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Zang-dze asked, 'The princes are assembled in a body to appear before the son of Heaven; they have entered the gate, but are not able to go through with the rites (of audience);--how many occurrences will make these be discontinued?'Confucius said, 'Four.' 'May I ask what they are?' said the other. The reply was:--'The grand ancestral temple taking fire; an eclipse of the sun; funeral rites of the queen; their robes all unsightly through soaking rain. If, when the princes are all there, an eclipse of the sun take place, they follow the son of Heaven to save it 1; each one dressed in the colour of his quarter, and with the weapon proper to it 2. If there be a fire in the grand ancestral temple, they follow him to extinguish it without those robes and weapons.'

Zang-dze said, 'Princes are visiting one another. (The strangers) have entered the gate after the customary bowings and courtesies, but they are not able to go through with the rites (of audience);--how many occurrences will make these be discontinued?'Confucius said, 'Six;' and, in answer to the question as to what they were, replied:--'The death of the son of Heaven; the grand ancestral temple taking fire; an eclipse of the sun; the funeral rites of the queen or of the princess of the state; and their robes all unsightly through soaking rain.'

Zang-dze said, 'At the seasonal sacrifices of the son of Heaven, at those to Heaven and Earth, and at (any of) the five sacrifices of the house, after the vessels, round and square, with their contents have been set forth, if there occur the death of the son of Heaven or mourning rites for the queen, what should be done?'Confucius, said, 'The sacrifice should be stopped.' The other asked, 'If, during the sacrifice, there occur an eclipse of the sun, or the grand ancestral temple take fire, what should be done?' The reply was, 'The steps of the sacrifice should be hurried on. If the victim have arrived, but has not yet been slain, the sacrifice should be discontinued.

'When the son of Heaven has died and is not yet coffined, the sacrifices of the house are not offered. When he is coffined, they are resumed; but at any one of them the representative of the dead takes (only) three mouthfuls (of the food), and is not urged (to take more). He is then presented with a cup, but does not respond by presenting another, and there is an end (of the ceremony). From the removal of the coffin to the return (from the burial) and the subsequent wailing, those sacrifices (again) cease. After the burial they are offered, but when the officer of prayer has finished the cup presented to him, they stop.'

Zang-dze asked, 'At the sacrifices to the spirits of the land and grain proper to the feudal princes, if, after the stands and vessels, with their contents, have been arranged, news arrive of the death of the son of Heaven or of the mourning rites for his queen, or if the ruler die or there be mourning rites for his consort, what should be done?'Confucius said, 'The sacrifice should be discontinued. From the ruler's death to the coffining, and from the removal of the coffin to the return (from the burial) and the (subsequent) wailing, they will follow the example set by the son of Heaven 3.'

Zang-dze asked, 'At the sacrifices of a Great officer 4, when the tripods and stands have been arranged, and the dishes of bamboo and wood, with their contents, have been set forth, but they are not able to go through with the rites, how many occurrences will cause them to be discontinued?'Confucius said, 'Nine;' and when asked what they were, he added:--'The death of the son of Heaven; funeral rites for his queen; the death of the ruler (of the state); funeral rites for his consort; the ruler's grand ancestral temple taking fire; an eclipse of the sun; (a call to) the three years' mourning; to that of one year; or to that of nine months. In all these cases the sacrifice should be given up. If the mourning be merely for relatives by affinity, from all degrees of it up to the twelve months, the sacrifice will go on. At one where the mourning is worn for twelve months, the representative of the dead, after entering, will take (only) three mouthfuls (of the food), and not be urged to take (any more). He will be presented with a cup, but will not respond by presenting one in return, and there will be an end (of the ceremony). Where the mourning is for nine months, after he has presented the responsive cup, the thing will end. Where it is for five or for three months, it will not end till all the observances in the apartment are gone through. What distinguishes the proceedings of an ordinary officer is, that he does not sacrifice when wearing the three months' mourning. He sacrifices, however, if the dead to whom he does so had no relationship with him requiring him to wear mourning.'

