Maintaining One's Integrity and Keeping One's Wife

Hong Yi

PureInsight | December 17, 2006

[] Yan Zi was a
very good prime mister from the Kingdom of Qi during the Spring and
Autumn Period.  One day Jing Gong, King of Qi, wanted to marry his
beloved daughter to Yan, and he went to Yan Zi's home to drink wine.
When they were quite mellow after drinking, Jing Gong saw Yan's wife
and said," Is she your wife?"

Yan Zi said, "Yes."  Jing Gong said, "She is sure old and ugly. I
have a daughter who is young and beautiful, and I like to marry her to

Yan Zi immediately stood up and replied respectfully, "My wife is old
and ugly now, but she was young and beautiful once and we have been
together for a long time. When she was young and beautiful, she trusted
me that we would be together until we died.  She trusted me with
her life, and I accepted her trust. Now you want to give me your
daughter, but how can I violate her trust?" Yan Zi bowed to the king
again and again to decline.

Another time Tian Wuju saw Yan Zi in the house alone and a woman walked
out in plain black clothes and grey hair.  Tian ridiculed him and
asked, "Who is that woman?"

"My wife", said Yan Zi.

Tian Said, "You are in a high position and have a lot of money, but why do you have an old bag as a wife?"

Yan Zi replied, "Getting rid of an old wife is chaotic, taking a young
concubine is lustful. How can I see beauty and forget integrity, and
become wealthy and forget moral standards? That is deviating from
virtue. I, Yan Zi, cannot behave like that."

One other time, a working woman wanted to come to Yan Zi's home and be one of his servants.

Yan Zi said, "Only today I realize that I have not been a man of
virtue! In ancient times, the ones who ruled the kingdom let scholars,
peasants, working folks, and merchants stay in their own places; men
and women did not mix together. As a result, the scholars would not
commit wrongdoings, and women would not commit sexual misconduct. 
Now I am minding the affairs of the kingdom and the people, and here is
a woman wants to come to me.  I probably have behaved in a lusty
manner and have not demonstrated my integrity. He, consequently,
refused to meet with that woman.

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