Four Things That Endanger a Society

September 30, 2013 at 10:00 am | Posted in Asia, Culture, Discoveries, Discussion, Good Advice, Moments from History, Reflections, Relevance to Today, Stories from China | Leave a comment
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September 18, 2013 | By Li Qing

Minghui.org

Around 2,400 years ago, about 10 nations coexisted in China, and each had its own king. One day, King Hui of the Wei Nation invited the other kings to his magnificent palace for a feast. Among them was King Gong of the Lu Nation (the nation where Confucius was from). When King Hui proposed a toast, King Gong told a story about the factors that lead to a nation’s destruction:

“Yidi was good at making wine, and she once gave some to King Yu, who tasted it and liked it very much. Nonetheless, from then on, King Yu abstained from wine and distanced himself from Yidi. Yu said, ‘I know some kings in the future will ruin their nations for greed for good wine.’

“When King Huan of the Qi Nation felt hungry one night, renowned cook Yi Ya prepared a delicious meal for him. King Huan really liked it and ate a lot, which made it difficult for him to wake up the next morning. King Huan then said, ‘Some kings in the future will lose their nations over their fondness for delicious food.’

“After King Wen of the Jin Nation obtained the beautiful Nan Zhiwei, he indulged himself in sensuous pleasure for three days before returning to his work on national affairs. He thus sent Nan away and said, ‘Future kings will ruin their nations for over indulging sensuously in beauty.’

“When King Zhao went up a tower to view the scenery surrounding his kingdom, he was deeply impressed by the great mountains and rivers. He was so impressed that he almost forgot everything else. He thus promised to never again forget his duties and warned others: ‘Someone in the future will lose his nation after exerting too much effort in building grand structures and being too moved by beautiful scenes.’

King Gong then concluded that any one of the four indulgences from the story could lead a nation to destruction. During this feast, however, King Hui had gathered all four types of pleasure, which could be an alerting sign.

King Hui heard these words and wholeheartedly agreed with King Gong.

Using History as a Guide

The story offers insight into the many examples of this kind from history. The Zhou, Shang, Qin, and Sui Dynasties all came to an end as a result of over-indulgences by their rulers. When kings have recklessly sought for physiological or material pleasure, they’ve doomed themselves for destruction.

Similar things are also taking place in contemporary China. Especially over the past two decades, seeking material pleasure has become a stronger and more accepted trend. Government officials now go all out in the pursuit of self interest. Officials in all spheres of society openly accept bribes at the demise of society’s well-being. Mass food consumption and untended waste from public works projects are skyrocketing at unprecedented levels. Prostitution, including the exploitation of under-aged young girls, is now commonplace. Moral degeneration on the whole has reached an unprecedented level.

After recognizing the communist regime’s corruption and inevitable deterioration, especially through reading the Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party nearly 140 million people have publicly declared their intentions to quit the Chinese Communist Party and its affiliated organizations. Such an occurrence is an encouraging sign for China and the rest of the world.

Chinese version available

CATEGORY: Traditional Art and Culture

Taken from: http://en.minghui.org/html/articles/2013/9/18/142085.html

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Two Ancient Stories of Honoring Teachers

October 14, 2012 at 11:04 pm | Posted in Asia, Culture, Discoveries, Discussion, Good Advice, Life Lessons, Moments from History, Reflections, Relevance to Today, Stories from China | 2 Comments
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August 31, 2012 | By Zhi Zhen

(Minghui.org) The emphasis of discipline and showing respect to one’s teacher are traditional values found in ancient Chinese culture, and such sayings as “A teacher to a student is like a father to a son,” and “A teacher even for one day should be respected as a father forever” were common. A student looks to his teacher as a profound person akin to his father, thus calling him “gracious teacher” or “master.” Teachers impart ethics, knowledge and values to their students. They teach people proper manners for interacting with each other, and for handling things in society at large. While learning from the teacher, a student must not only clearly understand the principle of respectfully serving the teacher from his heart, but also faithfully performing what the teacher imparts to him. Below are a few examples of how the ancients respected their teachers.

