Stories of the Ancients Honoring Their Teachers
(Clearwisdom.net) The Chinese people always used to honor and respect their teachers, as it was a traditional value that formed a binding relationship between teacher and student. In teaching his students, the teacher was expected to impart his scholarly knowledge and wisdom regarding how one should behave in society. His duty was to bring life-long, valuable wisdom to his students, and for this reason the ancient people of China had the saying, "A teacher for one day should be respected like a father for life." People paid a lot attention to their conduct and behavior, as they wanted to learn the correct moral principles that a human should possess. This would enable them to develop virtue, and because of this, they were thankful for their teacher's benevolence.
Below are two stories about teachers and students from ancient China.
Governor Wen and King Wu Respected Jiang Ziya as a Teacher
During the waning years of the Shan Dynasty, Governor Wen, from the western side of the country, governed his people with benevolence. He understood that in order to develop his region and to make progress, he needed people around him that exhibited virtuous behavior. He had heard that Jiang Ziya was a scholar with high moral standards, and so wanted to invite Jiang to join his government. He decided on a date that was numerically lucky, had a bath to make himself clean and respectable, then took his followers along to the city of Boxi to meet with Jiang. While talking to Jiang, Governor Wen believed that Jiang was indeed a very talented individual, with high moral standards, and with a desire to help people. Governor Wen said happily, "Before my grandfather passed away, he told me that one day someone of great talent would come to help me and bring prosperity to my region. I think you are the one." Jiang joined Wen's government as his Prime Minister and Wen treated him as a teacher, maintaining great respect for Jiang. As a result, Wen's region became more and more prosperous. When Wen was dying, he asked his son Wu to treat Jiang like a father and also as a teacher. Later, Jiang helped Wu to defeat the King of the Shan Dynasty, and established Wu as the King of the Zhou Dynasty.
Yue Fei Remembered the Benevolence of his Teacher
Yue Fei was a hero from the Song Dynasty. He was born into a poor family, and his father died when he was young. As a child, he could not afford to go to school. But, he had a great desire to learn, and often stood outside the local school looking through the window, trying to listen to the school teachers giving lectures. As he could not afford a pen and paper to write with, he just wrote on the ground using a broken twig. Teacher Zhou Tong often saw him and realized that he was anxious to learn, and so offered him free schooling. Yue Fei was taught how to love his countrymen and fight for his country. On days that fell on odd numbers Yue Fei would study literature, and on even-numbered days he would learn martial arts. He was taught a special technique to shoot arrows and became an excellent marksman. With great devotion to his studies, he finally became a master in both the martial arts and literature. He was a well known general during the Song Dynasty and was feared by his enemies. When Zhou Tong died, Yue Fei buried him as if he were his father. On the first and the fifteenth day of each month, Yue Fei would pay homage to Zhou Tong regardless of whether he was at home or on his travels. He would take out the bow given to him by Zhou Tong and fire three arrows into the sky. Yue Fei said, "My teacher has taught me how to be a man and to love my country. He taught me martial arts and how to be an excellent marksman with a bow and arrow. I cannot forget what he did for me."
The people from ancient China had a saying, "All established people in Taoism, Buddhism or Confucianism had their teachers. All ancient emperors had their teachers." People who do not respect their teachers are devoid of gratitude and will not become enlightened. All sages in history showed respect for their teachers and are role models for later generations.