At 2p.m. on September 20, 2016, a ceremony to commemorate Prof. Tu Weiming’s donation of his private library to Peking University (PKU) was held at the PKU Central Library.
Prof. Tu Weiming is an internationally renowned scholar, a leader in the contemporary research and dissemination of Confucian culture, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and is currently Director of both the Institute for Advanced Humanistic Studies and the World Ethics Institute at PKU.
Supported by his wife and family, Prof. Tu decided to donate the entirety of his personal collection (around 15000 volumes) to PKU library. The collections is comprised of nearly equal parts English and Chinese academic works that contributed significantly to Prof. Tu’s personal research. They are mostly discuss philosophy, religion and culture, but there are also volumes on the history of America and Europe, and the tradition of Korean Confucianism. There are even theses, monographs, and treatises that take Prof. Tu Weiming as the researching subject, as well as books paintings, and souvenirs given to Prof. Tu by well-known scholars like Wing-tsit Chan and Irene Bloom.
Prof. Tu hopes that these donated books and items will be a great help to scholars, and contribute to the study of Confucianism. In his speech he said he looks forward to the young people of Mainland China, who research Confucianism and are concerned with Confucianism’s future, becoming intellectuals who possess a rooted local awareness combined with an international perspective. These intellectuals should be able to both identify with and criticize the views of previous scholars, but they need to break through and transcend them in terms of delving to the roots and attaining universality. Faced with the current crisis of human survival, they cannot fail to care for the world and even the cosmos. Meanwhile, they also need to have a personal concern for their own tradition. They should accept the reality of cultural diversity, but also uphold the ideal of universal values. Their task is dig deeply into Chinese culture to extract foundational principles that can be brought into dialogue with other great civilizations. At the same time, they should take the precondition of understanding the “other” as the path to developing areas in which they are deficient. Prof. Tu also looks forward to the realm of libraries, especially the PKU library, making distinguished contributions to serious Confucian research in terms of text preservation and presentation.
In his speech, PKU Vice President Wu Zhipan explained that Peking University has always seen its mission as involving the study and promotion of China’s exceptional traditional culture, including Confucianism. Notably, the first generation of New Confucians (Xiong Shili, Liang Shuming, Qian Mu) all taught at the Peking University. Also more recently, the compilation project of the Confucian Canon, directed by Professor Tang Yijie, has had a great impact. Lastly, the famous Prof. Tu is currently a Professor at Peking University, and Director of the Institute for Advanced Humanistic Studies. Therefore, Peking University is the ideal place to store these precious books. This donation greatly benefits the promotion of research on New Confucianism (represented by Prof. Tu), and the study and transmission of New Confucianism at Peking University and even around China; it is bound to contribute significantly to the propagation of Chinese traditional culture, and the great renaissance of the Chinese people.
PKU Head Librarian Zhu Qiang explained that in the future Peking University Library will establish a special room to house Prof. Tu’s precious collection, and in doing so hopes to facilitate easy access for any interested readers.
The donation ceremony was attend by nearly forty people, including librarians from Peking University, students and researchers from the Institute for Advanced Humanities Studies, and Prof. Tu’s various friends.
Chinese Version: Bai Yang (editor), translated by Irene Xu, edited by Misha Tadd。