Ancient Chinese Stories on Guarding Against Lust (Part 3 of 5)
Continued from Part 2
9. Taoist Poems
Lv Dongbin, a Chinese Taoist scholar and poet from the Tang Dynasty, one of the Eight Immortals in Chinese Culture history, wrote a poem entitled “Warning to the World,” in which he said, “A 16-year-old beauty has a soft body. A sword at her waist is for killing infatuated men. Although you do not see a head being chopped off, secretly it dries up your marrow.”
Lv Dongbin's master, Zhongli Quan, wrote a well known poem, “Abandon Lewdness.” It said, “A neighbor girl is beautiful and she looks at people with love. A well behaved man falls into a trap. He thinks this is not a serious crime. But heaven recorded it and punishment will be meted out. The good fortune earned by his ancestors and during his prior lives is reduced. His life expectancy is lowered. Misfortune will be meted out to his following generations. His punishment is to be an animal in his next life.
“When I see this, I cry. I sigh when I notice men drawn to attractive women. I want to warn people. Avoid lustful behavior before it is too late.
“If she is not married to you, do not go with her to her room. She tries to lure you to sleep with her. You should not have a close relationship with her. If you cannot control yourself, just remember that this will land you in hell. If your desire is too strong, just remember that this mistake will get you killed.
“When I think of this, I shudder, and I am empty of all desires. When I have no desire, gods and ghosts all admire me.”
10. Buddhist Sutra
"The Sutra of Forty-two Chapters" is believed to be the first Buddhist Sutra ever translated into Chinese. Legend said that Emperor Mingdi in the Han Dynasty sent his envoy to India to bring back the Sutra on the back of a white horse. Emperor Mingdi then built the first Buddhist temple in China - White Horse Temple in Luoyang City.
One of the chapters in the Sutra says, “Buddha said: Beware of looking at women! Beware of speaking with women! If you speak with one, you must have a pure heart and upright thoughts. I am a Shaman, having to live in this impure world. But let me be as a lotus, which blossoms pure and clean, though in the mud.”
“If she is old, regard her as your mother. If she is older than you, consider her your elder sister. If she is younger, consider her a younger sister. If she is a child, treat her as your child. Be compassionate and think of saving them. Banish all evil thoughts.”
11. Never Cast Aside the Wife Who Endured Hardship with You
Song Hong was a high official in the Han Dynasty. He was very honest and conscientious. He once had a meeting with Emperor Guangwu. They sat outside next to a new screen that had beautiful women painted on it.
The emperor turned his head several times to look at the beauties on the screen. Song Hong quoted Confucius, “I have not seen someone who is as fond of virtue as he is of the beauty of a woman.”
The emperor immediately ordered the screen to be removed. He then smiled and said to Song Hong, “I'm following the right path, aren't I?” Song Hong said, “I am greatly pleased that your majesty seeks virtue.”
After Princess Huyang, the emperor's sister, lost her husband, the emperor was chatting with her about the officers. The princess said, “No one can compare with Song Hong in virtue, appearance, or personality.”
The emperor invited Song Hong and arranged for the princess to sit behind a screen. The emperor said to Song Hong, “I've heard that when someone is promoted, he changes his friends, and when one gets rich he changes his wife. Is this true?”
Song Hong answered, “I've heard that a friend from when times were hard cannot be forgotten, and a wife who shared her husband's hardships must never be cast aside.”
The emperor turned to the princess and said, “Well, it won't work.”
(To be continued)