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春秋之時，天子、諸侯、卿、大夫死以千百數，案其葬日，未必合於歷。又曰：「雨不克葬，庚寅日中乃葬。」假令魯小君以剛日死， 至葬日己丑，剛柔等矣。剛柔合、善日也。不克葬者、避雨也。如善日，不當以雨之故，廢而不用也。何則？雨不便事耳，不用剛柔，重凶不吉 ，欲便事而犯凶，非魯人之意，臣子重慎之義也。今廢剛柔，待庚寅日中，以暘為吉也。
夫祭者、供食鬼也；鬼者、死人之精也。若非死人之精，人未嘗見鬼之飲食也。推生事死，推人事鬼，見生人有飲食，死為鬼當能 復飲食，感物思親，故祭祀也。及他神百鬼之祠，雖非死人，其事之禮，亦與死人同。蓋以不見其形，但以生人之禮准況之也。生人飲食 無日，鬼神何故有日？
夫屋覆人形，宅居人體，何害於歲、月而必擇之？如以障蔽人身者神惡之，則夫裝車、治、著蓋，施帽亦當擇日。如以動地穿土神 惡之，則夫鑿溝耕園，亦宜擇日。夫動土擾地神，地神能原人無有惡意，但欲居身自安，則神之聖心必不忿怒。不忿怒，雖不擇日，猶無禍也。如土地之 神不能原人之意，苟惡人動擾之，則雖擇日，何益哉？
Chapter XXXVIII. Slandering of Days (Chi-jih).
As people trust in the time of the year, so, in their proceedings, they also place reliance on days. If there be some sickness, death, or other calamities, in a serious case, they speak of having offended against the year or a month, in minor ones, of having neglected a forbidden day. Books on forbidden days enjoy no less popularity than tracts on the year and the month. Common people repose implicit confidence in them, and even scholars able to reason cannot solve the problem. Consequently, when taking any steps, people do not examine their hearts, but conform to some days, and unconcerned with their intentions, they expect everything from time.
Works on time and days exist in great numbers, and a short inquiry into their general tenor will disclose what they are worth, and induce those believing in Heaven and time to have some doubt, and repudiate such ideas.
Happiness and misfortune accompany prosperity and decay, 1 alternating and passing away. At all proceedings people will say that the unlucky must be afraid of their bad luck which will come to pass, and, concerning the lucky, they pretend that the luck which they hope for will be realised. When happiness and misfortune have arrived of their own accord, they attribute them to former good or bad luck in order to frighten and caution their hearers. That is the reason why, for many generations, people have not had any misgivings about the calendar, and why for such a long time the truth has not dawned upon them.
The calendar for burials prescribes that the nine holes and depressions of the earth, 2 as well as odd and even days, and single and paired months are to be avoided. The day being lucky and innocuous, oddness and evenness agreeing, and singleness and parity tallying, there is luck and good fortune. The non-observance of this calendar, on the other hand, conduces to bad luck and disaster.
Now, burying means concealing the coffin, and shrouding, concealing the corpse. Shortly after death, the corpse is concealed in the coffin, and, after a while, the coffin is concealed in a tomb. What difference is there between a tomb and a coffin, or between shrouding and burying? In placing the body into the coffin, unlucky auguries are not avoided, solely in interring it, good luck is sought.
If the grave be made much of, the grave is earth, and the coffin, wood. In respect to the nature of the Five Elements, wood and earth resemble each other. 3 Wood is worked to receive the corpse, and earth is dug up to inter the coffin. Working and digging are similar proceedings, and a corpse and a coffin are very much the same. Should the digging up of earth injure the body of Earth, then in trenching ditches or tilling a garden, a special day should be chosen as well. If people are able to make a distinction between these two things, 4 I am willing to admit their prohibitions, but unless they can do so, I am not in a position to accept this avoidance.
When the day is not injurious, they still require that it be odd or even, and oddness and evenness being in harmony, they still demand the singleness or parity of the month. When the day is odd or even, and the month single or paired, in accordance with the burial calendar, by combining these dates with lucky auguries, they always find out some correspondence. How can we explain this?
