The Virtue of Forgiveness and Generosity

In Culture, Editor Choice, Stories
"The Lady's tears" Flower represents Forgiveness and The Return of Happiness
"The Lady's tears" Flower represents Forgiveness and The Return of Happiness

As a proverb goes: “No one is perfect. Everyone makes mistakes.” Even people known for outstanding merits are not immune to making mistakes. Thus, it is perplexing if someone cannot tolerate others’ mistakes.

If a person always blames everyone else but himself whenever there is a dispute, he will make enemies. It is almost impossible to win friends if one lacks the virtues of forgiveness and generosity. And others are less likely to forgive or be generous towards you in turn.

Several notables in the Tang Dynasty of China (618 – 907 AD) resolved grudges with generosity, as in the story of Du Chuke.

Repaying Hatred with Forgiveness

Du Chuke served in Wang Shichong’s army with his uncle Du Yan. His prospects for promotion were low, as Wang, who had risen to prominence after deposing the last emperor of the Sui Dynasty (581 – 618 AD), was besieged by the Tang armies on the west.

His uncle Du Yan hated Du Chuke and his brothers. His eldest brother was killed at Wang Shichong’s order, because Du Yan hated him. Du Chuke himself was thrown into prison, where he almost starved to death. However, he did not harbor any grudge against his uncle.

After the Tang general Li Shimin (598 – 649 AD) defeated Wang Shichong, Du Yan faced execution for serving Wang Shichong.

Du Chuke’s other elder brother, Du Ruhui, was a senior adviser to Li Shimin. Du Chuke went to see his brother and begged him, with tears in his eyes, to save their uncle’s life. At first Du Ruhui refused.

“Our uncle already had our eldest brother killed,” said Du Chuke. “If you kill him, that will hasten the end of our family line. That is so sad.”

Du Ruhui was moved. He let go of his resentment and repaid their uncle’s hatred with generosity. At Du Ruhui’s request, Li Shimin spared Du Yan’s life.

Unfairly Blamed for Disharmony

After his release, Du Yan was about to join the camp of Prince Li Jiancheng, who was Li Shimin’s eldest brother and his opponent. Fang Xuanling, a top adviser to Li Shimin, worried about the threat Li Jiancheng would pose if he recruited Du Yan. Fang suggested that Li Shimin assign Du Yan to a position where his talents could be put to good use.

In the year 625, a rebellion broke out. After it was suppressed, the rebels confessed they were following orders from Prince Li Jiancheng, but they blamed Du Yan for instigating disharmony between Li Shimin and Prince Li Jiancheng. Li Shimin was aware that Du Yan was innocent and rewarded him with 300 ounces of gold.

After Li Shimin took office as Emperor Taizong of Tang in 626, he appointed Du Yan as minister in charge of the entire hierarchy of government officials. Over 40 officials were promoted to serve in the imperial court at the recommendation of Du Yan, and many of them excelled in serving the country.

A Life Spared

After saving his uncle’s life, Du Chuke lived as a hermit in the Song mountains in today’s Henan Province, hundreds of miles east of the Tang capital. He returned to serve in the imperial court in 630, where he rose to the rank of minister.

Du Chuke was caught bribing officials of the imperial court on behalf of Emperor Taizong’s fourth son, which was seen as disrupting the succession of the imperial reign that Emperor Taizong had already planned.

When Taizong learned about Du Chuke’s role, he kept it to himself. He announced Du Chuke’s involvement when the crime came to light, but he spared his life. Then he assigned Du Chuke to the position of county commissioner, so he could make up for his transgressions by serving the country.

Thus Du Chuke, who had treated his uncle fairly in the past, was in the end rewarded in kind.

This was how people of diverse backgrounds in the Tang Dynasty remedied grudges – by granting forgiveness and tolerating others’ mistakes. This is how the Tang Dynasty flourished during the reign of Emperor Taizong.

(Adapted from the Old Book of Tang, Biography Volume 16)



You may also read!

Smoke rises from the town of Abu Saif after air strikes hit Islamic State militant positions, Monday, Feb. 20, 2017. Iraqi federal police units continued their advance towards western Mosul on Monday, battling Islamic State militants at a strategic hill south of the city's airport. (AP Photo/Bram Janssen)

US troops in Iraq operating closer to the front lines

Iraqi forces advanced Monday into the southern outskirts of Mosul on the second day of a push to drive


Super 8 is Super Great with Adrian Bliss

At the start of 2015 Adrian Bliss, famous YouTuber bought a Super 8 camera and a box of film. A


Mississippi ports eye Cuba, sign agreements in Havana

The Mississippi ports of Pascagoula and Gulfport signed agreements in Cuba on Monday (February 20) with an eye to


Portion of Sierra highway in California collapses

Authorities say a portion of Highway 50 in the Sierra is in danger of collapsing after the shoulder gave

(Shawn Thew-Pool/Getty Images)

Trump to roll back Obama’s climate, water rules with executive order

President Donald Trump will reportedly prepare executive orders to roll back some climate and pollution policies implemented during President


11 people walk through unmanned security checkpoint at JFK

Authorities are trying to find eight of 11 people who passed through an unattended security checkpoint lane at New



Mobile Sliding Menu