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Traditional Culture: Making Honesty and Keeping Promises a Priority

December 14, 2006 |   By Qing Yan

(Clearwisdom.net) Being honest and keeping one’s promises are manifestations of "Truthfulness" in the universal principle, "Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance." In the past, truthfulness was seen as the foundation for establishing a person or a nation. The following story took place in the Qing Dynasty.

Xu Shaoyu was from Qiantang. In early August of the third year of Guang Xu, he borrowed one hundred silver coins from Yi Zhai. They did not write a receipt. Instead, they orally agreed that the money would be returned one year later. In August of the next year, Xu Shaoyu was critically ill. In his last moment, he had been talking to himself while lying in bed, "It is almost time for me to return the money. What should I do if I die?"

His wife said, "You are so ill and we have spent so much on medicine. In addition, you don’t have a written document about the borrowed money. Therefore, you don’t have to worry about returning the money." Xu Shaoyu said, "He did not write a receipt because he trusted me. How can I not keep my promise?"

At last, Xu Shaoyu asked his wife to sell a piece of jade and two fur coats from their home. They got ninety silver coins. They then borrowed ten coins from others. Therefore, they returned the money on the due date. Several days later, Xu Shaoyu was completely cured.