7B. Jin Xin (part two) 盡心下
[7B:1] Mencius said, “King Hui of Liang is the epitome of unkindness. The Humane man treats those he does not love as if he loves them. The inhumane man treats those he loves as if he does not love them.”
Gong Sun Chou said, “What do you mean?”
Mencius said, “King Hui, just for the sake of gaining more territory, trampled on his own people and sent them into battle. Even when they were being beaten badly, he would just send them back in again. Afraid of losing the engagement, he sent his beloved son into the fray, who was also killed. This is what I mean by ‘treating those one loves as if one does not love them.’”
[7B:2] Mencius said, “In the Spring and Autumn period there are no just wars, simply some that are better than others. Conquest is always done by the stronger state over the weaker state. Peer states do not attempt to conquer each other.”
[7B:3] Mencius said, “Rather than believing the Book of History in its entirety, it would be better not to have it at all. In the chapter on “Consummate Warfare” 24 I can accept no more than two or three sections. ‘The Humane man has no rival in the world.’ If, with perfect humaneness he strikes down the inhumane, how could blood flow such that it carried with it the shields [of the warriors]?” 25
[7B:4] Mencius said, “There are men who say, ‘I am good at tactics’ and say ‘I am good at military strategy.’ This is a grave sin. If the ruler of the state loves humaneness, he will have no enemies in the realm. When [Tang] quelled the barbarians in the south, the Di tribes in the north were disappointed. When he quelled the barbarians in the east, the Yi in the west were disappointed, saying ‘we are left to be last.’ When Wu attacked the Yin, he had three hundred chariots and three thousand crack troops. He said ‘Don't be afraid, be at ease: I will not attack the common people,’ and they all crumbled down to the ground in respect. To ‘quell’ 征 means to ‘correct’ 正. If people have the desire to correct themselves, what need is there of war?”
[7B:5] Mencius said, “A carpenter or a carriage-maker can give someone a compass or a square, but cannot give them skills.”
[7B:6] Mencius said, “When Shun was eating dried grains and grasses, it was as if he would being doing so for the rest of his life. And when he became emperor, and wore fine robes, played the lute, and enjoyed being attended upon by the two daughters [of Yao] it was like all of it had originally been his.”
[7B:7] Mencius said, “From now I know the gravity of the crime of killing someone's kin. If you kill a man's father, that man will also kill your father. If you kill someone's elder brother, that man will also kill your elder brother. Thus, even though you do not kill them yourself, you are just one remove from having done it.”
[7B:8] Mencius said, “In ancient times, border gates were set up to prevent violence. Nowadays they are established in order to perpetrate violence.”
[7B:9] Mencius said, “If you don't practice the Way yourself, it will not be practiced in the family. If you don't use the Way in your dealings with others, you will not be able to use it in your family life.”
[7B:10] Mencius said, “If you really understand how to take advantage of things, you cannot die in a year of bad harvest. If you really understand virtue, you cannot be corrupted in a dissolute age.”
[7B:11] Mencius said, “Someone who loves fame will be able to cede a state of a thousand chariots. But if he is not [really] this sort of person, [the enjoyment of a mere] bowl of simple food, and a cup of bean soup will show in the countenance.”
[7B:12] Mencius said, “If one does not put one's trust in the kind and the worthy, then the state is like an empty shell. If it lacks propriety and justice, then there will be strife between those above and those below. Lacking proper governance, its assets will come up short. ”
[7B:13] Mencius said, “There are cases of evil men possessing a kingdom, but there has never been a case where an evil man got possession of the whole realm.”
[7B:14] Mencius said, “The common people are the most valuable; next are the national altars of the soil and grain; the ruler is insignificant. Therefore, he who can gain the hearts of the common people will be the son of heaven, and he who has the confidence of the Son of Heaven becomes a feudal lord; he who has the confidence of the feudal lords becomes a grandmaster. When the feudal lords endanger the national altars, they are replaced. When the sacrificial animals are prime, and the sacrificial grain is purified, and the sacrifice is carried out in a timely fashion, but yet there are droughts and floods, then the national altars are replaced. ”
[7B:15] Mencius said, “The Sage is a teacher of one hundred generations. For example, Bo Yi and Hui Liu Xia. When people hear of the ways of Bo Yi, the obstinate become easy to get along with and the spineless arouse determination. When they hear of the ways of Hui Liu Xia, shallow people become warm and the narrow-minded become wide-open. 26 They have encouraged people for the last one hundred generations and those of the next hundred generations who hear of them will certainly be aroused. Could they have such an effect if they were not sages? And can you imagine the amount of influence they had on those closely associated with them?”
