1. Kung-sun Ch'âu
asked Mencius, saying, 'Master, if you were to obtain the
ordering of the government in Ch'î, could you promise yourself
to accomplish anew such results as those realized by Kwan Chung
2. Mencius said,
'You are indeed a true man of Ch'î. You know about Kwan Chung
and Yen, and nothing more,
3. 'Some one asked
Tsang Hsî, saying, "Sir, to which do you give the superiority,--
to yourself or to Tsze-lû?" Tsang Hsî looked uneasy, and said,
"He was an object of veneration to my grandfather." "Then,"
pursued the other, "Do you give the superiority to yourself or
to Kwan Chung?" Tsang Hsî, flushed with anger and displeased,
said, "How dare you compare me with Kwan Chung? Considering how
entirely Kwan Chung possessed the confidence of his prince, how
long he enjoyed the direction of the government of the State,
and how low, after all, was what he accomplished,-- how is it
that you liken me to him?"
concluded Mencius, 'Tsang Hsî would not play Kwan Chung, and is
it what you desire for me that I should do so?'
5. Kung-sun Ch'âu
said, 'Kwan Chung raised his prince to be the leader of all the
other princes, and Yen made his prince illustrious, and do you
still think it would not be enough for you to do what they did?'
answered, 'To raise Ch'î to the royal dignity would be as easy
as it is to turn round the hand.'
7. 'So!' returned
the other. 'The perplexity of your disciple is hereby very much
increased. There was king Wan, moreover, with all the virtue
which belonged to him; and who did not die till he had reached a
hundred years:-- and still his influence had not penetrated
throughout the kingdom. It required king Wû and the duke of Châu
to continue his course, before that influence greatly prevailed.
Now you say that the royal dignity might be so easily
obtained:-- is king Wan then not a sufficient object for
8. Mencius said,
'How can king Wan be matched? From T'ang to Wû-ting there had
appeared six or seven worthy and sage sovereigns. The kingdom
had been attached to Yin for a long time, and this length of
time made a change difficult. Wû-ting had all the princes coming
to his court, and possessed the kingdom as if it had been a
thing which he moved round in his palm. Then, Châu was removed
from Wû-ting by no great interval of time. There were still
remaining some of the ancient families and of the old manners,
of the influence also which had emanated from the earlier
sovereigns, and of their good government. Moreover, there were
the viscount of Wei and his second son, their Royal Highnesses
Pî-kan and the viscount of Ch'î, and Kâo-ko, all men of ability
and virtue, who gave their joint assistance to Châu in his
government. In consequence of these things, it took a long time
for him to lose the throne. There was not a foot of ground which
he did not possess. There was not one of all the people who was
not his subject. So it was on his side, and king Wan at his
beginning had only a territory of one hundred square lî. On all
these accounts, it was difficult for him immediately to attain
to the royal dignity.
9. 'The people of
Ch'î have a saying-- "A man may have wisdom and discernment, but
that is not like embracing the favourable opportunity. A man may
have instruments of husbandry, but that is not like waiting for
the farming seasons." The present time is one in which the royal
dignity may be easily attained.
10. 'In the
flourishing periods of the Hsiâ, Yin, and Châu dynasties, the
royal domain did not exceed a thousand lî, and Ch'î embraces so
much territory. Cocks crow and dogs bark to one another, all the
way to the four borders of the State:-- so Ch'î possesses the
people. No change is needed for the enlarging of its territory:
no change is needed for the collecting of a population. If its
ruler will put in practice a benevolent government, no power
will be able to prevent his becoming sovereign.
never was there a time farther removed than the present from the
rise of a true sovereign: never was there a time when the
sufferings of the people from tyrannical government were more
intense than the present. The hungry readily partake of any
food, and the thirsty of any drink.'
said, "The flowing progress of virtue is more rapid than the
transmission of royal orders by stages and couriers."
13. 'At the
present time, in a country of ten thousand chariots, let
benevolent government be put in practice, and the people will be
delighted with it, as if they were relieved from hanging by the
heels. With half the merit of the ancients, double their
achievements is sure to be realized. It is only at this time
that such could be the case.'
1. Kung-sun Ch'âu
asked Mencius, saying, 'Master, if you were to be appointed a
high noble and the prime minister of Ch'î, so as to be able to
carry your principles into practice, though you should thereupon
raise the ruler to the headship of all the other princes, or
even to the royal dignity, it would not be to be wondered at.--
In such a position would your mind be perturbed or not?' Mencius
replied, 'No. At forty, I attained to an unperturbed mind.'
