PureInsight | February 19, 2006
Chinese culture stresses morality and character and teaches people to
be kind, righteous and trustworthy. In ancient China, people believed
that "Lack of greed is a precious trait." It was a commonly held view
among all different social classes, including scholars who undertook
the responsibility of carrying on and passing down the culture as well
as businessmen who strictly followed the rule of the ethics even though
they dealt with money every day. There was a saying, "A gentleman who
loves money only obtains it in righteous ways."
Yang Bo was a famous official from Ming Dynasty. He came from Puzhou
City. Yang Pu's father Yang Zhang used to be a businessman before he
became an official. Yang Zhang once operated his business in Huai Yang
area. During that time, a salt merchant who came from Northern China
asked Yang Zhang to temporally keep one thousand gold coins for him.
However, the salt merchant never came back for the money. Yang Zhang
did not know what to do with the money. He buried the gold coins in a
flowerpot and planted flowers in the pot to hide the money. At the same
time, he sent someone to Northern China to look for the salt merchant.
He was able to locate the salt merchant's home. However, the salt
merchant had passed away and there was only a son at home.
Upon getting the news, Yang Zhang invited the son to his home. Yang
pointed at the flowerpot and said to him, "This is the money that your
father left with me before his death. Now please take them with you."
The businessman's son was very astonished. He didn't know about the
money and dared not accept it. Yang Zhang said, "This is your family's
money. Please do not decline it." He told the son about the
background story of the gold coins. The son was deeply moved. He knelt
before Yang Zhang to thank him formally. Then he left with the gold.
Later Yang Zhang had a son and named him Yang Bo. Ever since he was a
child, Yang Bo was intelligent and loved to learn. During the period of
Jia Jing, he passed an imperial examination for the civil service and
was appointed as an official in the Department of Administration. He
was then appointed the governor of Liliao. He led the local army and
defended the local residents against pirates several times. Because of
his accomplishments, he was called to serve in the imperial court and
promoted to the Minister of the Ministry of Official Personnel Affairs.
Emperor Ming Shi Zong appreciated Yang Bo's talents and characters, and
relied on him heavily as his closest assistant.
Yang Bo's son, Jun Ming, also passed the imperial civil service
examination and eventually became the Minister of Finance. The family's
prestige lasted for many generations.
Yang Bo's father Yang Zhang was only a simple merchant when he agreed
to keep the gold for the salt merchant. After the salt merchant
disappeared, he not only didn't keep the money for himself, he went
through a lot of trouble and sent people to travel more than a thousand
mile to locate the salt merchant's family and return the money. People
with noble minds and characters like Yang Zhang are not only rewarded
themselves for their nobility, their next generations will be
rewarded as well. It shows that Heaven rewards great virtues exactly
the way they deserve to be rewarded.