A Harmonious Society, a Homeland of Propriety and Integrity
Lujiang Centre of Cultural Education (LCCE)
1. THE ORIGIN OF THE LCCE
The universe was originally harmonious; everything comes from the same primordial source (elements) and lives symbiotically. To live and thrive together and to maintain harmony, peace, stability, and prosperity of the world, is the most sincere aspiration and expectation of the entire human race. When we quietly contemplate the history of the east and the west, from ancient times to the present, we find that military retaliations (armed vendettas), wars, economic reforms, political alliances, and even world summits cannot reconcile the conflicts caused by bias or polarized views.
Dr. Arnold Toynbee, the famous British historian and philosopher of the 20th century, stated in the 1970s that “[I]n the coming 21st century, the only human civilization fit to liberate the world from the pit of global chaos or a crisis is the Theosophy or Wisdom of Confucianism and Mahayana Buddhism.” Mr. Helmut Schmidt, the former Chancellor of West Germany, also proclaimed that historically, countries ruled by the Chinese (Han people), no matter how powerful, rarely conquered their enemies or expanded their territory through armed force. Chinese culture is expansive and profound, its philosophy is to tolerate and embrace all differences so that all can flourish together. The essential doctrines of Confucius, Mencius and Mahayana Buddhism all acknowledge “the innate kindness of human nature.” They all teach and transform people through benevolence, compassion, and universal love; (in order to) invoke innate kindness, the purest of purity, the compassion and tranquility, and the benevolence and humility of mankind.
A harmonious world begins with the inner harmony of our minds. Only by resolving our inner conflicts and by treating every person, matter, and object with sincerity and love, can external conflicts and confrontations be reconciled, and peace and stability [of the world] achieved. When human minds are pure, the land will be pure. When human minds are peaceful, all sentient beings will be secure. When human minds are equal, the world will have equality. This is the essence of traditional Chinese education, as well as the fundamental teachings of all worldly saints and sages. According to the experiences of five thousand years of Chinese history, “education is the first priority in establishing a country and leading her people.” The most effective and efficient way to achieve “the security of the state and the stability of the nation” is through schools, courses, lectures, etc., to promote the education of love and ethics. The education of sincerity and love, propagated by the saints and sages, transcending time and space, eternal and constant, will truly bring everlasting harmony, peace, security, and prosperity to the entire human race.
Venerable Master Chin Kung, the Principal Teacher of LCCE, he has been invited to give speeches at numerous Peace Conferences organized by UNESCO. During one conference, he proposed “Reconciling Conflicts and Promoting Social Stability and World Peace through Teaching [Morals and Ethical Relations].” His concept was given great recognition and laudation but the attendees felt that it was a utopia and could not be realized. To help increase people’s confidence and to actualize peace and harmony, the Venerable Professor established the Lujiang Centre of Cultural Education in his hometown, Tangchi, Lujiang County, Anhui Province, China, and the ancient Chinese educational system of classical teachings was adopted as an experiment.
2. THE BLUEPRINT OF THE LCCE
The Lujiang Centre of Cultural Education (LCCE) uses Confucian Classics as teaching materials to train its teachers to be virtuous and to become role models of morality. It gives courses on ethical relations to the locals and holds seminars on “How to Lead a Happy Life” to teach people all over the world.
After two years of learning and practicing, the social values of Tangchi improved tremendously. The experiment validated Confucian doctrine (teaching) that “primordially, human nature was innately kind.” People can be taught to be virtuous. The ancient, traditional cultural education is greatly effective in transforming modern people.
LCCE Mission: to promote the education of morals and ethical relations, to advance world harmony, peace, and stability.
LCCE Motto: Learn to be a teacher, act to be a role model; self-cultivation is the foundation and education is the first priority.
Teaching Principles: Five thousand years of Chinese civilization and the teachings of saints and sages can be summarized as follows, the affinity (natural love) between father and son, the integrity (propriety and loyalty) between the king and his subjects, the difference (different duties) between the husband and the wife, the order (bonding) between the elder and the younger, and the trust between friends.” Among these five relations, the starting point is the affinity between father and son.” Emanating from this natural love between parent and child, it expands into the sincerity and love towards families, clans, nations, and eventually towards the world and all sentient beings between heaven and earth. These ethical values must be actualized into daily lives.
