Episode Two Betrayal
"The Tao has faded into oblivion!" Behind this saddest sigh of all times lies hidden a mystery of all times.
Why did the seemingly everlasting and promising Tao quietly fade into oblivion? Why did the once pious people suddenly become irreverent?
For the past two thousand and five hundred years, China has always been in the grip of periodic shocks like that of the miserable convulsions afflicting an epileptic. Yet, it has never occurred to the Chinese people that they should link this nightmare, from which they are yet to wake up, with a great break-up that occurred to the Tao once governing this Land of God and ponder over their relationship. Modern man, in his selfishness and hastiness through life, would by no means link this dazzling world of contention, hatred and carnal pleasure in which he indulges himself with the word "degeneration."
Alas, the Tao has after all faded and man has fallen.
Here in the oldest story of mankind lies the answer to this mystery of degeneration.
The serpent, also known as the ancient dragon, said to Eve: Did God really say, "You must not eat fruit from any tree in the garden of Eden?" The woman said to the serpent, "We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden," but God did say, "You must not eat fruit from the tree of knowledge, or you will surely die." The ancient dragon replied: "You will not surely die. When you eat it, your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." Hearing this, Eve saw that the fruit from the tree was tasty to the mouth and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom like God, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband. Thus, under the temptation of the ancient dragon, man betrayed God in order to be like Him.
The first thing man did after he left God is fratricide, i.e. Cain killing his brother Abel.
This sounds as if it were referring to China.
As recorded by Sima Qian, the famous ancient Chinese historian, Kings Yao, Shun and Yu appointed their successors on the basis of merits, rather than hereditary birth. However, when Yu passed his throne to Boyi, people would not follow the newly appointed ruler. Instead, they paid homage to Qi, Yu's son and shouted: We want our dear king's son! We want our dear king's son!
However, Qi, instead of revering Heaven on High, he desired its glories and waited for his opportunities. Legend has it that with two green snakes hanging on his ears, he rode on two giant dragons and three times he went to Heaven and stole the nine heavenly songs and nine eloquences from there and played them all for himself on high mountains.
This started the tradition of worshipping man and abandoning God, with father passing it to the son and eventually all over the country. They shielded themselves from Heaven, yet at the same time tried to vie with it for loftiness.
According to "Historical Records," Kong Jia, the 8th king of the Xia Dynasty, fell into debauchery and became sacrilegious. One day, up from the sky descended two giant dragons, one male, one female. Seeing this, Kong Jia was delighted and asked a man called Liu Lei to raise and domesticate the two celestial creatures. Later, when the female dragon died, Liu Lei made some dragon jam out of it and presented it to Kong Jia. However, to his surprise, the more Kong Jia ate it, the more he wanted it and the male dragon then mysteriously disappeared.
When the specter of the male dragon reappeared over this Land of God, the land had completely fallen to pieces.
This is the famous story of "a laughter bringing down a kingdom" that everybody is familiar with, but not everybody knows why.
King Zhou You had a favorite concubine named Bao Si who was a stunning beauty. Yet, what upset him a great deal was that she never smiled. One day, he lit up a beacon tower. Seeing this, the various feudal vassals hurried here with huge armies from all over the kingdom only to find there was not even a single solitary soul of the invading enemies. At this time, there came finally a faint smile shining across Bao Si's face. From then on, King You would light up the beacon tower from time to time just to amuse Bao Si and it so happened that Bao Si really often smiled. However, in the meantime, the beacon bonfire lost its creditibility as an alarm for the invading armies. When at last Shen Hou really invaded, beacon bonfires were lit up everywhere, yet no one came to the rescue and King Zhou You was finally killed at a foothill. From then on, China was divided among the feudal vassals and thus started the first, perhaps also the last internal slaughter among the descendants of Kings Yan and Huang lasting five centuries.
Long before King You lost his kingdom, Court Historian Zhou had already read the historical records which said: When Xia Dynasty was in decline, two celestial dragons descended on the court and they wouldn't leave until King Xia displayed jade objects and silk fabrics, took saliva from the dragons and stored them in a wooden cabinet.
