7A. Jin Xin (part one) 盡心, 上
[7A:1] Mencius said: “If you fully explore your mind, you will know your nature. If you know your nature, you know Heaven. To preserve your mind and nourish your nature is to serve Heaven. Not seeing duality between short life and long life, cultivate yourself by awaiting it. This is the way to set up your destiny.”
[7A:2] Mencius said: “There is nothing that does not have a destiny, so follow your own and accept it as it is. If you do this, when you understand what destiny is, you will not stand under the wall of a high cliff. To fully traverse one's course and then die—this is correct destiny. To die in handcuffs and chains is not correct destiny.”
[7A:3] Mencius said: “Search for it and you gain it. Ignore it and you lose it: this is the searching that has increase in its attainment, the seeking that adds to the self.”
“Search for it, keeping the Way, attain it, keeping with destiny. In this searching, there is no increase upon attainment. This is the searching through which you get rid of things.”
[7A:4] Mencius said: “All things are prepared within me. If I reflect on myself and find that I am sincere, shouldn't I be overjoyed? If I strive to conduct myself on the principle of reciprocity, will the humaneness I seek not be close at hand?”
[7A:5] Mencius said: “Acting without being clear, practicing without close observation: doing this to the end of their lives without ever understanding their own course. This is the way most people are.”
(13.6) 孟子曰、「人不可以無恥。 無恥之恥、無恥矣。」
[7A:6] Mencius said: “A person cannot do without shame. If you are ashamed of your shamelessness, you will not need to be ashamed. ”
[7A:7] Mencius said: “Shame is something important for people. Those who operate by clever opportunism have no use for shame. Not having shame, you will not be like others. What will you have in common with them? ”
[7A:8] Mencius said: “The worthy kings of antiquity were impressed by goodness and not by power. How could the worthy elites be different? They delighted in their path and were oblivious to power in others. Therefore, if a king or duke did not treat them with full respect and thorough propriety, he would not have much chance of seeing them. Not having much chance to see them, how could he gain their services?”
[7A:9] Mencius, speaking to Song Gou Jian, said, “You like traveling to different courts, don't you? Let me speak with you about this kind of traveling. If you are acknowledged, just be content, and if you are not acknowledged, just be content.”
Jian asked, “How do you go about ‘just being content.’?”
Mencius said, “If you value virtue and enjoy fairness, you can be content. Hence the gentleman in difficulty does not lose his sense of fairness, and when successful, does not lose the Path. Since he does not lose his sense of fairness when in difficulty, the gentleman is able to keep a grasp on himself. Since he does not lose the Path when he becomes successful, the people are not disappointed in him.”
“When the ancients achieved their aims, they shared it with the people. Not attaining their aims, their self-discipline was an example to succeeding generations. In difficulty they could only cultivate their own goodness. Successful, they could share their goodness with the whole world.”
[7A:10] Mencius said: “Almost all people wait for someone like King Wen to come and uplift them. But the truly outstanding gentleman will uplift himself, even if a King Wen doesn't appear.”
[7A:11] Mencius said: “If, after receiving the wealth of the families of Han and Wei, you still see something missing inside of yourself, then you far surpass others.”
(13.12) 孟子曰、「以佚道使民、雖勞不怨。 以生道殺民、雖死不怨殺者。」
[7A:12] Mencius said: “If you employ people with a sincere motive to make their life more comfortable, then even if they have to work hard, they won't blame you. If you execute people with the true motive of saving lives, then even if someone is killed, no one will blame the executioner.”
[7A:13] Mencius said: “When there is a strong ruler, at least the people can be relaxed. If there is a true king, then they can be completely content. He can conduct executions without blame, and make profit without their feeling abused. The people return to the good every day, without knowing who is making them do so.”
“So wherever the Noble Man passes through, people are transformed; the place where he stays is spiritualized, and Heaven and Earth flow together harmoniously. How could you say ‘he is of little help’?”
[7A:14] Mencius said: “Kind words do not enter as deeply into a person as does a reputation for kindness. Good government is not as effective as good teaching in terms of gaining the support of the people. If you have a good government, the people will be in awe of you. If you teach them well, they will love you. Good government gains people's wealth. Good teaching gains their hearts.”
[7A:15] Mencius said: “When people who have not studied have abilities, these are inherent abilities. When people who have not deliberated have knowledge, this is inherent knowledge. An infant carried in the arms has no lack of knowledge of how to love its parents, and when it gets older, it knows automatically how to respect its older brothers. Loving one's parents is humaneness, respecting one's older brothers is fairness. This is because these principles penetrate all people.”
