Wang Yangming (1472-1529) and his School of Mind dominated the intellectual world of sixteenth-century Ming China (1368-1644), and his Confucian philosophy has since remained an essential component of East Asian philosophical discourse. Yet, the volume of publications on him and his school in the Western-language literature has consistently paled in comparison to the volume of scholarship on classical Chinese philosophy, modern Chinese philosophy, Buddhism, and Daoism. Studying Wang Yangming: History of a Sinological Field explains the history of writing in the West about the famed Ming dynasty scholar-official. From eighteenth-century French Jesuit books to English-language publications in 2020, this book provides an historical overview and summary of a literature published by scholars attempting to grapple with one of the most influential Confucians in the history of China, East Asia, and the world.
Zhan Ruoshui 湛若水 (1466–1560) is a prominent scholar-official and Confucian philosopher of Ming
China. Like his contemporary Wang Yangming, he served in several official capacities during the reigns of three
mid-Ming emperors, earned a reputation as an important Confucian teacher, gained a substantial following of students, and was critical to the onset of the jiangxue 講學 movement of the mid-Ming and the academy
building associated with it. He also elaborated a sophisticated Confucian philosophy, leaving behind a corpus of
work and a school of thought. In 1517, when he was fifty-one, Zhan Ruoshui left office and retired to Mount
Xiqiao 西樵山 in Guangdong, where he constructed both a hermitage for his family and an academy for his
students. He remained there for four years until he was recommended for reappointment to office in 1521. These
years were critical not only for his having established his first academy and writing the regulations for operating it but also because he produced a substantial volume of philosophical writings that were foundational to his becoming recognized as a Confucian master and establishing his school of thought. This study provides an
overview of the biographical and historical setting, Zhan’s pedagogy (xue 學), and his philosophy at a time
when this lesser-known Ming Confucian passed through a crucial stage in the development of his Way (dao 道).
In Doing Good and Ridding Evil in Ming China: The Political Career of Wang Yangming, George Israel offers an account of this influential Neo-Confucian philosopher’s official career and military campaigns. While his contribution to China’s intellectual history and the outlines of his political life are well known, the relation between his thought and what he did in his capacity as a Ming official has been given less attention.
Prior writing on Wang Yangming has passed judgment on his ideas by either idealizing or condemning him for how he treated those he was assigned to govern. Through a detailed reconstruction of his career in the context of issues of empire, ethnicity, and violence, George Israel demonstrates that the truth lies somewhere in the middle.
A study of the history of scholarship on Wang Yangming in the People's Republic of Chhina post-Reform and Opening.
After being recalled to Beijing in 1510 for evaluation and reassignment in the wake of his two-year exile to Guizhou and his period of service as a magistrate, Wang Yangming was assigned to a succession of posts at the capital that kept him there through 1512. During that short time, he remained disillusioned with the Ming court and high politics and chose to put his energies into fostering a philosophical movement. He believed that by restoring the “way of master-disciple relations and friendship,” he could help propagate the learning of the sages. To that end, he held jiangxue gatherings with colleagues and friends and carried on an active correspondence. In those venues, Wang Yangming engaged others with his ideas about the goal of sagehood, the obstacles to attaining it, and the methods for overcoming those obstacles. The following article reconstructs this critical period in Wang Yangming's philosophical development and the intellectual movement he sought to foster, as well as the status of his philosophy as of this point in time.
A study of the history of writing in the West from 1600-1950 about the Ming dynasty Confucian and scholar-official Wang Yangming.
World History: Cultures, States, and Societies to 1500 offers a comprehensive introduction to the history of humankind from prehistory to 1500. Authored by six USG faculty members with advance degrees in History, this textbook offers up-to-date original scholarship. It covers such cultures, states, and societies as Ancient Mesopotamia, Ancient Israel, Dynastic Egypt, India’s Classical Age, the Dynasties of China, Archaic Greece, the Roman Empire, Islam, Medieval Africa, the Americas, and the Khanates of Central Asia.
