Neither Arrogant nor Boastful – the Great General Xu Da
2016-12-31


Neither Arrogant nor Boastful – the Great General Xu Da
 
Xu Da, courtesy name Xu Tiande (1332 – 1385 AD), was a man from Haozhou in the Ming Dynasty (1368 –  1644 AD). He was a determined and courageous man right from his youth. Xu Da was one of the founders of the Ming Dynasty and the general-in-command with a splendid military record. He was knighted as a duke and became the prime minister.
 
Xu Da led his troops all over China to end rebellions and invasions. He departed for battle every spring and did not return until late winter. Each time Xu Da returned to the royal court, he handed the seal that represented the power over the army back to Emperor Hongwu, Zhu Yuanzhang (1328 – 1398 AD), the first emperor of the Ming Dynasty. Emperor Hongwu then welcomed him with a banquet and then sent him on vacation. The emperor even addressed Xu Da as his "royal brother from a civilian household." As a highly decorated general well trusted by the emperor, Xu Da was extremely modest. He never once showed off. Instead, he became all the more modest. In fact, Xu Da was highly praised for his virtue and modesty.
 
Emperor Hongwu once said, "Brother Xu has made a lot of contributions, but he has never had a decent home. I will give him my house from when I was still a duke." But Xu Da firmly declined the emperor's offer. Emperor Hongwu was very pleased to see that Xu Da was so modest. The emperor had a new house built across from Xu Da's old home and wrote the characters "Great Accomplishments" on the board above the front gate of the new house.
 
In Xu Da's army, his military orders were never disobeyed. He thought about details. He would share good times and adversity with his army and won his generals' and soldiers' respect. When Xu Da won a great battle, he would not slay the men who surrendered. He was not greedy or violent. He strictly forbade his army to assault captured court ladies, princesses, or concubines. He also forbade his army from harming or harassing civilians. Hence, Xu Da was highly respected by the people. When Xu Da returned to the royal court, he would never show off or parade his status. Instead of having a driver, he often drove his horse and carriage by himself to get around. He had a very simple and humble lifestyle and was very amiable. Xu Da was especially polite and encouraging to Confucian scholars and got along well with them.
 
Emperor Hongwu once praised him, "After Xu Da returns from triumphant battles, he does not show off or act proudly. He does not covet wealth and beautiful women. He is a righteous and virtuous man, as bright and clear as the sun and the moon. There is no one else like Xu Da, the Great General."
 
It is sad that many people in Chinese history became arrogant and boastful after accomplishing great things. As a result, the emperor either banished or killed them. It is precious to find such an accomplished yet modest general like Xu Da. That must have been the reason why the emperor and the people had such a high regard for Xu Da. After Xu Da passed away, Emperor Hongwu stopped the royal court briefings and deserted the royal court in order to go to his funeral. The Emperor was overcome with grief and gave Xu Da the postmortem title of Duke of Zhongshan, a title he allowed to be passed down to three generations. Emperor Hongwu even personally wrote the epitaph on Xu Da's tombstone. In addition, the emperor had Xu Da's portrait painted on a temple honoring the generals that had participated in the founding of the Ming Dynasty, and Xu Da’s portrait was placed in the first position.
 
不骄不夸
 
徐达,字天德,明朝濠州人,自幼便刚强坚毅,威武勇猛,是明朝的开国功臣,战功显赫,封爵国公,位至丞相。
 
徐达四处征战,平定四海,每年春季出征,冬末召还。徐达回来后就上交将印,皇帝朱元璋便赐予他假期,设宴款待他,称呼其为布衣兄弟。徐达如此受恩宠,功勋盖世,但他却丝毫不因此而骄淫放纵,反而越来越恭敬谦逊,不得不佩服他的德行修养。
 
皇帝有一次平和的说:「徐兄功劳很大,从来没有安居过,可以把旧邸赐给他。」旧邸是朱元璋做吴王时居住过的地方,徐达坚决推辞。皇帝见他如此谦逊,十分高兴,便让人在旧邸前面为他建造了府第,在府第牌坊上写上「大功」二字。
 
徐达在军中号令如山,思考缜密,能够与兵士们同甘共苦,诸将都十分敬奉他。在战争中即使大获全胜,他也不枉杀无辜,不贪不暴,并严格禁止士兵侵犯施暴于俘虏的宫女、嫔妃、公主等,不准军队伤害和骚扰百姓,百姓们对其也分外敬重。回到朝廷后,他一点都不张扬和讲排场,经常自己乘着一辆车往来,在家过著俭朴的生活,平易近人,尤其礼遇儒生,与他们和睦融洽。
 
皇帝曾经称赞徐达说:「受命出征,成功凯旋,不骄不夸,不爱女色,不贪财富,正直无瑕,如同日月一样皎洁明亮,只有大将军一个人罢了。
 
可悲的是,从古至今,多少人因为贪天之功,居功自傲,骄淫放纵,轻则被贬官流放,重则给自己招来杀身之祸,不得善终。像徐达这样不恃功骄淫自夸,恭敬谦逊的真是难能可贵,因此上至皇帝下至平民百姓都十分敬重他。去世后,皇帝停止上朝,亲临丧礼悲痛不已,追封其为中山王,亲笔为他书写墓道碑文,在太庙陪祭和功臣庙绘画肖像,均位列第一,并赠赐他家三代都为王爵。
    来源: 看中国 责编: Kitt

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