Wang Bi
Died249 (aged 23)
Other namesFusi (輔嗣)
Occupation(s)Philosopher, politician
Wang Bi

Wang Bi (226–249), courtesy name Fusi, was a Chinese philosopher and politician, expertise in Yijing and Xuanxue


Wang Bi served as a minor bureaucrat in the state of Cao Wei during the Three Kingdoms period. He was married with a daughter when he died of sickness at the age of 23.

Wang Bi's most important works are commentaries on Laozi's Tao Te Ching and the I Ching. The text of the Tao Te Ching that appeared with his commentary was widely considered the best copy of his work until the discovery of the Han-era Mawangdui texts in 1973. He was a scholar of Xuanxue.


At least three works by Wang Bi are known: a commentary on Confucius' Analects, which survives only in quotations; commentaries on the I Ching and the Tao Te Ching, which not only have survived but have greatly influenced subsequent Chinese thought on those two classics.

His commentary on the I Ching has been translated into English by Richard John Lynn, The Classic of Changes (New York: Columbia University, 1994) ISBN 0-231-08295-9

Several translations into English have been made of his commentary of the Tao Te Ching:

  • Ariane Rump, translator Commentary on the Lao Tzu by Wang Pi, Monographs of the Society for Asian and Comparative Philosophy, No. 6 (Honolulu: University of Hawaii, 1979) ISBN 0-8248-0677-8
  • Richard John Lynn, translator The Classic of the Way and Virtue; A New Translation of the Tao-te Ching of Laozi as Interpreted by Wang Bi (New York: Columbia University, 1999) ISBN 0-2311-0581-9
  • Rudolf Wagner, translator. A Chinese Reading of the Daodejing: Wang Bi's Commentary on the Laozi with Critical Text and Translation (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2003) ISBN 0-791-45182-8

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