Seven Bridges Press






Readings In

Classical Chinese


edited by

Philip J. Ivanhoe University of Michigan


Bryan W. Van Norden Vassar College

Seven Bridges Press 135 Fifth Avenue New York, NY 10010-7101

Copyright © 2001 by Seven Bridges Press, LLC

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without prior permission of the publisher.

Publisher: Ted Bolen Managing Editor: Katharine Miller Composition: Rachel Hegarty Cover design: Stefan Killen Design Printing and Binding: Victor Graphics, Inc.


Readings in classical Chinese philosophy / edited by Philip J. Ivanhoe, Bryan W. Van Norden.

p. cm. ISBN 1-889119-09-1 1. Philosophy, Chinese–To 221 B.C. I. Ivanhoe, P. J. II. Van

Norden, Bryan W. (Bryan William) B126 .R43 2000 181′.11–dc21 00-010826

Manufactured in the United States of America 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1


Preface vii Comparative Romanization Table ix Map of China during the Spring and Autumn Period x Introduction xi Selective Bibliography xviii

Chapter One Kongzi (Confucius) “The Analects” 1

Introduction and Translation by Edward Gilman Slingerland

Chapter Two Mozi 55

Introduction and Translation by Philip J. Ivanhoe

Chapter Three Mengzi (Mencius) 111

Introduction and Translation by Bryan W. Van Norden

Chapter Four Laozi (“The Daodejing”) 157

Introduction and Translation by Philip J. Ivanhoe

Chapter Five Zhuangzi 203

Introduction and Translation by Paul Kjellberg

Chapter Six Xunzi 247

Introduction and Translation by Eric L. Hutton

Chapter Seven Han Feizi 295

Introduction and Translation by Joel Sahleen

Important Figures 347 Important Periods 353 Important Texts 355 Important Terms 357


Readings in Classical Chinese Philosophy introduces the seven most widely read and important thinkers of the “classical period” (roughly the sixth to the end of the third century B.C.E.) of Chinese philosophy. Each chapter begins with a very brief introduction to the text and the thinker it concerns and concludes with a short and lightly annotated, selective bibliography. The volume is intended to serve as an introduction to and source book for these texts and not as a philosophical primer for the thought of these au- thors. Introductory and interpretive material is kept to a minimum, but the volume includes four indices—Important Figures, Important Periods, Impor- tant Texts and Important Terms—that describe mythical and historical fig- ures, periods of time, classical texts and specialized terms that regularly appear in the texts translated here. There is also a map of China during the Spring and Autumn Period that shows the approximate locations of the major states and rivers. Readers are encouraged to turn to these reference materials whenever they encounter terms or names in the text that are not explained in footnotes. Explanatory notes are provided at the bottom of each page in cases of a single occurrence of an obscure term or name or when more explanation appeared to be warranted. Those who wish to pur- sue additional secondary literature in English concerning the texts and thinkers included in this reader are encouraged to consult the web page that is maintained in support of this volume at http://www.chinese-reader

A knowledge of the Chinese language is not in any way required for making full and thorough use of this volume. However, Chinese characters are provided for important references and terms of philosophical art in order to help the beginning student of Chinese and for the common edifi- cation of all. We do not provide characters for textual emendations or other textual notes as these issues require advanced facility in the classical Chinese language and other basic research languages of sinology. Readers interested in pursuing textual issues are encouraged to consult the appropriate sections of the web page mentioned above.

We have used the Pinyin romanization system throughout this volume, although we have chosen to romanize the common formal names of Chinese thinkers—their surnames and the honorific title zi ! (literally “Master”)—as one word rather than two. So, for example, Zhuang Zi (lit- erally “Master Zhuang”) is written as Zhuangzi and Han Fei Zi (“Master Han Fei”) appears as Han Feizi. All romanizations in the bibliographies and notes remain in their original form in order to facilitate locating these sources. We have provided a complete table comparing the Pinyin and older Wade-Giles systems of romanization following this Preface.

We, the editors, have tried to balance a desire for consistency in the use of specialized terms with the variety of senses many of these terms have within the range of texts presented here, as well as with the different sensi- bilities and styles of the individual translators. In cases when a certain im- portant term of art is rendered in different ways, we have provided notes alerting readers and directing their attention to the other occurences and translations.