Zang-dze asked, 'May one, wearing the three years' mourning for a parent, go to condole with others?'Confucius said, 'On the completion of the first of the three years, one should not be seen standing with others, or going along in a crowd. With a superior man the use of ceremonies is to give proper and elegant expression to the feelings. Would it not be an empty form 5 to go and condole and wail with others, while wearing the three years' mourning?'

Zang-dze asked, 'If a Great officer or ordinary officer be in mourning for a parent 6 he may put it off 7; and if he be in mourning for his ruler, under what conditions will he put that off?'Confucius said, 'If he have the mourning for his ruler on his person, he will not venture to wear any private mourning;--what putting off can there be? In this case, even if the time be passed (for any observances which the private mourning would require), he will not put it off. When the mourning for the ruler is put off, he will then perform the great sacrifices (of his private mourning) 8. This is the rule.'

Zang-dze asked, 'But is it allowable thus to give up all the mourning rites for a parent through this keeping on of the mourning (for a ruler)?'Confucius said, 'According to the ceremonies as determined by the ancient kings, it is the rule that when the time has passed (for the observance of any ceremony), there should be no attempt to perform it. It is not that one could not keep from not putting off the mourning; but the evil would be in his going beyond the definite statute. Therefore it is that a superior man does not offer a sacrifice, when the proper time for doing so has passed.'

Zang-dze said, 'If, when the ruler has died, and is now lying in his coffin, the minister be called to the funeral rites for his father or mother, what course will he pursue?'Confucius said, 'He should go home and remain there; going indeed to the ruler's for the great services (to the departed), but not for those of every morning and evening 9.'

(Zang-dze asked), 'If, when they have begun to remove the coffin, the minister be called to the funeral rites for his father or mother, how should he do?'Confucius said, 'He should go home and wail, and then return and accompany the funeral of the ruler.'

'If,' said (Zang-dze), 'before the ruler has been coffined, a minister be called to the funeral rites for his father or mother, what should be his course?'Confucius said, 'He should go home, and have the deceased put into the coffin, returning (then) to the ruler's. On occasion of the great services, he will go home, but not for those of every morning and evening. In the case of a Great officer, the chief servant of the household will attend to matters; in the case of an ordinary officer, a son or grandson. When there are the great services at the ruler's, the wife of the Great officer will also go there, but not for those of every morning and evening.'

One in a low position should not pronounce the eulogy of another in a high, nor a younger man that of one older than himself. In the case of the son of Heaven, they refer to Heaven as giving his eulogy. It is not the rule for princes of states to deliver the eulogy of one another 10.

Zang-dze asked, 'When a ruler goes across the boundary of his own state, he takes with him his inner coffin as a precaution for the preparations against the three years'(mourning rites) for him 11. If he die (abroad), what are the proceedings on his being brought back?'Confucius said, 'The clothes to be put on him after the coffining having been provided, the son in the linen cap, with the sackcloth band round it, wearing coarse sackcloth and the shoes of straw, and carrying a staff, will enter by the opening made in the wall of the apartment for the coffin, having ascended by the western steps. If the slighter dressing (preparatory to the coffining) have still (to be made), the son will follow the bier without a cap, enter by the gate, and ascend by the steps on the east. There is one and the same rule for a ruler, a Great officer, and an ordinary officer.'

Zang-dze asked, 'If one is occupied in drawing (the carriage with the bier on it) at the funeral rites of his ruler, and is then called to the funeral rites of his father or mother, what should he do?' Confucius said, 'He should complete what he is engaged in; and when the coffin has been let down into the grave, return home, without waiting for the departure of the (ruler's) son.'

Zang-dze asked, 'If one, occupied with the funeral rites of a parent, has (assisted in) drawing the bier to the path (to the grave), and there hear of the death of his ruler, what should he do?'Confucius said, 'He should complete the burial; and, when the coffin has been let down, he should change his dress, and go to (the ruler's).'

