|<Previous Section>||<Next Section>|
因 此論聖賢迭起，猶此類也。聖主龍興於倉卒，良輔超拔於際會。世謂韓信、張良輔助漢王，故秦滅漢興，高祖得王 。夫高祖命當自王，信、良之輩時當自興，兩相遭遇，若故相求。是故高祖起於豐、沛，豐、沛子弟相多富貴，非天以子弟助高祖也，
Chapter I. Coincidences (Ou-hui).
Fate holds sway over happiness and misfortune, being a spontaneous principle and a decree to meet with certain incidents. There is no alien force, and nothing else exercises an overwhelming influence or affects the final result.
The world speaks of Tse Hsü1 falling upon his sword, and of Ch`ü Yuan2 drowning himself. Tse Lan and Tsai P`i had slandered them to the princes of Wu and Ch`u, and they died innocently. It just so happened that the lives of the two were to end, that Tse Lan and Tsai P`i defamed them, and that King Huai3 and Fu Ch`ai4 put faith in their trumped up charges. It so happened that these princes were short-sighted, so that their officers could be slandered. The lives of the two unfortunate men chanced to be naturally of short duration. It would seem as if there were two chances and three coincidences, 5 but, as a matter of fact, there is but fate and nothing else.
When the Hsia and Yin dynasties were just on the verge of ruin, the crimes of Chieh and Chou happened to be rife, and when the stars of the Shang and Chou6 were just in the ascent, the virtues of T`ang and Wu7 happened to be flourishing.
Kuan Lung Fêng8 met with a violent death, and Chi Tse9 and Pi Kan10 both expired in jail. At that time the corruption of Chieh and Chou was at its height, and the spans of the two men were to terminate. The words of Yi Yin11 were listened to, and the advice of Lü Wang12 was accepted. That was the period, when T`ang and Wu were going to rise, and the time, when the two statesmen were to be employed.
The destiny of a subject may be lucky or unlucky, and a virtuous or a vicious sovereign meets with him. Wên Wang's time was to be glorious, and it was Lü Wang's fate to become exalted. Kao Tsung's13 reign was to be peaceful, and Fu Yüeh's14 virtue to chime in with it. Not that Wên Wang and Kao Tsung were born for their two subjects, or that Lü Wang and Fu Yüeh were created for their two sovereigns. The sovereign being wise, and the minister virtuous, they heard of each other's fame. Everything being adjusted above, and well ordered below, 15 their lots came to be linked together.
When Yen Yuan16 died, the Master said, "Heaven is destroying me.", 17 and at the death of Tse Lu he exclaimed, "Heaven has cursed me." These were expressions of the grief of Confucius and not in accord with the true principle. Confucius was not predestinated to become an emperor, and the lives of his two disciples were not to be long. The fate allotted to them viz. not to become an emperor and not to live long, was not the same, but their lots coincided, and just happened to be connected.
The wonder of the two dragons had to appear, just when King Li of Chou happened to open the box, and when Pao Sse had to destroy the Chou State, it so happened that the nature which King Yu had obtained proved to be wicked. 18 The two dragons did not induce King Li to commit crimes, nor did Pao Sse beguile King Yu. All these were merely chances and coincidences, which came together of themselves.
The weird ditties of children turned out true, when the extraordinary cockfight took place by hazard, 19 and the prophecy by the mainah was fulfilled, when the calamity happened to befall Chao of Lu.20 Those ditties did not cause the fighting, nor did the mainah bring about the misfortune of the prince: the date of these events came of itself, and human activity coincided by chance.
It was Yao's fate to yield the empire to Shun, and Tan Chu's, to be unprincipled, and when the power over Yü21 had to pass over to the Hsia dynasty, Shang Chün's conduct had to be flagitious. The two sons were not induced to wickedness, in order to procure the empire to Shun and Yü.22 Goodness and badness, right and wrong came together by hazard.
As regards the rising and setting of Mars and the Pleiades, Mars comes out, when the Pleiades are down, and hides, when the Pleiades are visible. It is not the nature of fire 23 that it should counteract the Pleiades, but by chance their times are not the same, and their courses are different.
When the first moon rests in the cyclical sign yin, the constellation K`uei24 of Ursa major is opposed to the sign shên. It is not the establishment of yin which causes the ejection of shên, but the revolutions of the two constellations happen to be thus balanced.
When the father dies, the son succeeds him and, when the mother-in-law expires, the daughter-in-law takes her place. 25 The succession of son and daughter are not the causes of the decease of father and mother, but the years of old and young people follow each other of themselves.
