Several Rivers with One Source, Different Means toward One Goal

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By Zhang Guangzhi

The region of Mount Song was one of the earliestorigin places of Chinese Civilization. It used to be thecentre of politics, economics and culture in ancient

time. In the history of our 5, 000-year civilization, ithas played a crucial role. The essence of Chinese cultureis based on Confucianism, Buddhism, and Taoism,and the three of them have reached a harmoniouslyco-existent state by conflicting with, communicatingwith, and drawing lessons from each other, and finallymerged together. Shaolin Temple still retains the steleentitled The Panoramic Painting of People from AllWalks of Life painted by Zhu Zaiyu, in which Confucianism,Buddhism, and Taoism are represented in onescenario, with Laotzi, the creator of Taoism, on theleft, and Confucius, the founder of Confucianism, onthe right. Laotzi and Confucius are seated sidewaysopposite each other, and together their pictures formSakyamuni’s frontal picture. Three people hold “nirestreams of water map” symbolizing “ the union of threereligions, the same source of truth, the same way of exploration”.The ancient architectural complex in the region ofMount Song called “Between the Heaven and Earth” is one of “World Heritages of History and Culture”. Forexample, the Pagoda of Songyue Temple is embossedwith Ancient Indian-styled paintings. And Three Que ofHan Dynasty has the contents of western magic tricksand equestrian performance on it. The Pagoda collectionof Shaolin Temple has variety of architecturalstyles, which bear the historical marks of the communication of Chinese civilization and the world civilizations.The purpose of holding Mount Song Forum is toimprove the dialogical communication between Chinese

civilization and civilizations of other nations, themutual learning, mutual appreciation and mutual understanding.For us, each culture and civilization has itsown essence, otherwise it will be sifted out in historicalprocess. Meanwhile, we also hold that each civilizationhas its own weaknesses, which have caused so manyconflicts and problems in today’s society and make the dialogues and communication necessary. Only in this way can the shared prosperity be achieved. On intercultural relationship, Mr. Fei Xiaotong once

pointed out that “when each culture appreciates its own beauty as well as others’, and when each culture shares this ideal, the world will be a great harmony”. Each civilization should appreciate and enrich its own beauty, and simultaneously learn from other civilization. Only by borrowing other civilization’s merits to overcome one’s dismerits, can the ideal world with better future be constructed.

Mount Song Forum has been held five times since its birth. With the joint efforts by people of noble aspirations from the world, it has become fruitful with widespread influence. The topic of 2017 Forum was “ Achieving our own dreams and others’ dreams; Building up common civilization”. There used to be a splendid culture tradition in ancient China, that is, it advocated that “intellectuals

(called “gentlemen” in the ancient times, known as readers in the folk) should establish themselves with the heart of serving all the people, and deal with affairs by uprightness”. Establishing oneself means that, for an intellectual,

what kind of a life he wants to have. Naturally the ideal is achieved by cultivating one’s moral character, regulating one’s family, administering one’s country, and sustaining the world peace. Establishing one’s moral character is first to excel oneself, and then help to refine one’s family, nation and even the world. Establishing others means helping others to actualize theirselves. Establishing oneself is the precondition for helping establishing others. And vice

versa, the purpose of establishing oneself is to serve one’s family, nation, and the world peace. All these put in practice are based on the noble-minded ideal.

It is widely acknowledged that intellectuals should hold it a sense of responsibility “to convey the universe will, to protect the public’s well-being, to inherit and develop the sages’ lost knowledge, and to keep permanent peace for the coming generations”. Of course, as a scholar or just a citizen, when facing the complicated society and his uncertain future, he may take the doctrine of “insistence of one’s virtues in poverty”, even if he has no chance to better the whole world. It is a noble mind with the world in one’s heart. Dealing with affairs requires the sense of uprightness, which means that “one can make contributions to society by contributing to others, and succeed by helping others succeed”. As a virtuous person, he is supposed to “worry about the world first and enjoy himself last”, and not to impose on others what the person himself does not desire. The quest for righteousness rather than selfishness is actually a guide for intellectuals to live a authentic life and being. With the development of science and technology, it is more and more convenient for all the peoples to communicate with each other. Now the earth is called “global village”. In this state, no nation or country or civilization can exist isolated. There are so many problems for all the human beings to solve. Thus we hope you, who attended or will attend this forum, and other intellectuals will pay as much attention as possible to other civilizations and your own. By recognizing and absorbing the advantages and essences of other civilizations, we can actively participate in civilization dialogue and civilization communication, explore the possible ways to demystify the questions we all have to confront, care about human destiny, and jointly construct the global civilization.