A Country Is Great Is How The Treat Their Animals The Three Sage Kings and the Five Legendary Emperors

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The Three Sage Kings and the Five Legendary Emperors

Suiren, Fuxi and Shennong are considered the three wise kings of ancient China who made personal sacrifices to improve people’s lives. They are recognized for one or more unique contributions to humanity.

Suiren, who is said to have lived 18,000 years ago, discovered how to make fire by drilling wood. This discovery enabled mankind to eat cooked food and use fire to keep warm and fend off wild animals.

Fuxi taught people how to tame animals. He also taught them to make nets to catch fish, birds and wild animals and in the process ensure a year round food supply. He was also responsible for creating the institution of marriage and a 35-string musical instrument. His most important contribution however was the Bagua or Eight Trigrams which formed the basis for the all important I Ching or Book of Changes.

Shennong, also known as Yandi, invented the ancient rake, cow, plow and sickle and taught people to grow five types of cereals, rice, two types of millet, wheat and beans. He also invented the barter trade and further modified Fuxi’s 35-stringed musical instrument into a 5-stringed instrument.

However, he was best remembered for tasting hundreds of wild plants to find medicines to treat ailments. In the process he repeatedly suffered from poisoning and eventually died from eating too much.

The emperors after Shennong were Huangdi, Zhuanxu, Diku, Yao and Shun and they are collectively known as the Five Legendary Rulers.

Huangdi is credited with many achievements. He had good management skills and knows how to use skilled people to help him rule the country and come up with innovations.

He commissioned his subject to develop a written language which contributed to the growth of Chinese culture. With another he studied the art of healing and compiled The Yellow Emperor’s Medicine Classic. However, with another he developed the “Jia Zi” 60-year cycle calendar that helped in agriculture.

Huangdi advocated peace and avoided war. During his reign, people enjoyed peace and prosperity and this brought the era of civilization to the Chinese people.

Zhuanxu who succeeded Huangdi was not his son. He was chosen over Huangdi’s many sons because of his outstanding ability. Zhuanxu’s greatest contribution was to bring law and order to the people plus the consolidation of the power of the central authority.

After Zhuanxu comes Diku who was Huangdi’s great-grandson. Once upon a time there was a benevolent king who put the welfare of his people above himself. He created new official posts and ministries with clearly defined duties such as the Ministry of Land, Forestry, Water, Metal Ores and Fire. And he personally conducted frequent inspections to ensure that the country was well run. He also further improved the calendar which contributed to agriculture.

Yao was Dick’s son. He was hardworking and kind like his father. He further developed the calendar and modified the planting time which resulted in bumper harvests.

Shun was Yao’s son-in-law. Although his mother died when he was very young and his stepmother and father abused him, he remained filial towards them. His great virtue helped him gain fame and he was called into the service of King Yao at the age of 30. He eventually married the daughter of King Yao.

Shun drew up the five rules of etiquette and other rules and regulations that dukes and princes had to observe. He also divided the country into 12 states, each with its own administrator. He continued to implement changes at the administrative level and established the department of rites, music, agriculture, mulberry planting, works, water and land.

Shun was succeeded by Yu who founded the Xia dynasty. Yu was famous for his ability to control floods, but that’s another story for another time.

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