The Old Motto Stone: a legacy of predecessors

2019-11-21




The current Wushan Campus of SCUT used to be the old campus of the former Natinoal Sun Yat-sen University during the 1930s. In 1934, Zou Lu, the university's president at the time, caved a 15-character motto on a huge granite stone to honor the university motto.

In 1952, this stone, along with the campus, was inherited by the South China Institute of Technology (present South China University of Technology). It remains in the North Area of the Wushan Campus till today, and is known as the Old Motto Stone.

The motto caved on the stone was proposed by Dr. Sun Yat-sen, the pioneer of the Chinese modern democracy, in 1924. It was selected from Zhong Yong (《中庸》), an ancient Confucius book that is also known as Doctrine of the Mean. The original Chinese text, “博学之,审问之,慎思之,明辨之,笃行之” is an expression of five principles that are well known in describing the traditional Chinese philosophy of learning.

Among many English translations of Zhong Yong, the one translated by Scottish sinologist James Legge in 1861 referred to the above text as the following:

“(He who attains to sincerity is he who chooses what is good, and firmly holds it fast. To this attainment) there are requisite the extensive study of what is good, accurate inquiry about it, careful reflection on it, the clear discrimination of it, and the earnest practice of it.”

In 2002, the stone was listed as a Cultural Heritage Site by the municipal government of Guangzhou.


Photo by Xu Yonghua
Text by Xu Peimu
Edited by Xu Peimu and Yang Manxi
From the SCUT News Network

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