Qi Jing-Gong and Yan Ying

Qi Jing-Gong, the monarch of Qi State in the later days of the Spring-Autumn Period, was a statesman of great achievement. He was a romantic person and liked travel. He was on the throne in 58 years, and reversed the unfavorable situation of contending against Jin State and gained the upper hand. Through wise summit diplomacy, material assistance and beautiful women, the monarchs of many states including some allies of Jin State became the allies of Qi Jing-Gong.

Liangqiu Ju, a minister of Qi Jing-Gong, always catered to Jing-Gong. Jing-Gong said approvingly, “Is only Ju harmonious with me?” Yan Ying, the prime misiter of Jing-Gong, said, “Ju only can be called to be the same, how can he be harmonious?” Jing-Gong asked, “Are harmony and sameness different?” Yan Ying said, “They are different. Harmony is as a thick soup. A chef cooks it by different seasonings and methods, adds lacks and removes superfluities. A gentleman eats it for moderating his heart. A monarch and his ministers are as so. If a monarch thinks a thing will be successful but it is possible to be unsuccessful, ministers should tell him the unfavorable situation in order to make him successful. If a monarch doesn’t think a thing will be successful but it is possible to be successful, ministers should tell him the successful possibility in order to dispel the monarch’s doubt. Then the political affairs can be treated moderately, and people have no disputes. Former kings tasted five flavors and appreciate five tunes for moderating their heart and accomplishing their political ideal. A gentleman listens to different harmonious tunes, so his heart can be moderated. The heart is moderated, and then he has harmonious virtue. But now Ju is not as so. Monarch says ok, and he also says ok. Monarch says no, and he also says no. If water is added to water, then who can eat it? If all tunes are the same, who can listen to it? So the abuses of sameness can be known by us.”

Qi Jing-Gong and Yan Ying drank cheerfully, and Jing-Gong suddenly sighed, “If a person will never die, how happy he is!” Yan Ying said, “If a person will never die, this is the happiness of ancient persons, and how can you get it? Originally Shuangjiu lived here, and later Jice, Pang Boling and Pugu lived here one after another. At last Tai-Gong came here. If a person never dies, it would be the happiness of Shuangjiu, not your expectancy.”

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