Bi Gan (比干) was was the son of King Wen Ding, and the uncle to Di Xin, King Zhou of Shang. King Zhou was notorious for his vices, having indulged in pleasures and feasted to excess. King Zhou’s neglect of state affairs led to endless suffering.
The virtuous Bi Gan continued to warn King Zhou of his self-indulgent behaviour, persuading King Zhou to become a good and caring ruler. In doing so, Bi Gan incurred the wrath of the king, who decided to kill Bi Gan. King Zhou ordered Bi Gan’s heart to be cut out to prove his loyalty and virtuousness, under the pretext that “a Sage’s heart had seven openings”.
As Bi Gan courageously faced his horrible death, his heavily pregnant wife fled to the forest, where she gave birth to a son. Later, a Zhou ruler found the mother and child and conferred upon them the family name Lin (林), meaning forest. Chinese with this family name proudly claim descent from the virtuous minister, Bi Gan.
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Preserving the Lin Family Tradition.