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When An Elderly Man Falls In China

On 26th Nov. 2013, an elderly man fell while crossing the street in Jinghua, China.

A few passersby stopped their bikes and formed a circle to prevent other riders hitting the man. The man tried to stand up by himself, but failed. People stood around looking at each other, but no one dared to help the old man stand up. They called police and ambulance, and after examination. it was found that the elderly man had no serious injuries.

Some Chinese are loath to give assistance because of incidents like the one below:

Earlier this month, two high school students helped an elderly man up from his fallen bicycle, but the man accused the two students of knocking him down and demanded they pay for his medical expenses. The parents of the students paid 1200 yuan ($200). These two students then posted an online request for witnesses. A shop owner and some customers who saw the fall went to the police to give evidence. The old man had to return the money to the two students.

Teachings From Mencius PDF Print E-mail
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Mencius was a Chinese philosopher and sage, and one of the principal interpreters of Confucianism.

He thought that a person should first of all, follow good advice and do good deeds, and the same with governing a country.  The Emperor of a country should widely accept advice and follow others’ good suggestions and good examples.  The good advice and suggestions that Mencius referred to are those that abide by the Universal law and are beneficial to the people and country.

It was said that the monarch of Chu planned to appoint Le Zhengzi to govern the State of Lu, which made Mencius very happy. One of his disciples, Gongsun Chou asked him: “Master, why are you so happy about this news, do you think that Le Zhengzi is very experienced in governing a country?”

Mencius replied: “No, he isn’t.”

Gongsun asked: ”Then why are you so happy to hear this news?”

Mencius replied: “Because I know that Le Zhengzi will always accept good advice and will always do his best. “

Hear this, Gongsun asked “Do you think that being able to follow good advice and being responsible would be enough to govern the people?"

Mencius said: “With these two merits, one would be able to govern the Heaven and Earth, why can’t he govern the State of Lu? You should know, that if one wants to make friends with good people and follow and accept good advice, it will be very hard for evil people to surround him; however, if one refuses to follow good advice, even the really good people will keep away from him or her, and he will be surrounded by those bad and evil people, so it would be impossible for him to properly govern the country.  As an official, one should be brave enough to maintain justice, and defend right from wrong.  At the same time, if one cannot be responsible for his job, how can one be a good official, so these two points are very important. ” Here, Mencius was actually teaching that a gentleman should always be righteous, and know the reason behind the big picture, and the mission for a gentleman is promoting good deeds and good behaviours.

Once the State of Qin and the State of Chu were preparing for war and a philosopher, Song Keng (also known as Song Jian) wanted to persuade the monarchs of both states to give up the idea of battle, and it happened that he met Mencius on his way to the two states. Mencius asked Song:” How are you going to stop them?”

Song said: “I’m going to tell them that fighting would do no good for either of them.”

Mencius said: “Your motive is good; however, your way of persuasion is not good enough.”

He explained: “if you persuade the monarch of Qin with the thought of losing or gaining profit, the monarch of Qin would be happy if he could gain profit, so he might give up his decision to fight the battle; the army might also be happy to gain profit, they might also give up the decision to fight the war; the officials might serve the monarch with thoughts of loss or gain, and the son might serve his parents with the thought of loss or gain, and this might lead to all of them completely losing benevolence. However, a country without benevolence can not last long, so in the end their country would be defeated. However, if you persuade the monarch of Qi with benevolence, telling him that it is not right to fight with the state of Chu according to the Law of the Universe, then the monarch of Qin would stop the war because of benevolence. The army would stop fighting because of benevolence, the officials would serve the monarch with benevolence, and the son would serve his parents with benevolence. In this way the monarch and official, the father and son would completely forget profit, but treat each other with benevolence, and in this way they can subject the whole world. So, you know that benevolence itself will be able to solve the problem, and there will be no need for you to mention profit to the monarchs.”

Song nodded his head.

Mencius went on: “we should make them to realize that it is good for us to be benevolent, it’s a shame for us to merely consider profit. We should cherish benevolence and virtue, and being too much attached to profit will only do us harm. Actually, you should know that misfortune or good fortune all come from our own thoughts and deeds.”

 

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