When this cabinet was passed from Shang Dynasty to Zhou Dynasty, King Zhou Li opened it one day out of curiosity. Unexpectedly, the saliva of the dragon flowed out everywhere like a black paint and couldn't be cleaned away. When the king asked naked maids from the imperial palace to yell at the dragon's saliva, it turned into black lizards milling around and around the court. When one of them touched a lady-in-waiting from the rear palace, she mysteriously got pregnant. After a baby girl was born to her, she hastily threw it away who was then picked up by a couple from the Kingdom Bao. This girl eventually grew up to be a stunning beauty and was offered to the court. Her name was Bao Si, the girl who eventually brought down the kingdom.
At this, Court Historian Zhou closed the book with a long sigh: the damage is done and there's nothing we can do about it.
Even Sima Qian, a serious historian, gave a vivid and truthful description of the dragon. Who could have overlooked a touch of God's will and his hard work in this?
In any case, these were a series of breath-taking and mysterious events: the starting point of unpiety in the age of piety was a king's trips to Heaven on a dragon and his theft of the heavenly glory. The widespread unpiety in the age of piety occurred when the heavenly dragon descended into the body of a king. Finally, the total collapse of the age of piety occurred when the bastard daughter of the dragon beguiled a king.
The story did not end there, though. History has left a more puzzling foreshadowing: where is that male dragon that hid itself in anger? What vengeance has it taken upon the sons and daughters of this Land of God?
Lo! Isn't that faint smile of Bao Si just a joke and a mock on the whole Chinese nation? This creature that blasphemed against God and lay waste in the world of man and that was deemed as an ill omen somehow obtained a supreme position in this Land of God and became an idol to whom everybody bowed in awe. "True dragon" became an inalienable part of "son of Heaven," the title the successive kings gave to themselves. These "true dragons" thus replaced God and people of all social strata, from prime ministers to the commoners, unconditionally endured with resignation and feared the devouring and devastation of the "true dragons." At the same time, they also eagerly expected just as they do to the first spring rains advent of the grandeur of "dragon's benevolence" and the pleasantness of "dragon's complexion."
When did this Land of God fall a victim into the hand of the evil dragon? When did we embrace the tradition of the dragon?
Su Xiaokang Interview
The traffic accident took place in 1993. I woke from a coma of seven days and seven nights to face this reality. My wife Fu Li was then completely in coma, which lasted for about a month. When I woke up from the coma, facing such a tragic accident, I thought of many things. One of them was a dragon. It may sound ridiculous. Before the accident, we had just visited Niagra Fall. I had visited Niagra Fall at Buffalo before, we both had visited it before. This time we went to see it again, and we took a boat to see the bottom of the
Fall, under the overwhelming waves of water. When I woke up, I suddenly remembered that while I was on the boat, I suddenly hit upon an idea. I wondered if there was a very deep pond beneath the water and if there was a dragon who came from the east. That scene caused you to think of such a thought. I am after all a Chinese and it is natural for me to have such a horrible fear. I even thought of that Li was a dragon in the Chinese zodiac. Now she came down here on a boat, would it bring her bad luck? When I woke up and found her in coma, I was trying to find a causal explanation for the accident. I was wondering if it was caused by the dragon? Why should it take revenge on Li, my wife? Because I have cursed the dragon in my work “The River Elegy”.
King You and Bao Si, in partnership with the evil of man and the power and influence of the dragon, ended the age of piety in China.
Once man loses his piety, his soul ran wild like a mustang breaking loose of the rein, trampling and dashing along its path. All of a sudden, there appeared in the Land of God over a hundred kingdoms that fought each other nine out of ten years and the land was littered with corpses.
Behind the clattering swords and clanking spears lay cunning treacheries. Wisdom adopted conspiracy as brother; and virtues devoted themselves in being housemaids for the material gains. Even those holy words as "Heaven on High" and "the ancient Tao" became toys in the palms of the evil men.
Lo! The ancient Book of Shang is totally a different book. It promotes the Tao and a strong sense of justice, while the History According to Zuo Qiuming is full of bloody evils.
Contrary to the refreshing fragrance of the three hundred pure and innocent poems in Classic Poems, Strategies of Warring States is full of cunning treacheries and evil of hearts.
People competed with each other for power and influence, each trying to outwit the other in doing so. Sons were killing fathers; fathers killing sons, brothers slaughtering brothers and wives slaughtering their husbands.
