A Story from History: Emperor Tang Taizong's Virtuous Sparing of Animal Life

Hu Naiwen

PureInsight | July 15, 2007

[PureInsight.org] One day,
Emperor Taizong wanted to make medicine. The main ingredient was the
fat from mutton but the process of obtaining it was tricky because it
was not supposed to congeal. The emperor asked an imperial official in
charge of food at Guanglu Temple on how to obtain the fat. The official
was not sure and sought advice from another official by the name of Hao
Chujun.  Hao Chujun thought about it and remembered that the
Emperor had the virtue of sparing animal life. So he had an idea.

Hao Chujun reported to the emperor. He told the emperor that they would
need fifty fat sheep. The sheep would be slaughtered one by one in
front of one another so that every sheep would be frightened by such a
gruesome sight. Then, when it was time for the last sheep to be
slaughtered, it would have been so terrified by that point that its fat
would not congeal.  

But Emperor Taizong could not bear the thought of killing sheep that
way. He therefore ordered that the making of such medicine be stopped.
He also rewarded Hao Chujun for his erudition.

From the book Chaoyeqianzai written in the Tang dynasty

Translated from: http://www.zhengjian.org/zj/articles/2007/7/11/44764.html

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