Monday, June 3, 2013

Love in Lujiang

Love in Lujiang

Art of Healing

You can find the meaning of true love and healing through filial piety.
MY second trip to China this year was again at the invitation of the most venerable master Chin Kung, founder and spiritual sifu of the worldwide Buddhist Amitabha society.
In May, I went with him, his disciples and some Malaysian religious leaders on an educational tour of Beijing and Xinjiang (see at Walking with the Monks).
This time we went to Tangchi, a small rural agricultural town with about 50,000 residents. It is located in Lujiang county, in the province of Anhui. The area is calm and serene, with rice and tea cultivation being the main economic activities. It has many hot springs that provide pure alkaline water, something we were able to enjoy since it was piped into our rooms. It was autumn and the cool weather was just pleasant. Now the town is also filled with love.
Master Chin Kung has given talks on peace, loving kindness and harmonious living on numerous occasions to audiences throughout the world
We were there to observe for ourselves how the teaching of traditional Chinese morals, values and ethics transformed the townsfolk, with the hope that we can emulate their methods and transform our own society too.
We were also to give input from our own cultural, religious and spiritual perspectives and offer comments and suggestions to improve the effectiveness of the programmes, and on how to apply them to our own communities.
Master Chin Kung has given talks on peace, loving kindness and harmonious living on numerous occasions to audiences throughout the world. He has shared his wisdom with laymen, academicians, bureaucrats and world leaders.
Often he is asked whether it is at all possible to change people from being quarrelsome and crime-prone to kind, respectful and peace-loving citizens. If that is possible, then we will see happier families, and harmonious communities. There will also be less crime, less conflicts, and less wars.
Master Chin Kung believes that the nature of mankind is kindness. It is improper and incorrect upbringing and education that make us otherwise. He decided to prove beyond words that this is true, and that it is possible to change families and communities to become good. The ultimate aim is to achieve world peace through moral and ethics education. This must start with the children, but their parents and elders must also be involved so that the children will not be confused by the conflicting morals and behaviours of the adults.
So with the support of kind donors, he built the Lujiang Chinese Culture Education Centre (CCEC) to revive the good traditional teachings to children, adults and parents in the belief that the families and communities that live by these teachings will become peaceful, successful, and prosperous. Tangchi was chosen as the venue as it was his birthplace, and this was one way of honouring it.
Lessons from the sage
The syllabus is based on the teachings of the great sage Confucius (Kung Fu Tzu, 551-479 BCE), as simplified in the Di Zi Gui booklet, which teaches the “Standards of Being a Good Student and Child”, and other books of morals, good conduct and character.
The project started in 2005. The first task was getting teachers who believe in the same dream and aspirations, and were willing to become models to the students and the community.
Fortunately, there were enough committed people who were willing to be trained, led by teacher Cai and teacher Chou, who all along believed that the teaching of traditional values is a means of transforming the world for the better, and were willing to dedicate their lives to this noble cause.
It is under their leadership, with the guidance and wisdom of Master Chin Kung, that the first batch of teachers was intensively trained for two months until they became models of good values, virtues and character.
By 2006, CCEC was ready to spread its teachings. Only then did the centre invite children, parents and everyone from the town to become students, free of charge, courtesy of generous donors.
The teachers also went out to the community, giving lessons in homes, village halls and courtyards, and schools. There is a permanent open-air classroom (which also doubles as a theatre) on the park by the riverside right in town to make it convenient for the people to attend classes.
The lessons are always enjoyable and practical. Starting from teaching children to love, respect and honour their parents and elders (which the latter should reciprocate with love and care), the lessons for adults include values, virtues and morals regarding relationships between husbands and wives, within the family, among friends, in the neighbourhood, community, work place and in dealing with the authorities, among others.
Lessons also include singing, acting, arts and craft, and other activities that can instill good values, encourage usable and valuable skills, and uplift their earning potential at the same time.
Much emphasis is placed on filial piety, something that is established in all Eastern cultures, but is being gradually eroded as the younger generation is influenced by Western norms that come through the media and TV, and their parents are too busy chasing money and worldly comforts.
Children are taught to bow to their elders, and on certain occasions, to wash their parents’ feet as a mark of love and respect. Everyone is taught to greet others with kind words, a smile, and a bow. So it was a delightful experience as we happily greeted, smiled and bowed to all the people we met, and received their greetings, smiles and respectful bows in return. How wonderful and harmonious the world can be if we all love and respect one another like this!
Values and virtues like love, forgiveness, kindness, trust, justice, integrity, shamefulness and others are painstakingly explained through examples and actual stories of people who have found imbibing these principles into their lives beneficial and life-changing.
There are many such examples, of saved marriages, reconciliations, and even reformation of convicts, through the practice of these teachings.
On several occasions, my eyes were teary listening to these heartwarming lessons.
Amazingly, within only three months of the teachers reaching out to the community, there was noticeable change.
People became more honest, courteous, and kind. Less rubbish was being thrown around, and people actually started to help clean up should they stumble upon such rubbish.
After one year, the authorities reported that the divorce rate was reduced by 48% and the crime rate was down by 47%!
As the whole town continues to transform as more and more people learn and practice the good traditional teachings, Tangchi town will indeed become a “Model Township of Harmonius Society”. It is Master Chin Kung’s dream to see the success of Tangchi being replicated in other places, including in Malaysia.
A harmonious world begins with me
This method works because the emphasis is first in transforming the teachers themselves. So it is appropriate that the theme of this study tour was “A Harmonious World Begins With Me”.
As Mahatma Ghandi said, we must be the change we want to see. So if you want to see a harmonious world, you must first have a harmonious personality and live a harmonious life. Then the family, community and world around you will benefit and improve a certain degree because of you.
At one interfaith meeting recently, I was asked by a non-Muslim why the Malay/Muslim community here is burdened by many social problems even though all the children go thorough lessons which teach similar good values and ethics throughout their formative primary school years
My answer was – it is not enough that the content of the lessons are good; the teachers, parents and adults around the children must themselves be living examples of what is being taught so that the children fully understand the goodness, and know how to put the teachings into practice by observing the teachers and elders. That is, the teaching method must be theory combined with living example.
If we see the society not only defective, but actually getting worse, then we really have to revamp the way we teach our children. Maybe our teachers can learn from the Lujiang experiment.
Indeed, to my knowledge, already over 1,200 Chinese school teachers have been briefed on this methodology, and the headmistress of SMK Pandan Indah, Puan Hajah Zakiah Md Lassim, has taken the bold step of translating the Di Zi Gui into Bahasa Malaysia (booklet entitled Falsafah Tradisi Penting Untuk Kejayaan Hidup) and introduced it to her teachers and students. Syabas!
Our trip was sponsored by Malaysian Nam Fatt Corporation Berhad, a well-known public listed developer. The Group President/CEO, Datuk Jimmy Ng Keng Joo, was with us as a diligent student. And like a good student of the Di Zi Gui, he even volunteered to wipe the whiteboard during the lessons.
I must thank him for his generosity, and salute him for his sincerity and humility. Since he also brought his training manager, Jeffrey Yeo Cheng Keat, with him, I believe he intends to see all these good values being practised as part of the corporate culture of his company.
Hopefully, he will inspire the infusion of these morals and ethics into the Malaysian corporate world, and also build the first model township here, as envisioned by Master Chin Kung.
In the next instalment of this column, I will share more of what I learned in Lujiang, and what we all can do to heal society and help achieve a harmonious world.
> Dr Amir Farid Isahak is a medical specialist who practises holistic, aesthetic and anti-ageing medicine. He is a qigong master and founder of SuperQigong. For further information, e-mail
The views expressed are those of the writer and readers are advised to always consult expert advice before undertaking any changes to their lifestyles. The Star does not give any warranty on accuracy, completeness, functionality, usefulness or other assurances as to the content appearing in this column. The Star disclaims all responsibility for any losses, damage to property or personal injury suffered directly or indirectly from reliance on such information.

