What strengths and academic research value does Zi Gong, one of Confucius’ best and most well-known disciples, have? Is he the originator of Confucian businessmen? How much did he contribute to the development of Confucianism? Teacher Xiang answered these questions in detail in this Tuesday’s “Kaiwen Chinese Classics Lecture Hall” Lecture 2—Confucius’ Disciples (part 1).
Teacher Xiang summed up Zi Gong’s life by saying that Zi Gong is a generalist, an activist for Confucius worship, a profound thinker, and a scholar with a metaphorical writing style. “Zi Gong is a generalist because of his business, diplomatic, and academic capabilities,” Teacher Xiang explained. “He is modest and polite. He played a very important role in inheriting and carrying forward Confucianism.”
The lecture hall was packed with students, teachers, and parents. Teacher Xiang handed out teaching materials to the audience. He asked them to read the text aloud with him. He explained Zi Gong’s views in detail so that the audience could understand his subtle philosophic thinking. Most of the students present at the lecture are senior primary school students and junior high school students. Although they could not fully understand what Teacher Xiang was teaching, they expressed their views actively and read the text aloud with enthusiasm, which was quite impressive.
The warm atmosphere at the “Kaiwen Chinese Classics Lecture Hall” allowed the parents present to feel the charm of classical Chinese literature. “To learn a Chinese classic, one often needs to read it aloud repeatedly. Although he/she may not be able to fully understand its meaning in the beginning, this will help him/her memorize it when he/she reads it carefully later after listening to the teacher’s explanation,” one of the parents said.
Teacher Kang, a secondary school Chinese-language teacher at Kaiwen, said, “The Analects is a Confucian classic. It can be taught as a rudiment of Chinese classics. However, we can also go deep and explore the philosophical wisdom in the book. There are Chinese classics suitable for primary, junior high school, and senior high school students. As a well-known disciple of Confucius, Zi Gong is impeccable as a human being: he handles things well, he has the talent for political and business affairs, and he has a high morality level. The dialogues between Confucius and him, which were included in The Analects, have helped interpret Confucius’ thoughts from a different angle.”
“Tsinghua characteristics, Chinese roots, and international quality” are the three cornerstones of the Kaiwen Academy (Haidian). The school established its mission—“cultivate future leaders who have patriotic feelings and international perspectives”—when it was founded. Teaching Chinese traditional culture has been incorporated into the school’s core curriculum system, an essential part of which is reading Chinese classics.
Since Beijing Kaiwen Academy launched the series of “Chinese Classics Lecture Hall” lectures, the lectures were well received by the students, teachers, and parents. Next, the school will launch “Architecture Lecture Hall”, “Reporter Lecture Hall”, “Art Lecture Hall”, and other series of lectures. These Lecture Halls are open platforms. Teachers, parents, and people from all walks of life who have research topics and specialties in various fields are welcome to give lectures on the platforms.
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