(Minghui.org) When an epidemic strikes, people often go into panic mode. However, there have been quite a number of cases in Chinese history in which people lived with infected patients yet remained totally fine. The following are a couple such stories.

The Story of Xin Gongyi

Xin Gongyi was born in the Northern Wei period and held various official positions under the reign of the Sui Dynasty. He was an upright person with a strong sense of responsibility. 

While he was serving as governor of Minzhou, he noticed that the local people were very scared of diseases and were very fearful of being infected. If a person became sick, his or her family members would all seek shelter outside and leave him or her to fend for themselves at home alone. As a result, many sick people died due to lack of proper care.

Xin Gongyi decided to change the situation by replacing the degenerated custom with loving kindness. He sent subordinates to inspect various places in Minzhou and told them to bring back all the sick people to the Minzhou Magistrate Office where he handled official business. He set up sick beds in the main hall and provided patients with food and daily needs. 

An epidemic broke out one summer in Minzhou, and several hundred people were infected. The main hall of Xin Gongyi's workplace and its corridor were filled with patients. 

He set up a couch for himself in the corridor and handled official affairs there, day and night, among the sick people. When he got tired he slept on the couch. He also used his own money to buy medicine and hire doctors for the patients, and personally took care of the patients. Gradually, all the patients recovered one after another. 

Xin Gongyi then called their families to take them home and said to them, “Life and death are predestined, and you would not be in danger by taking care of your loved ones. In the past, many sick people died because their family members abandoned them. You can see for yourselves. I have brought the sick people here and spent time with them day and night, and yet I'm still quite well, and all of them recovered. From now on, you must not abandon people who get sick as you have done in the past.”

The family members and relatives of patients felt very ashamed upon hearing his words. They thanked him and left. Later, people in Minzhou became more compassionate and caring towards each other and discarded their old custom. 

Yu Gun Refused to Abandon His Sick Brother

There was a hermit named Yu Gun in the Jin Dynasty. He was also the uncle of Empress Mingmu (personal name Wenjun) of Emperor Ming of Jin (299-328). 

Yu Gun had always lived a simple life since he was young. He enjoyed learning and was well-known for showing filial piety to his parents as well as loving kindness to his siblings.

There was an outbreak of an epidemic during the reign of Emperor Wu of Jin (275 – April 280), and two of Yu Gun's elder brothers became infected and died. Another elder brother was also infected by the plague. 

The situation was devastating. Yu Gun's parents wanted to take him and his younger brothers away to escape the plague, but Yu Gun refused to leave his sick brother behind. He insisted on staying with his brother and said, “I have no fear of the plague.” 

With no other choice, his family had to leave him and his sick brother behind. Yu Gun took good care of his brother day and night. He also sometimes cried sadly, mourning the loss of his two deceased brothers.

Over a hundred days had passed, and the epidemic gradually came to an end. When his family members and other villagers returned, they were surprised to find that although Yu Gun lived with his sick brother day and night, he remained healthy and was not infected at all, and his sick brother was almost fully recovered under his care.

Senior members in the village sighed in surprise, “This boy is amazing! He could take care of people and do things the way others dared not to.”

People also realized that not everyone would become infected when an epidemic struck, and the plague dared not approach those who were not afraid of death, and insisted on protecting others. 

As the famous Chinese classic “Huangdi Neijing” (The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Medicine) points out, “With righteousness inside, the evil substance is unable to interfere.”

There is always a way out as long as people still preserve righteousness and base their conduct on virtue.