Lao Tzu was once asked by a Chinese king to become the court magistrate on account of his wisdom. LaoTzu refused, but ultimately had to yield to the emperor’s wish.
The first case came up. A man was accused of robbing a rich man. Lao Tzu on hearing the case, pronounced an imprisonment for six months for the thief. He also passed a judgment that the rich man who was robbed will also have to be jailed for six months.
The rich man was aghast and asked, “Six months jail for me? For me who is the victim? Are you in your right senses?”
Lao Tzu replied, “Of course yes! You should have been sentenced for a year of imprisonment. In fact I have been lenient with you. You have actually accumulated the wealth of the entire town. You have in fact prompted the thief to cause a crime. So you will have to go to the jail!”
The matter was soon reported to the emperor. The emperor was now worried. If this was the case for the rich man what about himself then? He hence decided to relieve Lao Tzu of his duty.
He said, “You may be wise, but you are not a good judge. A good judge will have to adhere to the laws.”
Lao Tzu replied, “I follow the ultimate law.”
The king said, “But my law ought to be followed!”
Lao Tzu said, “Your law is simply nonsense. I follow the Tao!”
The way of the enlightened is entirely different.