- The Empire Club of Canada Addresses (Toronto, Canada), 28 Oct 1937, p. 54-64
- Tzen, Rev. P. Lindel, Speaker
- Media Type
- Item Type
- China today; China yesterday. A moral philosophy of China's national aspiration that has sustained her all through the past period of almost thirty odd centuries. A statement from one of the classics of China that summarizes the whole moral teaching of Chinese philosophy of life, either life of individuals or life of nations. An upright heart; there a life begins. The quality of "Chih Kuo," which means a disciplined nation. Elements of the Tang Dynasty. Japan's borrowing of Chinese culture. Facing the Mongolians about 600 years ago. The Yuan Dynasty. The Ming Dynasty. The Ching Dynasty, or the Manchurian Dynasty. The beginning of a new regime some 25 years ago, the Republic of China. Elements of the new Republic. The five races of the Chinese: the Manchurians, the Mongolians, the Mahommedans and the Tibetans, and the Chinese. Practical problems for an old Chinese philosophy. A miniature of the whole situation of the present world in China. A China where it seems that human beings are willing to give up all that makes for the first quality of Chinese philosophy, an upright heart, and then to give up what is most essential for any living at all, an honest mind. Some unique situation in China today. China's relation to her nearest neighbour. The third invasion by Japan. International concern over China. The speaker's plea that both China and Japan should be saved.
- Date of Original
- 28 Oct 1937
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- CHINA TODAY
AN ADDRESS BY REV. P. LINDEL TZEN, M.A. D.D., BISHOP OF HONAN, CHINA.
Thursday, October 28th, 1937
PRESIDENT: Gentlemen, from our boyhood China has been to us a fascinating and wondrous country. The history of China was learned from the stories we read in the Boys' Own Annual, Chums, and Henty. How surprised we were to find that many of the modern appliances of science in use in those days, and as a matter of fact in use today, came from the inventive mind of the Chinese and had been in use for many centuries by them before the Christian era. The expression "nothing new under the sun" is certainly true of China. As we grew older our interest was further aroused by reason of -the fact that many of our acquaintances and friends journied to China as missionaries, teachers and professors and we learned of a new China, a more intimate China. Today, that great country takes on a different picture. It is one of the actors in the clash of two civilizations, the outcome of which will be world-wide in its effect.
Our guest-speaker comes from that great province in China, Honan, by area, I believe, less than Ontario, by population many times that of the Dominion of Canada. That is another question. Honan is well known to Canadians as in that Province are many of our citizens. Bishop Tsen is the first and only Chinese Diocesan Bishop of the Anglican Church in China. He has been honoured by many universities throughout the world and we are pleased to hear his great work has lately been acknowledged by one of our own Canadian Universities. Today he honours us by his presence. I have the pleasure to introduce to the Empire Club of Canada, Bishop P. Lindel Tsen, or as he is affectionately known throughout his own country, "Lindel Tsen." His subject is "China Today."
(Applause.) RT. REV. LINDEL TEEN, M.A., D.D.: Mr. President and Gentlemen: As I walked into this great palatial hotel with my friend Bishop White and the President of your meeting today, one of the first gentlemen whom I met greeted me with the assurance that we have a most lively subject. I agreed with him. I did not dare disappoint him so early and to say while the subject is most lively, you are unfortunate in that you have a speaker who is almost half dead. And the country that is represented by the subject, if she is not half dead she is not far from there.
Now, in speaking on China today one has to say a few words of China yesterday. China has a very long history but we cannot take up the time .to go through all the long period of her history at this meeting. However, China began her national life with a philosophy which is really her national aspiration. An aspiration full of moral character and it is that moral philosophy of China's national aspiration that has sustained her life all through the past period of almost thirty odd centuries.
May I be permitted to quote just one short statement from one of the classics of China, written by a disciple of the grandson of Confucius, in the book of ? ? in which he says: Cheng Hien, Cheng Yi, Hsiu Shen, Chi Chia, Chih Kuo, Ping Tien Hsia. These few Chinese characters put together as one statement summarizes the whole moral teaching of Chinese philosophy of life, either life of individuals or life of nations.