 Let's see other information related to Lujiang.

A Dedication of Love, A Teaching of Love

A Brief Account on the Teaching Progress of
Lujiang Centre of Cultural Education in the Past Two Years


1.    A Tribute of Gratitude
2. The Pleasing Changes in the Harmonious Model Town
3.    The Constantly Renewing Education and the Harmony at Tangchi

3.1   Teachers’ Training that Emphasizes Both Virtues and Abilities
3.2   Promoting Harmonious Teaching and Learning Activities

·               The solemn flag-raising ceremony
·               The blending of friendship—teaching at the countryside
·               The gentle transformation of Townspeople’s School
·               Songs and laughter at the Green Classroom
·               The wonder of “How to Lead a Happy Life” seminar series
·               Activities that promote social harmony

3.3   External Cultural Exchange and Promotion

4.  Open and Reveal Innate Goodness, Fill the World with Love

·                                         Three pieces of experience
·                                         Two proven points
·                                         One sincere hope

A Dedication of Love, A Teaching of Love
A Brief Account on the Teaching Progress of
Lujiang Centre of Cultural Education in the Past Two Years

1. A Tribute of Gratitude

Located in the natural scenic area of Dabie Mountain, Lujiang County in Anhui Province, a privately run school known as the Lujiang Centre of Cultural Education has been established in the old and unsophisticated small town of Tangchi (see pic. 1). For the past two years, the centre has been promoting traditional Chinese culture and training seed teachers who are both virtuous and able. Together, the teachers of the centre have contributed diligently toward building a “Harmonious Society, A Courteous Nation” so much that the locals say, “Tangchi has three gems: Warm hot springs, aromatic tea and joyful lessons at the centre.”

The beautiful campus of Lujiang Centre of Cultural Education has five newly completed buildings (see pic. 2) that include classrooms, administration offices, dining hall, and dormitories. One can witness more than 150 teachers and staff members who are gentle and well-mannered; hear more than 120 seed teachers-in-training reading aloud, and listen to 500 or more students who have just completed four days of the “How To Lead A Happy Life” seminar sharing their thoughts on how traditional cultural values imparted by Standards for Being a Good Student have transformed their lives. An affiliated school of the centre not only teaches normal primary school curriculum, it also teaches traditional Confucian Chinese texts such as, Standards for Being a Good Student and Child, the Three-Character Classic (San-zi Jing), The Filial Classic (Xiao Jing) and the Four Classics (Si-Shu) . In addition, the school teaches Chinese calligraphy, music, Taichi chuan, handicrafts, complementing its moral and cultural courses. It is not unusual for people to ask “Who is the founder of this centre?”

Born in the birthplace (Tongcheng County, Shucheng County, and Lujiang County) of the Tongcheng School, a school that has dominated China’s literary circle for 200 years; and also a student of Professor Fang Dong-mei, who was the 16th generation of Tongcheng School founder, Fang Bao; the eighty-one year-old, wise and compassionate professor, most venerable Dr. Chin Kung is the Founding Director of the education centre. (see pic. 3)

The highly respected professor has spent most of his life overseas, devoting himself to promoting the sages’ education, world harmony, and religious unity. He has fifty years of experience in teaching traditional Chinese culture. The venerable professor has pointed out that the unceasing confrontations among nations, religions and communities, and increasing occurrence of natural disasters and social problems, and destruction of the ecology, are caused by the fact that moral and ethical education has been neglected for the past 100 years. Although material life has improved, spiritual life has declined. The venerable professor feels that the contemporary world is desperately in need of moral and ethical education to rectify the situation. 

