母仪天下 马明德(上)
2015-01-31
“男儿要当死于边野,以马革裹尸还”这是伏波将军马援的名句。马援是东汉时期著名的将领,他辅助汉光武帝刘秀平定天下战功卓著,但因为得罪了权贵光武帝刘秀的女婿梁松,遭其陷害,差点不能堂堂正正入土为安。

马援的儿子在父亲死后不久也早早夭亡,他的妻子在双重打击下整日精神恍惚。马援年仅十岁的三女儿担负起治理家务的重任,她不仅能独立处理家中大小事务,而且在与其他家族交往时也能如成年人一样从容应对。

公元52年,13岁的马小姐选入太子刘庄的宫中。她入宫后悉心侍奉阴皇后,对其他的人也是礼仪周备,渐获宠爱。57年汉明帝刘庄即位,封她为贵人。60年为立后,明帝征求皇太后阴丽华的意见,太后说:“马贵人德冠后宫,即其人也。”遂立马氏为后,史称明德皇后。

马皇后不仅品德出众,也很有才华,能背诵《易经》,熟读《春秋》、《楚辞》、《周礼》等传统的儒家经典。对董仲舒的文章尤为精通。后来她还著《显宗起居注》一书。

马皇后生性宽仁,谦恭节俭,不喜好游乐,平易近人。平时都穿粗布衣服,除了国家大典场合,从不穿贵重的丝绸织绣之衣。后宫的嫔妃对她非常钦佩。

马皇后德才貌具佳,虽不干预朝政,但对世事却明断有理。70年,明帝的异母兄弟楚王刘英企图谋反,事情败露后,明帝不忍处死刘英,只是废黜了刘英的爵位,徙往丹阳郡(今属安徽)。刘英到丹阳后自杀,明帝认为是有人鼓动楚王谋反,下令彻查其党羽,一时受株连的人不计其数,下狱和流放的官员就多达几千人,许多大臣纷纷劝谏,但明帝根本不听。马皇后知道被抓的人大部分都是冤枉的,十分忧虑。一天明帝回宫,她趁机向明帝进言,请求明帝不要把案件扩大,神情悲楚,明帝深为感动,以至于在明帝十五年二月,刘庄颁令大赦天下,将从前不算在大赦范围内的谋反之罪也算在宽大处理之列。这场可能会酿成无数人死于非命的案子,就此很快了结了。――刘庄理政之风与其父不同,相比之下要严格得多,此案能够从宽而不至于多伤人命,马明德皇后功不可没。

从此明帝才发觉皇后对政事有独到的见解,分析全面,考虑周到。在遇到公卿大臣难以裁决的问题时,常常会让马皇后帮着解决。马皇后为他深入分析事情原委,并提出解决办法,明帝都会郑重看待,并加以采纳,弥补了许多朝政上的缺陷。但她从未提及自己家的事,包括父亲的冤屈,虽心中酸苦,从不在明帝面前表露,因此更加得到明帝的敬重。

马皇后没有子女,明帝就让她抚养宫中贾氏的儿子刘炟。在把小婴儿送进妻子怀里的时候,刘庄说了一句话安慰马明德。而这句话,也成为天下为人父母者的共鉴:“人未必当自生子,但患爱养不至耳。”——世上并不是每个人都能够生育孩子的,也不是必须要亲生的孩子才是自己的孩子。只要有慈爱之心去养育,别人的孩子一样会成为孝顺你的好孩子。

"A true man should die on the battlefield at the border defending one's country, with his body sent home wrapped in horse leather." These are the famous words of General Ma Yuan. He was a very famous general during the Eastern Han Dynasty. He contributed a lot to bringing peace to the land of China under Emperor Liu Xiu, but because he offended Liang Song (the favorite son-in-law of the emperor), when he died, he almost didn't receive a proper burial.

