Richard G. Wang, directeur d’études invité à l’EPHE : « State, Society, and Literature: Daoism in Ming China » – mai 2023


  • Daoist Lineages in Ming China dans la conférence de Marianne Bujard, mercredi 10 mai, 14:00-16:00, Maison de l'Asie, 22 rue Président Wilson, 75116 Paris
  • Lineages, Central Temples, and the State: Daoism and the Official Orthodoxy dans la conférence de Vincent Goossaert, lundi 15 mai, 15:00-17:00, MSH 54 Bd Raspail, 75006 Paris, entresol, salle 9
  • The Ming Prince and Daoism Mardi 23 mai, 17:00-19:00, MSH Raspail, entresol, salle 26
  • Daoist Investiture and the Structure of The Journey to the West Jeudi 25 mai, 15:00-17:00, MSH Raspail, entresol, salle 9
This series of lectures draw on Prof. Wang two books (The Ming Prince and Daoism: Institutional Patronage of an Elite, 20212 and Lineages Embedded in Temple Networks: Daoism and Local Society in Ming China, 2022) and a new research project to discuss how Daoism as a social institution and cultural force played a crucial role in state, society and literature in Ming China (1368-1644). Without understanding Daoism, any study of Ming social history, political institutions, or literary world would be incomplete.


Daoist Lineages in Ming China This talk offers a general picture of Daoist lineages in the Ming dynasty (1368-1644) in relation to the Chinese lineage society. I focus concretely on three groups of leading Daoist lineages: Qingwei 清微 (Pure Tenuity), Jingming 淨明 (Pure Brightness), and Quanzhen 全真 (Complete Perfection). These three groups of lineages, together with the Longhushan 龍虎山 (Dragon-Tiger Mountain) lineage headed by the Heavenly Master, constituted the most important Daoist traditions in the Ming. By defining and describing these traditions, I attempt to portray the most vivid facets of Ming Daoism. I will address the issues that arise when comparing Daoist lineages in the Ming with their predecessors in Song-Yuan times in order to sketch their historical developments. I will also describe their counterparts in Buddhism and their gendered structure. Lineages, Central Temples, and the State: Daoism and the Official Orthodoxy In this lecture I will examine how the Liu Yuanran 劉淵然 (1351–1432) Qingwei 清微 (Pure Tenuity) lineage was built, and through this lineage and its central temples, I show the role of Daoism and its priests in the state bureaucracy. Furthermore, I proceed to the interaction between Liu Yuanran and Longhushan 龍虎山 (Dragon-Tiger Mountain) and its Heavenly Master institution as shown in the Longhushan delegation mechanism. This mechanism enabled Liu Yuanran to mediate between the Daoist community headed by the Heavenly Master with its ordination rights at Longhushan on the one hand and the official orthodoxy and state control on the other. [COUPURE] The Ming Prince and Daoism This lecture argues that while the promotion of Daoism was a national policy of the Ming court, the activities and maintenance of local Daoist institutions were the result of royal support from the Ming princes enfeoffed in provinces. Although they were barred from any serious political or military role due to the fanjin 藩禁 (“restrictions towards princes”) system, the Ming princes were ex officio managers of state rituals at the local level, with Daoist priests as key performers, and for this reason they became very closely involved in Daoist clerical and liturgical life. In addition, as regional overlords, the Ming princes like other local elites saw financing and organizing temple affairs and rituals, patronizing Daoist priests, or collecting and producing Daoist books as a chance to maintain their influence and show off their power locally. The prosperity of Daoist institutions, which attracted many worshippers, also demonstrated the princes’ political success. In presenting the role the Ming princes played in local religion, the lecture shows that the princedom served to mediate between the official religious policy and the commoners’ interests. Daoist Investiture and the Structure of The Journey to the West The past decade has witnessed a paradigm shift in the study of the hugely influential epic novel Xiyouji 西遊記 (Journey to the West). A new generation of Chinese scholars have collected relevant liturgical texts in Buddhism and popular religion, and interpreted the novel from ritual perspectives. This lecture as part of this trend also construes Xiyouji from the angle of the rites of passage. My reading concerns a specific rite of passage, more literal than metaphorical. This is the multiple Daoist investitures of Sun Wukong, or Monkey, as he progresses in his religious cultivation and the plot advances. Based on detailed textual analyses and comparison, I argue that Sun Wukong’s martial power and merit-making in subduing demons is rewarded by Daoist investiture. Structurally, Sun Wukong should be recognized as the main protagonist of Xiyouji whereas Xuanzang, or Tripitaka, as his master, elicits his service in exorcistic battles in conquest of monsters.