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墨家之論，以為人死無命；儒家之議，以為人死有命。言有命者，見子夏言「死生有命，富貴在天」。言無命者，聞歷陽之都， 一宿沉而為湖；秦將白起（）〔坑〕趙降卒於長平之下，四十萬眾同時皆死；春秋之時，敗績之軍，死者蔽草，尸且萬數；饑饉之歲，餓者滿道； 溫氣疫癘，千戶滅門，如必有命，何其秦、齊同也？
猶高祖初起，相工入豐、沛之邦，多封侯之人矣，未必老少男女俱貴而有相也，卓（礫）〔躒〕時見，往往皆然。 而歷陽之都，男女俱沒；長平之（）〔坑〕，老少並陷，萬數之中，必有長命未當死之人，遭時衰微，兵革並起，不得終其壽。人命有長短， 時有盛衰，衰則疾病，被災蒙禍之驗也。宋、衛、陳、鄭同日並災，四國之民，必有祿盛未當衰之人，然而俱災，國禍陵之也。故國命勝人命， 壽命勝祿命。
子夏曰：「死生有命，富貴在天。」而不曰：「死生在天，富貴有命」者， 何則？死生者，無象在天，以性為主。稟得堅彊之性，則氣渥厚而體堅彊，堅彊則壽命長，壽命長則不夭死。稟性軟弱者，氣少泊而性羸窳， 羸窳則壽命短，短則蚤死。故言「有命」，命則性也。
至於富貴所稟，猶性所稟之氣，得眾星之精。眾星在天，天有其象，得富貴象則富貴， 得貧賤象則貧賤，故曰「在天」。在天如何？天有百官，有眾星，天施氣而眾星布精，天所施氣，眾星之氣在其中矣。人稟氣而生， （舍）〔含〕氣而長，得貴則貴，得賤則賤。貴或秩有高下，富或貲有多少，皆星位尊卑小大之所授也。故天有百官，天有眾星，地有萬民、五帝、三王之精。天有王梁、造父，人亦有之，稟受其氣，故巧於御。
凡人受命，在父母施氣之時，已得吉凶矣。夫性與命異，或性善而命凶，或性惡而命吉。操行善惡者，性也；禍福吉凶者，命也。 或行善而得禍，是性善而命凶；或行惡而得福，是性惡而命吉也。性自有善惡，命自有吉凶。使命吉之人，雖不行善，未必無福；凶命之人，雖勉操行， 未必無禍。
遭命者、行善於內，遭凶於外也。若顏淵、伯牛之徒，如何遭凶？顏淵、伯牛，行善者也，當得隨命，福祐隨至，何故遭凶？ 顏淵困於學，以才自殺；伯牛空居而遭惡疾。及屈平、伍員之徒，盡忠輔上，竭王臣之節，而楚放其身，吳烹其尸。行善當得隨命之福 ，乃觸遭命之禍，何哉？
瘖聾跛盲，氣遭胎傷，故受性狂悖。羊舌似我初生之時，聲似豺狼，長大性惡，被禍而死。 在母身時，遭受此性，丹朱、商均之類是也。性命在本，故《禮》有胎教之法：子在身時，席不正不坐；割不正不食；非正色，目不視； 非正聲，耳不聽。及長，置以賢師良傅，教君臣、父子之道。賢不肖在此時矣。受氣時，母不謹慎，心妄慮邪；則子長大，狂悖不善， 形體醜惡。素女對黃帝陳五女之法，非徒傷父母之身，乃又賊男女之性。 人有命，有祿，有遭遇，有幸偶。
遭者、遭逢非常之變，若成湯囚夏臺，文王厄牖里矣。以聖明之德，而有囚厄之變，可謂遭矣。變雖甚大，命善祿盛， 變不為害，故稱遭逢之禍。晏子所遭，可謂大矣，直兵指胸，（白）〔曲〕刃加頸，蹈死亡之地，當劍戟之鋒，執死得生還。命善祿盛， 遭逢之禍不能害也。歷陽之都，長平之（）〔坑〕，其中必有命善祿盛之人，一宿同填而死，遭逢之禍大，命善祿盛不能（郤）〔卻〕也。 譬猶水火相更也，水盛勝火，火盛勝水。〔遇者〕、遇其主而用也。雖有善命盛祿，不遇知己之主，不得效驗。
Chapter VIII. What is meant by Destiny? (Ming-yi.)
