(Clearwisdom.net) Mr. Xiao Deyan (558-645 A.D.) was a resident of Chang’an Town, Yongzhou Province (1) in the Tang Dynasty (618-907). He read widely scriptures and history books, and was proficient in Zuo’s Spring and Autumn Annals (2). He was appointed Yinqing Guanglu Dafu (3) when Tang Gaozu (566-635, first Emperor in the Tang Dynasty) reigned. When Tang Taizong (January 23, 599-July 10, 649, second Emperor in the Tang Dynasty) reigned, he was appointed in the Zhenguan years (name of Taizong years) as Literature Official as well as the Hongwen Institute’s Scholar.

When Mr. Xiao Deyan was Scholar at the Hongwen Institute he always took baths, kept his body and mind clean, wore clean clothes, and sat upright seriously and respectfully each time he began to read scriptures or to teach a class. Once, his wife said to him, "At such an old age, why do you have to make things so hard for yourself?" Mr. Xiao Deyan replied, "Scriptures are teachings passed down from our ancestor saints. How could I be afraid of being laborious?"

Later, the Emperor recognized Mr. Xiao Deyan’s virtues of being respectful, careful and serious. He issued an order for Mr. Xiao Deyan to teach Prince Jin, and appointed him Marquis of Wuyang County. He was wealthy and glorious all his life. He lived a peaceful life when he became old, and passed away at the age of ninety-seven.

(1) Yongzhou: Ancient China was divided by Yu, an emperor of Xia Dynasty, into nine areas, one of them being Yongzhou.

(2) Zuo’s Spring’and Autumn Annals: The Spring and Autumn Annals is the official chronicle of the Country of Lu covering the period from 722 B.C. to 481 B.C.. Due to the conciseness of its text, its meaning can only be understood with the aid of ancient commentaries, especially Zuo’s commentary.

(3) Yinqing Guanglu Dafu: the name of a high civil position in ancient China.