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Education as the First Priority

Home Ancestral Remembrance Ceremony Annotations of the Ancestral Remembrance Service, 2015 Winter Solstice

We, representatives, on behalf of people of the Saha World (World of Endurance) on the Southern Continent of Jambudvīpa, are gathered together in Hong Kong on this Winter Solstice Day of 2015 in solemn reverence, with fine delicacies and a consecrated altar to offer the ancestors of the world our most respectful prayers as follows:

Since Pan Gu created the heaven and earth some eight thousand years ago,

life on this planet developed with the glory from the heaven above and nourishment from the earth below.

盤古:我國神話傳說中開天闢地首先創世的人。太初天地混沌像一個雞蛋,盤古就生在這個「雞蛋」裡。經過一萬八千歲,盤古破了混沌,輕清的陽氣上升為天,每天增高一丈;重濁的陰氣下沉為地,每天增厚一 丈;盤古的身子也每天增長一丈,又經一萬八千歲,天極高,地極深,盤古又高又大,於是就有了天皇、地皇、人皇這「三皇」(見《太平御覽》卷二引《三五曆 紀》)。又有民間傳說講太初天地混沌不開,盤古爺這個中國創世紀的人物一斧頭劈了下去,天地就分開了。
Pan Gu is the creator of heaven and earth in Chinese mythology. In the very beginning, heaven and earth were a formless mass, like an egg. Pan Gu was born in this ‘egg’ formation. Following eighteen thousand years, Pan Gu broke through the formless mass and the light and clear Yang energy rose to form the sky, rising by ten Chinese feet each day. The heavy and obscure Yin energy settled to form the earth, lowering by ten Chinese feet per day. Similarly, Pan Gu’s body grew by the same measure daily. After another eighteen thousand years, the heaven reached its height, the earth reached its depth and Pan Gu had grown both tall and great. Thus the three sovereigns of heaven, earth and humankind were created respectively (see The Imperial Readings of the Taiping Era (Taiping Yulan), Scroll 2). A folk legend also provides that heaven and earth were originally intermingled but Pan Gu divided this with his axe, thus creating heaven and earth.

As Nuwa, our foremother, shaped humans from the yellow earth,

Humankind thus originated from a mother’s womb alone.

Nuwa: The Imperial Readings of the Taiping Era (Taiping Yulan) cites Fengsu Tong to provide that there were no human beings when Pan Gu divided heaven and earth. Human beings were later shaped from the yellow soil by Nuwa, who became the primogenitor of the Chinese ethnic group.

To show respect to the mother, family names were derived from her name.

And from the Three Sovereigns to the Five Emperors, distinct family names were then formed for each tribe.

By the Spring and Autumn Period (c770BC-c476 BC), there were twenty-two family names as follows:

Guī(媯), Sì(姒), Zǐ(子), Jǐ(姬), Fēng (風) , Jí(己), Yíng (嬴), Jí (姞), Qí(祁), Mǐ (羋), Cáo (曹), Rèn (任).

Dǒng (董), Jiāng (姜), Yǎn (偃), Guī(歸), Xióng (熊), Màn (曼), Wěi (隗), Qī(漆), Yǔn (允) and Yún (妘).

These ancient surnames are a legacy from the matriarchal system.

However, when the patriarchal system became prominent, there developed another type of family name.

These family names were based on imperial grants of state or territory, or an inherited position or title held by a paternal ancestor.

And by the family names, each clan would know their own ancestors and family trees through kin and blood relations.

And by these blood relations, each individual would maintain the order of human ethics and morality in his relationships.

As our ancestors knew that endogamy was detrimental to procreation, there was only intermarriage among families of different surnames.

As a result, family names throughout the world are, as a matter of fact, of common ancestry and share a common heart.

