(Clearwisdom.net) "Average people create troubles for themselves" is a Chinese saying that describes how mediocre people have nothing more important to do than create troubles for themselves. It is described in the New Tang Book - Lu Xiangxian's Biography: "The world is peaceful, however, average people stir up trouble."
During the rule of the Ruizong Emperor during the Tang Dynasty (June 18, 618 - June 4, 907), there was an official in the royal government named Lu Xiangxian. He was kind, tolerant, knowledgeable, and capable and dared to advise the Emperor honestly. Thus, the Emperor thought highly of him. However, once he angered the Emperor and was therefore demoted to Governor of Yizhou City.
After Lu Xiangxian assumed his new post, he was very generous and kind to the local people. Even when it came to the criminals, he rarely punished them with torture. Instead, he tried to persuade them to do what was right by telling them moral principles. His assistant told him, "The local people are difficult to regulate, and you should punish them with tougher penalties to establish your dominance. Otherwise, no one will respect you." Lu Xiangxian shook his head and said, "The local people should be governed through teaching them moral principles. This way, society will stabilize and people will enjoy good and prosperous lives. Then people will follow you. Why do we need to win their respect through punishment?"
Thereafter, Lu Xiangxian governed Yizhou City his own way. Once, a low-ranking official in the local government broke the law. Lu scolded him and advised him not to do it again, but one of his subordinates thought the punishment was too light and that the official should be beaten with a stick. Lu Xiangxian solemnly told this subordinate, "Human beings all have feelings and emotions. I have reprimanded him. Why wouldn't he listen to me Since he is your subordinate, when he committed a crime, aren't you responsible? If I need to punish him, shouldn't I start with you." After listening to these words, this subordinate felt ashamed and left.
Lu Xiangxian governed Yizhou City very well. The local people led good and stable lives and the local government officials held him in high esteem..
Lu often told his subordinates, "This world is actually peaceful and not much important happens. However, some average people lack knowledge and create troubles for themselves. As a result, an easily resolved issue turns into be a big thing. I think, once we fundamentally resolve this, there will be less trouble later on."
Today, there are all kinds of problems in society. People have forgotten what this Sage told us: "Look for the cause from the moral perspective." On the contrary, to prevent bad things from happening, all kinds of laws and regulations are created. This strategy is exactly the opposite of what Lu Xiangxian recommended.
January 4, 2007