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A PETITION OF TEN THOUGHTS TO EMPEROR TAIZONG (EXCERPT)
by Wei Zheng (580 - 643, Tang Dynasty)
English translation: Miao Guang

As the emperor,
If you see something desirable,
think of contentment
so as to discipline yourself.

If you intend to undertake an endeavor,
think of stopping before going too far
so as to give your people peace.

If you feel danger for your high position,
think of being modest and self-disciplined.

If you fear complacency,
think of how the ocean lowers itself
in position to the rivers.

If you take pleasure in hunting,
think of limiting it to
only three times per year.

If you worry about indolence and negligence,
think of carefully making a start
and respectfully seeing it to the end.

If you suspect deceit,
think of opening your mind
to your subjects.

If you sense slander and fallacy,
think of rectifying the self
so as to dismiss unrighteous people.

If you intend to bestow grace,
think of avoiding undeserved rewards
given as a result of favoritism.

If you plan to inflict punishment,
think of refraining from abusing tortures
inflicted by your wrath.

Should you bear in mind these ten thoughts, and glorify the nine virtues, you shall be able to employ the able, and consult the virtuous. Consequently, the wise shall contribute to the best of their resourceful strategies, the brave their strength and vigor, the benevolent their kindness, and the faithful their loyalty.

── from Zhenguan Zhengyao (Essentials of Government in the Zhenguan Period)