The Wenzi (Chinese: 文子; pinyin: Wénzǐ; Wade–Giles: Wen-tzu; literally: "[Book of] Master Wen"), or Tongxuan zhenjing (Chinese: 通玄真經; pinyin: Tōngxuán zhēnjīng; Wade–Giles: T'ung-hsuan chen-ching; literally: "Authentic Scripture of Pervading Mystery"), is a controversial Daoist classic allegedly written by a disciple of Laozi. Although generations of Chinese scholars have dismissed the Wenzi as a plagiarism or forgery, in 1973 archeologists excavating a 55 BCE tomb discovered a Wenzi copied on bamboo strips.
In 742 CE, Emperor Xuanzong of Tang canonized the Wenzi as a Daoist scripture (along with the Daode jing, Zhuangzi, and Liezi) honorifically called the Tongxuan zhenjing 通玄真經 "Authentic Scripture of Pervading Mystery". The emperor posthumously styled Wenzi as the Tongxuan Zhenren 通玄真人 "Authentic Person of Pervading Mystery".
Although the Wenzi has traditionally been considered a Daoist text illustrating Laozi's thinking, it contains elements from Confucianism, Mohism, Legalism, andSchool of Names. The Wenzi represents the "Huang-Lao" philosophy named after the legendary Huangdi 黃帝 "The Yellow Emperor" and Laozi 老子 "Master Lao" (see Peerenboom 1995).
The textual format records Laozi answering Wenzi's questions about Daode jing concepts like Wu wei. Besides citing passages from Daoist classics like Zhuangziand Huainanzi, the Wenzi also cites others like the Yijing, Mengzi, Lüshi Chunqiu, and Xiao Jing.
1 道原 Daoyuan The origin of the Way
2 精誠 Jingcheng The sincerity of the essence
3 九守 Jiushou The nine observances
4 符言 Fuxin Words from registers
5 道德 Daode The virtue of the Way
6 上德 Shangde The virtue of the ruler
7 微明 Weiming The illumation of the minuscule
8 自然 Ziran Nature
9 下德 Xiade The virtue of the people
10 上仁 Shangren The kindheartedness of the ruler
11 上義 Shangyi The righteousness of the ruler
12 上禮 Shangli The propriety of the ruler
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