In the `Spring and Autumn' period sons of Heaven, princes, and high officers died by hundreds and thousands, but their burial days were not always conformable to the calendar. It is further said that an interment could not take place because it rained, and that it was performed at mid-day on a kêng-yin5 day. 6 Provided that the Duchess of Lu7 died on an odd day, then the burial might have been on a chi-ch`ou8 day, when oddness and evenness would have been in harmony, and this being the case, the day would have been propitious. 9 She could not be buried to avoid the rain, but if the day was a good one it ought not to have been rejected barely because of the rain, for rain may have been inconvenient, but the disregard of odd and even could result in the most serious calamities and disasters. To seek their convenience and thereby entail calamities could not have been the intention of the people of Lu or according to the view of a diligent officer. Now, they paid no attention to odd and even, and waited for the kêng-yin day, taking the sunshine on this day for a good presage. 10
The Liki states that the Son of Heaven is interred in the seventh month, the princes of a State in the fifth, the ministers, great officers, and officers in the third month. 11 If e. g. the Son of Heaven expires in the first month he is buried in the seventh, if he dies in the second he is buried in the eighth. 12 The same applies to the princes, ministers, great officers, and officers. According to the calendar for burials the month of the interment of the Son of Heaven, and the princes would be either even or uneven throughout. 13
Degenerate ages have great faith in these sorts of laws, and depraved princes are bent on seeking happiness. The "Spring and Autumn" time was very degenerate, and that between Duke Yin and Duke Ai was the worst, yet they did not take any precautions for the days of interment, because they did not shun bad luck.
Under the reign of King Wên of Chou, laws and institutions were perfect. The intellect of Confucius was very acute, and the arguments of the Ch`un-ch`iu were very subtle. If, by neglecting lucky auguries, people were afflicted, or if, by their heedlessness, they had incurred misfortune, some few words and some slight attempts at criticism would not have been out of place. Now we find nothing of the kind, consequently there exist no fixed rules for the time of burials.
The calendar of sacrifices has its favourable and inauspicious presages as well. Thus, a day when bloodshed is to be avoided, 14 and when the month is baleful, 15 always bodes evil. If sacrifices are offered with animals slaughtered on such days, some catastrophe will ensue.
Now, sacrificing is feeding the ghosts, and the ghosts are the essence of dead men. 16 If they are not, people cannot have seen them eating and drinking. The service of the dead is analogous to that of the living, and the worship of ghosts, corresponding to that of men. Since we behold the living eating and drinking, they must do the same after they have died and become ghosts. Affection for other beings, and remembrance of dear relatives are the main springs of sacrifices. As for the offerings to other spirits, and the numerous ghosts, although they are not dead men, yet the ritual of their worship is identical with that of the deceased. As we never see their shapes, we only think of them in the form of living men. The living have no fixed days for their eating and drinking, wherefore then must spirits and ghosts have such days?
In case ghosts and spirits really are conscious and not different from men, it is unnecessary to select days for sacrifices. 17 If, however, they are unconscious, they cannot partake of food and drink, and though days be selected or shunned, of what use would it be?
In reality, there are no ghosts for the diverse sacrifices, and the departed do not possess any knowledge. The various sacrifices are performed in appreciation of great services, to show that virtue has not been forgotten, and the dead are treated as though they were alive, for the purpose of avoiding the appearance of ingratitude. Sacrifices do not bring happiness, and their omission does not entail calamities. Since sacrifices and the omission thereof neither cause happiness nor misfortune, how can lucky and unlucky days be of advantage or harmful?
If bloodshed be avoided, and the baleful days of the month shunned, because, when animals are slaughtered, blood is spilled, the living, eating the Six Animals, should likewise take these precautions. In the many slaughter-houses throughout China, several thousand animals are killed daily, no distinction being made between lucky and unlucky ones, but the butchers do not die an untimely death for that reason. As regards capital punishment, those criminals, beheaded every month, also count by thousands. When they are executed in the market-place, no auspicious day is chosen, yet the judges are not visited with misfortune.
When the meat supply is exhausted, animals are slaughtered, and when a case is settled, the culprits are decapitated. The decapitation of convicts, and the slaughter of animals are both bloodshed indeed. Why do victims, immolated at sacrifices, receive a different treatment, and why is a calendar established for sacrifices alone? Why are butchers and judges left out of account? The world adopts an opinion, without considering analogous cases. It sacrifices, though there are no ghosts, and believes in things to be avoided, though they do not exist. Attempting to secure happiness, by means of these two non-entities, it does not obtain it.
In writings on baths we are informed that, if anybody washes his head on a tse18 day, he becomes lovely, whereas if he does so on a mao19 day, his hair turns white.
A man is liked or disliked according as his features are handsome or ugly, whereas the black and white colour of his hair depend upon his age and the number of his years. If a woman as plain as Mu Mu20 were to wash her head on a tse day, would she excite love thereby? Or if a girl of fifteen were to do the same on a mao day, would her hair turn white?
