Traditional Culture: Honesty, Revering Heaven and Taking Only That Which Is Yours
(Clearwisdom.net) Gongsun Mu lived during the East Han Dynasty. When he was young, his family was very poor. He was ambitious, worked hard, and he meticulously studied Han Poetry, Gongyang Spring and Autumn, and especially the ways to foretell the future in Hetu and Luoshu. He was honest and upright in his conduct.
Gongsun Mu raised pigs. When one of his pigs was sick, Gongsun Mu asked a person to sell the pig at a fair. Gongsun Mu told the person, "If the pig can be sold, you must tell the buyer that this pig is sick, and you must sell it for a cheaper and fair price. Don't deceive people and ask for a high price."
At the market, the person did not tell the buyer that the pig was sick and the pig was sold for a very high price. After learning of the sale, Gongsun Mu hurried to the fair and looked for the buyer. He told the buyer, "This pig was actually sick, I intended to sell it for a lower price. I did not expect the person to sell you the pig at such a high price." Then he returned half of the money to the buyer.
Meanwhile, there was a rich man called Wang Zhong. He told Gongsun Mu, "You can great things if you had money. I would like to give you a million coins to start a business. What do you think?" Gongsun Mu studied Hetu, Luoshu, and other books on cultivation. He understood the laws of heaven and predestination. He said, "Your kindness is deeply appreciated! Being rich or poor is for heaven to decide. I can have it only if it is in my life. I cannot take it from you!"
Because Gongsun Mu had both virtue and wisdom, he was recommended for his "Xiao Lian"* and appointed as an officer after he passed an examination. When he was an officer, his achievement was pronounced and he was enormously popular. His five sons were all well-known for their merits. The story of "Gongsun Mu Selling a Pig" became a moral example for thousands of years and the story carries praise for the virtue of honesty and integrity.
* "Xiao Lian" was one of the criteria to select an official. Xiao means honoring and loving your parents; Lian means incorruptible. The rules of the Emperor's Court proclaimed that people who did not have the virtue of Xiao and Lian were not qualified for official positions.