Stories from Ancient China: Compassionate Tang Founded the Shang Dynasty

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China’s first dynasty, the Xia Dynasty, ruled for about 400 years, until 1675 B.C. The Shang became China’s second dynasty (1675 B.C. to 1035 B.C.).

Xia Jie, the last emperor of the Xia dynasty, was a well-known tyrant. He and his nobles brutally oppressed the people, built many palaces, and enjoyed a very dissolute and luxurious life.

Shang Tang prayed for rain with a pure heart and compassion. (Catherine Chang/The Epoch Times)

At that time, the Shang kingdom developed very quickly because of the practice of animal husbandry. Tang (also known as Shang Tang) was the king of the Shang kingdom.

One day Tang went out to hunt and saw a place overwhelmed by four nets cast by a man who prayed, “I wish that all animals from heaven and earth could come into my trap.”

Hearing this, Tang said to the man, "Look, according to your wish you would kill all animals!" He removed three nets and asked the man to change his prayer to: "Animals, if you want to go left or right, then just run. Those who are destined to be trapped by me, come into my trap."

This story soon quickly spread all over and everyone praised Tang for his high standard of virtue. They said, “Even animals are benefited by him. He is such a graceful, compassionate, and great sage. Tang obeys God’s will and has the support of the people.”

Many kingdoms yielded obedience to Tang who ascended the throne and established the Shang dynasty in 1675 B.C.

In the first five years of Tang’s reign, there were several droughts and all the rivers dried up. Tang ordered golden coins to be made and distributed to poor families who had been forced to sell their children. He intended for them to use this money to buy their children back. The droughts nonetheless continued.

Tang was very confused and sad. One day, he piously prayed and asked for God’s direction: "Is all this because I have issued an inappropriate decree? Have I caused people to suffer? Is bribery rife? Are villains gaining privileges by speaking ill? Is the palace too luxurious? Why is the drought so bad? I am willing to do whatever it takes to stop the drought."

A heavy rain started before his prayer was finished. People believed Tang’s pure heart and compassion for the people moved heaven and that his sincere spirit of sacrifice for people touched God.

The Shang dynasty established by Tang lasted for over 600 years and had 29 generations in total.

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