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Lao Zi Evaluates Two Sons

Updated: Apr 13, 2021

A wealthy and high-status man took his two sons to see Lao Zi, the wise sage master. The man asked Lao Zi,

“I have two sons, but I don’t know who I can rely on in my old age. My elder son is very simple-minded, whereas my younger son is very intelligent and capable. What do you think?”

Lao Zi took out a bad of silver and said to the elder son, “If you whack your father, this bag of money is yours.”

The elder son said, “I’m sorry, but I cannot do that.”

Lao Zi then turned to the younger son and said, “If you gently hit your father, this bag of money is yours.”

The younger son hit his father without hesitation and then took the bag of money happily.

Lao Zi then turned to the father and said, “Now your answer should be clear.”

Later, it was indeed the elder son who took care of the father into old age. After the father passed away, the younger son was traveling outside the country doing business, and refused to go back for the funeral because of the business he might lose.


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