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4 Sageliness Within, Kingliness Without

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Chapter Summary

This chapter presents official communications from Wang Yangming's period of service in Jiangxi to explain his understanding of the nature of justice and the role of the state in securing and upholding it. When Wang Yangming returned to the Investigation Bureau in Nanchang, he brought along those principal leaders taken prisoner during the battles on Lake Poyang, among which were the Prince of Ning, his eldest son, other members of the prince's branch of the imperial clan, and officials who supported him. This is truly difficult to understand by any contemporary theoretical measure, but it is precisely what Wang Yangming stated in so many ways, and why his followers believed he had managed to embody the ideal of sageliness within and kingliness without: he had throughout this time united contemplation with action, direct moral knowing with the affairs of the body politic.

Keywords: Jiangxi; kingliness; Lake Poyang; Nanchang; Prince of Ning; sageliness; Wang Yangming



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