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

The Greatest and Strongest Moral Force

October 16, 2012 at 11:04 pm | Posted in Asia, Culture, Moments from History, Reflections, Relevance to Today, Stories from China | Leave a comment
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October 15, 2012

(Minghui.org) Mencius (372 BC - 289 BC) was born in the state of Zou during the Warring States Period (475 BC – 221 BC). He wrote a book named “Book of Mencius,” and was referred to as the “Next Sage” after Confucius. Their philosophies are called the “doctrine of Confucius and Mencius.” Mencius once said to one of his disciples, “I am proficient in cultivating my noble spirit. It is the greatest and strongest force. It will fill heaven and earth with a noble mind. It must be matched with virtue and morality, otherwise it will lack force. Besides, it must be constantly reinforced with virtue and morality in order to maintain it, rather than relying on the occasional act of justice.” “Be impervious to the temptation of wealth and high position, do not be shaken by poverty, and do not be subdued by force.” Mencius advocated benevolent governance his whole life. In his dealings with feudal lords and nobility, he behaved neither submissively nor pompously. His pursuit of the truth deeply influenced later generations.

Mencius’ view of destiny was that heaven possessed the highest will. “The mandate of heaven determined the change in dynasties and emperors, rise and decline, and rich and poor. People had to follow the will of heaven and know how to dedicate, know heaven and do things for heaven. Those who submitted to heaven’s will prosper and those who defy it will die.” Mencius emphasized moral cultivation. He considered morality to be a natural gift, innate to the human mind and conscience of people. If everyone is able to maintain goodness and strive to improve in self-cultivation, people can be like Emperors Yao and Shun. Both Mencius and Confucius toured various states to promote their teachings. He spread the virtue and benevolent governance of the ancient emperors Yao, Yu Shun, and others. Lord Wei Hui treated him with a courteous reception and Lord Qi Xuan honored him as a high official. He persuaded them to apply benevolent governance that had won popular allegiance, and many times avoided war.

Mencius once traveled from Qi to Wei and was stopped by a heavy rain. People found out about it and ran around spreading the news. Many people came to visit him to ask for advice. Seeing people were so eager to learn, he thus decided to stay to lecture for several days. Mencius believed that a man of noble character must pursue morality, and persuade monarchs to establish moral supremacy, and value justice above material gain. The following are stories of his unswerving determination to urge people to do good.

Rule a Country With Justice, Why Talk About Profits?

When visiting Liang, Lord Liang Hui said to him, “You have traveled a great distance to come here. You must have some things to benefit my country?” Mencius replied, “Lord, why talk about benefits? It is sufficient to just say righteousness.” Lord Liang said, “How can it benefit my country?” Mencius said, “If people are always asking: ‘How will my family benefit from this?’ and, ‘How will I benefit from this?’ the result will be that everyone will be competing for their own benefits. Then the country will be in danger! In a country with 10,000 military vehicles, often the senior officers who own 1,000 military vehicles will kill their monarch. In a country owning 1,000 military vehicles, the monarch is often killed by the senior officers who own 100 military vehicles. You cannot say that these senior officers don’t own enough. However, those who put their own interests above righteousness will never be satisfied with what they already own and will try to seize their monarch’s position. Those who always think of benevolence will never abandon their parents and those who always think of righteousness will not abandon their monarch. Therefore, why do you only want to talk about benefits?” The prominent historian Sima Qian in the Western Han Dynasty sighed when he read this dialogue between Mencius and Lord Liang, “Personal interest is really the source of chaos!”

