Did Liu Bei value Cao Cao?

Join the Romance of the Three Kingdoms discussion with our resident Scholars. Topics relating to the novel and history are both welcome. Don't forget to check the Forum Rules before posting.
Kongming’s Archives: Romance of the Three Kingdoms
Three Kingdoms Officer Biographies
Three Kingdoms Officer Encyclopedia
Scholars of Shen Zhou Search Tool

Did Liu Bei value Cao Cao?

Unread postby Mega Zarak » Mon Apr 05, 2004 6:33 am

In Guan Yu's SGZ biography, Pei Song Zhi included an extract from the Records of Shu that goes:

蜀记曰:初,刘备在许,与曹公共猎。猎中,众散,羽劝备杀公,备不从。及在夏口,飘飖江渚,羽怒曰:“往日猎中,若从羽言,可无今日之困。”备曰:“是时亦为国家惜之耳;若天道辅正,安知此不为福邪!”臣松之以为备后与董承等结谋,但事泄不克谐耳,若为国家惜曹公,其如此言何!羽若果有此劝而备不肯从者,将以曹公腹心亲戚,实繁有徒,事不宿构,非造次所行;曹虽可杀,身必不免,故以计而止,何惜之有乎!

Cai Yan's translation:

Shu Ji (Records of Shu): Earlier, Liu Bei and Cao Cao went on a hunting trip together in the capital. During the hunt when the mass was dispersed, Guan Yu advised Liu Bei to kill Lord Cao. Liu Bei did not heed. When they were at Xiakou, floating on the river waters, Guan Yu said furiously, “During the hunt in the previous occasion, if you had listened to my words, we would not have met the predicament today.” Liu Bei said, “At that point, it was for the country’s sake, if the Heaven’s Will aid the righteous ones, who knows if this may turn out to be a blessing in disguise?”

Pei Song Zhi: When Liu Bei plotted together with Dong Cheng and others thereafter (the hunt incident), their plan was leaked out and thus failed. If he had valued Cao Cao for the country’s sake, what did he imply by speaking thus? If Guan Yu had really persuaded Liu Bei but he did not heed the advice, it could be that Liu Bei had considered the fact that Cao Cao’s henchmen were numerous. Moreover, this idea was not planned out carefully enough thus he did not adopt the advice. Although it was possible to slay Cao Cao, but the murderer will definitely not escape alive, so Liu Bei decided to abort this plan. Where did it show that Liu Bei value Cao Cao?


=====

So what're your opinions? Did Liu Bei value Cao Cao back then and hence, he objected to taking actions after the hunt? Why would Liu Bei value Cao Cao? Or was Pei Song Zhi correct, that Liu Bei valued his own life more? At Xia Kou, was Liu Bei telling Guan Yu the truth or was he trying to make up some nice excuses for his earlier inactions?

Note: Given that Pei Song Zhi's annotation was taken from the Records of Shu, the chances of any distortion to paint Liu Bei in a bad light are, IMO, slim.
User avatar
Mega Zarak
Grand Tutor of Wei
 
Posts: 1106
Joined: Sun Jun 16, 2002 2:38 am
Location: North of the River

Re: Did Liu Bei value Cao Cao?

Unread postby Devilrai » Mon Apr 05, 2004 7:08 am

Great Deer wrote:So what're your opinions? Did Liu Bei value Cao Cao back then and hence, he objected to taking actions after the hunt? Why would Liu Bei value Cao Cao? Or was Pei Song Zhi correct, that Liu Bei valued his own life more? At Xia Kou, was Liu Bei telling Guan Yu the truth or was he trying to make up some nice excuses for his earlier inactions?


To sum it up, I believe that the only reason that Liu Bei didn't kill Cao Cao at the hunting trip was that he didn't want to be un-virtious like we all know of him he doesn't want to kill...that much. I do somewhat think that Liu Bei did admire Cao Cao for his skills but not his actions like when his "million" man army was chasing him down the Changban Slope then he may have second thoughts, but even then Liu Bei repected Cao Cao.

So Pei Song Zhi is wrong, Li Bei didn't value his own life because he made an oath with his two "brothers" that they will die the day no matter what.