[7A:16] Mencius said: “When Shun lived deep in the mountains, and he lived among the trees and rocks, and romped with the deer and boar, he differed little from other people of the wilds. But once he heard one impressive talk, and saw one act of kindness, it was like trying to hold back a vast river — nothing could restrain him.”
[7A:17] Mencius said: “Don't do what shouldn't be done and don't desire what shouldn't be desired. That's all there is to it.”
[7A:18] Mencius said: “When people have penetrating wisdom and practical knowledge it is usually because they have spent a long time in difficulty. The orphaned servant and the concubine's son handle situations with caution and think deeply when in distress. Therefore, they handle things well.”
[7A:19] Mencius said, “There are those who serve the prince, and do so to receive his favor. There are those who serve the land, and do so because it makes them happy. There are Heavenly people, who, once their excellence can be actualized in the world, actualize it. There are great men who rectify themselves—and others are rectified.”
[7A:20] Mencius said, “.”
[7A:21] Mencius said, “The Noble Man may enjoy the possession of a large territory with many people, but this is not what he takes delight in. He may delight in being established in the realm and stabilizing the people within the four seas, but this has nothing to do with his basic character. His basic character is not something that can be enhanced by great success, or be hindered by poverty. These are one's lot.”
“The essentials of the Noble Man's character are humaneness, fairness, Propriety and Wisdom, which are rooted in his mind. When they show themselves in his external appearance, their luster can be seen in his face, their fullness can be seen in his back, and go out into his four limbs. The four limbs reveal this without speaking.”
[7A:22] Mencius said: Boyi escaped from Zhou and dwelled in a harbor on the Northern Sea. When he heard of the rise of King Wen he said: “Shall I return? I have heard that Xibo (King Wen) is good at taking care of the elderly.” Taigong escaped from Zhou and dwelled in a harbor of the Eastern Sea. When he heard of the rise of King Wen he said: “Shall I return? I have heard that Xibo (King Wen) is good at taking care of the elderly.” When the people take good care of the aged, then good-hearted people return of their own accord. If you plant mulberry trees at the base of the walls on a homestead of one acre and assign one woman to the task of taking care of silkworms, then the elderly will be able to wear silk garments. If you don't miss the timing for the mating of five hens and two sows, the elderly will never have to miss out on eating meat. If a ten-acre plot is cultivated by one man, a family of eight will never go hungry. So when it is said that Xibo is good at taking care of the elderly, this means that he systematically manages the farms and villages, teaching the people the methods of planting and husbandry. He leads the wives and sons to take care of the elderly. If those aged fifty lack silk they will not be warm; if those aged seventy lack meat they will not be able to eat to their satisfaction, which means that they will be cold and hungry. Among the subjects of King Wen there being no elderly who are cold and hungry has these kinds of implications.
[7A:23] Mencius said: If you properly manage the farmlands and keep the taxes light, the people will live well. If people eat according to the season and use commodities according to propriety, provisions will not be used up. People can't live without water and fire, so if someone comes knocking on the door in the evening seeking water and fire, there is no one who will not give these things, as they are readily available. When the sage governs the world, he makes it so that beans and millet 9 are as readily available as water and fire. When beans and millet are as readily available as water and fire, how can the people not be kind to each other.
[7A:24] Mencius said: When Confucius climbed Mt. Dong, 10 Lu looked small. When he climbed Mt. Tai, the whole world looked small. Hence, those who have seen the ocean have difficulty being satisfied with lesser waters; and those who have had the opportunity to have intercourse with a sage have difficulty being satisfied with lesser chit-chat. There is an art to observing water — you have to pay attention to the ripples. When the sun and moon are shining, their light will definitely penetrate the cracks. It is the character of water to be unable to keep flowing until it fills up the holes along the way. When the noble person sets his mind on the Way, he won't be successful unless he handles minor tasks 11 thoroughly.
[7A:25] Mencius said: “Waking up with the call of the rooster and unstintingly applying oneself to the good — this is the way of the followers of Shun. Waking up with the call of the rooster and unstintingly applying oneself to profit — this is the way of the followers of Zhi 12 Do you want to know the difference between Shun and Zhi? It is nothing other than the difference between profit and goodness.”