We would like to thank the contributors to this volume for their work and their patience with us throughout the editorial process. Edward G. “Ted” Slingerland, a member of the Department of Religious Studies and the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures at the University of Southern California, translated The Analects of Kongzi (“Confucius”); Paul Kjellberg, Chair of the Philosophy Department at Whittier College, con- tributed selections from the Zhuangzi; Eric L. Hutton, from the Philoso- phy Department of Stanford University, translated parts of the Xunzi; and Joel Sahleen, from the Department of Asian Languages at Stanford Uni- versity, contributed selections from the Han Feizi. We, the editors, con- tributed the remaining translations of the Mozi, Mengzi (Mencius) and Laozi (The “Daodejing”).

We would also like to thank Robert B. Rama and Jeremy R. Robinson for their help in preparing the manuscript for this volume. De-nin Lee pro- vided invaluable assistance in locating and helping to reproduce the illus- trations of individual philosophers that appear at the beginning of each chapter. T. C. “Jack” Kline III and Mark Csikszentmihalyi offered very helpful corrections and comments on various parts of earlier drafts of the manuscript. We would also like to thank the Center for Chinese Studies at the University of Michigan for a grant to help in the preparation of this vol- ume, and Ted Bolen of Seven Bridges Press for the vision and perseverance he has shown from the inception to the completion of this project.

viii ■ preface


Romanization Table

The following conversion table is provided in order to allow the reader to keep track of and convert between the Pinyin and Wade-Giles system of ro- manization.

Pinyin Wade-Giles

b p c ts’/tz’

ch ch’ d t g k

ian ien j ch k k’

ong ung p p’ q ch’ r j si ssu/szu t t’ x hs

you yu yu yü z ts/tz

zh ch zhi chih zi tzu


Chinese history and thought extends much farther back in time than the period covered in this volume, though it is fair to say that philosophy—in the sense of self-conscious reflection upon, modification, and defense of one’s views—begins with the debate between Kongzi and Mozi. But at least a general sense of the trajectory of Chinese thought prior to this period and some understanding of the shape of the intellectual landscape on the eve of the age represented here will help the reader to appreciate more deeply the views of the thinkers presented.

The earliest substantial written documents we have from China are carved onto bone and shell or etched onto ritual vessels of bronze. These incised inscriptions, together with other modern archeological discoveries, have allowed scholars to reconstruct speculative yet intriguing pictures of very early Chinese society and culture.1 Most of the so-called oracle bone inscriptions date from around the twelfth to mid-eleventh century B.C.E., the closing years of the Shang dynasty.2 They record the queries of royal di- viners—often the king himself—who sought the advice and assistance of various ancestral and Nature spirits. Ritual vessel inscriptions, which date from the Shang and continue, in their high form, through the eighth cen- tury B.C.E., in the period known as the Western Zhou dynasty, also provide a wealth of information concerning very early Chinese elite culture, partic- ularly many of their religious views.3

1The best introductions to this period of Chinese civilization are: Kwang-chih Chang, Shang Civilization (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1980) and David N. Keightley, ed., The Origins of Chinese Civilization (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1983).

2For a remarkably edifying introduction to Shang oracular inscriptions, see David N. Keightley, Sources of Shang History : The Oracle-bone Inscriptions of Bronze Age China (Berke- ley, CA: University of California Press, 1978).

3The most illuminating and thorough introduction to early bronze inscriptions is Ed- ward L. Shaughnessy, Sources of Western Zhou History: Inscribed Bronze Vessels (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1991).

These sources describe a precarious world, saturated with unruly and unpredictable spiritual powers. Above there was Shang Dik#, “The Lord on High,” a powerful and only vaguely understood spirit who controlled the forces of nature and determined the fate of human beings. Unlike an- cestral spirits and even the spirits of Nature, Shang Di was so remote from human concerns and so far from human understanding that he could not be approached directly. However, other spirits and particularly ancestral spirits could appeal to Shang Di on behalf of their living descendants and solicit his support for their all-too-human endeavors.

