He hailed from Zhuxu 朱虛 in the commandery of Beihai 北海 (modern Linqu 臨朐, Shandong), but fled to the region of Liaodong 遼東 during the Yellow Turban rebellion 黃巾起義. The local potentate, Gongsun Du 公孫度 (150-204), tried to have arrested Bing's companion Liu Zheng 劉政, but Bing Yuan helped him to hide and escape.
Having returned to the west, Bing hecame a disciple of the Confucian master Zheng Xuan 鄭玄 (127-200). Bing Yuan won such a reputation that he is considered to be founder of the Bing-Zheng 邴鄭 school that dominated Confucian exegesis in the region of Shandong.
When Cao Cao 曹操 (155-220) controlled the government, Bing Yuan was several times took over the duties of a Counsellor-in-chief (chengxiang 丞相), and then as leader of the court gentlemen for miscellaneous use (wuguan zhonglang jiang 五官中郎將), as successor to Liang Mao 涼茂.
Bing also participated in Cao Cao's campaign against Sun Quan 孫權 (182-252), and died on the way to the southeast.