I suppose to give you the text in the original language may sound even wore than Latin or Greek to some of you, although I am fully aware that I am in the company of great scholars, scholar in languages which are living, scholar in languages which are past. However, just for the convenience of some of you I am trying to give as best I can with my very limited vocabulary of your language, the English equivalent, which means this: Cheng Hein an upright heart. There a life begins, whether as an individual or as a race or as a nation. You begin from the heart which is really the center of your ego. China at the very early period of her history did not learn to speak the religious language of our day. Instead of saying the soul or the spirit, she speaks of that central core of life, the heart, the seat of all your moral construction if you are a living being or- a nation at all.
But it is not enough to have only an upright heart, to be only a moral being. You want that to be followed and harmonized with another quality--Cheng Yi--which means an honest mind, and a live individual co-operates with the center of a moral power, harmonized with that great courage an attitude that we called in our days science, a scientific attitude, a scientific courage to face the universe, to seek to explain the cosmic mystery with an entire intellectual honesty. Never be afraid to face issues or questions, face the truth steadily and comprehend it. So, therefore, we have a second quality for life, an honest mind. Honest and moral you may be in your heart and mind but you either as an individual or as a nation have to live your life through some form of embodiment, especially the physical body of a human being or a nation, so it follows with the third quality of "Hsiu Shen," which means a cultured body. But bodies do not live in entire isolation but can only come to be the instrument for the mind and the heart to exercise, to express themselves when that body is placed in right relationship with other bodies. The place where we as individuals begin to form our contacts with other individuals is the place of the home or the family. So we come to the fourth quality, "Chi Chia," which means an orderly family. Where you have a family with your great grandparents and your parents and children, a family in China, will live together under the same roof, four or even five generations. Where the bodies of those individuals are living under a common roof you have a home and you must have that home organized on some sort of reasonable and moral order. Therefore, we have the culture of the human bodies as the right kind of instrument with which your moral and intellectual life grows and exercises itself. We have an orderly family and only by groups of families you come to have a larger family which is your nation.
Therefore, it follows with a further quality of "Chih Kuo," which means a disciplined nation. When you have families as units in your community, in the whole community of the nations and have anything short of a communal recognized discipline you will not be able to have a nation. You may have a mass of people. You may have groups of individuals living always in conflict with the several group or individual interests. When your nation is built upon a discipline that governs and seeks to see the welfare of all concerned, then that nation will be a member of a world of nations and that nation will be able to be such a contributive and useful nation to the creation of the last quality, which is "Ping Tien Hsia"--a peaceful world.
Now, I have already given you the sauce of my quotation. It is still there. I am glad to know that the Chinese library of the Ontario Museum will soon .be opened and I wish you would take time when you have your leisure to look into some of the pages of the Chinese ancient classics and you will find that it is not simply a statement of some past thinking but it is still the living and the guiding philosophy for China as a nation and for the Chinese as individual human beings. (Applause.) China with that as her philosophy in her past history ,it seems to me has to fulfill her obligations in the way of sharing what was possible to her in the achievement of a particular type of civilization with the nations immediate to her and around her, making her family of nations. I do not need to give you more illustrations or incidences than mentioning just one epoch in the history of "China and that is the Tang Dynasty, about some thirteen centuries ago when the national capital of the Chinese Empire was in the northwestern province which goes by the name, Kshensi. The national capital is today the provincial capital of that province which is Sian, and I think the city of Sian has been made more widely known since the most unfortunate, in the way very mysterious event in the fact that our Generalissimo was taken a prisoner a little over a year ago in that very city.
Now, at the time of the Tang Dynasty that capital of the Chinese Empire was the meeting ground of international friendship sand fellowship. You found in that city, as the center of the Empire and as its central meeting place of all the nations known to one another, especially on the Continent of Asia, people from India, people from Persia, people from Turkey, people from Arabia., and people from Palestine and people from Korea and people from Japan. They met there as friends, exchanging their different experiences in all walks of life. They met there as teachers, as missionaries-missionaries of the first Christian branch of the Church that undertook missionary work in China, as the Nestorian missionaries, missionaries of the religion of Buddah from China, and missionaries also of the religion of that great man, Mahommed. There they lived always in harmony, always in friendship, to such an extent that missionaries of entirely different religions, such as the Christian religion represented by the Nestorians, and the Buddhist religion, represented by the Hindus were there, each doing their own part as missionaries of their own religious faith, yet so friendly as to co-operate in the translation of their religious scriptures into the Chinese language.
