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Scholar Jaan's Opinion on Worshiping a Sea Gull

The National Languages of China (403 B.C.-221 B.C.)

    A big sea gull had remained outside of the eastern gate of Country Luu for three days. Interior Minister T asked people to worship it. Scholar Jaan said, ď In terms of political etiquette, Interior Minister Tís decision is not appropriate. The worship service is the most important ceremony in a country, and a ceremony results from wise politics. Therefore, an official should be careful in establishing a system of worship as a code of law. Now we add a code of law for no reason. This is not a proper thing for a politician to do.

    "When the great kings established the system of worship, they chose the following type of people to worship: legislators who have created a code of law that benefits the society, soldiers who sacrificed their lives for our country, officials who worked hard on state affairs, people who saved our country from a great disaster, and generals who defeated a great enemy. We do not worship those who do not belong to the above categories.

    "In the past, when the god of agriculture became the king of China, his son, Ju1, planted hundreds of different types of grains and vegetables. After several generations, the Shiah dynasty began. Jih continued Ju1ís work with grain. Therefore, we worship Jih as the God of grain. General Go conquered nine states of China. His son, Earth, improved the farmland of these states. Therefore, we worship him as the god of earth. Emperor H named everything, educated people and provided necessities. Emperor J was able to continue H's work. Emperor K invented the sundial so that people could work according to a schedule. Emperor Ya made laws fair to encourage people to become good citizens. Emperor S died in the countryside on his way to serve the people. Duke Gu had tried many years to solve the flooding problem of the Yellow River, but in vain. His son, Emperor Yu, continued Guís work and eventually solved the flooding problem by dredging the river. When Shi was the director of the Department of Human Relations, he taught people to get along with each other. Mi drowned in the line of duty. Emperor T governed people with kindness and strengthened their weaknesses. The god of grain died on a mountain because of exhaustion from planting grains. Emperor Wen was reputed to have promoted humanitarian and cultural ventures. Emperor Wu fought evil for his people. Consequently, Emperor S' descendents worshiped Emperor H like God, worshiped Emperor J as their ancestor, worshiped Emperor Ya like Heaven, and worshiped Emperor S as their role model. People in the Shang dynasty worshiped Emperor S like God, Shi as their ancestor, Mi like Heaven, and Emperor T as their role model. People in the Chou dynasty worshiped Emperor K like God, Jih like Heaven, Emperor Wen as their ancestor, and Emperor Wu as their role model. Mu could adhere to Emperor J's moral code, so Emperor S' descendents worshiped him as a saint. Because Ju2 could adhere to Emperor Yu's moral code, people in the Shiah dynasty worshiped him as a saint. Shan could adhere to Shiís moral code; therefore, people in the Shang dynasty worshiped him as a saint. Emperor Wen's grandfather could adhere to Jih's moral code, so people in the Chou dynasty worshiped him as a saint. The worship of God, Heaven, saints, ancestors, and role models are the five types of official worship in China. We worship the patron gods of mountains and rivers because they provide the people with resources. We also worship the great philosophers because their teaching leads people to a quality life and wisdom. In addition, we worship the Sun, the Moon, and the Stars because they illuminate the world. Furthermore, we worship the gods of gold, wood, water, fire, and earth because people depend upon them to make a living. Anything other than the above mentioned, we do not worship.

    "When a sea gull arrived three days ago, Interior Minister T was unable to explain its arrival and rashly established a code of law to worship it. It was difficult to consider him kind and wise. A kind man tries to contribute to the peopleís good, and a wise man knows how to deal with problems. If one worships something that fails to give any benefit to people, the worship will not lead one to do good deeds. One is not wise if he does not ask experts about the things that he does not understand. I suspect when there is disaster at sea, the birds and animals by the sea always travel to land for safty."

    During that year, strong winds blew frequently at sea. It was warm that winter. After Interior Minister T heard Scholar Jaanís words, he said, "It is my fault. I must follow Mr. Jaan's advice." Then he asked his scribe to write three copies on wooden tablets.