The majority of oracular and bronze vessel inscriptions record attempts by the ruling members of Shang and Zhou society to influence the spirits through ritual supplication and sacrifice. Those appeals that are directed specifically at ancestral spirits are among the clearest early expressions of “ancestor worship” and, given our concern with the development of phi- losophy, it is interesting that even at this early stage we find an explicit con- cern with the inner life of the worshipper. For they make clear that sacrifice was not simply an external behavior; in order for one’s sacrifice to be ac- cepted by the appropriate spirit, one had to offer it with the proper inner attitudes and feelings of respect and reverence. Moreover, it was thought that with enough effort of the right sorts, one could cultivate the appro- priate attitudes and feelings.

In early Chinese religious thought, ancestral spirits bridge what in other traditions often looms as an abyss between the spiritual and human worlds. There is no fundamental metaphysical rupture in the cosmos; at the very least, living human beings have concerned representatives in the spiritual world who can temper and appeal to more remote and recalcitrant forces. This gives early and even later Chinese religious thought a distinctively “this-worldly” orientation, and it had a profound influence on the shape and style of later philosophical reflection.

Another fascinating and productive aspect of this complex of beliefs, at- titudes, and practices is the attention early diviners paid to keeping track of their past interactions with the spiritual world. Shang diviners kept exten- sive records of their oracular activities, and these often included notes con- cerning the results they obtained by following the advice derived through divination. K. C. Chang argues4 that they did so in the belief that, by studying these past records, thoughtful individuals could discern the most reliable patterns of productive human-spirit interaction. He further sug-

xii ■ introduction

4See Chang, Shang Civilization, p. 90.

gests that such practices deeply influenced later Chinese conceptions of and attitudes toward history and in particular the value and role of historical precedent.

Together, these beliefs about the role of ancestral spirits and the wisdom of historical precedent laid the foundation for beliefs and attitudes that shaped and endured throughout the Chinese tradition, particularly in the tradition of the Erudites or “Confucians.” They in particular preserved and elaborated on the idea that by keeping the lessons of the past in one’s mind and the ancestors in one’s heart, one could find a way through a dangerous and unpredictable world. These ideas find various expressions in the later philosophical literature. Different thinkers defend tradition on a variety of grounds, extending from a fundamental faith in a past golden age preserved in traditional cultural forms to a more subtle defense of the accumulated authoritative force of efficacious precedents. As Benjamin Schwartz has pointed out,5 the unique part the ancestors played as mediators between the human and spiritual world lends itself to a form of life in which find- ing and fulfilling one’s designated familial and social roles—whatever these might be in a particular case—allows one to take one’s proper place in a harmonious universal scheme that worked for the benefit of all. The fact that such family-based roles also appear to be “natural” further reinforces this general conceptual scheme and opens up a way—that was taken by some of the thinkers we present here—to provide a more naturalized ac- count of this early conception of the good human life.

When the Shang were overthrown and their conquerors founded the Zhou dynasty6 we find the beginning of a tendency to “naturalize” and in a certain sense domesticate aspects of earlier Shang belief. By “naturalize” we mean a preference for accounts of actions and events in terms of sys- tematic, natural phenomena rather than spiritual power. For example, while the early Zhou rulers appear to have promoted the idea that their supreme deity Tian $ (literally, “Heaven” or “sky”) was identical to the earlier Shang Di, with the passage of time, Tian came to be thought of as the structure or disposition of the universe itself, as opposed to an entity or being with consciousness and intention. This transition is clear in texts such as the Analects, where one finds both conceptions of Heaven as an ac-

introduction ■ xiii

5See Schwartz (1985), p. 23.

6Most contemporary scholars recognize that the traditional date of the Zhou conquest (1122 B.C.E.) is too early by about one hundred years, though there is still no clear consen- sus on exactly when it occured.