[7B:16] Mencius said: “Ren means ‘humanity.’ The harmonious combination of the two is called the Way.”
[7B:17] Mencius said: “When Confucius left Lu, he said ‘I am leaving.’ This is the way to leave one's homeland. When he left Qi, he took up the washed rice and departed. This is the way to leave another country.”
[7B:18] Mencius said: “When the noble man was in trouble in Chen and Cai, there was no interaction between superiors and inferiors.”
[7B:19] Mo Qi said: “I am not a good speaker.” Mencius said, “There is no harm in that. The scholars loathe loquaciousness. When the Odes say: ‘I suffer, I am troubled, being loathed by petty men,’ 27 that is Confucius. “He did not willfully remove their grudges, but he also did not damage himself.” 28 This was King Wen.”
[7B:20] Mencius said, “The worthies made people clear with their own clarity. Nowadays people try to make others clear through their ignorance.”
[7B:21] Mencius said to [his disciple] Gao, “If mountain trails are well used, then they will become like roads. But if they are not used for a while, they become overgrown with weeds. Now weeds are overgrowing in your mind.”
[7B:22] “The music of Yu surpassed the music of King Wen.” Mencius said, “Why do you say that?” Gao said, “Because [the cord of the bell] is worn through.” Mencius said, “Is this sufficient evidence? Were the ruts in the entrance to the city made by a single carriage?”
[7B:23] There was a famine in Qi, and Chen Zhen said, “All the people thought that you were going to reopen the granaries, but perhaps that won't happen?” Mencius said, “Then I would be like Feng Fu. There was a man from Jin named Feng Fu, who was good at wrestling with tigers, and who in the end became a gentleman. It happened that out in the countryside there was a group of people chasing a tiger, which they had cornered in a nook in the mountains, with no one daring to get any closer. In the distance they saw Feng Fu, and rushed out to greet him. Feng Fu got down from his carriage and rolled up his sleeves. The crowd was delighted, but the gentlemen in the crowd found it comical. ”
[7B:24] Mencius said, “The enjoyment by the tongue of flavor, the enjoyment by the eye of color, the enjoyment by the ear of music, the enjoyment by the nose of perfumes, and the enjoyment by the body of comfort, are natural and endowed by Heaven. But the Noble Man doesn't regard these as his innermost nature.”
The experience of love between parents and children, the practice of fairness between ruler and minister, the observance of proper manners between host and guest, the possession of the wisdom for discerning goodness, and the sage's intimacy with the Way are endowed and natural, but the Noble Man doesn't consider them as his endowments.
[7B:25] Haoshang Buhai asked, “What kind of man is Yo Zheng Zi?”
Mencius said, “He is good, and he is trustworthy.”
“What do you mean by ‘good,’ and what do you mean by ‘trustworthy’?”
“A man that people like to be with is good. A man who keeps this goodness in himself is trustworthy. One who fully develops his goodness is called ‘excellent.’ One whose full development of goodness shines forth is called ‘great.’ One whose greatness transforms others is called a sage. A sage who is unfathomable is called ‘transcendent.’ Yo Zheng fits in the first two levels, but is not up to the last four.”
[7B:26] Mencius said, “Those who leave the Mohist school usually go to the school of Yang. Those who leave the Yang school usually come to us.”
“If they come, they should be received without hesitation. Those who participate in the current Yang-Mo debate are like someone chasing a stray pig and after it is in the pen, tying it up.”
[Comment] Anyone who has worked on a farm and has had to get a hold of a stray pig and then try to tie it, can appreciate Mencius' simile.
[7B:27] Mencius said, “There is tax by hemp and silk; there is tax by grain; and there is tax by manpower. The smart ruler will just use one and let go of the other two. If you use two of these, there will be starvation among the people; if you use all three, families will be torn apart.”
