The Chinese believe that sentient beings originate from heaven, as do the rules of ordinary society. That is why adhering to heavenly principles has been important to Chinese people. When the heavenly principles are followed, the country will be at peace and the people will live in harmony. When the heavenly principles are disregarded, there will be drought, floods, and other natural disasters, and it will be difficult for people to make a living. There are many documented examples from the past which include discussion of this principle. The following are two stories from Historic Records of Cause and Effect
In the Song dynasty (960 – 1279 AD), before Liu Chang was appointed governor of the Danzhou Region, that area had experienced severe drought and locust plagues. After Liu Chang took office, he acted with probity, abided by the laws and treated the people like his children. He immediately looked into all disputed trials and reversed all unfair sentences. Respect for the law was quickly restored. Then he governed by virtue instead of punishment and taught the people by example. Gradually, honesty became the standard by which people lived. One day a traveler passed through Shouzhang County and lost his bag of money. Instead of pocketing the money, local people picked up the bag and took it to the local coordinator. When the traveler returned, it was returned to him. Another time, a person forgot some items at night on the city streets. He returned the next day to find the items exactly where he had left it. The central government honored Liu Chang’s governance and the local people praised him. Soon, the rains came again and the locusts disappeared. Although the locusts continued to fly around the neighboring regions, they did not enter the Danzhou region and the people were spared from drought and locusts. (Biography of Liu Chang, Song Dynasty History
Wang Zhang lived during the Ming Dynasty (1368 – 1644 AD). His father passed away when he was very young. Under his mother's guidance, he studied diligently. After he was appointed magistrate of Zhuji County, his mother was still very exacting. Once he returned home late after a farewell party for one of his friends. His mother told him to kneel and then she beat him with a stick. She said, "Weren't you appointed county magistrate to manage this county instead of partying with alcohol and food?" Wang Zhang was very ashamed and he did not dare lift his head. During the six months he governed, all of his actions were very transparent. The local citizens lived in harmony and peace. When the central government appointed him to a post in Yin County, the people of Zhuji County didn't want him to leave. However the people of Yin County were desperately waiting for him to take office. This caused a commotion between people of the two counties. Later, he was promoted to be an ombudsman. One time he went to Gansu Province for an inspection. Gansu was experiencing a serious drought. He wrote a note and prayed to the Heavens, "If I, the ombudsman, am corrupt or if I have done anything that harmed the people, please punish me. But please bless the people and protect them from this disaster!" Then he burned the paper. Soon after, there was a rainstorm. (Biography of Wang Zhang, Ming Dynasty History
Throughout history, all wise people lived by the heavenly principles. They cultivated virtue, lived devout lives, and held the thought of heaven deep in their hearts. Respecting the heavens, protecting the people, transforming and assisting the people with virtue and kindness are all compassionate acts in accordance with the heavenly principles.