Being Fond of Good People is Good Enough to Rule the World

The state of Lu intended to let Le Zhengzi govern. Mencius was very glad to hear the news. His disciple Gongsun Chou asked, “Is Le Zhengzi very experienced?” Mencius said, “no.” Gongsun Chou asked, “Then why are you pleased?” Mencius said, “He likes to listen to well-intended advice and he has always fulfilled his duties.” Gongsun Chou asked again, “Are these enough?” Mencius said, “With these qualities, one can rule the world, not to mention govern the state of Lu! If one likes to listen to truthfulness, he will only be willing to meet with good people and villains would have no market. If one doesn’t like to listen to good words, then those with breadth of vision will shy away and those with vile character will come. He will be surrounded by people of vile character. How can he govern a country well? Officials must dare to uphold justice and fairness. If one cannot be diligent and responsible, why then would one want to be an official?”

Every Day I Was Hoping Lord Qi Would Change His Mind!

Mencius went to Qi twice to persuade Lord Qi to carry out a policy of benevolence, but he did not get to see the lord. When Mencius left Qi for the second time, a Qi person, Yinshi, said to Mencius’s disciple Gaozi, “It is unwise not to know that Lord Qi will never be a monarch like Emperor Shang Tang or Emperor Zhou Wuwang. If knowing that Lord Qi cannot be convinced and Mencius still comes to Qi, it looks like he was hoping to gain benefits. After traveling a long distance to see the lord, he found that he could not be persuaded and thus left. But Mencius still stayed for three nights before leaving. Why was he so reluctant to leave? I am not very appreciative of Mencius.” Gaozi told Mencius about Yinshi’s remark.

Mencius said, “How could Yinshi know my thoughts? I traveled a long way to expound the kingly way to Lord Qi and that was my wish. I remonstrated without success and left; did I wish that? I had no alternative but to leave. I stayed for three nights before leaving. I think that is too soon. I thought Lord Qi might change his mind and ask me to return. If he called me back, I would have to make good use of the opportunity. After I left, he did not send people to chase after me to ask me to return. I was thus determined to leave. Although I did, was I willing to give up on the lord? Lord Qi can govern well. If he carries out benevolent governance, not only Qi will have peace, but also the people of the whole country. Every day I hope that he will change! Do I look like a narrow minded person? I was unable to remonstrate with a monarch, got angry and left with resentment, and then travelled a whole day before stopping for a night.” Upon hearing this, Yinshi said, “I am really a lowly person.”

People Will Be Completely Won Over With One’s Virtue

Upon hearing that Lord Qi Xuan intended to use force to conquer other countries, Mencius hurried to Qi for the third time. Lord Qi Xuan asked him, “Are there principles when dealing with neighboring states?” Mencius replied, “Yes, there are. Only the benevolent monarch of a big country can serve a small country, just like Emperor Shang serving Ge. A clever monarch of a small country will serve a big country, just like Gou Jian serving Lord Wu. A monarch with great power serving a small country is obeying the destiny of heaven, while a monarch of a small country serving a big power is fearing destiny. Being willing to obey the will of heaven can bring peace and stability to the country, while fearing destiny will allow one to hold on to his country.” The “Book of Songs”(1) said: ‘by fearing the dignity of heaven, a country can maintain stability.’ “Lord Qi Xuan said, “Great! But I have a problem, as I like combat.”

Mencius said, “My lord, don’t behave with trivial courage. When you hold a sword with a fierce look, ‘Who dares to oppose me!’ This is just personal courage. What is true bravery?” The “Book of Songs” said, ‘Emperor Zhou Wenwang suddenly flared up and geared up his army to protect Ju.’ This is the courage of Emperor Zhou Wenwang. His anger stabilized people’s minds.” The “Book of Shang” (the earliest compilation of historical documents. It is one of the Confucian classics) stated, “Heaven created all the people and set up a monarch and provided teachers to assist heaven to take good care of the people and follow the code of ethics strictly. Who dares to go beyond one’s duty? When there was a person rampaging the country, Emperor Zhou Wuwang felt ashamed. This was the valor of Emperor Wuwang. His anger stabilized the country. Now if my lord can get angry and stabilize the country, people will be worried that my lord doesn’t like to be courageous!”

