Talk:Mandate of Heaven

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Scope[edit]

I wonder about this: "any failed ruler was considered to have lost it, no matter how great his personal virtue." Can anyone name one ruler who both represented the end of a dynasty and who had great personal virtue? I doubt there were any but I'm not sure.

"It also encouraged both Chinese unity and a disdainful attitude towards the outside world, since there was only one Mandate, and so only one true ruler of humankind—the Emperor of China". I think this statement is ridiculous. I don't think the Mandate applied to foreigners. Do you really think the Hans thought the Mongolians had the Mandate of Heaven during the Yuan dynasty? And where does it say that China believed the emperor of China is the ruler of all humankind? If China really believed that, then they would not have had peaceful relationships with so many other kingdoms around the world. And if China really had such disdainful attitudes, it wouldn't send so many envoys around Asia. If the Chinese court resisted the ravenous European empires of the 1800s, it was because of .. well they were ravenous European empires.

Sour pickle 22:26, 11 November 2005 (UTC)

Actually alot of literature (not sure if its fact or fiction) give last emperors great personal virtue, but commonly a dynasty falls from corruption and internal (ie. the court) struggle. China isnt a single being that believes single ideas. Also, this page has suffered alot of old vandals. --1698 06:16, 5 May 2006 (UTC)

Current belief?[edit]

I have been wondering this for a while. Theoretically, it is possible that one could use the Mandate to justify the current (post-)Maoist state in China. If it hasn't been overthrown, it's legitimate/blessed, right? Does anyone know if there is a significant group which still holds to the Mandate? Or, could we trace the current Chinese support of their system to their cultural heritage of the Mandate? samwaltz 19:40, 4 January 2007 (UTC)

I believe the conservative over 60's age group in 2009 has this belief. Those who are overseas or live outside the People's Republic of China still interpret the Republic of China government, now reduced to a rump state in Taiwan (or what most people in 2009 interpret as Taiwan as the country) as still carrying the legitimate Mandate of Heaven. As an aside, I personally recall my older siblings told me that early to mid 1980s Chinese History teachers (which is a separate subject from History, which covers History of Europe and the West) at their schools in Hong Kong still taught the legitimate Chinese dynasty/regime is the one now in Taipei, not the People's Republic of China, one the international community recognizes as China based in Beijing. Those from the mainland either scoff at the whole concept as remnants of a feudalistic past, or believe the Mandate now belongs to the People's Republic.
Those on the ROC's side would point to issues like the survival of the regime for longer time, and the entire time it ruled the mainland while the remnants of historical deposed dynasties were quickly defeated by the new dynasties (for example, all of the last remnant Ming dynasty courts including Koxinga government, were conquered by the Qing court by 1683, not even 40 years after the Qing dynasty were commonly recognized as the new dynasty of China. In contrast, the ROC has survived for 60 years so far even after the PRC declared it to be deposed). In addition, these supporters would point out unlike Northern Yuan, Taiwan is considered Chinese territory (similar to the orthodox Maoist Marxists, Taiwanese independence movement supporters don't buy into the Mandate of Heaven concept either), so it is still a legitimate Chinese regime.
The PRC supporters who buy into this concept would respond whichever regime holds the Zhongyuan i.e. historical origin of Chinese civilizations including Henan, Shenxi, provinces etc and the economic centres of Eastern China like Shanghai is counted as legitimate. Taiwan, though an integral Chinese place, is a "peripheral" region like Guangdong so any rump state occuping these places do not confer legitimacy. --JNZ (talk) 23:35, 16 January 2009 (UTC)

See Also..[edit]

This list of related topics strikes me as arbitrary: Tian'anmen? Amaterasu? Where's General Tso Chicken, while we're throwing random Asian concepts at the reader? Keep it short and closely related. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 74.100.116.23 (talk) 03:10, 2 April 2007 (UTC).