2. Ch'âu said,
'Since it is so with you, my Master, you are far beyond Mang
Pan.' 'The mere attainment,' said Mencius, 'is not difficult.
The scholar Kâo had attained to an unperturbed mind at an
earlier period of life than I did.'
3. Ch'âu asked,
'Is there any way to an unperturbed mind?' The answer was, 'Yes.
4. 'Pî-kung Yû had
this way of nourishing his valour:-- He did not flinch from any
strokes at his body. He did not turn his eyes aside from any
thrusts at them. He considered that the slightest push from any
one was the same as if he were beaten before the crowds in the
market-place, and that what he would not receive from a common
man in his loose large garments of hair, neither should he
receive from a prince of ten thousand chariots. He viewed
stabbing a prince of ten thousand chariots just as stabbing a
fellow dressed in cloth of hair. He feared not any of all the
princes. A bad word addressed to him be always returned.
5. 'Mang Shih-shê
had this way of nourishing his valour:-- He said, "I look upon
not conquering and conquering in the same way. To measure the
enemy and then advance; to calculate the chances of victory and
then engage:-- this is to stand in awe of the opposing force.
How can I make certain of conquering? I can only rise superior
to all fear."
6. 'Mang Shih-shê
resembled the philosopher Tsang. Pî-kung Yû resembled Tsze-hsiâ.
I do not know to the valour of which of the two the superiority
should be ascribed, but yet Mang Shih-shê attended to what was
of the greater importance.
7. 'Formerly, the
philosopher Tsang said to Tsze-hsiang, "Do you love valour? I
heard an account of great valour from the Master. It speaks
thus:-- 'If, on self-examination, I find that I am not upright,
shall I not be in fear even of a poor man in his loose garments
of hair-cloth? If, on self-examination, I find that I am
upright, I will go forward against thousands and tens of
8. Yet, what Mang
Shih-shê maintained, being merely his physical energy, was after
all inferior to what the philosopher Tsang maintained, which was
indeed of the most importance.'
9. Kung-sun Ch'âu
said, 'May I venture to ask an explanation from you, Master, of
how you maintain an unperturbed mind, and how the philosopher
Kâo does the same?' Mencius answered,'Kâo says,-- "What is not
attained in words is not to be sought for in the mind; what
produces dissatisfaction in the mind, is not to be helped by
passion-effort." This last,-- when there is unrest in the mind,
not to seek for relief from passion-effort, may be conceded. But
not to seek in the mind for what is not attained in words cannot
be conceded. The will is the leader of the passion-nature. The
passion-nature pervades and animates the body. The will is first
and chief, and the passion-nature is subordinate to it.
Therefore I say,-- Maintain firm the will, and do no violence to
observed, 'Since you say-- "The will is chief, and the
passion-nature is subordinate," how do you also say, "Maintain
firm the will, and do no violence to the passion-nature?"'
Mencius replied, 'When it is the will alone which is active, it
moves the passion-nature. When it is the passion-nature alone
which is active, it moves the will. For instance now, in the
case of a man falling or running, that is from the
passion-nature, and yet it moves the mind.'
11. 'I venture to
ask,' said Ch'âu again, 'wherein you, Master, surpass Kâo.'
Mencius told him, 'I understand words. I am skilful in
nourishing my vast, flowing passion-nature.'
12. Ch'âu pursued,
'I venture to ask what you mean by your vast, flowing
passion-nature!' The reply was, 'It is difficult to describe it.
13. 'This is the
passion-nature:-- It is exceedingly great, and exceedingly
strong. Being nourished by rectitude, and sustaining no injury,
it fills up all between heaven and earth.
14. 'This is the
passion-nature:-- It is the mate and assistant of righteousness
and reason. Without it, man is in a state of starvation.
15. 'It is
produced by the accumulation of righteous deeds; it is not to be
obtained by incidental acts of righteousness. If the mind does
not feel complacency in the conduct, the nature becomes starved.
I therefore said, "Kâo has never understood righteousness,
because he makes it something external."
16. 'There must be
the constant practice of this righteousness, but without the
object of thereby nourishing the passion-nature. Let not the
mind forget its work, but let there be no assisting the growth
of that nature. Let us not be like the man of Sung. There was a
man of Sung, who was grieved that his growing corn was not
longer, and so he pulled it up. Having done this, he returned
home, looking very stupid, and said to his people, "I am tired
to-day. I have been helping the corn to grow long." His son ran
to look at it, and found the corn all withered. There are few in
the world, who do not deal with their passion-nature, as if they
were assisting the corn to grow long. Some indeed consider it of
no benefit to them, and let it alone:-- they do not weed their
corn. They who assist it to grow long, pull out their corn. What
they do is not only of no benefit to the nature, but it also
17. Kung-sun Ch'âu
further asked, 'What do you mean by saying that you understand
whatever words you hear?' Mencius replied, 'When words are
one-sided, I know how the mind of the speaker is clouded over.