Emperors Yao and Shun Honored Xu You

Xu You was a noble scholar in ancient China with high moral standards. He considered moral principles more important than personal gain, and according to the book “Zhuangzi” he was Emperor Yao’s teacher. The “Lu’s Spring and Autumn Annals states that he was also the teacher of Emperor Shun. All three were considered to be sages.

The land of China was peaceful and prosperous during the reign of Emperor Yao. Although Emperor Yao appointed many wise persons to assist with the governance of the country, he was still worried about possibly overlooking many qualified people. To uncover those people, Emperor Yao often searched everywhere, including outlying villages and remote mountains. When Emperor Yao heard of a man called Xu You who was virtuous and had high morals, he traveled a long way to visit him. After a conversation, Xu realized that Emperor Yao was indeed the Emperor. Emperor Yao admired Xu for his profound knowledge in the universe’s principles, and asked him to be his teacher.

After returning to the palace, Emperor Yao thought of handing over his reign to Xu. He thus asked the Secretary of Agriculture to take care of the nation’s business and set out to invite Xu to the palace. When he met Xu in a low-lying area, Emperor Yao was very respectful to him and treated him as his teacher. Emperor Yao said: “I, your student, am poor in virtue and weak in ability. When I took over the country, I made a vow that I would rule it temporarily. I said that I would visit all sages and invite one of them to lead the country. I thoroughly believe that your ability and virtues are as bright as the sun and moon, and no sage can eclipse you. I am willing to give you the country. It will be good for the people if you accept this offer without hesitation.” Xu responded: “You have led the country to peace and prosperity and made people rich and happy. This credit is yours. If I were to take over credit and your job, wouldn’t it mean that I am doing it to gain fame?” Emperor Yao persistently tried to persuade Xu to take the position, but Xu firmly declined. When Emperor Yao when to visit Xu the next day, he was gone, and no one knew where he went.

Emperor Yao continuously searched for Xu and finally located him one year later, farming on the foothills of Songshan mountain. While working on the land one day, Xu heard someone approaching and yelling “Teacher.” Xu looked up and saw Emperor Yao. He was surprised and asked: “What does the Emperor come here for? Is there anything I can do?” Emperor Yao said: “I planned to let you be in charge of the country last time because I was afraid that my poor ability and virtue might mislead the people. It was unexpected that Teacher declined the position and left. I have now been sincerely asking anyone with sublime virtues to assist me in ruling the country. After carefully thinking, no one is better to do this than Teacher. I thus come again to sincerely ask you to become the head of the Nine States (these were the territorial divisions of the nation at that time). It will be fortunate not only for me but for everyone in the country if you accept the position.” Hearing this, Xu said: “I do not understand what you said. I have never heard of anyone being head of the Nine States, only the Emperor, and that is you.” Emperor Yao explained: “Originally, there was no such title. I created it for you to show my sincerity. Please accept it.” Xu declined again and moved away to live as a hermit in a solitary place, and could no longer be found. The people knew of this story and praised Emperor Yao for his generosity and humility, and Xu You for his virtue.

When Emperor Shun was farming at Lishan, he often gave away fertile lands to others because of his righteous virtues. Within six months, farmers were politely taking barren lands and also left the fertile lands for others. Emperor Shun was well respected in Lishan, so much so that he, instead of the government, was sometimes asked to judge and settle arguments. Because of him, many people moved to live in Lishan, causing this outlying area to gradually grow into a prosperous region. Everyone there called Emperor Shun the sage, adding: “Everyone the sage meets will indeed be assimilated. The sage teaches us justice and giving, instead of taking and corruption.”

When touring Chishan one time after farming, Emperor Shun saw an elderly man walking towards him. The man then suddenly tripped over a rock and fell to the ground. Emperor Shun rushed to help him and let him sit down to rest. Emperor Shun asked the man his name and where he lived. The man answered: “Why do you ask? I have not told people my name for many years.” Then the elderly man asked about his name. When Emperor Shen told him his name, the man smiled and said: “Oh! You are the one. I have heard so much about you. Alright, I will tell you my name, but just keep it between us.” After Emperor Shun promised repeatedly, the elderly man said: “My name is Xu You.” Emperor Shun immediately knelt on the ground and bowed his head to show his respect. He said to Xu: “Where do you live? I will walk you home.” Xu smiled: “That is very good of you. Thank you. I live on the other side of Chishan.” Emperor Shun replied: “It is my honor.” After talking to Emperor Shun at his home, Xu accepted the request to be his teacher. The next day, Emperor Shun presented a lot of gifts to Xu for accepting him as his student. Emperor Shun learned many principles from Xu You, which helped guide him to become a heavenly-inspired, benevolent emperor.