Tiananmen was called the gate of accepting heavenly mandate. It is either Amaterasu or japanese sun deity. I think you're just in the mood to whine and complain. It is not random and they make sense. Benjwong 03:35, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

Ambiguity[edit]

"Times of floods or famines were considered divine signs from the heaven in violation of the Mandate."

This sentence seems ambiguous to me. Are floods and famines results of Mandate violation (i.e., sent from heaven to punish Mandate-violating mortals), or are the floods and famines themselves cases of a heavenly divinity violating its own Mandate? Hopefully someone can clarify. - Tobogganoggin talk 05:04, 15 October 2007 (UTC)

Divine Right in other countries?[edit]

The section regarding the concept of the Mandate of Heaven in "the East Asian countries that drew much of their political philosophy from ancient China" focuses only on Japan. Is anyone able to expand this section to include other countries such as Korea and Vietnam? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 128.135.96.226 (talk) 18:34, 31 July 2008 (UTC)

You are right, both Korea and Vietnam also had their head of the kingdom as "Mandate of Heaven" at some stages.--Korsentry 03:39, 15 July 2009 (UTC)

Confusing Sentences[edit]

The following sentences from the section discussing the transition from Shang to Zhou need to be clarified:

" During this period, the dynasty was able to enjoy a period of peace and tranquility in which jobs were commonly available for citizens. The government was able to control most of its internal affairs due to the firm support provided by the people. Among many of its accomplishments, they were noted primarily for of wealth on wine, women, and tyranny. " The third sentence appears to be out of place as well as just plain confusing. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 206.228.220.37 (talkcontribs)

Manifestations of Mandate of Heaven[edit]

This section is original research with very questionable translations. In my view it should simply be deleted. --Mujokan (talk) 21:14, 28 September 2009 (UTC)

I have cleaned up this section a bit but I am not happy with it. The comment above is accurate - there is no way that any emperor would encourage his civil servants to become emperor - they fought tooth and nail to get the mandate and were scared stiff of losing it. "平天下“ does not mean to become emperor - rather to promote harmony under heaven on behalf of the emperor. My proposal is that 1) the Confucian adage stuff in the first part is deleted - since apart from the dodgy translation it is not particularly relevant. 2) With some new preamble the numbered list remains as it may be useful. Philg88 (talk) 01:53, 7 July 2010 (UTC)
I am quite familiar with this whole area and have started to clean things up a bit. The section in question should simply be deleted. It's too late at night to do anything more, but if nobody objects I'll have another look to see whether there is anything worth saving and then delete all that needs to be deleted. The ideas from The Great Learning were in all likelihood addressed to rulers in hopes that they would accept the principles and therefore become better rulers. Be that as it may, the theoretical impulse of the book is to show individuals how they might become best able in their own lives (whatever those lives turned out to be) to further the aims of Heaven. Whether one would become a decent official in the local yamen, a prime minister, or something even more grand was not ever going to come out of one's own willful desire. If you were a hammer and Heaven needed a hammer, then you might get used as a hammer. If you were a saw, then you might get used as a saw. But it would have been totally against the ideal of being a good servant of Heaven to plot out one's way to the throne -- and a disqualifying characteristic, presumably, in the eyes of Tian. P0M (talk) 09:26, 15 October 2010 (UTC)
This is an old topic, but the section in question was quite ridiculous. I just deleted it, which seems to have been the consensus here some years ago. Snuge purveyor (talk) 03:40, 26 June 2012 (UTC)

Multiple Issues[edit]

I added the multiple issues tag for the following reasons (these are just examples)

essay/expert - the article is not too wikified and in places uninformed - e.g. the claim that common people "often" started dynasties. This is untrue, only the Han and Ming progenitors were non-nobles - that makes two out of 30 or more.

expanded - the mandate did not disappear at the end of the Five Dynasties period, it was still going strong in the Qing Dynasty.

refimprove - speaks for itself

Philg88 (talk) 08:49, 8 June 2010 (UTC)

