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Chapter 1307: Inscription, Benevolence and Righteousness!
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
Master Zhu had many years ago retired to this thatched hall, withdrawing from the secular world. He would even avoid meetings with members of the imperial household.
Although Li Junxian was the leader of the Confucian Sect, not even he could do anything if Master Zhu refused him.
The thatched hall was devoid of noise as Li Junxian silently gazed at Master Zhu.
Master Zhu finally spoke.
“I understand. Leave this matter to me!”
Li Junxian breathed a sigh of relief.
“Senior Brother, my deepest grat.i.tude!”
Li Junxian gave a deep bow and stood up.
Two days later, a piece of news shook the empire. The highly revered and only ‘Master’ of Gaozong’s era, and the only Master of the present age, Master Zhu, had finally reemerged.
This event sent shockwaves through society, particularly the Confucian school. Across the Nine Provinces, countless renowned and learned Confucians became agitated and impatient at the news, and rushed to make their way to the capital.
“Honored Father, you are already of advanced age, and this place is extremely far from the capital. In your condition, I worry that you will not be able to tolerate the stresses of traveling by carriage!”
At a certain place in the empire, a son gripped the carriage of his father, who was more than eighty years old, and urged him to rethink his journey.
“b.a.s.t.a.r.d thing, do you know who Master Zhu is? Let alone the stresses of the carriage journey, even if I were to die on the road today, this old man would still do so with no regret. On the contrary, by stopping me now, you’ll make me live with eternal regret, and as a father, I will never forgive you!” the white-haired and wrinkled old father on the carriage harshly rebuked, stubbornly overruling his entire family.
Similar events were taking place all throughout the realm. The news of Master Zhu was like a ma.s.sive boulder thrown into a lake, making the splash created by the conflict between the militarists and Confucians seem much smaller by comparison.
At the appointed time, countless venerable Confucians had gathered in front of the temple of learning to silently wait.
Such a grand display attracted countless onlookers. Many of these people were less than forty and had no idea who Master Zhu was, but when they heard of his background, all of them became solemn and respectful.
“A living sage, a true living sage!”
All the common people felt deep veneration, and some people even set up living memorial tablets in their homes to wors.h.i.+p Master Zhu. The imperial household even had to send Golden Guards to maintain order and discipline around the temple of learning.
Even as the sun neared its zenith, there was still no sign of Master Zhu. Despite this, not a single one of the numerous Confucians gathered in front of the simple and solemn temple felt any impatience. Finally, after some time…
“Look at that!” someone suddenly called out, and the crowd instantly turned to look.
At this moment, a thin figure dressed in an immaculately white robe had appeared in front of the temple of learning. That person held his hands behind his back, and merely by standing there, he exuded the aura of a lofty and majestic mountain.
The sight of that figure galvanized the crowd, all the venerable Confucians getting down on their knees and kowtowing on the ground. Some of the old men in their seventies and eighties were even weeping in joy.
They appeared to be aged and virtuous luminaries in the eyes of many, but only they understood how insignificant they were in front of Master Zhu. Compared to Master Zhu, they were just ‘youths’.
When they were still children, Master Zhu was fifty or sixty years old and renowned throughout the world, wors.h.i.+ped as the leader of the Confucian school. By the time each of them had made their names, Master Zhu had long ago retired. For many of these learned Confucians, being able to see Master Zhu in their lifetimes was an incredible honor that could allow them to die without regret.
Even the Golden Guards were stunned to see all these old scholars weeping. They only knew that they had been sent to guard an important Confucian leader, but they had no idea just how important Master Zhu was. Some of the Golden Guards even put down their weapons and kneeled to Master Zhu.
Master Zhu said nothing, only calmly gazed at the scene before him and then turned around. Someone had already stepped forward at this point to unroll a large white ream of paper. Master Zhu extended a hand, where someone was already waiting with a brush already dipped in ink.
“Everyone, look, Master Zhu is about to write!” someone called out, and everyone instantly turned their eyes to see what Master Zhu was going to write.
With great flourish and force, Master Zhu wrote out two words: ‘仁义’!
The crowd once more began to buzz with chatter upon seeing these two words.
“Benevolence and righteousness! Is Master Zhu saying that the foundation of learning is benevolence and righteousness?”
“To be able to see Master Zhu with my own eyes is already an incredible honor, and then to be able to see Master Zhu write characters and impart his teachings on the Confucian path… this old man can truly die without regret! Hahaha…”
“The two words ‘benevolence’ and ‘righteousness’ are the essence of Confucian culture. Master Zhu must have a deeper meaning in writing these words!”
