Four Stories About Tolerance and Forgiveness
Marquis Wen of Wei Abides by His Pact
In 403 BC, Han (one of the Seven Warring States) asked the rulers of Wei to dispatch troops to assist it in attacking the state of Zhao. Marquis Wen of Wei declined the request and said: "Because Wei and Zhao are brotherly states, we have signed a pact of mutual nonaggression. Thus, I dare not comply with your request." Upon hearing this the Han messenger left in anger.
When those in Zhao heard what happened, its ruler asked Wei to provide troops to help attack the Han. Marquis Wen of Wei used the same reasoning to reject Zhao's request. The Zhao messenger left in anger, as well.
Afterwards, both Han and Zhao thought about Marquis Wen's friendly and tolerant attitude and how amicable he was towards both of their states. They admired him greatly and showed respect to the state of Wei. In this way, Wei became the leader of the three states: Wei, Zhao, and Han. As a result of this alliance, the other states did not contend with Wei. [From Zizhi Tongjian, which narrates the history of China from the Warring States period in 403 BC to the beginning of the Song Dynasty in 959 AD]
Tang Suei Advises Xin Lingjun
Xin Lingjun defeated the Qin army and saved Handan, the capital of Zhao. Afterwards, the Lord of Zhao planned to go well beyond the capital's borders to welcome him to the city. Before the meeting was to take place, Tang Suei advised Xin Lingjun on how to conduct himself by quoting a proverb: "There are things one should not know and things one must know. There are matters one should not forget and matters one must forget."
Xin Lingjun asked: "What do you mean?"
Tang Suei replied: "When someone hates me, this is something I must know. If I owe someone, then I must try to repay him. If someone misunderstands me, then I should kindly clarify myself. I should not harbor hatred toward others, and I must be forgiving in order to dissolve that in my heart. But in the process of dissolving it, I must avoid bringing frustration and anxiety to others. When someone is kind to me, that is something I must not forget, and I must be grateful and repay my debt. When I have done kind deeds to others, this is something I should forget. Otherwise I may put great pressure on others and myself. Now that you have defeated the Qin, defended Handan, and preserved the state of Zhao, you have contributed greatly! The Lord of Zhao is personally going to greet you. When you see him, I hope that you will be able to forget the kindness you have given him."
Xin Lingjun said sincerely: "I will follow your teachings!" (From Zhan Guo Ce - "Strategies of the Warring States")
If One Cannot Be a Fool and Feign Deafness, One Cannot Be the Head of a Household
After Guo Ziyi subdued the An Shi Rebellion, he accomplished the great achievement of reviving the Tang Dynasty. Consequently, Emperor Tang Daizong was very respectful of Guo Ziyi and agreed to the marriage of his daughter, Shengping, to Guo Ziyi's son, Guo Ai.
One time, the young couple had an argument. When Guo Ai noticed his wife was acting temperamental, he said angrily: "What makes you so special? You are relying on your father being the Emperor. Let me tell you, your father's land was saved when my father defeated An Lushan. My father could care less about the Emperor's throne, and that's the only reason he is not the Emperor himself!"
Upon hearing Guo Ai's wild statements, Princess Shengping angrily went to the palace and reported her husband's behavior to the Emperor.
After listening to his daughter, Emperor Tang Daizong replied calmly: "You're just a child, and there are still many things you do not understand. What your husband said is true. Our nation's land was protected by your father-in-law, Guo Ziyi. If he wanted to be the Emperor, he would already be one, and the land would not belong to us, the Li family." He urged his daughter not to accuse her husband of "plotting a rebellion" based on what he had just said in a moment of anger and to live harmoniously with him. The princess calmed down after hearing Tang Daizong's advice and returned home.
Guo Ziyi was quite worried after he learned about the incident. When he heard that his son had made such wild statements that bordered on treason, he immediately ordered his subordinates to tie up his son. He took his son to the palace and asked the Emperor to punish Guo Ai appropriately.
Tang Daizong, however, was very gracious. He comforted Guo Ziyi and said: "The young couple had a quarrel and exchanged some harsh words. We old folks should not take this seriously. Isn't there a proverb that says 'If one cannot be a fool and feign deafness, one cannot become the head of a household?' Just pretend you did not hear about the incident."
Upon hearing these words, Guo Ziyi no longer felt anxious and was very grateful to the Emperor. (From ZiZhi Tongjian)
Strengths and Weaknesses
During the era of Eastern Wei and Northern Qi (1), Cui Luo treated the Deputy Prime Minister with the utmost respect. Cui, in turn, was highly regarded and treated courteously by Emperor Shizong.
Cui Luo liked to recommend people of talent to Emperor Shizong. He recommended Xing Shao as a person who would make a good advisor to the Prime Minister and who could manage highly confidential government affairs. Because of Cui Luo's recommendation, Emperor Shizong hired Xing Shao. Emperor Shizong came to trust Xing Shao and had the highest regard for him. Because Xing Shao concurrently managed many confidential government affairs,he had many opportunities to speak to Emperor Shizong. During these conversations, Xing Shao often criticized Cui Luo, which made Emperor Shizong very upset.
Emperor Shizong said to Cui Luo: "You always talk about Xing Shao's strengths, but Xing Shao always speaks about your weaknesses. You are such a fool!"
Cui Luo replied nobly: "Xing Shao speaks ill of me, and I speak well of him. We both are speaking the truth. There is nothing wrong with that!"
Cui Luo treated others with leniency, but was strict with himself. He not only recognized the capabilities of others and tolerated their shortcomings, but also faced his own flaws with honesty. What a noble attitude! (From Book on Northern Qi)
There is an ancient proverb: "Tolerance enables one to be magnanimous, and the lack of desires makes one stronger." Tolerance is an extraordinary trait. It means having a magnanimous heart and a state of being filled with compassion and selflessness. It is a traditional virtue of the Chinese culture, a noble quality passed down from the gods to mankind. Nowadays, however, the Chinese Communist Party is going against the tide of history, undermining traditional culture and moral values, and slandering the universal principles of "Truthfulness, Compassion, and Tolerance." It's time for everyone to decide which values are the most important to them and take a stand in this struggle between good and evil.
Note: (1) The Northern Qi Dynasty was one of the Northern dynasties of Chinese history and ruled northern China from 550-577 AD. It was the successor state of Eastern Wei.