When words are extravagant, I know how the mind is fallen and
sunk. When words are all-depraved, I know how the mind has
departed from principle. When words are evasive, I know how the
mind is at its wit's end. These evils growing in the mind, do
injury to government, and, displayed in th government, are
hurtful to the conduct of affairs. When a Sage shall again
arise, he will certainly follow my words.'
18. On this Ch'âu
observed, 'Tsâi Wo and Tsze-kung were skilful in speaking. Zan
Niû, the disciple Min, and Yen Yüan, while their words were
good, were distinguished for their virtuous conduct. Confucius
united the qualities of the disciples in himself, but still he
said, "In the matter of speeches, I am not competent."-- Then,
Master, have you attained to be a Sage?'
19. Mencius said,
'Oh! what words are these? Formerly Tsze-kung asked Confucius,
saying, "Master, are you a Sage?" Confucius answered him, "A
Sage is what I cannot rise to. I learn without satiety, and
teach without being tired." Tsze-kung said, "You learn without
satiety:-- that shows your wisdom. You teach without being
tired:-- that shows your benevolence. Benevolent and wise:--
Master, you ARE a Sage." Now, since Confucius would not allow
himself to be regarded as a Sage, what words were those?'
20. Ch'âu said,
'Formerly, I once heard this:-- Tsze-hsiâ, Tsze-yû, and
Tsze-chang had each one member of the Sage. Zan Niû, the
disciple Min, and Yen Yüan had all the members, but in small
proportions. I venture to ask,-- With which of these are you
pleased to rank yourself?'
replied, 'Let us drop speaking about these, if you please.'
22. Ch'âu then
asked, 'What do you say of Po-î and Î Yin?' 'Their ways were
different from mine,' said Mencius. 'Not to serve a prince whom
he did not esteem, nor command a people whom he did not approve;
in a time of good government to take office, and on the
occurrence of confusion to retire:-- this was the way of Po-î.
To say-- "Whom may I not serve? My serving him makes him my
ruler. What people may I not command? My commanding them makes
them my people." In a time of good government to take office,
and when disorder prevailed, also to take office:-- that was the
way of Î Yin. When it was proper to go into office, then to go
into it; when it was proper to keep retired from office, then to
keep retired from it; when it was proper to continue in it long,
then to continue in it long - when it was proper to withdraw
from it quickly, then to withdraw quickly:-- that was the way of
Confucius. These were all sages of antiquity, and I have not
attained to do what they did. But what I wish to do is to learn
to be like Confucius.'
23. Ch'âu said,
'Comparing Po-î and Î Yin with Confucius, are they to be placed
in the same rank?' Mencius replied, 'No. Since there were living
men until now, there never was another Confucius.'
24. Ch'âu said,
'Then, did they have any points of agreement with him?' The
reply was,-- 'Yes. If they had been sovereigns over a hundred lî
of territory, they would, all of them, have brought all the
princes to attend in their court, and have obtained the throne.
And none of them, in order to obtain the throne, would have
committed one act of unrighteousness, or put to death one
innocent person. In those things they agreed with him.'
25. Ch'âu said, 'I
venture to ask wherein he differed from them.' Mencius replied,
'Tsâi Wo, Tsze-kung, and Yû Zo had wisdom sufficient to know the
sage. Even had they been ranking themselves low, they would not
have demeaned themselves to flatter their favourite.
26. 'Now, Tsâi Wo
said, "According to my view of our Master, he was far superior
to Yâo and Shun."
said, "By viewing the ceremonial ordinances of a prince, we know
the character of his government. By hearing his music, we know
the character of his virtue. After the lapse of a hundred ages I
can arrange, according to their merits, the kings of a hundred
ages;-- not one of them can escape me. From the birth of mankind
till now, there has never been another like our Master."
28. 'Yû Zo said,
"Is it only among men that it is so? There is the Ch'î-lin among
quadrupeds, the Fang-hwang among birds, the T'âi mountain among
mounds and ant-hills, and rivers and seas among rain-pools.
Though different in degree, they are the same in kind. So the
sages among mankind are also the same in kind. But they stand
out from their fellows, and rise above the level, and from the
birth of mankind till now, there never has been one so complete