict with being. On the contrary, it is the ultimate of all being; it is pure being (pen-t'i). In his theory of emotions, Wang was concerned with the need for man to control his emotions. At one time he had a low opinion of Confucius because the famous sage was capable of expressing great joy and sorrow. Later, however, Wang decided that emotion belongs to human nature and that even a sage, being a man, can react only like a man. The difference between a sage and a normal man is that a sage will not be ensnared by emotion. Additional reading T'ang Yung-t'ung, "Wang Pi's New Interpretation of the I Ching and Lun-y," Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies, vol. 10, pp. 124-161; Arthur Wright, "Review of A.A. Petrov's Wang Pi (226-249): His Place in the History of Chinese Philosophy," Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies, vol. 10, pp. 75-88 (1947).

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