An enduring legacy

「齊景公有馬千駟,死之日,民無德而稱焉。伯夷、叔齊餓於首陽之下,民到于今稱之,其斯之謂與?」
Duke Jing of Qi had a thousand war chariots. On the day of his death, the common people could find no virtue to praise him for. Boyi and Shuqi starved to death in the wilderness around Mount Shouyang. To this very day, the common people still praise them. Does this not prove my point?”

The point Confucius is making, of course, that accumulating a treasure trove of possessions is not the same as a building up an enduring legacy. For all his earthly wealth and power, the extravagant Duke Jing of Qi was immediately forgotten by the common people after his death, whereas the names of Boyi and Shuqi remain synonymous with virtue for many generations.

You can find out more about the curious tale of Boyi and Shuqi here. Talk about a case of filial piety gone too far.

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