Review Questions For Wang Yangming

1. Explain Wang Yangming’s image of the moral mind as “the sun shining behind clouds” and “a clear bright mirror hidden beneath dust”. In what ways do images such as these support your author’s contention that Wang Yangming’s model is a discovery model of moral self-cultivation?

2. The first aspect of Wang Yangming’s model of moral self-cultivation discussed by your author is the unity of thought and action. Describe this unity as completely as you can. How is it that problems of weakness of the will do not arise for Wang Yangming’s model?

3. How is real knowledge different from ordinary knowledge? What is the moral significance of having real knowledge of the good?

4. Why did Wang Yangming oppose what he saw as the over-intellectualization of moral self-cultivation by Zhu Xi and others? What significance do one’s own personal problems have in his model of moral self-cultivation?

5. Explain Wang Yangming’s concept of liangzhi. For what reasons did he think that the classics were not essential to moral self-cultivation?

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