2012 New History
P. O. Box 1-44, Nankang, Taipei 11529, Taiwan, R. O. C.
02-2782-9555 # 226


The Process and Significance of Enshrining Yang Shi into the Confucian Temple in Ming Dynasty

Guo-qiang Hong

Department of history, Sun Yat-sen University

This article focuses on the process through which Yang Shi, a famous Neo-Confucian of the Song dynasty, was enshrined in the Confucian Temple during the Ming dynasty. This article divides the process into three different stages. Initial failure during the first stage forced supporters to rebuild Yang's relics in Fujian Province. In the second stage Wei Ji suggested the court enshrine Yang in the Confucian Temple in order to acquire official support for a water conservancy project in Zhejiang Province. The strong influence of the retired dignitary Wei Ji forced the court to compromise on a special local shrine for Yang in Fujian. This case tells us that the interests of local society could influence official discussion of Confucian Temple proposals. In the final stage, Yang was enshrined into the Confucian Temple in 1495. The process took so long because of Yang's lack of far-reaching work on classical learning, which was the universally accepted standard for enshrinement at that time. Placing Yang's spiritual tablet in the Confucian Temple shook this standard. But a famous Cheng-Zhu follower, Yang Lian, positioned Yang as the only disciple who accepted the Cheng brothers' theory in his Yiluo yuanyuan lu , thus promoting the transmission of the Way. Yang Lian hoped that by supporting Yang Shi's enshrinement, he could help Xue Xuan's supporters promote Xue's claim to enshrinement. Xue's enshrinement had also been blocked due to lack of far-reaching work classical learning. But if Yang could earn sacrifices in the Confucian Temple, so could Xue. This case indicates that compilation of the genealogy of the Way became an alternative method for getting support in debates over candidates for enshrinement in the Confucian Temple.

Keywords: enshrinement in the Confucian Temple, transmission of the Way, Yiiuo yuanyuan lu , Yang Shi, Wei Ji, Yang Lian