(Traditional Chinese Culture) Wang Shouren Knew Right from Wrong
(Clearwisdom.net) Wang Shouren was a prominent Neo-Confucianist and educator during the Ming Dynasty. One time, a father and a son sued each other, and asked Wang Shouren to judge their case. Wang Shouren merely had a few words with them, and the father and the son hugged each other and wept. Then they went home. Someone asked Wang Shouren: "What did you say to them that prompted them to repent so quickly?"
Wang Shouren said: "I told them that Shun was the most unfilial and disrespectful son, and Gusou was the most gentle and loving father."
We all know that this was far from the truth. Emperor Shun was regarded as the founder of the moral culture of the Chinese race. He was extremely filial. By the time he was twenty years old, his filial piety was known everywhere. Shuns father was Gusou, and his mother died young. His stepmother was cunning, cruel, and malicious. Her son, Xiang, was haughty, domineering, and unfilial. The stepmother often made slanderous remarks about Shun in front of Gusou. The three of them schemed and tried everything possible to kill Shun. One time they asked Shun to repair the silo, then they set the silo on fire. Another time they asked Shun to dig a well, and they dumped rocks and dirt into the well while he was digging. Shun seemed to be protected by the gods, and he was miraculously spared from the disasters. Although the three treated Shun with hatred and resentment, Shun repaid them with kindness. He did it diligently and without complaint. He was always obedient and respectful of his parents, and he treated Xiang with brotherly love and compassion.
So why did Wang Shouren put it that way? He explained: "Shun always thought himself not filial enough, therefore he was capable of being filial. Gusou often considered himself the most loving father, therefore he was not capable of loving. Gusou constantly thought: I raised Shun since he was little, why didn't he do things to please me? Because Gusou did not know that he was deceived by his second wife, he considered himself very loving, therefore he could not love more. On the other hand, Shun thought: My father loved me so much when I was little, now he does not love me anymore. It must be me who was not filial enough. So he was constantly trying to improve himself, therefore he was even more filial. Finally, Gusou came to his senses and repented. Shun became the most filial son of all time, and Gusou also became a very loving father."
In fact, we should use the same rationality to treat others. Unlike Shun, we often find faults in others when we encounter conflicts. If we can look within and find our mistakes and improve ourselves, then we can resolve the conflicts no matter how big they are.