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世信祭祀，以為祭祀者必有福，不祭祀者必有禍。是以病作卜祟，祟得脩祀，祀畢意解， 意解病已，執意以為祭祀之助，勉奉不絕。謂死人有知，鬼神飲食，猶相賓客，賓客悅喜， 報主人恩矣。
天有列宿，地有宅舍，宅舍附地之體，列宿著天之形。形體具，則有口乃能食。使 天地有口能食祭，食宜食盡。如無口，則無體，無體則氣也，若雲霧耳，亦無能食。如天地之精神， 若人之有精神矣，以人之精神，何宜飲食？
風伯、雨師、雷公，是群神也。風猶人之有吹喣也，雨猶人之有精液也，雷猶人之有 腹鳴也。三者附於天地，祭天地，三者在矣，人君重之，故〔復〕別祭。必以為有 神，則人吹喣、精液、腹鳴當復食也。
宗廟、己之先也。生存之時，謹敬供養，死不敢不信，故脩祭祀，緣（先）〔生〕 事死，示不忘先。五帝三王郊宗黃帝、帝嚳之屬，報功（堅）〔重〕力，不敢忘德，未必有鬼神審 能歆享之也。夫不能歆享，則不能神；不能神，則不能為福，亦不能為禍。
妖象厲鬼，象鬼之形則象鬼之言，象鬼之言則象鬼而擊矣。何以明之？ 夫鬼者、神也，神則先知，先知則宜自見粢盛之不膏、珪璧之失度、犧牲之臞小，則因以責讓夜姑， 以楫擊之而已，無為先問。先問，不知之效也；不知，不神之驗也；不知不神，則不能見 體出言，以楫擊人也。
《禮》曰：「人死也，斯惡之矣。」與人異類，故惡之也。為尸不動，朽敗滅亡， 其身不與生人同，則知不與生人通矣。身不同，知不通，其飲食不與人鈞矣。胡、越異類，飲食殊味。 死之與生，非直胡之與越也。由此言之，死人不歆，三也。
曰：此亦謂脩具謹潔與不謹潔也。紂殺牛祭，不致其禮；文王礿祭，竭盡其敬 。夫禮不至，則人非之；禮敬盡，則人是之。是之，則舉事多助；非之，則言行見畔。見畔，若祭 不見享之禍；多助，若祭見歆之福，
且病人見鬼，及臥夢與死人相見，如人之形，故其祭祀，如人之食。緣有飲食， 則宜有衣服，故復以繒製衣，以象生儀。其祭如生人之食，人欲食之，冀鬼饗之。其製衣也，廣縱 不過一尺若五六寸。以所見長大之神，貫一尺之衣，其肯喜而加福於人乎？以所見之鬼為審死 人乎？則其製衣宜若生人之服。如以所製之衣審鬼衣之乎？
Chapter XLI. Sacrifices to the Departed (Sse-yi).
The world believes in sacrifices, imagining that he who sacrifices becomes happy, and he who does not, becomes unhappy. Therefore, when people are taken ill, they first try to learn by divination, what evil influence is the cause. Having found out this, they prepare sacrifices, and, after these have been performed, their mind feels at ease, and the sickness ceases. With great obstinacy they believe this to be the effect of the sacrifices. They never desist from urging the necessity of making offerings, maintaining that the departed are conscious, and that ghosts and spirits eat and drink like so many guests invited to dinner. When these guests are pleased, they thank the host for his kindness.
To prepare sacrifices is quite correct, but the belief that spirits can be affected thereby is erroneous. In reality the idea of these oblations is nothing else than that the host is anxious to manifest his kindness. The spirits are not desirous of tasting the offerings, as I am about to prove.
Our sacrifices are for the purpose of showing our gratitude for benefits enjoyed. In the same manner we are kind to living people, but would the latter therefore wish to be treated to a dinner? Now those to whom we present sacrifices are dead; the dead are devoid of knowledge and cannot eat or drink. How can we demonstrate that they cannot possibly wish to enjoy eating and drinking?
