The Moral Principles in Wang Bi's Study on "the Book of Change"

Submitted by James Miller on Wed, 05/14/2014 - 16:40
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TitleThe Moral Principles in Wang Bi's Study on "the Book of Change"
Publication TypeThesis
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsLaw, Y. L.
Corporate AuthorsHo, Che Wah
Academic DepartmentProQuest Dissertations and Theses
Date Published2011
PublisherThe Chinese University of Hong Kong (Hong Kong)
Place PublishedAnn Arbor
ISBN Number9781267258700
Keywords0394:Ethics, 0422:Philosophy, 0679:Language, Book of Change, China, Confucianism, Daoism, Ethics, Images and numbers, Language, Language, literature and linguistics, Moral principles, Philosophy, Philosophy, religion and theology, Wang, Bi

Wang Bi, writer of an authoritative commentary named Zhou Yi Zhu , criticized the Images and Numbers approach to the Book of Change. He emphasized on the philosophical meanings that the "Ten Wings" brought about and annotated the Book of Change with moral principles. However, symbolic readings on the 64 hexagrams can still be found in his work. He even copied some of the commentaries from the Han scholars who made images referential. Compared with previous scholars, Wang Bi is more capable of developing meanings from the hexagrams while both Confucian teachings and Daoist principles namely spontaneity, softness, weakness, emptiness and tranquility are included. Wang Bi is regarded as the representative of the Moral Principle School and numerous discussions on the Daoist philosophy in Zhou Yi Zhu have been launched. This study first reexamines Wang Bi's attitude to the Images and Numbers approach. To do this, comparisons between Zhou Yi Zhu and former commentaries are made so as to see how Wang Bi accepted ancestors' viewpoints on decoding the hexagrams. Results show that Wang Bi only repelled mathematical methods, but he tended to express philosophical meanings by analyzing the images. The thesis goes on to study those meanings illustrated, finding that Confucianism and Daoism complement with each other in his commentaries. This clarifies the role which Confucianism plays in Wang Bi's "Root and Branches" theory. Finally, the study inspects the ways scholars Kong Ying Da and Li Ding Zuo in the Tang Dynasty evaluating Wang Bi's work.