Zang-dze asked, 'If the eldest son by the proper wife be (only) an officer, and a son by a secondary wife be a Great officer, how will the latter proceed in his sacrificing?'Confucius said, 'He will sacrifice, with the victims belonging to his higher rank, in the house of the eldest son. The officer of prayer will say, "So and So, the filial son, in behalf of So and So, the attendant son, presents his regular offering 12."'

'If the eldest son, now the head of the family, be residing, in consequence of some charge of guilt, in another state, and a son by a secondary wife be a Great officer, when (the latter) is offering a sacrifice (for the other), the officer of prayer will say, "So and So, the filial son, employs the attendant son, So and So, to perform for him the regular service." (In this case, however), the principal in this vicarious service will not conduct the sacrifice so as to see that the spirit of the deceased is satisfied to the full; nor send the cup round among all who are present, nor receive the blessing (at the close); nor lay on the ground the portions of the sacrifice as thank-offerings; nor have with him (the wife of the elder brother) who should appear before the spirit-tablet of her mother-in-law, the wife of the deceased. He will put down the cup before the (principal) guests, but they will put it down (in another place), and not send it round. He will not send to them portions of the flesh. In his address to the guests (at the beginning of the service), he will say, "My honoured brother, the honoured son (of our father), being in another state, has employed me, So and So, to make announcement to you 13."'

Zang-dze asked, 'If the eldest son have gone and is in another state, while a son by a secondary wife, and without rank, remains at home, may the latter offer the sacrifice?'Confucius said, 'Yes, certainly.' 'And how will he sacrifice?' 'He will rear an altar in front of the (family-)grave, and there he will sacrifice at the different seasons. If the oldest son die, he will announce the event at the grave, and afterwards sacrifice in the house, calling himself, however, only by his name, and abstaining from the epithet "filial." This abstinence will cease after his death.' The disciples of Dze-yû, in the case of sons by inferior wives sacrificing, held that this practice was in accordance with what was right. Those of them who sacrifice now-a-days do not ground their practice on this principle of right;--they have no truthful ground for their sacrifices 14.

Zang-dze asked, 'Is it necessary that there should be a representative of the dead in sacrifice? or may he be dispensed with as when the satisfying offerings are made to the dead?'Confucius said, 'In sacrificing to a full-grown man for whom there have been the funeral rites, there must be such a representative, who should be a grandson; and if the grandson be too young, some one must be employed to carry him in his arms. If there be no grandson, some one of the same surname should be selected for the occasion. In sacrificing to one who has died prematurely, there are (only) the satisfying offerings, for he was not full-grown. To sacrifice to a full-grown man, for whom there have been the funeral rites without a representative, would be to treat him as if he had died prematurely.'

Confucius said, 'There is the offering of satisfaction made in the dark chamber, and that made in the brighter place.'Zang-dze answered with a question, 'But to one who has died prematurely there is not made a complete sacrifice; what do you mean by speaking of two satisfying offerings, the dark and the bright?'Confucius said, 'When the oldest son, who would take the father's place, dies prematurely, no brother by an inferior wife can be his successor. At the auspicious sacrifice to him 15, there is a single bullock; but the service being to one who died prematurely, there is no presentation (of the lungs), no stand with the heart and tongue, no dark-coloured spirits 16, no announcement of the nourishment being completed. This is what is called the dark satisfying offering. In regard to all others who have died prematurely and have left no offspring, the sacrifice is offered to them in the house of the oldest son, where the apartment is most light, with the vases in the chamber on the east. This is what is called the bright satisfying offering.'

