Extolling the Virtues of Ancient People
(Minghui.org) Taiping Guangji is a set of books compiled in the Song Dynasty. It includes 500 volumes and 10 volume directories. It is composed mainly of legends from the Han Dynasty to the early Song Dynasty and Taoist and Buddhist articles. Emperor Song Taizong ordered Li Fang and 12 other people to start compiling the books in the year 997. They finished in 998. Since it happened during the Taiping Xingguo period of the Song Dynasty, the book was called Taiping Guangji.
Unlike the classic history books or classic religious books of Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism which advise people, Taiping Guangji recorded stories of the emperors, generals, officials and romantics which exemplified their virtue and high moral standards. Modern people may admire our ancestors' virtue in the examples below.
Zhiyi Helped Others at His Own Cost
Xiong Zhiyi was going to the capital to take the imperial examination. It was autumn when he arrived in Tongguan, and it rained for over a month. He could not go forward and had to stay in a hotel. One day he heard the man next door sighing repeatedly. Xiong Zhiyi went over to see what was wrong. The man said, “My name is Fan Ze. I am a former magistrate of Yaoshan County. I was going to the capital to take the imperial examination in front of the emperor. When I arrived here, my horse died and my money was all spent. I will never get to the capital.”
Xiong Zhiyi did not hesitate to give his horse and all his money to Fan Ze. Xiong Zhiyi did not take the imperial examination that year, but Fan Ze arrived in time, took the exam and was admitted.
Xiong Zhiyi is praised in a poem:
Intended to attend imperial exam to be nation's pillarSaw someone in difficulties, helped him with all he hadSacrificed his interests to help others, deserving praiseSelfless actions will be rewarded with good and prosperity
Liyue Wholeheartedly Fulfilled His Promise
Liyue was Qiangong's son. He was a high-ranking official of the Ministry of War. He had outstanding knowledge and great wisdom. Once Liyue took a boat to sail on the river. Business owner Hu was traveling the same route.
Mr. Hu became very sick and invited Liyue over to his boat. He entrusted his two beautiful daughters to Liyue. Mr. Hu also gave Liyue a precious night pearl and entrusted many things and a great amount of money to Liyue. After Mr. Hu passed away, Liyue gave the tens of thousands of Guan (ancient unit of currency) to the government. He also found good husbands for the two daughters and arranged their weddings.
Before Mr. Hu passed away, he asked Liyue to put the night pearl in his mouth for his burial. No one else knew this. When Mr. Hu's family members came later to take care of Hu's belongings, they asked the government to open his tomb and found the night pearl was still there. Liyue helped many people like this without his good deeds being known to others.
A poem praised his virtue:
Entrusted to take care of another's family, wholeheartedly fulfilled his promiseFound good husbands for the daughters and did not keep entrusted moneyFulfilling secret promise especially showed his virtueThe light of the pearl cannot shadow the light of his virtue.