Reporter: Wong Wei-Jhih / Summary Report
Hosted by the Chinese Zhu Xi Society and the Fujian Federation of Social Science Circles (FJFSSC) and organized by Xiamen Zhu Xi Academy, Yundang Academy, Kinmen Yannan Academy, and other academies on both sides of the Strait, the 2017 Xiamen (Tong’an) International Zhu Xi Cultural Festival kicks off today (October 15th) at Zhu Xi Academy in Xiamen (Tong’an) on the theme of “Peace across the Country and World.” Experts and scholars from around the world and the Zhu clan representatives gathered in Tong’an. As a co-organizer, a 20-member delegation from Yannan Academy led by dean Yang Shu-Cing arrived at Xiamen yesterday. They went to Tong’an in the morning and attended a rehearsal of the Zhu Xi memorial ceremony for the opening. In the afternoon they left for Zhangzhou City and entered into an alliance with Datang Songzhou Academy, China’s first academy in history. During the festival, Yang Shu-Cing, on behalf of Kinmen, will serve as one of the officiants at the Zhu Xi memorial ceremony for the opening, delivering a lecture on “Yannan Enlightenment: The Origin of Zhu Xi Academy Education and the Impartation of Heritage,” in which he will explain the relations between Zhu Xi, Kinmen, and Yannan Academy to attendees from both sides of the Taiwan Strait and international participants.
This year marks the 887th anniversary of Zhu Xi's birth. Zhu Xi has had an influence on people in Fujian for eight hundred years. To express reverence for him, Xiamen, Tong’an, Kinmen, and other regions jointly hold the International Zhu Xi Cultural Festival featuring impressive ceremonies, including ancient memorial rites for Zhu Xi and other ancient scholars where experts and scholars lead volunteers through the hall for séances, first offerings, second offerings, final offerings, drinking for blessings, granting sacrificial meat, ceremony conclusion, and other ancient rituals in commemoration of sages. The memorial ceremony is also the world's first accomplishment of restoration of Zhu Xi’s Shaoxi Zhouxian Shidian Yi.
In addition, at the opening of the Zhu Xi Cultural Festival, ceremonial activities such as “Encouraging Learning” (zither and dance performance), “Zhuzi Parental Instruction” recitations, “Cultural Dialogue on Tong’an,” as well as “Picking Osmund,” “Mountain and Flowing Water,” “Diabolos,” “Fisherman's Song,” “Cool,” “State of Ceremonies,” and other cultural performances will be presented.
What follows is the international symposium on “Zhu Xi's Family Rites and East Asian World” at Zhu Xi Academy attended by Peking University visiting professor Ju Gau-Jeng, East China Normal University tenured professor Zhu Jie-Ren, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences Institute of Philosophy professor and Chinese Confucius Institute vice president Li Cun-Shan, Xiamen University professor and School of Chinese Classics deputy dean Zhu Ren-Qiu, Xiamen Yundang Academy and Zhu Xi Academy dean Wang Wei-Sheng, South Korea’s Chung-Ang University professor Lu Ren-Shu, Germany’s University of Trier Department of Sinology director Christian Robert Soffel, Kinmen Yannan Academy dean and reportage writer Yang Shu-Cing, Taiwan Erhu Academy dean Lyu Rong-Hai, and Tong’an history expert Yan Li-Shuei.
It is worth mentioning that at the evening party, a Taiwanese opera “Zhu Xi enlightens an alligator spirit” will be performed in the square of the former Tong’an county hall. The work is adapted from folk literature, in which Zhu Xi came across an alligator spirit running amuck on his way to Tong’an to assume his first official post as registrar and then stopped its assault with his Wenchang pen, fortuitously saving fishermen's life. After the spirit learned the power of the Wenchang pen, it sent a carp fairy to entice Zhu Xi and attempted to steal his Wenchang pen. However, Zhu Xi's integrity tamed the carp fairy and she told Zhu Xi that the Achilles heel of the alligator spirit was in the navel.
As one of the most famous academics, thinkers, philosophers, and educators in ancient China, Zhu Xi was also the founding scholar of Neo-Confucianism in the Sung Dynasty and the founder of the “Min School” in the Southern Sung Dynasty, and was known as Master Zhu. Tong’an, a former county in Kinmen, is not only the place in which Zhu Xi took up his first official post, but also the birthplace of the “Min School.” During his four years of service in Tong’an, Zhu Xi was diligent in administration and loved people, established schools to nurture talents, learned local practices and customs, and guided people with courtesy, so that ancient Tong’an became a well-known seaside Zoulu (a place of cultural prosperity) despite its remoteness. “Tong’an County Annals” and the folklore summarize the development and civilization history of Tong’an as follows: “Xu Ying developed the area two thousand years ago while Zhu Xi moralized society for eight hundred years.” At the same time, the turning point in Zhu Xi's thoughts came when he converted from Buddhism to Confucianism, which eventually turned him into a master of Neo-Confucianism.
The 2017 Xiamen (Tong’an) International Zhu Xi Cultural Festival is hosted by the Chinese Zhu Xi Society and the FJFSSC, organized by the Xiamen Federation of Social Science Circles, Xiamen Academy of Social Sciences, Xiamen Yundang Academy, Kinmen Yannan Academy, Xiamen Zhu Xi Academy, Kinmen Tong’an Federation of Social Science Circles, and other units, and planned and executed by Tong’an Cultural Tourism & Development Co., Ltd.
Arriving at Xiamen yesterday, the Kinmen Yannan Academy delegation went to Tong’an to participate in a rehearsal of the Zhu Xi memorial ceremony for the opening and then travelled to Zhangzhou City for forging an alliance with Songzhou Academy. As the Punan Government attached great importance to the visit of the delegation from Kinmen, leader Lan Ya-Ping, along with Dongzhou Academy and Penglai Temple master Hai Kong greeted them in person. In the evening, they dined at a governmental canteen, exchanged ideas, and completed a live television interview. Located in the north of Zhangzhou City, Punan Town was named after its location in the south of the North Jiulong River. Songzhou Academy, the first academy in China, is located in Songzhou Village, Punan Town, Xiangcheng District, Zhangzhou City, Fujian Province and was founded in 708 A.D. by the son of the “Sacred Prince, Developer of Zhangzhou” Tan Goan-Kong. An alliance had been formed between Zhangzhou Songzhou Academy and Kinmen Yannan Academy, which were founded in the Tang Dynasty and the Sung Dynasty, respectively. Songzhou is also the sixth sister academy of Yannan Academy, after Jiangxi Bailudong Academy, Quanzhou Daguan Academy, Dadeng Xiyuan Academy, Taiwan Erhu Academy, and Pangu Academy, which is an inspirational story about ancient and modern academies across China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan allying to promote sinology and relaunch academy education.
Reporter: Wong Wei-Jhih / Summary Report