Zang-dze asked, 'At a burial, when the bier has been drawn to the path (leading to the place), if there happen an eclipse of the sun, is any change made or not?' Confucius said, 'Formerly, along with Lâo Tan 17, I was assisting at a burial in the village of Hsiang, and when we had got to the path, the sun was eclipsed. Lâo Tan said to me, "Khiû, let the bier be stopped on the left of the road 18; and then let us wail and wait till the eclipse pass away. When it is light again, we will proceed." He said that this was the rule. When we had returned and completed the burial, I said to him, "In the progress of a bier there should be no returning. When there is an eclipse of the sun, we do not know whether it will pass away quickly or not, would it not have been better to go on?" Lâo Tan said, "When the prince of a state is going to the court of the son of Heaven, he travels while he can see the sun. At sun-down he halts, and presents his offerings (to the spirit of the way). When a Great officer is on a mission, he travels while he can see the sun, and at sun-down he halts. Now a bier does not set forth in the early morning, nor does it rest anywhere at night; but those who travel by star-light are only criminals and those who are hastening to the funeral rites of a parent. When there is an eclipse of the sun, how do we know that we shall not see the stars? And moreover, a superior man, in his performance of rites, will not expose his relatives to the risk of distress or evil." This is what I heard from Lâo Tan.'

Zang-dze asked, 'In the case of one dying where he is stopping, when discharging a mission for his ruler, the rules say 19 that, (if he die) in a government hotel his spirit shall be recalled; but not, (if he die) in a private one 20. But to whatever state a commissioner may be sent, the lodging which may be assigned to him by the proper officer becomes a public hotel;--what is the meaning of his spirit not being recalled, (if he die) in a private one?'Confucius said, 'You have asked well. The houses of a high minister, a Great officer, or an ordinary officer, may be called private hotels. The government hotel, and any other which the government may appoint, may be called a public hotel. In this you have the meaning of that saying that the spirit is recalled at a public hotel.'

Zang-dze asked, 'Children dying prematurely, between eight and eleven, should be buried in the garden in a brick grave, and carried thither on a contrivance serving the purpose of a carriage, the place being near; but now if the grave is chosen at a distance, what do you say about their being buried there?'Confucius said, 'I have heard this account from Lâo Tan:--"Formerly," he said, "the recorder Yî had a son who died thus prematurely, and the grave was distant. The duke of Shâo said to him, 'Why not shroud and coffin him in your palace?' The recorder said, 'Dare I do so?' The duke of Shâo spoke about it to the duke of Kâu, who said, 'Why may it not be done?' and the recorder did it. The practice of coffins for boys who have died so prematurely, and shrouding them, began with the recorder Yî."'

Zang-dze asked, 'A minister or a Great officer is about to act the part of a personator of the dead for his ruler. If, when he has received (orders) to pass the night in solemn vigil, there occur in his own family an occasion for him to wear the robe of hemmed sackcloth, what should he do?'Confucius said, 'The rule is for him to leave (his house) and lodge in a state hotel, and wait till (the ruler's) business is accomplished.'

Confucius said, 'When one who has represented the dead comes forth in the (officer's) leathern cap, or the (Great officer's) tasseled cap (which he has worn), ministers, Great officers, and other officers, all will descend from their carriages (when his passes). He will bow forward to them, and he will also have a forerunner (to notify his approach).'

Dze-hsiâ asked, 'There is such a thing as no longer declining military service, after the wailing in the three years' mourning has come to an end. Is this the rule? or was it at first required by the officers (of the state)?'Confucius said, 'Under the sovereigns of Hsiâ, as soon as the coffining in the three years' mourning was completed, they resigned all their public duties. Under Yin they did so as soon as the interment was over. Is not this the meaning of what we find in the record, that "the ruler does not take from men their affection to their parents, nor do men take from their parents their filial duty?"'

Dze-hsiâ asked, 'Is then not declining military service (during mourning) to be condemned?'Confucius said, 'I heard from Lâo Tan that duke Po-khin engaged once in such service, when there was occasion for it; but I do not know if I should allow it in those who seek (by it) their own advantage during the period of the three years' mourning 21.'


