In Wang Fuzhi's view, the significance of The Book of Songs lay not only in its use for praise and satire, and poetic theory embodied by the poems, but also in the idea of self-cultivation and way of life. In his Commentaries on The Book of Songs, Wang Fuzhi sought an interpretive approach to moral cultivation through the aesthetic practice of poetry, and considered treatment of emotions as key to self-cultivation and way of life, putting forward the theory of "yuqing" (clam and ease). Wang Fuzhi instructed people to be calm in the presence of sorrow and happiness through the gradual cultivation of "baiqing" (expressing one's emotion), "tongqing" (empathy) and "guangxin" (broadening one's mind), handling changes with ease and living a peaceful life. Only “aspirant and benevolent” individuals can find peace in the chaos of the world. This reflected Wang Fuzhi's state of inner sanctity. Therefore, the aesthetic experience of yuqing became an embodiment of moral cultivation, and the realm of inner sanctity became the rationale for his poetic ethics. In this way Wang Fuzhi constructed a unified realm of morality, emotion and aesthetics.


calm and ease, expressing one's emotion, empathy, broadening one's mind, self-cultivation

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