The crowd was buzzing with chatter and seemingly intoxicated by the mood. Some people were repeating the two words over and over as if trying to understand the meaning behind Master Zhu’s action.
Master Zhu made no attempt to explain these two words. Putting the brush into a metal plate held by a waiting attendant, he turned around and left.
But the sea of people remained outside the temple, unwilling to leave.
Although Master Zhu had only shown himself for a few moments, the same could not be said for the extent of his influence. A stone cast into a pond could stir one thousand ripples, and Master Zhu’s appearance and the words he had written were like a ma.s.sive boulder smas.h.i.+ng into the lake of the Nine Provinces, stirring enormous waves.
These two words seemed to have wings as they swiftly flew to every corner of the realm. Even children as young as three knew to put aside their naughty natures when speaking this name.
“Master Zhu? Who is this person?!”
Meanwhile, in the w.a.n.g Family Residence, w.a.n.g Chong looked at the person across from him in shock. Everything had happened so abruptly that even he had been caught by surprise.
“It’s very normal for you to not know. Let alone you, not even many people of my generation like your father know who he is.”
On the other side, King Song put down his tea cup and gave a thorough explanation of everything he had gathered about Master Zhu.
“It’s not just you. Even I was incredibly shocked. In the reign of the previous Emperor, I occasionally heard a little about Master Zhu, but they were only brief mentions, and there were rumors back then that he had already died. Who could have imagined that he was still alive?”
King Song gave an emotional sigh.
w.a.n.g Chong sat dazed in his seat, his mind in turmoil. Yet another important figure had floated to the surface because of him. There was no doubt that if he had not interfered, Master Zhu would have lived out a quiet retirement until his death. At the very least, he had never heard of this man or this event in his last life.
“The situation is bad!”
w.a.n.g Chong frowned, his mind uneasy. If King Song had not told him himself, he would have found it very difficult to believe that there was a living legend like Master Zhu in this world. Moreover, Master Zhu happened to appear exactly at this moment, and he was none other than the spiritual leader of the Confucian school. w.a.n.g Chong’s thoughts immediately went to the Confucian Sect.
Both had the word ‘Confucian’, and this was a moment where ‘Might Makes Right’ was in fierce conflict with ‘Benevolence and Righteousness’. w.a.n.g Chong would never believe that all this was a coincidence.
“w.a.n.g Chong, Master Zhu’s influence and status exceed those of the imperial household or any other secular power. The ‘Might Makes Right’ that you published is completely against the Confucian ideals of benevolence and righteousness. Master Zhu’s appearance does not bode well for you. You must be careful. I came here specifically to warn you about this,” King Song firmly said.
King Song’s conjecture and w.a.n.g Chong’s ill foreboding received confirmation just two days later. On this day, w.a.n.g Chong learned that Master Zhu, in his capacity as spiritual leader of the Confucian school, had personally criticized w.a.n.g Chong’s ‘Might Makes Right’.
“Benevolence and righteousness cannot be discarded. These theories cannot be allowed to prevail!”
These were Master Zhu’s actual words!
This news swept through the capital like a hurricane and continued onward to spread throughout the realm. This was different from the two books Li Junxian had written, as no one could match Master Zhu’s status in the Confucian school. One could say that any literate person in the empire was a student of Master Zhu!
This was a symbol of Master Zhu’s status.
Master Zhu’s appearance at the temple of learning had already drawn all the Confucians of the empire to the capital, and now, his words swiftly made their way into the ears of these Confucians and into all the schools of the empire. And thus, another storm began.
The Confucian school had been spreading its teachings throughout the Central Plains for more than one thousand years, and its imperceptible influence had long ago melded into various aspects of daily life. Even the totally illiterate knew a little about the ideas of the Confucian school and were deeply influenced by them. The moment Master Zhu gave the call, declaring w.a.n.g Chong’s ‘Might Makes Right’ to be heresy, the influence the Confucian school had built up over the centuries began to display its immense power.
In the s.p.a.ce of a single day, countless ill.u.s.trious Confucians answered Master Zhu’s call and wrote books criticizing and refuting w.a.n.g Chong’s ‘Might Makes Right’, printing books on an unprecedented scale. The effects quickly reached all the students with their schools.
Within one day, several hundred students were expelled from their schools and banned from joining any other school.
Respect for the teacher was a cornerstone of the Confucian school. Anyone who dared to espouse heretical teachings in the schoolroom would be defying Master Zhu, a treasonous action.
With this thunderous move, the voices supporting ‘Might Makes Right’ became much smaller.