Abide by Tao, Promote Kindness, Use Virtue to Administer the Country (Part 1 of 2)

Abide by Tao, Promote Kindness, Use Virtue to Administer the Country (Part 1 of 2)
The ancient Chinese believed that "Tao" generated everything and endowed everything with virtue. They respected Tao, valued virtue, and promoted abiding by the heavenly law with virtue and running the country with virtue. In Chinese history, there were several famous eras where the virtuous rules of the imperial government brought peace to the world. Emperors Wen (202 – 157 BC) and Jing (188 – 141 BC) were two such emperors during the Han Dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD). Their administrations promoted kindness, and they governed the country with virtue. The government was orderly and upright. The society was prosperous, and its citizens lived happy and peaceful lives.
Administrating with fair policies that comfort and nurture the country's citizens
At the beginning of the Han Dynasty, due to years of turmoil and war at the end of the Qin Dynasty (221 – 206 BC), the economy was impoverished throughout the land. According to historical archives, "The farmers were not able to farm, and starvation was widespread." When Emperor Wen took the throne, he sent out many imperial edicts promoting farming and reducing by half, or even eliminating, taxes on farmers. He imposed policies to eliminate unfair punishment of third parties who were involved or implicated in criminal cases and pacified surrounding minorities by aiding and comforting them.
Emperor Jing inherited the policies of his father, Emperor Wen, to allow citizens to prosper and recuperate. He also sent out an imperial edict, stating, "Farming is the important fundament for all else. Gold, silver, jade and jewelry cannot be eaten to appease hunger and cannot be worn for warmth. They cannot compare with grains, corn, silk, and linen." Emperor Jing also established schools on a large scale and taught etiquette, while instilling virtue and morality. The citizens were simple, honest, and advocated virtue.
Initiating a policy of thrift
Emperor Wen was famous for thriftiness and self-restraint. He proposed, "The imperial government needs to govern the country and abide by the heavenly law, treat the citizens as they would their own, practice careful saving, and forbid squandering, while making certain not to disturb or harm the citizens.” During the twenty-three years he was in power, there were no additions to his palace, garden, clothes, or other personal property. In order to lessen the taxes, he decreased his expenditures by downsizing the imperial bodyguards and moderating the country's financial expenditures. It was recorded in the Chapter on Discipline in Shiji (Records of the Grand Historian) that Emperor Wen said, "The citizens lived peacefully without invasion from outside or excessive taxation from within. They were able to farm and live prosperous lives. The price of rice dropped to historic lows. Signs of prosperity such as the sounds of chickens and dogs, and smoke from cooking meals, could be seen for thousands of miles. "

Emperor Jing sent out an imperial edict forbidding local officials from dedicating brocade and luxury items. He also forbade local officials from purchasing gold, silver, jade, or jewels. Anyone who did would be charged with theft. This way, the aristocrats and officials did not dare to engage in extortion or indulge in luxury. A citizen's income was thus protected, and the burden was thereby lessened. The drifters settled down, and the population grew. In turn, the nation’s power increased.

崇善尊道 修身治平 ()
    来源: 看中国 责编: Kitt

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