Páng Tǒng appellation Shìyuán was a Xiāngyáng man. When he was young he was simple and dull, and there was no one yet who took note of him. Sīmǎ Huī of Yǐngchuān was pure and elegant and had understanding of people, when Tǒng was capped he went to meet [Sīmǎ] Huī, [Sīmǎ] Huī was picking mulberries from atop a tree, seated Tǒng below the tree, and they talked together from day until night. [Sīmǎ] Huī was deeply impressed with him, and praised him as the greatest among the southern provinces’ scholars, and from this he gradually gained fame. (1) Later the prefecture appointed him as Merit Officer.
- (1) Xiāngyángjì “Records of Xiāngyáng” states: Zhūgě [Liàng] Kǒngmíng as the Hidden Dragon, Páng [Tǒng] Shìyuán as the Phoenix Fledgling, Sīmǎ [Huī] Décāo as the Water Mirror, were all Páng Dégōng’s sayings. Dégōng was a man of Xiāngyáng. [Zhūgě] Kǒngmíng every time arriving at his house, alone bowed below the couch, and [Páng] Dégōng always did not stop him. [Sīmǎ] Décāo once visited [Páng] Dégōng, just as he was crossing the Miǎn, going up to offer sacrifices to his ancestors’ tomb. [Sīmǎ] Décāo directly entered his household, called on [Páng] Dégōng’s wife and children, to have them quickly prepare millet: “Xú [Shù] Yuánzhí said to me that a guest will come to meet me and Lord Páng to talk.” The wives and children all lined up to pay respects below the hall, and hurried to make preparations. Very quickly, [Páng] Dégōng returned, and stood in attention for the meeting, but did not know who was the guest. [Sīmǎ] Décāo was younger than [Páng] Dégōng by ten years, so treated him as an elder brother in matters, called him Lord Páng, and therefore people of the time said that Lord Páng [Páng Gōng] was [Páng] Dégōng’s personal name, but this was not true. [Páng] Dégōng’s son [Páng] Shānmín] also had good reputation, wed Zhūgě Kǒngmíng’s youngest elder sister, became a Wèi Yellow Gate Appointment Gentleman, and died young. His son [Páng] Huàn styled Shìwén, during Jìn’s Tàikāng [280-289] became Administrator of Zāngkē. Tǒng was [Páng] Dégōng’s nephew, when young did not have anyone take note of him, and only [Páng] Dégōng valued him. At eighteen years, he was sent to meet [Sīmǎ] Décāo. [Sīmǎ] Décāo talked with him, and afterward sighed and said: “[Páng] Dégōng truly knows people. This is truly [a boy of] majestic moral character.”
By nature he was good with people relations, diligent in fostering and mentoring. Every time he praised someone, it often surpassed their actual ability, a person at the time was confused and asked him about it, and Tǒng answered: “Now the realm Under Heaven is in great chaos, customs and principles confused, good people few but evil people many. Suppose we wish to revive good customs, and prolong principled industry; if we do not praise them their reputation will not be enough to be admired, and if it is not enough to be admired then those who follow the good example will be few. Now I recommend ten but am wrong about five, yet still I have gotten half, and those can be lofty examples to teach the present, cause the ambitious to motivate themselves, is this not acceptable?”
Wú General Zhōu Yú assisted Xiānzhǔ [Liú Bèi] in capturing Jīngzhōu, and was therefore appointed Administrator of Nán-jùn. [Zhōu] Yú died, and Tǒng escorted the body to Wú, and so of the Wú people many heard of his name. When he was about to return west, they all gathered at Chāng Gate. Lù Jì, Gù Shào, and Quán Cóng all went. Tǒng said: “Master Lù [Jì] can be said to be a worn horse that still has outstanding leg strength, Master Gù [Shào] can be said to be a worn ox that can still carry heavy burdens very far.” (2)
- (2) Zhāng Bó’s Wúlù “Records of Wù” states: Someone asked Tǒng: “So in your eyes, Master Lù is the superior?” Tǒng said: “Though a worn horse is agile, it carries one person and that is all. Though a worn ox in one day can only go three hundred lǐ, how can what it carries be only one person?” [Gù] Shào visited Tŏng’s lodgings, conversed, and therefore asked: “You have reputation for knowing men. Of you and me who is superior?” Tǒng said: “In teaching proper social customs, appraising and selecting people, I do not reach you. In discussing the secret plans of rulers, seizing on the most critical opportunities, I seem to have a day’s advantage.” [Gù] Shào agreed with these words and became closer with him.
He said to Quán Cóng: “You sir are generous and admire reputation, resembling Fán Zǐzhāo of Rǔnán. (3) Though your intelligence is not excessive, yet you are still expetional in this time.”
