A Sage's Choice

PureInsight | June 28, 2007

[Pure Insight.org] One day,
Taizong of the Tang dynasty was reading documents. Suddenly, his fist
pounded the table top. He shouted angrily, "This guy, De Shen, will not
be happy until the entire country stops drafting anyone and collecting
any taxes, and the ladies in the palace have all their hair cut
off."  Wei Zheng, an imperial official, took the document and saw
what was written: "Building a palace in Luoyang will exhaust the people
and collecting tax from the land is exhausting the tax system.
Nowadays, women are all following the trend of having their hair piled
up high like the ladies in the palace."

Wei Zheng said, "Your Majesty, please don't be angry. De Shen may be a
little too extreme in his choice of words. However, from the ancient
times to the present, when officials had any suggestions, they normally
were afraid that if their words were not strong enough, they might not
stir up the emperor's heart. The old saying goes, 'The words of a mad
man, but the choice of a sage.' Now, your Majesty is angry. It shows
that his words have stirred you up. Please think about how to react to
his suggestions."

After hearing that, Taizong regained his composure and sighed, "You are
right. I cannot find fault with De Shen. Otherwise, no one would dare
to make a suggestion from here on."

Wei Zheng then added, "Your Majesty does not like candid advice like
before. Sometimes, Your Majesty can tolerate it but not as broad-minded
as in the past."

Taizhong was silent for a few minutes and he had to admit that Wei
Zheng's remark hit the nail right on the head. Taizhong not only
pardoned De Zang for his candor but also rewarded him with generous
gifts and a promotion.

(From Zizhitongjian - "The Comprehensive Mirror for Aid in Government,")

Translated from: http://big5.minghui.org/mh/articles/2006/2/21/120970.html

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