As for Xia Kou, he was telling the truth, and we later find out that Cao Cao temporaily out of the way he then was able to build his own kingdom after he aquired Jing Province.

So in some ways Liu Bei did repect Cao Cao, but not like to the point of friendship which was broken before the events of Changban and even before that.
User avatar
Devilrai
Scholar of Shen Zhou
 
Posts: 982
Joined: Sat Jul 26, 2003 6:09 am

Unread postby Sima Hui » Mon Apr 05, 2004 10:12 am

I thought it was because that the Emperor was right next to Cao Cao at the hunt. Guan Yu could have easily speared the Emperor instead of Cao.
This topic is an affront to both The Man and The Son of the Man.

-Ts'aoist

Ssuma I sucks.
He was okay when he was an obedient slave of The Man.


-Ts'aoist

Join the Cult and receive the True and Holy Word of The Man.
Sima Hui
Cult of Ts'aoist
 
Posts: 1670
Joined: Wed Dec 10, 2003 7:21 pm
Location: Serving the Most Sacred Disciple of the Man

Unread postby Six_and_Up » Mon Apr 05, 2004 12:36 pm

Liu Bei wasn't going to kill Cao Cao during the hunt for one reason: Cao Cao was the only person keeping him alive in the north. All the other warlords wanted him dead. If he got rejected by Cao Cao, his stuck up in the north with no support. Yuan Shu and Yuan Shao both did not approve of Liu Bei. Its only later when Liu Bei starts openly fighting with Cao Cao over Xuzhou does he earn Yuan Shao's support and even that was prompted by Liu Bei sending a messenger to Yuan Shao whom Yuan already knew and could not refuse. Cao Cao however valued Liu Bei, even though his advisors and generals all advised him to kill Liu Bei. Even if Cao Cao is killed successfully, Liu Bei is dead moments after when Cao Cao's supporters turn on him and by that time, Cao Cao had managed to fill the court with his supporters. Liu Bei wants to get rid of Cao Cao, but he also wants to be alive to reap the benefits of Mengdes death. Its ridiculous to think that Liu Bei wants to save the han dynasty in its current state, he wants to restart the han dynasty with him as emperoer. Look at his SGZ bio and SGYY, where they both mention Liu Bei as a boy proclaiming that he wanted to be emperoer in front of everyone. A childlike remark perhaps, but it was no joke even as a child to plainly state you wanted the empire and it shows he had the thoughts in his head since his childhood. Liu Bei could kill Cao Cao because Cao Cao was his only support in the north and he wanted to reap the benefits of Cao Cao's death.
Currently playing: Dragon Quest VIII
User avatar
Six_and_Up
Scholar of Shen Zhou
 
Posts: 901
Joined: Thu Oct 16, 2003 10:35 am
Location: Sydney Australia

Re: Did Liu Bei value Cao Cao?

Unread postby Exar Kun » Tue Apr 06, 2004 1:14 am

Great Deer wrote:“At that point, it was for the country’s sake, if the Heaven’s Will aid the righteous ones, who knows if this may turn out to be a blessing in disguise?”


This is pretty interesting.What does the last part mean,a blessing in disguise.
If Heaven's will aid the righteous ones,obviously himself,this may turn into a blessing in disguise.
Why a blessing?The only thing I can think of is the increase in power Liu Bei achieves over the years.But of course at Xiakou he shouldn't have been planning any more than a few months ahead.

I'm probably way off,can someone else interpret also?
"Two there should be; no more, no less.
One to embody the power, the other to crave it."
-Creed of the New Sith-
User avatar
Exar Kun
Dark Lord of the Sith
 
Posts: 3344
Joined: Thu Jan 23, 2003 12:18 am
Location: Cruising the Nether

Re: Did Liu Bei value Cao Cao?

Unread postby Seven at One Stroke » Tue Apr 06, 2004 4:04 am

Great Deer wrote:备曰:“是时亦为国家惜之耳;若天道辅正,安知此不为福邪!”