They say that autumn's breath blights grain and grass. They cannot stand it, and fade away and die. This idea is wrong:---Plants germinate in spring, grow in summer, and ripen in autumn. Then they just wither and die spontaneously. The Yin fluid then happens to be in abundance and falls in with them. Whence do we know this?
Some plants do not die in autumn, their vitality not yet being exhausted. Man lives a hundred years ere he breathes his last, and plants live one year before they die. If people aver that at death the Yin fluid destroys them, what kind of fluid does man encounter when his life ceases? Some perhaps may return that ghosts kill him. If, when man expires, ghosts appear, and when plants die, cold air supervenes, all this would be mere accident. Men see ghosts before their end, but some perceive them without dying. Plants meet cold when they die, but it happens also that they encounter cold and yet do not wither.
Those who are crushed by a falling building, or buried under a collapsing bank, are not killed by the essence of the house or the fluid of the bank. The house was old, and the bank in decay. Unfortunate men happened to be on the spot just at the moment when the down-fall took place.
The moon fades in heaven, and shells shrink in the sea. 26 The wind follows the tiger, and the clouds accompany the dragon. 27 Belonging to the same sort and permeated by a similar fluid, their natures can mutually affect one another. When, however, creatures and things fall in together, and good or bad luck happen simultaneously, there is no influence exercised by one fluid upon another.
The worst penalty which can be inflicted on a murderer, is capital punishment. The punishment of the murderer must be heavy, and the life of him who has to die, must be cut off. Therefore the destruction coming down from above, first aims at the life of the criminal. When, however, a holy emperor displays his virtue, those having good luck first enjoy it. And then, if a kind edict be issued in the palace, the culprit who has still long years to live comes out of jail. In that case Heaven has not prompted the holy emperor to issue such an edict for the sake of the culprit whose time of death has not yet come. The holy emperor happened to promulgate an act of grace, and the prisoner by chance escaped death.
It is like man's sleeping at night, and rising in the morning. At night the light of the moon fades, it is impossible. to work, and man's forces are likewise exhausted, so that he desires rest. When the morning sun shines brightly, he awakes from his slumbers, and his power is restored as well. Heaven does not make him work during the day, and repose at night. Working goes along with the day, and rest corresponds to the night.
The wild geese assemble at Kuei-chi,28 having left the cold region of Chieh-shih.29 When they arrive they find the fields of the people just ready. Walking about them, they feed on grass and corn. When the corn has been eaten, and the food been used up, the spring rains then just set in. Then they leave the hot climes for the north, returning again to Chieh-shih.
The elephants tilling the tumulus acted in the same manner. 30 It is on record that Shun was buried in Ts`ang-wu,31 and that elephants became his labourers, and that Yü was interred at Kuei-chi, and had crows as tenants. 32 This is an untruth and an absurd statement.
When a husband has the physiognomy of a short-lived man, the wife he marries must soon become a widow, and when such a woman who is soon to be widowed marries, she falls in with a husband who dies young. There is a common belief that, in case males and females die prematurely, the husband injures his wife, and the wife does harm to the husband. There can be no question of mutual injury, it is all the outcome of fate, which works spontaneously.
Provided that a flame be quenched by water, then we are justified in speaking of water injuring fire. But when fire just goes out of its own accord, and water happens to pour down on it spontaneously, we must say that both have destroyed themselves and did not injure one another. Now the untimely death of males and females is not analogous to the quenching of fire by water, but may be compared to the two elements extinguishing and pouring down of themselves.
The son injuring his father and the younger brother ruining the elder are on the same line. Since they are living under the same roof, their fluids come into contact. They become weak and sickly and pine away until they give up their ghost, but how can this be called injury? It also happens that somebody dies abroad, more than a thousand Li away, by sword or fire, crushed or drowned. There cannot have been a collision of fluids: how could any harm have been produced?
The aunt of Wang Mang, Lady Chêng, was bespoken in marriage to two gentlemen, who both died, and when she was on her way to Chao, its prince also passed away. Before her fluid could have reached them, she destroyed three persons from afar, what a pity! 33
Huang Ts`e Kung married the daughter of a sorcerer in the neighbourhood, after a soothsayer had pronounced her mien to be noble. Therefore Huang Ts`e Kung rose to the rank of a prime minister. As a matter of fact, this was not so. Huang Ts`e Kung was predetermined to become a nobleman, when, on a journey, he encountered the woman. She was likewise to be exalted, therefore she entered Huang Ts`e Kung's house. It was a coincidence, and they met at the proper time. 34
Luckless people make no profit as merchants, and as agriculturists reap no grain. 35 Their nature does not spoil the merchandise, but their fate prevents the grain from growing. Predestinated for poverty, they deal in unprofitable goods, and hampered with bad luck, they plant seed which does not bear fruit.
