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Duke Âi asked about government 1. The Master said, 'The government of Wan and Wû is exhibited in (the Records),--the tablets of wood and bamboo. Let there be the men, and their government would (again) flourish; but without the men, their government must cease.
With the (right) men the growth of government is rapid, just as) in the earth the growth of vegetation is rapid.
Government is (like) an easily-growing rush 2.
Therefore the exercise of government depends on (getting) the proper men.
(Such) men are to be got by (the ruler's) own character. That character is to be cultivated by his pursuing the right course. That course is to be cultivated by benevolence.
Benevolence is (the chief element in) humanity 3, and the greatest exercise of it is in the love of relatives. Righteousness is (the accordance of actions with) what is right, and the greatest exercise of it is in the honour paid to the worthy. The decreasing measures in the love of relatives, and the steps in the honour paid to the worthy, are produced by (the principle of) propriety.
When those in inferior situations do not obtain (the confidence of) their superiors, the people cannot be governed successfully 4.
Therefore the wise ruler should not neglect the cultivation of his character. Desiring to cultivate his character, he should not neglect to serve his parents. Desiring to serve his parents, he should not neglect to know men. Desiring to know men, he should not neglect to know Heaven.
The universal path for all under heaven is fivefold, and the (virtues) by means of which it is trodden are three. There are ruler and minister; father and son; husband and wife; elder brother and younger; and the intercourse of friend and friend:--(the duties belonging to) these five (relationships) constitute the universal path for all. Wisdom, benevolence, and fortitude:--these three are the universal virtues of all. That whereby these are carried into exercise is one thing 5.
Some are born with the knowledge of these (duties); some know them by study; and some know them as the result of painful experience. But the knowledge being possessed, it comes to one and the same thing.
Some practise them with the ease of nature; some for the sake of their advantage; and some by dint of strong effort. But when the work of them is done, it comes to one and the same thing 6.'
The Master said, 'To be fond of learning is near to wisdom; to practise with vigour is near to benevolence; to know to be ashamed is near to fortitude. He who knows these three things, knows how to cultivate his own character. Knowing how to cultivate his own character, he knows how to govern other men. Knowing how to govern other men, he knows how to govern the kingdom with its states and families.
'All who have the government of the kingdom with its states and families have nine standard rules to follow:--the cultivation of themselves; the honouring of the worthy; affection towards their relatives; respect towards their great ministers; kind and sympathetic treatment of the whole body of officers; dealing with the mass of the people as their children; encouraging the resort of all classes of artisans; indulgent treatment of men from a distance; and the kindly cherishing of the princes of the states.
'By (the ruler's) cultivation of himself there is set up (the example of) the course (which all should pursue); by his honouring of the worthy, he will be preserved from errors of judgment; by his showing affection towards his relatives, there will be no dissatisfaction among his uncles and brethren; by respecting the great ministers he will be kept from mistakes; by kindly treatment of the whole body of officers, they will be led to make the most grateful return for his courtesies; by dealing with the mass of the people as his children, they will be drawn to exhort one another (to what is good); by encouraging the resort of artisans, his wealth for expenditure will be rendered sufficient; by indulgent treatment of men from a distance, they will come to him from all quarters; by his kindly cherishing of the princes of the states, all under heaven will revere him.
