(Minghui.org) Extensive Records of the Taiping Era is a collection of stories compiled in the Song Dynasty by Li Fang and 11 others. It was first published in 978. The book is divided into 500 volumes and is a collection of about 7,000 stories that were selected from over 300 books and novels from the Han Dynasty to the early Song Dynasty.

Some stories are historical or naturalistic anecdotes, and others are about Buddhist and Daoist priests, immortals, ghosts, and various deities. The stories are written in different styles from different Buddhist, Daoist, or Confucian classic traditions Many of the stories illustrate high moral character and are meaningful lessons for people of today.

Below are two stories selected from Extensive Records of the Taiping Era:

1. Deyan Respects His Teachers

In the Tang Dynasty there was a scholar named Xiao Deyan. Whenever he studied the Five Classics, he always first washed his hands, changed into formal clothes, and then sat with very good posture. His wife asked him, “Aren't you tired reading like that?” He said, “We must show our respect for the teachers before us. How could we complain about being tired?”

2. Chujin and Yue Shi Each Recommended the Other

In the Tang Dynasty, two students named Zhang Chujin and Yue Shi from the same area took a test to become a Jinshi (a very high government position). After the test, a local official decided to select Chujin and not Yue Shi. Chujin heard about it and went to talk to the official. He said, “If the selection is based on age, Yue Shi is older than I; if the selection is based on ability, Yue Shi is more capable than I. So I respectfully ask you not to select me.”

Yue Shi heard about this and firmly declined to be selected in place of Chujin. At the time, the head local official's name was Li Ji. He heard what the students had said and praised them both: “The goal of the average student is to get selected, but these two students were able to recommend the other person.” In the end, he decided that both of them would be selected as a Jinshi.