Knowing When to Forge Ahead and When to Retreat, Taking Fame and Wealth Lightly
(Clearwisdom.net) During the war between the Kingdoms of Wu and Yue, Fan Li gained recognition and was appointed to a key position by the King of Yue, Guo Jian, who was once imprisoned in Huiji by the King of Wu. Fan Li always followed the way of heaven when he did anything. He advised the King of Yue for over 20 years and tried his best to help the king to manage the country. Finally, Yue defeated Wu and avenged the humiliation of the imprisonment of Guo Jian. Guo Jian called himself the Conqueror. Fan Li's contribution to the victory was enormous and hence his career was advanced rapidly. When he understood that the King of Yue could not stand to share in the success with him, however, Fan Li gave up his position and went to the Kingdom of Qi by boat.
In the Kingdom of Qi, Fan Li changed his name and worked hard with his sons near the sea. In a few years, his family had accumulated a large fortune. The people of Qi respected his character and ability, and wanted to make him the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Qi. Fan Li exclaimed, "As a common person, I accumulated great wealth and stayed at home. As an officer, I attained the position of a prime minister. This is the most an everyday person can attain. However, enjoying such fame and gain for too long is not a good sign." After distributing his wealth, Fan Li left the Kingdom of Qi quietly.
Fan Li came to Taodi, which was a center of trading and transportation. He settled down there, and soon, he again amassed a large amount of wealth. He was called the "Gentleman of Taozhu".
Fan Li conducted himself according to the way of heaven and he understood when to forge ahead and when to retreat. He took fame, wealth, and power lightly, and he emphasized accumulating virtue and doing good deeds. Many times, he distributed all of his wealth to help the poor, which not only helped others but also upheld his integrity. Sima Qian, a famous historian in ancient China, praised him as a "rich gentleman who loves to do good deeds."
In fact, whether one becomes rich depends not solely on personal effort. Teacher Li Hongzhi of Falun Dafa told us to be "wealthy with virtue". Actually, only when one has virtue can one keep one's fortune. The emphasis of ancient people on knowing the way of heaven and one's destiny and doing good things to accumulate virtue is absolutely right.