The Virtuous Tenets of the LCCE: refers to the ethical education of “filial piety, fraternal love, loyalty, trust, propriety, righteousness, integrity, shamefulness, benevolence, love, harmony, and peace.”
Major Teaching Material: Di Zi Gui (Standards for Being a Good Child and Student), to lay the foundation of ethics.
Related Teaching Materials: the Classic of the Tri-word Stanza (San-Zi Jing), The Five Disciplines from the Ancients, the Four Classics (Si-Shu), the Stories of the Eight Virtues, and the Thirteen Classics, etc.
The Curriculum: A series of classes on the following topics: Di Zi Gui and Modern Life, Traditional Culture and the Eight Honors and Eight Shames, Chinese Culture and the Science of Management, the way to be a good teacher (Teaching Methodology), Conducts of Saints and Sages, social manners and etiquette, Healthy Eating Habits in the New Century, etc.
Training of Traditional Arts and Crafts: calligraphy, seal-carving, the martial art of Tai-Chi, music, needlework, the art of paper cutting, etc.
Teaching Media: all kinds of classes, lectures, seminars, and Internet classes for long-distance students.
▲ Studying Di Zi Gui (Guidelines for Being a Good Person) attentively together
▲ Training of Traditional Arts and Crafts: calligraphy, seal-carving, the martial art of Tai-Chi, music, needlework, the art of paper cutting, etc.
3. MAJOR TEACHING ACTIVITIES AND EFFECTS
(1) Lecture Series on How to Create a Model City of Peace and Harmony
- Emphasize “practice” in the training of teachers
To train those who aspire “to propagate the forgotten teachings of the past saints; to establish world peace for all future generations.” Teachers, aspiring to be saints and sages, should correct their mindset and behaviors first and emulate the saints, such as Confucius and Mencius, in their daily activities. They should acknowledge their faults and reduce their wrongdoings. With sincerity and the correctness of minds, they would understand the nuance of Confucius’ statement: “How joyous to learn and to constantly review and practice what I have learned.”
- Teach ethics to villagers
The teachers visited the surrounding villages of Tangchi and gave lessons on ethics to the local farmers and villagers. They exemplified the family tradition of filial piety and fraternal love, the mutual respect between couples, and the cordial relationship between daughter-in-law and mother-in-law. As a result, the children learned to be pious, the elderly were taken care of, and the neighborhoods and communities demonstrated the propriety of yielding when conflicts arise. Overall, family relations become harmonious and social values of the small ancient town of Tangchi gradually changed for the better.
- Respect the elderly, venerate the sagacious, and instill virtuous social values
Every year the LCCE presented gifts of dragon-headed canes and money in red envelopes, an old custom, to show respect to the elderly residents of Tangchi. The teachers will visit the elderly in every house; their actions of love and respect for the old aroused the filial piety of the villagers and instigated the social mores of filial piety and fraternal love.
- Nurture the roots of a harmonious society through the town’s community school
Collaborating with the community school sponsored by the locals, as a base for traditional cultural education, the LCCE opened a series of courses on Di Zi Gui and classes on traditional arts and crafts. In addition, it also set up the Happy Seniors Club and Di Zi Gui Classes for Families with Youngsters. The goal of LCCE is to actualize the vision of the saints that “the elderly are taken care of, friends are bonded by trust, and the young are nurtured with love.”
- Songs and laughter at the Green Classroom
The LCCE set up an outdoor green classroom in the wooded park area beside the river of Tangchi. In the great outdoors, lectures on Di Zi Gui (Standards for Being a Good Child and Student) were broadcast on TV. Teachers also shared stories of good people and good things happening in the surrounding area as well as lessons of spirit-lifting songs that narrated filial and fraternal love. Quite often the audience was so touched by the sentiment of the songs and stories, which were close to their heart and experience, they would cry. Because the green classroom promotes healthy recreational activities, they are most popular and welcomed by the local residents.
- Tea parties to promote community harmony
The LCCE collaborates with the town government to organize yearly events that will coincide with festive seasons or tea parties to discuss specific topics in order to promote the interactions among townspeople, to understand local needs, and to listen to their recommendations. Attendees of such theme tea parties include representatives of taxi drivers, environmental workers, businesses, model villages, and the communications industry.
