During the reign of Emperor Rui Zong of Tang, his two daughters became monks. As a father, he wanted to build two Taoist temples for his daughters, but unexpectedly he was bitterly advised by his ministers. What did these ministers advise the emperor?
Jinxian and Princess Yuzhen were both daughters of Emperor Rui Zong of Tang. Jinxian was the older sister and Yuzhen was the younger sister, both of them became monks in the same year. According to the “Epitaph and Preface of Princess Jinxian”, Jinxian was the great-granddaughter of Emperor Taizong of Tang and the real sister of Emperor Xuanzong of Tang. Because she was particularly fond of Taoism when she was a child, at the age of 18, she took the initiative to ask her father to become a monk. The two sisters were like-minded.
The two princesses were determined to become monks, and Rui Zong, as the father, did not stop his daughters’ wishes, allowing them to become monks and decided to build a Taoist temple for them as a place to live and practice.
When the courtiers heard about this, they all submitted a form to advise Rui Zong. NING Tiyuan, a counselor, said that it was not advisable for the emperor to spend all the money and resources to build a Taoist temple for the princesses, otherwise it would attract slander and resentment from the people of the world. Since the Sui Dynasty, many monasteries and Taoist temples had been built, but they could be built on top of the original ones. Rui Zong, after reading the medal, appreciated his suggestion.
However, Wei Zhigu, the left dispatcher, advised him that the purpose of building the Taoist temple for the princesses was to establish merit and pray for the blessing of heaven, but now it was the summer season, and it was against the season to build a big civil engineering project. How can you be at peace?
In ancient knowledge, summer corresponds to the virtue of earth, and it is the time when grass and trees grow and flourish and everything multiplies. If the earth energy is released freely at this time of the year, it may lead to natural disasters, resulting in chaos and unrest. The ancients attached great importance to the harmony between human beings and the heavenly path.
Cui Jin, a foreign minister of the Ministry of Justice, quoted the scriptures and made a speech with a thousand words. He said that His Majesty had built a Taoist temple for the two princesses, which could be said to be a way to cut off mercy and love, respect virtue and respect the Tao, pray for the blessing of the saints above, and make good causes for all the nations below, but he did not approve of the construction of a large number of people in the month of the domination of earth virtue, which was against the heavenly time. Cui Ji cited a story from the third year of Emperor Ming of Han Dynasty: In the summer of the third year of Yongping, there was a great drought, and the palace was being rebuilt at that time. The minister of the Shang Shu, Zhong Li Yi, who was free from the crown, said that since ancient times, a ruler was not suffering from the smallness of his palace, but from the unrest of his people. He advised the emperor that he should obey the heart of heaven and ask for the removal of labor, and Emperor Ming of Han readily agreed, and heavy rain fell that day.
He said that if the emperor’s orders were not in order, and the laborers were not in order, the people would face diseases and epidemics, and the country would suffer from floods and droughts, which were the result of the operation of the five elements. He implored King Rui Zong to use the money from the construction of the two Taoist temples to help the poor and fill the treasury on behalf of the princesses, which was also a blessing for the princesses!
The construction of the Taoist temple aroused the admonition of the ministers. Then Rui Zong issued a decree, ordering Dou Huaizhen to count all the money and tiles and put them under the control of the princess. For the construction of the Taoist temple, Rui Zong wanted to build a separate one, but proposed that the public and private sectors would be separated and the people would not be bothered, and violators would be severely punished.
The disputes among the courtiers subsided, and the princesses were able to leave the monastery as they wished.
In the third year of Tianbao, Princess Yuzhen presented herself to the emperor’s brother, Tang Xuanzong, saying, “My father allowed me to become a monk, but now I still wear the title of princess and enjoy the rent. I would like to ask the Emperor’s brother to remove my title of princess, depose me and return me to the royal family.” Emperor Xuanzong did not agree.
Princess Yuzhen again submitted: “I am the granddaughter of Emperor Gao, the daughter of Emperor Rui, and the sister of Your Majesty. To the world, my status is already honored, so why should I bear the name of princess and enjoy the fief?”
Yu Zhen asked Emperor Xuanzong to take back all her properties and fiefs and leave them to the people, and to accumulate some blessings for herself. Knowing that he could not make his sister change her mind, Tang Emperor Xuanzong finally agreed.
(According to Tang Huiyao, vol. 50, and Xin Tang Shu, vol. 83)