Wang Meng on Mencius

Source: Global Times (2/20/17)
Well-known Chinese writer and scholar Wang Meng brings ancient philosophy to modern world

Wang Meng Photo: Courtesy of Beijing Xiron Books

Ten years after publishing a book on Taoist philosophy, scholar Wang Meng launched a new book on Sunday, De Minxin De Tianxia (得民心得天下, lit: Acquire the hearts of the people, acquire the world), that seeks to enlighten readers about the Confucian classic Mencius.

The Confucian classic was named after the ancient Chinese philosopher Mencius, who traveled throughout China during the Warring States period (475BC-221BC) to advise kings on the principles of good governance. His conversations with rulers were recorded in the book Mencius, which along with The Analects of Confucius, The Great Learning and The Doctrine of the Mean became known as the Four Books – the core classics that illustrate the values of Confucianism.

Published by Beijing Xiron Books, the book focuses on the humanist philosophy and concept of benevolence advocated by Mencius and discusses how this ancient school of thought can fit in the modern world.

“Mencius advocates the theory that human nature is good. Thus he says that a ruler should govern the country based on this concept of ‘good,'” Wang said at the launch ceremony in Beijing.

“That means you [a leader] should love your people, your decisions should benefit your people and you should follow the will of your people.”

A well-known writer and scholar, Wang has been writing for 60 years and has published more than 60 books, to include novels, short stories, prose and critical essays. His works have been translated into 21 languages.

“What amazes me the most about Wang’s interpretation is his critical view of Mencius’ philosophy. We can only properly inherit traditional culture through critical thinking,” Xiron founder Shen Haobo said at the ceremony.

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