同道异功

During the Spring and Autumn Period, a Shi family in the State of Lu had two sons. One of them studied liberal arts and the other martial1 arts.

 

The son who studied liberal arts went to the State of Qi to advocate his doctrines3, which were well received by the Lord of Qi. The Lord appointed him Tai Fu (one of the three highest officials to teach several princes of the State of Lu.

 

The son who studied martial arts went to the State of Chu to tell the King of Chu his own military strategies. The King of Chu gladly asked him to stay to help administer military and political affairs.

 

The two sons of the Shi family achieved success and fame, brought honour to their ancestors, and the whole family enjoyed high position and enormous wealth.

 

The next-door family, the Meng family, also had two sons. They learned liberal arts and martial arts in the same way, but remained poor and frustrated4.

 

The Meng family was envious5 of the Shi family’s achievements, and visited them to ask about the ways of winning promotion6 and getting rich. The two sons of the Shi family told the Meng family their experiences as they were.

 

Thereupon, the son of the Meng family who studied liberal arts went to the State of Qin to advocate "benevolence7 and righteousness". At this, the King of Qin was very displeased8. He said: "Nowadays the feudal9 lords under the emperor are seeking hegemony and fighting one another. We should devote our efforts to farming and preparations for war. If we adopt your doctrines of benevolence and righteousness to govern our state, we will be on the way to destruction." Then he ordered to castrate the son of the Meng family and deport10 him from the State of Qin.

 

The other son of the Meng family who studied martial arts went to the State of Wei and talked at length with the Lord of Wei about the doctrine2 of strengthening the army. The Lord of Wei was very disgusted and said angrily: "Our state is small and weak, and situated11 in between several large states. We treat the large states with reverence12 and courtesy, and the small states with respect and care. This is the only correct strategy to keep peace and guarantee safety. If we follow what you said and mobilize the army for war, our state will be destroyed very soon. Today, if I let you go intact to other states to confuse and poison people's minds to wantonly engage in military aggression13, it will certainly put us in big danger." So he ordered to cut off both feet of the son of the Meng family and drive him back to the State of Lu.

 

When the two sons of the Meng family returned home, they and their father, all three of them, rushed to the Shi family to rebuke14 them.

 

After the Shi family learned about the situation, they said with a sigh of emotion: "Only those who understand the times will get along smoothly15 in life. Otherwise they will end up in tragic16failure. Though your sons have learned the same things as ours, the results are entirely17different from ours."

 

春秋时期,鲁国一户姓施的人家,有两个儿子,一个学文,一个学武。

 

学文的儿子用他自己的道理,打动了齐侯。齐侯任用他为太傅,负责教导几位鲁国公子。

 

学武的儿子到了楚国,向楚王讲述了自己的韬略,楚王高兴地请他留下来协助治理军事与政治。

 

施家二子功成名就,光宗耀祖,全家富贵。

 

施家的邻居孟家,也有两个儿子,也一样都练过文,习过武,但是一直穷愁潦倒。

 

孟家很羡慕施家的成就,就登门请教升官发财的方法。施家的两个儿子把经历如实地告诉了孟家。

 

于是,孟家学文的儿子跑到秦国,向秦王鼓吹“仁义”。秦王一听就非常生气,说:“如今诸侯称霸,武力相争,我们应该致力于农业和备战。如果采用你的那套仁义来治理我们的国家,就会走上灭亡的道路。”说罢,下令将他处以宫刑,赶出秦国。

 

孟家学武的儿子投奔卫国,向卫侯大谈强兵之道。卫侯非常反感,气愤地说:“我们是弱小的国家,又处在几个大国之间。对大国,我们恭敬礼貌;对小国,我们尊重爱护,这才是保持和平求得安全的正确策略。如果照你所说的去兴兵动武,那么我们卫国很快就会被灭亡。今天,如果让你全躯而归跑到其他国家,蛊惑人心,穷兵默武,一定会给我们造成很大的危险。”于是,下令砍掉他的脚,撵回鲁国。

 

孟家二子回到家里,父子三人又赶到施家,拍着胸膛责骂。

 

施家问清楚情况后,感慨地说:“凡是识时务的人,就能一帆风顺;反之,就会惨遭失败。您儿子虽然学习的东西跟我们一样,但是结果却和我们的完全相反。”

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