Professor Chin Kung’s footprints have covered Asia, Europe, Australia, Africa and North America. He is a globally known educator, being the President of the Pure Land Learning College of Australia; an Adjunct Professor of China Renmin University; an Honorary Professor at the University of Queensland, Australia; an Honorary Professor at Griffith University, Australia. He also holds Honorary Doctorates of Griffith University, Australia, University of Southern Queensland, Australia and Syariff Hidayatullah State Islamic University, Indonesia. The venerable professor is drawn to the ancient maxim of “establishing a mind for heaven and earth; establishing the way for people; carrying on the lost teachings of ancient sages and finding the grand peace for thousands of generations.”

His motto is Live in a grateful world.”
His maxim isSelf-cultivation is the foundation, education is the priority.
His belief isPeople can be taught to become good. Sages are results of teaching.
His faith isLove reaches everywhere, kindness fills our world.

The venerable professor has spoken at various conferences organized by UNESCO. He has emphasized the idea that traditional Chinese culture is the wisdom of humanity and the treasure of our world, which we must restore and illuminate. This coincides with “Building a harmonious society, building a harmonious world” idea put forward by Chinese Chairman Hu Jintao in April 2005. The venerable professor summarized his keynote speeches on the eight international peace conferences he attended with these words, “A harmonious world begins in the mind. In order to resolve conflict and restore peace, we must first resolve our inner confrontations with all people and matters. We must engage in teaching and organizing courses to realize this vision. A harmonious society starts with me, from my mind, from my family, and from my community.”

Although the venerable professor is in his eighties, he has never forgotten his native homeland. With his belief that “people can be taught to become good” and his wish to pay gratitude to his native homeland, he decided to establish a school in his hometown. Professor Chin Kung says that the essence of the sages’ education is an education of love, an education of harmony. He hopes that the courses organized by the centre will help Tangchi to exemplify that parents are loving and children are pious, leaders are benevolent and subordinates are earnest, husbands and wives are caring and loving toward each other, siblings are cordial and friends are truthful. He hopes that Tangchi will become a model for traditional Chinese virtues exemplifying courtesy and peace—“No one picks up and keeps anything lost on the road, and no house needs to be locked at night”. Quoting a poem that the locals chose to praise the centre: “Nice rain knows its seasons and all growth will sprout in spring. Follows the wind that creeps into nights, things are moistened without an utter of words.”

Once people stepped into the centre, whether as teachers, staffs, or students, no one is charged for anything during their stay. This is a contribution from Professor Chin Kung. As “one part of love aroused many more to love”, Mr. Lai from Singapore, a great admirer of the venerable professor, donated fifty million renminbi to build the centre. Overseas Chinese as well as domestic philanthropists also contributed money to support the school’s teaching activities.

2. The Pleasing Changes in the Harmonious Model Town

The small town of Tangchi is located in the centre of Anhui province, with an area of 98 square kilometers and a population of close to 50,000. In October 2004, the Centre of Cultural Education was legally registered. The first group of teachers was trained in November 2005. Courses on Standards for Being a Good Student and Child and Confucian classics commenced and have been conducted for both children and adults, since adults must learn and set an example for their children to follow.  
Anhui Provincial Committee Party School Journal published an investigative report on the centre titled, “On Anhui’s Tangchi town wishing to establish a correct honor-and-disgrace notion and to build a harmonious model town”, hereafter referred to as report.[1] This report mentioned that, “After less than half a year of efforts, the social atmosphere of Tangchi has changed for the better”; and “Family relations became more harmonious; mothers and daughters-in law fought less; children became more filial, and neighbors quarreled less.” 

Example 1: Ms Yao from Tangchi (see pic. 4)

Ms Yao had a bad temper. She fought with her husband all the time and did not get along well with her mother-in-law. One could say that they had a small quarrel everyday and a big quarrel every other day. She would feel bad after each fight and even thought about committing suicide. Ms Yao’s mother was a regular attendant at the centre so she persuaded her daughter to attend classes there to learn how to live properly from Standards for Being a Good Student and Child. After attending a class, Ms Yao felt much better and agreed with the teachers who taught her that “a harmonious family will flourish”, and “if husband and wife criticize each other the world will turn upside down, but if they criticize themselves the world will become tranquil and serene.” She also agreed to the sages’ saying that those who fail should examine themselves and resolve their internal conflict first and forgive others.

Ms Yao decided to lead a new life and treated her husband lovingly, only seeing his good side and appreciating him. Their relationship is now restored to its former love and harmony. When the centre’s teachers interviewed her she said happily that, “I am forty year-old and I am confident that I will live until eighty. I was wrong and now that I have learned Standards for Being a Good Student and Child I have become a new person.

Example 2: Transformation of a secondary school girl

Tangchi town’s Number Two Secondary School female student Li Huan was an introvert and unsociable child who did not get along with her classmates well. She disliked her mother and constantly argued with her. One Saturday afternoon, she followed a group of people and entered the centre’s classroom in Xiwang Primary School out of curiosity. There she learned about Standards for Being a Good Student and Child and realized suddenly that, “Mom is the one who loves me the most!”

In a thank-you letter she wrote to the centre’s teacher, Li Huan repented: “I was very unfilial. I only cared about myself and I was never considerate of my parents or other people. That day (when I attended the centre’s class) I bought some vegetables and prepared a meal at home. I wanted my mother to know that I had changed. When my mother came in I said, ‘Good evening, Mom! Much obliged to you!’ Mom smiled at the table full of prepared dishes. After the meal, I washed my mother’s feet and she cried. I hugged my mother and said, ‘Mom, I was a bad child. I did not know how to love you and I was too headstrong. I will never make you angry again.’ I also started to initiate greetings with my classmates and they all said that I was polite and we began to spend time together. It was Standards for Being a Good Student and Child that helped me rediscover my mother’s love, friendship and happiness. Hence I want to say heartily, ‘Standards for Being a Good Student and Child, I love you!’” (see pic. 5)

Natural love between parents and children is the perfect point of love. Standards for Being a Good Student and Child awakened the love of this child, helped her understand how to become filial and fraternal. This is the root of being human. Although mother and classmates remained the same, she has changed after learning Standards for Being a Good Student and Child, and her life was transformed.
The first impression one gets when walking along streets of Tangchi is the cleanliness of its streets. In addition to finding the municipal sanitary workers one can also find the centre’s students picking up garbage from the streets. Although this seems like a small gesture it does symbolize the picking up of a social responsibility. Over time this silent action has aroused the hygienic and environmental awareness of local people and children.