Once, King Qiheng said to Yiya: "The food you make is so delicious, yet the only pity is that I've never tasted steamed babies cooked by you." The next day, Yiya steamed his own son and offered it to King Qiheng. Another similar story goes like this: When Shu Diao, a high-ranking minister, learned that King Qiheng worried about the chastity in the rear palace, he castrated himself without a second thought and went to wait there. --- In this brave Shu Diao may lie the progenitor of thousands of thousands of eunuchs after him. However, when King Qiheng became seriously ill and asked for something to eat, he was told by the court maid that there was nothing to eat. When he asked for water, the answer was also negative. Then he asked why, the court maid replied: Yiya and Shu Diao have rebelled against you and blockaded the imperial palace. Nothing can come in. In the 67 days after King Qiheng died, no one was aware of it until his body decomposed and maggots were all over the palace.
When the Tao is lost, the heart of the man can be as brutal and despicable as it can possibly be.
A prince in the country of Wu asked Fu Shezhu to assassinate his father the king and promised him he will take care of his old mother and his young son. After the assassination, the prince did keep his promise and supported Fu's whole family. Thus people after him praised the prince as a man of his word and faith.
Oh, my fellow countrymen! In the past 2,500 years, can you ever find any faith that you sing hymns and praises to and that is not related to mutual slaughtering?
After Goujian, King of Yue, killed the father of Fuchai, Fuchai asked a person to stand in the yard every day so that whenever he came in or went out, the person would yell at him: "Fuchai, have you forgot that King of Yue murdered you father?" He then would answer: "I dare not forget!" In the third year, Fuchai defeated King of Yue and avenged his father. In turn, with an astounding will, King of Yue, endured great hardships and humiliation, retreated with a sole purpose to advance, until he killed Fuchai by himself.
The drama "The Orphan of China" has brought tears from generation after generation of the Chinese people. Yet, so many people have sacrificed their lives for the sake of righteousness, died a martyr for a noble cause and even sacrificed their loved sons to save this orphan of Family Zhao. Yet, their only expectation on him is that when he grows up he can take the revenge!
For the famous Wu Zixu, hatred even made him open up his enemy's grave, take out his body and whip it endlessly!
Oh, my fellow Chinese! Should we feel proud of this undying spirit of revanchism or should we mourn over it? Hatred, where did your venom come from? You made the sons and daughters of this Land of God bear hatred for each other, kill each other and then regard the hatred and killing as justice, loyalty, virtue and bravery. Oh, merciful God!
Before King Jinwen attacked his neighboring kingdom, he trained his people for two years. Then Huyan advised: "They are not sufficiently trained yet. Your people still don't know moral principles." Hearing this, King Jinwen practiced moral principles all over his land. Huyan then advised again: "Your people still don't possess creditability." Hearing this, King Jinwen proceeded to practice creditability all over his land. Then Huyan said: "Again, they are not ready yet. Your people have not learned etiquettes." Then King Jinwen practiced etiquettes everywhere. After all these preparations, Jinwen led his people to attack and in no time he was the Lord of the whole known land. About it Confucius said with a sigh: This is the result of moral education!
Interestingly, cases like these never go alone. Mencius once advised King Qiyuan: I understand you want to rule the world. Then you should first adopt a policy of benevolence with which to attract popular support from all over the land. Once you have the popular support, who dares then to fight you? Oh, my king! If you want to rule the whole land, why don't you start from the very foundations?
Morality and benevolence have thus blatantly become the tools for land conquest and autocratic dictatorship. My Land of God, even today you still hold as a self-evident truth that morality has class preference, and is relative, and that it has utility and is a tool for ruling the country. At the same time you hate and slaughter each other, you are also hating and slaughtering the holy, supreme and glorious nature of morality. You use man's utility to replace the justice of Heaven. You are committing immoral acts in the name of morality; you brew evil with the people's kindness and sacrifice people's lives to build up the rulers' fame and ambition!
Oh, China! Since you have discarded the wideness, brightness and integrity of Heaven, how can you not fall into the abyss of narrowness, darkness and deceit?
Without their knowing it, evil has creeped into the very marrow of every Chinese.
There was a man named Su Qin. In order to achieve personal prominence, he studied Jiang Tai Gong's "Dark Amulet" so hard that he hung his hair on the ceiling and from time to time sting his bone to keep himself awake. He first offered King of Qin a strategy to conquer and rule the whole known world. As soon as his strategy was turned down, he went to the other six kingdoms in an attempt to convince them how to defeat Qin and his advice was accepted and he also became the prime minister. He was thus later referred to in history as a master of shuttling loyalty.
