This is part two of a three-part series; please see Part 1 and 3.
True character will thrive and shine through marriage in grueling circumstances and situations. Fu Ruojin, a poet of the Yuan Dynasty, wrote: “Newlyweds vow to grow old together, and the kindness and righteousness will last forever.”
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However, it is not easy because a person will undergo all kinds of temptations and tests in life, and it is precisely in this situation that a person’s true character is revealed.
For example, when Song Hong in the Han Dynasty faced similar choices, he left a famous quotation that has lasted through the ages.
A hundred days of gratitude and kindness
According to the Book of the Later Han Dynasty, there were records of Emperor Guangwu of the Eastern Han Dynasty. Emperor Guangwu had an older sister, Princess Huyang, whose husband had just passed away.
“You should never forget your poor and humble friends and never leave the wife you married when you were poor.”
Emperor Guangwu wanted to know her sister’s feelings, so he found an opportunity to discuss them with her officials.
Princess Huyang said: “Song Hong is imposing, talented, and virtuous, and no minister in the court can compare with him.” So Emperor Guangwu was prepared to act as the matchmaker between Princess Huyang and Song Hong.
One day, Emperor Guangwu asked Princess Huyang to sit behind a screen, and he then summoned Song Hong and said tentatively: “As the saying goes, when you are at high status, it is easy to make friends, and when you are rich, it is easy to get a wife; isn’t this human nature?”
That is to say, the friends you made and the wife you married when you were poor will be looked down upon by you when you become prosperous, and you even want to change your friends and wife.
Song Hong disagreed with this statement. He replied: “You should never forget your poor and humble friends and never leave the wife you married when you were poor.”
As soon as Emperor Guangwu heard these words, he knew he could not get Song Hong to marry his sister.
An old Chinese is saying: “A couple of one day is equivalent to a hundred days of gratitude and kindness, and a couple of one hundred days is as deep as the sea.”
This goes to say that even if the couple has only been together for one day, they have a hundred days of gratitude and kindness. For the couple who have been together for a longer time, the kindness between them is as deep as the sea.
So love is not just for showing in front of people; it represents a commitment, a responsibility, and an obligation.
Gratitude and kindness create destiny
Of course, there are also dishonest and unkind people in history. Let us look at such an example.
There was a man named Pei Zhang in Hedong, Shanxi Province. When he was young, he met an eminent monk named Tan Zhao. The renowned monk predicted that Pei Zhang’s status and fame would surpass his father’s. At that time, Pei Zhang’s father was a marshal.
Later, Pei Zhang married Ms. Li. Then, when he was in his forties, he went to Taiyuan to take up a job, abandoned his wife in his hometown, and went to find another love.
Ms. Li lamented over her sorrowful life. She then took up Buddhism, became a vegetarian, and recited Buddha’s name daily. But unfortunately, she died of depression at a young age.
Ten years later, Pei Zhang met the eminent monk Tan Zhao again. He asked the monk: “You predicted fifty years ago that I would be more prosperous than my father. So why haven’t you fulfilled anything?”
The monk replied that it was because Pei Zhang mistreated his wife in their marriage. He told Pei Zhang that his wife’s soul had complained to the Emperor of Heaven and he would be in great trouble.
A few days later, Pei Zhang was killed. Someone slit his throat.
Originally, Pei Zhang had a lot of blessings in his life. He should have been more noble and prosperous than his father. However, his fate changed because he mistreated his wife in their marriage. So not only were his blessings cut off, he had a terrible ending.
From another perspective, leaving aside the matter of karma, ask about a man that has abandoned his wife in their marriage. Is there anyone who would dare to marry him? Who can guarantee he won’t find someone younger and more beautiful after a few years?
Thus, love is unreliable, and gratitude and kindness are needed to make a marriage last.
Translated by Chua BC
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