Wang Yang-ming (wäng yäng-mĭng) [key], 1472–1529, Chinese philosopher. He developed an idealist interpretation of Confucianism that denied the rationalist dualism of the orthodox philosophy of Chu Hsi. Wang believed that universal moral law is innate in man and discoverable through self-cultivation. In contrast to the orthodox Confucian reliance on classical studies (see Chinese literature) as a means to self-cultivation, Wang stressed self-awareness and the unity of knowledge and action. One school of his followers emphasized achievement of mystical enlightenment in a manner strikingly similar to Zen Buddhism.
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