Heaven is a body like the Earth. Heaven has a number of stellar mansions, as the Earth has houses. These houses are attached to the body of the Earth, as the stellar mansions are fixed to the substance of Heaven. Provided that this body and this substance exist, then there is a mouth, which can eat. If Heaven and Earth possess mouths to eat, they ought to eat up all the food offered them in sacrifice. If they have no mouths, they are incorporeal, and being incorporeal, they are air like clouds and fog. Should the spirit of Heaven and Earth be like the human spirit, could a spirit eat and drink?
A middle-sized man is seven to eight feet 1 high and four to five spans in girth. One peck of food and one peck of broth are enough to satisfy his appetite and his thirst. At the utmost he can consume three to four pecks. The size of Heaven and Earth is many ten thousand Li. Cocoon millet, ox rice 2 cakes, and a big soup are offered them on round hills, but never more than several bushels. How could such food appease the hunger of heaven and earth?
Heaven and Earth would have feelings like man. When a man has not got enough to eat, he is vexed with his host, and does not requite him with kindness. If we hold that Heaven and Earth can be satiated, then the sacrifices presented to them in ancient times were derogatory to their dignity.
Mountains are like human bones or joints, Rivers like human blood. When we have eaten, our intestines are filled with food, which forms abundance of bones and blood. Now, by the oblations made to Heaven and Earth, Mountains and Rivers are also satiated along with Heaven and Earth, yet Mountains and Rivers have still their special sacrifices, as if they were other spiritual beings. That would be like a man who, after having eaten his fill, would still feed his bones and his blood.
We thank the Spirits of the Land and Grain for their kindness in letting grain and other organisms grow. The ten thousand people grow on earth, as hair does on a body. In the sacrifices to Heaven and Earth the Spirits of the Land and Grain are therefore included. Good men revere them, and make to them special offerings. They must hold that they are spirits. In this manner man ought to specially feed his skin and flesh likewise.
The origin of the Five Sacrifices 3 is the Earth. The Outer and Inner Doors are made of wood and earth, both substances growing from earth. The Well, the Hearth, and the Inner Court of the house all depend on earth. In the sacrifice to the Earth, these Five Sacrifices are therefore comprised. Out of veneration a good man prepares special oblations for them, being convinced undubitably that they are spirits. But that would be, as if a man, after having appeased his appetite, were still specially feeding his body.
The Gods of Wind, Rain, and Thunder 4 are a special class of spirits. Wind is like the human breath, rain like secretions, and thunder like borborygmus. These three forces are inherent in heaven and earth, therefore they partake of the sacrifices to the latter. Pious men make special offerings to them as a mark of respect, regarding them as spiritual beings. Then a man ought to feed still his breath, his secretions, and his borborygmus.
The Sun and the Moon are like human eyes, the Stars like human hair. These luminaries being attached to heaven, they are included in the sacrifices presented to the latter. Out of piety good men honour them with special sacrifices regarding them, no doubt, as spirits. That would be tantamount to our still feeding our eyes and hair after having satisfied our appetite.
The ancestral temple is the place of one's forefathers. During their life-time they are diligently and reverently maintained and nourished by their children, and after their deaths the latter dare not become unfaithful, and therefore prepare sacrifices. Out of consideration for their ancestors they attend their dead to show that they have not forgotten their forefathers. As regards the sacrifices to the Five Emperors and the Three Rulers like Huang Ti and Ti K`u, they were offered in appreciation of their mighty efforts and great accomplishments, for people did not forget their virtues. This, however, is no proof that there really are spirits, who can enjoy offerings. Being unable to enjoy, they cannot be spirits, and not being spirits, they cannot cause happiness nor unhappiness either.
Happiness and unhappiness originate from joy and anger, and joy and anger proceed from the belly and the intestines. He who possesses a belly and intestines, can eat and drink, and he who cannot eat and drink, has no belly and no intestines. Without a belly and intestines, joy and anger are impossible, and in default of joy and anger, one cannot produce happiness and unhappiness.
