Some Historical and Contemporary Examples of Jealousy

Jia Bei

PureInsight | March 10, 2003

[] When I was in junior high school, there was a small, skinny girl in my class who always excelled in school. She aced every examination. A boy in my class happened to live next to me. He was extremely jealous of the girl, and frequently stirred up trouble for her. I invited this boy to my house once. While he was there, he looked at my photo album, which contained a photograph of our class. After he left, I was shocked to discover that the girl's head in the class photo was covered with marks from a red marker pen.

Since then, I have always associated jealousy with that angry red ink. In hindsight how the boy acted out his jealousy was quite ridiculous. After all, it was only an act of mischief of a jealous child. However, if a person who harbors intense and tenacious jealousy gets hold of power, whomever he is jealous of will be subject to more than a childish prank. When one becomes consumed by his or her jealousy, it leads to malice; malice leads to madness, rage, vice, and eventually extreme cruelty. In Chinese history, there are a number of historical characters who are infamous for their jealousies. Zhou Yu and Pang Juan are two examples.

The tale of "Zhuge Liang Thrice Enraged Zhou Yu" is a well-known story in China. First, allow me to provide some historical background to the story. After the quelling of the Yellow Turbans uprising in the Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220 AD), local warlords sprang up everywhere in a struggle for control over the country. Cao Cao who defeated his archrival Yuan Shao and gained full control of the middle and lower reaches of the Yellow River stood out as the strongest. But to the south of the Yangtze River, Sun Quan and Liu Bei occupied the eastern and western areas, respectively, and were much weaker initially. After Cao Cao unified the region north of the Yellow River, he pushed his army across the river and launched an assault on southern regimes. Acting under the suggestion of Zhuge Liang, Liu Bei's advisor, the forces of Liu Bei and Sun Quan formed a united front against Cao Cao. Zhou Yu was the chief military commander of Sun Quan, a position he had held since the age of 24. He was handsome and talented. His wife was considered a great beauty. He excelled in both the civil and military arenas. At the age of 34, he commanded the joint forces of Liu Bei and Sun Quan and won an overwhelming victory against Cao Cao in Chibi Battle (near present Puyin in Hubei Province), even though Cao Cao's army outnumbered their army by nearly 10 to 1.

Unfortunately Zhou Yu had tragic character flaws: he was prone to frequent temper tantrums. He was also overly competitive, narrow-minded, conceited, and frivolous. He became intensely jealous of the talents and wisdom of Zhuge Liang (Liu Bei's advisor ) and considered him his number 1 enemy. Instead of trying to learn from Zhuge Liang, Zhou Yu was always looking for a chance to eliminate him. Zhuge Liang was a much better person. He was generous, forgiving, modest, prudent, diligent in learning, and farsighted. He was content to work behind the scene and let Zhou Yu enjoy the limelight during the battle of Chibi. But Zhou Yu kept backing him into the corner, and kept trying to kill him. Zhuge Liang was left with no choice but to defend himself.

After the great win at the Battle of Chibi, Sun Quan and Liu Bei both had their eyes on Jingzhou, a crucial military base occupied by Cao Cao's army. Zhou Yu was conceited and believed that he could take Jingzhou with ease. But he was seriously wounded by a poisonous arrow in the ensuing battle. It took several ferocious battles before he finally managed to score a victory against Cao Ren, the military commander of Jingzhou. In the meantime, Zhuge Liang forged a military order in Cao Cao's name. His general, Zhang Fei, was able to use it to waltz his way into Jingzhou and took Jingzhou effortlessly. Zhou Yu was so furious that he screamed very loudly, which caused the arrow wound that had just healed to burst open. This was the first enragement of Zhou Yu.

The second enragement of Zhou Yu happened when Zhou Yu had Sun Quan ask Liu Bei to marry Sun Quan's baby sister. Zhou Yu never intended the marriage to take place. It was just a ruse to bring Liu Bei to the kingdom of Wu so Zhou Yu could assassinate him. But Zhuge Liang saw through Zhou Yu's ploy easily. Under his direction, Liu Bei quickly married Sun Quan's baby sister and then the two of them fled back to Su (today's Sichuan province), Liu Bei's power base. Zhou Yu tried to catch Liu Bei before Liu Bei arrived in Shu, but he was defeated by Liu Bei's army that Zhuge Liang had stationed there ahead of the time. Zhou Yu ended up watching Liu Bei's boat sailing away. He was enraged. Meanwhile, Zhuge Liang arranged for the soldiers on the boat to shout in unison: "The brilliant scheme of General Zhou Yu to conquer China ends up in the loss of both the Lady of Sun and the lives of Sun's troops!" This made Zhou Yu even madder. He screamed loudly and collapsed on his boat. This was the second enragement of Zhou Yu.

The third one happened when Zhou Yu planned to conquer Jingzhou by pretending to invade Western Su. But Zhuge Liang saw through the scheme, and exposed the ruse. Zhou Yu could not bear the humiliation. He roared desperately and died soon afterwards. Just before he died, he lamented: "O God, since you have created Zhou Yu, why did you also create Zhuge Liang?" His last words revealed his absolute jealousy of Zhuge Liang even at the end of his life. He would only be satisfied with being the very best and would never be happy with being second best!