The report also says, “Tangchi’s streets were littered with trash, and garbage polluted the environment and blocked traffic. The streets are now clean and traffic runs smoothly.” Tangchi municipal member, Vice Secretary Wang Yongsheng said that, “In the past, laws were used to bind people’s actions but the results were not good. Now with people having received moral and ethical teachings, they are self-motivated to follow civil duties. We are confident in and determined to promote this type of good education to higher levels.” (see pic. 6)

Bowing to elders and greeting each other respectfully are basic to the etiquette of traditional Chinese culture. Although long forgotten by most, this etiquette is reviving in the twelve villages of Tangchi. The ninety-degree bowing showed by the centre’s teachers, as a gesture of mutual-respects and courtesy, influenced the villagers to do likewise. One cadre of a village said happily that, “The method to resolve arguments between townsfolk used to be rough and rude. Now everyone can sit down calmly and solve their problems. Relationships between people have become much more cordial. When conflict arises, the intermediary will ask the parties involved: ‘Haven’t you taken lessons in Standards for Being a Good Student and Child? How come you still argue?’ Then the two parties will feel ashamed and leave, because teachers have taught them to implement the principle of ‘hold back hurtful words, and feelings of anger will die out.’”

At the beginning, staff from the centre used to sigh at the calculating and pugnacious behavior of villagers. Today the villagers display their earnest kindness. One time a centre teacher took a taxi but the taxi driver did not charge her any fee. He said he appreciated the centre’s teachers and their contribution to Tangchi. There was a bucket of hot spring water in the trunk of his car for washing his mother’s feet.  

The two years’ teaching results in Tangchi are obvious, and Tangchi has now become a harmonious town. Residents’ ethical awareness has increased remarkably.

Example 3:  The taxi driver who did not pocket money left in his taxi.

Tangchi’s taxi driver Zhang Shougen, found a briefcase that contained RMB70,000 cash and a computer notebook left by a manager of Shanghai Volkswagen Automobile Factory. Mr. Zhang drove more than twenty kilometers to return the possessions to the owner. The manager was moved and said, “Losing money is a small matter but losing the notebook with vital production and employee information is a very big matter!” He immediately offered to reward RMB20,000 to Mr. Zhang.

Mr. Zhang declined and told him gently: “Don’t thank me. You should thank the teachers from the Lujiang Centre of Cultural Education. Taxi drivers have all become good people after they received lessons at the centre. No matter which taxi in Tangchi you had left your briefcase in,  it would have been returned to you.” (see pic. 7)

Example 4:  The reunion of a husband and wife.

There was a couple in Tangchi who went to the court to file for divorce when the court employee smartly and gently told them: “you need one extra photo to complete the filing and why not first attend a class in the nearby Lujiang Centre of Cultural Education?” So the couple went to the centre and met Teacher Liang. He greeted the couple warmly and gave them two bowls of warm sesame soup. The couples began to relax after drinking the warm soup in the cold weather. Mr. Liang then gave them a lesson on moral relationships. Two hours later, the couple held each other’s hand and happily left for home.

According to the statistics filed by Tangchi’s court, the divorce rate has decreased by 48.5%, from 2005 to 2006. Traditional culture has enabled couples to live happily, children to become filial, streets to become cleaner, people to become more polite and honest. Less time is wasted on Mah-jong and more time is spent on healthy activities amidst declining crime rates and a growing economy.

On October 21, 2007, the Tangchi government and the centre co-organized a “Respect and Love Our Seniors Evening”. In the evening performance, a poem was read aloud, titled “Praising Lujiang Centre of Cultural Education”, composed, directed and acted by local residents. The last section of the poem reads:

You are Tangchi’s good teachers and friends
You have made an eternal contribution toward establishing a harmonious model town.
We the people of Tangchi will never forget your merits,
which are as high as the mountain and as deep as the ocean.

3.       The Constantly Renewing Education and the Harmony at Tangchi

3.1   Teachers’ Training that Emphasizes Both Virtues and Abilities

The person in-charge of the centre’s course work is a lady with dignified bearing and honest disposition—Teacher Yang Shufen. (see pic. 8). She is a student of Professor Chin Kung and the centre’s Vice Director and Head of Studies. She is experienced in teaching traditional Chinese classics and an expert Chinese calligrapher and seal-carver. With a reserved insight and refined confidence, she bravely took up the task to set up the centre in Professor Chin Kung’s hometown.

The student of Ms Yang is Teacher Cai Lixu. (see pic. 9) He is the Head  of Training. The forty-hour lecture series that he gave on Standards for Being a Good Student and Child has been popular in the public. Mr. Cai is good at story-telling and he likes to use ordinary incidents that happen in life to illustrate the depth of Chinese saint and sages’ education. His talks move the audience and make them smile knowingly, weep in recognition of the wrongdoings they have committed, or get inspired to do better in the future. Teachers Yang and Cai are our Taiwanese countrymen. They bear an enthusiastic patriotism and have returned to the motherland to devote to traditional cultural education.  