tive agent and conceptions of Heaven as the natural order of things. An- other idea that manifests what we are calling the trend toward naturalized accounts is the notion of Tianming $%, “Heaven’s Mandate,” which the Zhou invoked to justify their conquest of the Shang. The idea was that Heaven confers its “mandate” to rule on those who best represent its inter- ests and concerns for humankind. The last Shang kings were depicted by the Zhou as drunken, self-serving despots who had forsaken their role-spe- cific obligations and indulged their passions, thus bringing chaos to the world. As a consequence of this ethically reprehensible behavior, they were stripped of the mandate to rule.7 This “naturalizes” the earlier scheme in the sense that now an individual’s intentional actions and chosen way of life directly defines their relationship with the spirit world and determines who secures and maintains Heaven’s favor. The shift to a new conception of Heaven and the appeal to Heaven’s Mandate also domesticate earlier Shang beliefs in the sense that they open up the workings of the world to broader human understanding and control. In Shang times, the spirit world was largely beyond direct human understanding; oracular inquiries were like scouting parties, sent out into potentially hostile territory in search of strategically useful information. And even such indirect knowledge and limited control of the spiritual world was limited to royal diviners. In the emerging Zhou world view, anyone was potentially capable of understand- ing and harnessing the ethical power of Heaven.8

Later thinkers offer very different and at times conflicting accounts of the Western Zhou and its exemplary individuals but there is broad agreement that this period was one of remarkable internal stability, peace, and prosper- ity. And there is as yet no evidence available that would cause one to doubt such a claim. But given the newly developed views discussed above—which claim that an ethically superior ruler is necessary for sustained and successful government—such an age was destined to come to an end, for there is always the threat of moral rot. According to traditional accounts, the fall of the Western Zhou was the result of its last king’s lack of virtue. It seems that King

xiv ■ introduction

7This idea remains sedimented in the modern Chinese word for “revolution,” which is geming&%, “stripping the mandate.”

8Early Chinese society restricted women to primarily domestic vocations. However, there were exceptions to this general rule and there was a developed literature on woman’s virtue quite early in Chinese history. See Lisa Raphals, Sharing the Light: Women and Virtue in Early China (Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 1999). Moreover, one does not find explicit ar- guments about purported reasons that prevented women from developing complete forms of the full range of virtues, as one finds, for example, in the writings of Aristotle.

You was deeply enamored of his concubine Bao Si and indulged himself by amusing her. Bao Si in turn was terribly fond of having the king light the se- ries of beacon fires that were supposed to be used to summon his vassals from surrounding territories in times of attack. And so, even though there was no danger of attack, he would have the fires lit for her amusement. His vassals would gather their forces and rush to the capital, only to find that it was a false alarm. After a number of such false alarms, they stopped coming and hence were not there when the real attack came that toppled his regime and forced the remnants of the Zhou court to flee and found a new capital far to the east.9 From this we are to see how self-indulgence weakens the power of a ruler, and that eventually such conduct will result in the loss of Heaven’s Mandate to rule. Political failure follows close upon the heals of moral decay, and both are regarded as being largely within an individual’s control.10 These distinctive characteristics of Zhou religious, ethical, and political thought be- came central features of much of later Chinese philosophy.

From the perspective of the present work, the Eastern Zhou marks the dawn of the “classical period” of Chinese philosophy. It begins with Kongzi (“Confucius”), in a period when China consisted of a number of increas- ingly independent states, and culminates with Han Feizi, with the unifica- tion of central China under a new dynasty known as the Qin.11 Of the seven thinkers covered, three—Kongzi, Mengzi, and Xunzi—are from what came to be called the Ru (“Erudite” or “Confucian”) tradition, and two—Laozi and Zhuangzi—are from the more loosely affiliated group of thinkers later called the Daojia (“Daoist School”).12 In addition, there are selections from Mozi, founder and leader of the fascinating, powerful, and highly organized movement known as the Mojia (“Mohist School”) and from Han Feizi, an incisive, eloquent, and influential representative of the Fajia (“Legalist School”).

As will be clear from the notes and appendices included in this volume, this selection of writings by no means exhausts or even fully represents the

introduction ■ xv

9For a discussion of the figure Bao Si, see Raphals, pp. 64–66.

10Uncontrollable and inexplicable factors could still affect one’s overall destiny but as these were beyond one’s choice and conscious control they received very little attention in the developing literature.

11It is from “Qin” that China gets its English name.

