Ancient Chinese Stories on Guarding Against Lust (Part 4 of 5)
(Minghui.org) (Continued from Part 3)
12. Kongming’s Feather Fan
Zhuge Liang, a.k.a. Kongming, chose a woman for his wife who could never have been called a beauty. The story has been handed down through the generations, and people still like to hear it. There are many delightful legends about Zhuge Liang, and his feather fan is one of them.
When he was a child Zhuge Liang had an excellent teacher who taught him about the art of warfare and changes in heaven and on earth. When he was on an excursion in the mountains, he noticed a hut. Suddenly, a beautiful young lady stepped out of the front door. She waved at Zhuge and asked him to have a cup of tea and play chess.
She said, “Please come any time you are free and play a good game of chess.” Zhuge visited her every day and always had a great time. However, he was no longer an attentive scholar and could no longer take in what he read in his books, even after reading a passage several times. His teacher was not fooled.
He said, “It is easy to ruin a tree, but difficult to plant a tree! Her beauty bedazzled you and you were drawn to her. Do you know that she is a divine crane from the heavens? And she often comes to this world to seduce mortals?”
Zhuge felt ashamed and asked his teacher's advice. The teacher handed him his walking stick and said, “Every day she takes a bath in the lake. This is an opportune time to hide her clothes. She will seek you out to get even with you when she cannot find her clothes. Then use this stick to hit her!”
An obedient student, Zhuge did as he was told. When the crane could not find her clothes, she returned to her true form and tried to peck out Zhuge’s eyes. He dodged, grabbed her tail, and hit the crane with the stick.
When the white crane realized that she was no longer in charge of the situation, she struggled free and flew off. But Zhuge still held her tail feathers in his hands, so she could never return to this world. To be reminded of his youthful folly, Zhuge made a fan from the tail feathers as a constant reminder.
Even today people consider him "wise beyond words, with high morals, a tranquil mind, and having lived a simple life without pursuit. Wisely, he chose an ugly woman for his wife. He was revered for generations, and many legends about him were passed down from generation to generation.”
13. Ruan Shi – An Ugly Woman
Mo Mu, the wife of the Yellow Emperor; Zhong Lichun, the wife of King Xuan of the Qi Dynasty; Meng Guang, the wife of Liang Hong; and Ruan Shi, the wife of Xu Yun, were often referred to as the "four ancient ugly women," but they were also well known for their virtue.
Xu Yun was well-known in the Kingdom of Cao and the Kingdom of Wei during the Three Kingdoms periods. Xu Yun married Ruan Dewei's daughter. On their wedding night, Xu Yun saw that Ruan’s daughter was ugly, ran out of the room, and refused to go back in.
Xu Yun's friend Huan Fan came to see him and said, “There must be a reason for Ruan’s family to give their ugly daughter to you in marriage. You should try to find out why.”
Xu re-entered the room, but wanted to leave as soon as he saw his ugly bride, so she grabbed him. As he was struggling to break free, he asked her, “Women have 'four virtues.' How many do you have?”
His bride said, “With the exception of beauty, I have all the other three. Scholars have ‘a hundred deeds' to follow. How many are you able to live by?”
Xu said, “I meet the requirements for all the one hundred deeds.”
His bride responded, “Of the one hundred requirements, virtue is number one. You chose appearance over virtue. How can you say that you meet all the requirements?”
Xu was dumbfounded. From then onward, the two of them respected and loved each other and lived together in harmony.
Ever after it has been said about them: “A gentlemen has a hundred deeds to follow, and upholding virtue is the key. Xu Yun had no reply when Ruan Shi pointed out his oversight. A good wife cares for and helps her husband. The couple lived together in harmony for many years.”
14. Yuchi Jingde
Yuchi Gong, a.k.a. Jingde, was a star general in the Tang Dynasty. He was one of the twenty-four heroes who had their portraits in Lingyange.
History as a Mirror records a conversation between Emperor Taizhong and Yuchi Gong. The Emperor asked Yuchi Gong, "I want you to marry my daughter. What do you think?”
Yuchi Gong kowtowed to Taizhong and politely refused: “My wife, although of humble origin, has shared prosperity and misfortune with me for many years. I am of humble talent and shallow learning, but I have heard that when an ancient became wealthy, he did not choose another wife. I do not wish to marry the princess.”
(To be continued)