'The adjustment of all his thoughts, purification, arraying himself in his richest dresses, and the avoiding of every movement contrary to the rules of propriety;--this is the way in which (the ruler) must cultivate his own character. Discarding slanderers, keeping himself from (the seductions of) beauty, making light of riches and honouring virtue:--this is the way by which he will encourage the worthy. Giving his relatives places of honour, and large emolument, and entering into sympathy with them in their likes and dislikes:--this is the way by which he can stimulate affection towards relatives. Giving them numerous officers to discharge their functions and execute their orders:--this is the way by which he will stimulate his Great ministers. According to them a generous confidence, and making their emoluments large:--this is the way by which he will stimulate (the body of) his officers. Employing them (only) at the regular times and making the imposts light:--this is the way by which he will stimulate the people. Daily examinations and monthly trials, and rations and allowances in proportion to the work done:--this is the way in which he will stimulate the artisans. Escorting them on their departure, and meeting them on their coming, commending the good among them and showing pity to the incompetent:--this is the way in which he will manifest his indulgent treatment of men from a distance. Continuing families whose line of succession has been broken, reviving states that have ceased to exist, reducing confusion to order, supporting where there is peril; having fixed times for receiving the princes themselves and their envoys; sending them away after liberal treatment and with liberal gifts, and requiring from them small offerings on their coming:--this is the way in which he will cherish with kindness the princes of the states.
'All who have the government of the kingdom with its states and families have these nine standard rules to attend to. That whereby they are carried into exercise is one thing. In all things success depends on previous preparation; without such preparation there is failure. If what is to be spoken be determined beforehand, there will be no stumbling in the utterance. If the things to be done be determined beforehand, there will be no difficulty with them. If actions to be performed be determined beforehand, there will be no difficulty with them. If actions to be performed be determined beforehand, there will be no sorrow or distress in connexion with them. If the courses to be pursued be determined beforehand, the pursuit of them will be inexhaustible 7.
'When those in inferior situations do not obtain (the confidence of) their superiors, the people cannot be governed successfully.
'There is a way to obtain (the confidence of) the superior;--if one is not believed in by his friends, he will not obtain the confidence of his superior. There is a way to secure being believed in by his friends;--if he be not in submissive accord with his parents, he will not be believed in by his friends. There is a way to secure submissive accord with parents;--if one, on turning his thoughts in on himself, finds that he has not attained to the perfection of his nature 8, he will not be in submissive accord with his parents. There is a way to secure the perfection of the nature;--if a man have not a clear understanding of what is good, he will not attain to that perfection.
'Perfection of nature is characteristic of Heaven. To attain to that perfection belongs to man. He who possesses that perfection hits what is right without any effort, and apprehends without any exercise of thought;--he is the sage 9 who naturally and easily embodies the right way. He who attains to perfection is he who chooses what is good, and firmly holds it fast.
'He extensively studies what is good; inquires accurately about it; thinks carefully over it; clearly discriminates it; and vigorously practises it. While there is anything he has not studied, or in what he has studied there is anything he cannot (understand), he will not intermit his labour. While there is anything he has not asked about, or anything in what he has asked about that he does not know, he will not intermit his labour. While there is anything he has not thought over, or anything in what he has thought about that he does not know, he will not intermit his labour. While there is anything which he has not tried to discriminate, or anything in his discrimination that is not clear, he will not intermit his labour. While there is anything which he has not practised, or any want of vigour so far as he has practised, he will not intermit his labour.'If another man succeed by one effort, he will use a hundred efforts; if another succeed by ten, he will use a thousand. Let a man proceed in this way, and though stupid, he is sure to become intelligent; though weak, he is sure to become strong.'
The understanding (of what is good), springing from moral perfection, is to be ascribed to the nature; moral perfection springing from the understanding (of what is good) is to be ascribed to instruction. But given, the perfection, and there shall be the understanding; given the understanding, and there shall be the perfection 10.
It is only he of all under heaven who is entirely perfect that can give its full development to his nature. Able to give its full development to his own nature, he can also give the same to the nature of other men. Able to give its full development to the nature of other men, he can also give the same to the natures of animals and things 11. Able to give their full development to these, he can assist the transforming and nourishing operations of heaven and earth. Capable of assisting those transforming and nourishing operations, he can form a ternion with heaven and earth.
Next to the above is he who cultivates to the utmost the shoots (of goodness in his nature) 12, till he becomes morally perfect. This perfection will then obtain embodiment; embodied, it will be manifested; manifested, it will become brilliant; brilliant, it will go forth in action; going forth in action, it will produce changes; producing changes, it will effect transformations. It is only he of all under heaven who is entirely perfect that can transform.