12For brief descriptions of these “schools” of thought, see Important Terms.

range of thinkers who lived, thought, argued, and wrote during this period.13

There was a remarkably wide variety of thinkers active during this time in early China, a fact reflected in an another name for this age: the baijial(, “hundred schools,” period. Even among the thinkers we present here, one finds a broad range of philosophical views. There are reflective defenders of tradition, ethical sensibility theorists, nature mystics, consequentialists, as well as those who present a purely political theory of state organization and control. One finds a variety of visions of the good life, ranging from those who insist that only the right kind of society presents human beings with a way to live complete and satisfying lives, to those who argue that any attempt to produce a good life will inevitably be contaminated and undermined by the hypocrisy of self-conscious effort. For proponents of this latter view, the only solution is to stop trying to find a solution and allow ourselves to fall back into the preexisting harmony of Nature. Many of these different views rest on explicit or implied views about the character of human nature and here again we see remarkable variety. This is true even in the case of the founder and first two most eminent defenders of Confucianism—Kongzi, Mengzi, and Xunzi—who shared a significant number of commitments and looked to a common historical and textual heritage.

The thinkers of the hundred schools period not only disagreed in the- ory, they disagreed with each other. That is to say, their views were not only in conflict but they themselves often argued with one another. Such ex- changes led to greater philosophical sophistication, with thinkers respond- ing to and often adapting each other’s views in order to enhance their own positions. The careful reader will be able to see numerous examples of such disagreement and mutual borrowing in the selections presented here, and understanding this aspect of philosophical life during this period is impor- tant for a full appreciation of the lively and creative spirit of the time.

The intellectual variety seen among the early philosophers represented here did not stop with this first “classical period.” Throughout subsequent history, Chinese thinkers continued to produce philosophical views of stunning originality and power. While certain early schools of thought died out, their influence remained, and is clearly reflected in the thought of their more long-lived competitors.14 And over time other, non-Chinese tradi-

xvi ■ introduction

13This is true even if one counts only the thinkers for whom we have at least some sam- ples of their work. Extant bibliographies and references in texts that we do have point to an immensely rich and extensive literature that is either lost or has not yet come to light.

14For example, the Mohist school died out around the time of the Qin conquest but it left a deep and indelible influence on both Daoist and Confucian thought.

tions of thought came and often profoundly influenced indigenous tradi- tions. For example, Buddhism, which arrived in China some time around the first century C.E., generated a fundamental and enduring transforma- tion of every active philosophical school.

The most important lesson to take away from this rich and complex his- tory is that “Chinese philosophy” is not a single theory, thinker, or tradi- tion but rather a diverse and lively conversation that has been going on for more than 2,500 years and that is still active and evolving in our time. And so our Readings in Classical Chinese Philosophy might more accurately be en- titled, Readings in Classical Chinese Philosophies. In any event, it is the hope of the editors and other contributors to this volume that this work serves to facilitate an engagement with and appreciation of the wealth of philo- sophical ideas found in early China.

Philip J. Ivanhoe Ann Arbor, Michigan

Bryan W. Van Norden Poughkeepsie, New York

introduction ■ xvii


1. Chan, Wing-tsit. tr.

1963 A Source Book in Chinese Philosophy. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

2. Fung, Yu-lan.

1983 A History of Chinese Philosophy. 2 vols. Derk Bodde, tr., reprint. Prince- ton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

3. Graham, A. C.

1989 Disputers of the Tao. La Salle, IL: Open Court Press.

4. Ivanhoe, Philip J.

2000 Confucian Moral Self Cultivation. Indianapolis, IN: Hackett Publishing Company.

5. Munro, Donald J.

1969 The Concept of Man in Early China. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

6. Nivison, David S.

1996 The Ways of Confucianism. Chicago, IL: Open Court Press.

7. Schwartz, Benjamin I.

1985 The World of Thought in Ancient China. Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press.

xviii ■ introduction







Kongzi (Confucius)

“The Analects”