- (3) Jiǎng Jì’s Wànjīlùn “Discussion of Myriad Opportunities” says that Xǔ [Shào] Zǐjiāng’s appraisals were not fair, because he promoted Fán Zǐzhāo but hindered Xǔ [Jìng] Wénxiū. Liú Yè said: “Zǐzhāo was promoted from among merchants, in age already with obedient ear [sixty], when withdrawing could preserve tranquility, when advancing could be without carelessness.” [Jiǎng] Jì answered: “Zǐzhāo truly from youth to age maintain cleanliness, but observing his elegance and speech, he was surely no match for [Xǔ] Wénxiū.”
[Lù] Jì and [Gù] Shào said to Tǒng: “When the realm Under Heaven is pacified, then you and us should together discuss the scholars of the [world within] the Four Seas.” They with Tǒng became very close and returned.
Xiānzhǔ governed Jīngzhōu, and Tǒng from Advisor became Magistrate of Lěiyáng, at the county could not govern well, and was dismissed from office. Wú General Lǔ Sù sent Xiānzhǔ a letter that said: “Páng [Tǒng] Shìyuán is not a talent for [managing a small] hundred lǐ [territory]. Employ him with appointment as Internal Manager or Aide-de-Camp, only then can he develop his incredible talent and that is all.” Zhūgě Liàng also said this to Xiānzhǔ, Xiānzhǔ met with him and admired his reputation, greatly entrusted him and appointed him Internal Manager Advisor. (1)
- (1) Jiāngbiǎozhuàn “Biographies Beyond the Jiāng” states: Xiānzhǔ with Tǒng were leisurely at a feast chatting, and asked: “You were Zhōu [Yú] Gōngjǐn’s Merit Officer. When I went to Wú, I heard this man secretly had a matter where he urged [Sūn Quán] Zhòngmóu to detain me. Was it so? When with a master he is your master. You must not hide anything.” Tǒng answered: “It was.” [Liú] Bèi sighed and said: “I at that time was in danger, but they had rescued me, therefore I could not but go, and almost did not escape Zhōu Yú’s grasp! The realm Under Heaven’s scholars of wisdom and strategy can be seen to have similar plans. At the time [Zhūgě] Kǒngmíng remonstrated me to not go, and his intentions were very severe. He had also thought of this. I believe because I was [Sūn] Zhòngmóu‘s defense against the north, and so he relied on me as his assistance, and therefore I decided to have no doubts. This truly was entering into dangerous paths, and not a plan of absolute security.”
His close treatment was second only to Zhūgě Liàng, and therefore with [Zhūgě] Liàng both served as Military Master Internal Cadet-General. (2) [Zhūgě] Liàng defended Jīngzhōu. Tǒng accompanied in entering Shǔ.
- (2) Jiǔzhōu Chūnqiū “Chronicles of the Nine Provinces” states: Tǒng advised [Liú] Bèi: “Jīngzhōu is desolate and ruined, the people exhausted completely, to the east is Sūn [Qúan] of Wú, to the north is Cáo [Cāo], so the plan to maintain tripartite balance will be difficult to achieve. Now Yìzhōu’s state is rich and people strong, its population in the millions, four regions with troops and horses, when setting out one can certainly gather, and treasures do not need to be asked for from the outside. Now you can seize it to settle your great enterprise.” [Liú] Bèi said: “Now, the one with which I am like water and fire, is Cáo Cāo. [Cáo] Cāo is suspicious, I am lenient. [Cáo] Cāo is cruel, I am benevolent. [Cáo] Cāo is deceitful, I am loyal. If I am always opposing [Cáo] Cāo, the matter then can be achieved and that is all. Now for a small reason I would lose the faith and righteousness to the realm Under Heaven. I will not take it.” Tǒng said: “This is the time to do what is expedient, and not what can be settled by a single principle. Conquering the small and attacking secretly was the business of the Five Hegemons. Capturing the rebellious and defending the obedient, repaying them with righteousness, after the matter is settled giving fief with large states, how is that turning back on faith? Today if you do not take it, in the end it will be someone else’s benefit.” [Liú] Bèi therefore went.
Governor of Yìzhōu Liú Zhāng with Xiānzhǔ gathered at Fú. Tǒng suggested a plan: “Now at this meeting, you can seize him, and then you General without using troops can occupy and settle the whole province.” Xiānzhǔ said: “I have newly entered another state, and my grace and faith is not yet made known, so this cannot be.”
When [Liú] Zhāng returned to Chéngdū, Xiānzhǔ was about to for [Liú] Zhāng campaign north into Hànzhōng. Tǒng again advised:
“Secretly select elite troops, travel day and night, and directly attack Chéngdū. [Liú] Zhāng is both unskilled in military affairs, and also never prepared. When the main army arrives, with one move things will be settled. This is the best plan.
“Yáng Huái and Gāo Pèi are [Liú] Zhāng’s famous Generals, each lead strong troops, defending and occupying Guāntóu, and one hears that they have several times sent letters remonstrating [Liú] Zhāng, urging him to send you General back to Jīngzhōu. Now General before you arrive, send someone to them to report, saying Jīngzhōu has an emergency, and that you wish to rescue it, while simultaneously preparing attire to outwardly look like you will return. These two both respect your great reputation General, and also will be happy that you will leave, and certainly plan to ride with light cavalry to come meet. You General can then seize them, advance and take over their troops, and then head toward Chéngdū. This is the middle plan.
