Cao Bin was a general in the Song Dynasty. Early in his career, a well-respected fortuneteller, Mr. Chen Xiyi, said that although he obtained success early in life, he would not encounter such good fortune in his senior years. To compensate, when leading his army in a battle, he should kill as few as possible.
Cao was very mindful to protect the innocent. When he led soldiers to occupy Suizhou in the Shu area (today's Sichuan Province), his soldiers wanted to kill everyone in the city. Cao strictly prohibited killing the innocent. When the soldiers captured wives of their enemy, he ordered that the women be protected in a safe area. When the war was over, he provided money to have them sent home. For those women who didn't have a home, he prepared a dowry and arranged proper marriages for them.
Later, Cao was ordered to conquer southern China, which inevitably would involve mass killing. He said he was in poor health, and pretended to not be able to take the assignment. When his fellow generals came to visit, Cao said, "My illness cannot be cured by medicine. If you can all promise to me, with sincerity, that in the war to conquer southern China you will not kill one innocent person, then my illness will be cured." The generals burned incense and pledged to heaven that they would not kill the innocent.
Cao's kindness won him respect among those living in southern China. When his army arrived, the residents welcomed them with food and wine. Cao won the battle without needing to kill anyone. When Cao returned to Beijing triumphant, all he took in his boat was books and a few articles of clothing.
When fortuneteller Chen saw Cao later in life, he said Cao's face had completely changed. His life had been extended, and his family was prosperous. As Chen predicted, Cao lived until age 69 and was awarded the title Count Jiyang after death. He had nine sons, three of whom were also famous generals. All his descendent's lived in prosperity.
In contrast, Cao's cousin Cao Han was also a general. When Cao Han led soldiers to conquer Jiangzhou, he let the soldiers kill many innocent people and looted their homes. Cao Han died soon after the battle while his descendent's lived in poverty with many been so poor that they had to turn to begging.
You are welcome to print and circulate all articles published on Clearharmony and their content, but please quote the source.