Page:A Chinese Biographical Dictionary.djvu/419
He is the model for such as would be wise. By all, from the Son
vitiated only by the impurity of its surroundings. He strove to enunciate a practical rule of life which should compare favourably with the poetical Tao of Lao Tzu, suitable to the wants of his fellow-countrymen in this world, without indication of, or allusion to , the possibility of a world to come. His daily texts were charity of heart and duty towards one's neighbour, and the virtues on which he laid most stress were justice and truth. "In his village home he looked simple and sincere, as though he had nothing to say for himself; but when in the ancestral temple or at Court, he spoke minutely, though cautiously." Outcast as he was in life, the value of his common-sense teachings was soon recognised; and the "uncrowned king," as he has been affectionately styled, is at this moment as firmly fixed upon his throne as at any period during the twenty-three centuries which have elapsed since his death. His personal name Ch'iu is taboo: it is never written nor uttered. A stroke is left out in writing, while the reverent student pronounces it mou "a certain person." In the second century before Christ a temple was erected in his honour, and during succeeding dynasties decrees have been frequently issued ordering that other temples should be built and sacrifices performed at various seasons. At the present moment there must be a Confucian Temple in every Prefecture, District, and market-town throughout the empire, where twice every year, in spring and autumn, memorial ceremonies are conducted by the local officials. The following words, written eighteen centuries ago by the famous historian Ssu-ma Ch'ien, best describe the position then and still held by the great Sage in the hearts of the Chinese people: — "Countless are the princes and prophets that the world has seen in its time; glorious in life, forgotten in death. But Confucius, though only a humble member of the cotton-clothed masses, remains among us after many generations.