An Honest and Incorruptible Official: Wang Pu
(Clearwisdom.net) What does "honest and incorruptible" mean? It means to not be greedy, not desire undeserved compensation, and to keep a clean conscience. Being greedy for undeserved compensation is a violation of human morality. One not only generates karma and reduces virtue for himself, but is also looked down upon by other people and gods.
Wang Pu was a person from Guilin, Guangxi Province, in the Ming Dynasty. During the reign of Emperor Hongwu (1369 - 1398 AD), he was the political advisor for Guangdong Province. He was praised for being honest and incorruptible.
Wang Pu's brother once came to visit him. The brother rode on the same boat with one of Wang's subordinates. The subordinate gave a cotton robe to Wang's brother. When Wang heard this, he asked his brother to return the robe. He said, "Although a piece of clothing is not significant, we must still be cautious, since it is still an act of moral degeneration and self-induced shame."
Wang was virtuous as a government official. Although he was in office for many years, he did not have extra clothes in his trunks at home, or more than one kind of food in his kitchen.
Later someone spread lies about Wang and he was arrested. One of his subordinates gave him money and gifts while he was imprisoned, yet he rejected them all. He said, "How could I change my values simply because of unfortunate circumstances?"
The issue was soon cleared and Wang was allowed to retire in peace in his hometown.
Wang Pu had strict requirements for himself and refused to trade his conscience for personal gain. He set an example of honest and incorruptible virtue for all future generations.