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1Confucius being at home at leisure, with Dze-hsiâ by his side,
the latter said, 'With reference to the lines in the Book of Poetry (III, ii,
ode 8, 1),
Dze-hsiâ said, 'I have thus heard (your explanation) of the name "parent of the people;" allow me to ask what " the five extreme points" (that you mention) mean.' Confucius said, 'The furthest aim of the mind has also its furthest expression in the Book of Poetry. The furthest expression of the Book of Poetry has also its furthest embodiment in the ceremonial usages. The furthest embodiment in the ceremonial usages has also its furthest indication in music. The furthest indication of music has also its furthest indication in the voice of sorrow. Sorrow and joy produce, each the other; and thus it is that when we look with the directest vision of the eyes at (these extreme points) we cannot see them, and when we have bent our ears with the utmost tension we cannot hear them. The mind and spirit must embrace all within heaven and earth:--these are what we denominate "the five extreme points."'
Dze-hsiâ said, 'I have heard your explanation of "the five
extreme points;" allow me to ask what "the three points that have no positive
existence" mean.' Confucius said, 'The music that has no sound; ceremonial
usages that have no embodiment; the mourning that has no garb:--these are what
we denominate "the three points that have no positive existence." Dze-hsiâ
said, 'I have heard what you have said on those three negations; allow me to
ask in which of the odes we find the nearest expression of them.' Confucius
said, 'There is that (IV, ii, ode 1, 6),
Dze-hsiâ said, 'Your words are great, admirable, and complete. Do they exhaust all that can be said on the subject? Is there nothing more?' Confucius said, 'How should it be so? When a superior man practises these things, there still arise five other points.'
Dze-hsiâ said, 'How is that?' Confucius said, 'When there is that music without sound, there is no movement of the spirit or will in opposition to it. When there is that ceremony without embodiment, all the demeanour is calm and gentle. When there is that mourning without garb, there is an inward reciprocity, and great pitifulness.'When there is that music without sound, the spirit and will are mastered. When there is that ceremony without embodiment, all the demeanour is marked by courtesy. When there is that mourning without garb, it reaches to all in all quarters.'When there is that music without sound, the spirit and will are followed. When there is that ceremony without embodiment, high and low are harmonious and united. When there is that mourning without garb, it goes on to nourish all regions.'When there is that music without sound, it is daily heard in all the four quarters of the kingdom. When there is that ceremony without embodiment, there is a daily progress and a monthly advance. When there is that mourning, without garb, the virtue (of him who shows it) becomes pure and very bright.'When there is that music without sound, all spirits and wills are roused by it. When there is that ceremony without embodiment, its influence extends to all within the four seas. When there is that mourning without garb, it extends to future generations.'
Dze-hsiâ said, '(It is said that) the virtue of the kings (who
founded the) three dynasties was equal to that of heaven and earth; allow me to
ask of what nature that virtue was which could be said to put its possessors on
an equality with heaven and earth.' Confucius said, 'They reverently displayed
the Three Impartialities, while they comforted all beneath the sky under the
toils which they imposed.' Dze-hsiâ said, 'Allow me to ask what you call the
"Three Impartialities."' Confucius said, 'Heaven overspreads all without
partiality; Earth sustains and contains all without partiality; the Sun and
Moon shine on all without partiality. Reverently displaying these three
characteristics and thereby comforting all under heaven under the toils which
they imposed, is what is called "the Three Impartialities." It is said in the
Book of Poetry (IV, iii, ode 4, 3),
'To Heaven belong the four seasons, spring, autumn, winter, summer, with wind, rain, hoar-frost, and dew;--(in the action) of all and each of these there is a lesson.'Earth contains the mysterious energy (of nature). That mysterious energy (produces) the wind and thunder-clap. By the wind and thunder-clap the (seeds of) forms are carried abroad, and the various things show the appearance of life:--in all and each of these things there is a lesson.
'When the personal character is pure and bright, the spirit
and mind are like those of a spiritual being. When what such an one desires is
about to come, there are sure to be premonitions of it in advance, (as when)
Heaven sends down the seasonable rains, and the hills produce the clouds. As it
is said in the Book of Poetry (III, iii, ode 5, 1),
'As to the kings (who founded) the three dynasties, it was
necessary that they should be preceded by the fame of their forefathers. As it
is said in the Book of Poetry (III, iii, ode 8, 6),
Sze-hsia rose up with a sudden joy, and, standing with his back to the wall, said, 'Your disciple dares not but receive (your instructions) with reverence.'
1. See the introductory notice, vol. xxvii, page 41.
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|Published by The Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities, © Copyright 2003 by Anne Kinney and the University of Virginia|