The Story of Wang Hui-Chih – Taoist Sage!

For those of you who don’t know… I have a YouTube channel!!!

Here’s the latest video!!!

And here are the passages I quoted in it:


While Wang Hui-chih was living in Shan-yin (Chekiang), one night there was a heavy fall of snow. Waking from sleep, he opened the panels of his room, and, ordering wine, drank to the shining whiteness all about him. Then he got up and started to pace back and forth, humming Tso Ssu’s (d. 306) poem, “Summons to a Retired Gentleman” (Chao yin-shih). [2]

All at once he remembered Tai K’uei, who was living at the time in Shan (south of Shan-yin). On the spur of the moment he set out by night in a small boat to visit him. The whole night had passed before he finally arrived. When he reached Tai’s gate he turned back without going in.

When someone asked his reason, Wang replied, “I originally went on the strength of an impulse, and when the impulse was spent turned back. Why was it necessary to see Tai?” (CS 80.llb)

[1] CHS: Wang Hui-chih indulged his natural inclinations and lived free and uninhibited. Giving up his official post, he returned east to live in Shan-yin.

[2] The text is preserved in WH22.2a–3a. Liu Chin quotes the opening lines:

“With staff in hand, I go to summon the retired gentleman,
Where weed-grown paths connect the past and present,
In the cliffside caves are no [manmade] structures;
But among the hills, there sounds a singing zither.
White snow lingers on the shaded ridge,
Vermilion blooms gleam in the sunlit grove.”

—-Shih-Shuo Hsin Yu – A New Account of ‘Tales of the World’

—–Liu I-ch’ing, trans. Richard B Mather

——-p. 419


Qí qí yùshēn zhě, Qí tiān jī qiǎn

“Where desires and cravings are deep, the Impulse which comes from Heaven is shallow”


—–Chapter 6

——¶ 1

(trans. A.C. Graham)

“When Wang Hui-chih was traveling by boat, he met Huan Yi traveling by land along the bank. Wang Hui-chih had heard of Huan Yi’s fame as a flute player, but he was not acquainted with him. When someone told him that the man traveling on the bank was Huan Yi, he sent a messenger to ask him to play the flute. Huan Yi had also heard of the fame of Wang Hui-chih, so he descended from his chariot, sat on a chair, and played the flute three times. After that, he ascended his chariot and went away. The two men did not exchange even a single word.”

Wang Hui-chih asked Huan Yi to play the flute for him, because he knew he could play it well, and Huan Yi played for him, because he knew Wang could appreciate his playing. When this had been done, what else was there to talk about?

—–Same source as the first story, but this one is quoted from Fung Yu-Lan’s “A Short History of Chinese Philosophy”, Chapter 20 – “Neo-Taoism – The Sentimentalists”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s