An Emperor Who Paid Great Respect to Heaven and Worked Tirelessly for His People
(Clearwisdom.net) Emperor Yu's surname was Si and his given name was Wenming. He lived during the 21st Century BCE and was known as one of the most virtuous emperors in Chinese history. He inherited the virtue of "work for sentient beings but not for oneself" from the previous emperors Yao and Shun. He paid great respect to the divine and heaven, worked on flood control, and taught his subjects moral principles. He accomplished so much and his merits were so great that people say he was sent by heaven to eliminate floods and save people. Many have therefore called him "Yu the Great" or the "Yu the God."
Back in his time, floods were causing catastrophic disasters in China. People were constantly losing their homes and lived in misery. The Emperor at the time was Shun. He heard that Yu was a bright and hard-working young man, so he ordered Yu to lead the flood control project. Yu immediately gathered knowledgeable people together to help him. Yu was a very humble person. He always appreciated others' advice. He accepted many suggestions and decided to build channels to control the flash flood waters. He himself climbed over many mountains, traveled through many forests, and crossed many rivers to survey the path the water took to the ocean. Yu devoutly worshiped heaven, and his ceremonies were always very formal and solemn. From the way he carried himself during the ceremonies, one could see how much he respected heaven. His style of walking was later referred to as "Yu-style steps" and it was copied during rituals. Yu and other workers went to many parts of China to work on flood control. Even the divine beings were touched. The Yellow River God gave him a diagram of the river. When he was working on larger rivers, such as the Long River and the Yellow River, there appeared yellow dragons that helped him to clear the river paths by shaking their tails. The heavenly gods also gave him a jade container, a divine ax, a divine sword, etc. He used the jade container to measure the water level and figure out the depth of water in rivers and oceans; he used the divine ax to open the "Dragon Path" in a place near today's Luoyang City, Henan Province, so that the water could flow easily through it; he used the divine sword to kill the evil dragon that stirred up water and caused many disasters. In the end, Yu brought the flooding under complete control.
Yu worked tirelessly for 13 years. He went everywhere in China. There is a famous story that, although he passed near his home three times during those 13 years, he did not go home. He dredged nine river channels, harnessed nine large lakes, and excavated nine mountains. He ended the flooding disasters in China, and the people were able to live peacefully in their homes. At the same time, Yu helped people to develop agriculture and grow many different types of crops. They learned to grow rice in low, wet locations. Yu also taught people how to transport goods on water. Since that time, east to the ocean, west to the desert, from north to south, on a land of several million squared meters, China has become a rich and fabulous place. To reward Yu for his success, Emperor Shun presented him with a piece of royal jade in a formal ceremony.
After Yu completed the flood control project, he devoted his time to assisting Emperor Shun. He was very loyal and responsible. He said to Shun, "Following good principles will bring us fortune; following evil will bring us misfortune, just as a shadow will follow an object and an echo a sound. Therefore, at all times we must put virtue as the top priority. If your officials have virtue, your people will support you. If you follow heaven's orders with a tranquil mind, heaven will bring you beautiful fortune." Emperor Shun was very happy because Yu assisted him and gave him good advice. He ordered all his people to learn from Yu. In his 33rd year as Emperor, he formally commended Yu to heaven and passed the honor of being emperor of China to Yu.
After Yu became the emperor, he worked even harder to make life good for his people. He used good government policies, reinforced teaching virtue to common folks, sincerely recruited wise people to be officials, and widely accepted suggestions from the general populace. When Emperor Yu traveled to the south, he met tens of thousands of vassals from other countries in the "Tu-Mountain Meeting." To commemorate this grand gathering, Yu ordered people to make nine great vessels (called Ding) with the copper that other countries had offered him, which represented the nine big states that had unified to become a whole China. At the time, there were nine relatively large tribes in the southeastern part of China. They were known as the "Nine Tribes." Yu went there several times himself to promote China's culture and morality. On the way, he learned about the locals' traditions, encouraged them to develop agriculture, taught them about farming seasons and times, and gave them seeds. He also taught them moral principles and encouraged them to follow the law and be at peace with each other. Yu was greatly respected and welcomed by the local people. He also enhanced worship activities and declared "The Music of Shao" as the traditional song for worshiping the mountain gods. He also composed the music "The Great Xia" to spread virtue.
The culture and spirit passed down by Yu are extremely rich. They contain popular ideas about respecting God, supporting people, and teaching people. They also contain political ideals, such as using righteous virtues and honesty and valuing traditional moral principles such as "nature and man in one harmony" and "think about morals when seeing money or benefits" and "be selfless and think for the big group." All these ideas have had a huge impact on the development of Chinese civilization. Our traditional Chinese culture has always been based on faith and morality, and thus the principles of paying respect to heaven and being loving to people have always been valued. However, today's Communist regime is destroying traditional culture and moral principles, and brainwashing people with its evil "Party culture." It is denying the harmonious relationship between humans and the heavens, earth and nature.