PureInsight | October 15, 2006
[PureInsight.org] The meaning
of the Chinese idiom "good ddvice jars the ear" is that a piece of
sincere advice is often different from one's own ideas and thus one
might find it difficult to accept it. This idiom came from Historical Records - Old and Well-known Families.
The whole sentence reads, "Good advice jars the ear yet benefits one's
action; poisonous (effective) medicine tastes bitter yet is good
for curing one's illness. I hope you will listen to what Fan Kuai had
In 207 B.C., Liu Bang led a rebellion which eventually overthrew the
Qing Dynasty. After his troop invaded Xianyang, the capital city of the
Qing Dynasty, Liu Bang went inside the Qing Palace to look around. He
saw splendid buildings and numerous treasures everywhere. Everywhere he
went, many beautiful ladies inside the palace bowed to him. The more
Liu Bang saw, the more curious and interested he became. Therefore he
decided to live inside the palace for a while to enjoy himself.
Fan Kuai was a general under Liu Bang. When Fan Kuai found out that Liu
Bang wanted to live in the palace, he asked Liu Bang, "Do you want to
have the entire country or do you just want to be a very rich man?"
Liu Bang answered: "Of course I would like to have the whole country."
Fan Kuai said sincerely, "When you entered Qing Palace, you saw
countless treasures and thousands of beautiful ladies in the palace.
All these things are the very ones that caused the collapse of the Qing
dynasty. I hope that you will immediately return to our base camp. You
must not stay in the palace."
Liu Bang didn't listen to Fan Kuai's advice and still prepared to live
in the palace. His adviser Zhang Liang said to Liu Bang after he heard
about it, "Emperor Qing was unjust. That is why the common people have
rebelled against him and defeated the Qing army. You have overthrown a
violent emperor who had harmed his people. You should be diligent and
thrifty. Now you have just entered Qing's palace and immediately you
wish to have fun and entertainment. Good advice jars the ear yet
benefits one's action; poisonous (effective) medicine tastes bitter yet
is good for curing one's illness. I hope you will listen to what Fan
Kuai had said."
Liu Bang woke up and realized his mistake. He quickly gave orders to
close up the palace. He then took his troops and went back to their
Translated from: http://www.zhengjian.org/zj/articles/2006/9/27/40192.html