Somebody might object that odours cannot be eaten. I reply that smelling, eating, and drinking are very much the same. With the mouth one eats, and with the mouth one likewise smells. Unless there be a belly and intestines, there is no mouth, and without a mouth one cannot eat nor smell either.
How can we demonstrate that smelling is out of the question?
When some one offers a sacrifice, and others pass by, they do not immediately become aware of it. Unless we use the mouth, we must use the nose for smelling. When with the mouth or the nose we smell something, our eyes can see it, and what our eyes perceive, our hands can strike. Now, in case the hands cannot strike, we know that the mouth and the nose cannot smell.
Another objection might be raised. When Duke Pao of Sung5 was sick, the priest said, "Yeh Ku will direct the service of the discontented spirit." The ghost leaning on a pole addressed Yeh Ku saying, "Why are my vessels not filled with plenty of rice? Why are the grazing animals for the sacrifice not big and fat? Why are the sceptres and badges not of the proper measure? Is it your fault or Pao's?"
"Pao is still an infant in swathing cloth," replied Yeh Ku with a placid face, "who understands nothing about this. For how could he know or give any directions?"
The angry spirit lifted his pole and struck Yeh Ku dead on the steps of the altar.---Can this not be considered a proof of his having been able to use his hand?
It is not certain that Yeh Ku's death was caused by the blow of a discontented ghost. Just at that moment he was doomed to die; an apparition took the shape of a malignant ghost, and being shaped like a ghost, it had to speak like a ghost, and it also dealt a blow like a ghost. How do we know?
A ghost is a spirit, and spirits are prescient. Then after having remarked that the sacrificial vessels were not full of rice, the sceptres and badges not of the proper size, the victims lean and small, the ghost, being prescient, ought to have reproached Yeh Ku and struck him with the pole. There was no need to first ask him. The fact that he first asked, shows that he was not prescient, and, if he was not prescient, it is plain that he was not a spirit. Being neither prescient nor a spirit, he could not appear with a body, nor talk, nor strike a man with a pole.
Yeh Ku was an honest official who took the guilt upon himself, and offered himself for punishment, so that the ghost struck him. Had he been dishonest and inculpated Pao, the ghost would have hit Pao with his pole.
Furthermore, provided that the spirit resented the laxity in the performance of his sacrifice, and therefore made his appearance, and killed the superintendent of the sacrifice, then would he, in case all the rites were duly fulfilled, be pleased and appear, and as a favour present the sacrificer with some food? Men have joy and anger, and spirits should have these sensations likewise. A man who does not rouse another's anger, preserves his life, whereas he who displeases him, loses it. The malignant ghost in his wrath made his appearance, and inflicted a punishment, but the sacrifices of the Sung State have certainly often been according to the rites, wherefore did the ghost not appear then to reward?
Joy and anger not being like the human, rewards and punishments are not like those dealt out by man either, and owing to this difference we cannot believe that Yeh Ku was slain by the spirit.
Moreover, in the first place, for smelling one takes in air, and for speaking one breathes it out. He who can smell, can talk likewise, as he who inhales, can exhale too. Should ghosts and spirits be able to smell, they ought to speak about the sacrifices. Since they are incapable of speech, we know that they cannot smell either.
Secondly, all those who smell, have their mouths and their noses open. Should their noses be stopped up by a cold, or their mouths gagged, olfaction becomes impossible. When a man dies, his mouth and his nose putrefy, how could they still be used for smelling?
Thirdly, the Liki has it that, when men have died, they are dreaded. They then belong to another class of beings than man, hence the dread. As corpses they cannot move, they decay, and are annihilated. Since they do not possess the same bodies as living people, we know that they can have no intercourse with the living. As their bodies are dissimilar, and as we know that there can be no intercourse, their eating and drinking cannot be like that of man. The Mongols and the Annamese 6 are different nations, and in the matter of eating their tastes widely differ. Now, the difference between the departed and the living is not merely like that between the Mongols and the Annamese. Hence we infer that the dead cannot smell.