姓氏:姓氏古時有別,姓起於女系,氏起於男系。在母系制時代,根據母親名字或居處,子孫以之為姓。顧炎武《日知錄》考證,至春秋時代,還存留二十二姓:媯(ㄍㄨㄟ guī,音規)、姒(ㄙˋ sì,音四)、子、姬、風、己、嬴、姞(ㄐ|ˊjí,音吉)、祁、羋(ㄇ|ˇ mǐ,音米)、曹、任、董、姜、偃、歸、熊、曼、隗(ㄨㄟˇ wěi,音偉)、漆、允、妘(ㄩㄣˊ yún,音云)。氏為父權制形成之後,因封國、封邑,或因父祖官職、名字、諡號為氏。到漢朝,姓氏混一,沒有區別。
Family names: In ancient times, there were two types of family names, one from the maternal line and the other from the paternal line. Under the matriarchal system, the family name of descendants would be based on the mother’s name or residence. Based on research by Gu Yanwu in The Record of Daily Study (Rizhilu), there were twenty-two family names up until the Spring and Autumn Period: 媯 (Guī), 姒 (Sì),子 (Zǐ), 姬 (Jǐ), 風 (Fēng) ,己 (Jí), 嬴 (Yíng), 姞 (jí), 祁 (Qí), 羋 (Mǐ), 曹 (Cáo), 任 (Rèn), 董 (Dǒng), 姜 (Jiāng), 偃 (Yǎn), 歸 (Guī), 熊 (Xióng), 曼 (Màn), 隗 (Wěi), 漆 (Qī), 允 (Yǔn) and妘 (Yún). The other type of family name arose under the patriarchal system based on an imperial grant of state or territory, or inherited position, name or posthumous title. From the Han dynasty onwards, there was no longer a distinction between the two types of family names.

Endogamy was detrimental to procreation: The book Guoyu (Book of Historical Narrative) states, “Marriage among those of the same surname should be prohibited, as it is detrimental to procreation.” The book Zuo Zhuan also states, “Those whose parents are of the same surname will not be able to have healthy children.” Such phenomena of physiological heredity had already been discovered by the Chinese in ancient times, hence consanguineous marriages were prohibited.

Upholding these underlying principles, helps promote the virtue of honouring parents among people worldwide.

The descendants are taught to honour their parents first and foremost, to respect their elders, to be conscientious and trustworthy, to love all beings, and to learn from the virtuous.

And such virtues, including sincerity, dutifulness, harmony and respectfulness for one’s neighbours, passed on from one generation to the next.

This great civilisation has had a profound and far-reaching influence.

Emulated among East Asia and admired by European countries in the West,

This culture of family is as richly diverse as ten-thousand flowers.

This culture has been based on ‘education as the first priority’ for generations throughout the ages,
and has produced generations of luminaries at the helm of the Chinese civilisation.

Honouring parents: Situated inland, the land of China is vast and fertile and there was an agrarian tradition throughout generations. This gave rise to a rural, agricultural and family culture and a culture of honouring parents. Love and respectfulness towards parents, loyalty towards the country, and trustworthiness among friends instilled harmonious relations among social groups and provided a unique contribution to human civilisation.

Education as the first priority: ‘The Record on the Subject of Education’ in The Book of Rites states that “Education is the first priority in building a country and guiding its people.” Chinese culture is based on the concept of education being foremost for nurturing sages throughout the generations. Sages such as Confucius and Mencius (founders of Confucianism), and Laozi and Zhuangzi (founders of Daoism) have become exemplars of virtues for everyone. Both Confucianism and Daoism have become pillars of Chinese culture.

How fortunate it is that Confucius was born into the world, his birth beginning a dawn after thousands of years of darkness.

Confucius left the world with the Six Classics, like a balmy spring breeze.

With a comprehensive understanding of heaven and earth, he taught us benevolence, righteousness, and practised faithfulness and mercifulness.

He provided a blueprint of an ideal world full of happiness for all people.

He is universally acknowledged as the greatest sage of all time, and admired as the eternal paragon of virtue and learning.

