Home>Service> Awardees of Fervent Global Love of Lives Award> 14th Fervent Global Love of Lives Award 2011> Mentor ─ Ma Shu-li
Deeply plow culture with his eternal wisdom
      Twenty five years ago, Teacher Shu-li Ma resigned the head teacher of writing class of Tien Educational Center , isolating himself on Xindian Mountain of New Taipei City from all society. He was away from mundane, concentrating on doing studies. He established “ Sun Moon School ” with his students through the traditional way of home school with the private tutor, carrying out “Education of whole man” of Confucius and Lao-Tzu. In his class, he taught Classic of Changes, analects of Confucius, poetry, literature, and human nature. He was inspired by traditional Chinese characters and had his own opinions toward them. He aspired to enhance Chinese culture, discovering the beauty of life and worship of culture. Although his life was tasteless and austere, nothing affected his joy of preaching, instructing and solving students' problems in class. He was five times awarded Prose Awards of Novel Awards of “Unity Daily News” and “The China Times”. He used to be the head editor of “Three Three Colloquium” and the head teacher of the writing class of Tien Educational Center . He has published over thirty books, such as “The train from the sky”, “Lao Tzu's wisdom open the gate of 21 st century”, “Sword of culture”, “Dragon is coming” and “Classic of Changes readings”. Teacher Ma set his heart upon the Way, supported himself by virtue leans upon Goodness and sought distraction in the arts. He emphasized the Chinese traditional learning model of home school with the private tutor. He has passed down the wisdom of original classical books, cautiously practicing knowledge of life. He read Chinese classical books conscientiously and was happy to share. He has deeply plowed Chinese culture and made his wisdom eternal. That's why he was called “mentor”.
Read original books , happy to share
      Teacher Ma has spent twenty five years self-studying alone. He applied the learning way of “ studying natural phenomena in order to acquire knowledge ” and understood the knowledge of “The Great Learning the Way” talked by Confucius, Mencius, Lao Tzu, and Zhuang Zi. He has also spent the same number of years realizing relevant knowledge. He used simple and colloquial words to pass down the broad and profound knowledge of the saints, such as Confucius, Mencius, Lao Tzu, and Zhuang Zi though the traditional learning way of home school with the private tutor. Nowadays, people live in a generation full of confusion. They overweigh the value of money, which results in global financial tsunamis from one and another. Now, culture renaissance in the world has firstly begun in Taiwan , the basis of Chinese culture. He was grateful to God's help and this renaissance will be meaningful in the history.
      Teacher Ma was so absorbed as to neglect sleep and meals in an attempt to fully realize the book of the origin of Chinese culture─ Classic of Changes. He said, many people had made contribution to compose Classic of Changes, just like a relay race. It was firstly through the ancient ancestor, Fu-hsi's understanding on the nature, astronomy and geography, then the contribution of Zhou Wang and then Confucius. The book was the eye of the knowledge of emperors, and the origin of Chinese culture and knowledge. Hua-Sha ancient culture was considered the one with most knowledge among the four great ancient civilizations. Classic of Changes was not only the asset of Chinese culture, but the asset of human civilization.
      Over thousands of years, people considered that the greatest knowledge of Confucius was Confucian Analects. Teacher Ma subverted this ideology and gave evidence through his lectures. He combined the well-known sentences in Great Learning, Confucian Analects, Doctrine of the Mean and The World of Da-tong with Classic of Changes, talking about astronomy, geography and math. He made those classical old sayings alive. This was just like the scene of Confucius's lecture of getting at the root of the matter to his apprentices, such as Yan-hui. It was just like the scene of the manifestation of Gods will in Classic of Changes. The scene of teacher Ma's lecture was just like the announcement of the Yellow River ---having great culture needed great strength and vigor.
      What particularly treasurable is that, having well understanding on classical books, teacher Ma keeps flying between China and Taiwan w with no stop to share his knowledge, but he doesn't use this to run business or make money. What he hopes is just accumulate the wealth of Chinese Cultural spirit.
Advocate “flowers in poetry” and “ culture in life”
      Teacher Ma has being with his students, concentrating on studying and lecturing for a long time. He said that, nowadays, cultural creativity has been promoted. However, “creativity” was too much; while “culture” was too less. He believed that culture promotion couldn't be instant, but took time to accumulate.