It includes 350 high-quality images and maps, chronologies, and learning questions to help guide student learning. Its digital nature allows students to follow links to applicable sources and videos, expanding their educational experience beyond the textbook. It provides a new and free alternative to traditional textbooks, making World History an invaluable resource in our modern age of technology and advancement.
A study of the rebellion by the Prince of Ning, Zhu Chenhao, and the Ming dynasty Confucian scholar-official Wang Yangming's defeat of it.
Students of Ming philosophy and the thought of Wang Yangming likely know that the 1960s–1970s was a period during which many scholarships in this field of study were produced in the English language. Indeed, it has been almost half a century since a group of scholars came together at the University of Hawaii to present papers on Wang Yangming in commemoration of the fifth centenary of his birth. That group included, for example, Wing-tsit Chan, David Nivison, and Du Weiming. These scholars, along with two others not present—Julia Ching
and Carsun Chang—played a transformative role in introducing Wang Yangming to an English-reading audience. But, the history behind their achievement, as well as how they interpreted him for that audience, has yet to be written. This paper provides a synopsis of that history, explaining why the scholars chose to write about him and what they said about his life and ideas.
In Wang Yangming’s time literati who were intellectually dissatisfied with Cheng-Zhu philosophy might seek answers or alternatives in the rich philosophical worlds of Buddhism or Daoism. Late in 1509, Wang Yangming departed Guizhou to assume an assignment as a magistrate in Jiangxi, but he only served six months before being summoned to the capital for reassignment. Lu Cheng met Xu Ai and Wang Yangming in Nanjing in 1514 or 1515 when Xu was serving as deputy bureau director at the southern capital’s Ministry of War and Wang was serving as chief minister of the Nanjing Court of State Ceremonial. Lin Yuanxu and his younger brother Yuanlun were two of Wang Yangming’s students when he was living in Nanjing. Several of Wang Yangming’s students were individuals whom he had taught before and who made the journey to Chuzhou or Nanjing specifically to see him and learn more about his ideas.
“A SCHOOL OF MIND PHILOSOPHER IN MING CHINA: NIE BAO’S FORMATIVE POLITICAL CAREER AND INTELLECTUAL TRAJECTORY, 1487-1548”
Abstract: Nie Bao (1487-1563) was a Neo-Confucian philosopher and scholar-official of sixteenth-century Ming China. In his Case studies of Ming Confucians,
Huang Zongxi placed him in the Jiangxi (Jiangyou ) group of Wang Yangming followers. The goal of this article is to provide a sketch of Nie Bao’s political trajectory and intellectual development from his early years until he was imprisoned in 1547, as well as translation of important documents pertaining to that trajectory and development. By the time of his imprisonment, Nie Bao had articulated the essential elements of his philosophy of realizing centeredness and returning to silence, and with that, his own unique interpretation of the meaning of the extension of
the innate knowledge of the good.
"THE EIGHT VIRTUES OF LIANGZHI: AN ANALYSIS OF THE FUNDAMENTAL CHARACTERISTICS OF WANG YANGMING’S CENTRAL DOCTRINE"
Dec. 9, 2020
This is a translation of an article written by Dr. Dong Ping of Zhejiang University. "On the premise that the good knowing (liangzhi 良知) is the originary reality, this article provides a synopsis of Wang Yangming’s exposition of the fundamental essence of liangzhi. The self-existent resemblances of the originary reality are outlined and summarized as the eight virtues of liangzhi: voidness, intelligence, luminousness, awareness, constancy, happiness, true I, and purity. These eight virtues are, however, ultimately subsumed by the middle, which governs them in common. The middle is the original state and true form of the fundamental essence of liangzhi, which Wang Yangming describes as a transparent mirror and level balance."
A paper on the Ming dynasty Ruist Zhan Ruoshui
Research on Wang Yangming in Europe and America 1900 to 1950
A study of Wang Yangming and his followers during his Chuzhou and Nanjing Years
LEARNING BY DOING
June 10, 2028
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