Stories from History: Zhang Zhibai’s Simple Life

September 23, 2014 at 12:41 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Author: Zhen Yan

[PureInsight.org] Zhang Zhibai lived an uncorrupted and simple life. When he was the prime minister for Emperor Song Ren Zhong, he lived just like an ordinary person. He was very happy and content. Many advised him to change his lifestyle and follow the trend so he would not be criticized as a hypocrite.

People around him said, “You make very good salary, but your life is so simple and frugal. Why do you do that?”

Zhang Zhibai replied,” I heard that one gets more enjoyment out of a simple life. With my salary, I can easily provide the best food and clothing for my entire family. My common sense tells me that it is easy to change from a simple lifestyle to a luxurious lifestyle. However, it is extremely hard to change back and live a simple life again. Can my salary last forever? Can my life last forever? If my family members get used to a luxurious life, once I die, how are they going to adjust to a frugal life? As it is now, whether I have my job or not and whether I am here or not won’t make any difference to my family. They live the same way.”

People admired him for his vision and understanding after hearing that.

Later, when he was seriously ill, the emperor came to visit him. His wife dressed in simple and inexpensive clothing to receive the emperor. In his bedroom, the emperor saw old worn- out curtains, quilts, and bedding. The emperor sighed and admired his character for a long while and then asked someone to immediately bring him new replacements for everything in his bedroom.

For the later generations, anyone who wanted to cultivate an uncorrupted character would take him as a model.

Translated from: http://www.zhengjian.org/zj/articles/2007/8/2/45092.html

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Great Wisdom

September 23, 2014 at 12:32 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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[PureInsight.org] Han Qi, a high ranking official from the Song Dynasty, once said, “We should treat a superior man and an inferior man alike: with sincerity. If we know he is inferior, just getting acquainted with him should be enough.” Usually, when ordinary people meet an inferior person who is deceiving others, they will expose his scheme.  However, Han Qi was different. He knew clearly the bad thoughts of an inferior man, but he would tolerate it and would not show it.

Everyone likes to be with superior people and it is easy to be sincere with them. However, it is much harder to deal with inferior people. The mentality of ordinary people is that if you are nice to me, then I’ll be nice to you; if you are not nice to me, why should I be nice to you?  In that way, when we see that others are having a problem, we point it out bluntly. As a consequence, this will make the inferior man angry and look for the opportunity to hurt us.

We do not tolerate others for their mistakes or impurity because we consider ourselves clean and pure. Actually, this is due to that fact that we have not assimilated virtue deeply into our heart.  We should observe others and not expose their shortcomings.  When we disclose other’s weaknesses, we express our dislike and our contempt for others. The motive to do this comes from our indifference and resentment.  We do not have the compassion to help others. If we can maintain a calm heart and are not concerned what others may think, we will not be so concerned about the strengths and weaknesses of others.

It is the same when we are having conflicts in our official or personal interactions with others. If we cannot tolerate other’s shortcomings, we are more likely to have enemies.  Even among friends, you reject others and others reject you. Eventually you are in a hostile environment and disasters will follow.  Prime Minister Kouzhun from the Song Dynasty was a typical example. He was very straightforward and very critical of Dingwei’s fawning personality and reproached him openly in front of others.  Dinghui was very offended and he helped others to gain power and had Kouzhun banished to Aizhou.

Compassion does not mean that one cannot tell right from wrong. On the contrary, it means that I know exactly that you are deceiving me and hurting me but I am broad-minded and do not keep score. In my heart I know what happened but, on the surface, I look like that I have been fooled.  Most people cannot do that except the cultivators.

Prime Minister Koushun did just that. When he encountered an inferior person, he exposed him. As a result, they became opposing forces to each other, and the opportunity to transform Dinghui was thus
lost.  Han Qi reacted differently. When he ran into an inferior person, he treated him just the same as others. He was sincere but kept the contact on a superficial level and avoided being trapped into mind games.  Superior men know how to transform others with their virtue and will not abandon or reject others because they are inferior. Others will accept us easily only if we can be tolerant.

Translated from: http://big5.minghui.org/mh/articles/2005/8/18/108411.html

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