所以「昔帝堯」，以前中國帝堯，就是唐堯。他因為自己年紀老了，願意找一個好的繼承人，所以「求賢以讓天下」，他想把他皇帝的位讓給賢人。那麼就有人說，有「巢父、許由二賢者」。這個巢父，怎麼叫巢父呢？他什麼也都不要的。他在樹上做一個窩，就像鳥那個窩似的，他住在那個樹上。住到樹上他什麼也不貪，什麼也不愛，喝水的時候就用手捧來喝。旁人看他這麼什麼也沒有，就給他一個瓢，他拿著喝完水了，就掛在「樹上」。掛到樹上，這個風一吹這個瓢就響，喔！乒乒乒，乒乓乒乓地就響，啊！too much noise（太吵），那很多很多的聲音。他把這個瓢拿下也不要了，就這麼清高。什麼都不貪的，什麼都不要的。那個顏回在陋巷，一簞食一瓢飲；他還有個竹桶子吃飯，還有一個那個瓢喝水。他這連瓢也不要，連這個簞也不要。什麼都沒有的，就這麼清高。
In ancient times the Emperor Yao wished to abdicate, and sought a sage to whom to yield the empire. He had heard of the two sages Chao Fu and Xu You, who were pure and lofty in their conduct, and he went to visit them personally. When he met Chao Fu he explained his intent to yield the empire to him. On hearing this, Chao Fu covered up his ears and ran off to wash them.
Xu You, who happened to be downstream at the river bank watering his ox, was surprised by this strange behavior, and inquired about it. Chao Fu replied, “The Emperor Yao just offered the empire to me. Such words defiled my ears and so I am washing them.”
Xu You answered, “Washing your ears in this water pollutes it. How can I let my ox drink such defiled waters?” Thereupon he moved his ox upstream. Ah! How incorruptible these two were.
Incorruptibility signifies the absence of greed. Such a person does not casually give the smallest object to others, nor does he accept the smallest object from others. The smallest object might be a blade of grass. He would not casually give even a blade of grass to someone, nor would he casually take someone else's things. This is what is meant by incorruptibility, being pure and free of greed. Such a person's character is very lofty.
In ancient times the Emperor Yao, who was getting on in years, wished to abdicate, and sought a sage to whom to yield the empire. He wanted to find a successor to whom he could pass the imperial throne. He had heard of the two sages Chao Fu and Xu You, who were pure and lofty in their conduct. Chao Fu (“Nest Father”) was so named because he didn't want anything at all, and he lived in a tree in what resembled a bird's nest. He did not have any greed. When he wanted to drink, he would scoop up water in his hands. Once someone gave him a dried gourd with which to drink water. When he was not using it, he hung it from his tree. But when the wind blew, the gourd banged against the tree and made such a racket that he took it down and discarded it. That's how lofty he was. He didn't want anything at all. Yen Yuan lived in a poor alley and ate from a bamboo crock and drank from a gourd, but Chao Fu didn't even want a gourd or a crock. That's how pure he was. He and his friend, Xu You, both had no greed, but Xu You did own an ox. He was fond of his ox and rode it around everywhere. These two sages were extremely noble in character. They hadn't the slightest bit of greed in their minds. Nor did they have any fear. When you are not greedy for anything, you are not afraid of anything. And he, Emperor Yao, went to visit them personally. When he met Chao Fu in his nest up in the tree, he explained his intent to yield the empire to him. He said, “You are truly good, and this empire needs someone like you to govern it. I'd like to turn the country over to you. I don't want to be the emperor anymore.”The Emperor must have said a lot, something along the lines of: “I want to give you the throne. You shouldn't be so idle. You should do a little work for the people.” On hearing this, Chao Fu covered up his ears and ran off to the river to wash them. He thought, “His filthy words have defiled my ears.” Nowadays if people hear unclean talk, they are all ears. They are very eager and happy to listen. But as for Chao Fu, when he was offered the empire he felt his ears had been defiled. Each of you should ask yourselves whether or not your own ears are clean. If you hear some gossip, you just go ahead and listen. But Chao Fu went right away to the river to wash his ears. He probably didn't notice that Xu You was there watering his ox.
Xu You, who happened to be downstream at the river bank watering his ox, was surprised by this strange behavior, and inquired about it. He asked, “What are you washing your ears for?” Chao Fu, who had not told anyone about the Emperor's request, now replied to his old friend, “The Emperor Yao just offered the empire to me. Such words defiled my ears and so I am washing them.”
Xu You answered, “Washing your ears in this water pollutes it. How can I let my ox drink such defiled waters?” Thereupon he moved his ox upstream, since the defiled waters would flow downstream. He wasn't even willing to let his ox drink the dirty water. Ah! How incorruptible these two were. They were truly clean and lofty.