A verse says:
Wang Xiang lay on ice, moving the Dragon God to pity.
Guo Ju prepared to bury his son to repay his mother's kindness.
Zhuge Liang exhausted his energy in public service.
Lord Wumu served the country with utmost loyalty.
The general of Shanxi had a magnificent righteousness equal to the heavens.
The man of the Wei River saved the world with utmost humaneness.
This proper energy comprises the spirit of the universe.
Undying, it remains fresh and vibrant for eternal ages.
A verse says:
Wang Xiang lay on ice, moving the Dragon God to pity. Wang Xiang's parents wished to eat fish, but he had no money to buy any. He was truly a foolish child. He took off his clothes and lay down right on the ice, hoping to melt it with his body heat so the fish could come out. The heat of a human body is limited, and the ice was very thick. How could he possibly obtain fish that way? Nevertheless, the ice did crack, and two carp leaped out of the hole. Wang caught them and took them home to offer to his parents. Since the doctor had prescribed a diet of carp for his ill parents, Wang decided to lie down on the ice. The Dragon King couldn't bear to see him do that. What if Wang froze to death? Wanting to save that foolish boy's life, the Dragon King made the ice break open and sent him two carp. When Wang Xiang related the story to his parents, they thought, "Oh, these aren't carp, these must be young dragons. You'd better quickly let them go! We've already recovered from our illness. Your sincerity enabled those fish to leap out through that thick ice. The Dragon King must have sent them; we'd better not eat them." Wang sent the fish back. The Dragon King had wanted to give two of his young dragons as presents, but Wang's parents understood the situation and had their son return the fish. This is the story of how Wang Xiang lay on ice and moved the Dragon God.
Guo Ju prepared to bury his son to repay his mother's kindness. Guo Ju was another fool. When his wife was pregnant, his elderly mother fell ill and her only sustenance was his wife's breast milk. After his son was born, Guo Ju's mother had to share the milk with the baby. Guo Ju felt this would not do; he had to either bury his mother, or bury his son. When he asked his wife her opinion, she said, "We can always have another son. On the other hand, if your mother dies, you can never get her back. Let's bury our son so your mother can live out her life. Later we can have another son." Foolish Guo Ju thought, "She's right! Let's do that!" and prepared to bury his son, since he could not afford to raise him. While digging the hole, he uncovered some gold. With that gold, he no longer had to bury his son, for he could buy enough food to nourish both his mother and his son. Guo Ju became a rich man. Why was he able to discover that gold? Because his wish to let his mother live was so earnest that he was ready to bury his own son. Some Buddha, Bodhisattva, or ghost took pity on this simpleton and decided to give him some gold so he wouldn't have to sacrifice his son. If he had actually buried his son, in the future no one would want to be filial. If people followed Guo Ju's example and buried their sons, they might not have anyone to carry on their family name.
Zhuge Liang exhausted his energy in public service. Zhuge Liang, in order to requite Liu Bei's earnestness in visiting him three times at his hut to ask him to serve, devoted himself totally to the country, not considering his duty ended until after death. That was why he worked so arduously to serve Emperor Liu.
Lord Wumu served the country with utmost loyalty. Yue Wumu served his king with utmost allegiance. Although he lost his life, his spirit will never die.
The general of Shanxi had a magnificent righteousness equal to the heavens. Lord Guan had a great sense of public spirit. He was a man of uncompromising integrity.
The man of the Wei River saved the world with utmost humaneness. The man who saved the world with his total humaneness was Jiang Ziya, also known as Jiang Shang, who fished at Wei River. Other people fished using curved hooks, but he used a straight hook that never caught any fish. As soon as he pulled on the line, the fish would fall off the hook. Nevertheless, he insisted on using a straight hook.
In the past, King Wen of the Zhou Dynasty had a dream in which he saw a tiger (some versions say it was a black bear) with wings soaring through the sky. When he consulted a diviner, he was told that a worthy one fishing on the banks of the Wei River was destined to save the world. King Wen sent his troops to investigate. The soldiers saw Elder Lord Jiang there fishing and reciting a mantra that went, "I'm fishing, fishing, fishing, but the big fish stay away and the small fish come. The small fish stay away, while the shrimp in the river make a ruckus." He sang it like an opera. Taking his words as a taunt, the soldiers hurried back and reported to King Wen, "There's a white-haired old man wearing a straw hat, singing as he fishes, 'I'm fishing, fishing, fishing, but the big fish stay away and the small fish come. The small fish stay away, while the shrimp in the river make a ruckus.'" King Wen knew that the big fish meant him, the one in charge. Instead of going himself, he had sent some young "shrimp" as an idle diversion. Thereupon he went to personally invite Elder Lord Jiang to be his military strategist.
Elder Lord Jiang put on airs, demanding to ride in a carriage drawn by King Wen himself. For the sake of the imperial court, King Wen consented. The Elder Jiang rode in the carriage with all the dignity of an old country bumpkin. He told King Wen to count the number of steps he pulled the carriage. After two hundred steps, King Wen said he could pull no further. That carriage was pulled by human power, not horses. Hearing that King Wen was tired, Lord Jiang said, "Pull some more." King Wen pulled a while longer, until his whole body was covered with sweat, and when he could walk no more, he said, "I really can pull no farther."
"So you can't pull any more? Pull some more..."
King Wen pulled some more, then said, "This time I really can't go any farther. I haven't an ounce of strength left."
"How many steps did you pull?" asked Jiang.
"I counted every step I pulled, and it was a total of 808 steps," replied King Wen.
"Fine. I guarantee that your Zhou Dynasty will last 808 years."
"Really? Then I'll pull some more," said King Wen.
"It won't work," said Jiang. "After the secret is revealed, it's no longer efficacious. Before I told you, I could guarantee you as many years as the number of steps you pulled me. But now that you know, it doesn't count."
King Wen was filled with regret. He sighed and said, "If I had known earlier, I would have pulled you until I died of fatigue!" See? Even one as virtuous as King Wen was still greedy for posterity. Worldly people are certainly not easy to teach and transform. If they can benefit, they will risk death. If they can gain nothing, they will not lift a finger.
This proper energy comprises the spirit of the universe. Undying, it remains fresh and vibrant for eternal ages. What is the spirit of the universe? It is comprised of loyalty, filial respect, humaneness, and righteousness. These four qualities generate proper energy. From ancient to contemporary times, these four qualities have shone with splendid radiance, remaining fresh and vital through the ages.