Zeng Shen Sincerely Complied with the Teachings

Zeng Shen became a student of Confucius at the age of 16. He was studious and sincerely compliant with his master’s teachings, and became the main successor and disseminator of Confucianism, playing an important connecting role between generations in Confucius culture. His motto, “multiple self-reflections daily,” meant that he repeatedly examined himself every day to determine whether he had done his best for others, been honest to his friends, or reviewed his teacher’s homework diligently.

There is a classical story called “Zeng Shen showing his respect,” in which Confucius asked Zeng one time when Zeng was sitting next to him: “Former kings had sublime virtues and profound theories that they used to teach their people. Do you know why people could live in harmony and there was no dissatisfaction between the kings and their subordinates?” Knowing that Confucius was going to teach him profound principles, Zeng immediately got up and stood beyond the edge of the mat. He then respectfully answered: “I am not wise enough to know the reason. Please teach me.” This was a demonstration of great respect for the teacher. People have later learned this etiquette from Zeng Shen.

After returning to the State of Lu from Chu with Confucius, Zeng farmed during the day and studied in the evening until midnight every day. He was poor because he did not hold any official position. The king of Lu heard the good virtues of Zeng, and decided to bestow him with a piece of land. Zeng declined the offer, citing that he could not accept the land without doing any work to earn it. The king’s envoy advised him: “Why don’t you accept, since you did not ask for it?” Zeng sincerely replied: “I often hear that a giver has pride, while a receiver is humble. Even though the giver is not prideful, how can I not be humble?” Knowing that, Confucius praised him: “Zeng’s words have proved his moral integrity.”

After Confucius died, Zeng and other students such as Zi Xia, Zi Zhang, Zi You and You Ruo went into a period of mourning for three years. At the end of the mourning period, they bowed in unison to Confucius’ grave and then left in tears. Zi Xia, Zi Zhang and Zi You then proposed: “Since You Ruo looks like teacher, we can make believe that he is Confucius and serve him as sincerely and courteously as we did Confucius. Doing so would show our respect for teacher.” Zeng became very angry and was opposed to the idea. He said assertively: “We should not do this. Teacher’s virtue was so clean, like being washed by the clear river water, and so bright, like being bathed by the autumn sunshine. His virtue was also as glorious as the vast universe. How can he be compared to someone who just looks like him?” They we astonished at what Zeng said, and were deeply moved by his sincerity to his teacher and his meticulous etiquette.

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Dreams and Truth — Secret of a Scale

August 20, 2012 at 2:31 pm | Posted in Asia, Children's Stories, Culture, Discoveries, Discussion, Good Advice, Life Lessons, Moments from History, Reflections, Relevance to Today, Stories from China | Leave a comment
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Author:

Tai Ping, Ed.

[PureInsight.org] What is a dream? Modern science posits that dreaming is a kind of nerve activity of the cerebral cortex during sleep. However, many people clearly see future activities or omens in their dreams. Some people see other kinds of pictures or lives. Many of these events actually happen later. These are some of the things that modern science is unable to explain. In fact, from a cultivation point of view, some dreams occur when a person’s Primordial Spirit (yuanshen) has left the human body, gone to another dimension and has seen the scenery there. Or lives in other dimensions reveal the scene to him or her. Of course, there are other complicated reasons for having dreams. Many dreams have no direct relation to a person at all. I will share with you a strange dream from historical records.

During the Ming Dynasty, there was a wealthy man who became rich from selling products from southern China in his grocery store. He had one son and two grandsons and had a very happy family. Later, he became sick and bed-ridden. Before he died, he gave a weighing scale to his son and very seriously told him: “This scale is a treasure that helped me build up my wealth. It is made from black wood. The scale is hollow inside and filled with mercury. When one sells things to a customer, one should push the scale slightly upward. The mercury will go to the head of the scale. The customer will think that the product weighs more than its actual weight. When you buy products to stock up, you push the scale down a little, so the mercury moves to the end of the scale. The seller will think that the product weighs less than its actual weight . In this way I have taken advantage of many people. That is how I built up my wealth.”

