Wang Pi

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Wang Pi


Born 226; died 249. Chinese philosopher. Representative of Hsüan-hsiuo (neo-Taoism).

In attempting to provide a synthesis of Confucianism and Taoism, Wang Pi utilized the concepts of Confucian moral philosophy in his commentaries on the treatise Lao-tsu, whereas in his commentaries on the I Ching he employed Taoist terms. The interpretation of the I Ching given by Wang Pi is that the world of dynamic being, which expresses itself in the completeness of constant change, should return to its foundation, the Tao, in order to attain a primal unity. “Nonbeing,” one of the basic concepts of Taoism, acquires in Wang Pi’s system the significance of absolute being, which, deprived as it is of any particular attributes, represents the source of everything that exists.


Petrov, A. A. Wang Pi. Moscow-Leningrad, 1936.
Hou Wai-lu [and others]. Chungkuo ssuhsiang t’ungshih, vol. 3. Peking, 1957. (A history of Chinese ideology.)
T’ang Yung-t’ung. “Wang Pi’s New Interpretation of the I Ching and Lun-yū.” Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies, 1947, vol. 10, no. 1.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
221-23, and "the Lao Tzu Text that Wang Pi and Ho-shang kung Never Saw," Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 48.3 (1985): 493-501.
Besides, Taoism's most important early commentaries, those of Ho-shang Kung, Hsiang-erh, and Wang Pi on the Tao-te ching, are easily accessible to the Western reader.(9) Also, the commentarial line on the Tao-te ching to medieval times has been elucidated in the excellent introductory survey of Isabelle Robinet.(10) Taoism is especially strong in comparative value for examining schools of transmission and private master-disciple relations.(11) And the numerous commentaries on both the Tao-te ching and the Chuang-tzu included in the Taoist cannon are all subsumed under the category of yu-chueh, "explanations from the Jade |-Clarity Heavens~," of great significance to their claims for authenticity and divine authority.
Chan, Two Visions of the Way: A Study of the Wang Pi and the Ho-shang Kung Commentaries on the Lao-Tzu (Albany: State Univ.