After the blood and fur are buried outside the temple's main gate and the spirits are attracted to the feast site, ritual officers escort the newly arrived spirits into the temple as the Illumination Hymn is orchestrated. After the spirits have been escorted into the temple, the ritual officers perform three bows (ke-tows) and the primary sacrificer offers incense. Following this initial offer, all officers return to their original positions.

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Illumination Hymn

As the Illumination Hymn is sung,
the spirit is escorted into the temple

The Illumination Hymn heard in the background says,

Great is Master Kong
Equal to Heaven and Earth
Teacher of myriad generations
Auspiciously summoned by the unicorn's seal
Bells and string harmoniously resound
The risen sun and moon announce,
Heaven (qian) and Earth (kun) are pure and calm

Unicorn's Seal

While the first three lines of the Illumination Hymn are fairly self-explanatory, the mention of being "auspiciously summoned by the unicorn's seal" is slightly more obscure. Kongzi had an intimate connection with the unicorn on several different levels. Kongzi prophesied the end of the Zhou dynasty after finding a lin, a one-horned animal with the body of a deer and tail of an ox, fatally wounded. Upon finding the dying lin, Kongzi believed that its appearance signified the demise of his Dao.

According to noncanonical commentaries, Kongzi’s discovery of the unicorn signified the end of the Zhou dynasty and the imminent arrival of an enlightened ruler. In another noncanonical source, Kongzi prophecies that a man named Liu will become king. The unicorn spits out a book confirming Kongzi’s prophecy and demands that Kongzi establish and write the regulations for the coming king. As a result of this encounter, Kongzi wrote the Spring and Autumn Annals.

Kongzi's Title

In the Illumination Hymn, they sing "Great is Master Kong/Equal to Heaven and Earth," indicating Kongzi's importance and superiority. Following Kongzi's death, the court honored him by conferring upon him titles of nobility, first as duke and later as king. By granting him these titles, the imperial court endorsed Kongzi and Confucianism and allowed him to receive imperial sacrifices. His final title was Geat Completer, Ultimate Sage, Exalted First Teacher of Culture, but he had a number of different titles which can be found in a chronology of canonization.

Rituals as Means of Harmony

The last three lines of the Illumination Hymn say, "Bells and string harmoniously resound/The risen sun and moon announce/Heaven and Earth are pure and calm." For Confucians, ritual is more than a simple ceremony; ritual is how one maintains order and harmony in the world. Confucianism emphasizes the importance of virtuous rule through benevolence and proper conduct. This proper conduct is called li, or ritual, and focuses on purity, sincerity, and harmony. Ritual is understood as a way to return to the simplicity of past days and restore balance. If people were all virtuous and conducted themselves properly, Heaven bestowed good fortune upon everyone.

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