Stories from History: The Revered Zhou Gong

PureInsight | November 12, 2006

[] After Emperor
Zhou Wu conquered China and established the Zhou Dynasty, he rewarded
those who had rendered outstanding and meritorious services, as well as
his relatives, with their own territories.  Zhou Gong, the brother
of Zhou Wu, had made the greatest contributions to establishing the
dynasty. He was given a large piece of land and named the Duke of
Lu.  However, since the Zhou Dynasty had just been established and
the social system was not yet completed, Emperor Zhou Wu still needed
Zhou Gong's help.  So Zhou Gong did not go to his own State, but
stayed in the capital city of Gao Jing.

After Emperor Zhou Wu passed away, his underaged son inherited the
throne. Zhou Gong worried that the death of Emperor Zhou Wu might lead
to rebellion. So he continued to stay in the capital city to assist the
young emperor. He sent his eldest son Bo Qin to go to the State of Lu
and govern in his place.


Although Bo Qin had always been a reliable person, Zhou Gong still
didn't feel at ease.  Before Bo Qin left for the State, Zhou Gong
gave some sincere and earnest advice to Bo Qin.  He said, "Bo Qin,
I am the son of the former Emperor Wen, brother of the last Emperor
Zhou Wu, and uncle of the current Emperor Cheng Wang.  I hold a
very high rank among the people of the nation.  But I dare not
behave in an arrogant way because of my high rank.  When I hear
about sages and men of virtue coming to visit me, I always greet them
as quickly as possible, no matter what I am doing. For example, if I am
washing my hair, I will stop washing at once in order to greet the
sages. If I am eating my meal, I will stop eating immediately in order
to see men of virtue."  Zhou Gong continued to say, "In order to
greet those sages and men of virtue, I have to stop washing my hair
half way at least three times in a wash.  I have to stop eating
three times in a meal.  Even though I have been carefully doing
things this way, I'm still afraid that any carelessness on my part
might cause our country to lose those sages and men of virtue. 
Thus, when you arrive in the State of Lu, you must handle all matters
in a careful manner, live a simple life and behave courteously toward
those sages."  

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