The rebirth of Confucianism
Updated: 2014-10-14 10:00
By Wang Kaihao in Sishui county, Shandong(China Daily)
The first sound one hears in the morning after waking up at a traditional Chinese college in Shengshuiyu township is the loudspeaker broadcast of Di Zi Gui. The book, written in 17th century and based on the teachings of Confucius, emphasises the basic requisites for being a good person and guidelines for living in harmony with others.
Visitors from large cities who are used to be honked at will be pleasantly surprised to find local drivers smiling patiently as they wait for pedestrians to cross the street. This tranquil mountainous township in Sishui county, southern Shandong province, is the birthplace of Confucius (551-479 BC).
Today, it is a hub for the revival of his teachings.
Mid-October is the busiest time for farming in Shandong, but a classroom at Nishan Shengyuan (which literally means "origins of the sacred") College where Confucianism is being taught is full.
The Confucian lecture was first started on a trial basis in 2012. At the time, the classroom was half empty, and cellphones rang constantly, recalls Meng Shaofeng, head of the township.
"Though people in big cities have paid much more attention to Confucianism and the preservation of traditional culture, our villagers thought the philosophy was too remote from their lives. We had to use free gifts like towels or soap to get people to come."
But by the third day of the lecture, the atmosphere changed, and the villagers became quiet. Some even cried. "Many young people used to treat their parents badly," says local villager Chen Shoucai, 62. "It's a shame our generation had no chance to learn Confucianism when we were young, even though I live beside Confucius' birthplace."
Since last year, when Confucianism lectures were officially introduced into the township, "people have become aware of how important it is to be filial and courteous", Chen says. "My son, who works in a city, is away from home for half a year, and was detached from me. But now he cares about me much more.