The centre has another Vice Director, Teacher Li Yiduo. (see pic. 10) He is not only a lawyer but also an expert in the Taichi chuan. He holds the position of adjunct supervisor for Master Degree candidates at Peking University Law School. He is also a committee member of the National Bar Council Administrative Law Committee of China.  

The promotion of traditional Chinese culture and the establishment of a harmonious society model town must be accomplished by a group of excellent teachers who can exemplify “filial piety, fraternal love, loyalty, trustworthiness, courtesy, justice, honesty and humility.” In November 2005, the centre began to train the first group of seed teachers. To qualify, the candidates must have (1) a foundation in the practice of traditional culture, (2) a university degree, and (3) a minimum of three years of teaching experience. Although the pre-requisites were stringent, the centre received more than three hundred applications and out of these, thirty were selected to receive training. They are composed of teachers who have given up the pursuit of worldly gain and long to become saints and sages.

Example 1:  Teacher Ni from the Changle City of Fujian Province, thirty-eight years old, a graduate of Fujian Normal University, with nineteen years of teaching experience, during which fifteen years were spent as the principal of a primary school. Sensing that today’s students are excellent in computer skill but poor in thinking and excellent in consuming but poor in etiquette, he resigned and came to the centre. He said, “I feel that this is something worth doing for the rest of my life. There is nothing more important than this!.”

Example 2: “I am a brick. Take me to wherever I am needed.” This is the motto of Teacher Huang, thirty year-old, a Master of Art in philosophy. He worked two years in Shanghai. Mr. Huang studied the educational thinking of Professor Chin Kung and attended  a moral and ethical course in the Lujiang Centre of Cultural Education. He was so delighted that he resigned and came to Lujiang. When asked why he came here, Mr. Huang replied, “My ambition is to seek wisdom, the 5000 years of traditional Chinese wisdom. Without wisdom, morality and ethics, there will be no happy life.

In the past two years, the centre has trained close to 200 teachers in five classes. Most of them are now working in different departments of the centre and a few of them have been sent to teach in other “teaching collaboration points” in China.

The training course content consists of Confucian texts: Standards for Being a Good Student and Child, Three Character Classic, Filial Piety Classic, Zhuzi’s Sayings on Household Management, Liaofan’s Four Lessons, Great Learning, Doctrine of the Mean, Mencius, Stories of Eight Virtues and the Thirteen Classics. Additional courses include traditional Chinese art such as calligraphy, Taichi chuan and folk music. 

The core course of the centre is Standards for Being a Good Student and Child, a collection of family education values based on traditional Chinese cultural believes. It states the foundation of humanity, which is also the foundation of Confucianism. The whole book has 1080 characters. Its contents were written based on a verse in the “Xue-er”, the first chapter of Analects, which stated that “Confucius says that students are to be filial to parents and loving to siblings; they are to be discreet and trustworthy; they are to love all equally and be conversant with virtuous people. When they have completed all the above they can further study literature and art.” This framework is the foundational education passed down from Confucius to our descendents.

In short, the essence of Standards for Being a Good Student and Child is: loving parents and respecting teachers; cultivating and disciplining oneself; benevolently and lovingly, helping the world. Professor Chin Kung pointed out that, “We are learning to become Confucius, not learning to be Confucian scholars.” Standards for Being a Good Student and Child is the root while the thirteen Confucian classics are flowers and fruits. Without the roots there is neither flower nor fruit.

Hence the centre engaged the five moral relationships—a natural love between parents and children, mutual obligations and honor between leaders and their followers, distinct responsibilities for husbands and wives (men in charge of external matters, women in charge of internal matters), natural order between the old and the young and a trust between friends. These five are the foundation, and Standards for Being a Good Student and Child is the main course material. Together they emphasize on incorporating the teachings of saints and sages into our daily lives and use Standards for Being a Good Student and Child as the guide for our daily lives.
Every day the trainees go through a solid training program: They get up at 4:30 in the morning, do the Taichi chuan exercise at five and recite Standards for Being a Good Student and Child and the Four Confucian Classics for about an hour and a half. There is no day-off for the trainees. Every morning, afternoon and night they attend classes, study the classics, share their study experience, or practice calligraphy. Every day they put in ten hours of work and are dismissed at nine at night. Some trainees even study deep into the night. Such is “Diligence is the path leading up the mountain of knowledge. There is no end to the ocean of learning, so use endurance as the boat.”

Something worth mentioning here is that teachings are not restricted to a classroom format. In fact, going to the homes of villagers to talk about Standards for Being a Good Student and Child is teaching; introducing morality and ethical teaching to residents of the town is teaching; showing children how to bow is teaching; picking up rubbish from the streets is teaching; teaching residents sing filial songs is teaching; every Monday’s flag-raising ceremony is teaching; dining is teaching (quietly and orderly queuing at the food service line and not wasting any food); wearing clothing is teaching (no skimpy clothes but elegant and graceful Tang fashions), and so on.

Teachers at the centre are not just those who teach at the podium. Every staff member is enacting Standards for Being a Good Student and Child, hence every staff member at the centre is a teacher. For instance, teachers from the Food and Beverage Department carefully prepare the dishes; teachers from the Dormitory Service Department patiently clean up the rooms; teachers from the Treasury Department meticulously accounting for each transaction; teachers from the Receptionist Department warmly welcome people and help them depart; teachers from the Agriculture Department uncomplainingly build up the organic model farm and so on. Each teacher at the centre bears a mission to “Learn to be a Teacher and Act as a Role Model.” Every corner of the centre is a classroom practicing “Self-cultivation is the base, teaching and learning is the priority.”

The teachers at the centre are ladies and gentlemen who strive for honorable living and not for profits. They left their high-paying jobs and metropolitan lives and come to this remote and small town to contribute to our motherland and its people. They came to labor in the teaching of love and to repay their gratitude to their ancestors. The salaries at the centre are slender. Some people even work for free. The centre supplies living necessities for them, and if their relatives encounter problems the centre will provide loving care for them.

