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Draw cakes to allay hunger

This idiom comes from Records of Three Kingdoms• Kingdom of Wei • Biography of Lu Yu. When Lu Yu, the minister of the State of Wei was young, his parents and brothers all died one after another, and he became an orphan. In such a difficult situation, he still studied very hard. Finally he became a talented person and served as a high officialof hisstate.Hewassouprightin performing his official duties that he was promoted to the minister of the Board of Civil Office, in charge of the officials' appointments and removals.

Owing to the vacancy of Lu Yu's original post, it had to fill up a new official for it. Although there were many officials to recommend some well-known people for the post, all were refused by Emperor Wen. He only let Lu Yu do it and also pointed out:"It depends on you whether we can find the right person for the important post. But we can't choose someone only with fame in stead of his real ability. You see, the fame is just like drawing cakes on the ground to allay hungry."

This is the story about "画饼充饥".
Then Lu expressed his idea:" You are right, YourMajesty, selections should depend on their real learning and abilities. But the real fame is still very important, such as self-possession and high moral character. So we should select people with both of them."


此语出自《三国志•魏志•卢毓传》。三国时代,魏国的大臣卢毓,自幼父母双亡,两位兄长又先后去世,他成了孤儿。但他刻苦学习,终于成了很有才学的人,而且做了朝廷大臣。他为官清正、廉洁,因而连连提升,后被任命为吏部尚书,负责官吏的任免。

卢毓升任吏部尚书后,他原担任的中书郎职务空缺,需要选拔人补上,当时有很多大臣都推荐一些有名气的人来担任,但都被魏文帝拒绝了。魏文帝曹睿要卢毓选好这个官,并对他说:“这次选拔中书郎,能否选到合适的人,就看你了。千万不要选那些只有虚名而没有真才实学的人,虚名就像在地上画的饼,是不能充饥的。”

卢毓对此说出了他的意见:“陛下说得很对,选拔不能只看名气,但名气也能反映一定的实际情况,如果是修养、才学都好而有名气就不应该嫌弃,主要看他们是否有真才实学。”


这就是画饼充饥的故事了。

2016-06-24

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