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Zâi Wo said, 'I have heard the names Kwei and Shan, but I do not know what they mean 1.' The Master said, 'The (intelligent) spirit 2 is of the shan nature, and shows that in fullest measure; the animal soul is of the kwei nature, and shows that in fullest measure. It is the union of kwei and shan that forms the highest exhibition of doctrine. 'All the living must die, and dying, return to the ground; this is what is called kwei. The bones and flesh, moulder below, and, hidden away, become the earth of the fields. But the spirit issues forth, and is displayed on high in a condition of glorious brightness. The vapours and odours which produce a feeling of sadness, (and arise from the decay of their substance), are the subtle essences of all things, and (also) a manifestation of the shan nature. 'On the ground of these subtle essences of things, with an extreme decision and inventiveness, (the sages) framed distinctly (the names of) kwei and shan, to constitute a pattern for the black-haired race 3; and all the multitudes were filled with awe, and the myriads of the people constrained to submission.'

'The sages did not consider these (names) to be sufficient, and therefore. they built temples with their (different) apartments, and framed their rules for ancestors who were always to be honoured, and those whose tablets should be removed;--thus making a distinction for nearer and more distant kinship, and for ancestors the remote and the recent, and teaching the people to go back to their oldest fathers, and retrace their beginnings, not forgetting those to whom they owed their being. In consequence of this the multitude submitted to their lessons, and listened to them with a quicker readiness.

'These two elements (of the human constitution) having been established (with the two names), two ceremonies were framed in accordance with them. They appointed the service of the morning, when the fat of the inwards was burned so as to bring out its fragrance, and this was mixed with the blaze of dried southern-wood. This served as a tribute to the (intelligent) spirit, and taught all to go back to their originating ancestors. They (also) presented millet and rice, and offered the delicacies of the liver, lungs, head, and heart, along with two bowls (of liquor) and odoriferous spirits. This served as a tribute to the animal soul, and taught the people to love one another, and high and low to cultivate good feeling between them;--such was the effect of those ceremonies.

'The superior man, going back to his ancient fathers, and returning to the authors of his being, does not forget those to whom he owes his life, and therefore he calls forth all his reverence, gives free vent to his feelings, and exhausts his strength in discharging the above service;--as a tribute of gratitude to his parents he dares not but do his utmost 4.'

Thus it was that anciently the, son of Heaven had his field of a thousand acres, in which he himself held the plough, wearing the square-topped cap with red ties. The feudal princes also had their field of a hundred acres, in which they did the same, wearing the same cap with green ties. They did this in the service of Heaven, Earth, the Spirits of the land and grain, and their ancient fathers, to supply the new wine, cream, and vessels of grain. In this way did they procure these things;--it was a great expression of their reverence.

Anciently, the son of Heaven and the feudal lords had their officers who attended to their animals; and at the proper seasons, after vigil and fasting, they washed their heads, bathed, and visited them in person 5, taking from them for victims those which were spotless and perfect;--it was a great expression of their reverence. The ruler ordered the oxen to be brought before him, and inspected them; he chose them by their hair, divined whether it would be fortunate to use them, and if the response were favourable, he had them cared for. In his skin cap, and the white skirt gathered up at the waist, on the first day and at the middle of the month, he inspected them. Thus did he do his utmost;--it was the height of filial piety.

Anciently, the son of Heaven and the feudal lords had their own mulberry trees and silkworms' house; the latter built near a river, ten cubits in height, the surrounding walls being topped with thorns, and the gates closed on the outside. In the early morning of a very bright day, the ruler, in his skin cap and the white skirt, divined for the most auspicious of the honourable ladies in the three palaces of his wife 6, who were then employed to take the silkworms into the house. They washed the seeds in the stream, gathered the leaves from the mulberry trees, and dried them in the wind to feed the worms. When the (silkworm) year was ended, the honourable ladies had finished their work with the insects, and carried the cocoons to show them to the ruler. They then presented them to his wife, who said, 'Will not these supply the materials for the ruler's robes?' She forthwith received them, wearing her head-dress and the robe with pheasants on it, and afterwards caused a sheep and a pig to be killed and cooked to treat (the ladies). This probably was the ancient custom at the presentation of the cocoons. Afterwards, on a good day, the wife rinsed some of them thrice in a vessel, beginning to unwind them, and then distributed them to the auspicious and honourable ladies of her three palaces to (complete) the unwinding. They then dyed the thread red and green, azure and yellow, to make the variously coloured figures on robes. When the robes were finished, the ruler wore them in sacrificing to the former kings and dukes;--all displayed the greatest reverence.