The son was very shocked when he heard this. How could his father do such an immoral thing? He did not argue with him because his father was very ill. After his father died, he burned the scale. He did his best to do all kinds of charitable acts. He comforted people who were in danger and helped poor people. He took care of disabled and old people. He always worried that he hadn’t done enough good to compensate for his father’s unscrupulous deeds. Because of his kindness and sincerity, he exhausted half of his family fortune within three years. He was not unhappy because this is what he wanted to do. But his two sons died one after another. He felt sad because he thought that his good deeds were being rewarded with calamity! So he often sighed that the gods were ignorant and that good and evil were reversed. Unavoidably he held a little hatred in his heart.

One night, he had a dream in which he saw a palace where an official presided. The official told him: “Your father was supposed to be wealthy because of his generosity in a previous life. Even if he hadn’t used the scale, he would still be rich. But he used that scale with such bad intent. Additionally, he obtained a lot of karma. Yet he didn’t repent even as he was dying. Therefore, he will suffer hardship to pay it back. This was just his foolishness. Because of his evil deeds, God sent two angels called Broke and Consumption to become your sons to squander your family’s wealth. The original plan was that after they squandered all your wealth, what was left of your property would be burned down. Because of your father, you wouldn’t have enough food and clothing. Moreover you would not live long. Your father thought that he could leave a lot of wealth to his son and grandsons and that they would enjoy life without worrying about anything. There was no way for him to know that his son would not live long, or that his grandsons had come to ruin his family. Fortunately, you have a compassionate heart that is enough to compensate for your father’s sin. God has observed you for three years and found that you are always sincere and honest, which is a very rare thing. Therefore, God decided to call back the two angels. In the near future, you will have virtuous children and exceptional descendants. In addition, your life will be prolonged. You should diligently cultivate your kindness without hatred in your heart.” After he awakened, the son was suddenly enlightened. From then on, he was always very determined to be kind to other people. Later, he had two sons, who both passed imperial civil examinations and won honors for the family.

After reading this historical record, I cannot help but think how well the principle of “good is rewarded with good, and evil is met with evil” works. Because living beings cannot see causal relationships, they dare to do evil things. They don’t believe in retribution. Moreover, they even spread corrupt principles such as “Nice guys finish last” to attract people to do wrong. They don’t know that true justice is real and fair. Because people have different blessings, virtue, and predestined relationships, retribution will be different for each person. Good deeds are rewarded with good, evil deeds with retribution.

Therefore, in the process of Jiang Zemin’s persecution of Falun Gong, some people have ill-gotten wealth from catching, beating, fining and betraying Falun Gong practitioners. They don’t know that their behavior has planted the roots for their future punishment. If they do not grasp the opportunity to rectify the wrong deeds, it will be too late to regret.

This material was from “Moral Collection.”

Translated from: http://www.zhengjian.org/zj/articles/2004/4/5/26562.html

Tales from the Practice of Medicine: A Brief Discussion of the Relationship Between Illness, the Four Seasons and the Four Parts of a Day

July 30, 2012 at 2:13 pm | Posted in Children's Stories, Culture, Discoveries, Discussion, Good Advice, Life Lessons, Moments from History, Reflections, Relevance to Today | Leave a comment
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Author:

Hu Naiwen, a Traditional Chine

[PureInsight.net] According to The Yellow Emperor’s Internal Script, an ancient Chinese medical reference book, all illnesses arise from dryness, humidity, cold, heat, wind, rain, imbalances between Yin and Yang, happiness, anger, dietary imbalances and an inauspicious residence location. The ill person frequently feels better at dawn and during the daytime, but may feel worse at dusk and at night. In other words, the symptoms of an illness may intensify at dusk and get even worse at night.

