Stories from History: Cao Shen Follows What Is Good
[PureInsight.org] Because Cao
Shen had accumulated a great deal of merit from the battle ground, Liu
Bang, the founding emperor of Han dynasty, made him Prime Minister of
the Ji State.
Ji people were well-known for being competitive and egotistical. Cao
Shen knew that they were very difficult to manage. Therefore, he
invited more than one hundred wise elders to discuss how to keep the
state peaceful and prosperous. Unfortunately, everyone had an opinion
and Cao could not decide what to do. When he heard that Gai Gong
from Jiaoxi was very knowledgeable in Elder Huang doctrine, he invited
Gai Gong and sent generous gifts to show his sincerity. Gai Gong said,
"to manage a country, you need to meddle less and let people choose
their own way." Cao gave Gai the best quarters in the house so that he
could consult with Gai all the time. As a result, the State of Ji was
very peaceful for nine years.
When Prime Minister Xiao He died, Cao Shen took over his position. Cao
picked people with good moral character to replace officials who sought
fame and fortune and had fawning personalities. He followed Xiao He's
rules and principles and made no changes. As a result, he enjoyed a
simple life with plenty of leisure time.
One day Emperor Han Hui Di asked Cao, "I heard that you drink all day. How do you manage the kingdom's affairs that way?"
"I would ask Your Majesty to think about this. Comparing yourself with founding emperor Gao Zu, who is better?"
"Well, how dare I compare myself with Gao Zu?!"
"Would Your Majesty tell me, between Xiao He and me, who is more capable?"
"It seems to me that Xiao He was better."
"Absolutely. Since someone who had virtue and was well-respected made
the rules and put the entire kingdom in such a good shape, if we just
follow the rules and do not alter the principles, then the kingdom is
easy to manage and everyone can relax and enjoy life."
After hearing that, Hui Di had nothing more to say.
Cao Shen gave people an opportunity to breathe and recuperate, so everyone respected and admired him.
In our society, everyone thinks that he is more capable and competent.
When he is in a powerful position, the first thing he does is to make
new rules, change the existing conditions and call it improvement. In
reality, everyone should learn from Cao Shen and meddles less.
(From Historical Records)