[7B:28]Mencius said, “The feudal lords treasure three things: land, the people, and the government. Those who treasure pearls and jade invite disaster on themselves.”
[7B:29]Ban Chang Guo obtained an official position in Qi. Mencius said: “Ban Chang Guo—he's finished!”
Ban Chang Guo did indeed meet his death in Qi, so the disciples asked Mencius, “How did you know he would meet his demise?”
Mencius said: “He was a man of little ability who had not learned of the great Way of the Noble Man. Thus, he knew enough to get himself killed, and that's it.”
When Mencius stayed in Teng, he took lodging in the upper palace. A worker placed his sandals on the window sill, and when a member of the hotel staff look for them he couldn't find them. Someone asked [Mencius], saying “Perhaps one of your followers is hiding them.” Mencius said, “Do you think we came here to steal sandals?” He said “Perhaps not? In your system of instruction, you do not chase after those who leave, and do not refuse any who come. If they come to you in full sincerity, you accept them as they are.” 29
[7B:31] Mencius said, “All people have something that they cannot bear to see. The effect that this brings on what they can bear is humaneness. All people have something that they will not do. The effect that this has on what they will do is fairness. When people fully develop a mind lacking a desire to harm others, then their humaneness is beyond the point of ever being overcome. If they are able to fully develop the kind of mind in which theft is inconceivable, then their fairness is beyond the point of ever being overcome. When a man can fully develop his dislike for being addressed, “Hey, you,” there is no place he will go and not be Just. When the gentleman should not speak, but does, this is deception through speech. When he should speak, but doesn't, this is deception by silence. Both can be considered as thievery.”
[7B:32] Mencius said, “Down-to-earth speech, which has far-reaching meaning is good speech. To preserve the essentials yet learn extensively—this is the good way. The words of the Noble Man are not hidden, yet the Way is contained in them. The Noble Man concentrates on the cultivation of his own character. The common error of people is that they forget about their own garden and try to cultivate gardens of others. They expect much from others and little from themselves.”
[7B:33] Mencius said, “What Yao and Shun had it by nature, Tang and Wu returned to it. When your every action and expression are circumscribed by propriety, your virtue will be overflowing.”
Grief at funeral ceremonies is not for the purpose of the living. Holding to virtue unswervingly is not for the purpose of reward from a higher office. Speech that is truly sincere is not so in order to be called “right behavior.” The Noble Man acts according to the pattern of the world in await his destiny. That's all he does.
[7B:34] Mencius said, “When speaking to an important person, you should look on him with a degree of contempt and not be taken in by his lofty status. Their halls are several meters in height with rafters protruding several feet. If I achieved my aims, I would not do this. Food laid out in front with several hundred concubines; if I achieved my aims I would not do this. Indulging in pleasure and drinking wine, hunting in the fields with a retinue of a thousand carriages. If I achieved my aims, I would not do this. All the things they do, I would not do. What I do is follow the system of the ancients. Why should I be afraid of them? ”
[7B:35] Mencius said, “For nourishing the mind, there is nothing better than lessening desire. If you have few desires, even if there are things you don't have, they will seem few. If you have many desires, even if you attain them, they will seem few.”
[7B:36]Zeng Xi enjoyed jujubes, but his son, Zeng Zi could not stand them. Gongsun Chou asked: “Which is tastier, cooked meat or jujubes?” Mencius said: “Cooked meat!” Gongsun Chou asked, “In that case, why did Zeng Zi [while mourning his father's death] eat cooked meat rather than jujubes?” Mencius said, “Cooked meat is something that everyone eats, whereas jujubes are something that is only the particular choice of certain people. The reason personal names are made taboo, but surnames are not, is because surnames are so common.”
[7B:37] Wan Zhang asked: “When Confucius was staying in Chan and said ‘Let me return home, my students are ardent 30 and impatient—they go and get what they want. I cannot forget that they are beginners.’ Now, what made Confucius worry about his ardent students in Lu?”
Mencius said, “When Confucius could not get a hold of students who followed the Middle Way, he had no recourse but to select from the ardent and the prudent. The ardent will go and get what they want. The prudent can limit themselves. Of course Confucius wanted students who could follow the Middle Way, but not necessarily being able to find such people, he had to think of his next option.”