It is characteristic of him who is entirely perfect that he can foreknow. When a state or family is about to flourish, there are sure to be lucky omens, and when it is about to perish, there are sure to be unlucky omens. They will be seen in the tortoise-shell and stalks 13; they will affect the movements of the four limbs. When calamity or happiness is about to come, the good is sure to be foreknown by him, and the evil also. Hence, he who is entirely perfect is like a Spirit 14.
Perfection is seen in (its possessor's) self-completion; and the path (which is its embodiment), in its self-direction.
Perfection is (seen in) the beginning and end of (all) creatures and things. Without this perfection there would be no creature or thing.
Therefore the superior man considers perfection as the noblest of all attainments.
He who is perfect does not only complete himself; his perfection enables him to complete all other beings also. The completion of himself shows the complete virtue of his nature; the completion of other beings shows his wisdom. (The two) show his nature in good operation, and the way in which the union of the external and internal is effected.
Hence, whenever he exercises it, (the operation) is right.
Thus it is that entire perfection is unresting; unresting, it continues long; continuing long, it evidences itself; evidencing itself, it reaches far; reaching far, it becomes large and substantial; large and substantial, it becomes high and brilliant.
By being large and substantial it contains (all) things. By being high and brilliant, it overspreads (all) things. By reaching far and continuing long, it completes (all) things. By its being so large and substantial, it makes (its possessor) the coequal of earth; by its height and brilliancy, it makes him the co-equal of heaven; by its reaching far and continuing long, it makes him infinite.
Such being his characteristics, without any manifestation he becomes displayed; without any movement he effects changes; without any exertion he completes. The way of heaven and earth may be completely described in one sentence:--
They are without any second thought, and so their production of things is inexhaustible.
The characteristics of heaven and earth are to be large; to be substantial; to be high; to be brilliant; to be far-reaching; to be long-continuing.
There now is this heaven; it is only this bright shining spot, but when viewed in its inexhaustible extent, the sun, moon, stars, and constellations of the zodiac are suspended in it, and all things are overspread by it. There is this earth; it is only a handful of soil, but when regarded in its breadth and thickness, it sustains mountains like the Hwâ and the Yo, without feeling the weight, and contains the rivers and seas without their leaking away. There is this mountain; it looks only the size of a stone, but when contemplated in all its altitude the grass and trees are produced on it, birds and beasts dwell on it, and the precious things which men treasure up are found in it. There is this water; it appears only a ladleful, but, when we think of its unfathomable depths, the largest tortoises, iguanas, iguanadons, dragons, fishes, and turtles are produced in them, and articles of value and sources of wealth abound in them.
It is said in the Book of Poetry (IV, i, sect. i, ode 2),intimating that it is thus that Heaven is Heaven (And again):--intimating that it was thus that king Wan was the accomplished (king), by his singleness unceasing.
How great is the course of the sage! Like an overflowing flood it sends forth and nourishes all things! It rises up to the height of heaven.
How complete is its greatness! It embraces the three hundred usages of ceremony, and the three thousand modes of demeanour. It waits for the right man, and then it is trodden. Hence it is said, 'If there be not perfect virtue, the perfect path cannot be exemplified.'
Therefore the superior man honours the virtuous nature, and pursues the path of inquiry and study (regarding it); seeking to carry it out in its breadth and greatness, so as to omit none of the exquisite and minute points (which it embraces); raising it to its greatest height and brilliancy, so as to be found in the way of equilibrium and harmony. He cherishes his old knowledge so as (continually) to be acquiring new, and thus manifests an honest, generous, earnestness in the esteem and practice of all propriety
Therefore, when occupying a high situation he is not proud, and in a low situation he is not insubordinate. If the state is well-governed, his words are able to promote its prosperity; and if it be ill-governed, his silence is sufficient to secure forbearance (for himself).