Soon after General Ma Yuan's death, his young son also died. General Ma's wife couldn't deal with the double loss and became mentally unstable. The third daughter of Ma Yuan was only 13 years old at the time but she bravely stepped forward to take care of the entire family. She was not only able to deal with major and minor things in the household; she also ably represented the family like an adult in dealing with other families.

In 52 A.D, at the age of 13, she was selected to join the court of Liu Zhuang, the crown prince. After she entered the palace, she devoted herself to serving Empress Yin. She also treated everyone else around her with a great deal of respect and good manners, and gradually became beloved by all. In 57 A.D., Liu Zhuang became the emperor and named her one of his royal concubines. In 60 A.D., he was about to select his empress and asked his mother, Empress Dowager Yin, for advice. Empress Dowager Yin replied, "Royal Concubine Ma is the most virtuous among all your wives. She should be your choice." So the emperor named Ma as his empress. She is known in history as Empress Ma Mingde (Ming means "clear" and de means "virtue.")

Empress Ma was not only virtuous; she was also learned. She could recite the Book of Changes in its entirety. She also was very familiar with many classical Confucian texts, including the Spring and Autumn Annuls, Chu Ci and Zhou Li. Later on, she wrote a book called Notes on the Life of a Xian Emperor.

Empress Ma was kind-hearted by nature. She was modest, frugal and didn't enjoy pleasure-seeking. She was kind to everybody. She always wore clothes made of cotton. Other than formal state occasions, she never wore expensive silk clothing. Other concubines of the emperor respected and admired her.

She was a woman blessed with many virtues and talents, as well as good looks. Even though she didn't want to interfere in the affairs of the country, she had shrewd judgment. In 70 A.D., Liu Ying, the Duke of Chu and the half-brother of the emperor were planning to overthrow the emperor and take over the throne. After their plot was discovered, the emperor couldn't bear to execute them. He only stripped Liu Ying's title and ordered him to move to Danyan County (in today's Anhui Province). Liu Ying committed suicide once he arrived in Danyan County. The emperor felt that certain followers of Liu Ying had urged and encouraged his rebellion, so he ordered the arrest of Liu Ying's followers. Large numbers of people were implicated. Several thousand officials were arrested and sent to remote places. Many court officials urged the emperor to stop the witch hunt, but the emperor refused to listen. After Empress Ma learned that the vast majority of the people who had been arrested and punished were innocent, she was very troubled. When the emperor went to visit her one day, she urged him not to expand the scope of the investigation any more. She looked so sad that the emperor was deeply moved. In February of 72 A.D., he granted amnesty to the entire country. People who had committed treason were normally not included in amnesties. Emperor Liu Zhuang made an exception and gave them amnesty as well. A major case that could have resulted in the wrongful deaths of many innocent people was quickly put to an end. Liu Zhuang was normally a very strict emperor. Empress Ma was given a lot of credit for the quick and benevolent closure of the case.

From then on, Emperor Liu Zhuang felt that the empress had a lot of unique and insightful understandings of the political affairs of the country. She had the ability to analyze the entire situation rationally and take many different things into consideration. When he encountered things that he couldn't resolve easily, he often asked Empress Ma for advice. Empress Ma was able to offer insightful analysis and give constructive solutions. The emperor took her advice seriously and accepted many of her suggestions, which closed a lot of gaps in the way that the country was being run. Despite receiving such recognition from the emperor, Empress Ma never once tried to promote her own family members. She didn't even bring up the issue of the injustice that her own father had suffered. Even though she felt very sad about it, she never brought the subject up with the emperor, who in turn respected her even more.

Empress Ma didn't have any children of her own. After Madam Jia, one of the emperor's royal concubines, gave birth to a son, the emperor gave the infant to Empress Ma. The boy was named Liu Dan. When he put the infant boy into the arms of his wife, Liu Zhuang said something to comfort her, "In this world, not every woman is able to give birth to children. One shouldn't treat only the children that she has given birth to as her own children. As long as you treat him with kindness and love, this child who was borne by another woman, will become a filial and devoted son of your own."
    责编: Lily

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