“Retreating back to Báidì, joining up with Jīngzhōu, and slowly return to make plans. This is the worst plan.
“If you delay and do not go, then you will be in great trouble, and cannot last.”
Xiānzhǔ therefore followed the middle plan, beheaded [Yáng] Huái and [Gāo] Pèi, returned to head toward Chéngdū, and all that he passed he conquered. At Fǔ he held a great gathering, setting up wine and making merry, and said to Tǒng: “Today’s gathering can be said to be merry.” Tǒng said: “Attacking another man’s state and believing it joyous, is not the warfare of the benevolent.” Xiānzhǔ was drunk, and angrily said: “[Zhōu] Wǔ-wáng attacked [Shāng] Zhòu[-wáng], first singing and afterward dancing. Was he not benevolent? Your words are improper, and you should get out!” Therefore Tǒng immediately left.
Xiānzhǔ was regretful, and asked him to return. Tǒng returned to his previous seat, but at first did not look back or apologize, and ate and drank as usual. Xiānzhǔ said: “In that conversation, who was wrong?” Tǒng answered: “You and I were both wrong.” Xiānzhǔ greatly laughed, and feasted merrily as before. (1)
- Xí Zuòchǐ states: One who would be overlord, must take benevolence and righteousness as his base, wield faith and obedience as his model; if one thing is not included, then the way is violated. Now Liú Bèi attacked and seized [Liú] Zhāng’s territory, using power to serve his enterprise, turning back on faith and violating human feeling, virtue and righteousness both transgressed, and though by this achievement he prospered, he should have greatly grieved for his defeated enemies, like breaking a hand to preserve the body, what merry can there be? Páng Tǒng feared this speech would be leaked, knew his lord would certainly become aware, therefore in the midst of the everyone rectified his fault, and did not hold to his usual modest way, correcting to the utmost, and thoroughly showing his manner of loyally given honest speech. A superior at fault but who can correct it will have followers, one who can accept success but not hold to it follows reason. One with followers will then ascend the steps to the high palace hall. One following reason will then have all their plans be completed. With one speech three goods were all illuminated, with one remonstrance righteousness was manifested for a hundred generations, this can be said to reach to be a greatest example. If one begrudges their small faults and throw away their great advantage, sympathizes with mistaken speech, will itself cut off from honesty, those able to achieve their enterprise and complete their affairs, there has never been such before.
- Your Servant Sōngzhī believes the plot to attack Liú Zhāng, though the plan came from Tǒng, yet it violated righteousness to achieve merit, and so at its root followed a deceptive path, his heart already was guilty inside, and he restrained himself from happy feelings. Therefore when he heard [Liú] Bèi’ speak with happy words, he was unconsciously frank and answered thus. [Liú] Bèi at the feast drank for too much time, was merry at another’s misfortune, compared himself to [Zhōu] Wǔ-wáng, all without a look of shame. This was [Liú] Bèi being wrong and Tǒng being without fault. This statement “You and I were both wrong” was speech to avoid insulting and that is all. Mister Xí [Zuòchǐ] in this discussion, though the main purpose is not wrong, yet the implications of his words have digressed and dissipated.
They advanced to encircle Luò county, Tǒng commanded the armies in attacking the city, and was by a flying arrow struck, and died, at the time aged thirty-six years. Xiānzhǔ grieved, and whenever speaking of it would weep. He appointed Tǒng’s father as Consultant-Gentleman, promoted to Remonstratance-Grandee, and Zhūgě Liàng personally paid respects. He posthumously bestowed on Tǒng fief as Marquis Within the Passes. Posthumous name Jìng-hóu “Tranquil Marquis.”
Tǒng’s son Hóng, styled Jùshī, was outspoken and simple and dared criticize wrongdoing, was arrogant to Director of the Secretariat Chén Dī, was by [Chén] Dī held back, and died as Administrator of Fúlíng.
Tóng’s younger brother Lín, as Jīngzhōu Internal Manager Advisor accompanied General Defending the North Huáng Quán on campaign against Wú. It happened that the army was defeated, and he followed [Huáng] Quán into Wèi. Wèi gave him fief as a full Marquis, and he reached Administrator of Jùlù. (1)
- Xiāngyángjì states: [Páng] Lín’s wife was Xí Zhēn of the same commandery’s younger sister. The matter of [Xí] Zhēn is in Yáng Xì’s Fǔchénzàn “Appraisals of Supporting Ministers.” When Excellency Cáo defeated Jīngzhōu , Lín’s wife was from Lín separated, and alone raised their weak daughter for over ten years. Later Lín followed Huáng Quán to surrender to Wèi, and only then were they again reunited. Wèi Wén-dì [Cáo Pī] heard of and praised this, bestowing bed curtains and clothes, in order to make known their righteous moral conduct.