The Legend of Jiang Ziya

scheng1 By scheng1, 26th Jun 2010 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>History

The legend of Jiang Ziya, an outstanding man who lived three thousands years ago in ancient China, was told and re-told numerous times throughout Chinese history.

Jiang Ziya was a very smart man who became a Prime Minister only at the age of eighty. Before the age of eighty, Jiang Ziya was just a poor and unlucky man. Nothing seemed to go right for him. Whatever he did, it always ended up in disaster.

The Legend of Jiang Ziya

The Chinese history book did not mention anything about the family background of Jiang Ziya. The Chinese history book did mention Jiang Ziya was from a poor family. The mother of Jiang Ziya was very wise, and she saw to it that Jiang Ziya learnt to read and write.

Jiang Ziya was an extremely unlucky man. There were many stories about his bad luck. One of them concerned his fortune telling.

The ancient Chinese had a very advanced fortune telling system. Jiang Ziya studied and mastered the art of fortune telling. Jiang Ziya became a fortune teller to make some money.

One day, Jiang Ziya told a man that he would die that day. That man was a seemingly healthy man. He scolded Jiang Ziya for speaking nonsense. When he reached home, he dropped dead. The villagers accused Jiang Ziya of cursing the man, and killing him. They nearly murdered Jiang Ziya. That was the end of Jiang Ziya’s career as a fortune teller.

Another legend in Chinese history was about his failed business venture.

Jiang Ziya heard that many people made lots of money from selling pigs. Jiang Ziya borrowed some money from his friend to buy twenty pigs from the remote village. By the time Jiang Ziya returned to town, an outbreak of disease killed all his pigs.

Jiang Ziya’s wife despised him. She could not understand why Jiang Ziya insisted on studying despite the financial difficulty. She constantly nagged at him. One day, she left Jiang Ziya, because she could no longer tolerate the poverty.

After Jiang Ziya became the Prime Minister, his wife wanted to return to him. Jiang Ziya took a pail of water, and poured on the ground. Jiang Ziya said that he would accept her if she could gather the water back to the pail. Obviously, she could not.

Despite the eighty years of bad luck, Jiang Ziya was very positive about life. After all, he knew fortune telling, and knew that his luck would change very late in life. During the eighty years of bad luck, he used his time to learn astrology, astronomy, politics study, military studies, business studies, and other branches of studies.

The legend of Jiang Ziya meeting King Wen at the age of eighty was a popular legend that every kid in China knew.

The legend was that Jiang Ziya knew his time had come. Jiang Ziya went to fish at the riverside. Jiang Ziya set the fishhook a few meters above the water, and murmured to the fishes, “Dear fishes, if you are willing, hopped onto the hook.”

An angler approached him to advise him, “If you insist on using this method to fish, you will not catch a single fish in a hundred years.”

Jiang Ziya replied that he wanted to fish the King, not the fishes.

King Wen heard about this Jiang Ziya and his ridiculous method of fishing. He sent a soldier to invite Jiang Ziya. Jiang Ziya ignored the solder and talked to the fishhook, “The fish refused to come. The prawn came instead.”

Next King Wen sent a Minister to visit Jiang Ziya. Jiang Ziya ignored the Minister and talked to the fishhook, “The big fish refused to come. The small fish came to disturb.”

Finally, King Wen came. King Wen had a lengthy discussion with him, and was very impressed with Jiang Ziya’s insights on history, current affairs, his political views, his military strategies, and other subjects. King Wen appointed Jiang Ziya as the Prime Minister.

Jiang Ziya assisted King Wen to build up the country and implemented changes to the taxation method. He set up the farmer tax law. Under this farmer tax law, all farmers had to pay one part out of every nine part as tax to support the local governors.

The remaining eight part of the harvest belonged to the farmers. This effectively centralized the taxation and reduced the tax rate for the farmers. This taxation method provided incentives for the farmers to work harder and for the local government to support the farmers.

Jiang Ziya advocated the “three treasures” of a nation. Jiang Ziya argued that farming, industrialization, and commerce were the three treasures of a nation. All three treasures are equally important to the development of a strong nation. Jiang Ziya revised the banking system, and taxation to support the “three treasures”. At that time, the wicked King of Shang was ruling a stronger nation. Jiang Ziya knew that he had to help King Wen built up enough resources before they could declare war on the wicked King of Shang.

Jiang Ziya was well versed in military strategies. In fact, Jiang Ziya wrote one of the first surviving classics on military strategies. His Six Secret Strategic Teachings is now one of the Seven Military Classics of Ancient China. Sun Tzu, the famous author of The Art of War, had studied and improved on the writings of Jiang Ziya.

King Wen died before he had a chance to overthrow the wicked King of Shang. His son, King Wu, succeed. Jiang Ziya continued to serve the new King Wu.

King Wu was young, ambitious, and impatient. He wanted to declare war on the King of Shang, and started a new dynasty. Jiang Ziya advised King Wu to be patient. Jiang Ziya reasoned with King Wu that they needed time to strengthen the country, and to accumulate more resources for the coming war.

Jiang Ziya also reasoned that the King of Shang still had talented and loyal ministers, despite his wickedness. If King Wu declared war on the King of Shang, it was going to be a prolong war that wasted resources and lives.

The evil King of Shang became worse on the instigation of his new concubine. The King of Shang resorted to killing many loyal and capable ministers for sake of entertaining his new concubine. Soon nobody dared to offer advice. The common people looked forward to liberation, since they were not able to tolerate the oppression.

King Wu decided that the time had come to launch an attack. King Wu killed the King of Shang, and took over his land. King Wu founded the new dynasty, Zhou Dynasty, in the year 1045 BCE.

The history book recognized Jiang Ziya as the founding Prime Minister of the Zhou Dynasty. Zhou Dynasty lasted more than eight hundred years. By then, Jiang Ziya was a ninety years old man.

The story of Jiang Ziya was very outstanding in that Jiang Ziya managed to accomplish so much in his old age, rather than in his youth.

The story of Jiang Ziya also highlighted the importance of timing. The time was not right for Jiang Ziya in his earlier part of life. The time was right for him only when he was eighty years old. While many stories of Jiang Ziya depicted him as a near-deity man in Chinese history, he was a just an ordinary man before the age of eighty.

So folks, if you are depressed with the story stage of your life now, do remember to make use of the time to study and keep a positive mindset. You may be famous for something you will do in later part of your life.

About me:

Scheng1 is a passionate blogger from Singapore. Rich in every sense reveals my deep desire in enjoying life, and be rich in every possible ways. Personal Finance is about money, from making money to investing money


Chinese History, Jiang Ziya, Zhou Dynasty

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About me:

Scheng1 is a passionate blogger from Singapore. Rich in every sense reveals my deep desire in enjoying life, and be rich in every possible ways. [link=http://howhealthyisyourpersonalfina...(more)

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