Wang Yang-Ming or Yangming, aka Wang Shouren or Wang Shou-jen, courtesy name Bo'an

Wang
Yang-Ming or Yangming, aka Wang Shouren or Wang Shou-jen, courtesy name Bo'an
1472
1529

Chinese Idealist Neo-Confucian Philosopher, Official, Educationalist, Calligraphist, General and Writer

Author Quotes

No one who really has knowledge fails to practice it. Knowledge without practice should be interpreted as lack of knowledge.

People today distinguish between knowledge and action and pursue them separately, believing that one must know before he can act... They say [they will wait] till they truly know before putting their knowledge into practice. Consequently to the end of their lives, they will never act and also will never know.

Perhaps immortality is a gift of heaven rather than the result of some human effort.

That the sage is a sage is due solely to the fact that his mind is completely dominated by heaven-given principles, and not hampered by passion.

The great virtue of man lies in his ability to correct his mistakes and to continually make a new man of himself.

The human mind naturally finds pleasure in the principles of righteousness, just as the eyes take pleasure in color and the ears in sound.

The sages do not consider that making no mistakes is a blessing. They believe, rather, that the great virtue of man lies in his ability to correct his mistakes and continually make a new man of himself.

As he who grows a tree should not neglect to cultivate the roots, so he who desires to grow in virtue should develop his mind.

The Taoist talk about vacuity is motivated by a desire for nourishing everlasting life, and the Buddhist talk about non-being is motivated by the desire to escape from the sorrowful sea of life and death. In both cases, a certain selfish idea has been added to the original substance [of the mind], thereby losing the true character of vacuity and obstructing the original substance [of the mind]. The Confucian sage merely returns to the true condition of innate knowledge of the good and does not attach to it any selfish desire.

Buddhism claims to be free from attachment to and affliction by phenomenal things [dharma-characters], but actually the opposite is the case. The Buddhists are afraid of the burden in the relationship between father and son and therefore escape from it... In all cases, because the relationships between ruler and minister, father and son, and husband and wife involve attachment to phenomena, they have to escape from them. With us Confucians we accept the relationship between father and son and fulfill it with humanity as it deserves.

The word ge in gewu is the same as the ge in Mengzi’s expression, ‘A great man recti?ed (ge) the ruler’s mind.’ Gewu means to eliminate whatever is incorrect in the mind and preserve the correctness of its original substance. Wherever there is a thought, eliminate whatever is incorrect and preserve the mind’s original substance. Then in all places, at all times, the Heavenly li will de?nitely be preserved.

How does man become mind? Clear intelligence and clear intelligence alone. We know, then, in all that fills heaven and earth there is but this clear intelligence. It is only because of their physical forms and bodies that men are separated. My clear intelligence is the master of heaven and earth and spiritual beings. If heaven is deprived of my clear intelligence, who is going to look into its height? If earth is deprived of my clear intelligence, who is going to look into its height? If earth is deprived of my clear intelligence, who is going to look into its depth? If spiritual beings are deprived of my clear intelligence, who is going to distinguish their good and evil fortune or the calamities and blessings that they will bring? Separated from my clear intelligence, there will be no heaven, earth, spiritual beings, or myriad things, and separated from these, there will not be my clear intelligence. Thus they are all permeated with one material force. How can they be separated?

Thought and learning are of small value unless translated into action.

I say there are no principles but those of the mind, and nothing exists apart from the mind.

We know that the extension of knowledge has to consist in action, and it is clear that without action there can be no extension of knowledge. Does not the state of the unity of knowledge and action stand sharply in focus? . . . Whenever the superior man is engaged in practical affairs or discussion, he insists on the task of knowledge and action combined. The aim is precisely to extend the liangzhi of his original mind. He is unlike those who devote themselves to merely talking and hearing as though that were knowledge, and divide knowledge and action into two separate things as though they really could be itemized and take place one after the other.

If you really want to find out something about immortality, you have to live in the mountain forests for 30 years. If you succeed in perfecting your eyes and ears there, if you harmonize the heart and the will so that your mind becomes clear and pure and free of all that is evil, you will be able to discuss the matter.

Whosoever is willing to devote himself to study may become a sage, provided he devotes his mind to heaven-given principles.

In nourishing the mind, we Confucians have never departed from things and events. By merely following the natural principles of things we accomplish our task. On the other hand, the Buddhists insist on getting away from things and events completely and view the mind as an illusion, gradually entering into a life of emptiness and silence, and seem to have nothing to do with the world at all. This is why they are incapable of governing the world.

Knowledge is the beginning of practice; doing is the completion of knowing.

Lack of seeking implies that one does not cherish one's purpose with determination.

To know and to not do, is to not know.

People today distinguish between knowledge and action and purse them separately, believing that one must know before he can act… They say [they will wait] till they truly know before putting their knowledge into practice. Consequently, to the end of their lives, they will never act and also will never know.

The sages do not consider that making no mistake is a blessing. They believe, rather, that the great virtue of a person lies in their ability to correct their mistakes and continually to make a new person of themselves.

Knowledge and action are really two words describing the same, one effort.

Author Picture
First Name
Wang
Last Name
Yang-Ming or Yangming, aka Wang Shouren or Wang Shou-jen, courtesy name Bo'an
Birth Date
1472
Death Date
1529
Bio

Chinese Idealist Neo-Confucian Philosopher, Official, Educationalist, Calligraphist, General and Writer