Mencius went on, “My lord should implement a policy of benevolence and reduce taxation so that people will learn loyalty, righteousness, etiquette, and trustworthiness in their leisure time. Then people close by will live in peace and contentment, and people from distant places will come to join you. If another monarch does injustice to his people and puts them in misery, when my lord goes to crusade against that monarch, who can then oppose my lord? People will welcome your troops with food and drink. Do they have any demands? They only want to avoid the abyss of suffering. Otherwise, people will look for someone else to rescue them. When a lord cares for people and unifies the country, no one can stop him.” Lord Qi Xuan nodded. Mencius elaborated on the kingly way with nature’s law and popular sentiment and thus ultimately made Lord Qi Xuan give up on war and implement the policy of benevolence that achieved a great order. People were very grateful for Mencius’ graciousness.

A Benevolent Monarch Is Invincible

Mencius said, “Only benevolent people can be invincible in the world and only with benevolent governance can a country be prosperous and can people live in peace. If people higher up do not follow reason and good sense to restrain themselves and people below do not use laws to bind themselves, if governments do not believe in morality and justice, officials do not abide by the law, gentlemen violate justice, villains violate the criminal law – then a country will be lucky to even survive. A state that does not have vast lands or that accumulates great wealth is not the curse. Not revering morality is the calamity for a state. Consequently, remonstrating with a monarch to cultivate virtue and carry out benevolent governance is to respect one’s monarch. Expounding to a monarch with reason to clear up his wicked ideas is being respectful to a monarch. Flattering and currying favor with a monarch is to entrap him. When a monarch himself is upright, the world will come to be in allegiance with him. The “Book of Songs” stated, ‘Cooperate with the mandate of heaven and one will have happiness.’ Living in the world’s widest residence – benevolence; standing in the most correct position – etiquette; walking on the broadest road in the world – righteousness; wealth cannot confuse one’s thoughts, rank cannot change one’s conduct, and force will not make one yield. This is what a benevolent person does.”

Mencius lived in the middle of the Warring States Period, during which time etiquette collapsed and society was in turmoil. But he did not hesitate to push forward promoting morality and justice. He believed that the difference between people was not whether one is rich or poor, but rather, having the ability to maintain noble morality and have a clear conscience. Enlightening to the good side of people’s minds and helping them follow heaven’s way is the true reason for exhorting people.

In today’s materialism and decline in moral standards, Falun Dafa helps people to have a brighter future and reminds people to follow and treasure the characteristics of the universe: Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance.

1) “The Book of Songs” is China’s first poetry collection. It brought together 305 pieces of poetry starting from the early Western Zhou Dynasty (1100 BC) to the middle of the Spring and Autumn Period (600 BC)

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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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Concerning the Proverb “You Shouldn’t Question the Whole Thing, but Neither Should You Believe in Everything You’ve Heard or Seen”

August 15, 2012 at 2:29 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Author:

Han Ru

[PureInsight.org] When it comes to beings or phenomena outside of this dimension such as myths, Buddhas and gods, some people with a lot of experience in life might bring up the proverb, “You shouldn’t question the whole thing, but neither should you believe in everything you’ve heard or seen.” On the surface, it means that they neither believe nor disbelieve in the existence of these phenomena or the existence of gods. But the bottom line is that they don’t believe in these things. Actually the phrase “You shouldn’t question the whole thing, but neither should you believe in everything you’ve been told or have seen” came from the cultivation community and reflects an objective view that cultivators had of cultivation. But as human society became more and more degenerate, people’s righteous faith in gods gradually disappeared. Thus this proverb’s meaning has become twisted and it has now become a phrase to express people’s lack of belief in gods or Buddhas.

The first part of the proverb, “You shouldn’t question the whole thing,” implies that people should believe in gods, Buddhas, and other dimensions. It makes good sense because many people have witnessed or experienced specific phenomena of gods, Buddhas and other dimensions.

