Hello, and Welcome to Ancient Tales of Wisdom on the SOH Network, I am your host Laura Market.
The Chinese forefathers believed that the “Tao” generated everything and endowed everything with virtue or (De). They respected the Tao, valued virtue, and promoted abiding by the heavenly law with virtue and running the country with virtue. In Chinese history, there were several famous governing parties, including the Wen and Jing administrations. Wen and Jing were father and son, who both became emperors during the Han Dynasty. Their administrations promoted kindness, and they governed the country with virtue. This government kept a peaceful and orderly world. This society was prosperous, and its citizens lived happily and led peaceful lives.
At the beginning of the Xihan Dynasty, due to years of turmoil and war at the end of the Qin Dynasty, the economy was impoverished, and starvation was everywhere since the farmers were unable to farm. When the Emperor Wen took the throne, he sent out many imperial edicts promoting farming and reducing, or even eliminating, taxes on the farmers. Emperor Jing inherited the policies of his father. Jing also sent out an imperial edict, stating, “Farming is the important base for all else. With regard to gold, silver, and jade jewelery, you cannot eat them if you are hungry or wear them if you are cold. They cannot compare with grains, corn, silk, and linen.” Emperor Jing also established schools on a large scale and taught etiquette, while instilling virtue and morality. The citizens were simple, honest, and advocated virtue.
Emperor Wen once said, “The citizens lived peacefully without invasion from outside or excessive taxation from within. They were able to farm and live prosperous lives.”
How did Emperor Wen administrate the country so well one might ask? Emperor Wen modeled himself on ancient sages and their virtues: such as be modest and strict with oneself, and be welcoming of different opinions. He wanted to learn from his mistakes. Whenever there was a poor harvest or a disaster, he would examine himself first and then ask his officials and citizens to point out the problems that existed in society. For example, in one imperial edict, he stated, “For several years the crop yield has been poor, plus disasters such as floods and droughts brought about epidemic illnesses. I am very concerned. Are there any policy mistakes within my administration? Was there anything there that disrupted the harmony among us, which may have disturbed the balance between heaven and earth? Did my officials do too many unnecessary things? Or was their salary excessive? Why was there a grain shortage? Whoever has good ideas, please share, please take the initiative and bring them forward.”
Looking back, one may admire Emperor Wen spirit of self-restraint and his steadfast belief in the relationship between heaven and earth.
Chinese citizens have believed in following the law of heaven since ancient times. Over the course of history, these benevolent leaders emphasized honor and justice, while encouraging different opinions, and they have aided and comforted citizens in times of need. People observed discipline, obeyed the law, and lived peaceful lives.
Thank you for tuning into SOH Network, I am Laura Market