“May I venture to ask who he was thinking of when he said ‘ardent’?”
“Men like Qin Zhang, Zang Xi and Mu Bei.”
“Why did he call them ‘ardent’?”
“With grandiose aspirations they would say ‘The ancients did this, the ancients did that.’ Boldly planning their actions, they often couldn't make good on them. Now, if the daring cannot be gotten hold of, then Confucius would try to find those scholars who would not let themselves be defiled. These are the prudent, who are next best.”
Chang asked, “Confucius said: ‘When someone passes by my gate and does not enter, the only time I don't regret it is when it is a “conventional townsman.” These conventional townsmen are thieves of virtue.’ What sort of people were these, that he called ‘conventional townsmen’?”
Mencius said, “[They criticize the ardent], saying ‘How can they be so grandiose such that their words do not reflect their actions and actions do not reflect their words, and how can they justify themselves with ‘the ancients did this, and the ancients did that.’’”
“[And they criticize the prudent], saying, ‘How can they be so aloof and cold? We are all born in this world, so we should be part of it. Being good here and now is sufficient.’ They obsequiously flatter their contemporaries. These are the so-called ‘conventional townsmen.’”
Wan Chang said, “The whole town calls them ‘acceptable men’—there is no place where they can go where they will not be regarded as ‘acceptable men.’ Why did Confucius call them ‘thieves of virtue’?”
Mencius answered: “If you want to blame them for something, there is nothing in particular that you can blame them for. If you want to correct them, there is nothing in particular that you can correct them for. They follow the current customs and consent to the vices of the age. They seem to abide in loyalty and honesty, and their actions seem pure. Everyone follows them and because people follow them, people become incapable of entering the Way of Yao and Shun. Thus, they are called ‘thieves of virtue.’”
“Confucius said, ‘I don't like things that are not what they appear to be. I don't like tares (grain weeds) because they can be confused with real grain. I don't like eloquence, because it can be confused with fairness. I don't like sharpness of tongue, because it might be confused with honesty. I don't like the music of Chang, because it might be confused with good music. I don't like purple, because it might be confused with vermilion and I don't like conventional townsmen, because they might be confused with the virtuous.’”
“The Noble Man returns to the constant and nothing more. Once the constant is properly apprehended, the people will be awakened. Once they are awakened, there will be no more of their evil.”
[7B:38] Mencius said, “From Yao and Shun up to Tang, it was more than five hundred years. In the case of Yu and Gao Yao, they knew the ways [of these ancient sages] by directly seeing them. In the case of Tang, he knew their ways by hearing about them. From the time of Tang up to King Wen, it was more than five hundred years. In the case of Yi Yin and Lai Zhu, they knew the ways of Tang by directly seeing him. In the case of King Wen, he knew by hearing of him. From the time of King Wen to Confucius, more than five hundred years passed. In the case of Taigong Wang and San Yisheng, they know King Wen's ways by seeing him. In the case of Confucius, he knew his ways by hearing of him. From the time of Confucius up to the present, it has been more than one hundred years. The time since the departure of the sage is not long, and the place where the sage lived is quite near. However, since there is no one who understands his Way, how can there be anyone who apprehends it?”
1. The title shih is translated into English with such terms as “elite”, “knight”, “scholar,” etc. While the shih of later Chinese history is more definitely a scholar than a knight, in the Analects, what Confucius is referring to is a level of spiritual/moral development, as well as academic and martial cultivation which is clearly above that of the average person. Thus, we can understand the shih to be a person who is well on the way toward becoming a “Noble Man,” (君子) but is not quite there yet.
2. According to Zhuxi's commentary, “Sun” refers to King Jie of Xia 夏桀. Jie had said of himself: “My living in this world can be compared to the sun being in the sky. I won't die until the Sun disappears.” His subjects resented his tyranny so much that they quoted his words and said, “When will this sun disappear? I am willing to die with it, if my death makes it disappear.” Their words show how badly they wanted him to want him to die. 桀嘗自言, 吾有天下, 如天之有日, 日亡吾乃亡耳. 民怨其虐, 故因其自言而目之日, 此日何時亡乎? 若亡則我寧與之倶亡, 蓋欲其亡之甚也. [Note provided by Ji Eun Kang]
3. He-nei and He-dong were neighboring regions separated by a large river.
4. 黎民 means “tanned people” — thus, people who are out in the sunshine; regular people, common people, like 庶民.