3.2   Promoting Harmonious Teaching and Learning Activities

In March 2007, Professor Chin Kung participated in the World Sinology Conference held at Renmin University in Beijing. In his keynote speech he said, “The core of traditional Chinese culture is the foundation of all the sacred teachings in the world. They are what we call today “a teaching of love”.

The Solemn Flag-Raising Ceremony

Every Monday morning the centre holds a national flag-raising ceremony and people sing the national anthem. Under the national flag, a teacher will tell a patriotic story. Many residents will bring their families to attend the ceremony. As they witness the flag moving slowly upwards, sing the national anthem spiritedly and then listen to a story about loyalty, filial piety and justice, their  hearts are inspired by a noble sense of patriotism. Secretary Wang of Tangchi also participates in the flag-raising ceremony. He gave a ninety-degree bow in all directions and delivered a speech under the flag. (see pic. 11)

The Blending of Friendship—Teaching at the Countryside
With the help of the town government, the centre’s teachers bear the cold of winter’s wind and snow, and the scorching heat of summer, to teach at the twelve surrounding villages and one street committee of Tangchi. Whether in the home of the village head, in the homes of villagers, or outdoors, for two hours each time, in no fixed teaching format, the teachers aim to inspire the goodness in each villager. (see pic. 12) Adult classes include: “How to educate children properly”, “How to manage good spousal and in-law relationships”, “Filial piety and fraternal love will enrich the family”. Children classes include: Reciting, enacting and practicing Standards for Being a Good Student and Child. Other than teaching courses, the teachers stress teaching by example. They go to residents’ homes to do household chores, wash their toilets or wash the feet of the elderly, massage their back or cut their fingernails.

Madam Jinfeng of Erliban village said she really liked listening to the teachers from the Centre. She said, “Since the teachers came to teach us Standards for Being a Good Student and Child, even the grandmothers in the village know that they should not pamper children but use traditional culture to teach the children. The villagers now get along well with each other. We help each other and can sleep without closing our front doors. (see pic. 13)

The Gentle Transformation in the Townspeople’s School

The centre set up a Townspeople’s School on the same street and opposite to the centre. Classes are held from Monday to Friday, for two hours per night, and all day on Saturdays and Sundays. A series of Standards for Being a Good Student and Child related courses are held, such as “Standards for Being a Good Student and Child and Family Education”, “Standards for Being a Good Student and Child and Business Management”, “Standards for Being a Good Student and Child and Healthy Eating Habits”, “The Role of Politeness in Human Relations”, “Family Moral Relations”, “Virtuous Stories”, “The Conducts of Saints and Sages” and “Introduction to the Three-Character Classic”.

These talks attracted many local residents to come to the school. One eighty-eight year-old senior pressed his hand on his chest and said, “Listening to this talk, I feel comfortable here.” Even the general manager of Qirui Automobile Manufacturer of Anhui Province, the second largest sedan car manufacturer in the country, attends classes frequently. Saturday and Sunday classes also include musical lessons, calligraphy, seal-carving, Taichi chuan, traditional crafts, children’s choir, adults’ choir and activities for members of the Senior’s Club.

The centre’s teachers skillfully instill morality and ethics into everything they teach. For example, during a knitting class for the elderly, the teacher explain that “knotting” carries the meaning of unity, and that harmonious unity will help a family to prosper. (see pic. 14) During a calligraphy class for children, the teachers ask the children to compare their weekly behavior to the teaching of Standards for Being a Good Student and Child before they start their class. These classes are extremely popular with the residents and have brought a gentle transformation to Tangchi. (see pic. 15)

Songs and Laughter at the Green Classroom

The wooded area beside the river of Tangchi used to be a place where residents gathered to play Mah-jong. Since the centre set up an outdoor classroom,  residents no longer waste their time at the Mah-jong table. In the great outdoors, the teachers teach traditional culture, tell the stories of the eight virtues and Standards for Being a Good Student and Child practices, share and teach good songs and music, and sing filial and fraternal as well as patriotic songs. The teachers also teach bowing, shaking hands, and telephone manners. The most popular class in the Green Classroom is the music lesson given by Teacher Jin twice a week. No less than 400 people attend her class each time. Confucius said, “Nothing can transform the social ethos faster than music.” Teacher Jin teaches songs like “Mother”, “Family Harmony Brings Forth Prosperity”, “Me and My Motherland”, “Dear Teachers”, “The Seven Pieces of Advices for Doing Good Deeds”, and “The Truth About Love”. She teaches the songs and explains their meanings. Quite often the audience become so immersed in the sentiment of the songs and are so touched that they cry. (see pic. 16)

The Wonder of “How to Lead a Happy Life”

From its beginning until October 2007, the Lujiang Centre of Cultural Education has organized twenty-two seminar series on “How To Lead A Happy Life” for participants from all over the world. Each seminar lasts for four to five days, and has an enrollment of about 500 participants each time. Participants learn about traditional culture in this quiet, small town. Confucius said, “Is it not a pleasure to study and practice what you have learned?