Confucius: Zhuxi once said, “Had it not been for Confucius, generations of humanity would have remained ignorant.” (see Records of Zhuxi’s Lectures, Scroll 92). Confucius compiled the earliest literature from antiquity into The Book of Songs, The Book of History, The Book of Music, The Book of Changes, The Book of Rites and The Spring and Autumn Annals, which are collectively known as the “Six Arts” or the “Six Classics.” They became the fount of Chinese culture. Confucius’ blueprint for a “commonwealth” became the Chinese dream of an ideal world (see ‘Liyun Datong’ Chapter of The Book of Rites).

After Confucius, Mencius promoted and further developed Confucianism.

Mencius taught of self-cultivation, being noble-minded, remaining uncompromised by threats and violence, undeterred by poverty and lowliness, and uncorrupted by fortune and material success.

According to Mencius, a man of noble character, is righteous, admirable, and possesses a state of happiness under all circumstances.

The age-old debate on righteousness and self-interest began with Mencius, the ‘Second Sage.’

He taught that benevolent governance originates from human nature and begins with extending kindness in service to others.

How great are the teachings of Confucius and Mencius, the foundation of Chinese culture!

The Chinese sage Mencius once said, “To remain uncorrupted by riches and honour; undeterred by poverty and lowliness, and uncompromised by threats and violence, is to be truly righteous.” (see ‘The Duke of Tengwen’ in Mencius). He also said “I cultivate an upright spirit.” (see ‘Gongsun Chou’ in Mencius). Mencius’ teachings about the spirit of a righteous man, self-cultivation, benevolent governance, the distinction between righteousness and self-interest, and the nature of the human mind, are universal.

Laozi’s masterpiece Dao De Jing, concisely unravelled the profound mysteries of the universe in five thousand characters.

In this classic text, he teaches about following the natural order and returning to our innate goodness.

Laozi’s three treasures of compassion, thriftiness and humility, represent wise teachings that remain ever cherished.

He observed the utmost virtue in water and the most beautiful circle of life in heaven and earth.

Laozi’s three treasures: Laozi said, “I have three treasures, which I hold dear. The first is compassion, the second is thriftiness and the third is humility.” (see Chapter 67 of Laozi). This means being compassionate to all beings, not being extravagant, and not causing ecological imbalance, environmental damage or waste of resources, which ultimately facilitates a world of lasting prosperity and stability. Laozi said, “The utmost virtue being like water,” means serving unconditionally, which is the highest state of living.

Beautiful circle of life: In ‘Tangong’ of The Book of Rites, it states “How magnificently beautiful, how brilliantly beautiful it is.” This describes an expansive, lofty and brilliant radiance.

Zhuangzi continued Laozi’s teachings and developed Daoism.

He leisurely travelled the world in search of true freedom.

He was spiritually enriched with various virtues and attained a state of oneness with all beings.

He let nature take its course and was unconcerned about whether life or death comes first.

His teachings about governing without self-interest but by nature’s own course, provide universal light for all statesmen.

逍遙遊乎天宇:莊子思想精華盡在《莊子》內七篇中,《逍遙遊》為隨心所欲,求真自由;《齊物論》為泯滅是非, 求真平等;《養生主》為順其自然,重在衛生;《人間世》為隨變所適,不荷其累,論處世之道;《德充符》為德充於內,應物於外;《大宗師》為天地之大,萬物 之富,莫不以無心為宗為師;《應帝王》為忘形骸,外生死,無終始,任自化,行不言之教,以無為而治天下。
Free and unfettered, he happily travelled the world: The essence of Zhuangzi’s thoughts is encapsulated in the seven chapters of Zhuangzi. The chapter ‘Xiao Yao You’ is about living in accordance with one’s innate nature and seeking true freedom. The chapter ‘Qi Wu Lun’ is about resolving differences and seeking true equality. The chapter ‘Yang Sheng Zhu’ is about according with the law of nature and maintaining good health. The chapter ‘Ren Jian Shi’ is about adapting to changes while remaining undisturbed; ‘De Chong Fu’ is about being filled with virtues within and manifesting them without; ‘Da Zong Shi’ is about the vastness of heaven and earth, and the abundance of nature, that is entirely as nature intended; ‘Ying Di Wang’ is about rising above our physical form, life and death, beginnings and ends, living in accordance with nature, teaching by example and governing without self-interest.
光昀(ㄩㄣˊ yún,音勻):光亮普照。
‘Universal light’ means radiance that illuminates everything.

