PureInsight | November 14, 2008
[PureInsight.org] In Chinese history, Cheng Tang was the first emperor of the Shang Dynasty (1766 B.C.-1122 B.C.). Shang was an ancient tribe whose founder, Qi Da, lived at the same time as Xia Yu (Yu the Great). From 1700 or 1600 B.C., the Shang tribe grew stronger. When Xia Jie, Emperor of Xia and a typical tyrant, became very unpopular, Tang initiated wars against the Xia Dynasty and swept away the Xia armies in one final victory in 1600 B.C. Tang, also known as Cheng Tang, thus established the Shang Dynasty with the capital at Bo. Later, in 1300 B.C., the Emperor of Shang, Pan Geng, relocated the capital to Yin. The Shang Dynasty fell during the reign of the tyrant Shang Zhou. Lasting for a total of over 270 years, that dynasty is generally called the Yin Dynasty. The whole era lasted over 500 years, and later, it was called the Shangyin or Yinshang Dynasty.
Below is a story about how Tang's virtue benefited not only people but also animals.
One day when Tang was out, he saw a few people stretch out a large net in the countryside. They prayed, “I wish for those animals from the sky, from the earth, and from all four cardinal directions to come into our net.” Tang heard this and said, “They want to capture all the animals!” Tang asked these people to remove the net from three sides of their trap and asked them to pray, “The animals who want to leave from the left, go out the left side, and those who want to leave from the right, go out the right side. Only those animals who do not follow my orders will be captured in the net.” All the feudal lords heard about this and said, “Tang’s virtue even extends to the animals.”
Tang, assisted by a good prime minister named Yi Yi, revered Heaven, and ruled with benevolence, and he always put the people's interests first. He was highly respected and loved by the people. The above story about Tang’s prayer regarding the net fully illustrated to his people his kindness and virtue as a ruler. He set a good example and everyone in the society followed him. We can imagine that the people of his era must have paid close attention to virtue and the entire society must have been kind, honest, and joyful.
Translated from: http://www.zhengjian.org/zj/articles/2007/9/11/47963.html