The Mêhists 1 hold that man's death is not predestinated, whereas the Confucianists are of opinion that it is. The believers in Destiny rely on the authority of Tse Hsia2 who says, "Life and death depend on Destiny, wealth and honour come from Heaven." 3 Those who deny the existence of Destiny refer to the city of Li-yang,4 which sunk into a lake in one night, and to Po-Ch`i, a general of Ch`in, who buried alive the troops of Chao after their submission below Ch`ang-p`ing,5 altogether 400 000 men, who all died at the same time. 6 When in the Ch`un-ch`iu period 7 armies were defeated, sometimes, they say, the grass was hidden by thousands of dead bodies. In time of famine, all the roads are full of starving people. During epidemics caused by malarial exhalations, thousands of families are extinguished. If there really should be Destiny, how is it, they ask, that in Ch`in all were involved in the same catastrophe?
The believers in Destiny will reply, "When the vastness of the earth, and the great number of its inhabitants is taken into account, it is not to be wondered at that the people at Li-yang and Ch`ang-p`ing should equally be doomed to die. Those whose destiny it was to be drowned, assembled at Li-yang, and those who were to be crushed to death, came together at Ch`ang-p`ing for that purpose."---
When Han Kao Tsu8 began his career, a fortune-teller, who entered the territory of Fêng and P`ei, found many persons who were made counts afterwards. But not all the old and young people, men and women bore the mark of nobility. As a rule exceptional persons are met with occasionally only. Yet at Li-yang men and women were all drowned, and at Ch`ang p`ing the aged and the young were buried to the last. Among tens of thousands there were certainly many who had still a long life before them, and ought not to have died. But such as happen to live in a time of decay, when war breaks out everywhere, cannot terminate their long lives. The span allotted to men is long or short, and their age flourishing or effete. Sickness, disasters, and misfortunes are signs of decay. The States of Sung, Wei, Ch`ên, and Ch`êng were all visited with fire on the same day. 9 Among the people of the four kingdoms were certainly not a few whose prosperity was still at its height, and who ought not to have been destroyed. Nevertheless they all had to suffer from the conflagration, being involved in their country's doom, for the destiny of a State is stronger than that of individuals.
The destiny regulating man's life-time is more powerful than the one presiding over his prosperity. Man shows by his appearance, whether he will die old or young, and there are signs indicating, whether he will be rich or poor, high-placed or base. All this is to be seen from his body. Length and shortness of life are gifts of Heaven. Whether the structure of the bones be good or bad, is visible in the body. If a man's life must be cut off in its prime, he cannot live long, although he be endowed with extraordinary qualities, and if it be decreed that he shall be poor and miserable, the very best character is of no avail to him.---When Hsiang Yü10 was going to die, he turned to his followers, and said, "I am vanquished, but by fate, not by force of arms." This is true, for in warfare Hsiang Yü was superior to Kao Tsu. The latter's rise was due to Heaven's decree only.
The destiny of the State is connected with the stars. Just as their constellations are propitious or unpropitious, the State is happy or unhappy. As the stars revolve and wander, men rise and fall. Human prosperity and distress are like the abundance and the scarcity of a year. Destiny is flourishing or declining; things are either expensive or cheap. Within the space of one year, they are sometimes expensive, and at others cheap, as during a long life prosperity and distress alternate. The prices of things do not depend on the abundance or scarcity of the year, nor is human prosperity the outcome of ability or ignorance.
How is it that Tse Hsia says, "Life and death depend on Destiny, wealth and honour come from Heaven" instead of saying, "Life and death come from Heaven, 11 wealth and honour depend on Destiny?"---For life and death there are no heavenly signs, they depend on the constitution. When a man has got a strong constitution, his vital force is exuberant, and his body strong. In case of bodily strength life's destiny is long; the long-lived do not die young. Conversely, he who has got a weak constitution possesses but a feeble vital force, and a delicate bodily frame. Delicacy is the cause of the shortness of life's destiny; the short-lived die early. Consequently, if we say that there is a destiny, destiny means constitution.
