Chinese Historic Stories: Transformation of People's Minds by an Act of Kindness

Li Jian

PureInsight | February 19, 2006

[] On the 10th year of Kaihuang during the
Sui Dynasty under the ruling of Emperor Suiwen (590 AD), Xin
Gongyi, the assistant minister of the Army, was appointed to the
governor of Minzhou. At that time, people in Minzhou were very scared
of diseases, as they thought all diseases were contagious. Therefore,
when a person became ill, he or she would be left alone. Nobody took
care of an ill patient, not even the patient's own family members. As a
result, many patients died unnecessarily for lack of nursing care.
People became cold, detached and were used to this custom. After
assuming the post, Xin Gongyi decided to replace this bad custom with
loving care.   

Many people fell ill during one summer. Xin Gongji set up sick beds in
the main hall of his home and took in all ill people. Hundreds of
people filled the main hall and the passageway. He used his own money
to buy medicine and hire doctors. He helped care for the patients day
and night. Soon the patients recovered one by one. He then ordered
their family members to take them home. He told them, "You all can see
for yourselves. How can the diseases be contagious? Am I not quite

The relatives of patients were touched and felt ashamed. They all
spread the words of his graciousness. Soon, whenever people got ill,
they went to Xin Gongyi's home to receive care, and their family stayed
with the patients to help care for them. People became more
compassionate and caring. The old bad custom was thus eradicated.  

(From Zizhi Tongjian, The Book of Political Ruling,(資治通鑒))

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