1. The phenomenon of an eclipse suggested the idea of some enemy or adverse influence devouring the sun's disk.

2. The colour appropriate to the east was green, and the weapon the spear with two hooks; the colour of the south was red, and the weapon the spear with one hook and two points; the colour of the west was white, and the weapon the bow; the colour of the north was black, and the weapon the shield; the colour of the centre was yellow, and the weapon the drum.

3. As given in the preceding paragraphs.

4. In his ancestral temple.

5. How could he, occupied with his own sorrow, offer anything but an empty form of condolence to others?

6. Literally 'private mourning,' as below; but evidently the master and disciple both had the mourning for a parent in mind.

7. On his having to go into mourning for his ruler.

8. That is, the rightful son and heir may then perform the sacrifice marking the close of the first year's mourning for a parent, and that marking the close of the second year's mourning in the month after. But Khan Hâo argues that it was only the rightful son who could thus go back and offer the sacrifices proper to the mourning rites for parents, and that the other sons could not do so. This is the case underlying the next paragraph.

9. It has been seen that morning and evening offerings to the dead were placed near the coffin. On the first and fifteenth of the month these were on a great scale, and with special observances,--at the new and full moon. They were 'the great services.' The practice still continues.

10. The eulogy has in China for more than a thousand years taken the form of inscriptions on tombs and sacrificial compositions; of which there are many elegant and eloquent specimens. It should be summed up in the honorary title. Truth, however, might require that that should be the reverse of eulogistic; and perhaps this led to its being conferred, as a rule, by one superior in rank and position. The honorary title of a deceased sovereign was first proclaimed at the great sacrifice to Heaven at the winter solstice; and hence it is referred to in the text as coming from Heaven!

11. That is, I think, simply, 'as a precaution against his dying while abroad.' Zottoli renders:--'Regulus excedens confinia, ut in tres annos praecaveatur, habit sandapilam sequacem.'

12. Here two things were in collision. The oldest son by the proper wife was the representative of the father, and only he could preside at the service in the ancestral temple of the family. But here an inferior son has been advanced to a higher rank than his older brother. As a Great officer he is entitled to have three shrine temples; but it would be contrary to the solidarity of the family for him to erect an ancestral temple for himself. The difficulty is met in the way described, the sacrifice being ascribed to the elder brother, as head of the family.

13. This paragraph continues the case in the preceding, with the additional circumstances that the head of the family is a fugitive from it, and that the sacrifice referred to in it is performed by the inferior brother remaining in the state, in lieu of him. It is difficult to translate without amplification so as to be intelligible, because of what may be called the technical terms in it. The five points in which the service was deficient, different from what it would have been, if performed by the proper brother, are given in the reverse order of their regular occurrence; whether designedly or not, we cannot tell. For that portion of the paragraph P. Zottoli gives:--'Sed vicarius dominus vacabit satisfactionis sacrificio; vacabit universali propinatione; vacabit benedictione; vacabit consternationis sacrificio; vacabit copulatione; appending a note to explain the terms.

14. These last two sentences evidently should not be ascribed to Confucius. It was only after his death that Dze-yû would have a school of his own. They must have been written moreover after the death of Dze-yû.

15. The first auspicious sacrifice took place when the ceremony of wailing was over.

16. A name for water

17. This was Lâo-dze, 'the old master.' It seems better to keep Lâo as if it had been the surname. See paragraph 24, p. 325.

18. The east of the road. Graves were north of the towns.

19. Where these rules are to be found I do not know.

20. I use 'hotel' here in the French meaning of the term. We must suppose that 'the private hotel' about which Zang-dze asked was one to which the commissioner had gone without the instructions of the state; and, as the Khien-lung editors say, 'the rites were therefore so far diminished.'

21. Po-khin was the son of the duke of Kâu, and the first marquis of Lû. The time of his entering on the rule of that state was a very critical one in the kingdom; and though it was then, it would appear, the period of his mourning for his mother's death, he discharged his public duty in the time of his own grief.

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IATHPublished by The Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities, © Copyright 2003 by Anne Kinney and the University of Virginia