What is the explanation for these phenomena? Our ancestors believed that man embodied heavenly elements; therefore, man’s health is affected by changes in the weather, the seasons and the climate. There is an ancient Chinese saying: “Birth is in the spring, growth is in the summer, harvest is in the autumn and storage is in the winter.” This saying can be applied to the energy of the human body. There are also four distinct parts of a day, including morning (spring), mid-day or noon (summer), dusk (autumn) and night (winter).

In the morning, the human energy is growing, so the spirit of the illness declines. At noon, the human energy continues to increase, so the spirit of the illness withdraws further. When human energy grows, it can overcome the illness. During this time, man feels well. At dusk when the sun goes down, the human energy begins to decline in correspondence with nature; therefore, the spirit of the illness starts to climb. At night, the human energy returns to the body, which means human energy returns to within the internal organs; therefore, the illness will occupy the surface of the human body. This is when the spirit of the illness is at its peak, which makes the symptoms of the illness get worse. This is the reason why illness is closely related to the four seasons, and the four parts of a day.

Translated from: http://www.zhengjian.org/zj/articles/2003/9/30/23805.html

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The Law of Cause and Effect: Authors of Pornographic Books Met Karmic Retribution

July 25, 2012 at 1:56 pm | Posted in Asia, Discoveries, Discussion, Good Advice, Life Lessons, Moments from History, Reflections, Relevance to Today, Stories from China | Leave a comment
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[PureInsight.org] [Editors’ Note: All the literary works mentioned in this article are now conventionally revered as masterpieces of Chinese literature and all five authors of the are conventionally revered as literary giants of classical Chinese literature.]

Tang Xianzufrom the late Ming Dynasty (1368 – 1644 A.D.) wrote a famous romance drama titled The Peony Pavilion. (牡丹亭.) It is a story about an eloping couple. The language is very rich and colorful, and many people enjoyed reading it. Because of the book, people in the Ming Dynasty started to think it is romantic to defy the rites, pursue romance at all costs and elope. After Tang Xianzu died, a Chinese man claimed to have a vision during a near-death experience. The man saw Tang Xianzu being locked and steamed in a dark torture chamber. Tang’s skin broke open in the high temperature and he was in excruciating pain.

The West Chamber (西廂記) is a famous drama written by Wang Shifu from the Yuan Dynasty (1271 – 1368 A.D.) Wang was very skilled in describing the details of romantic rendezvous’ between lovers. Many people developed lustful ideas after reading this drama. It has been alleged that Wang Shifu met karmic retribution for writing the book. Before he finished writing the book, he suddenly passed out. He bit off his own tongue and died.

An Encounter with an Immortal (會真記) is a famous novel written by Yuan Zhen from the Tang Dynasty (618 – 907 A.D.) Because Yuan Zhen was unable to marry his cousin Cui Yingying, he held grudges against her and wrote an immortal romance using his cousin’s name as the main character in the novel. In the novel, his cousin Cui Yingying was portrayed as a young lady who had a scandalous affair before marriage. As a result, Cui Yingying’s reputation was ruined and she is forever remembered as an unchaste woman. In addition, young men and women started imitating the conduct in the novel and started to have affairs before marriage. It was alleged that Yuan Zhen died a painful death. After his death, his body was hit by a lightening and burned to charcoal.

Outlaws of the Marsh (水滸傳is a famous novel by Shi Nai’an from the Ming Dynasty (1368 – 1644 A.D.) He included a lot of stories that promoted lust, sex, theft, robbery and killing. It is not far-fetched to say it teaches people to pursue sex and robbery. Shi Nai’an’s sons, grandsons and grand grandsons were born mute.

Jin Shengtan was a highly learned man from the end of the Ming and beginning of the Qing Dynasty (1636 – 1912 A.D.). He wrote commentaries on Outlaws of the Marsh, (水滸傳), The West Chamber (西廂記), and The Plum in the Golden Vase (金瓶梅) and, thus, promoted sex and violence that are dominant elements in those books. Jin Shengtan was an extremely smart and talented man, but instead of writing articles to promote morality, he was partial to writing commentaries on romances and immoral books. Later he was imprisoned for things he wrote and he suffered the horrible punishment of being cut in half at the waist and the top body being grilled over a fire. His family and relatives were also executed.
Translated from: http://www.minghui.org/mh/articles/2005/8/22/108938.html

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