So what does the second part of the proverb “but neither should you believe in everything you’ve heard or seen” mean? This pertains to reality in other dimensions. There are levels of heaven, levels of hell, Buddhas, Daos, gods, demons and ghosts in other dimensions. If a cultivator believes in everything, he would mess up his cultivation and might even end up cultivating on a demonic path without knowing it. That is why the second part of the proverb states that one must not believe in everything that he has heard or seen. A cultivator must depend on his enlightenment to keep his righteous faith and to attain the Right Fruit [1].

The same principle applies to ordinary people. If they don’t show reverence to righteous gods and instead put the statues of unknown spirits in a shrine, they might end up burning incense for foxes, weasels, ghosts and snakes [2], and bring upon themselves spirit or animal possession. Then these people are done for. Confucius said, “Keep one’s distance from the ghosts and spirits while showing them reverence.” [3] The saying carries a similar meaning. In summary, the second half of the proverb means that people shouldn’t believe in messed up things. Instead, they should have righteous beliefs.

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Notes:
[1] Right Fruit: In the cultivation world, “attaining the Right Fruit” refers to the completion of cultivation and reaching a high level.
[2] “Fan Ch’ih asked about wisdom. The Master said, ‘To work for the things the common people have a right to and to keep one’s distance from the ghosts and spirits while showing them reverence can be called wisdom.'” (From Book 6:22 in Analects)
[3] Foxes, weasels, ghosts and snakes: In Chinese ideology, it is believed that the spirits of foxes, weasels and a few other animals have supernatural powers and can take over a statue in a temple or even possess a human being.

Translated from: http://www.zhengjian.org/zj/articles/2003/4/7/21098.html

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Moral Integrity and Trust: A Virtue and a Responsibility

August 1, 2012 at 2:17 pm | Posted in Asia, Children's Stories, Culture, Discussion, Good Advice, Life Lessons, Moments from History, Reflections, Relevance to Today, Stories from China | 2 Comments
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March 27, 2009 | By Zhizhen

(Clearwisdom.net) Traditional Chinese culture was imparted by gods, and it has a very long history. Ancient Chinese people emphasized moral cultivation, and they considered moral integrity and trust as the most fundamental element of moral cultivation.

From the process of heaven and earth having given birth to all things and nurtured all things, the ancient Chinese people have seen the universe’s characteristic of truthfulness and non-deception. They called this characteristic “integrity or honesty.” They stressed that human beings should pursue moral integrity and be in accord with heavenly principles. From the structure of the Chinese character, “trust” (pronounced as “xin“), one can see that this character is a combination of two characters, “human” (pronounced as “yen“) and “human’s words” (pronounced as “yan“). Therefore, the Chinese character “trust” means that “human’s words are trustworthy.” As a result, in Chinese culture there are the following sayings about “trust”: “A promise is worth one thousand ounces of gold;” “Promises must be kept, and action must be resolute;” and “A promise cannot be taken back once it is made;” and so on. There are many stories about ancient Chinese people being honest and trustworthy and keeping their promises.

For example, Confucius taught his students to hold such an attitude toward learning and knowledge, “What you know, you know, what you don’t know, you don’t know.” That is, it is true knowledge when one acknowledges what one knows and admits what one does not know. One should not be presumptuous and should be modest. One should fit one’s actions to the words, and “A gentleman takes it as a disgrace to let his words outstrip his deeds.” According to Lun Yu (Analects of Confucius), when Confucius talked about how a person cultivates himself or treats others, he repetitively mentioned “trust,” “An individual cannot establish him- or herself without honesty and trust.” When Confucius talked about governing a nation, he said, “People cannot be governed without trust.” So he believed that “trust” was even more important than the army or food.

