The Value in Being Broad-Minded
2017-06-24

The Chinese people have long valued the virtues of compassion and forgiveness, and stories passed down in history bear that out.
Pardoning Those that Could Be Pardoned
During the Spring and Autumn Period (770-476 BC), the King of Liang couldn't decide how to handle a case. He and his officials were split between punishing the accused or setting them free.
The king called in Fan Li, a man renowned for his wisdom, for his advice.
“I am just an ordinary person,” Fan said. “I don't know how to adjudicate a case.”
“But I do have two pieces of jade at home. Both of them are white, of the same color, same weight, and same height. However, one is worth a thousand gold pieces and the other only 500 gold pieces.”
“Why?” asked the kind.
“Because one was broader, and twice of the width of the other.”
The king understood Fan's message, and let the accused go free.
From then on, the King of Liang would pardon people whenever it was reasonable and reward his subjects when they deserved it. As a result, his people were very happy.
Burning the Letters of Defectors
Cao Cao fought against Yuan Shao in a major war during the late Han Dynasty. Yuan Shao had many more troops, but Cao Cao managed to defeat him.
Cao's soldiers found some letters from Cao's officers and advisers that said they were intending to defect to Yuan.
Cao Cao ordered the soldiers to burn all the letters without opening them.
His guards didn't understand.
“Why don't you check the letters and kill all the defectors?” they asked.
“During the war, Yuan Shao was so formidable that even I didn't know if I could win. How would you expect anyone sane to be completely loyal to me?”
People were moved. Eventually, several cities under Yuan Shao's control surrendered to Cao Cao.
Returning Good For Bad
Song Jiu was a County Magistrate of the Liang Kingdom during the Spring and Autumn Period. His county was next to the Kingdom of Chu.
Both kingdoms stationed soldiers on the border.
Soldiers of both sides planted melons. However, the Liang soldiers' melons grew well because the soldiers watered them every day. The Chu soldiers' melons grew poorly since they were not watered.
The Chu County Executive scolded his soldiers for not growing their melons as well as the Liang soldiers did.
In response, the Chu soldiers would often go to Liang's military camp at night to destroy their melons.
The Liang soldiers found out what had happened, and asked Song Jiu to allow them to go to Chu's camp for revenge.
“That is not a good solution,” replied Song,.“Building up hatred only creates trouble for yourselves. You can't do bad things just because other people do bad things.”
He continued, “Let me give you a good solution. From now on, send someone to the Chu camp every night to water their melons. But don't let them know.”
The Liang soldiers did as they were told, and soon enough, the Chu soldiers saw that their melons grew better. Eventually, the found out that it was because the Liang soldiers would water them each night,
The Chu County Magistrate reported this incident to the King of Chu, who was greatly embarrassed.
He sent a pile of gifts to Song Jiu as an apology and signed a friendship treaty with the King of Liang.
Laozi said, “Return a bad deed with a good one.” A Chinese saying tells us to “turn loss into victory” and “obtain profit from misfortune.”
It is a bit of wisdom that still applies today.


厚道待人 才能长久
春秋战国时期,梁国有件难以判断的疑案,狱吏们一半人认为应当治罪;另一半人认为应当赦免。梁王也犹豫未决,因为听说陶地的朱公有奇智,就召来朱公问他:“您觉的应该怎样判这个案子呢?”
朱公说:“微臣我是鄙陋无知的平民,不知怎样断案。虽是这样,我家里有两块白色的玉璧,颜色相同,直径相同,光泽相同。然而,一块价值千金,一块价值五百金。”
梁王问:“直径、色泽毫无差别,一块值千金,一块值五百金,为什么? ”
朱公说:“从侧面看,一块比另一块厚一倍,所以价值千金。”
梁王恍然大悟,说:“对啊。”于是,厚待百姓,对可判罪可不判罪的案子就不判罪,对可赏可不赏的人则给予赏赐。从此,梁国上下,都大为高兴。
参考资料:《新序 杂事四》汉 刘向


宽待他人 敌人投降
正史《三国志》记载:五年,曹操在官渡之战打败了袁绍。袁绍抛弃了军队,渡河逃走。曹操接收了袁绍遗弃的图书、珍宝、马车等战利品,从中发现了一些书信,是曹操在许下和军中的属下与袁绍暗中通信的书信。

曹操下令把这些书信都烧掉了。
曹操的随从问:“您为什么不按照信件,逐一点清、核对姓名,收拾、处死这些吃里扒外的人呢?”
曹操说:“当时袁绍太强大,我犹且不能自保,何况众人呢。”
人们听说了连这样的事,曹操都容的下,都不追究,感动了。冀州各郡多有整个城的人都向曹操投降的。
人们只知道“身在曹营、心在汉”是赞美徐庶的。然而,从另一个角度想想,能容得下“身在曹营、心在汉”的执政者,恐怕也只有曹操等少数人吧。


以德报怨 感化邻国
梁国有个叫宋就的人,曾做过边境的县令。这个县和楚国相邻界。梁国的边境的兵营和楚国的边境的兵营都种瓜,种瓜的方法却不同。梁国士兵勤劳,经常浇灌他们的瓜田,所以瓜长的好;楚国士兵懒惰,很少浇灌他们的瓜田,所以瓜长得差。
楚国县令因为梁国的瓜好,愤怒地责备楚国士兵把瓜种的那么差。楚国士兵心里厌恶梁国士兵瓜种的比自己好,就在夜里偷偷去翻动梁国的瓜,所以梁国的瓜总有枯死的。
梁国士兵发觉了这件事,于是请求县尉,也想偷偷翻动楚营的瓜来报复。县尉拿这件事向宋就请示。
宋就说:“不好。这怎么行呢?结下怨仇,是招祸呀。人家使坏,你也跟著使坏,怎么心胸狭小得这样厉害。要是让我教给你办法,一定要每晚都派人过去,偷偷地为楚国兵营在夜里好好地浇灌他们的瓜田,不要让他们知道。”
于是,梁国士兵就在每天夜里,偷偷地去浇灌楚国兵营的瓜田。楚国士兵早晨去瓜田巡视,发现都已经浇过水了,瓜一天比一天长得好了。楚国士兵感到奇怪,就注意察看,才知道是梁国士兵浇的。楚国县令听说了此事,很高兴,于是详细地报告给楚王。楚王听了,因羞惭而脸红,告诉主管官吏说:“调查那些到人家瓜田里捣乱的人,莫非还有其他罪过吗?这是梁国人在暗中责备我们呀。”于是拿出丰厚的礼物,向宋就表示歉意,并请求与梁王结交。
楚王时常称赞梁王,认为梁王守信用。所以说,梁楚两国的交好,是从宋就开始的。古语说:“转败为胜,因祸得福。”老子认为应该:报怨以德。就是说的这类事情呀。别人做了不善的事,哪里值得效仿呢。
参考资料:《新序 杂事四》汉 刘向
    来源: 看中国 责编: Kitt

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