on Images for larger view)
He stands as one of the greatest educators of all time.
was a teacher who greatly influenced Chinese thought and society. He was born
in China when kings had already been at constant battle for a long time and people
suffered intensely from lack of peace and order. Because of this, he went from
realm to realm hoping to find a king desiring to learn to rule by compassion and
fairness. He never did find such a ruler, and, disappointed, he returned home
to teach anyone who wanted to learn to be educated and civil. He was an advocate
of courtesy, generosity, good faith, diligence, virtue and morality. He felt this
would serve people in good standing from their most personal relationships all
the way to the ideal forms of government asserting, "Guide the people by virtue
and regulate them by a sense of propriety, and people will have a sense of honor
and respect." He felt strong family bonds were central to the ties between father
and son which gave rise to the good relationship between teacher and student,
and fostered the perfect coalition between ruler and subjects, which translated
to a peaceful and harmonized society. September 28 is Confucius' birthday, which
is National Teacher's Day in Taiwan. The Santa Clara County Office of Education
celebrates Teachers Day, recognizing their best on this day also.
Sun Yat-Sen (A.D. 1866-1925) The founding father of the Republic
of China Memorial Hall
The Memorial Hall was dedicated
to the City of San Jose in July of 1984. The outside is like a miniature palace.
It is a gift from the Republic of China in Taiwan. The Memorial Hall houses the
bronze statue of Dr. Sun Yat-Sen who is the founding father of China's modernization.
In 1911, he overthrew the last emperor of China, ending well over two thousand
years of dynastic rule. Educated in the West, Dr. Sun opened a doorway for a new
type of government for China and though he had a preference for democracy, this
outcome would be given to the cycles of time. Mr. Wang designed the Memorial Hall.
He is a foremost expert in the architecture of traditional China. The Hall is
built mainly of marble, bronze, and mahogany wood. Mr. Wang took personal charge
of the construction because, interestingly, this structure was first built in
was then disassembled, put into three large cargo containers and shipped to the
United States where he oversaw its re-assemblage as it stands today. The traditional
slanted roof is made of ceramic tile and weighs in at about 20 tons. The old architecture
of China has many interesting and often cleverly humorous features. Symbolism
is prodigious. Each corner of the roof is "guarded" by a procession of figures
- a fairy, a dragon, a phoenix, and lion. Their mythological purpose is to lead
away evil spirits off the rooftop. The chicken boat figure at the leading edge
is a fairy character, which reports back to the Gods about how the people in "this
house" are faring. He is a subtle reminder not to harbor negative thoughts. The
dragon is a major representative and defender of good. No evil should penetrate
this house while he lies across this high place. Further insurance from negativity
is the sloped roof itself. No such spirit would find an easy foothold onto this
slippery and shiny rooftop.The
two marble lions guarding the entrance also have an interesting appeal. This pair
is a husband and wife team. They represent the balanced nature of opposites. Accordingly,
no imbalance can breach this arrangement. There is the suggestion here of the
perfect family, a mother, a father and a cub. In this place, the future unfolds
in safety, peace, and harmony. The lion cub is held gently and lovingly under
the paw of the mother lion; her tongue signifies that she rules the home with
love. The male lion holds a ball under his paw. It represents the events of the
world as his domain. In his mouth is another ball that rolls freely, like a plaything.
The important understanding is that as he carries out his duties thoughtfully,
and wisely, showing true leadership, the ball harmonizes and becomes the pearl
of wisdom. Up the center stairway to the Memorial Hall is the Emperor's path.
The wavy lines represent the water upon the earth. The stylized clouds represent
the heavens. There is a small memory in these symbols that in the most ancient
of times mankind was in harmony with nature. You can see this motif carried out
on the railing and pillars, giving the Memorial Hall a sense of peace and tranquility.
Black Stone is
at least 1 Million Years Old.
The Black Stone is a gift from Tainan,
Taiwan, to the City of San Jose. It was presented in 1980 and represents the ties
of friendship between these two sister cities. This stone was placed in Overfelt
Gardens on October 10, 1980. This date is also known to Chinese the world over
as Double Ten, and marks the Chinese day of independence from over 2000 years
of imperial rule. The stone is black marble and was hewn out a cave in the high
mountains near Tainan. It weighs more than 15 tons and was shaped by eons of fog,
clouds, and moisture. The stone is actually twice the height that we see above
ground, as half of it is buried under ground to secure a stable foundation. Chinese
written words are called "characters." The two that are carved on the stone are
from ancient literature and its meaning forms the foundation of Chinese culture.
These words conceptualize the idea of loyalty. It is the ancient idealization
of harmonious relationship in perfection. If between people or nations, this was
described as friendship. But the concept is broad enough to include the harmony
of ideals - as in a willingness to work out differences in a harmonious way as
opposed to an acrimonious way. The words on the stone are pronounced, "jung-how,"
and together, they mean "loyalty." Upon closer study, each word is a picture that
gives deeper cultural and historical insight into the architecture of "loyalty."
The upper character is composed of two pictures, a bow and arrow pointing downward
toward the heart at the bottom of the first character (can you see it?). The configuration
of the bow and arrow, itself means "center." It points as if from the head down
to the heart. This picture or composition, then, describes the steadfast and purposeful
heart The bottom character means "filial piety." It is a stylized picture of an
"elder" on the top part of the word above the symbol for "child," signifying the
importance of a child's dedication towards one's parents. Can you see how loyalty
can be a state of the heart? Can you see how the old Chinese idealized the love
between parent and offspring? To the ancient Chinese, no characteristic was more
important than the respect and dedication to one's parents. In it's most ideal
and ancient form, this dedication of child to parents was the perfect expression
of loyalty that infused and enriched all of society with a deep sense of caring,
even to the far reaches of government and even associations between nations. Thus,
children could learn because teachers could teach. Teaching led to the molding
of good and intelligent citizens, and society would run harmoniously on its own.
Everyone was helpful and all people attentive. To be loyal, then, as child toward
parents was highly esteemed. Can you see how this might have helped to inform
relationships in the old society? What do you think? Can this teach us something
for today? Mrs. Lowe, the tour guide explains the meaning of this venerable bit
of philosophy this way, "If you don't love your country you have no home - and
if you don't love your parents, you don't love yourself." What do you think about
this? Give us your thoughts at our website.
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