As the backbone of Chinese civilisation, Confucianism and Daoism have played a vital role in guiding the Chinese culture.

Over six hundred years of war from the Spring and Autumn Period and the Warring States Period to the Qin Dynasty,

finally came to an end with the establishment of the Han Dynasty.

Emperor Gaozu (also known as Liu Bang), the founder of the Han Dynasty, dismounted from the battle horse, thereby enabling the troops to rest and the people to recover from the long period of war.

During the reigns of Emperors Wen, Jing and Wu of the Han Dynasty, China enjoyed such prosperity that the cereals in granary stocks decomposed as bumper harvests followed one another, and the strings holding the copper currency together decayed as the nation’s savings were rarely used.

For the first time in history, Confucianism was formally established as the nation’s guiding ideology, being preferred over other schools of thought.

The Three Principles and Five Virtues became social standards and the cornerstone of China’s destiny.

Backbone: A metaphor depicting the importance of Confucianism and Daoism in Chinese culture.

War: From the capital being moved to Luoyang by Emperor Ping of the Zhou Dynasty (770 BC) until the surrender of the second emperor of the Qin Dynasty (209 BC), this was the longest period of warfare and chaos in Chinese history, from the Spring and Autumn Period and the Warring States Periods until the Qin Dynasty, lasting almost six hundred years.

Emperor Gaozu (also known as Liu Bang), founder of the Han Dynasty, dismounted from the battle horse: Having accepted the advice of Lu Jia, one of his advisors, Liu Bang dismounted from his battle horse and governed the country, enabling the people to recover (see ‘The Biography of Lujia’ (Lujia Zhuan) in The History of the Former Han Dynasty). In the seventy years until Emperor Wu of the Han dynasty, there was great prosperity with abundance of wealth and grains. Consequently, the “granary stocks aged and currency strings deteriorated” (‘The Biography of Jiazhuan’ (Jiajuan Zhi Zhuan) in The History of the Former Han Dynasty originally stated that the “granary stocks decomposed and the currency strings deteriorated”). Emperor Wu of the Han dynasty thus accomplished two things – he developed the Silk Road, and advocated Confucianism over other schools of thought and establishing the Three Principles and Five Virtues which have had a profound and far-reaching influence.

The great Emperor Guangwu (Liu Xiu) reinvigorated the Han Dynasty and restored its prosperity.

Emperor Ming of the Han Dynasty welcomed Buddhism from the west, which became the pride of the Han Dynasty.

The integration of Confucianism, Buddhism and Daoism led to many of the greatest thinkers.

Restoration of the Han Dynasty by Emperor Guangwu: In the latter years of the Western Han (or Former Han) Dynasty, Wang Mang seized the throne and established the Xin Dynasty. Liu Xiu subsequently raised troops in Nanyang, defeated Mang and re-established the Han Dynasty (the Eastern Han) with its capital in Luoyang.

Emperor Ming of the Han Dynasty welcomed Buddhism: The preface of The Sutra in Forty-two Chapters states that Emperor Ming dreamt of a golden man one night. He was thus inspired to order a party of twelve, including ministers Cai Yin and Qin Jing to travel to India in search of the Buddha’s teachings. This was the first journey to the west in Chinese history for Buddhist teachings.

Mr Xu Shen, an erudite scholar from the Chinese Central Plains, was the peerless master of the Five Classics.

He compiled Shuowen Jiezi, the first comprehensive Chinese etymological dictionary, including the small seal script and former scripts.

His definitions of the six methods of formulating Chinese characters explained their logic and underlying principles.

This etymological dictionary enables ancient writings to be fully understood to this day.

The Chinese characters are exceptional as one can understand their meaning by looking at their form.

The Chinese characters have enabled China to remain unified and inseparable throughout thousands of years in history.

The four hundred years of the Han Dynasty are like the Chinese Dragon soaring over the skies and admired by all.

