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Chinese Idioms - 以人为镜

Posted by vann0000 February 9, 2009 in the Group General Discussion.

Tags: idiom, mirror, other, counsel, emperor, advice, leadership

Regard others as mirrors (以人为镜 yi ren wei jing)

In ancient China, there was an emperor of the Tang Dynasty called Li Shi Min. He was different from other emperors because he liked to listen to others' opinions.

He had a prime minister called Wei Zheng.

Whenever Li Shi Min made a mistake, Wei Zheng would tell him of this. Even in public, Wei Zheng would sometimes ask the emperor to reconsider a decision. The minister reminded the emperor to think about possible dangers in the future even when it was peace time.

Each time, the emperor would take Wei Zheng's advice into consideration and would try his best to act according to what Wei Zheng had suggested.

After Wei Zheng died, the emperor was deeply saddened. He spoke to his other ministers: "If one uses a copper plate as a mirror, one can see whether one's appearance is proper or not. If one uses history as a mirror, one can see why a nation stays strong or dies out. If one uses another person as a mirror, one can see whether his own actions are right or wrong. Now that Wei Zheng is dead, I have lost my most precious mirror."

From this story, we can see that the emperor regarded Wei Zheng as a mirror to judge whether his own actions were right or wrong. So from this, the idiom "Regard others as mirrors" developed.

以人为镜(yǐ rén wéi jìng)

在中国的历史上,有一位唐朝的皇帝叫李世民(lǐ shì mín),和其他中国古代皇帝不同的是,他喜欢听各种不同的意见.

他有一个大臣(dà chén)叫魏征(wèi zhēng).

不管什么时候,只要李世民有不对的地方,魏征就会提出来,有时甚至当着众人的面给他提意见,要他重新考虑,居安思危(jū ān sī wēi).

每一次,李世民都认真思考魏征所提的意见并尽量采纳(cǎi nà),按照魏征的说法约束自己的言行,妥善(tuǒ shàn)处理国家的事务.

魏征去世后,李世民很难过,曾深有感触地对朝中(朝廷中)大臣说:"一个人用铜作镜子,可以照见衣帽是不是穿戴(chuān dài)整齐(zhěng qí);以历史为镜子,可以知道一个国家存在和灭亡(miè wáng)的原因;以人为镜子,可以知道自己做得对还是不对.*



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