A King and His Imperial Subjects

PureInsight | June 28, 2007

[PureInsight.org] During the
Spring and Autumn Period, Qi Jing Gong, King of the Qi State, went
sightseeing up on Niu Mountain. When Qi Gong looked to the North, he
saw the capitol and the palace. He sighted and said, "How beautiful my
kingdom is! The trees and vegetation are so lush! I am getting older,
day by day, but what can I do? If people could live forever, that would
really be nice!" His two imperial officials, Shi Kong and Liang Qiu,
also shed tears and said, "We depend on Your Majesty to have simple
meals and a carriage to ride in. We don't want to die and leave Your
Majesty alone."

Yan Zi was laughing by the side. Qi Gong wiped off his tears and turned
around to asked, "I am sightseeing today and feeling sad. Shi Kong and
Liang Qiu are also very empathetic and wept with me, but why are you

Yan Zi said, "If all the eminent kings were living forever, your
ancestors would still have the throne. How could you be a king today?
Only because they took turns being kings, can you be a king today.
Because they took turns being a king, they also took turns giving up
the throne. Now it is your turn! You are a king but want to be a king
for a long time. Seeking longevity is a sign of unkindness. I am
witnessing an unkind king and two fawning imperial subjects, Shi Kong
and Liang Qiu, who are shedding tears with you, and I cannot help

Qi Jing Gong found what Yan Zi said very reasonable and felt ashamed.
He raised his wine glass and had a drink as punishment. He then ordered
Shi Kong and Liang Qiu to take two drinks as punishment.

As human beings, all of us eventually will make mistakes, say the wrong
things, or commit the wrong deeds. The important thing is that when one
makes a mistake, one recognizes it, admits it, and corrects it. Qi Jing
Gong was able to do these three things, so he was a good king. Yan Zi
was an imperial subject who dared to laugh, speak out, and uphold the
truth, so he was a good subject.

Translated from: http://big5.minghui.org/mh/articles/2005/10/13/112012.html

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