The Chinese literary language, classics and studies have set the standards for past and present.

許慎:許慎字叔重,時稱「五經無雙許叔重」,著《說文解字》,以漢字偏旁建五百四十部,收集九千三百五十三個篆字,古文一千一百六十三個字。是我國第一部文 字學經典之作。許慎為漢字構造法理的六書作出定義:「象形者,畫成其事,隨體詰詘,日月是也;指事者,視而可識,察而見意,上下是也;會意者,比類合誼, 以見指撝,武信是也;形聲者,以事為名,取譬相成,江河是也;轉注者,建類一首,同意相受,考老是也;假借者,本無其字,依聲託事,令長是也。」(見《說 文解字•敘》)
Xu Shen: Xu Shen (courtesy name of ‘Shuzhong’) was regarded as the peerless master of the Five Classics. He compiled the dictionary Shuowen Jiezi, which classifies 9,353 seal script characters, including 1,163 ancient script characters, into 540 radicals. It was the first Chinese etymological dictionary. Xu Shen defined the Six Methods of formulating Chinese characters as: “Pictograms are formed by drawing the object according to its form, as exemplified by the characters for sun日 and moon月. The sun日 is more full and round, compared to the crescent-shaped moon 月. Ideograms are recognisable and observable, as exemplified by the characters for above上 and below 下. For above上, the vertical line expresses the idea of something above a surface. For below下, the vertical line points to something below the surface. Associative compounds combine two or more characters to create a new meaning, as exemplified by military 武 and trustworthiness 信. In military武, the character for cease 止on the left and weapon 戈 on the right combine to mean cessation of conflict as the original role of the military. In trustworthiness 信, the character for person 亻 is combined with speech 言,meaning a person who can stand by their words, thus expressing trustworthiness. Picto-phonetic characters are comprised of two parts, relating to form and sound respectively, as exemplified by the two names for river, 江 and 河; the three dots on the left 氵represent water, and the other part of the character provides its pronunciation. Derivative characters are derived from form, sound or meaning and are often mutually explanatory, such as examination考 and elderly老. Phonetic loan characters are those with the same sound being used to represent an expression for which a character has yet to be formulated, as exemplified by the characters for order令 and long長.” (See the Postface of Shuowen Jiezi)

After the Han Dynasty came the Tang Dynasty of the Li family, a dynasty governed by a wise emperor and his honourable minister.

They compiled The Governing Principles of Ancient China and accomplished a golden age of unprecedented stability and prosperity.

明君直臣:魏徵與唐太宗庭爭不已,唐太宗退朝回宮,自言自 語:找機會殺了這個田舍翁。長孫皇后問太宗要殺何人,太宗回答:魏徵當庭辱我。皇后立即回寢宮換上禮服來向太宗施大禮祝賀:「有明君方有直臣,魏徵直言敢 諫,聖上豈非明君?社稷有幸,蒼生有幸。」太宗怒氣立消。魏徵逝世後,太宗沉痛地說:「人以銅為鏡,可以正衣冠; 以古為鏡,可以知興替; 以人為鏡,可以知得失。魏徵沒,朕亡一鏡矣!」明君、直臣、賢皇后共同鑄成了大唐盛世,成為歷史佳話。(見《資治通鑒•唐紀》)
A wise emperor and his honourable minister: The Prime Minister Wei Zheng and Emperor Taizong of the Tang dynasty were once engaged in an endless argument at court. Upon returning home, the Emperor murmured to himself: “I will find an opportunity to kill this old farmer.” The Empress Zhangsun overheard this and asked the Emperor who he was referring to. The Emperor replied, “Wei Zheng insulted me in front of the whole court!” The Empress immediately went back to her room, changed into formal court dress and returned to congratulate the Emperor, “It is said that righteous ministers appear when there is a wise ruler. Since Wei Zheng has the courage to admonish, does it not mean that Your Majesty is a wise ruler? This is a great fortune for the country and all living beings!” On hearing this, Taizong instantly stopped being angry. After Wei Zheng passed away, Taizong mourned him and said, “Using polished copper as a mirror, one can check his attire; using history as a mirror, one can understand the rise and fall of a country; using a person as a mirror, one can realise his own mistakes. Without Wei Zheng, I have lost a mirror!” A wise emperor, a righteous official and a virtuous empress together forged the historic golden era of the Tang dynasty. (See ‘The Annals of the Tang dynasty’ in Zizhi Tongjian.)

