The Records Of The Human Emperor Chapter 1305
Chapter 1305: The Sage Temple Of The Confucian School
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
"Leave this matter to me!" Li Junxian declared, wearing his usual white robe. Compared to a few days ago, he had gotten much paler and his face seemed somewhat more haggard. It was clear that he had not slept well. He had never encountered Wang Chong's method of attack before, a method that no one else in the Great Tang would ever try.
But after all, this was the King of Foreign Lands.
Day by day, 'Might Makes Right' was spreading through the populace, and Li Junxian well understood where this trend would lead. But after several days of thought, he had not been able to find any good method of fighting back. Wang Chong's plan had been too exquisite. Not only had he spread his own ideas, he had sealed the mouths of his opponents.
Bamboo Mirror, the person responsible for the intelligence network, stepped forward and reported, "Not only that, Ü-Tsang's Dalon Trinling, Wunu Shibi of the Western Turks, Ashina Tuozhen of the Eastern Turks, Yeon Gaesomun of the Goguryeo Empire, and Arabia have all sent us letters urging us to put a stop to this matter. From the reports of our spies in these countries, all of them are showing signs of backlash, and there are calls for all the treaties to be canceled. There are even some people discussing calling back the disbanded soldiers!"
Li Junxian and all the other Confucian Sect experts in the room tensed up at these words.
Li Junxian raised his head and said, "When did this happen? Has the Imperial Court been informed?"
"These were private letters that arrived several days ago. I worried that the pressure on you was too great, so I did not report it at the time," Bamboo Mirror replied.
Everyone breathed a sigh of relief. If they were private letters, this meant that there was still room to maneuver. The surrounding countries clearly did not want war with the Great Tang. But it was also obvious that Wang Chong's actions and the storm in the capital made them feel immensely threatened, so they had entrusted the Confucian Sect with their hopes of preventing the situation from worsening.
Elder Song sighed and gave his own report. "In truth, it's not just the surrounding countries. The Prime Minister, the Grand Preceptor, and King Qi have also sent several letters asking us what they should do about this matter."
The Confucian Sect wasn't just facing pressure from the surrounding countries, but the court as well. King Qi, the Grand Preceptor, and the Prime Minister were all vital allies of the Confucian Sect.
Wang Chong's 'Might Makes Right' had spread throughout the capital and the realm, and everyone could see what it was doing. It was clear that the First Prince, King Qi, and the Prime Minister were all hoping that the Confucian Sect could change this situation.
The white-clothed young woman moved her lips, but in the end, she managed to restrain herself. The young master had already racked his mind and was enduring enough pressure. There was no need to add to his troubles.
The hall fell silent and still. Everyone turned in one direction, their eyes exerting an invisible pressure.
Li Junxian was the leader of the Confucian Sect, and he was the only person left who could contend against a person of Wang Chong's level.
After a long while, Li Junxian finally said, "I understand!" At that moment, countless thoughts flashed through his eyes, upon which he finally resolved himself.
"Every person is insignificant before the greatness of the Harmonious World. In front of this unprecedentedly rare opportunity, the thousand-year foundation of the Confucian Sect cannot be allowed to be destroyed in our hands, much less the hands of the King of Foreign Lands.
"Prepare a bath and change of clothes for me! I need to go to the Sage Temple!"
The words 'Sage Temple' took everyone in the hall by surprise, and expressions of respect appeared on their faces, showing even more respect than they usually showed to Li Junxian.
Elder Song stepped forward, bowed, and cautiously asked, "Young Master, you are…"
Li Junxian firmly nodded.
"This ideological war no longer concerns just our Confucian Sect. And it's about time I went to see him."
Li Junxian sighed.
Four hours after the conference's end, a simple and inconspicuous carriage mixed into the crowd. After passing through many streets, it entered a plum forest next to the Imperial Palace, in the northwest corner of the capital.
Two golden dragon banners had been placed at the entrance to the plum forest, and at the side of these banners were the Imperial Guards and Golden Guards who would normally only appear in the Imperial Palace.
This was clearly not a place any normal person could enter.
Li Junxian revealed a token at his waist and was able to smoothly enter the depths of the forest.
It was difficult to imagine that there was such a remote and peaceful place in the capital. The carriage went along a small and winding road, eventually pulling up to a dazzling golden palace.
"Young Master, we've arrived!"
A Confucian Sect disciple got down and opened the carriage door. Li Junxian raised his robe and emerged, and the moment he touched down, the clear fragrance of plum trees wafted into his nose.
"It's been a long time since my last visit!"
Li Junxian took in a deep breath, his heart filled with emotion as he took in these familiar sights.
