Traditional Chinese Culture: Be Modest and Altruistic

PureInsight | December 5, 2005

[] Feng Yi, also known as Feng Gongsun, was from Fucheng County of Henan Province (Today's Baofeng County, Henan Province.) He was the trusted advisor of Emperor Liu Xiu, and one of the key people responsible for the founding of the Eastern Han Dynasty. He held the rank of General of Conquering the West, and was given the title of Duke of Yangxia. He was very modest person and never plumed himself on his accomplishments.

If Feng Yi ran into other high-ranking military officers on the road, he would always move to the roadside and let them pass. In the early day of the military campaign to establish the Eastern Han Dynasty, when the troop marched to a place and set up the tents for the night, the high-ranking military officers always got together and boasted about their military achievements to the others. Feng Yi always sat against a big tree and kept silent. Therefore, everyone in the army called him "Big Tree General." After conquering Han Dan, a key city, when Liu Xiu was reorganizing the army, many officers and soldiers wanted to join Feng Yi's troop and follow the "Big Tree General." From that point on, Liu Xiu treasured him even more.

In the second year of Jianwu, Feng Yi was dispatched to the Sanfu area on an expedition to fight against Chimei Army and Yan Cen. In the process of marching to the west, Feng Yi and his troop bestowed favors on the local people and earned the trust of the people along the way. In Hongnong area, there were originally more than ten self-proclaimed generals. Because of Feng Yi's reputation, they all led their troops and surrendered to Feng Yi.

In the summer of the sixth year of Jianwu, Kuixiao rebelled. The emperor sent several generals to put down the rebellion, but they were all defeated by the rebel forces. The emperor then sent out an imperial decree to dispatch Feng Yi and his army to fight Kuixiao. In the end, Feng Yi defeated Kuixiao's army handily. Village heads such as Geng Ding in the area surrendered to the Han Dynasty one after another. When Feng Yi was submitting a written statement to the Emperor about the battles, he was very modest and low-key, and did not try to show up his accomplishments at all. The Emperor rewarded him by dispatching him to Yi Qu and appointing him the prefect of Beidi.

A cultivator knows that, virtue is a physical substance, and all the blessings and good luck in one's life come from the virtues accumulated throughout his lives over a long period of time. There is an ancient Chinese saying, "Honor others and put down yourself. Put others before yourself." Being modest and courteous is a manifestation of preserving virtue and conducting oneself with dignity. Exactly because of that, Feng Yi was able to win the emperor's trust and given major responsibilities. Also because of that, Feng was able to earn the soldiers' respect and popular support. That is also why in the traditional Chinese culture, people are taught to be modest and courteous. In today's society where the human morality is deteriorating daily, those who treasure modesty and courtesy are, in fact, even more commendable.

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