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Chapter 297: Greed is wrong, not being greedy is also wrong, what should we do in the end?
For two consecutive days, Lin Beifan continued to help this group of students understand the hardships of the common people.
Walking along the way, it seemed that Lin Beifan hadn’t taught anything, hadn’t spoken any principles, but amidst the confusion, it felt like everyone had learned a lot.
It felt like they had learned more and more profoundly than studying for over a decade, filling their hearts with countless thoughts, intricate and unclear.
Wanting to voice these thoughts, yet not knowing where to start.
But they knew, the experiences of these past few days would be remembered for a lifetime.
Yao Zheng, who had been following behind, also had many thoughts.
After Lin Beifan’s explanations, he understood Lin Beifan’s intentions even better, and he was deeply moved.
Are the common people suffering?
They are suffering!
More than what you’ve seen, heard, or imagined!
How to free them from this suffering?
There’s no way!
Even if you have the ambition to change the world, possess extensive knowledge, have unparalleled martial skills, and wield immense power, you’re still powerless, only able to watch them suffer!
You might save them momentarily, but you can’t save them for a lifetime; this is beyond your will to change!
So, when you become an official in the future, try to understand them more, show them more favor, and help them a little!
They are already suffering enough, don’t let them suffer further!
Yao Zheng deeply reflected, feeling that this teaching method was truly excellent!
Much more effective than studying in a classroom!
“Having been a censor for so many years, and now becoming the superintendent in charge of students’ moral cultivation, it’s still difficult to find a young person who understands thoroughly and performs well!” Yao Zheng sighed inwardly.
He believed that Lin Beifan’s teaching method was excellent and must be promoted extensively, letting students understand the hardships of the common people.
Only by experiencing the suffering of the common people can you know how to act in the future.
As the sun set in the west, these three days of teaching activities came to an end.
“This is the way of governing that I’ve taught you!”
Facing the contemplative students, Lin Beifan’s tone was plain yet sincere: “As for how much you can learn and comprehend from it, that depends on yourselves! After all, each of you is a living person with your own thoughts and insights. No matter how much I say, it won’t be of much use!”
“We humbly follow the instructions of the Principal!” everyone said in unison.
“Before we part, I have one more question for you, also the final question!” Lin Beifan said.
“Principal, please ask. We know no bounds in speaking and will spare no words!” everyone replied in unison.
“This question is rather pointed!”
Lin Beifan smiled as if his eyes were narrowed into crescents: “In the future, when you step into the officialdom, you will definitely face various temptations and pressures from superiors! If you don’t become greedy or offer bribes, you won’t be able to fulfill your ambitions! But if you do become greedy, engage in bribery, it’s corruption and injustice, staining your reputation for a lifetime!”
“So, at this juncture, how will you choose?”
The crowd was shocked, their eyes widening, some even opened their mouths wide enough to swallow an egg.
This question wasn’t just pointed, it was incredibly sharp!
It had pierced right into their hearts, cutting to the bone, a deadly strike!
Looking at the confused and indecisive students, Lin Beifan smiled and said, “This question must be answered. Everyone is involved, and Lord Yao, you’re no exception!”
“Huh? Even I have to answer?” Yao Zheng was bewildered.
A student cupped his hands and resolutely said, “Respected Principal, is there still a need to ask such a question? We study the books of sages, follow the ways of Confucius and Mencius. We must be honest, self-disciplined, restrain ourselves, not take what shouldn’t be taken, not do what shouldn’t be done. Only then can we be worthy of Her Majesty, worthy of the sages of the past, worthy of heaven and earth, worthy in our hearts!”
“Yes, no matter what, we must never be greedy!”
“Being a corrupt official is shameful!”
“We study the books of sages, we should be just and incorruptible, clean and dedicated, serving the office and benefiting the region!”
“Otherwise, what’s the point of reading so many books?”
His response gained the support of many.
“You’re absolutely right!” Lin Beifan nodded, smiling: “But what if someone holds a knife to your throat and forces you to be corrupt? If you don’t comply, they’ll cut off your head. What would you do then?”
The other person continued righteously, with an unchanged expression: “Even if they take my life, I won’t compromise! I’m not afraid to die for the cause, as long as I can leave this world with a clear conscience!”
Lin Beifan continued, “What if they hold a knife to the necks of your wife and children? Will you comply or not?”
A slight cold sweat appeared on the person’s face, but they remained firm: “I won’t comply! My life is trivial, but my integrity is paramount. I believe that even in the afterlife, they will understand the difficulties students face!”
“What if they hold a knife to the necks of your parents? Will you comply or not?”
Cold sweat appeared on the person’s face twice more: “This… I still won’t comply! Loyalty to the monarch and filial piety to parents, the monarch comes first! I would feel ashamed before my parents. Even if it means becoming an ox or a horse in the next life, I will repay their kindness.”
“Forgive my irreverence, but if a knife is held to Her Majesty’s neck, will you comply or not?”
“I…” The person stammered, beads of cold sweat dripping.
This was a deadly question, how could they answer?