The contents of the seminar are rich and remarkable. Teacher Cai’s courses on “Family Harmony Brings Forth Prosperity” and “Inheriting Past Lessons and Inspiring Future Generations” are most welcome. Moreover, the course on “People can be Thought to Become Good” is thought provoking. “Harmony is Not Far Away” is folksy and touching. “How to Apply Etiquette in Human Relations” is comforting to the body and mind. “Filial is the Primary Goodness” is brings forth tears. “Conducts of Saints and Sages” is inspiring. “Chinese Culture and the Science of Management” is full of in-depth expositions. “Help Your Child Grow With Love” is heart-tugging. “Traditional Culture and the Eight Honors and Eight Shames” is enlightening. “An Honest and Respectful Life” is truth-inspiring. There are also “Transforming Social Ethos with Music” and “Healthy Eating Habits in the New Century.” Participants can derive benefit from the lessons right away and they also share with each other their thoughts on the subjects. When the courses are over, the teachers stand on both sides of the road, holding sign boards with words of encouragements, as they respectfully bow and see the participants off. At this juncture the participants really feel that they have been touched by the talks and moved by the sharing, so when they reach home they cannot wait to act on what they have learned. (see pic. 17)

Example 3:  “It is my honor to serve you.” These are words on the business card of Mr. Wang, the owner of a small hotel. Mr. Wang was so moved by the talks that he left his previous job and opened up a small hotel near the centre. He named his hotel, “The Family of Harmony and Happiness.” It provides services especially for participants coming from other parts of China. Although the hotel is small and inexpensive, the rooms are clean, service is excellent and the food tasty. Words of gratitude hang high on the wall, and there is a portrait of Confucius for anyone to pay respect to. Traditional classics are available for reading, birthday cakes are presented to hotel guests on their birthdays. If any guests are short of money to return home, he Mr. Wang offers to give help. He makes everyone feel that his hotel is truly a home away from home.

He earnestly told a reporter, “I am a fellow townsman of Professor Chin Kung. He set up a cultural education centre here and I honestly could feel that the centre not only has promoted moral and ethical education, it has also improved the town in the areas of hygiene, social stability, and economy. We are grateful to the venerable professor. I will definitely follow Standards for Being a Good Student and Child and bring honor to our hometown.” 

Example 4:  The effect of a transformed daughter-in-law on her family. Mrs. Zhang of Shantou city did not get along well with her in-laws. She even wanted to divorce her husband. After attending the Happy Life Seminar, she felt much ashamed of herself and changed her attitude. She became a new person and served her in-laws respectfully and treated her husband lovingly. Her mother-in-law was extremely pleased and during a family dinner she told her daughter, her sons and their wives that they should attend the Happy Life Seminar at the Lujiang Centre of Cultural Education. This elderly lady now has faith in the centre because of the transformation she saw in her daughter-in-law.  

Example 5:   The Director and the General Manager of Ju Meixing Company, Nanjing, brought their staff to attend the seminar. They realized that “superiors should treat their subordinates with etiquette and subordinates should treat their superiors with loyalty.” Since then, the Director and the General Manager have become the first to report to work every day. Both of them stand at the door and bow to every worker. They have set an example for their workers and their workers have become very polite. For instance, everyone queues up at the food service line, recites words of gratitude before they start their meals and do not waste any food. The atmosphere in the company has become harmonious and everyone showed mutual cares and concerns for their families. (see pic. 18)

Example 6:  Moral and ethical education can reform prisoners. In May 2006, Mr. Zhang Fa, Deputy Chief of Hainan Province Judiciary Department and Chief of Prisons Division, led a group of nine people to participate in the Happy Life Seminar. (see pic. 19) They were so inspired that they decided to use Standards for Being a Good Student and Child to help the prisoners to reform. They also invited teachers from the centre to give talks in the prisons and attained obvious results. The teachers started by telling inmates about the importance of filial piety. The teachers’ virtuous personalities also helped to discipline the prisoners. For example, Teacher Zhang moved into the prison dormitory and shared the same activities with the prisoners in order to serve them better. When two prisoners started to fight and the police guards subdued them, Teacher Zhang kept apologizing to all the prisoners that he had caused the two to fight and kept other inmates from concentrating on their lessons because his teaching was not good enough. At that moment a round of applause was heard in the classroom as the prisoners were moved by Teacher Zhang’s sincerity. When Teacher Zhang’s father was critically ill, the prisoners voluntarily donated money for his father.

In August 30, 2007 issue of People’s Daily, under the Political News section, a large heading: “Transforming Prisoners with Standards for Being a Good Student and Child”, reported this incidence. The report ended with this conclusion: “In order to better educate the prisoners, the provincial prison department has selected over 200 civil police who possess the ability to teach, from all the jails in the province, to take lessons from the Lujiang Centre of Cultural Education. (see pic. 20)
Activities that Promote Social Harmony

The centre collaborates with the town government to organize yearly events that will coincide with festive seasons while at the same time promoting social harmony:

  • Tea party  at the New Year Respecting Seniors Event. (see pic. 21) Professor Chin Kung followed the old customs of presenting a gift and a red envelop of fifty Renminbi to each senior in Tangchi who is at least seventy years old. Teachers at the centre also did a cultural performance titled, “Harmonious Society, Love Filled Tangchi” where they dramatized the touching stories of everyday occurrences. The plays moved many in the audience to tears.

  • March 8 Women’s Day: Good Mother-in-law, Good Daughter-in-law Honoring Assembly

  • May 1 Labor Day and Mother’s Day: Model Mother, Labor and Youths Honoring Assembly

  • June 1 Children’s Day: Good Child, Good Father Honoring Assembly

  • July 1 Eighty-fifth Anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party: “Eight Honors and Eight Shames” seminar
 (see pic. 22)

  • October Chongyang Festival: Respecting the Elderly Evening Gathering

  • End of the Year Memorial Service for Ancestors: Mindful of ancestral funeral rites and the virtues of people will resume to its proper excellence.

The centre collects the good stories of good people and makes television interview programs, then broadcasts them on cable television channels to promote good conduct to thousands of households.

3.3   External Cultural Exchange and Promotion

The centre’s teachers training programs and course teaching modules are ready to be exported nationwide as well as to overseas. The Education Department of Anshan city, Liaoning province, invited teachers from the centre to hold a Happy Life Seminar attended by over a thousand people. The Education Department also invited the teachers to conduct a five-day seminar for core teachers of Shenyang City. The Qingyun County of Shandong province invited Professor Chin Kung to help set up the Qingyun Academy to facilitate the building of a harmonious model county in Qingyun.

