Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Filial Piety - His Filial Piety Moves Heaven and Earth (Stories from the tiles)

This story was set in the childhood of Shun, a mythical Chinese ruler. Shun's mother died when he was young so his father remarried and had another son with Shun's stepmother. Shun remained filial to his father, respected his stepmother and loved his half brother even though they tried to kill him. His filial piety moved the gods so they protected him from harm and made the animals help him in his daily farming chores. (source: Wikipedia)


It was during the period of reign of Emperor Yao. Under his rule, its citizens of China were both obedient and harmonious. Yao, however, had grown old, and decided to request his military and his ministers to select a wise and worthy successor, so that he could hand down the duty of ruling all of China to him. The Emperor's advisors told him, "There is a devoted filial son at Li Mountain named Shun. Although his family does not get along, he still treats them with a proper attitude of respect and affection. His father, Gu Sou, is unreasonable, and harsh. His step-mother  abuses and scolds her son. Shun's step-brother, Xiang, is arrogant and lazy. The ministers told the Emperor, "When his family scolds or beats him, he doesn't bear a grudge or strike back. He simply runs out into the fields where no one can see him and cries to himself. You can find this boy plowing the fields every day, and doing the planting and weeding. His father and brother never lend a hand. Shun's devotion to filial respect does, however, inspire the heavens and the earth to respond. The elephants come down from the mountains to plow the furrows for this young man; in the Spring you can see them line up and use their tusks to dig the earth. In the Summer the crows and magpies flock down to pull up the weeds with their beaks. Hearing about Shun's filial conduct inspired Emperor Yao to dispatch nine of his sons to assist Shun with the farming work. He instructed his daughters, named E Huang and Nü Ying to serve Shun as his wives. The Emperor put the young man through years of training and testing, and when he felt satisfied with his capabilities, he bestowed the throne of Emperor on him, and retired from the duties of ruling China. Under Shun's guidance, the people of China prospered.

A verse in his honor says,

Elephants in file plow the fields in spring.
Little birds in flocks come weed the summer grass.
Following Emperor Yau, he took the Dragon Throne.
His filial conduct touched the hearts of creatures under heaven.




The tiles can be seen from the tomb of Yeo Cheng Whay who passed away at the age of 18 on 5th July 1938 in Bukit Brown. 

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