Is not this what is said in the Book of Poetry (III, iii, ode 6, 4),
The Master said, 'Let a man who is ignorant be fond of using his own judgment: let one who is in a low situation be fond of arrogating a directing power; let one who is living in the present age go back to the ways of antiquity;--on all who act thus calamity is sure to come.'
To no one but the son of Heaven does it belong to discuss the subject of ceremonial usages; to fix the measures; and to determine (the names of) the written characters.
Now, throughout the whole kingdom, carriages have all wheels of the same breadth of rim; all writing is with the same characters; and for conduct there are the same rules.
One may occupy the throne, but if he have not the proper virtue, he should not presume to make ceremonies or music. One may have the virtue, but if he have not the throne, he in the same way should not presume to make ceremonies or music.
The Master said, 'I might speak of the ceremonies of Hsiâ, but Khî could not sufficiently attest (my words). I have learned the ceremonies of Yin, and they are preserved in Sung. I have learned the ceremonies of Kâu, and they are now used. I follow Kâu.'
If he who attains to the sovereignty of all the kingdom attach the due importance to (those) three points 15, there are likely to be few errors (among the people).
However excellent may have been (the regulations of) those of former times, they cannot be attested. Not being attested, they cannot command credence. Not commanding credence, the people would not follow them. However excellent might be those of one in an inferior station, they would not be honoured. Not honoured, they would not command credence. Not commanding credence, the people would not follow them.
Therefore the course of the superior man is rooted in his own character and conduct, and attested by the multitudes of the people. He examines (his institutions) by comparison with those of the founders of the three dynasties, and finds them without mistake. He sets them up before heaven and earth, and there is nothing in them contrary to (their mode of operation). He presents himself with them before Spiritual Beings, and no doubts about them arise. He is prepared to wait for the rise of a sage a hundred ages hence, and has no misgivings. That he can present himself with them before Spiritual Beings, without any doubts about them arising, shows that he knows Heaven; that he is prepared to wait for the rise of a sage a hundred ages hence, without any misgivings, shows that he knows men.
Therefore the movements of the superior man mark out for ages the path for all under heaven; his actions are the law for ages for all under heaven; and his words are for ages the pattern for all under heaven. Those who are far from him look longingly for him, and those who are near are never weary of him.
It is said in the Book of Poetry (IV, i, sect. 2, ode 3),Never has a superior man obtained an early renown throughout the kingdom who did not correspond to this description.
Kung-nî handed down (the views of) Yâo and Shun as if they had been his ancestors, and elegantly displayed (the ways) of Wan and Wû, taking them as his model. Above, he adopted as his law the seasons of heaven; and below, he conformed to the water and land.
He may be compared to heaven and earth in their supporting and containing, their overshadowing and curtaining all things. He may be compared to the four seasons in their alternating progress, and to the sun and moon in their successive shining. All things are nourished together without their injuring one another; the courses (of the seasons and of the sun and moon) proceed without any collision among them. The smaller energies are like river-currents; the greater energies are seen in mighty transformations. It is this which makes heaven and earth so great.
It is only he possessed of all sagely qualities that can exist under heaven, who shows himself quick in apprehension, clear in discernment, of far-reaching intelligence and all-embracing knowledge, fitted to exercise rule; magnanimous, generous, benign, and mild, fitted to exercise forbearance; impulsive, energetic, firm, and enduring, fitted to maintain a strong hold; self-adjusted, grave, never swerving from the mean, and correct, fitted to command respect; accomplished, distinctive, concentrative, and searching, fitted to exercise discrimination.
All-embracing is he and vast, deep and active as a fountain, sending forth in their due seasons these (qualities).
All-embracing is he and vast, like heaven. Deep and active as a fountain, he is like an abyss. He shows himself, and the people all revere him; he speaks, and the people all believe him; he acts, and the people all are pleased with him. In this way his fame overspreads the Middle kingdom, and extends to all barbarous tribes. Wherever ships and carriages reach; wherever the strength of man penetrates; wherever the heavens overshadow and the earth sustains; wherever the sun and moon shine; wherever frosts and dews fall; all who have blood and breath unfeignedly honour and love him. Hence it is said, 'He is the equal of Heaven 16.'
