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Traditional Chinese Culture - Mi Zijian Knew Precisely What to Accept or Reject

August 12, 2007 |   By Liangyan

(Clearwisdom.net) Confucius had a student named Mi Zijian. In the book, Lu's Spring and Autumn Annals, "Observe the Sage," Shanfu County was in order when Mr. Mi played the lute within the hall. When Mi Zijian was acting as the magistrate in Danfu County (what is now Dan County in Shandong Province), he was never extremely busy, like his predecessor. Instead, he seldom went out of the hall, preferring to play his lute. Consequently, the county was administered with great order, and he was praised by the common people. People said, "This magistrate can play the lute and is not meddlesome. He is a good official."

When Mi Zijian was the magistrate in Danfu County, the Qi State was planning to attack the Lu State. During their attack, the army of the Qi State would go through Danfu County. At that time, it was the wheat harvesting season. Since the golden wheat was supposed to be harvested soon, someone requested to Mr. Mi, "The wheat is already ripe. Please allow the common people, including those who do not normally tend the land, harvest it. This way the grain yield in our state will be increased, and also it will not become the grain of our enemy." This request was made three times, but Mi Zijian did not agree.

Soon after, officers of the Qi State arrested enemies in the wheat field as expected. Jisun, an aristocrat of Lu State, was extremely angry. He dispatched someone to blame Mi Zijian. Mr. Mi frowned and said, "If the wheat is not harvested this year, we can still sow it next year, but if we allow people who do not do plowing and weeding work to harvest the wheat, then the people would be grateful for the enemy invasion. The grain yield of Danfu County has little effect on the power of the Lu State. However, if people get used to obtaining benefits by chance, this harmful effect cannot be eradicated for possibly generations." After hearing this, Jisun knew that Mi Zijian was much smarter that he was and said shamefully, "I would rather hide in a crack in the ground than show my shame to Mi Zijian."