After the first offering, the prayer honoring Kongzi is read. Throughout the rest of the ceremony, multiple things are happening at once, but during the reading of the prayer all other activity ceases.

Read more →

The Prayer

Let it be said:

In the Chinese Republic’s 87th year, on the 28th day of the 9th month,

The prayer that is read and later burned

Principle Consecration Officer of the Tainan Municipal Assembly, Secretary Lin Qinggui
Secondary Consecration Officer, Chairman of Tainan Municipal Assembly, Huang Yuwen,
President of Chenggong University, Weng Zhengyi,
Tainan Normal University’s president, Wu Tieyong,
Principal of Tainan Qichong Academy, Ye Wenrong,
President of the Tainan Kong-Meng Society, Guo Tengji,
Principal of the Tainan Wenxian Middle School, Wang Maode,
And of the Tainan Culture Temple Management He Peifu, Xiao Qiangrui, Lin Kaiden
Supervising Rites officer, Tainan Director of Education, Zheng Xingui
And assisting officers from other organizations hereby draw from the unalterable ceremonies reverently offer sacrifice before the spirit tablet of the supreme sage of great completion and first teacher Master Kong, proclaim:

"The First Teacher's virtue transforms and nurtures, his Dao pervades at all times, his virtue attends to Heaven and Earth for 10,000 generations and a thousand years. He completes the accumulated wisdom of the myriad sages, his prescience is bequeathed as a foundation. Since the birth of the people, there has been one such as he!

Reading the prayer

The mind of the six canons endures a thousand epochs!
All under Heaven is a commonweal!
It has nurtured the people of China, illumined fortune and beauty.

We enter the temple and ascend to the hall, raise up the vessels and take up our instruments. He must be rectified and illumined, the lofty regulations. This lofty sage’s domain is always regulated, authentic, and orderly. We endeavor to follow the regulations and statues, solemnly reveal the minute and obscure, and refined in the sacrificial statues and hereby offer sacrifice to the Restoring Sage Master Yan, reverer of the sage, Master Zeng, the following sage, Master Zisi, and the second sage, Mencius, each in proper sequence.

Their names are all in order. There is none who does not personally revere them. The rites and music complete the performance of the rite. We hereby offer up this sacrifice."

The Dao/The Way

At the center of Confucian teachings is the idea of the Dao, or the Way. Confucians tended to believe that everyone was innately good--with the exception of Xunzi and his followers, who believed that human nature was innately evil--and the goal was to cultivate that goodness by following the Way. Every object in the world is composed of both li (principle) and qi (psychophysical stuff). Everyone is endowed with the same li, which was bestowed by Heaven and was thus good. Qi, on the other hand, existed in everyone, but the quality of qi varied drastically. For some, their qi was perfectly clear, which allowed them to act in accordance with their Heavenly principle and be consistently moral--these people were considered sages. For others, however, qi was turbid and thus obscured their principle causing them to give in to desires and act immorally.


A Confucian sage is an individual who has innate understanding of moral principle without having to make any effort. A sage is one who is perfectly balanced and who acts in perfect accordance with his nature and principle, or li. As the prayer states, the sage's domain is "always regulated, authentic, and orderly," which allows him to help effect harmony and accord. Additionally, sages are known for correctly understanding and transmitting the Dao. Over time, the conception of what a sage was changed dramatically. Some Confucian thinkers believed that men were either born as sages or not, while others, such as Zhu Xi, believed that anyone could become a sage if they applied themselves to learning.

← Read less