It is only he among all under heaven who is entirely perfect that can adjust and blend together the great standard duties of all under heaven, establish the great fundamental principles of all, and know the transforming and nourishing operations of heaven and earth.
How shall this individual have any one beyond himself on whom he depends? Call him man in his ideal, how earnest is he! Call him an abyss, how deep is he! Call him Heaven, how vast is he!
Who can know him but he who is indeed quick in apprehension and clear in discernment, of sagely wisdom, and all-embracing knowledge, possessing heavenly virtue?
It is said in the Book of Poetry (I, v, ode 3, 1), 'Over her embroidered robe she wears a (plain) garment;'expressing how the wearer disliked the display of the beauty (of the robe). Just so, it is the way of the superior man to prefer che concealment (of his virtue), while it daily becomes more illustrious, and it is the way of the small man to seek notoriety, while he daily goes more and more to ruin.
It is characteristic of the superior man, appearing insipid, yet not to produce satiety; preferring a simple negligence, yet to have his accomplishments recognised; seeming mild and simple, yet to be discriminating. He knows how what is distant lies in what is near. He knows where the wind proceeds from. He knows how what is minute becomes manifested 17. He, we may be assured, will enter (the innermost recesses of) virtue.
It is said in the Book of Poetry (II, iv, ode 8, 11),Therefore the superior man internally examines his heart, that there may be nothing wrong there, and no occasion for dissatisfaction with himself.
That wherein the superior man cannot be equalled is simply this,--his (work) which other men do not see. It is said in the Book of Poetry (III, iii, ode 2, 7),
Therefore the superior man, even when he is not acting, has the feeling of reverence; and when he does not speak, he has the feeling of truthfulness. It is said in the Book of Poetry (IV, iii, ode 2),
Therefore the superior man does not use rewards, and the people are stimulated (to virtue); he does not show anger, and the people are awed more than by hatchets and battle-axes. It is said in the Book of Poetry (IV, i, sect. i, ode 4),
Therefore the superior man being sincerely reverential, the whole kingdom is made tranquil. It is said in the Book of Poetry (III, i, ode 7, 7),
The Master said, 'Among the appliances to transform the people, sounds and appearances (may seem to) have a trivial effect. But it is said in another ode (III, iii, ode 6, 6),"Virtue is light as a hair."
'But a hair will still admit of comparison (as to its size). In what is said in another ode (III, i, ode 1, 7),We have the highest description (of transforming virtue).'
1. A considerable portion of this chapter, with variations and additions, is found in the Narratives of the School, forming the 17th article of that compilation. It may very well stand by itself; but the author of the Kung Yung adopted it, and made it fit into his own way of thinking.
2. Literally, 'a typha or a phragmites.' Such is Kû Hsî's view of the text. The old commentators took a different view, which appears to me, and would appear to my readers, very absurd.
3. Literally, 'Benevolence is Man (仁者人也);' a remarkable saying, found elsewhere in the Lî Kî, and also in Mencius. The value of it is somewhat marred by what follows about 'righteousness' and 'propriety.'
4. This short sentence is evidently out of place. It is found again farther on in its proper place. It has slipped in here by mistake. There is a consent of opinion, ancient and modern, on this point.
5. 'One thing;' literally 'one,' which might be translated 'singleness,' meaning, probably, the 'solitariness' of chapter i, or the 'sincerity' of which we read so often in the sequel.
6. After this, it follows in the 'Narratives:'--The duke said, 'Your words are admirable, are perfect; but I am really stupid and unable to fulfil them.'
7. The 'one thing' in this paragraph carries us back to the same phrase in paragraph 9. If we confine our attention to this paragraph alone, we shall say, with Kang and Ying-tâ, 'the one thing' is the 'preparation beforehand,' of which it goes on to speak; and it seems to be better not to grope here for a more mysterious meaning.