      Regarding International Flowers and Plants Exposition held by Taipei City Government, he said that this activity increased employment rates, tourism waves, and enhanced economic development. However, there wasn't any cultural accumulation left after the activity. He suggested the Mayor, Longbin Hao that seeing many ancient people compose the poem through “flower,” he should hold an activity named “flowers in poetry”, so that while the public was viewing the flowers, they could also chant verse. This would make our culture close to life.
      In 1977, teacher Ma established “Three Three Colloquium” with the sisters Tianwen Zhu and Tianxin Zhu. He was the oldest among the three and was thus called “Ma san ge”. During that artistic frenzy, he was a steady and reserved writer, and was awarded Prose Awards and Novel Awards by Unity Daily Times and The China Times many times.
      There were only two things that interested him in his life: writing and lecturing. He reckoned that, the charm of writing literatures was that, they represented the author's thoughts and every life experience could make a novel, a poem or any other form of literary arts. However, he had already enjoyed the happiness brought through writing. He is concentrating on lecturing at the moment.
      Twenty five years ago, Teacher Ma resigned the head teacher of the writing class of Tien Educational Center . He isolated himself on Xindian Mountain from all society, being far from mundane. “I just wanted to do studies and give lectures at that moment” said teacher Ma.
      He broke through the opinions of school education. To his students, he was not just a teacher, but a friend, a father and an elder brother. He said that nowadays, the relationship between teachers and students was not deep and close. Students just wanted to finish courses and graduate as soon as possible. A real study attitude, however, shouldn't be so. Teachers and students should be close and lectures were not only in class, but also in life.
      In recent years, he has usually lectured in “Sun and Moon School ” established by he and his students. He passed down Chinese literature, teaching classical books and poetry relevant to “Classic of Changes” and “Confucian Analects”. He has, in the meantime, promoted Confucius' thinking.
      Teacher Ma always talks about Chinese classical literature. In this fast-paced society with chaos, he might look be out of fashion, but his lectures on Classic of Changes, novels and literatures made people calm and peaceful.
      Despite the life in obscurity over years, teacher Ma had his own opinions on current issues. He said that the society nowadays kept stressing cultural activity, but there was too much “creativity”, but too less “culture”. From his perspective, modern people took culture as instant products. They forgot that culture should go along with long-term accumulation and implication. They also forgot to apply culture in life.
      Culture won't last long unless people mix culture with life.
Ancient scholar, contemporary tutor
      Creation, in his opinion, was just like “the arrival of spring”. Reading articles was like seeing hundreds of flowers bloom, and there was too much beauty to be taken in. Flowers, however, only symbolizes that spring was coming, but didn't mean it would last long. Therefore, it was essential to create a new wave in present days.
      Teacher Ma's leather jacket could not cover his sense of an ancient scholar walking out from the ink and water painting. He was the model of contemporary tutors.
      Over nearly ten years, he had classes in Sun and Moon School , lecturing the classical knowledge of “Lao Tzu” and “Classic of Changes”. What he lectured included “Confucian Analects”, poetry, novels, history, politics, and even warcraft. He provided a complete lecturing system for students. “This is real education” said teacher Ma.
      One of his students, Cang-sheng, Lin, the chairman of Uni-President Enterprises Corporation said that, teacher Ma's knowledge was very different from others and made people realize that predestined relationship was very occult. Once teacher Ma lost his notes of “Classic of Changes” and thus lost all feedbacks and closely-written records that he had research on over years. All he could do was be like a blind person trying to figure out an elephant. He tried his best to learn the fairly complex relationship between meditation of trigrams and lines. After a while, to his surprise, he understood how Confucius used the interpretation of divinatory trigrams and line-judgment through trigram to trigram, line to line. He then figured out a serial of concepts of Chinese cosmology and culture.