In the Northern Song Dynasty, when young Fan Zhongyan (a very famous scholar and prime minister in the Song Dynasty, who had very high morality) was still studying in Suiyang, he got to know an alchemist. One day, the alchemist got a serious illness, and he asked someone to find Fan Zhongyan. He told Fan, “I have a secret alchemy recipe. My son is still young and I cannot teach him the Golden Touch skill. Now I will let you help keep this secret recipe.” The alchemist sealed, in a package, the secret recipe as well as one jin (about one pound) of platinum that he had made through alchemy, and he handed the package to Fan. He then died. Several years later Fan became a government official who served in the role of providing criticisms and suggestions to the government. He found that alchemist’s son and told him, “Your father had the magical Golden Touch skill. When he passed away, you were still very young, and he let me keep this secret recipe for you. Now you have grown up, and I should hand it to you.” He then took out that package that contained the recipe and the platinum and handed it to the alchemist’s son. The seal mark was still intact, proving that the package had never been opened.

Fan Zhongyan’s son, Fan Chunren, likewise followed his father’s will. When he governed Luoyang, he brought happiness to the local community through his moral integrity and honesty. Because of his governing, “no one pocketed anything found on the road, and no families needed to bar their doors at night.” Once in the place of Baisimapo when an old man sat under the sun by a wall, someone came to tell him, “Your family’s yellow calf has been stolen.” After hearing the message, the old man still sat there; he did not move at all, nor did he say a word. A moment later, another person came and told him again about the loss of the calf. The old man peacefully told that person, “You do not need to look for it. It must be someone who wanted to make a joke and has hidden it.” Those who passed by felt strange and they asked the man, “Sir, your family has lost a cow. Others told you this again and again, but why don’t you care about it.” The old man said with a smile, “Since Mr. Fan has lived here, who would want to become a thief? This is in no way possible.” A moment later, the calf came back as expected.

There was another story about moral integrity and trust, which is called “Zhong Shiheng does not break his promise to the Qiang people.” Zhong Shiheng was a famous general in the Northern Song Dynasty. When he went to Qingjian City to guard the border of the nation, he visited the tribes of the Qiang people inside the border. Niujia Tribe leader Nu-E was stubborn and conceited, and he did not obey the local regulations of the Song Dynasty. Zhong Shiheng made an appointment with Nu-E; Zhong would visit the tribe to show that he cared about the people. Then, unexpectedly, a big snow fell in the evening, and it was very difficult to travel the next day. Furthermore, Nu-E’s tribe was located in remote mountains, which was hard to reach. Zhong’s subordinates tried to persuade him to go there on another day. However, Zhong insisted on keeping his promise. Nu-E thought that Zhong would definitely not come in such a big snow. Surprisingly, Zhong showed up, which made Nu-E admire Zhong very much. Nu-E quickly gathered his people to come to listen to Zhong’s words. Ever since then, various Qiang tribes continued to follow Zhong. Since Zhong’s army had not caused trouble for the local people, his army had won the hearts of the people there and had gotten along very well with the local people. The Qiang people called the army “Zhong’s Army.” Later whenever the Xixia (a warring state of the Song Dynasty) army came to invade the country, the Qiang people always immediately informed Zhong of the invasion, and they exerted effort to help Zhong’s army. Thus Zhong’s army won each and every battle, which made the border return to peace.

Moral integrity and trust is the fundamental principle that one should follow when one conducts oneself and lives in society. It is a basic requirement of human nature, human values, as well as human responsibilities. It is a virtue. It is even more so a responsibility. Ancient Chinese people often used the criterion of “extreme honesty” to restrict themselves, manage their relationships with others, and improve the morality of society. However, in the current society, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) does not value moral integrity and trust. It has always used its lies to brainwash people. It has persecuted those who dare to speak out about the truth. It has been persecuting Falun Gong practitioners, who follow the principle of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. As a result, the CCP has caused a rapid degeneration in the social morality. At present, when heaven is about to eliminate the CCP, more and more people have withdrawn from the CCP and its related organizations, and they have thus chosen righteousness and conscience. This is really a wise choice.

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