(Clearwisdom.net) Emperor Taizong, Li Shimin, in the Tang Dynasty, loved bows and arrows from the time he was young. He collected over ten high quality bows and thought that there were none better than the ones in his collection. He later took his bows to an expert. After a careful study, the bow expert said, "These bows are not made of very high quality material."

Totally surprised, Emperor Taizong asked, "How can you tell?"

The bow expert replied, "I can see from the pattern of the grain that the wood in the middle section of the bow is not straight. Although the bows are strong and powerful, the arrows shot from these bows will not go in a straight line."

As he reflected upon this incident, he had many mixed feelings. He told Xiao Yu, his son's teacher, "I conquered the whole country with bows and arrows. After so many years, if I cannot even understand the function and mechanism of the bow and arrow, then how can I fully understand how to rule a country?"

Emperor Taizong then ordered all officers higher than the fifth rank to take turns staying in the Imperial Court. He often met with them and asked about the plight of the common people and the pros and cons of his policies. In this way, he laid the foundation for the prosperity of the Zhengguan Period.

(From Zizhitongdian, an authoritative Chinese history book)