Moreover, mu () signifies to remove the impurity of the head, hsi () to remove that of the feet, kuan () to remove that of the hands, and yü () to remove that of the body. All these manners of washing aim at cleansing the same body, and resemble each other. For washing the feet, the hands, and the body no days are selected, only for washing the head there are certain days. If the head be deemed the noblest part of the body, in bathing () the face is included and the face belongs to the head also. 21 If the hair be considered the noblest, there ought to be chosen a day for combing the hair as well.
For combing one uses wood 22 and for washing, water. Water and wood both belong to the Five Elements. Now, in using wood one does not shun anything, only in using water certain days are appointed. Should water be nobler than wood, then whenever water is used a day should be selected.
Besides, water is less noble than fire; 23 if different degrees of nobility must be admitted, then, in all cases when fire is used, a day ought to be chosen.
Further, provided that a person, washing his head on a tse day, becomes the object of love, and that, by washing it on a mao day, his hair turns white, who is the cause of all this? The nature of tse is water, and of mao, wood. 24 Water cannot be loved, and the colour of wood is not white. The animal of tse is the rat, and that of mao is the hare. The rat cannot be loved, and the fur of the hare is not white. 25 Who is it that renders the person, bathing on a tse day, lovable, and causes the hair of another, bathing on a mao day, to take the colour of hoar-frost?
Consequently, 26 bathing days are not lucky or unlucky, and it is not admissible to establish a special bathing calendar.
There are books for tailors, giving auspicious and inauspicious times. Dresses, made on an inauspicious day, bring misfortune, made on a lucky day, they attract happiness.
Clothes as well as food serve to support the human body: ---food supports it within, and clothes protect it from without. For food and drink no days are chosen, 27 whereas, in tailoring, certain days are tabooed. Are clothes of greater importance because they cover the body? Of things appreciated by humanity there is none more urgently needed than food. Therefore the first of the Eight Objects of Government 28 is food, the second commodities. Clothes fall under commodities. Should they rank higher, for being on the body, then nothing, worn on the body, is more important than the hat. 29 In manufacturing it, no restrictions are to be observed, whereas tailoring is beset with prohibitions. The more valuable object is thus treated with indifference, and much care is bestowed on the meaner.
Besides, washing removes the impurity of the head, and hats are used as head-gear; baths take away the dirt from the body, and clothes protect it from cold. For washing there are prohibitions, but for hats there are no restrictions; for baths no good or bad auguries exist, clothes, on the other hand, have good or bad influences. All these things are alike and refer to the same body, but some are held to be good, others to be bad, and the taboo is not the same. Common people, with their shallow knowledge, cannot grasp the truth.
Moreover, clothes are less valuable than a chariot and horses. The first of the Nine Gifts of Investiture 30 are a chariot and horses, the second, robes of State. Cartwrights do not seek a propitious time, and tailors alone look out for a lucky day. By their prejudices, people lose the true estimate of what is important and not.
For commencing the building of a dwelling and the construction of a house the selection of a day is requisite.
A house covers the human shape, and a dwelling harbours the human body; how could they be liable to the evil influences of the year and the moon, that the aforesaid selection becomes necessary? If the spirits dislike them because they cover and shield the human body, then for building a carriage, and constructing a ship, for making a canopy, and manufacturing a hat, a propitious day ought to be chosen as well. In case the spirits be displeased, because the earth is moved, and the soil dug up, then, for making a trench or tilling a garden, a good day should be appointed also. Provided that the spirit of Earth be molested by the turning up of the soil, it might well forgive man, for he has no bad intentions, and merely desires to shelter his body and find a resting place. The holy mind of a spirit would not be irritated thereby, and, under this condition, even the omission to select a day would not have evil consequences. If, however, the spirits of the soil could not pardon man, and irreasonably hated him, in view of the vexations caused by his disturbing the earth, of what avail would be the selection of a propitious day? 31
The imperial law forbids murder and the wounding of man. All murderers and those who have wounded others, are liable to punishment, and, though they should select a day for transgressing the law, they would not escape. In default of such a prohibition, even wilful manslaughter would not be atoned for.
The jurisdiction of a district magistrate is like the sway of ghosts and spirits, and the crime of throwing up and piercing the soil, analogous to killing and wounding. For killing and wounding the selection of days is of no use, wherefore then should there be those prohibitive rules concerning the construction and the erection of houses and dwellings?
