Sincerity and Virtue Move People and Heaven Alike
(Clearwisdom.net) Yuan Dexiu of the Tang Dynasty was from Henan County, Henan Province. He was a man of sincerity, filial piety and kindness. He was also an incorruptible and thrifty official of high virtue.
Yuan Dexiu's older brother and sister-in-law both died shortly after their child was born. Yuan Dexiu was poor at the time, and he could not afford to hire a wet nurse. So he decided to nurse the baby himself. Perhaps his virtue moved heaven; after a few days he was able to produce milk to feed the infant. It was not until the child could eat by himself, that Yuan Dexiu stopped producing milk.
When the child grew up, Yuan Dexiu wanted to find him a wife. However, Yuan's family was very poor; so he requested to take the position as commissioner of Lushan County. Out of respect for his virtue, the higher ranked officials all treated him with much politeness.
Once, a thief was arrested. At the same time, there was a tiger in the area terrorizing the local residents. The thief begged to be allowed to kill the tiger to atone for his crime, to which Yuan Dexiu agreed. Other officials advised Yuan that the thief might take the opportunity to flee and that he would be implicated. Yuan said, "I have approved his request; so I cannot violate the agreement. Even if he indeed runs away, I will take full responsibility and will not let others be implicated." The next day, the thief came back with the dead tiger. The thief was moved by Yuan Dexin's trust and honor of the agreement; so he honored the agreement as well. The local people were all amazed.
All the income that Yuan Dexiu earned during his service as government official was used to help orphans. After he finished his term, his only asset was a roll of silk. Yuan rode a crudely-made cart and settled down in the mountains. Fang Guan, the Minister of Punishment at the time, said of meeting Yuan, "When I see Yuan Dexiu's face, all my thoughts of pursuing fame and profit are gone." After Yuan Dexiu passed away, all he left behind was a pillow, shoes and cookware, without any other valuables.
A person of morality, justice, and sincerity towards heaven and divine beings will obtain the care and protection of heaven, and will win people's respect and trust.