《双语园地》Stories of Tolerance (Part 2) 「其待人也轻以约」──宽容的故事(二)

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General and Prime Minister in Harmony

In the Warring States Period, Lin Xiangru was an envoy from the State of Zhao to the State of Qin who was able to “return the jade annulus to Zhao.” His performance eventually earned him the post of prime minister, a position above that of General Lian Po. Lian Po did not agree and said publicly, “I am a great general of the Zhao, and I earned my status by conquering many cities. Lin Xiangru got a higher position just by talking. I feel ashamed. I shall embarrass him when I see him.” Hearing what Lian Po said, Lin Xiangru tried to be tolerant and avoid a confrontation, including steering clear of Lian Po’s entourage when he saw them coming.

将相和
战国时期,赵国文臣蔺相如因为出使秦国不辱使命,「完璧归赵」,功劳卓著而被封为上卿,位在武将廉颇之上。廉颇对此很不服气,扬言说:「我是赵国的大将,有攻城野战之大功,而蔺相如只凭言词立下功劳,他的职位却在我之上。我感到羞耻,遇见他时,一定要羞辱他。」蔺相如得知后,尽量回避、容让,不肯和他碰面。有一次乘车出行,远远地看见廉颇的车队,马上叫御者把自己的车子转入横巷,等廉颇的车子过了之后才出来,不与其发生冲突。

Lin Xiangru’s squires mistakenly thought that Lin was afraid of Lian Po. They told him, “We came to serve you because of your sublime virtue and morality. Although your position is higher, you are afraid of him and try to avoid him. Even an ordinary person would be ashamed to do that. Please grant us our leave.”

Lin Xiangru firmly asked them to stay and said, “Which person do you think is more powerful: Lian Po or the King of Qin?” “The King of the State of Qin, of course,” answered his squires, as the State of Qin was the most powerful at the time. Lin Xiangru then said, “I dared to argue with the King of Qin and scold him. Even though my abilities are limited, why would I be afraid of General Lian? The reason the State of Qin has not dared to invade us is because of General Lian and I. Two tigers cannot co-exist if they fight. I tolerate his behavior and defer to him because I place the welfare of the nation over my own personal pride.” Hearing what Lin said, Lian Po came to apologize to him, with thorns wrapped around his bare back, saying, “I am only a rough brute. I did not expect you to be so tolerant of me!” All resentment between them disappeared, and they became close friends.

Being able to correct one’s mistakes has been considered a virtue since ancient times. The people praised General Lian Po because he could sincerely repent and mend his ways. Lin Xiangru’s tolerant attitude during conflict and placing the nation’s interests above his personal pride is the righteous demeanor of a gentleman that people in future generations modeled after.

蔺相如的门客以为他畏惧廉颇,于是一齐说道:「我们因为仰慕您高尚的品德节义特来投奔您。现在您与廉颇职位相同,却躲避他怕他,就是普通人对这种情况也感到羞耻,更何况是将相呢!我们没有才能,请允许我们告辞离开吧!」蔺相如坚决挽留他们,说:「你们看廉将军与秦王相比哪个厉害?」门客回答说:「廉将军不如秦王厉害。」蔺相如说:「以秦王那样的威势,我蔺相如却敢在秦国的朝廷上讲道理,呵斥他。相如虽然才能低下,难道害怕廉将军吗?但是我想到,强大的秦国之所以不敢侵略我们赵国,只是因为有我们两个人在啊!现在如果两虎相斗,势必不能共存。我对廉将军容忍、退让,是把国家的危难放在前面首先考虑的啊! 」廉颇知道这话后,就赤着背,背负着荆条,由宾客引导到蔺相如家的门前请罪,说:「我是个粗陋卑贱的,想不到您宽容我到这样的地步啊!」从此二人前嫌尽释,比肩事主,成为生死与共的朋友。这也是「负荆请罪」典故的由来。

自古以来,知错能改是一种品德,廉颇将军能够幡然悔悟,「负荆请罪」,则更是出于至诚了,受到人们的称赞。而蔺相如在与廉颇的矛盾冲突过程中采取了忍让、求同的态度,以国家利益为重,置个人荣辱于度外,他的道义至上的君子风度更是后世效法的楷模。 (《史记》).

 

By Hui Zhi

阿里郞离子水龙头

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