[7A:26] Mencius said, “Yang Zi 13 believed in ‘every man for himself.’ If he could have helped the whole world by plucking out a single hair, he would not have done it. Mo Zi 14 believed in ‘universal love.’ If he had to rub his whole body smooth in order to benefit the world, he would have done it. Zi Mo believes in holding to the center. Now ‘holding to the center’ comes close, but still, if you hold to the center, you have no adaptability, since you are just holding to one thing. What is bad about holding to one thing is that it robs from the Way. You hold to one, and let go of a hundred.”
[7A:27] Mencius said, “For the hungry any food is delicious and for the thirsty any drink is tasty. But the hungry and thirsty are not getting the true taste of the food and the drink, since their deprivation has degraded their sensitivity. How could only one's mouth and belly suffer from the afflictions of hunger and thirst? Peoples' minds are also afflicted.”
“When you are able to keep the afflictions of hunger and thirst from affecting your mental state, you need never be concerned about being the equal of others.”
[7A:28] Mencius said, “Liuxia Hui would not change his basic purpose, even to become one of the three high ministers. 15 ”
[7A:29] Mencius said, “Working at a project is like digging a well. If you dig sixty feet and stop without hitting water, it is just like abandoning the whole well.”
[Comment] This passage, like many others in this text, reflects Mencius' belief in the importance of making effort, and following through to the end. A similar point is made in the Daode jing, where Laozi points out that “people usually blow it just before finishing.”
[7A:30] Mencius said: “Yao and Shun [were kind and just] by nature. Tang and Wu acquired these qualities. The five hegemons 16 borrowed them. Since they borrowed them for a long time and did not return them, how could one know that they didn't own them?”
[7A:31] Gong Sun Chou said, Yi Yin said, “‘I can't get along with him’ and thus exiled Tai Jia to Tong, which made the people very happy. When Tai Jia became good, he brought him back, and the people were again very happy. Does this mean that when worthies serve their people poorly as ministers, it is definitely the case that chasing them out is OK? May they indeed kick out their sovereigns in this way when they are not virtuous?” Mencius said: “If one does it with the same intentions as Yi Yi, it is acceptable. Without the intentions of Yi Yi, it is usurpation.”
[7A:32] Gong Sun Chou [said:] “The Odes say: ‘When it comes to eating, the noble man eats, even though he doesn't till the fields.’ What does this mean?” Mencius said: “When there is a noble man in the country, if the ruler properly makes use of him, there will be stability and wealth; he will be respected, and the country will flourish. If the youth of the country follow him, then filial children will have loyalty and be trustworthy. In terms of not getting a free meal, what could be greater than this?”
[7A:33] The king's son, Tien, asked Mencius, “What does a gentleman do?” Mencius said, “He elevates his motives.”
“What does that mean?”
Mencius said, “To live by humaneness and fairness and nothing else. If you kill a single innocent man, you are not Humane. If something is not yours and you take it, you are not Just. Wherever you dwell, make it Humane; whatever course you travel, make it Just. Abiding in humaneness and acting through fairness—this is how the great man completes his work.”
[7A:34] Mencius said: “If Chen Zhong were unjustly offered the kingdom of Qi and refused it, the people would all trust him. But this demonstrates a sense of justice comparable to that of refusing a simple meal of rice or bean broth. There is nothing greater crime than that of a person abandoning his relatives, 17 or his ruler above, or subjects below. Why should we trust the greatness of a person based on trivial acts of goodness? ”
[7A:35] Tao Ying 18 asked: “When Shun was emperor and Gao Yao 19 was his Minister of fairness, if the old Blind Man 20 had killed someone, what would Gao Yao have done?”
Mencius said: “He would have simply arrested him.”
Tao Ying said: “In this case, would Shun not have stopped it?”
Mencius said: “How could Shun have stopped it? Gao Yao had received the right to carry out the law. 21 ”
Tao Ying said: “In that case, what would Shun have done?”
Mencius said: “Shun was a person who regarded the abandonment of the thone as equivalent to throwing away a worn-out shoe. He would have sneaked his father out on his back, running away to the seacoast, happily forgetting about his rulership of the realm.”
[7A:36] When Mencius was traveling from Fan to Qi, he saw the son of the king of Qi from a distance, and sighed deeply, saying: “The influence of one's place on one's physical appearance is like the influence of nutrition on the body. Is not the influence of status great indeed? Are we all not somebody's son?” He added: “The housing, carriages, horses, and clothes of a prince are the same as those of most other people, yet when he uses them, he looks as he does because of his potions. How much more would this be the case of one were to occupy the vast spaces of the world? When the ruler of Lu went to call on Song and called out at the Diezi Gate, the guard there said ‘This is not our ruler. How is it that his voice is so much like that of our ruler?’ This is based on nothing other than his having been in a similar position.”