What a precocious wisdom in shuttling! When he was unable to help the Kingdom of Qin conquer the other six kingdoms, he then shifted to help the other six kingdoms defeat Kingdom of Qin, all merely for the fame of it. What a classic epitomy of the Chinese proverb that says: whoever can breast-feed me is my beloved mother!
After more than 300 years of mutual slaughter and conspiracy, only 7 powerful kingdoms---Qin, Chu, Yan, Han, Zhao, Wei and Qi were left out of the original more than a hundred kingdoms.
Another 200 years of more ferocious carnage and more cunning conspiracy reduced the 7 powerful kingdoms to one tyrant nation: The State of Qin under Qin Shi Huang.
Qin Shi Huang: my humble self has brought the 6 kingdoms to their knees. Now that I've conquered the world which is now at peace and it cannot sing hymns to my accomplishment without having its name changed.
Li Si: Your Majesty's accomplishment is unprecedented in history. It well surpasses the combined accomplishment of the Five Kings. The learned men have discussed it and have concluded thus: In ancient times, there were King of Heaven, King of Earth and King of Tai, with King of Tai being the most honorable. We the subjects of Your Majesty risk their lives to present you with this title of Tai. Please accept this title.
Qin Shi Huang: Get rid of the word Tai, leave the character Huang (part of the word for 'emperor') intact and add Di (part of the word for 'God'). Combine them to form the word emperor. I'm the omnipotent emperor.
I'm the Emperor! I'm the First Emperor in China! My posterity will be Emperor the Second, the Third, till the end of time, till infinity!
From then on, the rightful fame, the power and the glory belonging to God in Heaven were usurped and taken away by the earthly kings and emperors as their own.
From then on, the filial sons of God in Heaven became unfilial. Unbridleness has replaced piety and utilitarianism has replaced the public interests.
From then on, the Land of God was no longer the true land of God.
However, man was still man. In his fear for the demise of his dynasty, he unified the written languages and standardized weights and measures. He divided territories into provinces governed by emperor-appointed bureaucrats, burned the Confucian books and buried alive the Confucian scholars. However, despite all of these measures, his dynasty collapsed in less than two generations.
In his fear for death, he sent out thousands of virgin boys and girls again and again to look for elixir that would promise him an immortal life. However, despite all of these, his life came to an end before he turned 50.
Poet Li Bai sings in one of his poems about this:
Emperor Qin Shi Huang defeated the six kingdoms, what a powerful nation it is!
Desperately looking for an immortal elixir, but sadly he failed to find it.
For Qin girls sent out overseas led by Xu Fu, when will they come back?
Below there in the nether regions, the gold coffin is already buried with cold ashes.
Everything is this clear: Qin Shi Huang proved itself to be the peak in the 500 years of the Spring and Autumn Period and Warring States Period, a peak in man's power and will. It was also, at the same time, a peak in man's insignificance and his pitifulness; while it was the peak of man's fame and accomplishment, it was also the peak of man's evil and ugliness; while it was the peak of man's unbridled defiance against the Tao, it also represented the peak where man was crushed to pieces by Heaven.
The pity is that after the Chinese fell from this peak of treachery, they still have not returned to the path traveled by their pieous ancestors. Instead, they have been indulging themselves for the past two thousand years in the jam of human flesh where they depend on each other, fight each other and govern each other.
The Tao has faded into oblivion, but the sin of man is like torrents of Yellow River raging through a dam.
The heavenly father is no longer there. His sons and daughters have become strangers to each other, each trying to outwit the other in a desperate struggle to survive and to become man of men and king of kings.
Emperors have replaced God and the authority of powerful people replaced the power of Heaven.
The evilish dragon has achieved its goal and now we have dragon gown, dragon chair, dragon scepter, dragon complexion, dragon benevolence and dragon authority. The ancient dragon hoisted man high above and secretly put him on the throne of the supreme God.
However, man is after all a man and the absolute power of the man led to absolute corruption and the sin of the man brought suffering and misery of the entire nation.
The Land of God has lost God and eventually became a land of man: Ah, the land of man that regards man as God, eventually became a land of misery, a land where there is a dictatorship intolerant of liberty or equality, where people fight each other endlessly with no sense of universal love or forgiveness.