A Proverb and Its Beginnings: Autumn Wind Passing by My Ears

Yi Dou

PureInsight | November 24, 2003

[PureInsight.org] During the Spring and Autumn Period, Shou Mong, the king of the state of Wu had four sons. He named the eldest son Zhu Fan, the second Yu Ji, the third Yu Muo and the youngest Ji Zha. Among all four, Ji Zha was the one with the most pleasant personality. The king was extremely fond of his youngest son. In A.D. 561, the king became seriously ill. He asked for Ji Zha and told him that he would be the successor to his throne. However, Ji Zha would not accept it. He said: "Generally, the eldest son inherits the throne. Father, please, do not continue to shower me with gifts to show your affection." Therefore, the king's eldest son, Zhu Fan, inherited the throne. Before he died, the king tasked his oldest son to take good care of Ji Zha.

After Zhu Fan was made the king, he called on his two younger brothers to discuss the order of succession. They decided that the throne should be handed from brother to brother. That meant that Ji Zha would become king in the end. Three of the brothers inherited the throne, one after each other. Ji Zha served them loyally. His virtue became well known by people far and wide. Before King Yu Muo died, he called Ji Zha to hand the throne to him. Ji Zha refused again. He said: "I already made it clear that I did not want to sit on the throne. I only wish to live an honest and noble life. Splendor, wealth and honor are just like the autumn wind passing by my ear. They mean nothing to me." He left the capital and didn't return until a royal relative Liao was made emperor. Only then did he return to help Liao govern the country. The proverb "Autumn Wind passing by the ears" is a metaphor that indicates that such matters are of no importance.

Excerpt from ("Window of Cartoon")

Translated from: http://www.zhengjian.org/zj/articles/2003/11/8/24410.html

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