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|Title:||A study on books for moral indoctrination ordered writing by the Ming emperors = 明代敕撰教化書籍研究||Authors:||Zhou, Zhongliang (周中梁)||Advisors:||Zhu, Honglin (CC)||Keywords:||Didactic literature, Chinese -- China
Didactic literature, Chinese -- History and criticism
Chinese literature -- Ming dynasty, 1368-1644 -- History and criticism
While the emperors of the Ming Dynasty were implementing moral indoctrination policy, they successively ordered the compilation of didactic books for all groups of people in the empire. Some were even written by themselves. The content of the didactic books includes direct exhortation, historical stories, and maxims of sages and ancient Confucians. They are usually in vernacular language. In this thesis, I call them 'books for moral indoctrination ordered writing by the emperors'. More than ten of them still exist today. Emperor Ming Taizu, Zhu Yuanzhang was the pioneer of the moral indoctrination enterprise of the early Ming Dynasty. He started the tradition of commissioning writing of didactic books, and his motives can be demonstrated in several ways. In terms of personal experience, Zhu Yuanzhang's family broke because of natural disaster and plague. He became a 'Red Army' general and even was able to regroup his family. He trained his nephew Zhu Wenzheng and sister’s son Li Wenzhong as his loyal lieutenants. Although the result was a tragedy, he still did not give up holding together the family with Confucian ethics. The Yuan Dynasty which conquered agricultural China was accused by Han scholar-officals as having "polluted" social customs of Han people. Although Ming Taizu Emperor held no personally radical views on the distinction of Hua–Yi/barbarian peoples, he did actively use this ethical argument to provide a basis for reforming the politics of the Yuan Dynasty. When there was a saying in the south that degraded the customs of the northern people, he rather praised the simplicity of the northern customs. The moral indoctrination of Ming Taizu was echoed by younger Confucian scholars like Fang Xiaoru. Although Fang Xiaoru objected to Ming Taizu’s specific practices, he seriously discussed and reflected on the issue. Fang actually acknowledged the good motive of Ming Taizu’s implemention of the moral indoctrination policy. The time of writing such moral books ordered by the Ming emperors was concentrated in the ninety years between Hongwu and Jingtai (1368-1458). Of the books written, thirty-three can be identified as compiled during the Hongwu period, Seven in the Yongle period, four in the Xuande period, and one in both the Zhengtong and Jingtai periods. After that, until the collapse of the Ming dynasty, no more didactic books were written or odered writing by the emperor, although three were compiled in the name of Empress Dowagers. According to the explicit reasons that Ming Taizu Emperor ordered such writings, these books can be roughly divided into three categories: those that were published to enhance the effect of the creation and modification of the administrative system, those issued due to major political events, and those came from Ming Taizu's ideas of moral indoctrination. The tradition of writing didactic books declined about half a century after the Hongwu reign. Most of the didactic books written in the Yongle period were related to special events, such as the succession of the throne and the health problems of the emperor himself. It had nothing to do with the political system, same as many such books written in Hongwu period which had nothing to do with institutional creation. Rather, it was in line with the "recovery of the old system" concept advocated by the Chengzu Emperor. The moral indoctrinational books compiled during the Xuande period revolved around political ethics, mainly because of the personal political experience of the emperor. Yingzong Emperor inherited his father's ambition and compiled the Book of Five basic ethical relationships (Wulun shu) to show his filial piety. The publication of such books in the politically stable times made them appeared decorative. Nevertheless, in the Jingtai period after the infamous Tumu incident, when the Yingzong emperor was captured by the Mongols, the purpose of compiling didactic books again fitted political needs in the real way. After the Chenghua period, the Ming court stopped compiling exhortation books in the name of the emperor. Meanwhile, the style of didact text became more "elegant" than "vulgar", and its political significance was not lost. The compilation of such books was inherited, however, by the court ladies. Ming Taizu Emperor took the role of "the combination of the monarch and the teacher". However, the teacher character that Ming Taizu tried to show is one of an ethics teacher; the content of his exhortation was based on Confucian ethics. Both in words that spoke his mind and in sacrificial practices, Taizu respected orthodox/"Daotong" Confucianism. He pursued a policy that enabled direct communication between the monarch and his subjects. He encouraged people to arrest corrupt officials and took them to the capital, and advised the people with the image of a "sacred monarch" and a "living Buddha". From the Yongle to the Xuande period (1403-1435), the relationship between the Ming Dynasty and Joseon Kingdom was very close. The Ming Dynasty bestowed a large number of new books on Joseon, including the didactic books. At the same time, Joseon had adopted a policy of advocating Confucianism and suppressing Buddhism. Some Joseon civil officials were repulsive to some religious books from the Ming Dynasty. The Joseon court, however, accept such books out of fears of the Ming military strengths, which rendered them a dark historical memory. Korean scholars also used such didactic books written in the name of Ming emperors to edit their school textbooks, including those with stories of supernatural plots and retribution concepts.
PolyU Library Call No.: [THS] LG51 .H577P CC 2019 Zhou
|URI:||http://hdl.handle.net/10397/81925||Rights:||All rights reserved.|
|Appears in Collections:||Thesis|
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Citations as of May 6, 2020
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