- Act as a model for the traditional way of farming
To rebuild the confidence of the traditional way of farming and to promote and realize environmentalism, the LCCE cultivated a piece of farmland with traditional methods, without any use of chemical fertilizers or pesticides, and had a great harvest of fruits and vegetables. As a model of organic farming, it demonstrated the harmony and abundance of traditional farming.
- Honor virtuous conducts to set a new paradigm
The LCCE, collaborating with the town government to set up good examples for society, organized a myriad of activities to reward and honor the virtuous, such as “the Great Assembly to Honor Good Mothers-in-Law and Good Daughters-in-Law,” “the Great Assembly to Honor Great Mothers, Model Workers, and Exemplary Youngsters,” “the Great Assembly to Honor Good Fathers and Good Children,” “the October Chongyang Festival: Respecting the Elderly Evening Celebration,” etc.
- Pick up rubbish to keep our hometown clean
The teachers from the LCCE practice the motto social harmony begins with me,” and will pick up rubbish on the streets weekly. They clean the environment as well as purify the minds of the town folks. Less and less town folks will litter the streets and the concept of environmentalism is also strengthened in them.
- Cable TV as a classroom
To fully utilize the role of television as a media for social education, Tangchi Cablevision dedicated a channel to broadcast 24 hours a day “the Happy Life Seminars” and cultural programs, such as movies or operas, related to loyalty, filial piety and justice. The townspeople can receive and immerse in the wisdom of the saints and sages without stepping outside their homes or shops.
- The wonder of the Happy Life Seminar
Generally, the LCCE holds a monthly seminar on “How to Lead a Happy Life” to people from all over the world. The seminar provides a series of lectures on the application of traditional culture in daily lives and different enterprises. (Because of the visible benefits) the courses’ feasible, real life implementation of virtuous conducts are widely accepted and supported by the participants.
(2) The Effects of Traditional Teachings Outside Tangchi
The philosophy or the spirit of Chinese civilization starts with a person’s self-cultivation, harmony in the family, the well governance of the nation, and ends with world peace. Such spirit can be applied to the daily activities of a myriad of enterprises, and can bring personal happiness, family harmony, national security, and world peace.
- Traditional culture applied to penitentiary system (reforms prisoners)
The Judiciary Department and Chief of Prisons Division of Hainan Province introduced traditional culture to its penitentiary system. Civil policemen were sent in groups to attend the Happy Life Seminar to learn traditional culture. After they went back, they taught by example, and with sincerity, effectively encouraged the inmates’ consciousness to reform. Currently, the traditional education of ethics is comprehensively implemented in the penitentiary system of Hainan Province.
Venerable Professor Chin Kung has said that a person’s conduct may be wicked, but there is no wicked person because everyone can be reformed through education. People can be taught to become good.
- Traditional culture applied to businesses
More and more entrepreneurs have begun to apply the principles of traditional culture to create their company cultures. The top management of a company in Nanjing, after attending the seminar, realized that “superiors should treat their subordinates with etiquette and subordinates should treat their superiors with loyalty.” To set example for their workers, the Director and the General Manager will stand at the company’s front door and bow to every worker who reports to duty in the morning. Thereafter, all of them will bow to the picture of Confucius first, and then recite Di Zi Gui together. They will share stories of the good deeds of their employees, or their learning experiences of Di Zi Gui before they start to work.
▲ Traditional culture applied to penitentiary system (reforms prisoners)
4. A HARMONIOUS SOCIETY IS NOT DISTANT
The lessons learned from the Tangchi Experiment reaffirmed our sincere belief that we can “reconcile conflicts, promote social stability, and achieve world peace.” We have deep faith that “people can be taught to become good” and “primordially, human nature is kind.” Every person was innately a good person. As long as the teachings are positive and correct, every one will be happy to accept such education, and social harmony is not far away.
We wish to join hands with all the peace-loving people of the world; collaboratively, to demonstrate and develop the education of virtues, ethical relations, the law of cause and effect, wisdom, and science; and wholeheartedly, to contribute our efforts to the actualization of social harmony and world harmony for the entire human race.