In March 2005, Professor Chin Kung personally led the way to attend an eight-day Happy Life Seminar, given by Teacher Cai Lixu. Over 300 participants gathered and simultaneous translations were provided in English and Vietnamese. The whole seminar was broadcast live over the Internet. A seventy year-old Malaysian woman  regretted that she had just discovered Standards for Being a Good Student and Child at this age and admitted that she did not know how to educate her children. A Taiwanese student, who watched the live broadcast, sent in a thank-you letter and said that  she was moved to tears by the seminars and later apologized to her mother for not being filial. Professor Toh Swee-Hin of Griffith University, Australia, heard the English translation and said that he, too, would organize activities to promote moral education.

In August 2007, the Lujiang Centre of Cultural Education signed an agreement with the National Union of the Heads of State to provide teachers with training courses in the next five years. Close to one thousand school principals will come to the centre for training, and teachers from the centre will also fly to Malaysia to provide training. A group of Malaysian principals attended classes at the centre in October 2007. In addition, visitors from Australia, Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand also have attended classes in the centre. “Isn't it also great when friends visit from distant places? (from the Analects)

From October 7 to 9, 2006, the centre exhibited in an international conference the teaching results of Tangchi—the Harmonious Model Town— at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, (see pic. 23). More than 1000 participants from embassies, religious leaders and government officials attended the conference. Professor Chin Kung gave the keynote address and pointed out that the traditional Chinese education is a teaching of benevolence and justice, a teaching of love, a teaching of grand peace. Promoting this teaching can resolve conflict and facilitate social stability and world peace. (see pic. 24)

On October 11, 2006, former Minister of Culture and now the standing committee member of the Political Bureau, and also Chairman of the Cultural Promotion Bureau of China, Mr. Gao Zhanxiang, led the Central Civilization Work Office, the Central Social Institutes Work Office , National School of Administration, and more than ten delegates in all, to visit the centre. He commented that, “I have wondered if there could be a group of people who would contribute toward promoting Chinese culture, especially in the field of moral and ethical education. I am delighted to see that you actually have done it here.” To the centre’s teachers he said, “I came here to receive education. I was moved on one hand, and on the other hand, I feel that I have found confidants. In the names of those I represent, thank you!” (see pic. 25)

4.  Open and Reveal Innate Goodness, Fill the World with Love
                Three Pieces of Experience

How can the Lujiang Centre of Cultural Education achieve remarkable results in just two years? From the perspective of education we can summarize the whole development with three pieces of experience, for peace educators of the world to consider.

1.      Educators must have correct beliefs, i.e. people are innately good. Education is the most important element in establishing a nation and guiding its people. The basic Confucian text known as the Three Character Classic stated that,

People at birth are good in nature.
Their nature
s are similar, but their habits make them different.
they don’t receive proper teaching, their nature will deteriorate.
The right way
of teaching is to draw their concentration on goodness.  

All the teachers in the centre believe strongly that all people are innately good, and that they have become different due to different environments they grew up in. If people are not properly educated at their early age, their nature will be covered by pollution and bad habits will develop. The principle of education is to develop one’s goodness and correct one’s shortcomings in order to restore one’s original nature. The core of Confucianism is benevolence and love, with etiquette as the guide, and morality and ethics as underlying education. The essence of morality and ethics is love, and love is the perfect point of filial relationships. Only by imparting the teaching of filial love can we open and reveal human’s innate goodness and restore human nature.

2.      Educators must first exemplify their teachings before they can transform others.

The centre trains teachers with the requirement that the teachers wholeheartedly implement Standards for Being a Good Student and Child in their daily lives, and especially that they practice filial piety and respect teachers. Only then can they promote the excellent traditional culture and help others to become honest and earnest through organizing a series of courses.

3.      Seminar teachings combined with long distant learning. The Lujiang Centre of Cultural Education periodically organizes a series of public seminars, complemented by daily courses to promote morality and ethics. In addition, it also uses televised teachings and Internet teachings to transmit course contents. With the collaboration of Tangchi Cablevision, the Happy Life Seminars and cultural programs related to loyalty, filial piety and justice are being broadcast every day. These programs are popular with the public and have yielded tremendous influence. Beijing’s Da Fang Guang Public Welfare Website provides the Internet platform for the centre’s long-distance learning programs. The contents are rich and filled with audio and visual information that are freely released to the public for website linkage, downloads  and mass duplication and circulation. 

Two Proven Points

Judging from the two year’s experience, two points have been proven: First, people can be taught to become good. Second, the effective means to realize this belief is through course-teaching programs.

One Sincere Hope

We sincerely hope that UNESCO will lead the way and encourage different countries and regions to set up similar education centres to train virtuous teachers, to offer classes to the public, and to establish model harmonious towns and cities in a similar fashion. In addition, long-distance learning tools such as the media, the Internet and satellite television can extend the coverage of the teachings. UNESCO could then organize an annual review conference to jointly examine on the experience, progress, and development of the project. With this collaboration, we are sure that conflict can be resolved and world peace will definitely come true.

China’s Premier Wen Jiabao in his speech at Harvard University titled, “Turning Your Eyes to China”, pointed out that: “It would be a wise approach for all countries to carry forward their fine cultural heritages by tracing back their origin, passing on the essentials, learning from one another and breaking new grounds. Our success will do credit to our forbears and bring benefit to our posterity.” All the teachers in the Lujiang Centre of Cultural Education are willing to dedicate a trivial effort to this lofty goal.

Harmony, is not far away.

The Lujiang Centre of Cultural Education News Team
October 24, 2007

[1]Professor Liu Yuli of Central Party School of China, Anhui Provincial Committee Party School Journal, 4:2006. Re-printed in China Renmin University’s Spiritual Civilization Periodical, 3:2007.

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