Fourthly, when a man is asleep, we may put some food near him, he does not know, but, as soon as he awakes, he becomes aware of it, and then may eventually eat it. When a man is dead, however, and sleeps the long sleep, from which there is no awakening, how could he know anything or eat then? This shows that he is unable to smell.
Somebody might raise the question, what it means that the spirits partake of a sacrifice, as people say. It means that people conscientiously clean the sacrificial vessels, that the rice is fragrant, and the victims fat, so that persons coming near and perceiving all this would feel inclined to eat and drink. With these their feelings they credit the ghosts and spirits, which, if they were conscious, would decidedly enjoy the offerings. Therefore people speak of the spirits, as though they were partaking of the sacrifice.
Another objection is the following:---The Yiking says that an ox killed by the eastern neighbour, is not like the humble offering of the western neighbour. 7 This assertion that the eastern neighbour does not come up to the western, signifies that the animal of the eastern neighbour is big, but his luck small, whereas the fortune of the western neighbour is great, though his sacrifice be poor. Now, if the spirits are denied the faculty of enjoying the offering, how can we determine the amount of happiness?
This also depends on the question, whether a sacrifice is carefully prepared, so that everything is clean, or not. Chou had an ox immolated, but he did not fulfill all the rites. Wên Wang, on the other hand, made only a small offering, but did his utmost to show his devotion. People condemn a lack of ceremonies, and are full of praise for a pious fulfilment of all the rites. He who is praised by the people, finds support in all his enterprises, while the one who is disliked, meets with opposition, whatever he says or does. Such a resistance is no smaller misfortune than the rejection of a sacrifice by the spirits, and the general support is a happiness like that experienced, when the spirits smell the oblation.
Ghosts cannot be pleased or angry at a sacrifice for the following reason. Provided that spirits do not require man for their maintenance, then, in case they did need them, they would no more be spiritual. If we believe in spirits smelling the sacrifices, and in sacrifices causing happiness or misfortune, how do we imagine the dwelling places of the ghosts? Have they their own provisions stored up, or must they take the human food to appease their hunger? Should they possess their own stores, these would assuredly be other than the human, and they would not have to eat human food. If they have no provisions of their own, then man would have to make offerings to them every morning and every evening. According as he had sacrificed to them or not, they would be either satiated or hungry, and according as they had eaten their fill or were hungry, they would be pleased or vexed.
Furthermore, sick people behold ghosts, and, while asleep, people meet with the departed in their dreams. They are shaped like men, therefore the sacrifices presented to them are like human food. Having food and drink, the spirits must be provided with raiment too, therefore one makes silken clothes for them after the fashion of the living. Their sacrifices are like dinners for the living. People desire to feed them, and hope that the ghosts will eat their offerings. As regards the clothes, however, they are not larger than from five or six inches to one foot. Now, supposing that tall and big spirits, which have been observed, are to don garments of a foot in length, would they be very pleased, and bestow happiness on the donors?
Should the ghosts, which have been seen, be really dead men, then the clothes made for them ought to be like those of the living, if, however, those garments are really put on by the ghosts, they must be shaped like dolls. Thus the question about ghosts and spirits remains an open one. How is it possible then to secure their protection and happiness by means of abundant offerings, and how can people firmly believe in this?
1. Ancient Chinese feet, which are much smaller than the modern.
2. Large kinds of rice and millet.
3. The Five Sacrifices of the house often mentioned in the Liki.
4. Fêng Po, the Prince of the Wind, Yü Shih, the Master of Rain, and Lei Kung, the Thunderer. Their sacrifices are determined in the Chou ritual.
5. Duke Pao alias Wên of Sung, 609-588 b.c. His death is chronicled in the Ch`un-ch`iu, Duke Ch`êng 2nd year.
6. The Hu in the north, and the Yüeh in the south of China.
7. Yiking, 63d diagram (Chi-chi), Legge's translation p. 206.
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|Published by The Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities, © Copyright 2003 by Anne Kinney and the University of Virginia|