yě wú yí xián 野无遗贤
No Sagacious Person Ignored
When no sagacious person was ignored, all men with virtue and talent were employed by the government. This is a demonstration of the ancient concept of “holding man of sagacity in high esteem.” Since ancient times, China has emphasized that people should be appointed to official positions in accordance with their virtue, and each person should perform his or her role to the fullest. This was believed to guarantee the sound governance of the state. All systems for selecting people for official posts in ancient China, including selection by recommendations or by imperial examinations, were established on the basis of this conception. The principle of “no sagacious person is ignored” was regarded as one of the symbols of good governance of a country.
No sagacious person is ignored by government. All states stay in peace. (The Book of History)
yè luò guī gēn 叶落归根
Leaves Fall Returning to the Roots.
Leaves wither and fall on the ground by the tree roots. This metaphor implies that all creatures have an old home to return to even after a long sojourn in distant parts. It expresses nostalgia for one’s native place that has been common among Chinese people since ancient times. Although such feelings are inevitably conservative, they embody people’s good and honest love for their native soil and next of kin, and their feelings for the nation. It is a mainspring of their identification with their culture.
Clouds float leisurely over the peaks; / leaves fall happily seeking the roots. (Lu You: A Sigh at Home)