|<Previous Section>||<Next Section>|
夫天地之神、用心等也。人民無狀，加罪行罰，非有二心兩意，前後相反也。移徙不避歲、月，歲、月惡其不避己之衝位，怒 之也。今起功之家，亦動地體，無狀之過，與移徙等。起功之家，當為歲、〔月〕所食，何故反令巳、酉之地受其咎乎？豈歲、月之神怪移 徙而〔不〕咎起功哉？用心措意，何其不平也？
審論歲、月之神，歲則太歲也。在天邊際，立於子位。起室者在中國一州之內，假令楊州在東南，使如鄒衍之言，天下為一州 ，又在東南，歲食於酉，食西之地，東南之地安得凶禍？假令歲在人民之間，西宅為酉地，則起功之家，宅中亦有酉地，何以不近 食其宅中之酉地，而反食佗家乎？
Chapter XXXVII. False Charges against Time (Lan-shih).
When people dig up the earth for the foundation of a building, the year-star and the moon will swallow something, 1 and, on the land which they consume, a case of death occurs. If e. g. the planet Jupiter is in the sign tse,2 the year-star swallows up some land in the sign yu,3 and if the moon in the first month stands in yin,4 it consumes some land in the sign sse.5 Some building being erected on land situated in tse and yin, people living in yu and sse are swallowed up, and being about to be thus injured, they have recourse to charms 6 to counteract these influences, using objects made of the Five Elements, and hanging up metal, wood, water, and fire. Should, for example, Jupiter and the moon infest a family in the west, they would suspend metal, 7 and should those luminaries be going to devour a family in the east, this family would suspend charcoal. 8 Moreover, they institute sacrifices with a view to averting the evil, or they feign to change their residence, in order thus to eschew the calamity. There is unanimity about this, every one doing like the others. A careful consideration, however, reveals the utter futility of this mistake. How?
The spirits of Heaven and Earth must have equal minds. People misconducting themselves are liable to punishments and penalties. In this respect the spirits cannot have two minds or different feelings, and their former ideas cannot be opposed to the later ones. When, in moving their residence, people do not take heed of the year-star and the moon, both resent this disregard of their opposition, and are irritated with the delinquents. 9 Now, people, doing some building, likewise move the body of the earth, and their misdemeanour is the same as that committed in moving one's residence. Therefore, those builders should be swallowed by the year-star, wherefore then, contrariwise, has the soil of the signs sse and yu to suffer for their guilt? If the spirits of the year-star and the moon take exception to the moving, and find fault with building, how is it that their judgment is so inconsequent? 10
Ghosts and spirits call the sinners to account as a district magistrate reprimands and punishes. The ways in which people infringe the laws are many. In small cases the penalty is remitted, and only great viciousness entails capital punishments. But it does not happen that the innocent suffer. If they are subject to punishment, without any guilt, the world calls it injustice.
Now, the people of sse and yu have not offended against the moon or the year-star, yet while in tse they are building houses, they are eaten without any reason. Thus the year-star would be cruel to innocent persons.
Just when Jupiter stands in tse, the houses in tse would be safe, and those in wu11 be injured. One must not commence building, or do any work, but though remaining idle and inactive, one is nevertheless visited with disasters. In the matter of the swallowing by the year-star and the moon, as soon as a tse house 12 begins to be stirred, sse and yu have hard times.
Jupiter is the spirit of the year and the moon. If its penalties and ravages are different on various occasions, one cannot expect Heaven to follow the excentricity of the spirit of the year and the moon.
As for the spirit of the year-star and the moon, the year-star in reality is Jupiter. When it has its position on the horizon in the sign tse, and some edifice is constructed in one of the provinces of China, say in Yang-chou13 in the south-east---according to the view of Tsou Yen who takes China for one continent only, it would also be in the south-east:---then the year-star consuming some ground in the sign yu,14 ought to swallow the soil of the Western Ch`iang:15 how could the land in the south-east suffer any damage? In case Jupiter stays amidst men, 16 and a house in the west lies in yu, in the house of the family, erecting some building there, there must likewise be a yu region, why then does Jupiter not swallow this yu quarter in the house in question, and injure another family instead?
