Earning Respect Through Tolerance
(Clearwisdom.net) With generosity and magnanimity, a tolerant and self-restrained person will gain the respect and affection of others. A petty person will keep others at a distance.
Once, there was a man named Huang Xian, (or Shudu) living in Runan County, Shenyang District during the Eastern Han Dynasty. His family was not well off and his father made a living as a veterinarian. Even though Huang Xian was a poor and lowly person, he gained the respect of top officials, famous intellectuals, and others due to his knowledge, superior moral character, and especially because of his extraordinary tolerance.
Huang Xian had a good friend, Yuan Liang, who was also very virtuous. At one point, Guo Linzong, a famous literary scholar at the imperial college, came to visit Runan. He first visited Yuan Liang but left his home soon. Then he visited Huang Xian's home and stayed for several days. When Guo Linzong was asked the reason, he said, "Yuan Liang's tolerance is like a clear spring, but Huang Xian's tolerance is like a giant lake, too big to muddy even when it is disturbed. It is immeasurable."
Xun Shu, another famous literary scholar, came to Runan from Yingchuan to meet with Huang Xian. Xun Shu commented that Huang Xian should be his teacher. When Xun Shu arrived at his friend Yuan Liang's home, he asked Yuan Liang, "Do you know there is Yan Zi (a scholar renowned for his integrity) in your area?" Yuan Liang replied, "You must have met Huan Xian, right?" From this conversation, we can see that Huang Xian's moral character had a big influence in his hometown.
Chen Fan, who also lived in Runan, once said to his colleague Zhou Ju : "I have not seen Huang Xian for a while and my mean and greedy thoughts are coming out again." Later Chen Fan became a top official in the royal government. When he went to the imperial court, he sighed: "If Huang Xian were here, how could it be my turn to wear the silk ribbon attached to the official seal." But Huang Xian did not seek fame and wealth. His ambition was not to be a top official. Although he was asked to become an official, he rejected every offer.