Ancient Chinese Stories on Guarding Against Lust (Part 5 of 5)
(Minghui.org) (Continued from Part 4)
15. Di Renjie
Di Renjie, a native of Taiyuan, was a prime minister in the Tang Dynasty. When he was a young man, he was tall and handsome.
On his way to the Capital City to take the Imperial Examination, he stayed at an inn. That night as he was reading a book, the inn-keeper’s daughter-in-law, a beautiful young widow, entered his room.
She had been instantly attracted to Di during the day. Unable to control her lust, she came to his room to flirt with him. She said that she wanted to borrow his lamp to light hers.
Di was well aware of her real motive and said politely, “Seeing an attractive woman like you, I recall the words of an old monk.” “What did he say?” the woman asked.
Di Renjie answered, “Before this trip to the Capital, I stayed in a Buddhist temple to prepare for the exam. An elderly monk offered me some advice. ‘From the look of you,' he said, 'I can tell that you are on your way to high places. But you must not let your lust and desire ruin your future.’ I committed his words to heart.”
He continued, “You stayed with your late husband's family as a widow, an honorable thing to do. Please do not act on impulse and ruin your name. Remember you have to take care of your elderly in-laws and a young son. In ancient times, women were praised for preserving their chastity.”
The woman burst into tears and bowed her head. “Thank you so much for your honesty," she said. "I will remember today’s conversation and temper my conduct forever.” The woman left the room after thanking Di repeatedly.
A poem in honor of Di Renjie:
Young people must be cautious of lust.Do not ruin your future.Di Renjie the role model gave good advice to a woman:"Keep your honor, benefit self and others."The tradition goes on.
16. Emperor Ren of the Song Dynasty
Zhao Zhen, also known as Emperor Ren, was the Song Dynasty's fourth emperor. He was in power for 42 years, longer than any other Song Dynasty emperor.
Emperor Ren was known for his kindness and humility. One day, Wang Su, an official who did not hesitate to present an objection, suggested that the emperor should refrain from sexual relationships with women.
Emperor Ren said, “Recently, Wang Deyong indeed introduced me to some beauties. These women are staying in the Imperial Residence. I really like them. Would you allow me to keep them?”
Wang Su responded, “My advice today is exactly on this topic. I am really afraid that Your Majesty may be attracted to these women.”
Emperor Ren knew that his advice was to the point, and he reluctantly ordered a eunuch: “Give some money to each woman that Wang Deyong brought to the palace and send her home.”
The emperor was in tears. Wang Su said, “Now that Your Majesty agrees with my advice, there is no need to rush.”
Emperor Ren said, “Although I am the emperor, I am not immune to human sentimentality. If they were to stay here any longer, I would become emotionally involved with them and could not bear to send them away.”
A poem in honor of Emperor Ren:
A good person has compassion and principles.A good person can endure hardship.Emperor Ren controlled his desire and set an example for others.Peace and prosperity ensued, earning the Emperor a lasting legacy.
17. Sima Guang
Sima Guang, a historian and writer in the Northern Song Dynasty, served four emperors. He was a gentleman and of great integrity. He was a role model because of his humility and work ethic.
When his wife Lady Zhang did not conceive after more than ten years of marriage, she started to worry.
Sima Guang comforted her, saying, “Having or not having children is our predestined fate, and it is not something we can change. Other children will grow up and become the backbone of the society.”
Lady Zhang suggested that Sima Guang take a concubine, but Sima Guang disagreed.
One day Lady Zhang found a young girl she considered to be a good candidate for Sima Guang’s concubine. The girl was taken to Sima Guang’s study when he was concentrating on his work and thus didn't notice her.
The young lady picked up a book and asked, “Your Honor, what kind of book is this?”
Sima Guang looked at the book and answered: “That is Book Shang.” And he continued to concentrate on his work, completely ignoring her. After a while, the girl left quietly.
Lady Zhang did not give up. Before she traveled out of town, she found another girl and told her to see Sima Guang in the evening. When the girl showed up in the study at night to serve Sima Guang tea, Sima Guang said, “The Lady is not home. Why are you here? Please leave now.”
A poem in honor of Sima Guang:
The three saints in the Confucius school are known for honesty.They were humble during their entire lives,They followed the correct principles and conduct,They were content with their predestined fate, worked hard, and restrained desire.