Two Stories about Tolerance and Forgiveness
There is an ancient proverb: "Tolerance enables one to be magnanimous, and the lack of desires makes one strong." Tolerance is an extraordinary trait. It means having a magnanimous heart and a state of being filled with compassion and selflessness. It is a traditional virtue of the Chinese culture, a noble quality passed down from the gods to mankind. The following are two stories on tolerance.
1. If One Cannot Be a Fool and Feign Deafness, One Cannot Be the Head of a Household
After Guo Ziyi (697 – 781 AD) subdued the An Shi Rebellion, he accomplished the great achievement of reviving the Tang Dynasty. Consequently, Emperor Tang Daizong (727 – 779 AD, ruling from 762 – 779 AD) was very respectful of Guo Ziyi and agreed to the marriage of his daughter, Princess Shengping, to Guo Ziyi's son, Guo Ai.
One time, the young couple had an argument. When Guo Ai noticed his wife was acting temperamental with a princess attitude, he said angrily: "What makes you so special? You are relying on your father being the Emperor. Let me tell you, your father's country was saved when my father defeated An Lushan. My father could care less about the Emperor's throne, and that's the only reason he is not the Emperor himself!"
Upon hearing Guo Ai's wild statements, Princess Shengping angrily went to the palace and reported her husband's behavior to the Emperor.
After listening to his daughter, Emperor Tang Daizong replied calmly: "You're just a child, and there are still many things you do not understand. What your husband said is true. Our nation's land was protected by your father-in-law, Guo Ziyi. If he wanted to be the Emperor, he would already be one, and the land would not belong to us, the Li family." He urged his daughter not to accuse her husband of "plotting a rebellion" based on what he had just said in a moment of anger and to live harmoniously with him. The princess calmed down after hearing Tang Daizong's advice and returned home.
Guo Ziyi was quite worried after he learned about the incident. When he heard that his son had made such wild statements that bordered on treason, he immediately ordered his subordinates to tie up his son. He took his son to the palace and asked the Emperor to punish Guo Ai appropriately.
Tang Daizong, however, was very gracious. He comforted Guo Ziyi and said: "The young couple had a quarrel and exchanged some harsh words. We old folks should not take this seriously. Isn't there a proverb that says 'If one cannot be a fool and feign deafness, one cannot become the head of a household?' Just pretend you did not hear about the incident."
Upon hearing these words, Guo Ziyi no longer felt anxious and was very grateful to the Emperor. (From ZiZhi Tongjian
2. Strengths and Weaknesses are both Facts
During the era of the Southern and Northern States (420 – 581 AD), Cui Luo was the Deputy Prime Minister of Northern Qi (550 – 577 AD). Cui was highly regarded and treated courteously by Emperor Shizong of Qi.
Cui Luo liked to recommend people of talent to Emperor Shizong. He recommended Xing Shao as someone who would make a good advisor to the Prime Minister as well as to be in charge of highly confidential government affairs. Because of Cui Luo's recommendation, Emperor Shizong appointed Xing Shao. Emperor Shizong came to trust Xing Shao and had the highest regard for him.
Because Xing Shao concurrently managed many confidential government affairs, he had many opportunities to speak to Emperor Shizong. During these conversations, Xing Shao often criticized Cui Luo, which made Emperor Shizong very upset.
One time, Emperor Shizong said to Cui Luo: "You always talk about Xing Shao's strengths, but Xing Shao always speaks about your weaknesses. You are such a fool!"
Cui Luo replied nobly: "Xing Shao speaks ill of me, and I speak well of him. We both are speaking the facts. There is nothing wrong with that!"
Cui Luo treated others with leniency, but was strict with himself. He not only recognized the capabilities of others and tolerated their shortcomings, but also openly faced his own flaws. What a noble attitude! (From Book on Northern Qi