The Governing Principles of Ancient China: Wei Zheng, Yu Shinan and Zhu Liang et al were commissioned by Emperor Taizong of the Tang Dynasty during the early years of the Reign of Zhenguan to compile The Governing Principles of Ancient China, collecting related writings from the Qin dynasty to the Han dynasty. It has become the treasured reference on national governance for all time.

The ocean is vast as it does not abandon even the smallest stream; Mount Tai does not desert even the tiniest speck of dust and so it becomes one of the highest mountains in China.

The dynamism of the Tang Dynasty is manifest in its great prosperity.

It brought forth the renaissance of Confucianism, Daoism and Buddhism.

During this time, Master Xuanzang journeyed westwards to India in search of Buddhist teachings; and Master Jianzhen voyaged eastwards to promote Buddhism in Japan.

Fearless of danger and difficulty, Master Xuanzang travelled a hundred thousand miles.

His ten years’ devotion to studying Mahayana Buddhism established him as a prestigious scholar known throughout India.

King Harsha and all others kings of India highly admired Master Xuanzang and they all sought to visit him.

Master Xuanzang’s performance at the Buddhist debate of Kānyakubja (Kanauj, India) attracted over seven thousand Buddhist monks and nuns.

The eighteen kings of India prostrated before Master Xuanzang to show their utmost respect.

Master Xuanzang returned with Buddhist scriptures, images and relics as treasures for China and its people.

With the greatest respect and admiration, Emperor Taizong, who compiled The Governing Principles of Ancient China, invited Master Xuanzang to be his teacher and government advisor.

Yet contrary to the Emperor’s expectations, Master Xuanzang declined the invitation, choosing instead to devote his whole life to the translation and promotion of the Buddhist teachings.

He translated over 600 Buddhist sutras, which was an unprecedented accomplishment.

西行玄奘:玄奘十三歲出家,六二九年從長安西遊,歷盡千辛萬苦,到達印度,六四五年回到長安,帶回經書六百五十七部,十年間與弟子共譯出七十五部一千三百三 十五卷,還著有《大唐西域記》十二卷,記述他西遊親身經歷的一百一十個國家及傳聞的二十八個國家的山川、地邑、物產、習俗等。
Master Xuanzang journeys west: Great Master Xuanzang was ordained as a Buddhist monk at the age of thirteen. He travelled westward in 629 AD, and overcame enormous challenges to reach India. Returning to Changan, China in 645 AD, Master Xuanzang brought with him 657 volumes of Buddhist texts. In the space of ten years, he and his students translated 75 volumes and 1,335 scrolls of Buddhist texts. He also wrote the 12 scrolls of The Great Tang Records on the Western Regions, detailing the geography, cities, local produce and customs of 110 countries that he visited and those of 28 countries that he heard about over the course of his journey.

曲女城會:印度拘摩羅王和戒日王偕同玄奘來到曲女城,召集各國僧侶召開辯論大會,五印度十八國國王全都列席,三千多名大小乘高僧、兩千多位婆羅門等教徒以及 一千多位的那爛陀寺寺僧,全都參與盛會,這就是佛教史上著名的「曲女城辯論大會」。玄奘受請為論主,稱揚大乘佛教。連續十八天,無人敢與其辯論。依照印度的通例,戒日王禮請玄奘乘象出巡,將大會盛事宣告於眾,這是有史以來中國人在國際上享有的最高光榮。
The Buddhist debate at Kānyakubja: King Kumāra and King Harsha of India accompanied Master Xuanzang to Kānyakubja. Ordained and non-ordained Buddhists and followers of other religions from every kingdom in ancient India were invited to the debate. It was attended by the kings of all eighteen kingdoms of ancient India, over 3,000 senior Mahayana and Theravada Buddhist masters, over 2,000 Brahmans and over 1,000 Buddhist monks from Nālandā Temple. This was the famous “Great Buddhist Debate at Kānyakubja” in the history of Buddhism. In the debate, Master Xuanzang was invited to be the main speaker in support of Mahayana Buddhism. During eighteen consecutive days of the debate, no one dared to challenge Master Xuanzang. Following India’s standard practice, King Harsha invited Master Xuanzang to travel around India on an elephant, to publicise the great debate. This was the highest honour ever received by a Chinese person abroad.