As regards the transmission of wealth and honour, it is like the vital force, viz. an effluence emanating from the stars. Their hosts are on heaven, which has their signs. Being born under a star pointing at wealth and honour, man obtains wealth and honour, whereas under a heavenly sign implying poverty and misery, he will become poor and miserable. Thus wealth and honour come from Heaven, but how is this brought about? Heaven has its hundreds of officials 12 and multitudes of stars. Just as Heaven emits its fluid, the stars send forth their effluence, which keeps amidst the heavenly fluid. Imbibing this fluid, men are born, and live, as long as they keep it. If they obtain a fine one, they become men of rank, if a common one, common people. Their position may be higher or lower, and their wealth bigger or smaller, according as the stars distributing all this, rank higher or lower, are larger or smaller.---Heaven has many hundred officials and multitudes of stars, and so we have on earth the essence of tens of thousands of people, of the Five Emperors and the Three Rulers. 13 Heaven has his Wang Liang and Tsao Fu,14 men have them also. He who is endued with their essence, becomes skilled in charioteering.
It is said that three different kinds of destiny can be distinguished, the natural, the concomitant, and the adverse one. One speaks of natural destiny, if somebody's luck is the simple consequence of his original organisation. His constitution being well ordered, and his bones good, he needs not toil in order to obtain happiness, since his luck comes of itself. This is meant by natural destiny. Concomitant destiny comes into play, when a man becomes happy only by dint of hard work, but is pursued by misfortune, as soon as he yields to his propensities, and gives rein to his desires. This is to be understood by concomitant destiny. As for adverse destiny, a man may, contrary to his expectations, reap bad fruits from all his good deeds; he will rush into misfortune and misery, which will strike him from afar. Therefore, one can speak of adverse destiny.
Every mortal receives his own destiny; already at the time of his conception, he obtains a lucky or an unlucky chance. Man's nature does not correspond to his destiny: his disposition may be good, but his destiny unlucky, or his disposition bad, and his fate lucky. Good and bad actions are the result of natural disposition, happiness and misfortune, good and bad luck are destiny. Good deeds may lead to mishap, then the disposition is good, but destiny cruel, and likewise misdeeds may result in happiness, in that case man's nature is wicked, but fate smiling. Nature is good or bad of its own accord, and so is fate lucky or unlucky. A favourite of fate, though not doing well, is not, of necessity, deprived of happiness for that reason, whereas an ill-fated man does not get rid of his misfortune, though trying his best.
Mencius said:---"To strive for a thing, one must have wisdom, but whether he attains it, depends upon destiny." 15 With a good disposition one can struggle for it and, if fate be favourable, obtain it; should, however, fate be averse, one may with a good nature strive for it, but never get it.
Bad deeds are followed by misfortune. Yet the robbers Chê and Chuang Ch`iao16 were scourges to the whole empire. With some thousands of other bandits, whom they had collected, they assaulted and robbed people of their property, and cut them to pieces. As outlaws they were unequalled. They ought to have been disgraced; far from it, they finished their lives as old men. In the face of this, how can the idea of a concomitant destiny be upheld?
Men with an adverse destiny do well in their hearts, but meet with disasters abroad. How is it that men like Yen Yuan17 and Po Niu came to disgrace? They were both virtuous, and should have been rewarded by a concomitant destiny with bliss and happiness. Wherefore did they meet with misfortune? Yen Yuan, confined to his study, killed himself by his great talents, 18Po Niu, while living quite alone, caught a horrible disease. Ch`ü P`ing and Wu Yuan were the most loyal ministers of their sovereigns, and scrupulously fulfilled their duties as servants to the king. 19 In spite of this, the corpse of Ch`ü P`ing was left unburied in Ch`u, and in Wu Yuan's body was cooked. For their good works they should have obtained the happiness of concomitant destiny, but they fell in with the misfortune of adverse fate. How is such a thing possible?
Concomitant destiny excludes adverse destiny, and adverse destiny, a concomitant one. On what basis can the scholastic distinction of three kinds of destiny then be established? Moreover, fate is already visible from the structure of bones at the time of birth, now, if it be said to follow the actions, it comes afterwards, and is not yet there from the beginning. Wealth and honour, poverty and misery are determined at the first moment of receptibility of the human being, they do not arrive only in company with his actions, after the individual has grown up.
A man with a natural fate will die at the age of a hundred years, another with a concomitant fate at the age of fifty, but he whose fate is adverse, meets with distress from the moment he receives vitality; as people say, he is confronted with ill-luck already as an embryo. He may have been born during a thunderstorm and, when he is grown up, die young.
