In the more
than five thousand years of Chinese history, many sages have made their
appearance, as well as many worthy people, intelligent people, and wise
people. However, intelligent people are not always virtuous. People who
possess intelligence and wisdom as well as virtue, who are able to
advocate the fundamental principles of human morality, are very rare.
Mencius said, “Every five hundred years, there shall arise a truly wise
emperor. And at the same time with the sovereign shall arise men
illustrious in their generation to assist him.” In China, virtue has
been emphasized since ancient times. It is the human capacity to
understand principles and to be virtuous that distinguishes people from
animals. Animals have blood and breath, but they have no concept of
virtue. They do not know enough to aspire to lofty character and virtue.
Xizhang Jiang was a child prodigy
born in Shandong province in recent times. His father hoped that his
son would be like Zhang Zai, whose other name was Hengqu, so he named
him Muju (“admirer of Qu”). Today, Mr. Zhou told us that Xizhang Jiang
was born after his parents had prayed to Mount Tai [for a son]. He was
exceptionally gifted. He was different from other children. He was a
naturally gifted and outstanding child from the time he was born. In
what way? He had a photographic memory. His faculties of hearing and
seeing were very keen. He never forgot anything he heard or read. He
retained anything that passed through his ears and could recite from
memory anything that passed before his eyes. That’s the kind of special
gift he had. Therefore, he could write compositions at the age of three
and compose excellent poems at five. When he was nine, he wrote the
Explanation of the Four Books in Colloquial Chinese. He surpassed
ordinary people in wisdom and intelligence.
He also wrote a book called The
Chart of the Great Thousand, which discussed various stars and
constellations. The ideas in his book coincided with the concept of the
trichiliocosm spoken of in Buddhist Sutras. That he was able to write
something that agreed with the Buddhist Sutras proves that he was
certainly an extraordinary child prodigy.
He also wrote a book called
Treatise on Ending War, in which he said, “We should all be cautious.
The evolution of the world must be accompanied by virtue. If we
emphasize the development of science, but pay no attention to virtue,
the human race will be overwhelmed by weaponry and bombs. We will end
up as cannonfodder and be devoured by cannonballs.” He said that if we
do not use virtue to guide the evolution of the world, we will
basically be poisoning ourselves; the lack of virtue is a greater
menace to society than a flood or ferocious beasts. He had such great
foresight and wisdom even at such a young age. Thus he is dubbed the
“young dragon” in the verse below.
In China Laozi was called
“Dragon-like” (you long) by Confucius. This child prodigy was very
young, so he is called “Young Dragon” (you long). A young dragon is
more powerful than an old dragon. He explained Laozi’s Daodejing (Book
of Virtue) as well as the classic Four Books in colloquial Chinese. He
lived up to his resolve of “carrying on the lost teachings of the
By the time he was six, he already
had admirers. A scholar who admired him came to visit him and inquired
about his resolve, about what he wanted to do in the future. He said:
“I want to establish the will of
heaven and earth.” What is the will of heaven and earth? Heaven and
earth have the virtue of cherishing life. If everyone refrains from
taking life, then the will of heaven and earth will be established.
He also wanted to “to protect the
lives of all people and creatures.” He wished to protect all beings so
that they would be able to live safely and not be in danger of losing
He also wished “to carry on the
lost teachings of the ancient sages.” In his time, the schools had done
away with the books of the sages. The ancient classics were no longer
studied. Xizhang Jiang wanted to revive the forgotten teachings of the
sages of old. That’s one way of explaining it. We can also say that he
wanted to perpetuate the rare teachings of the sages so that they would
never be lost. He hoped to keep the books written by the ancient sages,
worthies, and philosophers from becoming extinct.
He also wanted “to create a world
of great peace for ten thousand generations to come.” He wished to
create a great commonwealth lasting for tens of thousands of
generations, a world of harmony and equality in which wars did not
exist. Peace is simply the absence of war. War inflicts the greatest
suffering on mankind. For example, when Japan invaded China, they
killed as many Chinese people as there are sesame seeds. Afterwards,
there was a civil war between the Nationalists and Communists which
resulted in countless deaths. Whenever there is war, human beings
undergo extreme suffering. Like floods and wild beasts, wars cause
losses of life and property that are beyond reckoning.
Those were his four resolves.
In 1918 when he was twelve, he and
his father went to Jinan in Shandong Province and set up a preliminary
office for the International Virtue Society. In 1926, when he came back
from a trip to western Europe, he called a meeting of representatives
and set forth four main goals for the International Virtue Society.
They were: “to reform society, to create universal brotherhood, to
encourage progress in the world, and to work for the well-being of
mankind.” He wanted to bring about a wholesome society in which people
could live together in peace. The aim of the Virtue Society was to
influence people to have wholesome minds and to reform themselves, so
that harmony and justice could prevail in the world. He also wanted to
promote progress in the world by means of virtue. Finally, he wished to
create blessings and prosperity for mankind.
He further set forth the following
objectives for the Virtue Society: “to benefit the people, to inspire
their wisdom, and to encourage them to be virtuous.” He wanted to
improve people’s lives, to help them bring forth their wisdom, and to
urge them to pay attention to basic moral values and to integrity.
In 1928, he invited the elder Good
Man Fengyi Wang of Chaoyang County, Rehe Province, Manchuria, to join
the Society. He relayed the principles of the Society to Good Man Wang
and told him, “You shall be responsible for the Manchuria area.” They
worked hand in hand. Later, many branch offices of the Society were
established throughout northern China and Manchuria. Through the Virtue
Society, they influenced people to become good.
