Gao-yao’s Idea of Nine Virtues

July 14, 2012 at 2:11 pm | Posted in Children's Stories, Culture, Discussion, Good Advice, Life Lessons, Moments from History, Reflections, Relevance to Today, Stories from China | 1 Comment
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( Confucius once said: “When Shun was the emperor, he selected Gao-yao to serve a very important position, and the evil people stayed far away.” (Analects of Confucius. “Duke Wen of Teng,” part I). According to history books, Gao-yao was in charge of the judicial system in Shun’s time. He enforced the law with fairness and care. As a result, there were no unjust cases. He paid great attention to enlightenment and education and established rules for ceremonies and music.

Gao-yao was born in Gao Cheng (Liu’an City, Anhui Province). He was the official who oversaw the judicial system. Together with Emperors Yao, Shun and Yu, he is considered one of the “Four Sages of Ancient China.” Gao-yao believed that heaven created everything on earth and gave people benevolent and virtuous characteristics. Therefore, people need to follow heaven’s arrangements. It’s a person’s sacred duty to maintain benevolent characteristics. He also proposed the ideas of “Heaven graciously distinguishes the virtuous. Heaven punishes the guilty. Sages display nine virtues in their conduct.”

Gao-yao’s idea of nine virtues includes the following character traits: broadminded and prudent; mild-tempered and has own opinion; modest and serious; capable and cautious; good at listening to others’ opinions and decisive; upright and gentle; direct and detail-oriented; conscientious and down-to-earth; strong and righteous.

Additionally, Gao-yao suggested to Emperor Yu a strategy of how to manage a country well. The emperor should be strict with himself in personal cultivation. The emperor serves as a role model and thus people will follow and respect the emperor. If the emperor cannot act with kindness and righteousness, people will not abide by the laws and rules, even if a country has them. The emperor should know how to choose the right officials. Only after he places the right people in each position, can those officials serve the people well. The emperor should respect his people and provide safety and prosperity for them. People’s stability and prosperity reflect an emperor’s kindness.

(From Minghui Weekly Overseas Version)



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