[Comment] The rulers of Lu and Song, having been raised in similar environments and positions of status, had similar airs, and thus resembled each other.
[7A:37] Mencius said, “To feed someone and not love them is the same as dealing with swine. To love someone but not respect them is like raising domesticated animals. Now, courtesy and respect should come before the presentation of gifts. If courtesy and respect are not genuine, you cannot so easily catch the heart of the Noble Man.”
[7A:38] Mencius said, “Your physical appearance is endowed by Heaven. Only after you are a sage can you be comfortable in your own skin.”
[7A:39] King Xuan of Qi wanted to shorten the mourning period. Gong Sun Chou asked: “Isn't it better to have a one-year period of mourning, rather than doing away with it entirely?” Mencius said: “This is just like someone twisting his older brother's arm, and you were to say to him “Gently, gently please.” Indeed, you should teach him nothing less than proper fraternal respect and filial piety.” The mother of a prince died, and his tutor asked on his behalf for a for a mourning period of several months. Gong Sun Chou asked: “What about this kind of case?” Mencius said: “In this case, he wanted to do a full mourning period, but couldn't. So even if he could extend it by a day, it would be better than nothing at all. The point is, this is not the kind of case where the mourning period is not observed even when there are no obstacles. ”
[7A:40] Mencius said, “The Noble Man teaches in five general ways according to five types of students:”
Those who are transformed by the deluge of a seasonal rain.
Those whose virtue he develops.
Those whose abilities he uncovers.
Those whose questions he answers.
Those who develop themselves by their own reflection [under his influence].
The Noble Man teaches in these five ways.
(13.41) 公孫丑曰、「道則高矣美矣、宜若登天然、似不可及也。何不使彼爲可幾及、而日孳孳也。」 孟子曰、「大匠不爲拙工改廢繩墨、羿不爲拙射變其彀率。君子引而不發、躍如也。中道而立、能者從之。」
[7A:41] Gong Sun Chou said: “The Way is so lofty and exquisite, so ascending it is like reaching to the heavens. Can you not make it somewhat more accessible, to that people keep striving every day to reach it?”
Mencius said, “A master carpenter does not give up using the plumb line because of a clumsy helper, and Archer Yi would never change his principles of bowmanship for a clumsy archer. The Noble Man pulls the bow, but does not release the arrow, 22 thus keeping the interaction fresh and lively. He establishes himself in the midst of the Way, and those who are able, follow him.”
[7A:42] Mencius said, “When the Way prevails in the realm, people should use the Way to find themselves. When the Way is lost in the realm, people should use themselves to find the Way. I have not heard of case using the Way to seek in other people.”
(13.43) 公都子曰、「勝更之在門也、若在所禮而不答、何也。」 孟子曰、「挾貴而問、挾賢而問、挾長而問、挾有勛勞而問、挾故而問、皆所不答也。勝更有二焉。」
[7A:43] Gong Du Zi said: “When Geng Dang last came to see you, even though his approach was not improper, you would not answer him. May I ask why?”
Mencius said, “One who asks presuming upon his rank, his ability, his seniority; who presumes on what I might owe him, or presumes on our former acquaintance, I will not answer. In Geng Dang's case two of these apply.”
[7A:44] Mencius said, “If you stop once when you shouldn't, you will always stop short. If you take one essential thing lightly, you will take everything lightly. If you advance too sharply, you will subside quickly.”
[7A:45] Mencius said, “The Noble Man cares about 23 creatures but does not love them as if they are people. He loves people as people, but not in the intimate way he loves his parents. He loves his parents intimately and is humane to people. He is human to people and cares about creatures.”
[7A:46] Mencius said, “There is nothing the wise cannot understand, but they will focus on the important things. There is no one the Humane person cannot love, but he will focus on cultivation of intimacy with the Good. The understanding of Yao and Shun did not include everything, but they took care of what was important. Their humaneness did not extend to every single person, but they were concerned about being intimate with the Good.”
“Those who are meticulous about the details of minor mourning for distant relatives, but who can't carry out the heavy mourning required for their parents, or the people who gorge down their food and swill their soup, yet ask questions about the propriety of tearing meat with the teeth—these are people who don't know what is important.”