PureInsight | October 31, 2005
[PureInsight.org] In one's life, if one does not have moral principles to guide one's conduct, he or she will easily follow the external environment and personal desire and drift with the current. It will be hard for the person to cherish his aspirations and take things lightly no matter whether he faces disgrace or honor. Even if the person looks tough on the surface, his inner world is fragile. Those who have great wisdom all have principles in their hearts. They can stick to their inner conscience and morality under adverse circumstances. They have commitments in life and lead magnificent lives. When one has principles in his heart, his life will have meaning and energy.
Xu Heng (許衡) was a scholar and a famous imperial official during the Yuan Dynasty (1271 – 1368 A.D.) Once when he was a child, he went with his friends to play on wild land at the outskirts of the town. It was a hot day and every child played frenziedly. Soon everyone was thirsty. They found a pear tree by the roadside and everyone went picking pears, except Xu Heng, who was just sitting quietly under the pear tree and didn't join them. As every was enjoyed eating pears and asked Xu Heng why he didn't pick any pear, he answered them indifferently, "I can't pick anything that doesn't belong to me."
When others heard what he had said, they didn't agree with him and felt let down. One retorted: "You know what kind of situation we are in. There is turmoil and the chaos of war; people are either dying or escaping from war. Besides, this pear tree does not belong to anybody, why can't we pick some to eat? Isn't it stupid not to eat some?" Xu Heng answered with a serious look: "Perhaps this pear tree is without an owner. But doesn't it have an owner in our hearts? Should we just do as we please and to eat something that doesn't belong to us?" Even in such young age, Xu Heng had already had principles in his heart and he was able to give such a profound philosophical speech. Not only were his young friends perplexed, even if an adult heard it he would have a hard time understanding it. Even so, sticking to his principle and not confused by worldly custom, Xu Heng studied diligently and became a great master of the idealistic philosophy of his generation.
The principles comes from one's thoughts and definition of the meaning of life: How one takes responsibility for one's own life, how one sets the coordinates for one's life, knows where we are from and where we are going, what we want and what we don't want, and has the correct view. With such a life, even if we don't leave anything significant behind in history, we will still demonstrate uncommon quality. Having principles in one's heart is an important element to having a righteous life.
Translated from: http://www.zhengjian.org/zj/articles/2005/10/24/34336.html