The Virtue Society of Manchuria
was administered at four levels. At that time the Japanese were
occupying Manchuria and had established the puppet state of Manchukuo.
The four-level administration of the Virtue Society was comprised of a
headquarters in the capital of Changchun and branch offices at the
provincial, county, and city levels. The organization exerted a
wholesome influence on Manchurian social trends by advocating women’s
ethics and harmony within families. The Society had over eight hundred
locations in Manchuria alone which provided free education for women.
Tomorrow we will talk about a
person named Yaxuan Zhang. He was a hustler who liked to drink, eat,
and gamble. As a horse dealer, he would grind down the teeth of old
horses and then sharpen them with a chisel, so that he could pass them
off as young horses and sell them for a lot of money. Later, he met
Good Man Wang, who was able to talk some sense into him. Yaxuan Zhang
understood and changed. He donated all his wealth to set up schools and
do good deeds. What happened after he started doing good deeds? His two
sons died. He understood. He said, “These two boys were born when I was
doing evil deeds. They came to collect debts. Now since I have begun
doing good deeds, Heaven has called them back. A good one will come in
the future.” Sure enough, he had another son later on who was very
good. Yaxuan Zhang was Good Man Wang’s best helper and follower.
Now let’s come back to Xizhang
A verse in praise says:
The subtle energy of nature converges to
Amidst renowned mountains and mighty rivers.
Shandong produced Confucius and Mencius,
The foremost sage and the multitude of worthy
The child prodigy of Licheng County
Resolved to save the world from the wild
He promoted the five religions and
Propagated the teachings of the Buddha and
The subtle energy of nature converges to
nurture geniuses. Shandong has produced many sages, such as
Confucius and Mencius. In Shandong the land is inspiring and the people
are outstanding. Amidst renowned mountains and mighty rivers.
This refers to Mount Tai and to the Ji River.
Confucius and Mencius. Both of them were born in Shandong. The
foremost sages and the multitude of worthy ones. Confucius
and Mencius were the greatest sages. Among Confucius’ disciples, there
were seventy-two worthies who had mastered the six arts.
The child prodigy of
Licheng County / Resolved to save the world from the wild deluge.
Xizhang Jiang was born in Licheng, and despite his young age, he had a
great resolve. He wanted to save the world from the trends of
corruption. What did he do?
He promoted the five
religions and / Propagated the teachings of the Buddha and immortals.
He promoted the five religions of Confucianism, Taoism, Buddhism,
Christianity, and Islam. He had wanted to build a place where all five
religions could converge together, but in the end he did not succeed in
carrying out his idea. He said that the principles advocated by the
sages who had founded the five religions were of great benefit to
mankind; they could rectify people’s minds and reform decadent social
trends. He zealously advocated Buddhism as well as Taoism.
Another verse says:
Jiang was a child prodigy of intelligence and
A bright lamp in the bitter sea during times
Raising his hands and calling out to reverse
the calamitous fate,
He resolutely prayed for the salvation of
When the five religions flourish, universal
brotherhood will appear.
The Virtue Society’s development led to a
Unfathomabla are the young dragon’s
Outstanding individuals appear in dynasty
after dynastyin China.
Jiang was a child prodigy of intelligence and
keen wisdom. He was endowed with great intelligence and
wisdom from birth. A bright lamp in the bitter sea during
times of decline. He came to this world during a time when
the world has forgotten the ancient customs and lost its moral values.
During these times of decline, when people’s hearts are extremely evil,
he was like a bright light shining from a lighthouse in the sea of
Raising his hands and
calling out to reverse the calamitous fate. He called out to
everyone, saying, “Don’t forget virtue! Don’t get so caught up in the
progress of science and philosophy that you overlook virtue. If you do,
the human race will end up as cannonfodder; mankind will be destroyed
by cannonballs, airplanes, and bombs.”
That’s why he said, Railroads and
steamships pervade the five continents. They are found throughout the
five continents. Heaven has told this student to come and roam through
the world again. The Heavenly Lord, the Buddha, and the sages commanded
me to come. Christianity, Islam, Taoism, and Buddhism develop hand in
hand. The five major religions will all develop. The rain of Lu and the
wind of Zhou cover the earth. Confucius was born in the state of Lu,
and the rain of Lu indicates that he spent most of his time teaching
there. Mencius grew up in the state of Zhou, and so the wind of Zhou
refers to the teachings of Mencius. When Confucius and Mencius were
alive, the rain of Lu and the wind of Zhou pervaded the earth; the
sages’ teachings prevailed throughout the world. The child prodigy
Jiang spoke these words hoping that the teachings of Confucius and
Mencius would become globally known. He resolutely prayed for
the salvation of living creatures. He wished to rescue all
When the five religions
flourish, universal brotherhood will appear. If the five
religions prosper, then the world will realize a state of great harmony
and equality. The Virtue Society’s development led to a truce.
It helped people to reach a truce and put an end to wars.
Unfathomabla are the young
dragon’s transformations. Although the dragon was very young,
his transformations—his wisdom and ideas—were unfathomably lofty and
profound. Outstanding individuals appear in dynasty after
dynasty in China. Extraordinary figures have lived in every
dynasty of China.
In our present time, humankind has
been blessed with the appearance of the child prodigy Jiang. We should
not overlook this.