BEIJING, Nov. 9, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — When did the White Deer Cave form and appear beside the Five Old Men Peak? At the southern foot of the Five Old Men Peak of Lushan, a run-down building, which has survived the vicissitudes of life, stands there, displaying the beauty of the bygone era. This building is the White Deer Cave Academy, which ranks first among the four ancient Chinese academies. For thousands of years, countless masters have taught here, and countless distinguished students graduated here and walked on into different paths. After centuries, the names on the stone tablets are still dazzling. In 1216 A.D., an 18-year-old man came to the White Deer Cave Academy. He was Jiang Wanli from Duchang, Jiangxi Province. Out of the admiration of Zhu Xi, a great scholar, he came here to study. At that time, the White Deer Cave Academy was already full of great scholars, with thousands of students. They studied Confucian classics and passed down the Confucian spirit of “humanity, justice, courtesy, and wisdom,” making White Deer Cave rise above as the top school in China.
In 1241 A.D., 44-year-old Jiang Wanli founded Bailuzhou College, where he adopted the system of White Deer Cave Academy and taught all students in person. Then in 1243, he founded Zonglian Jingshe Academy and Daoyuan Academy. In his later years, he set up the Zhishan Academy in his residence in Raozhou Prefecture. Within 40 years, he founded 4 academies. In his educational career, he consistently upheld his educational philosophies of “integrity and righteousness.”
The spirit of Jiangxi academies remains profound and extensive, and the cultural context of Jiangxi lives on. During the Northern and Southern Song Dynasties, there were altogether 515 academies in China, while there were 170 in Jiangxi alone, accounting for one third in China. In the Song Dynasty, there were 5,534 successful candidates in the highest imperial examinations in Jiangxi, ranking first in China. In the Ming Dynasty, among the 1,239 academies in China, there were 238 in Jiangxi. Seasons changed fast, and the sound of reading aloud at that time no longer existed, but the patriotism, national integrity, and the academic spirit of pursuing knowledge flourish and continue to grow far and wide.