You could see for yourselves what an atmosphere of truly international friendship, co-operation and fellowship was in that old Chinese Empire, especially in the center of her national life in the City of Sian, where it was made possible for peoples of different races, peoples of different religions, peoples .of different interests, to meet and live together in such perfect harmony.
It was at that time or not much later that our nearest neighbours from the Island of Japan began to come to the mainland and began to acquire what was then known as human culture, as civilization and with that as a start we always had to see that our nearest neighbour, Japan, has been able to develop herself into one of the most advanced nations of our present world.
Now, whether that philosophy was still a little advanced of the time of the world as we know it today is a question. China, however, has her deep, unshakable conviction in the truth and in the practicability of that philosophy of hers which has really guided her as a nation, which has really governed the relationship of her people within the nation.
So much now for the past. She soon after came to find that her philosophy was too idealistic--either untrue or too good--and about six hundred years ago she came to face another neighbour on the north of her country, the Mongolians who came sand helped themselves in such a way as to rule China, which constituted another different epoch-making period in the Chinese history which has come .to be known as the Yuan Dynasty. China was then in a most critical moment of her national life. Those nomadic figures, the people from Mongolia would in some measure in some time sweep off all that had been achieved through the past centuries as a civilization with its own philosophy, its own art, and its own inventions for the happiness of human living. Fortunately enough, for many reasons, the conquerors somehow or other, after they have conquered China, became such admirers of the Chinese civilization that it did not take them long to become Chinese themselves. (Applause.) So the Yuan Dynasty short-lived its life and we came to a pure and simple Chinese Dynasty which we called the Ming Dynasty. But, somehow or other this early philosophy again was confronted with practical problems, whether after all that philosophy was too much of a dream, too much of an ideal that would never be able to apply to relations of such a scope as to people living together in harmony.
So, shortly after the Ming Dynasty came what was called the Ching Dynasty, or the Manchurian Dynasty, when our neighbours on the northeast of China came in again and took hold of China as the ruling house for almost three centuries and a half and yet during that period of 36o years, she again as a conqueror became one of the conquered in thinking, in living.
Some twenty-five years ago there ended that Ching Dynasty or Manchurian Dynasty and the beginning of a new regime which has become known as the Republic of China. The Republic of China is not a China of the old Chinese people. It is a republic of China for all the peoples who have already become Chinese themselves. So, that Republic at the beginning adopted a national flag of five stripes which has been called by English-speaking people, "the rainbow flag." It was a rainbow because it disappeared after a very short time and yet the colours of the stripes represented in that flag really had fundamental teaching for the different peoples to remember that after all, having been in the land for so many centuries, that they really had adopted China as their home and they have also been adopted by China as China's own children. The different stripes represented the different races. For convenience at present, because of the lack of a better word, the five races are the Chinese, the Manchurians, the Mongolians, the Mahommendans and the Tibetans. Although they have all these historical names in their present day life and entire relationship in the country they are not independent, separated groups by themselves, but they are people of the same nation, members of the same national family.
However, this old Chinese philosophy again seems to have found practical problems that her philosophy does not seem to offer any solution for. So today you find in China almost a miniature of the whole situation of our present world itself, a China where you find that the human beings seem to be willing and glad to give up all that makes for the first quality of Chinese philosophy, an upright heart, and then to give up what is most essential for any living at all, an honest mind. They just close their eyes afraid to face facts--to dream that there 'have never been international treaties, and that such treaties are to seek the welfare of all concerned. They will just tear all that has been taught, all that has been kept, all that has been observed by China as a nation or by the Chinese as people.
