Emperor Kang Xi Taught His Children to Recite a Book 120 Times
(Clearwisdom.net) During the early period of the Qing Dynasty, Emperor Kang Xi had a very special method of educating his descendants. The Emperor had 35 sons, 20 daughters, and 97 grandchildren.
So how did Kang Xi educate his descendants? He used various methods to teach his children and grandchildren. One method was by example. He took his heirs on hunting expeditions, rounds of inspections, and even to battle. It is through these kinds of hands-on experiences that he raised and trained his children and grandchildren. He also used the classroom to teach his children and grandchildren.
The "Study Room" was where the Emperor's family was schooled. During the Kang Xi era, the Study Room was located in the "Wu Yi Zhai" (Room of No Leisure) in Chang Chun Garden. Placing them in a classroom prevented the children from indulging in play, leisure, and comfort, or becoming idle. Details of the Emperor's heirs attending school are described in the work,"Kang Xi Record of the Emperor's Activities" (unofficial translation) and several other books.
Let's take a look at a typical day to find out how the Emperor's children learned their school lessons.
On this particular day, from 3 a.m. to 5 a.m., the princes reviewed the lesson from the previous day. The crown prince was 13 at the time, and he had to get up even earlier to get ready for school. From 5 a.m. to 7 a.m., the teachers arrived at the study room. The Manchurian teacher, Da Ha Ta, and the Mandarin teacher, Tang Bin Deng, both checked the children's homework. Meanwhile, the children memorized a lesson, recited the lesson aloud, and were careful to make no mistakes. Then the Mandarin teacher assigned another paragraph for the children to memorize.
From 7 a.m. to 9 a.m., Kang Xi left the royal court and went to check the children's homework. Kang Xi randomly selected a paragraph from the book for the children to recite. They had to recite perfectly, with no mistakes. Kang Xi said, "When I was young I would read a book aloud 120 times, and recite it 120 times afterwards. It was not until I memorized each paragraph that I moved on to the next paragraph. I learned the lesson paragraph by paragraph." An official commented, "Isn't it enough to recite 100 times?" Kang Xi replied that it had to be 120 times. Then, he asked the teachers how the children were doing. Some teachers said that the crown prince was very intelligent and was able to recite the lessons well. Kang Xi commented, "You should not praise them and should criticize them more. This is to prevent them from becoming arrogant." Then he left to tend to the affairs of the state.
Since it was summer, the weather was quite hot. The children were not allowed to carry fans or to fan themselves, and they had to sit up straight. From to 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., they practiced calligraphy, and were required to write each character 100 times. Lunch period was from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. After lunch, they continued with their studies. From 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. they went outside to a courtyard to practice skills such as horseback riding and archery.
From 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., Kang Xi went to the classroom again to check the children's work. He also listened to them recite their lessons. The princes formed a line and took turns reciting for the Emperor. From 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., everyone went outside to practice archery. The children went first, and one by one they shot arrows at the target. Then it was the teachers' turn. Finally, Kang Xi himself shot at the target. According to historical records, time after time, Kang Xi 's arrows hit the bull's eye. Practicing archery was the last lesson of the day. Every day, this was the schedule, from 3 a.m. to 7 p.m. and without a break, throughout the summer and winter.
We can see that Kang Xi educated his children using strict discipline. Under his tutelage, Kang Xi's heirs developed various types of talents. The first talent was politics. Kang Xi's son, Yong Zheng, became the next emperor. His grandson, Qian Long, also became an emperor. Both Yong Zheng and Qian Long were outstanding emperors in the history of China. Thus, one can conclude that Kang Xi's method of teaching was very successful.
The second talent was scholarship. Kang Xi's third son, Yin Zhi, was a distinguished scientist. He was the editor of the book, The Compilation of the Past and the Present (unofficial translation of the book title), which consisted of 10,000 volumes.
The third talent was the development of artistic skills. Some of the princes excelled in calligraphy and painting.
The fourth talent to be developed was "life skills." Some of the princes' mothers did not have high status amongst the Emperor's concubines. Thus, those princes could not compete for the emperor's position. However, these princes led peaceful and productive lives.
Because of the success of Kang Xi's method of education, none of his heirs became a wastrel, playboy, or an evil doer.
December 25, 2008