These are what they call the three destinies, there are also distinguished three kinds of natures: natural, concomitant, and adverse. Naturally man is endowed with the five virtues, concomitant nature corresponds to that of father and mother, and adverse nature is caused by meeting some unpropitious object. 20 Thus a pregnant woman eating a hare will bear a harelipped son. In the Yüeh-ling21 it is stated that, in the same month the thunder is about to utter its voice, and that those who are not careful of their behaviour, will bring forth crippled children, and have great calamities.
They become dumb or deaf, lame or blind. The embryo having been affected by external influences, the child's character will be violent and rebellious. Yang Shê Shih Wo's22 voice, after his birth, sounded like that of a wolf. When he grew older, he showed a wicked disposition; he met with misfortune, and died. He got this character already, when still in his mother's womb. The like holds good for Tan Chu23 and Shang Chün.24 Character and destiny are there from the beginning. Therefore the Li points out a method to instruct embryos. 25 As long as the child is in the uterus, the mother must not sit down, if the mat be not properly placed, nor eat anything not cut in the proper manner. Her eyes must see but the proper colours, and her ears hear but the proper sounds. When the child grows up, it must be given intelligent teachers and good instructors, who will make it familiar with the relations of sovereign and subject, father and son, for at that period its virtue or depravity will become manifest. If at the moment, when the child receives the vitalising fluid, the mother does not take care to keep her heart free from wild fancies and fears of wickedness, her child, when grown up, will not be good, but fierce and refractory, and look ugly and wicked. A heavenly maiden explained to Huang Ti26 that to have five wives not only entails bodily injury on father and mother, but also most seriously affects the characters of sons and daughters.
Men have their destiny and luck, contingencies and chance. By destiny they are wealthy and poor, exalted and base; their luck is thriving or declining, flourishing or fading. Those whose destiny it is to be rich and honoured, meet with a thriving luck; they enjoy perpetual tranquillity, and are never in jeopardy. On the other hand do such as are doomed to poverty and misery, fall in with a declining luck; they are the victims of ill-fortune; always in trouble, they know no pleasure.
A contingency is some extraordinary change, such, for instance, as were experienced by Ch`êng T`ang,27 when he was kept a prisoner in Hsia-tai and by Wên Wang,28 when detained at Yu-li. For sages, with all their perfections, to be thrown into jail, this certainly can be called an extraordinary contingency. But however great the change may be, in the case of a favourable destiny and a thriving luck it does no harm. This it what they call a contingent mishap. That which befell Yen Tse29 must be regarded as a great one. Let us suppose that a weapon be pointed at a man's breast, that the bright blade be already touching his neck, that he rush forward to certain death, or that he oppose himself to the points of swords and halberds, let such a man be saved just at the moment, when he expects to die, then his destiny is so good, and his luck so flourishing, that the misfortune he encounters cannot injure him. At Li-yang and Ch`ang p`ing, where the catastrophe took place, 30 were certainly people with a propitions fate and a thriving luck, who were all crushed to death in the same night. The disaster they met with was so paramount, that their good fate and thriving luck could not ward it off. This may be compared to the antagonism between water and fire. If the water is stronger, it quells the fire, and if the fire is stronger, it overcomes the water. To find employment, a man must get hold of an employer. In spite of a propitious fate and thriving luck nobody will be able to show what he is capable of, unless he comes into contact with a master who takes an interest in him. 31
The word chance conveys the idea of good and evil derived from accidents. A culprit, who succeeds in making his escape, has good fortune, whereas it is bad fortune, if an innocent man be arrested. He who after a short incarceration obtains his release, has a propitious destiny and thriving luck so, that the misfortune of an untimely end cannot affect him.
Now for the meaning of incident, which will be illustrated by the service offered to a sovereign. Provided that somebody serve the sovereign in the proper way, that the latter appreciate his words, and afterwards employ him, this is a lucky incident. Conversely, if the prince disprove of the man's ways so, that he dismisses him, and sends him away, this is an unlucky incident. Should a man after a short period of disgrace still get an appointment through the recommandation of a higher official, he owes it to his good destiny and thriving luck, which do not allow that the harm caused by an unlucky incident keeps on for long.