In studying books the ping32 days are eschewed, because they say that Ts`ang Hsieh33 expired on a ping day. The rites prescribe that on tse and mao34 days no music should be made, for the Yin and Hsia dynasties perished on a tse and a mao day. 35 If people study on a ping day, or make music on a tse and mao day, they are not necessarily visited with misfortune. Out of regard for the death day of former emperors, and out of sympathy with their sufferings, people cannot bring themselves to undertake anything. The system of tabooed days is related to these customs connected with the ping, tse, and mao days. Although something be shunned there is no fear of any disaster or calamity. 36
A great variety of spirits are referred to in the calendars 37 embracing Heaven and Earth, but the Sages do not speak of them, 38 the scholars have not mentioned them, and perhaps they are not real. The laws of Heaven are hard to know, but provided that spirits exist, then what benefit could be derived from shunning a day on which they display their activity, or what adversity could accrue from a non-avoidance? If a king undertakes something on such and such a day, and the people also choose this day, the king, on hearing it, would not mete out punishments, for he would not be angry that his subjects did not shun him. Wherefore then should the spirits of Heaven alone be so cruel?
The State law inquires whether a thing be permissible or not according to human ideas, but does not concern itself with prognostics. Confucius said that one puts up a dwelling after having taken its forecast. 39 Regarding the sacrifices of the Ch`un-ch`iu, he does not allude to the divination of days. The Liki says that domestic affairs are settled on an even day and outside matters, on an odd day. Odd and even are observed with regard to inside and outside matters, but do not refer to good or bad luck, or indicate happiness and misfortune.
1. Prosperity and decay are the events and circumstances making people happy or miserable.
2. These seem to be geomantic terms.
3. Both are elements.
4. Digging a grave, and making ditches or tilling a garden.
6. Quoted from the Ch`un-ch`iu, Duke Hsüan 8th year.
7. The Duchess of Lu was Ching Ying.
8. . Ed. A and B have , ed. C writes .
9. Originally the duchess was to be buried on a chi-ch`ou day, but the rain prevented it. Chi-ch`ou, being the 26th combination of the cycle of sixty, would have been an even day, and as such in harmony with the uneven day of the death of the duchess. The kêng-yin day, the 27th combination, was an odd day again and not tallying with the odd day of death.
10. The Tso-chuan, commenting upon the above quoted passage, states that to delay the interment owing to rain was according to rule. The Liki ( Sacred Books Vol. XXVII, p. 223) informs us that common people did not suspend the interment because of rain, and this rule seems to prevail at present, a rain-fall during a burial being regarded as very propitious. Cf. De Groot, Religious System Vol. I, p. 213.
11. Liki eod.
12. In adding seven, five, or three, the month of death is included.
13. I. e., it would correspond to the month of death, being even in case the latter was even, and uneven if the latter was.
16. In general belief, here only used as an argument, for Wang Ch`ung does not share it. See Vol. I, chap. 15 and below.
17. Because men do not choose propitious days for eating and drinking.
20. Cf. Vol. I, p. 473, Note 3.
21. . The second seems out of place and should be expunged.
22. The Chinese still use wooden combs to-day, a fact illustrated by the character for comb .
23. Fire, the Yang fluid, the producing force of nature is nobler than water, the Yin fluid, which is regarded as passive or destructive.
24. According to the theory on the Five Elements, elaborated in the Han epoch, of the Twelve Branches hai and tse are related to water, and yin and mao, to wood. Cf. Appendix I p. 467.
25. The prescription cannot be explained by the fanciful theory on the elements and their correlates.
26. We have to insert the answer to the preceding rhetorical question:---nobody.
27. Ed. A and B have the misprint:--- for .
28. The Eight Objects of Government, enumerated in the Shuking, viz. food, commodities, sacrifices, works, instruction, jurisdiction, entertainment of guests, and warfare.
29. Its importance lies not so much in its usefulness---in this respect a coat or a cloak are more important---as in its covering the head, the noblest part of the body.
30. These Nine Gifts were symbols of authority, anciently bestowed upon vassals and ministers. They were:---a chariot and horses, robes of State, musical instruments, vermilion coloured entrance doors, the right to approach the sovereign by the central path, armed attendants, bows and arrows, battle-axes, and sacrificial wines. Mayers' Manual Pt. II No. 284.
31. The disturbance would be the same, whether the day be auspicious or not.
33. The inventor of writing.
35. These dynasties were celebrated for their music.
36. Some days are shunned out of respect for great men that died on these days, but not because they forebode evil.
37. Here again the text writes . One is superfluous.
38. Confucius admits the existence of ghosts and spirits, and that they be sacrificed to, but avoids speaking of them and answering any questions about their nature.
39. Quotation from the Hsiao-ching (Pei-wên-yün-fu).
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|Published by The Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities, © Copyright 2003 by Anne Kinney and the University of Virginia|