If you think that Zhou Yu was intensely jealous, Pang Juan's jealousy was even worse. During the period of the Warring States, Sun Bin and Pang Juan were both disciples of the same teacher, and they had different talents. After Pang Juan graduated, he became a general in the state of Wei. But he was still very jealous of Sun Bin's talents and constantly feared that Sun Bin would be more successful than he. He invited Sun Bin for a visit. When Sun Bin arrived, Pang Juan had his men dig out the bones of Sun Bin's knees, tattoo Sun Bin's face with black ink, and lock him in jail. [In order to keep Pang Juan off guard,] Sun Bin pretended to be mentally deranged while patiently waiting for outside help. One day, with help from others, Sun Bin secretly met with the ambassador from the state of Qi, and told the ambassador what had happened to him. The ambassador was shocked to hear his story, helped him escape from jail, and brought him back to Qi.
After he arrived at Qi, Sun Bin shared his wisdom and strategies with the king of Qi, and won the trust of the king. He was named the chief military advisor responsible for designing military strategies for Tian Ji, the general of Qi. During this whole time, Sun Bin always traveled in a carriage with curtained windows to conceal his identity.

Sun Bin and Pang Juan's final duel took place at the Battle of Maling. The state of Wei joined forces with the state of Zhao to attack the state of Han. The state of Han immediately sought help from the state of Qi. The king of Qi ordered General Tian Ji to aid the state of Han. Instead of going to the state of Han, under Sun Bin's advice, Tian Ji took the army to the state of Wei and began to lay a siege. Pang Juan had no choice but to abandon his military campaign against the state of Han and hurriedly bring his army back home.

By the time that Pan Juan and his army arrived back in the state of Wei, the Qi army had left Wei and was heading west. Pang Juan chased them for three whole days. Each day he would count the number of camp stoves that Sun Bin's troops had built in their campsite carefully. When he saw that the number of stoves was becoming smaller and smaller each day, he was greatly encouraged. He thought that it meant that the Qi army was so afraid of him that more and more troops were deserting. He had no idea that he had walked directly into Sun Bin's trap.

On the evening of the third day, Pang Juan and his army chased the Qi army down to a narrow valley. He saw that in the valley there was a tree with its bark peeled off and words written on the tree. He lit a torch to read the words. On the tree, Sun Bin had carved the following words, "Pang Juan will die under this tree!" As soon as Pang Juan saw the words, he knew that he had made a huge mistake. Pang Juan's torch became a cue for Sun Bin's army waiting for the ambush, and ten thousand of Sun Bin's archers began to shoot arrows toward Pang Juan's troops. After his army suffered horrendous losses, Pang Juan collapsed and committed suicide in the shower of arrows. Before committing suicide, Pang Juan said: "It is too bad that this battle will make that guy famous." The guy that he was referring to was of course Sun Bin. Pang Juan's last words showed that he was narrow-minded and jealous even at the end of his life.

The above two stories told us that jealousy is like a poisonous double-edged sword, which is not only a threat to other people, but also oneself. Once one is attached to jealousy, he or she will be consumed by it. Both Zhou Yu and Pang Juan were consumed by jealousy all the way to their deaths.

Based on medical research, jealousy is an unhealthy state of mind that can easily lead to cardiovascular diseases. Using terms from modern science, Zhou Yu's arrogance, narrow mind, intense jealousy, and other unhealthy character traits brought him severe heart pain. After going through a series of shocks and rages, Zhou Yu died of an acute myocardial infraction. "The Three Enragements of Zhou Yu" was Zhuge Liang's brilliant strategy designed to deal with someone who was consumed by jealousy.

A famous western fairy tale, "Snow White", also cautions people that those who are driven by their jealousy to do vicious things always suffer consequences in the end.

Driven by his jealousy and twisted character, the Chinese dictator started a brutal persecution against Falun Gong three years ago. How could a dictator with absolute power over the whole country become so jealous of the founder of Falun Dafa, a Chinese citizen without any official rank or position? Falun Dafa teaches people to cultivate their mind and body, to be compassionate, to assimilate themselves to the principle of "Truthfulness Compassion Forbearance," and to reach a realm of higher moral values. From May 1992 to July 1999, Falun Gong rapidly spread throughout China. According to an official Chinese government report published in 1999, there were between 70 million and 100 million Falun Gong practitioners in China at the time. The instant popularity of Falun Gong made Jiang insanely jealous. Putting himself above the law and the Chinese Constitution, he ordered a brutal crackdown against Falun Gong. He has used the government controlled propaganda machine to spread fraudulent lies about Falun Gong to confuse the Chinese people. He has spared no national resource in persecuting Falun Dafa practitioners. The persecution against Falun Gong still continues today. Chinese people have paid a heavy price for this crown's insane jealousy. This creature has not only wasted tremendous amount of the nation's wealth, but also massacred and tortured countless innocent and kind-hearted Chinese people. He has also directly attacked the moral fabric of the entire nation.

History has taught us that anyone who is driven by jealousy to viciously harm others will ultimately suffer from his own defeat. The more infamous ones have become laughingstocks to people all over the world for thousands of years. No matter how rampant Jiang may be now, justice will prevail and he will be made to answer to all the crimes that he has committed.


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