The superior man says, 'Ceremonies and music should not for a moment be neglected by any one. When one has mastered (the principles of) music, and regulates his heart and mind accordingly, the natural, correct, gentle, and honest heart is easily developed, and with this development of the heart comes joy. This joy goes on to a feeling of repose. This repose is long continued. The man in this constant repose becomes (a sort of) heaven. Heaven-like, his action is spirit-like. Heaven-like, he is believed, though he do not speak. Spirit-like, he is regarded with awe, though he display no rage. So it is when one by his mastering of music regulates his mind and heart. 'When one has mastered (the principle of) ceremonies, and regulates his person accordingly, he becomes grave and reverential. Grave and reverential, he is regarded with awe. If the heart be for a moment without the feeling of harmony and joy, meanness and deceitfulness enter it. If the outward demeanour be for a moment without gravity and reverentialness, indifference and rudeness show themselves. 'Therefore the sphere in which music acts is the interior of man, and that of ceremonies is his exterior. The result of music is a perfect harmony, and that of ceremonies is a perfect observance (of propriety). When one's inner man is thus harmonious, and his outer man thus docile, the people behold his countenance and do not strive with him; they look to his demeanour, and no feeling of indifference or rudeness arises in them. Thus it is that when virtue shines and moves within (a superior), the people are sure to accept (his rule) and hearken to him; and when the principles (of propriety) are displayed in his conduct, the people are all sure to accept (his rule) and obey him. Therefore it is said, 'Let ceremonies and music have their course till all under heaven is filled with them; then give them their manifestation and application, and nothing difficult to manage will appear.' Music affects the inward movements (of the soul); ceremonies appear in the outward movements (of the body). Hence it is the rule to make ceremonies as few and brief as possible, and to give to music its fullest development. This leads to the forward exhibition of ceremonies, and therein their beauty resides; and to the introspective consideration of music, and therein its beauty resides. If ceremonies, demanding this condensation, did not receive this forward exhibition of them, they would almost disappear altogether; if music, demanding this full development, were not accompanied with the introspection, it would produce a dissipation of the mind. Thus it is that to every ceremony there is its proper response, and for music there is this introspection. When ceremonies are responded to, there arises pleasure, and when music is accompanied with the right introspection, there arises repose. The response of ceremony and the introspection of music spring from one and the same idea, and have one and the same object.

Zang-dze said, 'There are three degrees of filial piety. The highest is the honouring of our parents; the second is the not disgracing them; and the lowest is the being able to support them.'

(His disciple), Kung-ming Î, said, 'Can you, master, be considered (an example of a) filial son?' Zang-dze replied, 'What words are these? What words are these? What the superior man calls filial piety requires the anticipation of our parents' wishes, the carrying out of their aims and their instruction in the path (of duty). I am simply one who supports his parents;--how can I be considered filial?'

