Chinese Idiom Stories
Doing It Right
King Hui of Yi once asked Bo Pi, "What remarks have the people made about me?"
"I've heard people saying that you're merciful and generous," Bo Pi replied.
"Where will this lead me? How far will my achievements go?" asked the King, rejoicing over the people's praise.
"Your achievements will only result in the state's destruction!" Bo Pi replied bluntly.
The King, however, was too thrilled to be offended by Bo Pi's comment.
"Aren't mercy and generosity vitues to be practised?" asked the King, looking puzzled. "Why would these lead to destruction?"
"Mercy means sympathy, and generosity means giving freely," Bo Pi explained. "Being merciful, you'll pardon those who do wrong, and being gernerous you'll reward even those who do not deserve it.
"When the offenders of the law get off scot-free and the undeserved get rewards, it goes without saying that the state is heading toward destruction."