Cosmology, Nature, and the Sage in All Things Are Forms in Flux

  • Zhongjiang Wang


Following Cao Jinyan’s 曹锦炎 compilation of All Things Are Forms in Flux (Fanwu liuxing 《凡物流形》),1 the field gained, in addition to The Primordial Constant (Hengxian 《恒先》), another philosophically sophisticated text from among the Shanghai Museum’s collection of Chu bamboo strips. This rediscovered work slightly exceeds The Primordial Constant in both length and breadth of content2 and trades its straight exposition for a question and answer structure.3


Natural Phenomenon Substantive Structure Basic Meaning Solar Prominence Mental Cultivation 
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  1. 16.
    Mawangdui Hanmu boshu, 1:120; Jiang Xichang 蒋锡昌 agrees that the “One” in “merge into One” to also refer to the Way. See Jiang Xichang 蒋锡昌, Laozi jiaogu 老子校诂 (Chengdu: Chengdu Guji Shudian, 1988), 78.Google Scholar
  2. 19.
    See Lou Yulie 楼宇烈, Wang Bi ji jiaoshi 王弼集校释, vol. 1 (Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 1980), 22.Google Scholar
  3. 23.
    He explains, “‘Great/Still’ (泰) means ‘Great’ (太) and ‘Origin/ Beginning’ (初) means ‘Beginning’ (始). The original qi begins sprouting here, and so it is called the ‘Great Beginning’ (太初). This speaks of the expansive greatness of the qi that was capable of being the root beginning of the ten thousand things. Thus, it is named the ‘Great Beginning.’ In the time of the Great Beginning, there only existed nonexistence, and there did not yet exist existence. Existence was yet to exist so how could there be any names. Thus it says, ‘There was nothing and nothing that could be named.’” See Guo Qingfan 郭庆藩, Zhuangzi jishi 庄子集释, vol. 2 (Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 1961), 425.Google Scholar
  4. 24.
    Chen Guying 陈鼓应, Zhuangzi jizhu jinyi 庄子今注今译 (Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 1983), 310.Google Scholar
  5. 60.
    “The officials tried to remonstrate zheng 証 with and calm Lord Jingguo, but Lord Jingguo would not listen.” He Jianzhang, 何建章, ed., Zhanguo ce zhushi 战国策注释 (Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 1990), 302.Google Scholar
  6. 88.
    Liu Jie divides xin 心 into the mind that forms qi and creates principles, and the mind of morality. See 刘节 Liu Jie, “Guanzi zhong suo jian zhi Song Jian yipai xueshuo” 《管子》中所见之宋钘一派学 说 in Liu Jie wenji 刘节文集, ed. Zeng Xianli 曾宪礼 (Guangdong: Zhongshan Daxue chubanshe, 2004), 207.Google Scholar

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  • Zhongjiang Wang

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