Confucianism in Yunnan

Confucianism had been regarded as an ethic-political system in ancient China. For more than thousand years it has moulded and shaped the civilization of China and exerted a profound influenced upon almost one fourth of the human race. Even in the frontier ethnic areas, the role of Confucian culture is no less important than that of the mainland. Yunnan is located in the southwestern border of China, which has been a multi-ethnic area since ancient times. It has been an important part of China for more than two thousand years. Confucian culture plays an important role in the continuous inheritance of Yunnan.

Literary Heritages

Confucianism has left us a rich literary heritage knows as the Four Books and Five Classics: The Great Learning, The Mean, Analects, and Mencius; Book of Change, Book of History, Book of Odes, Book of Rites and Spring and Autumn Annals. For six centuries these four texts became the elementary requirements of Chinese education in the feudal society and served as the basis of the civil service examination by which scholars were selected for official posts at various levels of the government.

The ethical principle of Confucianism is its discovery of the ultimate in the moral character of human relationships in which Confucius offered the solution for the ills and evils of his day. Confucius’ central doctrine is that of the virtue of Ren. Ren is translated variously as goodness, benevolence, humanity, and human-heartedness. In short, Ren means affection and love.

Essence of Confucianism

Confucius is regarded as the “Great and Revered Teacher”, a teacher for all generations. From the dawn of civilization to the Revolution of 1911, he has so deeply influenced the daily life and thought of the Chinese people that he is respected as the moulder of the Chinese mind and character. His thoughts and teaching are taken as the symbol of traditional Chinese culture.

What is our national spirit and national character? It can be summed up in eight words: loyalty and piety, affection and love, faithfulness and righteousness, peace and harmony, as pointed out by Dr. Sun Yat-sen.

Influence of Confucianism

Confucianism, a philosophy rather than a religion, was a series of codes for China’s population to abide by. It was hoped that by following such a conduct of benevolence the population would harmoniously live together under the traditional Chinese system, a feudal system of altruistic despotism. The populace were expected to obey their seniors (hierarchical paternalism), to be selfless and strive for the common good. Temperance was placed as a primary virtue. The emperor and those in positions of power were also expected to follow the Confucian Principles of Government, thereby lessening the Emperor’s claim to his divine right. Confucius suggested that the governors should “rule the people with love and train people to learn good manners”. Confucious dreamed that by so doing, the country would be as strong as his ideal, the Western Zhou Dynasty when “all orders were issued by the emperor”.

Major Confucius Temples in Yunnan

Kunming Confucion Temple

At present, Confucius Temple in Kunming is located in Confucius Temple Street which used to be the old Kunming’ s heartland. The east lane of Confucius Temple is situated in the east. And the west lane of Confucius Temple is located on the west.  In the east of Confucius Temple it is the junction of the Zheng Yi Road and the Chang Chun Road. And the Min Sheng street and the Min Quan Street are located on the west of Confucius Temple. What’s more, these two streets are the shopping center of Kunming City which has a long history. The shops are placed closely side by side in the shopping center. 

Jianshui Confucion Temple

Jianshui Confucius Temple, called Jianshui Wenmiao in Chinese, is located at Linan Road in Jianshui County, Honghe Hani-Yi Autonomous Prefecture, southwest China’s Yunnan Province. This over 700-year-old temple was initially built in the 22nd year of Zhi Yuan reign in the Yuan Dynasty (1285AD). It has renovated and extended for over 40 times, covering an area of 114mu. It is one of the well preserved Confucius Temples in large scale and high architectural level. 

Fengqing Confucion Temple

Fengqing Confucian Temple is one of the key provincial reserved culture relics proclaimed by Yunnan provincial government on November 16th,1993 , which is just second to the Confucian Temple in Jian Shui. It is regarded as the first Confucian Temple in Western Yunnan. Feng Qing Confucian Temple, built in 1606 (the 34th year of Wang Li period in Ming Dynasty), was originally situated at the east foot of the Tiger Mountain, south of the old County Seat, where No. One Middle School of Feng Qing now lies. It has been repaired several times and was relocated twice in 1669 and in 1873 (the 8th year of Kang Xi period and the 12th year of Tong Zhi period in Qing Dynasty).

Confucion Temple in Dali

Confucian Temple, or Dali Cultural Center (大理文化馆), this complex was created during the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368) and at the present of emperor Tong Zhi (1856-1875) it got reconstructed. A restoration project runned by the administration of the city of Dali startet in 2014. Only just in 2016 after finishing the restoration work this temple in Dali was opened to the public. The area contains in total 12,217m2  with a total of 8,600m2 build on; the rest are open spaces, smaller green spaces and paths. The main Hall of the temple (大成殿) plus the most part of the architecture are made out of wood. This circumstance in combination with numerous use of marble and marvelous flora, lends this place and exquisite cover.

Confucion Temple in Chengjiang

Chengjiang Confucian Temple sits in the center of the government seat of central Yunnan’s Chengjiang County. It was built in Guangxu Period(1875-1908) of the Qing Dynasty. Though its screen wall no longer exists, the Panchi Pond is well preserved. No one can tell where the water of the pond comes from and where it flows to. The Panchi Pond is famous for the stone carvings. Above it, there is an arch bridge which is engraved with the patterns of seahorses, fish, dragons, phoenixes, rhinos, flowers, birds, Chinese zodiac signs, etc.

Confucion Temple in Tengchong

Tengchong Confucian Temple is located at No. 180, Huangxue Road, downtown of the city. It was built in the 16th year of Chenghua of the Ming Dynasty (1480). It was originally built in the northwest of the city. In the 44th year of the Qing Emperor Kangxi (1705), it was moved to the old office of the Tengchong military and civilian command of the Ming Dynasty. In the 11th year of Xianfeng (1861), it was destroyed in the war, and was rebuilt in the 5th year of Guangxu (1879). As an ancient cultural building that lasted for hundreds of years, the Tengchong Confucian Temple has an important position in the hearts of local people.