5. Two somewhat infamous rulers of the 7th century BCE.
6. From the Book of Odes, 231. This verse is from a story about a small bird who is being harassed by an owl, and who used a moment of respite to provide some self-protection.
7. A legendary famous cook in ancient China.
8. Both trees produce high-quality timber. Van Norden renders this as “mahogany.”
9. Staple foods.
10. A mountain in the state of Lu.
11. Other translators tend to take 成章 as “achieving a beautiful pattern.” But what would that mean? I take 章 to refer to individual items, such as the chapters and sections of a book. If you don't want to pay attention to details, your projects won't be carried out properly.
12. The name of a notorious gangster from Lü, named Brigand Zhi 盜蹠. Subsequently becomes used as a reference to robbers or robbery.
13. A noted Chinese Warring States philosopher.
14. Mozi; personal name Modi 墨翟. Chinese philosopher of the warring states period who espoused a doctrine of universal love. He thus opposed war. His school developed a sizeable following during the former Han前漢, but would later be suppressed when Confucianism became the official state doctrine.
15. The “Three Princes” or three important ministers to the Emperor. During the Zhou period, these were the Taishi 太師, Taifu 太傅, and Taibao 太保.
16. The five hegemons — the five successive leaders of alliances of states in the Spring and Autumn 春秋 period: Duke Huan of Qi 齊桓公, Duke Xiang of Song 宋襄公, Duke Wen of Jin 晉文公, Duke Mu of Qin 秦穆公, and Duke Zhuang of Chu 楚莊王. Mencius criticized them, but still gave them credit for having preserved a degree of order.
17. s Chen Zhong is said to have done.
18. disciple of Mencius, of whom little else is known.
19. A legendary ancient worthy, a minister to Emperor Shun who studied legal principles, and created a system of just laws and punishments. He also established a prison and became its first warden.
20. Gu Sou was the father of Shun, who was blind, but the word 瞽瞍 also means “blind,” so there is a play on words here, wherein the question could be taken in the sense of the adjustment of the punishment for a blind person, and for one' father, as well as the combination of the two.
21. The Chinese text 夫有所受之也 is terse here, and could also be interpreted as “[Gu Sou] was deserving of some punishment.” The overall point, however, remains the same.
22. I.e., he leads the student along without giving away the whole thing.
23. Both Lau and Van Norden render 愛 as “sparing,” rather than as “kind,” “caring” etc. This would seem to miss the point slightly, if we are taking these as gradations of concern for others. I agree with Legge and Bloom, who understand this to mean something like “kindness,” “caring,” etc.
24. The title of the third book in the fifth part of the Shu Jing.
25. Irene Bloom, following Legge, translates 杵 as “pestles of mortars” — whatever that may mean. Van Norden renders with “threshing sticks,” but it seems that D. C. Lau shows more awareness of the circumstances of bloody warfare when he translates as “staves.” There is another interpretive tradition, which makes the most sense to us, that takes 杵 in its sense of “shield” 楯 — the most likely thing to be “floating” in the rivers of the blood of war.
26. Bo Yi fled from the tyrant Zhou but returned to serve King Wen. Liu Xia Hui was a statesman of Lu, famous for his integrity (Analects 18:2).
28. Ode 237.
29. An interesting, and somewhat problematic passage, for which there are two general traditions of interpretation. Legge, Bloom, and others take 往者不追 as “you do not investigate into your student's past,” implying that Mencius indiscriminately takes on students, even if, for example, they may have a criminal record. D.C. Lau, Van Norden (following Zhuxi) and others read it the way I have rendered, apparently taking into full account the obvious parallel structure, as well as the attitude toward instruction expressed by Mencius elsewhere in the text. Remembering that this story is being recounted by Mencius himself, it seems that he is happily accepting the criticism from the inn's staff member as an affirmation of his fair method of teaching.
30. Wan Zhang is referring to the story in Analects 5:21. For a discussion of the term “ardent” (guang), see the comment to Analects 13:21.