「下車泣罪」是表示為政寬仁,有感於自己政教之責而哀憐罪人。它來源於漢代劉向的《說苑‧君道》:禹出見罪人,下車問而泣之。

有一次禹乘車出外巡視,見到有個犯罪的人被押著走過。禹吩咐把車停下,問道:「這人犯了甚麼罪?」

押送的人回答說:「他偷了別人家的稻穀被抓住,我們把他送去治罪!」禹聽了便下車,來到那罪人身旁,問:「你為甚麼要去偷人家的稻穀呢?」

那罪人看出問話的是個大人物,以為要嚴懲他,嚇得低著頭不說話。禹對此並不生氣,一面對他進行規勸,一面流下淚來。左右的人見了,都很不理解。其中一人問道:「這人偷了東西,該送去受懲罰。不知大王為甚麼痛苦的流下眼淚?」

禹回答說:「我不是為這個罪人流淚,而是為自己流淚。從前堯和舜做君王的時候,老百姓都和他們同心同德;如今我做了君王,百姓卻不與我同心同德,做出這種損人利己的事來,所以我感到內心非常痛苦!」

禹當即命侍從取出一塊龜板,在上面刻寫了「百姓有罪,在予一人」八個字,然後下令把那罪人放了。

~轉載自正見網

Stories from History: The Emperor Cries for his Mistakes

Author: Hong Yi

Once when Emperor Yu*, the founding Emperor of the Xia Dynasty, went out to inspect his kingdom, he saw a criminal being escorted to be punished.

He ordered his carriage to stop and asked, “What crime did he commit?”

The guards said, “He stole wheat and rice from other people and got caught. We are taking him to the site for punishment.”

Yu stepped out of his carriage. He came to the criminal and asked, “Why did you steal?”

The criminal faced a very important official and was so scared that he lowered his head and said nothing. Yu did not get angry but continued to advise him while shedding tears. The officials around Emperor Yu could not understand and one of them asked, “This person stole from others and should be punished. Why is Your Majesty suffering so much and shedding tears?”

Yu said, “I am not crying for him but for myself. When Yao and Shun were Emperors, all the citizens followed their hearts and moral standards. Now I am the Emperor, but my people are not following my moral standards and commit a crime like this to hurt other people.

Therefore, I feel quite miserable!”

Emperor Yu asked someone to bring a plate and wrote “When citizens commit a crime, it is my fault.” He then ordered the guards to release the criminal.

*Emperor Yu was one of the legendary emperors in Chinese history. His most remarkable feat was bringing the monstrous flood under control.◇