Everyone tries to cultivate a modern Su Dong-po
      When teacher Ma just began his creation life right after graduating from college, he was under pressure of living. He didn't want to give up writing so he applied for literature awards to solve the problem. Therefore, he could look after Three Three Colloquium and Three Three Bookstore he established with the sisters Tianwen Zhu and Tianxin Zhu. In his opinion, the charm of writing literatures was that, they represented the author's thoughts and every life experience could make a novel, a poem or any other form of literary arts. He was, however, far left behind compared to the ancient people, such as Li Bai or Tao Yuan-ming. He had worked as the head teacher of the writing class of Tien Educational Center for more than six years. He led the writing class and hired around 400 teachers, holding hundreds of speeches and had thousands of students. He sighed with emotion for those splendid experiences. But the class overweighed the technical level of creation and too much focused on the use of words. This was too stylistic and lacked the thinking of historic background and the cultural foundation.
      In this generation of the “too” clear division of professional types, students generally lack comprehensive ability, so that most people only have career and business, but no aspiration to take the world as one's duty. It is, thus, impossible to see any eminent writer like Su Dong-po, who was handy with masterpieces. He joined politics and manipulated water conservancy (controlling the Yellow River ). He was not only good at poetry, painting, calligraphy, but created the style of poetry in Ci form. He wrote hundreds of political critics and they were all elegant and valuable. He was eager to promote a real education of large patterns, combining Class of Poetry, Class of History, Class of Rites, Classic of Music and The Spring and Autumn Annals altogether. They were all considered to be the same family.
      An in all, Su Dong-po will live in our heart forever. It is not difficult to cultivate more “modern Su Dong-pos” with application of modern technology and a stress on Chinese culture.
Pass down the love of Chinese authentic characters
      In order to understand Chinese classical books, teacher Ma started on studying Chinese characters and tried to figure out the principle of creating Chinese characters. The show “Let's talk, everybody!” of China Television broadcast lectures of scholars' from different professional areas. There was one volume recorded by teacher Ma, named “The spirit of square words”, talking about the art of Chinese characters.
      Regarding characters, he could not help but reveal his sadness of Chinese simplified characters. He said that was “improper simplified characters.” While “traditional characters” we are using should be renamed to “authentic characters” because “authentic characters” has been using for two thousand years. Reading classical books, practicing calligraphy and passing down Chinese culture all relied on this authentic “original characters”. Scholars of Mainland China have gradually noticed this problem, but nobody clearly told them what was exactly wrong with those “improper simplified characters”. Chinese characters were created by Han dynasty, and many of them were created on the basis of Confucius' words. Teacher Ma wrote down three words on the whiteboard, “zhi (upright)”, “zhi (plant)” and “zhi (worthy)”. He said that, when planting a tree, it must be planted upright. If it was crooked, it wouldn't grow up well. “It takes ten years to grow a tree and a hundred year to be a man. (It takes three generations to make a gentleman).” Similarly, when cultivating a person, he must be “upright” firstly. Confucius mentioned about “upright friends, trustworthy friends and well-informed friends.” Therefore, an upright person was “worthy” to be trust. “Worthy” was from the sentence given by Confucius.
      No matter how teacher Ma examined realm of life or researching on words of “Lao Tzu”, “Classic of Changes”, “Confucian Analects”, “Mencius”, “Great Learning”, “Doctrine of the Mean” or “Zhuang Zi”, he all applied the way of “study the nature of things” and figured out himself. He said that, today's school education focused on “following tutors' suit”, and it was thus hard to realize the way of “study the nature of things”. When a person was born, s/he had the tuition and capability of being sensible to heaven and earth. It was pitiful that people nowadays were limited and could only be accepted by rigid knowledge. Although knowledge could quickly provide a person for thoughts, it also “effectively” limited one's thoughts. Take children's word writing as an example, it was not hard to find that, their learning methods had a big problem. Firstly, they made too many spelling mistakes. Secondly, they didn't understand the principle of characters. They had no emotion toward characters, and no wonder the “character ability” of modern people was getting worse and worse and the overall level had thus declined. He expressed regretfully that, if children had learned through his way, they would have been interested in characters and been sensible to characters. This would be very helpful to their writing in the future.
      He more than once stressed that, each Chinese authentic character had its spirit. Every word was alive and was filled with live. They were not only Chinese assets, but the treasured heritage of human civilization. Everyone, thus, was responsible to pass down the love of Chinese authentic characters.