Hsüan-Hsüeh

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Hsüan-Hsüeh (Chin., ‘secret teaching’). An early stage of neo-Taoism, in the 3rd and 4th cents. CE. Important figures were Wang Pi (226–49), Hsiang Hsiu (221–300), Ho Yen (d. 249), and Kuo Hsiang (d. 312), all of whom wrote commentaries on Tao-te ching. They developed Chʾing-tʾan, reflective conversation, by which name the ‘movement’ is also known. Against their predecessors, they held that Tao, as non-being, is not an agent bringing things into being; things arise spontaneously within the totality of all existent being, which they took to be the meaning of tiʾen, heaven.