8. Literally, 'that he is not sincere,' which is Mr. Wylie's rendering; or, as I rendered it in 1861, 'finds a want of sincerity.' But in the frequent occurrence of 誠 in the 'Sequel of the Treatise,' 'sincerity' is felt to be an inadequate rendering of it. Zottoli renders the clause by 'Si careat veritate, integritate,' and says in a note, ' 誠 est naturalis entis perfectio, quae rei convenit juxta genuinum Creatoris protypon, quaeque a creatore infunditur; proindeque est rei veritas, seu rei juxta veritatem perfectio.' It seems to me that this ideal perfection, as belonging to all things, which God made 'good,' is expressed by 善 in the last clause; and that the realisation of that perfection by man, as belonging to his own nature, is the work of 誠, and may be spoken of as actually and fully accomplished, or in the process of being accomplished. It is difficult with our antecedent knowledge and, opinions to place ourselves exactly in the author's point of view.
9. 聖人,--Rémusat, Zottoli, and many give for this name, 'sanctus vir,' 'un saint,' 'the holy man.' I prefer, after all, to adhere to the rendering, 'le sage,' 'the sage.' The sage is the ideal man; the saint is the man sanctified by the Spirit of God. Humanity predominates in the former concept; Divinity in the latter. The ideas of morality and goodness belong to both names. See Mencius, VII, ix, 25, for his graduation of the appellations of good men.
10. With this paragraph there commences the last chapter of the Treatise. Dze-sze, it is said, takes up in it the commencing utterances in paragraph 19, and variously illustrates and prosecutes them. From the words 'nature and instruction' it is evident how he had the commencing chapter of the Treatise in his mind.
11. The text is simply 'the nature of things;' but the word 'things (物)', comprehends all beings besides man. Zottoli's 'rerum natura' seems quite inadequate. Rémusat's Latin version is the same; his French is 'la nature des choses.' Wylie says, 'the nature of other objects.' This chapter has profoundly affected all subsequent philosophical speculation in China. The ternion of 'Heaven, Earth, and Man' is commonly called San Zhâi (三才), 'the Three Powers.'
12. The character in the text here is a difficult one:--khû (曲), meaning 'crooked,' often used as the antithesis of 'straight;' but the title of the first Book in this collection shows that it need not be used only of what is bad. In that case, the phrase 致曲 would mean--'carries to the utmost what is bad.' Zottoli's rendering of it by 'promovere declinatam naturam' is inadmissible. Nor can we accept Rémusat's 'diriger efforts vers une seule vertu,' which Wylie follows, merely substituting 'object' for 'vertu.' See the introduction on the title of the first Book. Very much to the point is an illustration by the scholar Pâi Lü:--'Put on stone on a bamboo shoot, or where it would show itself, and it will travel round the stone and come out crookedly at its side.' So it is with the good nature, whose free and full development is repressed.
13. These were the two principal methods of divination practised from very ancient times. The stalks were those of the Ptarmica Sibirica; of which I possess a bundle brought from the tomb of Confucius in 1873. It is difficult to say anything about 'the four limbs,' which were to Kang 'the four feet of the tortoise.'
14. 'The Spirit-man' is, according to Mencius' graduation, an advance on the Sage or Holy man, one whose action is mysterious and invisible, like the power of Heaven and Earth working in nature. Chinese predicates about him could not go farther.
15. What are those three points? The old interpretations said,--'The ceremonies of the three kings;' Kû Hsî thought they were the three things in paragraph 43;--which is more likely.
16. It was the old opinion that in this part of the Treatise we have his grandson's eloquent eulogium of Confucius, and I agree with that opinion. Yet I have not ventured to translate the different parts of it in the past tense. Let it be read as the description of the ideal sage who found his realisation in the Master.
17. That is how the ruler's character acts on the people as the wind on grass and plants.
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