Zang-dze said, 'The 'body is that which has been transmitted to us by our parents; dare any one allow himself to be irreverent in the employment of their legacy? If a man in his own house and privacy be not grave, he is not filial; if in serving his ruler, he be not loyal, he is not filial; if in discharging the duties of office, he be not reverent, he is not filial; if with friends he be not sincere, he is not filial; if on the field of battle he be not brave, he is not filial. If he fail in these five things, the evil (of the disgrace) will reach his parents;--dare he but reverently attend to them?' To prepare the fragrant flesh and grain which he has cooked, tasting and then presenting them before his parents, is not filial piety; it is only nourishing them. He whom the superior man pronounces filial is he whom (all) the people of (his) state praise, saying with admiration, 'Happy are the parents who have such a son as this!'--that indeed is what can be called being filial. The fundamental lesson for all is filial piety. The practice of it is seen in the support (of parents). One may be able to support them; the difficulty is in doing so with the proper reverence. One may attain to that reverence; the difficulty is to do so without self-constraint. That freedom from constraint may be realised;--the difficulty is to maintain it to the end. When his parents are dead, and the son carefully watches over his actions, so that a bad name, (involving) his parents, shall not be handed down, he may be said to be able to maintain his piety to the end. True love is the love of this; true propriety is the doing of this; true righteousness is the rightness of this; true sincerity is being sincere in this; true strength is being strong in this. Joy springs from conformity to this; punishments spring from the violation of this.

Zang-dze said, 'Set up filial piety, and it will fill the space from earth to heaven; spread it out, and it will extend over all the ground to the four seas; hand it down to future ages, and from morning to evening it will be observed; push it on to the eastern sea, the western sea, the southern sea, and the northern sea, and it will be (everywhere) the law for men, and their obedience to it will be uniform. There will be a fulfilment of the words of the ode (III, i, ode 10, 6),

Zang-dze said, 'Trees are felled and animals killed, (only) at the proper seasons. The Master said' 7, "To fell a single tree, or kill a single animal, not at the proper season, is contrary to filial piety."' There are three degrees of filial piety:--the least, seen in the employment of one's strength (in the service of parents); the second, seen in the endurance of toil (for them); and the greatest, seen in its never failing. Thinking of the gentleness and love (of parents) and forgetting our toils (for them) may be called the employment of strength. Honouring benevolences and resting with the feeling of repose in righteousness may be called the endurance of toil; the wide dispensation of benefits and the providing of all things (necessary for the people) may be called the piety that does not fail. When his parents love him, to rejoice, and not allow himself to forget them; when they hate him, to fear and yet feel no resentment; when they have faults, to remonstrate with them, and yet not withstand them; when they are dead, to ask (the help only of) the good to obtain the grain with which to sacrifice to them:--this is what is called the completion (by a son) of his proper services.

The disciple Yo-kang Khun 8 injured his foot in descending from his hall, and for some months was not able to go out. Even after this he still wore a look of sorrow, and (one of the) disciples of the school said to him, 'Your foot, master, is better; and though for some months you could not go out, why should you still wear a look of sorrow?' Yo-kang Khun replied, 'It is a good question which you ask! It is a good question which you ask! I heard from Zang-dze what he had heard the Master say, that of all that Heaven produces and Earth nourishes, there is none so great as man. His parents give birth to his person all complete, and to return it, to them all complete may be called filial duty. When no member has been mutilated and no disgrace done to any part of the person, it may be called complete; and hence a superior man does not dare to take the slightest step in forgetfulness of his filial duty. But now I forgot the way of that, and therefore I wear the look of sorrow. (A son) should not forget his parents in a single lifting up of his feet, nor in the utterance of a single word. He should not forget his parents in a single lifting up of his feet, and therefore he will walk in the highway and not take a by-path, he will use a boat and not attempt to wade through a stream;--not daring, with the body left him by his parents, to go in the way of peril. He should not forget his parents in the utterance of a single word, and therefore an evil word will not issue from his mouth, and an angry word will not come back to his person. Not to disgrace his person and not to cause shame to his parents may be called filial duty.'

Anciently, the sovereigns of the line of Yü honoured virtue, and highly esteemed age; the sovereigns of Hsiâ honoured rank, and highly esteemed age; under Yin they honoured riches, and highly esteemed age; under Kâu, they honoured kinship, and highly esteemed age. Yü, Hsiâ, Yin, and Kâu produced the greatest kings that have appeared under Heaven, and there was not one of them who neglected age. For long has honour been paid to years under the sky; to pay it is next to the service of parents.