Another great scholar and Buddhist monk of the Tang Dynasty, Master Jianzhen mastered the five fields of learning in ancient India and committed himself to alleviating the sufferings of illness and poverty.

For five times, he attempted to sail eastwards to Japan. Although these efforts were in vain, he did not abandon hope.

He remained true to his compassionate vow despite losing his sight following the fifth voyage. 

Master Jianzhen finally reached Japan on the sixth attempt, where he spent the rest of his life passing on the teachings of Buddhism.

Attaining great renown, the Japanese Empress and Emperor took the Buddhist precepts under his tutelage, and respectfully conferred on him the title of ‘Master of the Buddha’s Light’,

and constructed for him the Tōshōdaiji Temple, the first Buddhist monastery in Japan.

Master Jianzhen also introduced to Japan traditional Chinese medicine prescriptions and he was regarded by the Japanese as the “Sage of Chinese Medicine”.

In conclusion, Confucianism, Buddhism and Daoism are like the three legs of the great bronze cauldron in Chinese culture.

Jianzhen: In the first year of the Tianbao Reign during the Tang dynasty (742 AD) Master Jianzhen was determined to sail eastwards to Japan. He persevered despite five unsuccessful attempts and later loss of sight. In 754 AD, he successfully sailed to Japan on his sixth attempt. He constructed the Tōshōdaiji Temple in Japan and devoted the rest of his life to promoting Buddhism there, thus becoming “the Father of the Viyana School” in Japan. Master Jianzhen was also known as “the Sage of Chinese Medicine,” as he introduced Japan traditional Chinese medicine.

The five fields of learning of ancient India: Such learning encompassed all knowledge systems, including the science of language, the science of logic, the science of medicine, the science of fine arts and crafts, and the science of spiritual cultivation.

During the Song Dynasty, academic scholarship flourished and reached a zenith in Chinese literary history.  

The achievements of the Three Su’s (Su Xun, Su Shi and Su Zhe), Ouyang Xiu and Sima Guang were as outstanding as Emperor Wenzong.

Confucianist scholarship thrived and rise to prominence like brilliant stars in the sky.

‘The Five Scholars’ of the Northern Song also popularised the studies of Confucianism and their works were compiled by Master Zhuxi.

Master  Zhuxi compiled the Four Books: The Great Learning, The Doctrine of the Mean, The Analects of Confucius and Mencius, setting the foundation for studying the Five Classics. 

The way of The Great Learning is to understand one’s true nature and practise compassion to achieve ultimate wisdom. The prerequisite for personal moral cultivation is to eradicate selfish desires so that one can manifest innate virtues, manage one’s family, govern a country, and bring peace to the whole world.

Practising these teachings is key to governing a nation and achieving lasting peace and harmony on earth.

The Three Sus, Ouyang Xiu and Sima Guang: Ouyang Xiu was the leader of the literary world during the Northern Song Dynasty. Su Shi (also known as Su Dongpo) was an eminent scholar in the history of Chinese literature. He and his father, Su Xun, and brother, Su Zhe, were called the “Three Sus”. Sima Guang was an eminent historiographer and his work Zizhi Tongjian (The Comprehensive Handbook for Government) has been widely circulated throughout generations.

The Five Scholars: Zhou Dunyi, Shao Yong, Zhang Zai, Cheng Hao and Cheng Yi popularised Confucianism to its greatest prominence. As their great accomplishments have had a profound and lasting influence, they are known as the Five Scholars of the Northern Song Dynasty.

