Traditional Chinese Culture: Marquis Wen of the Wei State, a Man of His Word
(Clearwisdom.net) Marquis Wen (44 -396 B.C.) was the first leader of the state of Wei in the Warring States Period in China. Because he treated others with honesty and conviction, he was esteemed by people from all walks of life. The state of Wei prospered quickly under his administration. [Note: He was one of the first leaders to implement professional training for his soldiers with the use of bells, drums, and gongs to control their maneuvers.]
He once made an appointment with the state's gamekeeper to go hunting and then train his own soldiers on the afternoon of the same day.
On the day in question, Marquis Wen attended a banquet after he retired from the morning meeting at the royal court. He had planned to go hunting and train his soldiers after the banquet. However, it started to rain started just as the banquet was about to end. The shower continued at noontime and then it began to pour. Marquis Wen got up from his seat and announced to his court officials, "Excuse me, but I must leave. Bring my horse and carriage out at once. I must go to the suburbs and go hunting and train my soldiers. The gamekeeper is expecting me." The court officials did not want to see the marquis go out in the middle of shower, so they approached him and tried to talk him out of it. One said, "Look. It is pouring. How can you go out in this weather?" Another said, "Even if you go, you won't be able to hunt or train your soldiers in this weather!" Marquis Wen looked up at the sky and said, "True. I won't be able to hunt or train the soldiers in the rain, but I must inform the gamekeeper!" A court official volunteered to go. He said, "Very well, I shall go inform him right away." Marquis Wen raised his arm and said, "Wait. I must tell him in person." The official looked confused. Then Marquis Wen added, "I promised the gamekeeper in person yesterday. Now that I am breaking my promise, I must go and apologize to him in person." Then he strode out into the rain and went see the gamekeeper.
Wei was a powerful state during the Warring States Period because of Marquis Wen's capable rule. More importantly, it was his noble character that won everyone's respect and esteem. The true measure of a person's heart is his virtues such as honesty and sincere conviction.
A person should not be judged by one or two heroic acts, but by his daily conduct.