Wang Bi, Heshang gong, Xiang er : different readings of the same text in traditional commentaries on the Laozi
Zdrojový dokument: Religio. 2006, roč. 14, č. 1, s. -68
ISSN1210-3640 (print)2336-4475 (online)
Licence: Neurčená licence
The article analyses one of the central ideas of the Laozi – the Sage as an ideal ruler – as it is viewed in three traditional commentaries to the text: Wang Bi's, Heshang gong's and the Xiang er. It focuses on two interrelated aspects of the idea – self-cultivation and political competence. All three commentaries view political competence as a result of self-cultivation. The article analyses differing interpretations of this idea in these three texts. In Wang Bi's and Heshang gong's commentaries the Laozi's political conception is regarded as the main import of the text. In spite of this, it is demonstrated that the implied reading of the text does not focus on politics but on self-cultivation, however differently viewed. The same focus is explicit in the Xiang er commentary. It is concluded that the Laozi's political message was in fact not the main motivation for these readings of the text. Instead, the commentaries read the text in context of differing concepts of self-cultivation, specific for the different social environments where these commentaries were written. The concept of the Sage's rule remains one of the principal topics in the commentaries but it is no longer crucial for their implied reading.