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《人物誌》

 

BIOGRAPHIES

王鳳儀篤行錄
True Stories About Wang Fengyi (Good Man Wang)

【第二章 傭工時期 】

Chapter Two: His Years As a Laborer

■  萬國道德會資料     From the International Virtue Society
■  天河水輯     Compiled by Heavenly River Water

十七、恪全悌道
從母親往生之後,王善人他們家兄弟四人,就分了家。因為只有四弟(樹永)還沒有成家(結婚),所以就和王善人住在一起。雖然是住在一起,可是房子、地等等,都已經平分好了,各人各人的。

王善人他怎麼樣去了母親的心事呢?又怎樣去幫助四弟呢?王善人說了:「我對他一切都很注意的,樹永給人扛活(做長工),所掙的錢,就由我放出去生息,我負完全的責任,譬如,我勸他要把積蓄的錢,去買牲口。在這中間要是得到利益,就完全給他所有;要是有啥損失的,就由我一人來負全部的責任。他的地呢?當然就由他自己來耕種。春耕的時候,我去替他扛活,換他回來耕他自己的地;夏天剷地和秋天收割,也是一樣都是我去替他扛活,換他回來自己做。還有很多的工,仍然還需要我來幫忙。」王善人有好幾年的時間,都是這樣幫忙四弟。

不到幾年的工夫,四弟也存了不少的錢,可是呢?因為他還在背地裡埋怨,所以親友們看不過去,都來對王善人說:「你對老四這麼的好,他還不知足,你就不要管他了!不要和他住在一起了!」雖然是這樣,王善人對親友說:「我只知道他是我媽最心疼的老兒子(老么)。對他,我一定這麼做,別的事我可都沒放在心上。」

法昭禪師曾說了一首偈頌:
同氣連枝各自榮,些言些語莫傷情;
一回相見一回老,能得幾時為弟兄。

兄弟同居忍便安,莫因毫末起爭端;
眼前生子又兄弟,留與兒孫作樣看。

對父母來說,兄弟本來就是一體,所以真正的孝子,也要對自己的兄弟很友愛。所以古人才把「兄弟」,比喻為「手足」,就是要彼此護持。「舜能化象」是一個很好的例子:象雖然對哥哥(舜)不仁不義,可是舜始終對弟弟(象)毫無嫌棄怨恨。

十八、立志改風俗
到過年的時候,王善人都很感慨,他說:「耍錢(賭錢)的風氣太壞,我就恨怨起過年來了。人們從春天下種,入了夏又得開始耕種,一直到秋天才有糧米可收成,等到冬天就可囤積收藏,這樣辛辛苦苦忙了一年,好不容易才把糧米收到家裡。所以一到了過年,無論男的、女的、老的、小的,家家戶戶都耍錢(賭錢)玩去,玩了幾天幾夜,也不想睡覺,也不想吃飯,把精氣神都浪費了,不能辦啥事,也把光陰耽誤了。甚至於還有把祖上的家產都給輸光了,在走頭無路的情況,就做起鬍子(土匪)來了。」

賭博,是傷風敗俗的最大原因,所謂「賭為盜源,淫為惡首。」王善人因為自己的兄弟,也有賭錢的習慣,感觸很深地說了:「好好的一個人,一耍(賭)上錢,就啥也不想做了,好人也便壞了。古人為啥留下過年呢?而現在的人,一到過年就把錢財給耗盡。」

王善人一想到這兒,心裡很難過,因此抬起頭,默默對天立志:「我一輩子也不耍錢(賭錢)!」所以每逢過年,即使是大年初一,王善人也不休息,繼續挑糞(因為在山上,所以用挑的)幹活(工作)。別人看見了就譏諷他:「你幹嘛這麼辛苦呢?」可是王善人卻說:「我是個窮苦人家,閒著就會生病,所以不得不做。」

→待續

17. Fulfilling the Brotherly Duty

After their mother died, the four brothers of Good Man Wang divided up the family estate and lived separately. Since only the fourth brother, Shuyong, had not married yet, he lived with Good Man Wang. Though they lived together, the properties, houses and land were all evenly divided up. Each had his own share.

How did Good Man Wang take care of the matters that his mother had worried about? And how did he help his fourth younger brother? Good Man Wang said, “I was paying careful attention to every aspect of his life. When Shuyong worked as a laborer for other people, I would take his wages and invest them. I took full responsibility. For instance, I advised him to use his savings to buy domestic animals. Any profit made in the transaction would go to him, while I would take full responsibility for any loss. As for his land, he would manage the planting and harvesting by himself, of course. When it was time to till the fields in the spring, I would go to his job in his place so that he could come home to till his own field. During the summertime weeding of the land and the fall harvest, I also took his place so he could come home to work in his own field. There were many other tasks in which he also needed my help.” For several years, Good Man Wang helped his fourth younger brother in this way.

In just a few years, his fourth younger brother had saved up a considerable amount of money. However, he still complained about Good Man Wang behind his back. Feeling that this was unfair, relatives came and told Good Man Wang, “You were so good to your fourth younger brother, yet he still isn’t satisfied. Why don’t you ignore him? Don’t let him live with you!” However, Good Man Wang told his relatives, “All I know is that he is my mother’s youngest and most beloved son. This is something I must do for him. I do not care about other things.”

Dhyana Master Fa Zhao once spoke a verse,
Though you flourish on your own, you originated from the same branch and thus share the same breath.
Do not hurt each other’s feelings with a few words.
Each time you see each other, you are older than before.
For how much longer can you be brothers?
When brothers live together, patience brings peace.
Do not contend over trivial things.
The sons you bear will be brothers in turn.
Set a good example for your descendants to follow.

Brothers are of the same substance as their parents. So a true filial son will be friendly to and love his own brothers. That is why the ancients compared brothers to limbs on the body, meaning they should protect and care for each other. “Shun could transform Xiang” is a good example. Although Xiang was mean and unfaithful to his elder brother (Emperor) Shun, Shun never harbored any grievance or hatred for Xiang.

18. Resolving to Change a Bad Custom

During the New Year holiday, Good Man Wang always felt melancholy. He said, “The popularity of gambling is really too depraved. I detest the New Year. People are busy sowing in the spring, tilling and planting in the summer, harvesting in the fall, and storing the crops in the winter. Only after an entire year of hard work can they bring grain home. However, as soon as New Year arrives, people in every household are gambling, men as well as women, young and old alike. They can gamble continuously for a several days and nights without wanting to eat or sleep. They waste all their energy and time and cannot do other things. Some even gamble away all the family wealth amassed by their forefathers. Facing a dead end, they turn into bandits.”

Gambling is the main reason for the deterioration of social mores. It is said, “Gambling is the cause of robbery while lust is foremost of all evils.” Since Good Man Wang’s brother also gambled, he said with deep feeling, “Once a good person gets involved in gambling, he no longer wants to do other things. A good man then becomes bad. Why did our ancestors leave us this custom of celebrating the New Year? People nowadays squander all their wealth during the New Year celebration.”

Having thought of this, Good Man Wang felt very sad; he turned his face to the sky and resolved, “I will never gamble in my whole life!” Therefore, even though it was the first day of the New Year, Good Man Wang would not rest and continued to transport the manure (Because they lived on the hillside, he had to carry the manure on his shoulders.) When people saw him working on New Year’s Day, they scoffed, “What are you working so hard for?” Good Man Wang said, “I come from a poor family. I get ill if I rest. So I have to work.”

→To be continued

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