Therefore, at court among parties of the same rank, the highest place was given to the oldest. Men of seventy years carried their staffs at the court. When the ruler questioned one of them, he made him sit on a mat. One of eighty years did not wait out the audience, and when the ruler would question him he went to his house. Thus the submission of a younger brother (and juniors generally) was recognised at the court.

A junior walking with one older (than himself), if they were walking shoulder to shoulder, yet it was not on the same line. If he did not keep transversely (a little behind), he followed the other 9. When they saw an old man, people in carriages or walking got out of his way. Men, where the white were mingling with their black hairs, did not carry burdens on the roads. Thus the submission of juniors was recognised on the public ways. Residents in the country took their places according to their age, and the old and poor were not neglected, nor did the strong come into collision with the weak, or members of a numerous clan do violence to those of a smaller. Thus the submission of juniors was recognised in the country districts and hamlets 10.

According to the ancient rule, men of fifty years were not required to serve in hunting expeditions 11; and in the distribution of the game, a larger share was given to the more aged. Thus the submission of juniors was recognised in the arrangements for the hunts. In the tens and fives of the army and its detachments, where the rank was the same, places were given according to age. Thus the submission of juniors was recognised in the army.

The display of filial and fraternal duty in the court; the practice of them on the road; their reaching to the districts and hamlets; their extension to the huntings; and the cultivation of them in the army, (have thus been described). All would have died for them under the constant of righteousness, and not dared to violate them.

The sacrifice in the Hall of Distinction served to inculcate filial duty on the feudal lords; the feasting of the three classes of the old and five classes of the experienced in the Great college served to inculcate brotherly submission on those princes; the sacrifices to the worthies of former times in the western school served to inculcate virtue on them; the (king's) ploughing in the field set apart for him, served to teach them the duty of nourishing (the people); their appearances at court in spring and autumn served to inculcate on them their duty as subjects or ministers. Those five institutions were the great lessons for the kingdom.

When feasting the three classes of the old and five classes of the experienced, the son of Heaven bared his arm, cut up the bodies of the victims, and handed round the condiments; he also presented the cup with which they rinsed their mouths, wearing the square-topped cap, and carrying a shield. It was thus he inculcated brotherly submission on the princes. It was thus that in the country and villages regard was paid to age, that the old and poor were not neglected, and that the members of a numerous clan did not oppress those of a smaller;--these things came from the Great college.The son of Heaven appointed the four schools; and when his eldest son entered one of them, he took his place according to his age.

When the son of Heaven was on a tour of inspection, the princes (of each quarter) met him on their borders. The son of Heaven first visited those who were a hundred years old. If there were those of eighty or ninety, on the way to the east, he, though, going to the west, did not dare to pass by (without seeing them); and so, if their route was to the west, and his to the west. If he wished to speak of matters of government, he, though ruler, might go to them.

Those who had received the first degree of office took places according to age (at meetings) in the country and villages; those who had received the second, took places in the same way (at meetings) of all the members of their relatives. Those who had received the third degree did not pay the same regard to age. But at meetings of all the members of a clan no one dared to take precedence of one who was seventy years old.Those who were seventy, did not go to court unless for some great cause. When they did so for such a cause, the ruler would bow and give place to them, afterwards going on to the parties possessed of rank.

Whatever good was possessed by the son of Heaven, he humbly ascribed the merit of it to Heaven; whatever good was possessed by a feudal lord, he ascribed it to the son of Heaven; whatever good was possessed by a minister or Great officer, he attributed it to the prince of his state; whatever good was possessed by an officer or a common man, he assigned the ground of it to his parents, and the preservation of it to his elders. Emolument, rank, felicitations, and rewards were (all) transacted in the ancestral temple; and it was thus that they showed (the spirit of) submissive deference.

Anciently, the sages, having determined the phenomena of heaven and earth in their states of rest and activity, made them the basis of the Yi (and divining by it). The diviner held the tortoise-shell in his arms, with his face towards the south, while the son of Heaven, in his dragon-robe and square-topped cap, stood with his face to the north. The latter, however intelligent might be his mind, felt it necessary to set forth and obtain a decision on what his object was;--showing that he did not dare to take his own way, and giving honour to Heaven (as the supreme Decider) 12. What was good in him (or in his views) he ascribed to others; what was wrong, to himself; thus teaching not to boast, and giving honour to men of talents and virtue.

