Lord Jiang went fishing; those who want to be caught, get caught

Lord Jiang, before becoming the Lord Chancellor of the future King, went fishing with a hookless fishing rod. The future king walked by everyday and saw this old fisherman fishing with a hookless rod. One day, curiosity finally compelled him to go up and talked to this old fellow. The fellow told him that : “I am not fishing for fish, but I am fishing for man.” You see, this old fellow is waiting for the right person to come along. Nowadays, the saying that Lord Jiang goes fishing simply implies that ” those who wants to get caught, gets caught. “

Jiang Ziya (dates of birth and death unknown) was a Chinese historical and legendary figure who resided next to the Weishui River about 3,000 years ago. The region was the feudal estate of King Wen of Zhou. Jiang Ziya knew King Wen was very ambitious, so he hoped to get the king’s attention and gain a position in his court.

He often went angling at the Weishui River, but he would fish in a bizarre way. He hung a straight hook, with no bait, three feet above the water. He over and over again said to himself, “Fish, if you are desperate to live, come and gulp down the hook by yourself.”

Word of his outlandish way of fishing spread and it soon reached King Wen, who sent a soldier to bring Jiang to him. Jiang noticed the soldier coming, but paid no attention to him. He just continued with his fishing, and was soliloquising, “Fishing, fishing, no fish has been hooked—but shrimp is up to tomfoolery.” The soldier reported this back to King Wen, who became more interested in Jiang.

King Wen then sent a bureaucrat to invite Jiang to appear at court. But again Jiang paid no attention to the invitation. He simply carried on fishing, saying, “Fishing, fishing, the big fish has not been hooked—but a small one is up to mischief.”

Then King Wen went by himself and greeted him courteously and then asked:” Do you take pleasure in fishing?”
Jiang said:” Man of true worth takes pleasure in realizing his ambitions; the common man takes pleasure in doing his best for his affairs. My fishing is very much like it.”

After conversations King Wen realized Jiang might be a great genius so he went to invite Jiang personally, and brought many magnificent gifts with him. Jiang saw the king’s earnest interest in him and agreed to work for him.

Jiang aided King Wen and his son in their overthrow of the Shang Dynasty; they established the Zhou Dynasty in its stead. Jiang was given the title hao (roughly analogous to a European marquis, although it can also mean “lord” or “nobleman” in a generic sense) of Taigong so people called him Jiang Taigongwang. This was later shortened to Jiang Taigong.
His treatise on military strategy, Six Secret Strategic Teachings, is considered one of the Seven Military Classics of Ancient China.

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