A Chinese Biographical Dictionary/Ch'ên Hsien-chang

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224 Ch'ên Hsien-chang 陳獻章 (T. 公甫). A.D. 1428-1500. A native of 白沙 Po-sha near Canton, from which he is sometimes spoken of as 白沙先生. Of a studious disposition, he graduated as chü jen in 1447, but failed to take his chin shih degree. He then built himself a house, which he called 陽春臺, and shut himself up in it for several years, receiving no visitors and spending all his time over books. After this, he went to the capital to study in the Imperial Academy; and on one occasion, being ordered to write some verses after the style and on the subject of a poem by Yang Shih, he turned out a composition which the examiner declared to be superior to the original. This brought him to the notice of the Emperor, and he was recommended for official employment; but he declined to hold office, and retired into private life. He left no written work behind him, and his teachings encourage meditation rather than the study of books. Hence he was stigmatised by Hu Chü-jen as a Buddhist. He is said to have been a handsome man, though disfigured by seven black spots on his cheek. He was remarkable for his filial piety; and on one occasion when his mother was longing to see him, he felt a sympathetic throb in his heart. In 1584 he was canonised as 文恭, and his tablet was placed in the Confucian Temple.