Li Junxian glanced at the enormous hall. There was no placard above the hall's entrance, but ten-some paces away from the entrance, a stone stele had been placed. Several large words had been written on this stele in cinnabar.
'Leader of All Confucians'!
Below this was a seal, and then the words 'Acceding to the Will of the Heavens'!
It was clear from the mottling on the stone stele that it had been here for a very long time.
Gaozong's imperial seal!
This thought flashed through Li Junxian's mind as he gazed at the stele.
Other than the 'Supreme Sage' and the 'Second Sage Mencius', Emperors would rarely officially commend people of the Confucian Sect, and the title 'Leader of All Confucians' was something that no one could bear. The Golden Guards standing guard and the seal of Gaozong were enough to show that the person living within this golden palace was not just anybody.
Countless thoughts passed through Li Junxian's mind as he gazed at the hall. Few civilians knew about this plum forest and the hall within it, but all the illustrious and learned Confucians held this place with utmost regard.
This was the Sage Temple of the Confucian school!
This was because the person who lived within—or one could say 'the person consecrated within'—was the spiritual leader of the Confucian school.
"If the sovereign is benevolent, the entire country will act benevolently. If the sovereign is righteous, the entire country will act righteously. If the sovereign is honest and upright, the entire country will be honest and upright!"
"When a ruler rejoices in the joy of his people, the people rejoice in his joy. When the ruler grieves at the sorrow of his people, the people grieve at his sorrows."
"For a country, the people are of utmost importance, the gods of the land of secondary importance, and the sovereign of least importance. Thus, those who obtain the support of people become the Son of Heaven, those who obtain the Son of Heaven's favor become a King, and those who obtain the favor of a King become ministers…"
(TN: These are snippets from various parts of the Confucian classic, the 'Mencius'. The first saying is from 'Li Lou I', the second is from 'Liang Hui Wang II', and the third is from 'Jin Xin II'. Mencius was the second great philosopher of Confucianism after Confucius himself and espoused the innate goodness of human nature.)
Li Junxian could hear the sounds of recitation coming from the Sage Temple, but unlike in normal schools, these were extremely old voices, rather than childish ones. These men were in their eighties or nineties, all of them esteemed Confucians from fifty or sixty years ago.
A few moments later, a white-haired old Confucian wearing a gray-white robe stepped out from the hall. "Young Master, Master Zhu knows that you are here and has requested you to enter."
If a scholar were here, they would undoubtedly be stunned by the sight of this Confucian. This Confucian was renowned throughout the Huxiang region, and some twenty years ago, his book 'On Confucianism' had been published throughout the world and used as a guide by many members of the Confucian school.
It was rumored that he had died long ago. No one knew that he had entered this Sage Temple, where he had followed that person for ten-some years.
Li Junxian respectfully bowed, then he raised his robes and stepped into the hall.
There were no Golden Guards or Imperial Guards in the hall. Incense burners had been placed on the sides, giving off musky aromas. In front of these incense burners which were shaped like dragons, tigers, or cranes, venerable Confucians of fifty years and above had seated themselves cross-legged. They were either copying out manuscripts or had their eyes closed as if contemplating theories.
These people were so focused on their tasks that they didn't even glance at Li Junxian, and Li Junxian did not mind. He passed by these people and headed farther inside.
The sounds of recitation grew louder and louder, and as he entered the back of the palace, Li Junxian saw a stone courtyard and a very simple but well-kept thatched hall. For such a crude and simple building to be standing behind such an opulent palace was truly difficult to believe unless one had seen it with their own eyes.
Though it was simple and crude, this thatched hall exuded a transcendent, clear, pure, and divine aura. Rather than being an eyesore next to the opulent hall, it made the grand palace seem insignificant. This thatched hall seemed to stick out like a sore thumb amidst the plum and bamboo.
Although it was rather strange, Li Junxian had long ago gotten used to it.
Various illustrious and learned Confucians passed through the stone courtyard, either entering or leaving the thatched hall. Li Junxian also quickly made his way over. At the entrance to the thatched hall, old and erudite Confucians were kneeling on the ground, sitting in rows like disciples as they put their minds into studying.
Their attitudes were so respectful that they seemed like youths who knew nothing and were learning from an erudite teacher.
At any other place in the Nine Provinces, these venerable Confucians would have been regarded with utmost respect. At their level of learning, they no longer needed to study with someone, nor was there anything that anyone could teach them. But at this thatched hall, they were all like children seeking guidance. And rather than feeling ashamed, these people seemed to feel like this was a great honor, that there was no greater glory than studying at this place.
Everyone appeared to feel like staying here to study was an opportunity that had to be dearly cherished.