The Virtuous and the Corrupt

carved on stone at Sushan

Caotang said to Master Ru:

My late teacher Huitang said, “In a large community, the virtuous and the corrupt are together, because of the greatness of the teaching; and so one cannot but draw near to some and avoid others. It is only a matter of a little more refined selection.”

If there are people with ability and virtue who meet with the expectations of the community, you should not estrange them because of personal ire. And if there are people with ordinary perception whom the community dislikes, you should not be friendly with them because of personal liking. In this way the virtuous advance on their own, the corrupt regress on their own, and the community is at peace.

If the leader indulges in personal feelings and only goes by private liking or resentment in promoting or demoting people, then the virtuous will be restrained and silent, while the corrupt will struggle forward in competition. The constitution of the institution is disordered, and the community is ruined.

This selection is truly the great body of the living exemplar. If you can sincerely examine and practice this, then those near at hand will rejoice, and those far away will tell the story. Then why worry about the Way not being carried out or seekers not coming?