The world says that dwellings are propitious or unpropitious, and that in moving, special attention should be paid to the year and the month. 36 This is not a correct statement of facts. The ways of Heaven are difficult to know, but provided that an unlucky fellow, or a doomed family build a house, they simply will select a site of ill omen, and when they change their residence, they just happen to choose a calamitous year or month which should be avoided. When an entire family thus rushes into disaster, so that its ten odd members all perish, unable to do anything against it, they all must be persons whose prosperity is shattered and whose fate put an end to them.
The same reasoning holds good concerning the promotion and translation of officials. When the time of their removal has come, their sovereign lends an ear to slanderous reports, and when it is time that they should advance, some excellent man recommends them. When a scholar is about to take office, some superior man assists virtue, and when he is going to be dismissed, some villain has defamed talent.
Kung-Po Liao37 impeached Tse Lu to Chi Sun.38 Confucius said, `It is fate.' 39Tsang Ts`ang40 of Lu slandered Mencius in the presence of Duke P`ing, and Mencius remarked that is was Heaven. 41 As long as the time for a new doctrine has not yet come, one meets with backbiters, and before Heaven lends its help, the talk of malicious people prevails. Therefore Confucius spoke of fate, and did not cherish enmity against Kung-Po Liao; and Mencius referring to Heaven did not bear a grudge against Tsang Ts`ang. They clearly saw that time and fate must be spontaneous.
This is true of the success of a ruler introducing reforms as well. If he is to become illustrious, there happens to be a time of peace, and when there is to be a time of rebellion, his prosperity will be ruined. The time of peace and revolution, victory and defeat is like the progress and the reverses, the good and bad fortune of an individual, which are encountered by chance.
The appearance of wise and sage men at various times falls under the same law. A pious emperor soars up like a dragon all at once, and an able help-mate is found out and instated in the very nick of time. People imagine that because Han Hsin and Chang Liang supported the king of Han, Ch`in was wiped out and Han came to power, insomuch as Kao Tsu won the crown. It was Han Kao Tsu's destiny to become emperor by himself at a time, when Han Hsin and Chang Liang were to flourish by themselves. Thus both sides met. If they had sought each other on purpose, and for this reason Han Kao Tsu rose in Fêng and P`ei,42 among the young folks there many had physiognomies indicative of wealth and honour, yet Heaven did not aid Kao Tsu through them.
Whether fate and physiognomies be grand or mean, there is only a casual coincidence. Viscount Chien of Chao deposed his heir-son Po Lu and raised Wu Hsü, the son of a concubine. Wu Hsü happened to be intelligent, and he was predestined to become prince of Chao to boot. 43 People say that Po Lu was depraved and not equal to Wu Hsü. Po Lu was doomed to baseness, moreover his mind was muddled.
The scholar Han An Kuo rose to be Minister of State. They say that he owed this to I K`uan, but that is not the case. 44 High honours were in store for the Minister, and by hazard he fell in with I K`uan.
Chao Wu45 hidden in the pantaloons did not cry the whole day. Nobody shut his mouth or prevented him from giving a sound. but it was his lot to live, therefore he chanced to escape by sleeping.
Thus marquises who have won laurels on the battle-field must needs cut the heads of those slain in battle, and merchants of wealthy houses will snatch away the property of poor families. As regards those noblemen who are deprived of their land and degraded, or officers and ministers who are dismissed, their guilt is made public when their income is highest. Noxious air always infects those people whose fates are short, 46 and in a year of dearth the indigent have to suffer starvation. 47
1. Wu Tse Hsü or Wu Yuan.
2. On Wu Tse Hsü and Ch`ü Yuan see Vol. I, p. 140, Note 2.
3. King Huai of Ch`u, 327-294 b.c.
4. Fu Ch`ai, king of Wu, 495-473 b.c.
5. I presume that the two chances are good and bad chances, and the three coincidences, the meeting of a king, a virtuous minister, and a slanderer.
6. Two ancient dynasties.
7. The founders of the last named dynasties.
8. Minister to the tyrant Chieh.
9. Cf. p. 31, Note 2.
10. A nobleman put to death by the emperor Chou.
11. Cf. p. 31, Note 1.
12. The counsellor of King Wu, more generally known by the name of T`ai Kung, his surname being Lü Shang (Giles, Biogr. Dict. No. 1862).