When a filial son was about to sacrifice, the rule was that he should have his mind well adjusted and grave, to fit him for giving to all matters their full consideration, for repairing the temple and its fanes, and for regulating everything. When the day of sacrifice arrived, the rule was that his countenance should be mild, and his movements show an anxious dread, as if he feared his love were not sufficient. When he put down his offerings, it was required that his demeanour should be mild, and his body bent, as if (his parents) would speak (to him) and had not yet done so; when the officers assisting had all gone out 13, he stood lowly and still, though correct and straight, as if he were about to lose the sight (of his parents).After the sacrifice, he looked pleased and expectant, as if they would again enter 14.In this way his ingenuousness and goodness were never absent from his person; his ears and eyes were never withdrawn from what was in his heart; the exercises of his thoughts never left his parents. What was bound up in his heart was manifested in his countenance; and he was continually examining himself;--such was the mind of the filial son.

The sites for the altars to the spirits of the land and grain were on the right; that for the ancestral temple on the left 15.


1. I am unable to give a translation of the characters kwei (鬼) and shan, so as to make the meaning readily intelligible to the English reader. Callery gives for them 'L'âme et l'esprit.' Zottoli, 'Manes Spiritusque.' Evidently the question is about the application of them to the dead and gone, and the component elements of the human constitution.

2. The character in the text here is khî (氣) 'the breath.' Zottoli translates it by 'rationalis vis,' and Callery by 'la respiration de l'homme.'

3. It is observed by many of the commentators that the characters here employed for 'black-haired race' were unused in the time of Confucius, and became current under the Khin dynasty.

4. The above conversation with Zâi Wo is found in the 'Narratives of the School,' Article 17, headed 'Duke Âi's Questions about Government;' and the reply of Confucius ends here. I hesitate, therefore, to continue the points of quotation in what follows.

5. The first day, probably, of the last month of spring. If it were not bright, perhaps another was chosen.

6. The queen had six palaces; the wife of a prince, three. The writer confines his account here to the latter.

7. The master here is Confucius. The record of his saying is only found only here.

8. Yo-kang Khun evidently was a disciple of Zang-dze. Mencius had a disciple of the same surname, Yo-kang Kho (I, ii, 16). Another is mentioned by him (V, ii, 3). Lieh-dze mentions a fourth. The Yo-kangs are said to have sprung from the ducal stock of Sung.

9. If the elder were a brother or cousin, the junior kept a little behind, and apart. If he were an uncle, the other followed in a line.

10. Five Kâu, translated 'districts,' made a 'hsiang,' here translated 'the country districts.'

11. Literally, 'men of the tien' (甸). The tien was a tract of considerable size; contributing to the army a chariot, three mailed men, and seventy-two foot-men. There was a levy on it also of men to serve in the hunting expeditions.

12. Who does not see that, from the writer's point of view, divination was originally had recourse to in the search for an 'infallible' director in matters to be done? The Decider was held to be 'Heaven;' the error was thinking that the will of Heaven could be known through any manipulation of the tortoise-shell, or the stalks.

13. The text here is difficult. I have followed Kang, as has Zottoli;--the interpretation of 宿者as 'assisting officers,' can otherwise be defended. Callery gives for the clause:--'Toutes les pensees etrangeres (au sacrifice) il les chasse au dehors,' which it would be difficult to justify.

14. Here again translation is difficult. Zottoli gives:--'Cumque sacrificium transiverit, intendet animo, prosequetur ore, quasi mox iterum ingressuri essent.' Callery:--'Apres le sacrifice il s'en va lentement, comme (s'il suivait quelqu'un pas a pas, et avait envie) de rentrer (avec lui dans le temple).'

15. That is, with reference to the palace. As you looked out from it to the south, the altars were on the right hand and the temple on the left.

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