The Analects (Lunyu )*—literally, the “Classified Teachings”) purports to be a record of the teachings of Kongzi +! or “Confucius” (551–479 B.C.E.) and his disciples.1 Kongzi believed that the Golden Age of hu- mankind had been realized during the height of Zhou dynasty, from c. 1045–771 B.C.E. (the so-called Western Zhou period). Personified by the cultural heroes King Wen (d.c. 1050 B.C.E.), his son King Wu (r. 1045– 1043) and the virtuous regent, the Duke of Zhou (r. c. 1043–1036 B.C.E.), the early Zhou rulers established and maintained a special relationship with tian$, “Heaven,” by properly and sincerely observing a set of sacred prac- tices collectively referred to as the li,, “rites” or “rituals.” The scope of the rites was quite vast, including everything from grand state ceremonies to the proper way to sit or fasten one’s lapel—details that we might think of as issues of etiquette. In return for such formal obedience to Heaven in all matters great and small, the Zhou royal line was rewarded with a ming%,

1Some scholars have questioned the traditional view of the text as a unified work, argu- ing that it represents many different chronological strata and even incompatible viewpoints. The Chinese have nevertheless read it as a coherent whole for thousands of years, and this is the perspective on the text that we adopt here. This said, the reader will note that our se- lection gives greater weight to those portions of the text generally agreed to be earlier and most authoritative, Books 1–9.

“Mandate,”2 to rule China, manifested in the form of a charismatic de-, “Virtue,” or power.

By Kongzi’s age, the Zhou kings had been reduced to mere figureheads, and real political power was in the hands of various local rulers. In Kongzi’s eyes, the “scholars” of his day—those who should properly be motivated by a love for learning and a devotion to the culture of the Zhou—were inter- ested only in self-aggrandizement and sensuous pleasures, and the people, thereby bereft of moral leadership and grown unruly, could only be con- trolled through strict laws and harsh punishments. Despite the bleakness of this world, Kongzi believed that there was still hope for humanity, because the traditional Zhou ritual forms and written classics—which had been carefully preserved by a small group of cultural specialists, the ru., “Eru- dites,”3—could serve as a sort of blueprint for rebuilding the lost Golden Age. Kongzi thus dedicated his life to both transmitting these cultural forms to his contemporaries and striving to embody them in his own per- son, hoping in this way to lead his fallen world back to the dao/, “Way,” of Heaven.

Involving lifelong and sincere devotion to traditional cultural forms, Kongzi’s Way is to culminate eventually in a kind of intuitive mastery of those forms, and one who has attained this state of consummate mastery— the junzi0!, “gentleman”—is said to possess the supreme virtue of ren1, “true humaneness” or “humanity.” Originally referring to the strong and handsome appearance of a noble warrior, ren designates for Kongzi the qual- ity of the perfectly realized person—one who has so completely mastered the Way that it has become a sort of second nature. Such a state of spiritual perfection is referred to as wuwei23, “effortless action” or “nonaction”: a state of spontaneous harmony between individual inclinations and the sa- cred Way of Heaven. Through the power of Virtue accruing to one so per- fectly in harmony with Heaven, this state of individual perfection is to lead to the spontaneous and effortless ordering of the entire world. There will be no need for raising armies, instituting laws, or issuing governmental decrees, for the entire world will be as inexorably drawn to a ruler with true Virtue as the heavenly bodies are bound to their proper circuits in the sky.

2 ■ kongzi (confucius)

2By the time of the Analects, the term ming had taken on the additional meaning of “fate” or “destiny,” but was thought to be similarly decreed by Heaven. For a discussion of this term, see Edward (Ted) Slingerland, “The Conception of Ming in Early Chinese Thought,” Philosophy East & West 46.4 (1996), pp. 567–81.

3See Important Terms and Analects 6.13 for Kongzi’s criticism of the “petty ru.”

Book One

1.1 The Master said, “To study, and then in a timely fashion to practice what you have learned—is this not satisfying? To have companions arrive from afar—is this not a joy? To remain unrecognized by others and yet re- main free of resentment—is this not the mark of the gentleman?”

1.2 Youzi4 said, “It is unlikely that one who has grown up as a filial son and respectful younger brother will then be inclined to defy his superiors, and there has never been a case of one who is disinclined to defy his superiors stirring up a rebellion.

“The gentleman applies himself to the roots. Once the roots are firmly planted, the Way will grow therefrom. Might we thus say that filiality and brotherly respect represent the root of ren?”

