In the eyes of the ancients, those who could win the first place continually in the three governmental examinations of the imperial examination were like either a mortal climbing to the sky or an immortal descending to the world. Since the imperial examination began in the Sui and Tang Dynasties (AD.581-907 ), there were only thirteen people getting the first prize in the three governmental examinations in China, including two people in the Tang Dynasty(AD.618-907), six in the Song Dynasty(AD960-1276.), one respectively in the Jin, Yuan and Ming Dynasties(AD. 265-420, 1206-1644), and two in the Qing Dynasty(AD.1616-1911). The history seemed to be special caring of Xianning, who occupied one seat out of the thirteen. Feng Jing from Xianning became the last champion of the graduates of the three governmental examinations in the Song Dynasty.
At the moment when Feng Jing took the final imperial examination, officials in Song Dynasty described it like this: the Song Emperor Renzong said to Feng Jing, “I have long heard that your articles have always been well written, which is famous nationwide, and that you are full of wit. Now I’d like you to finish the second line of my couplet, is that OK?” Feng Jing agreed. Then Emperor Renzong gave the first line: “The abelmosk turning to the sun, but picking the compass towards the underground.” Feng Jing realized that the first line has a double meaning, and he thought of the lotus in the pool of his hometown. So what escaped of his lips was, “The lotus rising from the water, but twisting the pen from the gate.” Emperor Renzong was satisfied very much, and he smiled,“you have lived up to your reputation.”
The lotus pool was a pool in the arms of Qianshan Mountain. The beautiful scenery of the red lotus blossom rising from under water in summer was deeply impressed in the mind of Feng Jing. The lotus pool in Qianshan Mountain opened the door of wisdom for the talent Feng Jing just in the royal court till they were talking about the couplet.
Qianshan Mountain gave birth to the lotus pool, and Gan River moistened Qianshan Mountain. Gan River and Qianshan Mountain embrace each other and never abandon each other. Look at that river, you will see it discard other mountains and meadows and fling itself on Qianshan Mountain. It kisses the foot of the mountain and winds it continuously, just like an amorous large snake guarding the holy lotus of Qianshan Mountain in the lotus pool. In Wei and Jing Dynasties, Qianshan Mountain was earliest discovered by Ge Hong, who did sermon and alchemy there, and brought a flash of halo for Qianshan Mountain. Since the time of Tangzong, Buddhism and Taoism responded to each other, and took turns to show themselves, which made Qianshan Mountain pretty and intelligent, mysterious and suitable for meditating and deep and serene. The temple in Qianshan Mountain is the hoariest and the grandest one in the times of the Tang and Song Dynasties. The ancient temple is the rite of Buddhism, and the educational base of a combination of Buddhist art and Buddhist teaching, as if modern schools were combined with museums. The temple in Qianshan Mountain set up a school, therefore Feng Jing became a pupil of the school in Qianshan Mountain.
It was a fate and was fortunate for Qianshan Mountain and Feng Jing to meet each other. Now asking Qianshan Mountain, did it ever remembered the moving scene that Feng Jing’s father passed away when he was still in his poor and young childhood, and his mother scanted herself in food and clothes and tearfully bade farewell to his child and sent him to school? Did it ever recorded the school style that Qianshan Mountain had many teachers setting up school and instructing students there in the past, and Feng Jing enlightened and studied with undivided attention for many years? Did it ever kept the “reading desk” in Qianshan Mountain on which Feng Jing sat all the year round from early morning to late night? Did it ever described the anecdote that the Confucian scholar snatched a little leisure from the busy life and enjoyed the moon and improvised a poem?
It seems that history should take a special stop for Qianshan Mountain. Tales and legends are just like one and another step, making us enjoy the style of a generation of leaders. After Feng Jing was identified as Number One Scholar, in the Guichou Day, January, the first year of Huanghu, Renzong of Song Dynasty personally went to the Chongren Palace, and bestowed Feng Jing a title for his being one of the top three in the highest imperial examination and “a horse that covers a thousand li a day and one hundred liang gold”. Feng Jing passed the imperial examination at a high score and entered the official career at a high reference point. Being in the official circles for forty years, he had occupied the positions of the Administrator of Zhou, the Board of Assistant Minister, the Right Admonition Official, the Assistant Administrator in the Prime Minister Department (Vice Prime Minister) and the Head of State Security (country’s top military chief). When he was the supervisor of military affairs, in order to ensure the peace in the border of West Xia Dynasty, Feng Jing built two cities, and had friendly relations with Xiqiang. This measure was strongly praised by the Emperor. When he was appointed the Vice Head of State Security, he inspected that the city base and armaments were in a fatal case in Hezhou and Fuli (today’s Shanxi), so he submitted a written statement to purge the military discipline and rebuke the incompetent officials. The Emperor Shenzong praised his action and promoted him to be the Assistant Administrator. When Wang Anshi was the Prime Minister, the internal affairs were unsettled, and foreign aggression agitated. So Shenzong dismissed him. Then he knew that Feng Jing was an excellent general who was hard to come by, so he recalled Feng Jing as the Head of State Security in the ninth year of Emperor Xining. Because of his deep thoughts, Shenzong dreamed it at night. The next day he said to his near officials as servant: “I dreamed Feng Jing entering the Court, which suited me down to the ground...” Feng Jing successively won the first prize in the three governmental examinations on his imperial examination road, which set a model for scholars. He had served three emperors since he entered the official career, and they all praised him. And he undoubtedly succeeded in the three governmental examinations, which set a model for the placemen. Feng Jing was ever awarded Hanlin scholar, an official in the Middle Palace and a serving speaker (an honor at the level of Prime Minister), and Junior Preceptor of the Heir Apparent (an award for Assisting Ministers). He died in the first year of Shaosheng (1094). Emperor Zhezong came personally holding a memorial ceremony for him, presented him Situ and conferred the title of Wenjian, thus he was called “Fen Wenjiangong”.
Having gone through a time as long as 73 years, Feng Jing stood on the history stage to bow his thanks and received a generous evaluation from history: all his life, Feng Jing governed the territory internally and pacified the Qiang barbarians externally. Ordinary people enjoyed his bounties and the monarch believed his loyalty. He was perfectly open in all his actions and persisted in being upright and honest, and was a literary talent and a great official.
Without doubt, Qianshan Mountain and Feng Jing had been in one. I saw that the path of Qianshan Mountain was winding, and Feng Jing must be drifting away with his clothes waving with the wind there. I heard that the Greenfield was blowing in the valley in Qianshan Mountain, which must be the page turning and the trickling sweet sound of reading from Feng Jing. I smelled the pungent faint scent of osmanthus in Qianshan Mountain, which must be Feng Jing reading the books which were full of fragrance. The bamboo branches in the Mountain were so agile, which I guessed must be enlightened personally by Feng Jing. The stones in the Mountain were so tough, which I guessed must be casted by the spirit of Feng Jing. The fields in the Mountain were so vast, which I guessed must be carried on from the broad mind of Feng Jing. Qianshan Mountain was no longer lonely through the ages because of Feng Jing. Qianshan Mountain, 274 meters in height, was no longer low because Feng Jing stood in the top of it. Qianshan Mountain had a rich culture because Feng Jing was great. Feng Jing was a great element which nourished Qianshan Mountain and the south of Hubei province.
The person from Qianshan Mountain got the first prize in the three governmental examinations, and Qianshan Mountain smiled when the person came back. Such person as Feng Jing appeared in Qianshan Mountain is a good fortune for Qianshan Mountain; and it’s enough for Qianshan Mountain to have Feng Jing. (Written by Jia Zaibo)