Dying for a Just Cause and Accruing Virtue with Good Deeds
(Clearwisdom.net) Liu Yi, also known as Liu Zixiang, lived in Yingyin during the East Han Dynasty. He was a person of justice and integrity. His family was well off for generations, and he often provided relief to other people, but sought nothing in return.
Once when Mr. Liu was traveling in Runan, he came across a person named Zhang Jili who was hurrying on his way to a funeral a great distance away. When he unexpectedly encountered icy conditions, his wagon broke down, and he was stuck. When Mr. Liu saw this, he immediately got out of his wagon and gave it to Zhang. He himself took off on horseback, without leaving his name. Zhang figured he must be the renowned and benevolent Liu Yi . After the funeral, Zhang made a special trip to pay Mr. Liu a visit in Yingyin to return the wagon. When Liu learned that Zhang was coming, he closed the door and left a message that he was out, so as to avoid meeting Zhang.
Mr. Liu held fast to his own ideals and was not willing to submit to the royal government's appointments. Later, he accepted an appointment by Chong Fu, the prefect of the Ying District, as a merit officer. Because he helped Chong Fu on a critical matter, Chong Fu wanted to recommend him to the imperial court as an official. But the upright Liu Yi refused, feeling it shameful to use such matters as a springboard to a higher rank.
When there was a famine because of the war, Mr. Liu expended much effort to provide relief to those in need and without grain. Several hundred people survived because of him. In short, so long as people nearby needed help, he would go all out to provide relief.
When Emperor Hanxian relocated the capitol west, Mr. Liu was recommended to be the finance officer. Because of Mr. Liu's meritorious service, the emperor issued a special imperial order to appoint him as court attendant, and he was transferred to Chenliu to the post of prefect. Mr. Liu gave away all his treasure and jewels and only had his wagons when he went to Chenliu to take up the post.
On the way, several hundred miles past Hangu Pass, Liu Yi discovered that an official had died of illness by the roadside. Mr. Liu thereupon traded his horse for a coffin and took off his own clothes to wrap the corpse and place it in the coffin.
As he continued on his journey, he met a person he had known in the past, destitute and hungry. Mr. Liu could not bear to leave the person like that, so he gave orders that the oxen that pulled the wagon be killed to provide food for him. Everybody urged him not to do it, but Mr. Liu said, "If a man sees somebody in dire straits and does nothing, he is hardly a gentleman with aspirations." Later, Mr. Liu, together with those people, died of hunger.
Helping people in difficulty, selflessly and with everything, including one's own life, is probably what our Divine Culture referred to as "Dying for a just cause."
Mr. Liu did good deeds, but he did not brag about it or use it for fame or to achieve high rank. What he did, however, was in plain sight of Heaven above. Mr. Liu would have accrued much virtue for himself and thus laid a good foundation for his future life. Sooner or later, Heaven would reward him handsomely.
April 27, 2007