Common Areas in Eastern and Western Culture: The Truth Will Come Out

Xin Ran

PureInsight | November 15, 2004

[] William Shakespeare, the 16th century literary giant, spoke these words in his play The Merchant of Venice, "Truth will come to light. Murder cannot be hid for long," It means that the truth of every event will eventually emerge. "Murder will out," a phrase first used in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales but noticed as far back as the ancient Greeks, means that the crime always shows itself.

One of the Chinese sayings used to describe how the crime always shows itself is "Dong Chuang Shi Fa" or "Things that were discussed near the window that faced east are exposed." It referred to a story about Qin Hui, a vicious court official during the Song Dynasty who tormented Yue Fei, a loyal general, to death. It is a well-known story that has been passed down for the last 900 years.

In 1100 AD Hui Zong became the Emperor of the Song Dynasty. It was during his reign that the Song Empire started to decline. A tribe called Nu Zhen rose to power and established a nation called Jin. Jin constantly expanded its territory and began to take over more and more of the Chinese land. In 1126, Emperor Hui Zong abdicated in favor of his oldest son, called Hang, who was crowned as Emperor Qin Zong. Soon after that, Jin invaded China and took the capital city, Bian Liang (present Kaifei) of the Song Empire
Hui Zong and his son the newly crowned Emperor Qin Zong were still in the city. They did not escape fast enough from the advance of the Jin. They were captured by the Jin and became prisoners. The rest of the Song royal family fled to southern China, where the family and its followers set up a new capital city in Lin'an (present Hangzhou). Historians usually divide Song Dynasty into Northern Song (960-1127) and Southern Song (1127-1279).

Yue Fei (1103 to 1142 AD) was born in a poor farmer's family. His father died when he was very young. It was at the time that the Jin from the Northeast were conquering the South. Yue Fei joined the Song army and rose to the rank of a general. He was a brilliant military strategist. Yue Fei led his army to battle the Jin and achieved victories one after another. Fearing Yue's army, Jin secretly contacted the prime minister of the Southern Song Dynasty Qin Hui and offered a lot of money in exchange for getting rid of Yue Fei. Qin Hui often conspired with his wife Wang in their bedroom next to a window that faced the east. They developed a plan to frame Yue Fei.

Qin Hui soon issued an order in the name of the Emperor to recall Yue Fei and his son, Yue Yun, back from the frontline. Father and son were tried for high treason. They were sentenced to death. Qin Hui had them executed secretly.

A few years later, Qin Hui died. After the death of Qin Hui, his son Qin Xi died suddenly. Qin Hui's wife was devastated and asked a Daoist, Fu Zhang, to tell her how Qin Hui and their son were doing in their afterlife. Fu Zhang had supernormal abilities. He saw Qin Xi in shackles in hell. He asked Qin Xi, "How is your dad?" Qin Xi answered, "He is being interrogated in hell now." Fu Zhang made a trip to hell and saw Qin Hui being tortured and in agony. As soon as he saw Fu Zhang, Qin Hui immediately cried and said, "I know why you came here to see me. Please tell my wife that the thing that we had conspired to set up next to the window that faced the east has been exposed."

After Wang heard this, she gave Fu Zhang a lot of money hoping he could absolve the sins Qin Hui had committed. However, the sins were too immense and there was no way to absolve the punishment that Qin Hui should suffer. Not long after that Wang died, too.

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