As unlikely as it may be (even to me), is it possible that what Liu Bei means here is that now (at Xia Kou), he feels remorse for not doing what he's supposed to do at Xu Chang?
Moderation in pursuit of actual work is no vice.
User avatar
Seven at One Stroke
Sei's Slave
 
Posts: 1852
Joined: Wed Oct 02, 2002 4:16 am

Unread postby Wanghui » Tue Apr 06, 2004 4:32 am

I agree with Pei Song Zhi, this plot is to risk for Liu Bei because :
1. It wasn't planned before so there are possibility that Guan Yu misses the target ( Cao Cao)
2. Liu Bei fear there are a lot of Cao Cao's men there, even Guan Yu is god of war there's still difficult to escape from there alive,
3. At the moment Liu Bei thinks it's not the perfect time to make confrontation with Cao Cao because he still need Cao Cao to defeat Yuan Shu. Liu Bei can't imagine his little army is surrrounded by Yuan Shu and Cao Cao's army, can he ?
User avatar
Wanghui
Sage
 
Posts: 274
Joined: Tue Jun 10, 2003 8:20 am

Re: Did Liu Bei value Cao Cao?

Unread postby Starscream » Tue Apr 06, 2004 4:41 am

Exar Kun wrote:I'm probably way off,can someone else interpret also?

Hehehehe...probably you're a bit off I think. :lol:
The "blessing in disguise" thing is what Liu Bei perceived Cao Cao could probably have, i.e. would bring fortune to the empire and that the Heaven aids him if he is a righteous one. It may imply that Liu Bei valued Cao Cao's talents and ability to run an empire. However, this statement Liu Bei made in Xia Kou contradicted his actions earlier, as pointed out by Pei Songzhi. Soon after the hunting incident, Liu Bei collaborated with Dong Cheng to kill Cao Cao, and this action does not show that Liu Bei value Cao Cao.

Also, in the hunting incident, the crowd had dispersed, leaving Cao Cao in a rather vulnerable position. Liu Bei did not take the opportunity to kill Cao Cao, showing that he had other intentions for preserving Cao Cao it seems.

As such, the annotation Pei included contains quite a bit of speculation and interpretation from his side. How Liu Bei actually perceive the situation himself is a mystery. :P
”太慢了。“
User avatar
Starscream
Decepticon Air Commander
 
Posts: 2144
Joined: Mon Jun 17, 2002 5:36 am
Location: 真仙殿

Unread postby DEK » Tue Apr 06, 2004 6:00 am

Lui Bei's indescisive personality caused his chance to kill Cao Cao...However, even if Guan Yu manage to kill Cao Cao, they won't be able to get away afterward that easily...There are lots of soldiers and Cao Cao's general. I think Lui Bei is worry about his brothers and his sake.
DEK
Tyro
 
Posts: 18
Joined: Sun Mar 21, 2004 9:27 am

Re: Did Liu Bei value Cao Cao?

Unread postby Kong Wen » Tue Apr 06, 2004 6:07 am

Cai Yan wrote:The "blessing in disguise" thing is what Liu Bei perceived Cao Cao could probably have, i.e. would bring fortune to the empire and that the Heaven aids him if he is a righteous one. It may imply that Liu Bei valued Cao Cao's talents and ability to run an empire.

Your humble servant disagrees with you on this point.

I don't think that Liu Bei thought that Cao Cao would turn out to be a good servant of the Han when he said "blessing in disguise." I think that his blessing in disguise comment may have been more along the lines of the concept of the "scourge of God" in the Western tradition--someone who has the power to clean up a lot of problems but won't necessarily be around for very long. I have no doubts that Liu Bei didn't intend for Cao Cao to stay in power as long as he did.

You know, he could have simply meant something along the lines of "Oh, things will all work out. Cao might bring about some good before we have to get rid of him, because he does command a lot of respect right now."
"If I had to do my life over, I would change every single thing I have done."
— Raymond Douglas Davies, 1967
User avatar
Kong Wen
Golden God
Golden God
 
Posts: 11807
Joined: Tue Jul 22, 2003 7:38 pm
Location: Canada

Next

Return to Sanguo Yanyi Symposium

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests

Copyright © 2002–2008 Kongming’s Archives. All Rights Reserved

 
cron