So, to speak of China today, you need not go very far away, actually to the field of China. You see the situation, that China as a nation is now forced to be in. The Chinese as people are forced to go through a situation that has obtained almost everywhere under perhaps slightly different forms. However, there are things perhaps unique at present in China, that are not found elsewhere and that is especially in China's relation to her nearest neighbour. In China, especially during the last three decades, the corporate mind of the nation has been fully aware of the actual objective world situation, the international situation around them and she has also been deeply aware of her own position and so she has acquiesced, step by step, in the hope that having acquiesced so much, perhaps one of the nations who have called themselves friends and neighbours may be satisfied to give a little chance for China to try that experiment of her ancient and yet living philosophy which I have just quoted to you.
Well, we will not go much earlier in our modern history and I think we can safely say that during the last two decades most of China's neighbours as nations, the nations in Europe and the nations on this North American Continent have really tried to agree with China in the truth of her own philosophy and also shared that truth, not only in their own relationship with other nations but also particularly in their relationship with China, so for the last two decades China has been able to get sympathy and co-operation from many nations, to make some progress, to modernize her physical condition and perhaps even to modernize her ancient philosophy. To modernize does not mean to change it, to take something else as its substitute. It is only to incorporate the practicability of that unchanging philosophy and put that in actual operation in her relation with all her neighbours in the family of nations, but one of the nearest neighbours--we have a few such very close-by neighbours--on the north we have Soviet Russia, on the east we have the Empire of Japan, and this Japanese neighbour of ours seems to think that there will be really no chance if she should delay much longer to allow China to practice her national philosophy in relationship to all nations. She thought if she could have a better foothold, if she could have a larger scope of control of all kinds she might help China to put that philosophy into action and that a world-wide Empire some day will come to reality through the instrument of her international and military powers.
Therefore, she came once and she came twice and now she is coming the third time, wanting to finish, that the third arrival of her representatives should be the last arrival, that there should be no need to have her people and government to be bothered or burdened with any responsibility of sending troops or planes or warships into China again, for China will then just become part of the Japanese Empire.
With all that wonderful aspiration on the part of our Japanese neighbour I am afraid that she will eventually find out her mistake to her great damage (Applause) to her own people as a nation, much greater than she can imagine that she is doing to China and the Chinese people.
China doesn't want to create a world empire. The old philosophy, as I have just stated, is still the philosophy that China is going to live by in her international relationship and she hopes with the sympathetic co-operation of all her neighbours she will some day play her part in her modern world as she slid in her ancient world, sharing what she may be able to achieve, contributing that achievement toward the great creation of a world-wide civilization which will really mean the welfare of all nations and all peoples. (Applause.)
Now, I think whatever concerns China cannot but concern every part of our present world and we must see that China be given that opportunity, be given that strength so she can develop herself, not to the detriment of any race or any nation but as her humble contribution, as our ideals that have come down from the great sages and saints and prophets in the past of all peoples and nations, that wee may some day find a real reality in this world of our mutual life.
Therefore, I shall just leave with you my last word, that for the sake of the world today and for the sake of the world in the future, China must be preserved. China must be allowed and supported to live her own life as a nation in the family of nations and domination of any nation in China will be the cause of international confusion and conflict. Any scheme of division of China to wipe out from the face of our earth the reality of a Chinese nation again will be the cause for endless periods of international strife, turmoil and war which will lead, perhaps, ultimately to the destruction of all civilizations that we know today.
Therefore, for China's sake, for the sake of the world including our nearest and most ambitious neighbour, the people of Japan, let us, Gentlemen, do what we can as individuals, as members of our respective nations and through our international social agencies as well as through our international diplomatic agencies, let us one and all do our very best for the sake of the world today and tomorrow.
Therefore, I plead that both China and Japan must be saved, not to be allowed to bring about their mutual destruction which will mean the destruction to the whole world as a civilization.
I want to thank you very much for this great privilege of being invited to speak to you in such a broken English. If you had allowed me to speak in Chinese I might appear as a real public speaker with some sort of experience.
(Applause-prolonged.) PRESIDENT: Bishop Tsen, if you are nearly dead, I am embalmed. The attentive interest shown by your audience expresses their thanks, their thanks to you for this highly interesting and instructive address. China today is nearer to us. In adding my sincere thanks and the thanks of the radio audience, may we wish you a safe return to your native land and may you return to us in happier times.
The meeting is adjourned. (Applause.)