Besides, who really is it that swallows? If it really be Jupiter and the moon, these two are attending spirits of Heaven: their eating and drinking, therefore, must resemble that of Heaven. Heaven does not eat men, therefore at the suburban sacrifices, 17 they are not immolated as victims. If the two stars are not celestial spirits, they cannot eat men either.
Respecting the food of the numerous spirits between Heaven and Earth, the Sage says that they must be treated like men. The dead are to be worshipped after the manner of the living, and ghosts, as if they were men. Consequently, at the offerings made to the various spirits all sorts of things are used, but not men.
Tigers and wolves are man devouring brutes; do the spirits of Jupiter and the moon grow from the essence of tigers and wolves? In a time of famine, when there is a scarcity of grain and food, men, out of hunger, devour one another. Are the spirits of Jupiter and the moon imbued with the fluid of those men-eaters?
If Jupiter and the moon have spirits, the sun must likewise have a spirit. Jupiter swallows land, and the moon does; why should the sun not do the same?
A number of days makes up a month, a number of months forms a season, several seasons, a year, 1,539 years are a t`ung18 period, and 4,617 years a yuan19 period. 20 These are multiplied and involved numbers, and the names of fractions and full numbers. How could ghosts and spirits have anything to do with them, or felicity and misfortune depend on them? If the year and the month, as full numbers, must have spirits, then the four seasons would have them, and the t`ung and yuan periods as well.
Three days of the moon are po21 (the first quarter), eight days are the crescent, 22 and fifteen, full-moon. 23 What difference is there with a full year or a full moon? If the year and the moon have spirits, the first quarter and the crescent must have spirits too.
One day is divided into twelve hours. When dawn is during the yin hour (3-5 a. m.), the sun rises during the mao time (5-7 a. m.). The twelve moons rest in yin and mao, consequently the yin and mao times are added to the twelve moons. 24 The sun receives the twelve hours and does not swallow land, the moon, however, resting in the twelve signs, does. Has the sun no spirit in spite of this addition, whereas the moon has owing to this relation? How is it that the moon alone, being thus related, consumes land, and that the sun, although connected with the hours, does not? If the sun has no spirit, notwithstanding this connexion, it is not proper to decide the question by a reference to hours, and if the addition of hours gives spirituality, it is not right that one star should not eat.
The mouth and the stomach of a spirit must be like those of man. Being hungry, he eats, and being satiated, he stops. He does not take a meal each time a building is erected. Provided that the spirits of Jupiter and the moon eat when there is a building in course of construction, buildings are few; do the two spirits suffer hunger then?
During a famine, people quit their homes, which remain desolate and abandoned. Every building activity ceases. Do the spirits of the year-star and the moon starve then?
Moreover, fields no less than houses are put in order by men; the force displayed in these works and the efforts made are identical. In building a house, the earth is dug up, and wooden beams are erected, on the field, they cut a ditch and raise dykes. Beams and dykes are equally raised, and the digging and cutting the ground are the same. If, in case a house be erected, Jupiter and the moon eat the ground, but do not do so, when a field is put under cultivation, are they hungry, when the house is building, and have they no appetite, when the land is cultivated? How is it possible that under similar circumstances, and the proceedings being the same, eating and drinking are different?
Those maintaining the encroachments of the two celestial bodies, will measure the bulk of the work done and calculate the distance by steps. If e. g. some construction 3 feet high be built, the eating would take place within one step, if the height exceed 100 feet, the eating would extend over more than a Li. According as the work is big or small, the calamity would reach far or near.
Mêng T`ien built the Great Wall for the Ch`in dynasty, the length of which was half that of the empire. 25 The misfortune caused thereby ought to have affected tens of thousands of people, but while the construction of the Great Wall was going on, the deaths among the people of Ch`in were comparatively few.
When the Duke of Chou was building Loyang, great works were carried out. At that time the two stars should have swallowed lots of land, and the Sage foreseeing this, ought to have moved from the place thus menaced to a favourable site, because, unless he avoided a collision, many hardships would have befallen the people. In the Classics and Records, Sages and Worthies should have criticized this proceeding. Now, we hear that the people building Loyang flocked together from the four quarters, but we are not told that after the work was completed, and everything finished, many died. Therefore, the statements about the year-star and the moon are probably baseless and untrue.