Any answer would result in their demise!
Lin Beifan chuckled, “If someone threatens you with the lives of the common people, will you comply or not?”
“How could such a thing happen?” The student panicked.
“Why not? For example, if your country is in ruins, but the ruler of an enemy nation admires your talents and wants to employ you, using your country’s people to threaten you! Will you choose to endure humiliation and live a compromised life, or will you uphold your integrity and lead thousands of common people to the afterlife together?”
“I…” The person was already shocked beyond words.
Lin Beifan called out another student: “How do you view my question?”
The second student’s name was Guan Zhong, and he had already been dumbfounded by the series of life-or-death questions Lin Beifan had just asked.
With a strong desire to survive, he said, “I… I would just be a little corrupt!”
Lin Beifan smiled faintly, “Well said!”
Before the person could rejoice, Lin Beifan made a throat-slashing gesture: “Daring to be corrupt? Off with your head!”
“But I’m only doing it for the sake of my family and children! If they threaten my family and children’s lives, if I don’t comply, their lives will be lost. I have no choice but to be corrupt!” the person struggled.
“Commendable filial piety, touching family affection, but engaging in corruption and breaking the law, your head must still roll!” Lin Beifan continued the throat-slashing motion.
The person said again, “I’m doing it for Her Majesty’s sake. Shouldn’t that be right?”
Lin Beifan smiled wryly, “Can anyone believe that? It would be a disgrace for Her Majesty to promote corruption. Off with your head! And it would likely be Her Majesty who executes you first!”
The person was somewhat in despair, “I’m doing it for the sake of the common people. Would that be acceptable?”
Lin Beifan sneered, “Ridiculous! Would the common people want you to be corrupt? They detest corrupt officials the most! Once you truly become corrupt, they’ll despise you, and in the end, it will likely be the common people whom you’ve always protected who will end your life!”
Everyone was in a state of collapse: “Being greedy is wrong, not being greedy is also wrong, what should we do? Please, Respected Principal, teach us!”
Lin Beifan smiled wryly in his heart. If only I knew what to do!
Even with his systematic knowledge, he could only survive in the cracks, bearing all the sins alone.
Lin Beifan shook his head, “This question has never had a standard answer.”
“No matter how much I talk about it now, the problems you’ll encounter in the future, when it’s time to be corrupt, you’ll be corrupt, and when it’s time not to be corrupt, you won’t be corrupt! Even if you’re not corrupt now, you might become corrupt later! You might be corrupt now and later have a sudden realization!”
“But please remember!”
Lin Beifan’s gaze turned sharp, “Whether you are corrupt or not in the future, be cautious! Once I find out, I’ll take from you the exact amount you’ve taken. The second time I catch you, it’s double! The third time, double again… If you can’t give it, prepare for the rod! Just like I did in the Imperial Academy, do you understand?”
Thinking of everything Lin Beifan had done at the Imperial Academy, everyone shivered.
“We understand, Respected Principal!”
Lin Beifan nodded in satisfaction, “Good, now you’ve got it. You may leave.”
Everyone bid farewell, and Lin Beifan also turned to leave.
Yao Zheng was about to leave too, but he hesitated, turned around to watch Lin Beifan’s departing figure, and suddenly felt a sense of loneliness.
Equally feeling the solitude in Lin Beifan’s departing back was Lady Li Yuxin.
She called out softly, “Master Lin!”
Lin Beifan looked in the direction of the voice, seeing the pure white figure of Li Yuxin carrying a medicine box, quickly walking towards him and smiled.
“Lady Li Yuxin, did you just return from a diagnosis?”
“Yes, Master Lin, I just returned from a diagnosis!” Li Yuxin had already come before Lin Beifan.
From her smooth forehead and face, he saw a fine layer of sweat beads and a faint medicinal fragrance emanating from her.
For some reason, this version of Li Yuxin made Lin Beifan’s heart skip a beat.
“Lady Li Yuxin, let me carry the medicine box for you!”
“No need, I’m already used to it, I wouldn’t dare trouble you, sir.”
They walked side by side, like a fairytale couple.
Li Yuxin asked curiously, “Master Lin, what were you doing just now? I saw you bidding farewell to a group of students…”
Lin Beifan smiled, “I’m still the Principal of the Imperial Academy. I was guiding them to understand the hardships of the common people and learn how to govern.”
Li Yuxin laughed, “Sir, your efforts are truly sincere. They will definitely become good officials who love the people like their own children.”
Lin Beifan shook his head, “I don’t dare expect too much. As long as they, when they become officials in the future, can slightly lean towards the common people, that would be enough.”
“Just like you!” Li Yuxin stole a glance at Lin Beifan’s handsome profile, her face slightly blushing as she lowered her head.
“Oh, by the way, Lady Li Yuxin, why did you return so late? And were you alone? It’s quite dangerous!”
Li Yuxin smiled, “Under your governance, the capital’s security has improved significantly. I can walk the streets alone without worry. The reason I returned late is because there were too many patients!”
Lin Beifan’s eyes narrowed, “Many patients? What’s going on?”