聰 明 正 直
以 戒 作 師
為 將 不 殺
赤 誠 護 持
仁 心 仁 術
免 屠 城 池
改 變 命 運
壽 比 松 石
仁 義 禮 智 根 於 心
大 慈 平 等 親 其 親
建 功 立 業 培 福 慧
披 星 戴 月 掃 妖 氛
弔 民 伐 罪 濟 眾 苦
攻 城 陷 陣 保 物 人
為 將 若 能 皆 如 此
何 愁 百 姓 不 安 寧
Tsau Bin, who lived during the Northern Sung Dynasty, was a native of Ling Shou of Hepei province. His other name was Gwo Hwa. He was humane towards people and had fond regard for all creatures. Greatly skilled in military strategies, he assisted Emperor Tai (Zhu) of the Sung dynasty in restoring peace in China. He made a marked ontribution during the war and was consequently appointed the Duke of the State of Lu. When he first met Chen Poh (Shr Yi), the latter prophesied saying, "In your youth you will realize your aspirations. In the prime of your life, you will be a high ranking official. But, the conditions in your declining years will not be favorable. So, you must be cautious!"
He conquered Shu in the west but, instead of exterminating the entire city, he safeguarded the women and children. In the winters, he called off the renovation of homes lest he might hurt those creatures who were in hibernation. Later, he attacked the Southern Tang Dynasty and his troops besieged Jin Ling. Li Hou Ju (Yu) was in a dire situation. His territory had been usurped and his native land lost. Tsau Bin fell psychically ill. So he took leave from his administration. The generals came to enquire about his illness. Tsau Bin said, "My sickness cannot be treated by medication. On the day you seize the city, if my generals can earnestly make a vow not to needlessly kill a single person or pilfer anything then, my illness will be cured!" The generals lit the incense and swore to adhere to this military directive.
Hence, Li Yu and his ministers and people were spared. Owing to this tacit act of kindness, Tsau Bin's destiny changed. When he encountered Chen Syi Yu again, the latter was startled and remarked, "Your countenance has changed!" It is said that our physiognomy changes according to our mind.
At age sixty-nine, Tsau Bin passed away peacefully. The Emperor gave him the posthumous title, "Wu Hwei, Benevolence in Martial Strategy." Tsau Bin had nine sons who were distinguished generals and his grandsons were all officials of high standing.
A verse in praise says:
Intelligent, upright, and straight forward,
He took the precepts as his master.
As a general, he did not kill.
He earnestly preserved and upheld
Humane thoughts and humane strategy.
Preventing a city from being massacred
Brought a change in his destiny.
His lifespan can be compared to conifers and boulders.
Another verse says:
Humaneness, righteousness, propriety and wisdom
have their foundation in the mind
With great compassion and equality, he treated everyone as kin.
Establishing merit and setting his tasks,
he nourished blessings and wisdom,
Under the stars and moon, he swept away weird energies,
Consoling the people and punishing the corrupt,
he aided beings who were suffering.
Successfully raiding and seizing a city,
he safeguarded its people and creatures.
If all generals could follow his model
What worry that people will not abide in peace.