1.3 The Master said, “A glib tongue and an ingratiating manner are rarely signs of ren.”5

1.6 The Master said, “A student should be filial toward his parents when at home and respectful toward his elders when abroad. Careful in action and truthful in speech, he should display an expansive care for the multitude and seek to draw near to those who are ren. If in the course of his duties he finds himself with energy to spare, he should devote it to study of the wen 4, ‘cultural arts.’”

1.9 Zengzi6 said, “Be meticulous in observing the passing of those close to you and do not fail to continue the sacrifices to your distant ancestors. This will be enough to cause the Virtue of the people to return to fullness.”

1.10 Ziqin said to Zigong,7 “When our Master arrives in a state, he invari- ably finds out about its government. Does he actively seek out this infor- mation? Surely it is not simply offered to him!”

The analects ■ 3

4A disciple of Kongzi.

5A suspicion of those who are overly glib or outwardly pleasing is a common theme in the Analects. In Analects 15.11, the danger presented by ningren5é, “glib people,” is compared to the derangement of morals brought about by the decadent music of the state of Zheng.

6A disciple of Kongzi.

7Both disciples of Kongzi.

Zigong answered, “Our Master acquires it through being cordial, good, respectful, frugal, and deferential. The Master’s way of seeking it is rather different from other people’s way of seeking it, is it not?”8

1.12 Youzi said, “In the application of ritual, it is harmonious ease9 that is to be valued. It is precisely such harmony that makes the Way of the For- mer Kings so beautiful. If you merely stick rigidly to ritual in all matters, great and small, there will remain that which you cannot accomplish. Yet if you know enough to value harmonious ease but try to attain it without being regulated by the rites, this will not work either.”

1.15 Zigong said, “Poor and yet not obsequious, rich and yet not arro- gant—what would you say about someone like that?”

The Master answered, “That is acceptable, but it is not as good as being poor and yet full of joy, rich and yet fond of ritual.”

Zigong said, “In the Odes we read,

As if cut, as if polished; As if carved, as if ground.10

Is this not what you have in mind?”11

The Master said, “Zigong, you are precisely the kind of person with whom one can begin to discuss the Odes. Informed as to what has gone be- fore, you know what is to come.”

Book Two

2.1 The Master said, “One who rules through the power of Virtue might be compared to the Pole Star, which simply remains in its place while re- ceiving the homage of the myriad lesser stars.”

4 ■ kongzi (confucius)

8That is, Kongzi does not actively pry or seek out information, but rather is so perfected in Virtue that what he seeks comes to him unbidden, in a wuwei fashion.

9That is, a state of he 7, “harmony,” between inner emotions and outward form.

10Mao # 55.

11That is, a person whose character has been arduously shaped and perfectly transformed in such a manner.

2.2 The Master said, “The three hundred poems in the Odes can be judged with a single phrase: ‘Oh, they will not lead you astray.’”12

2.3 The Master said, “If you try to lead the common people with govern- mental regulations and keep them in line with punishments, the laws will simply be evaded and the people will have no sense of shame. If, however, you guide them with Virtue, and keep them in line by means of ritual, the people will have a sense of shame and will moreover reform themselves.”

2.4 The Master said, “At age fifteen I set my heart upon learning; at thirty I took my stand;13 at forty I became free of doubts;14 at fifty I understood the Heavenly Mandate;15 at sixty my ear was attuned;16 and at seventy I could follow my heart’s desire without overstepping the bounds of propriety.”

2.7 Ziyou17 asked about filial piety. The Master said, “Nowadays, ‘filial’ is used to refer to anyone who is merely able to provide their parents with nourishment. But even dogs and horses are provided with nourishment. If you do not treat your parents with reverence, wherein lies the difference?”

2.9 The Master said, “I can talk all day long with Yan Hui18 without him once disagreeing with me or asking questions. In this way, he seems a bit dim-witted. And yet when he retires from my presence and I observe his behavior in private, I see that it is in fact worthy to serve as an illustration of what I have taught. Hui is not so stupid after all.”

The analects ■ 5

12Mao # 297. The original reference is to powerful war horses bred to pull chariots, who are trained not to swerve from the desired path. The metaphorical meaning is that one com- mitted through study to the Odes—“yoked” to them, as it were—will not be led astray.

13That is, through mastery of the rites; cf. Analects 8.8, 16.13, and 20.3.

14Cf. Analects 9.29.