The stuff about the Shang dynasty is highly questionable. Very little is known about the Shang except from archaeology, and of course one is always at risk of going wrong when looking at things like city walls built over burials of very many humans who appear to have been killed. Originally, many scholars thought that the Zhou dynasty accounts of Shang dynasty successions of kings were unreliable, but oracle bone inscriptions showed that those records had only a few mistakes. So the Zhou people may have known a good deal about the past activities of the Shang, but who knows? That being said, my own impression of the Shang dynasty is that it was not the kind of rule that ordinary people would have enjoyed. Some serious review of the most recent archaeological studies should be made before anything very specific is said about the Shang. Moreover, what was going on during the long reign of the Shang is not particularly relevant to the doctrine of the Mandate of Heaven. All indication are that the tribe that was to become the nucleus of the new Zhou dynasty came into conflict with the Shang. There is no reason to believe that the Shang was ever a particularly enlightened regime, and in its waning years it may have become a serious threat to the well being of those over whom it ruled. Any seriously harmful activities on the part of the Shang would have supplied the Zhou rulers with evidence with which to argue to the people newly under their control that their lives would become better and that therefore they should cooperate with the new government. That's about all that needs to be said about the Shang. Anything else should be in the article about the Shang -- I presume there is one. That's something else to look at later. P0M (talk) 09:42, 15 October 2010 (UTC)

Really Screwy Sentence/Bad Editing[edit]

The following sentence from the 3rd paragraph of the origins section needs to be fixed. It looks like somebody accidentally edited separate sentences together and cut some out by careless word processing: "As shown by the divination texts preserved on oracle bones from the later Shang, Heaven was thought to be very active and to interfere in mystof the Mandate of Heaven changed the right to rule from one of purely divine legitimization to one based on just rule." That is just awful and confusing. I don't know what the author of that sentence jumble meant to say.

Elgueroloco1980 (talk) 02:40, 17 October 2011 (UTC)

It was garbled somehow. I found an old version and fixed it accordingly. P0M (talk) 03:44, 17 October 2011 (UTC)

Strange assertion[edit]

Finally, after the Zhou dynasty became less powerful, it was then wiped out by the Qin because they believed that the Zhou became unfit in ruling.

The idea that the first emperor was so concerned for the welfare of the common people that he decided to put his personal interests aside and fulfill the will of Heaven strikes me as very hard to believe. Even if he claimed to be concerned for the welfare of the common people, that claim would have to be investigated in the context of the whole latter half of the Zhou dynasty in which the various Dukes decided that they were as good as being kings and then struggled militarily with each other. The ultimate winner became the new ruler, the first emperor. The roots of Qin ideology go back to Xun Zi, who cast doubt on whether people did anything except because of a cold-blooded calculus of personal advantage. From that point on a totalitarian ideology became influential and finally led to the Qin. Failures of that ideology, both in terms of what motivates people to behave well in a well-functioning society, and in terms of how successfully top-down planning with no initiative permitted at lower levels can function in a large nation with no methods of communication faster than flare relays and pony express transmission of wordier commands, led to the the downfall of the Qin.P0M (talk) 06:22, 19 December 2011 (UTC)

Islamic view[edit]

Liu Zhi (scholar)

http://web.archive.org/web/20110430161534/http://science-islam.net/article.php3?id_article=676&lang=fr

http://www.ccsp.ox.ac.uk/sites/sias/files/person/documents/Chinese%20Muslim%20Literature.pdf

http://books.google.com/books?id=jJY3AAAAIAAJ&pg=PA771&lpg=PA771&dq=thirteen+classics+arabic+persian+islam+china&source=bl&ots=ee9E8kdO6I&sig=8tFnKldOnD7ne01vpwC8PLYrhXg&hl=en&sa=X&ei=zHpiU6-dCKjK8wGXhICQDw&ved=0CCoQ6AEwAjgK#v=onepage&q=thirteen%20classics%20arabic%20persian%20islam%20china&f=false

Rajmaan (talk) 21:17, 1 May 2014 (UTC)