Zhuxi: Zhuxi of the Southern Song Dynasty compiled the Confucian scholarship into the Four Books, namely The Great Learning, The Doctrine of the Mean, The Analects of Confucius and Mencius. These books have become the foundational studies, which are based on personal moral cultivation that equips one to manage family, govern a country and realise world peace. In light of such utility, the Four Books have had a profound and lasting impact throughout generations.

During the Qing Dynasty, China enjoyed another golden era under the reign of Emperor Kangxi, Emperor Yongzheng and Emperor Qianlong.

This great dynasty witnessed the compilation of The Complete Library of the Four Branches of Literature (Siku Quanshu), which includes classical works, historical works, philosophical works and belles-lettres.

The Complete Library of the Four Branches of Literature includes the essence of five thousand years of literary works.

How could gold or jade compare to the exquisiteness of The Complete Library of the Four Branches of Literature, how could the highest peaks or the deepest oceans compare to its extensiveness ?

四庫全書:《四庫全書》是在乾隆皇帝的主持下,由紀昀等三百六十多位高官、學者編撰,三千八百多人抄寫,費時十三年編成。叢書分經、史、子、集四部,故名四 庫。共有三千五百多種書,七萬九千卷,三萬六千冊,約八億字,基本上囊括了中國古代所有圖書,故稱「全書」。當年,乾隆皇帝命人手抄了七部《四庫全書》, 下令分別藏於紫禁城文淵閣、遼寧瀋陽文溯閣、圓明園文源閣、河北承德文津閣、揚州文匯閣、鎮江文宗閣、杭州文瀾閣。《四庫全書》至今是世界各國無可比擬 的、最豐厚的文化寶藏。
The Complete Library of the Four Branches of Literature (Siku Quanshu): The Complete Library was commissioned by Emperor Qianlong and compiled by Ji Yun and over 360 senior officials and scholars. The Complete Library took thirteen years to complete and was handwritten by over 3,800 people. It is classified into four sections, namely the classical works, the historical works, the philosophical works and belle-lettres, which are known as the “Four Branches”. The Complete Library has over 3,500 sub-categories, 79,000 scrolls and 36,000 individual books, with almost eight billion Chinese characters. It is a compilation of virtually all ancient Chinese texts and hence is called The Complete Library. At the time, Emperor Qianlong instructed his ministers to produce seven handwritten copies of The Complete Library which were housed respectively in seven locations – the Wenyuan Chamber of the Imperial Palace, the Wensu Chamber in Shenyang, the Wenyuan Chamber in the Summer Palace, the Wenjin Chamber in Chengde, the Wenhui Chamber in Yangzhou, the Wenzong Chamber in Zhenjiang and the Wenlan Chamber in Hangzhou. To date, The Complete Library remains a comprehensive cultural treasure that is second to none.

The Chinese people have worked together in building a splendid civilisation.

It is unfortunate that mistakes over the last century have almost destroyed time-honoured traditions. 

Principles, virtues and moral ethics were abandoned, denigrated and dismissed.

As people became lost in the pursuit of self-interest, contemporary social conventions and customary practices have become unkind and disordered.

As a result, true scholars are rare and few people know about the classics.

There is bound to be fine talent among the great Chinese nation.

May it be divine Providence that the Chinese civilisation remains today and the red sun rises in the east again.

As the dust settles on past misfortunes, a golden age of stability and prosperity lies ahead.

Let us rebuild the Great Wall of culture with the collected wisdom of the Chinese people.

Together, we shall realise the Chinese Dream put forward by President Xi Jinping to revive our great nation.

Traditional Chinese culture illuminates the East and the West like the sun and the moon.

Sharing her wisdom with all humanity will enable us to join hands to achieve a world of peace and harmony together.

With peace in mind and reverence from our hearts, we gather in Hong Kong today,

and stand on this solemn occasion to pay our utmost respect.

May our honourable ancestors bless our common home.

Here in utmost reverence, we pray whole-heartedly that our honourable ancestors may receive these offerings.