13. Kao Tsung = Wu Ting, an emperor of the Shang dynasty. Cf. Vol. 1, p. 317, Note 2.
14. Fu Yüeh, originally a poor man, became minister of the emperor Kao Tsung.
15. Sovereign and minister both doing their duty.
16. Yen Yuan = Yen Hui, a disciple of Confucius. See Vol. 1, p. 151.
17. Quotation from Analects XI, 8.
18. The story is told in full Vol. I, p. 321 and on p. 163.
19. The cocks of two nobles of Lu were in the habit of fighting. The one noble sheathed the head of his cock, and the other gave metal spurs to his. This cockfight increased the enmity of the two gentlemen who were instrumental in bringing about the dethronement of Duke Chao of Lu. See Tso-chuan, Duke Chao 25th year (Legge, Classics Vol. V, p. 710).
20. The mainah or mino bird---Legge calls it the mino-grackle---is a kind of thrush or starling which uses to breed in holes of walls and banks. The fact that in the 25th year of Duke Chao of Lu it was seen building its nest in a tree, was interpreted as a bad augury for the duke, who in the same year was compelled to leave his State and flee to Ch`i. For more details see Tso-chuan, Duke Chao 25th year (Legge, Classics Vol. V, p. 709, Par. 3). See also p. 162, Note 3.
21. Shun's territory Yü.
22. The emperor Yü .
23. Mars is called the "Fire Star" .
24. K`uei is the constellation α, β, γ, δ of Ursa major, the other three stars:---ε, ζ, η being called Shao, the "handle" of the Dipper i. e., the Tail of the Great Bear. From time immemorial the Chinese have determined the seasons and the month by the revolution of the Great Bear, regarding its Tail as the hand of a natural clock. In the beginning of the first Chinese moon it points to the cyclical sign yin viz. E.N.E. (T`ai-p`ing yü-lan chap. 18, 1v. The Yüeh-ling here quoted is not that of the Liki). See also:---Astronomy of the Ancient Chinese by Chalmers in Legge's Shuking, Prolegomena p. 93.I have translated by "opposed to." Shên W.S.W. is exactly opposite to yin = E.N.E. The expression seems to refer to the supposed antagonism of the cyclical signs and their attributes. Cf. Vol. I, p. 105 and chap. XXXIX.
25. As long as her mother-in-law is alive, the daughter-in-law who lives in the same family with her husband has to obey her commands like her own daughter, and does not become her own mistress before the death of the mother-in-law, when she succeeds to her position.
26. Again the usual symbolism supposing a mysterious sympathy between the moon representing the liquid element and the animals living in the water. Huai Nan Tse III, 2r. says that when the moon, the ruler of the Yin, fades, the brains of fish decrease, and when it dies shells and oysters shrivel. The moon, says the Lü-shi ch`un-ch`iu, is the source of all Yin. It being bright, all oysters are full, and the Yin is exuberant; when it is dark oysters are empty, and all Yin shrinks together. The moon appears in the sky, and all the Yin creatures undergo their transformations in the deep. (T`ai-p`ing yü lan chap. 942, p. 1v.)
27. Cf. Vol. I, p. 279, Note 2.
28. In Chekiang province.
29. A mountain on the north shore of the gulf of Pechili, in the prefecture of Yung-p`ing.
30. The tilling was accidental.
31. A place in Human in the Ning-yuan district.
32. This tradition is mentioned in the Ti-wang shi-chi quoted by the T`ai-p`ing-yü-lan chap. 81, p. 2v. and chap. 82, p. 2r. where it is said that below the grave of Yü crows weeded the land:---. No further explanation of these rather obscure passages is given. How did those animals till the burial ground of the old emperors, and what does it mean?
33. Cf. Vol. I, p. 306.
34. This story is told in full in Vol. I, p. 307.
35. All the three editions of the Lun-hêng have , a character not found in any dictionary, instead of = grain. It comes near a variant in the Shan-haiching = mentioned in the .
36. These subjects will be found thoroughly discussed in chap. XXXVII---XXXIX.
37. A relative of the ducal house of Lu.
38. A member of one of the three powerful families of Lu.
39. See Analects XIV, 38 and p. 10, Note 4.
40. A favourite of Duke P`ing of Lu.
41. Cf. Vol. I, p. 422.
42. Regions in the province of Kiangsu, where the founder of the Han dynasty, a native of P`ei, began his career.
43. Cf. Vol. I, p. 226 and 307.
44. The relations between Han An Kuo and 1 K`uan are related in Vol. I, p. 309.
45. The famous "Orphan of Chao" who later on became the hero of the well known drama translated by Stanislas Julien, which is not a mere copy of the "Mysterious Box," as v. Gottschall (Das Theater und Drama der Chinesen, Breslau 1887, p. 108) seems to intimate, the subject being much older and semi-historical. For more details see Vol. I, p. 177.
46. Others remain uninjured.
47. Because they are doomed to die.
|<Previous Section>||<Next Section>|
|Published by The Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities, © Copyright 2003 by Anne Kinney and the University of Virginia|