Besides, if the two stars really eat, a feeling of hunger in their mouths and bellies like that of men, must have been the cause. Now, suppose, in the sse and yu quarters, they employ charms paralyzing their influences; would they be afraid of a metal blade, or dread a dead charcoal, and therefore shut their mouths, not daring to eat? Really, to be afraid there ought to be some equilibrium of the antagonistic quantities. The Five Elements overcome one another, but the forces of things must be equally balanced. If a cupful of water be thrown on the burning mountain of Ch`in, or if a handful of earth be employed to stop a breach of the Yellow River, a thousand Li in width, would they master those elements? The relation of the elements remains the same, but the dimensions and quantities are not proportionate.
The nature of Heaven and Earth is such, that, as regards the strength of human beings, a little cannot overpower much, or a small force vanquish a great one. Let a big army be equipped with wooden staves only, and a single warrior, armed with a sword, try conclusions and exert his strength, he is sure to be killed. Metal, by its nature, subdues wood; if, in this case, wood gets the better, and metal succumbs, it is due to the great amount of wood and the small quantity of metal. If metal be heaped up in mounds, and a charcoal fire approached, to light and burn them, it is obvious that the metal does not melt. The principles of the Five Elements are not violated, but there is too much metal and too little fire, and the disproportion of dimensions and quantities is too great.
A boy five feet high, fighting with Mêng Pên, could not gain the victory, not because of his cowardice, but of his inadequate strength. Wolves, in packs, eat men, and men, crowded together, eat the wolves. In all contests depending on strength and courage, very seldom the small overcome the great, and that, in struggles and competitions, the minority beats the majority is of very rare occurrence. According to the laws of Heaven, among human beings the small cannot vanquish the great, and the few do not subdue the many. How could evil influences be suppressed and averted, or the calamities, caused by the year-star, be removed by means of a blade of metal or a charcoal fire?
1. This must not be taken literally. It seems to mean to cause damage or misfortune.
2. The North.
3. The West.
7. The element metal corresponds to the west.
8. The element of the east is wood, that of the south where the inimical luminaries are placed, while menacing the family, is fire. Charcoal is a combination of wood and fire.
9. On the collision with the year-star = Jupiter of people moving their residence see chap. XXXIX.
10. In one case they punish those who collide with them, in the other, those living in quite a different direction viz. a quarter to the right or the left of their stand-point.
11. We ought to read yu, as above, I suppose.
12. Perhaps we should add "and a yin house".
13. A province under the Han comprising Kiangsu, Anhui, Kiangsi, Fukien, and Chekiang.
14. In the west.
15. Tibetan tribes.
16. Jupiter was first supposed to stay in the north, outside of China, now it is placed amidst men, in the interior.
17. The suburban sacrifices were offered to Heaven.
18. . Three t`ung are one yuan.
20. These periods may be of Taoist origin. Some reckon a yuan at 129,600, others at 24,192,000 years, something like a geological period. The Taoists like the Indians are fond of big numbers. According to one authority 3,276,000 years have elapsed from the creation of the world to 481 B.C.
23. . Cf. also p. 383, Notes 1 and 2.
24. The twelve hours of the day are denominated after the twelve cyclical signs yin, mao, & c., marking that place of the horizon over which the sun stays during each double hour. In the same way, every month of the Chinese calendar is connected with that cyclical sign in which the moon rests during that month. In the course of twelve months the moon has passed through all the twelve constellations or cyclical signs. Wang Ch`ung is not correct in saying that the yin and mao "times" are added to the twelve months, they are not times in this case, but constellations corresponding to those of our zodiac. The twelve , to which belong yin and mao, are those places of the firmament through which the sun passes in twelve double hours, and the moon in twelve months. For this reason they are made use of to designate the twelve hours as well as the twelve months Moreover, the course of the planet Jupiter through these signs of the zodiac, which is completed in 12 years, affords a means of denoting the consecutive years, on which cf. Chavannes, Mém. Hist. Vol. III, p. 655 seq.
25. Cf. Vol. I, p. 167.
|<Previous Section>||<Next Section>|
|Published by The Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities, © Copyright 2003 by Anne Kinney and the University of Virginia|