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命有三科以記驗,有壽命以保度, 有遭命以遇暴,有隨命以應行習。

壽命者、上命也,若言文王受命唯中身,享 國五十年。

隨命者、隨行為命,若言怠棄三正,天用勦絕其命矣。又欲使民務仁立義, (闕),無滔天。 滔天則司命舉過言,則用以弊之。

遭命者、逢世殘 (賤) [賊], 若上逢亂君,下必災變,暴至,夭絕人命,沙鹿崩于受邑是也。冉伯牛危言正行,而遭 惡疾,孔子曰:" 命矣夫! 斯人也而有斯疾也·"

夫子過鄭,與弟子相失,獨立郭門外。或謂子貢曰:"東門有一人,其頭似堯,其 頸似皋鯀,其肩似子產,然自腰以下,不及禹[者]三寸,儡儡[然]如喪家之狗。" 子貢以告孔子,孔子喟然而笑曰:"" 形狀末也。如喪家之狗,然(哉)乎[哉]! 然 (哉)乎[哉]!"

XXXI. Destinies

200---The Meaning of the Three Destinies (III B. 12a-13a).

a. What does ming1 'destiny' mean? [It means] man's old age, what Heaven has destined to constitute his span of life.

b. There are three kinds of destinies, indicating [man's] vicissitudes. There is the 'Old-age Destiny' shou-ming, [to denote] those who observe the rules; there is the 'Accident Destiny' tsao-ming, [to denote] those who meet a violent [death]; there is the 'Merit Destiny' sui-ming, [to denote] those who receive according to their deserts 2.

c. The 'Old-age Destiny' is the best. It applies for instance to "King Wên, who received his mandate in the middle of his life and enjoyed the state['s throne] for fifty years" 3.

d. The 'Merit Destiny' is the destiny as a consequence of one's behaviour. It applies for instance to [the prince of Hu,] "who idly abandoned the Three Rectifications, so that on that account Heaven cut off his life" 4. For [Heaven] desires that the people apply themselves to consideration for others and abide by the sense of the correct principles, not despising Heaven; when [there is one who] despises Heaven, then the Overseer of Destinies 5 will expose his guilt, that is, he will use it as a reason to destroy him.

e. The 'Accident Destiny' [applies to] those who encounter the depravities of his time, as when above [there happens to be] an unruly Lord, so that below there will be calamities and extraordinary events. Disasters occur and the life of men is cut short. Such was the case when the town of Sha-lu fell crushingly from the river-bank 6 [or] when Jan Po-niu, [Confucius' disciple and a man of] bold speech and upright conduct, was visited by a loathesome disease. Confucius said [of him]: "It is destiny! That such a man should have this disease!" 7

f. The Master, when passing through Chêng, found himself separated from his disciples, and alone took his stand outside the gate of the city-wall. Someone told Tzŭ-kung: "At the eastern gate there is a man, whose head resembles that of Yao; his neck resembles that of Kao-yao, and his shoulders resemble those of Tzŭ-ch'an; only from his waist down he lacks [the height of] Shun by three inches. He looks wearied like a homeless dog". Tzŭ-kung related it to Confucius, who with a sigh and a smile replied: "[The description of my] appearance is inadequate, but as to the homeless dog, how true it is, how true it is" 8.


1. 命 .

2. shou-ming 壽 丨, tsao-ming 遭 丨, sui-ming 隨 丨. The Hsiao ching wei yüan shên ch'i (Yü han, 58.12b) also gives this enumeration, but writes shou-ming受. The Lun hêng, ch. Ming i (2.6a; Forke, I. 138), quoting the Chuan, gives chêng-ming 正 丨 instead of shou-ming.

3. Cf. ch. Wu i of the Book of History, L. 470.

4. Cf. ch. Kan shih of ibid., L. 153. For the Three Rectifications see ch. XXVII.

5. 司 命 ssŭ-ming, see Li chi chu shu, Chi fa, 46.14a-b (C. II. 266), and Ch êng Hsüan's comm. on it.

6. 沙 鹿 崩 木 襲 邑 (Ch'ên, 8.30b); cf. Kung yang chu shu, Hsi 14, 11.13b.

7. Lun yü chu shu, ch. VI. 8, 6.5b; L. 188.

8. This paragraph seems to be irrelevant, unless it is taken as an instance of 'Accident Destiny' which befell Confucius. For the story cf. M.H. V. 337-338, and Chia yü, 5.23a-b.

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