Respect and Honor Thy Teacher
(Clearwisdom.net) Liu Zhuang (28 - 75 A.D.) was the fourth son of the Eastern Han Dynasty Emperor Guangwu Liu Xiu (6 B.C. - 57 A.D.), Guangwu was the first emperor of the Eastern Han dynasty and his reign lasted for 33 years. Emperor Guangwu respectfully asked the scholar Huan Rong to be his son Liu Zhang's teacher when he became crown prince.
Later Liu Zhuang was enthroned as Emperor Mingdi. Even as an emperor, he still treated his teacher, Huan Rong, with respect and honor. At 80, Huan Rong felt he was too old and sought to resign from his official duty, but Emperor Mingdi did not grant the request and instead bestowed more rewards upon him.
Whenever Emperor Mingdi went to Taichang Court (an official religious ceremonial court for the emperor, government officials and chosen scholars,) he always asked Huan Rong to sit on the west in order to face east, as that was the revered position at the time, and listened to his teaching just like before.
Emperor Mingdi also assembled government and military officials and a few hundred of Huan Rong's past students in Taichang Court and personally offered books to Huan Rong for his teaching. He always called Huan Rong "Master." After the teaching was complete, he would order to leave the ceremonial offerings and appliances (in those days, the appliances were made from precious metals such as gold, silver...) for Hong Rong's household.
During the second year of Yongping (Yongping was the reign title for Emperor Mingdi), in order to take care of the elderly Huan Rong, Emperor Mingdi paid his religious homage in the very early hours. After the ceremonial service, he would ask Huan Rong and his students to come to the court and he would hold books, as if asking for teaching, while he answered his own questions.
Emperor Mingdi would send an envoy to express his regards whenever Huan Rong felt ill therefore high officials and imperial physicians were a common sight on the road to Huan Rong's house. The emperor personally visited and inquired about Huan Rong's daily life situation when Huan Rong became very ill. When he visited Huan Rong, Mingdi would get off the chariot and walk on the street to Huan Rong's house, consequently the other top officials had to do the same. After he entered the house, Mingdi would hold books to Huan Rong's bed, with tears he would comfort the elderly Huan Rong. He would stay for a long period of time and give gifts of bedding and clothing to Huan Rong.
After Huan Rong passed away, Mingdi dressed in mourning clothing to attend the service and took part in the funeral procession. He gifted the southern side of the First Hill (a mountain in Liaoning Province) as Huan Rong's burial ground. He was also very kind to Huan Rong's family and descendants.
Respect and honor for teachers is a virtue in traditional Chinese culture. Our parents gave birth to us and raised us, but without teachers we would be ignorant and wouldn't know how to behave. Through learning from teachers we obtain "ability" and "virtue." Teachers teach us how to conduct ourselves properly as individuals in society, and how to live and pursue life. We are graced by their teachings about the Dao - what is right and what is wrong. We learn about a profession - a trade to make a living, how to resolve doubts and how to resolve issues by thinking them through.
A teacher's grace is as profound as that of our parents. Therefore, since ancient times there are many respectful sayings about teachers like "gracious teacher", "master", "the relationship between a teacher and a student is like father and son", "you must treat a teacher who teaches you virtue and a profession like you treat your father." They all convey the same idea.