Contingencies and chance either tally with destiny and luck or disagree with them. To hit on good chances, and thus reach the goal, or to meet with bad ones, and be ruined, is tallying with destiny and luck. To fall off in mid-career, without completing what is to come, good being suddenly turned into evil, this is contrary to fate and luck. In this world men's dispositions and destinies are auspicious or unfavourable, their happiness and misfortune flourish or decline. All depends on contingencies. According to the chances they have, they either live or die. But those who accomplish all their good or bad deeds, and obtain all their heart's desires, are few.
1. The followers of Mê Ti.
2. A disciple of Confucius.
3. Analects XII, 5.
4. A city in Anhui.
5. A city in Shansi.
6. This massacre took place in 260 b.c. (Cf. Mayers Reader's Manual N. 544.)
7. 722-481 b.c.
8. The founder of the former Han dynasty, a native of P`ei in Kiangsu. Fêng was another region in the neighbourhood.
9. This great fire, which on the same day broke out in the capitals of the four States, is recorded in the Ch`un-ch`iu Book X, 18 (Duke Ch`ao) as happening in 529 b.c. It is believed to have been foreshadowed by a comet, which appeared in winter of the preceding year.---These four States were comprised in Honan, except Sung which occupied the northern part of modern Kiangsu.
10. The rival of Han Kao Tsu, before the latter ascended the throne.
11. Wang Ch`ung puts a construction upon the words of Tse Hsia, of which he probably never thought. Tse Hsia used Destiny and Heaven as synonyms, as we do.
12. Namely the stars.
13. The first legendary rulers of Chinese history.
14. Two famous charioteers of old, the latter the driver of the eight celebrated steeds of King Mu of Chou.
15. Mencius, Book VII, Pt. I, chap. 3.
16. Two famous robbers of antiquity, especially the former, to whom a chapter is devoted in Chuang Tse.
17. The same as Yen Hui, the favourite disciple of Confucius.
18. He worked too hard, and died at the age of thirty-two. His hair had turned quite white already. (Cf. Legge, Analects, Prolegomena p. 113.)
19. Ch`ü Yuan or Ch`ü P`ing, a faithful counsellor of Prince Hwai of Ch`u in the 4th century b.c., committed suicide by drowning himself, because his admonitions were disregarded. The dragon-boat festival is celebrated in commemoration thereof. Wu Yuan or Wu Yün, a minister of the last king of Wu circa 520 b.c. was sentenced to perish by his own hand. His body was afterwards sewn into a leather wine-sack, and cast into the river near Soochow, where he has been deified as the spirit of the water like Ch`ü P`ing. This is the common tradition. (Cf. Mayers Manual N. 879 and Giles, Biogr. Dict. N. 2358. According to Wang Ch`ung the body of Wu Yuan was cooked.)
20. The term nature is used in the sense of spiritual nature, disposition, as well as for constitution, i. e. physical qualities.
21. The Yüeh-ling is the Book III, N. 6 of the Li-Ki, the Book of Rites. The "same month" referred to in the passage, quoted from the Yüeh-ling, is the second month of spring. Wang Ch`ung seems to have had in view the final paragraph as well, which says that, if in the last month of winter the spring ceremonies were observed, the embryos would suffer many disasters. (Cf. Legge, Li Ki, Book IV, p. 260 and 310 [Sacred Books of the East, Vol. XXVII].)
22. A native of Chin, 6th cent. b.c.
23. The unworthy son of the emperor Yao 2357 b.c.
24. The degenerated son of the emperor Shun 2255 b.c.
25. Cf. Ta-tai-li chap. 3, p. 6v (Han Wei tsung shu).
26. The first emperor, a mythical personage.
27. The founder of the Shang dynasty, who was imprisoned by the last emperors of the Hsia.
28. The ancestor of the house of Chou. He was incarcerated at Yu-li by the last emperor of the Shang dynasty.
29. Under Yen Tse ### Yen Ying ###, a celebrated statesman of the Dukes of Ch`i, is usually understood. Since Yen Ying was very successful in his career, no misfortune whatever being recorded of him, I would suggest to alter ### into ###, abbreviated for ### Yen Hui, the name of the ill-fated disciple of Confucius, whose misfortune, his untimely death, is mentioned above p. 266 and elsewhere.
30. See above p. 136.
31. In addition to good luck, according to our author, he who seeks employment requires a contingency, he must find some one who appreciates him.
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