Stories from Ancient China: No Argument, No Resentment, Be Known For Virtue

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Mr. Cheng Gong, also known as Shaozi, lived during the Eastern Han Dynasty (A.D.25 - A.D.220) of ancient China. He was from the Gumu Area of Langya County, (currently Zhucheng City in Shandong Province). His father passed away when he was young. He grew up in poverty, but he studied hard. His diligent efforts were finally repaid when he became a teacher in his hometown.

During a time of war, Shaozi led his students to flee to the mid-Han region. Later, he and his wife moved to Mengyin Mountain and farmed there. When the harvest was close, another person claimed that Shaozi's crop belonged to him. Shaozi did not argue. He simply left the crop to the other person, and moved away.

Many people cannot stand for these kinds of things. Shaozi gave away his own interests to others without argument or resentment. It was not cowardly behaviour, but the result of his forbearance and broad mind. Only a person with moral integrity and knowledge behaves in such a manner. The story spread in the royal court and in society. History has recorded that Shaozi was known for his virtue. Three governments offered him positions, but he refused.

During the Yongping years (A.D.58-A.D.57), Shaozi was recommended to the emperor and called to the capital. Emperor Ming bestowed the title of doctor upon him, and soon after that, promoted him to Zhuozhonglangjiang. He submitted several proposals in which he discussed affairs of state openly and honestly. The courtiers both admired and dreaded his moral courage. He was even well known in Xiongnu (Mongolia). Because of his widely respected reputation, the northern Shanyu (a title used by the rulers of Xiongnu-Mongolia) sent an ambassador to meet specifically with Shaozi.

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