Yan Zi’s Wisdom

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105
(Zhiqing/Epoch Times)

In the Spring and Autumn Period, Yan Zi was a high official in the Qi State. Yan Zi was well known for his intelligent approach in persuading Emperor Qi Jing Gong.

Jing Gong was very fond of a eucalyptus tree right outside of the palace and he ordered the officials to take care of the tree. A sign by the tree said: “Whoever touches the tree will be sentenced and whoever hurts the tree will be killed.” The people in the city were so afraid of the tree that they stayed far away from it.

One day after getting drunk, a man touched the eucalyptus tree and got caught. After Jing Gong heard about it, he was furious. He said: “This man is the first person who dares to violate my rule and he should be punished severely.”

The drunkard’s daughter heard that her father was arrested and determined to rescue her father. So, she went to see Yan Zi and said to him: “I am a poor woman from the suburbs and want to be your concubine.”

Yan Zi (578 BC – the first 500 years) listened and said with a smile: “I have to introspect carefully, think about it: Am I a man who is greedy for women? I am already an old man with grey hair and yet, there is a beautiful woman coming to see me. I think you must have something difficult and want help from me? Don’t worry, just tell me!”

The woman told about how her father got drunk and mistakenly slammed into the eucalyptus tree. Yan Zi listened and promised to help the woman.

The next morning, Yan Zi said to Jing Gong: “I have heard that people who scrape other’s wealth for their extravagance are called tyrants. People like something so much that they grant it a majestic power equal to that of the monarch, which is abnormal; killing innocent people is called brutality. These three are the great disasters of the kingdom. Now you search for the people’s wealth to satisfy your own lusts. This is tyrannical; you like the eucalyptus and hang a sign to scare people away. The virtue of the tree is like a monarch. Isn’t this unusual? The person who touches the eucalyptus tree has to be sentenced. This does not go well with the national law. Isn’t this harmful to the people? You have these three scourges, I am afraid that it is hard for you to rule the state again.”

Yan Zi slammed Jing Gong repeatedly; he did not show any mercy. Jing Gong was almost speechless, then said: “You are right. If you didn’t teach me a lesson, I almost made a big mistake. I’ll follow your teachings.” So, Jing Gong ordered the tree guarding official and the sign by the tree removed, abolished the ban, and released the man who had touched the tree.

Translator: Yi Ming

Original post below:

http://www.visiontimes.com/2019/02/05/yan-zis-wisdom.html

晏子的智慧

晏子是春秋时代,齐国的高官。他以智谏国君齐景公而闻名。

齐国宫殿旁边,有一株槐树,齐景公十分喜欢它,命令官吏严加看护,并在槐树旁,悬挂禁令说:“碰触槐树者判刑,伤害槐树者斩首。” 老百姓怕触犯禁令,都远远地绕开槐树行走。

有一个人喝醉酒后,触摸了槐树,被看守槐树的小吏抓了起来。景公听说后,大怒,他说:“这个人是第一个敢触犯我的禁令的人,一定要加重处罚他。”

醉汉的女儿听说父亲被抓后,决心救出父亲。于是她跑到晏子家,借口对晏子说:“我是城郊的一个卑贱民女,想当您的小妾。”

晏子(公元前578年—前500年)听了,笑著说:“我得仔细内省,想想:难道我是个贪恋女色的人吗?为什么头发都白了,还会有美貌的女子来投奔?⋯⋯我看你一定是有什么为难的事要我办?你不要担心,有什么事就说吧!”

那女子就把国君在槐树边悬挂禁令,及父亲喝醉酒撞到了树,犯了禁令要被惩罚的事说了一遍。晏子听了,答应一定帮女子,把女子的话告诉国君。于是派人把女子送回了家。

第二天早朝,晏子对景公说:“我听说,搜尽百姓财力来供自己奢侈的人,叫暴虐;喜欢某种东西而使它的威严近乎国君,是为反常;刑杀无罪的人,叫残暴。这三样,都是国家的大祸患。现在您搜尽百姓财物,来满足自己的私欲,这是暴虐;您喜欢槐树,悬挂禁令,使人们都不敢靠近它,槐树的威德就像个国君,这不是很反常吗?摸摸槐树的人,要判刑。这与国法不相称,这不是残害百姓吗?您有这三种祸害,恐怕您很难再执掌齐国的大权了。”

晏子连珠炮似地抨击景公,毫不留情。景公被说得哑口无言,好半天才说:“您说得对,若不是您教诲我,我几乎犯了大错,我听从您的教导。”于是景公下令:撤去守护槐树的官吏,拔去悬挂的禁令木牌,废除禁令,并释放了触摸槐树的那个人。

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