The Virtue of Tolerance

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During the short dynasties of the Eastern Wei and Northern Qi (534-577), the political climate was volatile because of hostilities between the Xianbei, a sizeable nomadic Mongolian tribe, and the Hans. The dynastic transition was also a time of transition from the Xianbei Culture to the Han Culture in northern China.

Cui Lo was appointed the deputy prime minister, and was highly regarded and respected by Emperor Shizong.

Cui liked to promote talent. He recommended Xing Shao to the Emperor as staff in the prime minister’s office, and also as head of covert operations. Because of Cui’s recommendation, Xing was recruited. Xing later won the Emperor’s trust and high regard.

Being head of covert operations, Xing had the opportunity to spend time with the Emperor. During their conversations, Xing frequently disparaged Cui, which upset the Emperor.

One day, Shizong told Cui, “You always praised Xing’s merits, but Xing only mentioned your shortcomings. You’ve got to be an idiot!”

Cui replied unassumingly, “Xing talks about my shortcomings and I talk about his merits. We are both stating the facts and there is nothing wrong with it.”

Cui was tolerant with others and strict with himself. He not only affirmed the strengths of others, tolerant of their shortcomings, but was also able to confront his own.

As the old saying goes, “Tolerance is magnanimous, freedom from desires is strength.” Tolerance requires great bearing, and breadth of mind, and those who embrace it live in a realm of altruism and benevolence.

Source: History of North Qi (Bei Qi Shu)

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