Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Bit by Bit - Chapter 4, Part 5

Trey Smith


"In ancient times Chieh put Kuan Lung-feng to death and Chou put Prince Pi Kan to death. Both Kuan Lung-feng and Prince Pi Kan were scrupulous in their conduct, bent down to comfort and aid the common people, and used their positions as ministers to oppose their superiors. Therefore their rulers, Chieh and Chou, utilized their scrupulous conduct as a means to trap them, for they were too fond of good fame.
~ Burton Watson translation ~
In all honesty, this short tale doesn't make much sense to me! To be scrupulous means to be principled and, if one of your principles is to help the people, then fame wouldn't really be an enticement.

It might be one thing IF the ministers were helping others simply to advance their own political careers, but if this were true, scrupulous is not the adjective I would employ to describe their behavior.

To view the Index page for this series, go here.

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