World  Spiritual  Heritage

Life and teaching of Wang Yangming

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Wang Yangming : Biography

Wang was a native of Yiieh in present Chekiang. His private name was Shoujen and courtesy name Po-an. His father was an earl and a minister of civil personnel. In his youth he was with his father in Nanking and then Peking. In 1492 he obtained the "recommended person" degree and in 1499 the "presented scholar" degree. He then served in the government as an executive assistant in one department after another. In 1506, because he offended a eunuch, he was banished to modern Kueichow where he stayed for more than two years.
In 1510 he was appointed a magistrate in Kiangsi, where he built up a remarkable record of administration in seven months. From late 1510 through 1516, he served in various posts in Peking and Nanking. From 1517 to 1519, he suppressed several rebellions in Kiangsi and Fukien, including the one by Prince Ning. He also established schools, rehabilitated the rebels, and reconstructed the economy. He was awarded the title Earl of Hsin-chien and promised certain hereditary privileges, but his enemies at court accused him of conspiring with the prince and he was therefore ostracized by them. From 1521 to 1527 he was in virtual retirement in his native Yueh.

In 1527, he was called to suppress rebellions in Kwangsi, which he did successfully. On his return he died on the way in the seventh year of the Chia-ching period at the age of fifty-seven. Ordinarily this year is equated with 1528, but his death actually occurred on January 10, 1529.
Now he was accused of spreading false doctrines and opposing Chu Hsi. His hereditary privileges were revoked. It was not until 1567, thirty-eight years after his death, that he was given the title Marquis of Hsin-chien and honored with the posthumous title of Wen-ch'eng (Completion of Culture). In 1584 by imperial decree it was ordered that he be offered sacrifice in the Confucian temple. This was the highest honor for a scholar. Only four scholars were so honored during the whole Ming period.


Wang Yangming : Portraits

Wang Yangming
Wang Yangming

Wang Yangming : Links

Confucianism, Chang Tsai, Cheng Yi, Chow Tun-i, Lu Hsiang Shan, Shao Yong, Su Shi , Wang Fuzhi, Wang Yangming, etc.