Mencius : Chapter 14 |
0. Mencius said, 'The path of duty lies in what is near, and men seek for it in
what is remote. The work of duty lies in what is easy, and men seek for it in
what is difficult. If each man would love his parents and show the due respect
to his elders, the whole land would enjoy tranquillity.'
1. Mencius said, 'When those occupying inferior situations do not obtain the
confidence of the sovereign, they cannot succeed in governing the people. There
is a way to obtain the confidence of the sovereign:-- if one is not trusted by
his friends, he will not obtain the confidence of his sovereign. There is a way
of being trusted by one's friends:-- if one do not serve his parents so as to
make them pleased, he will not be trusted by his friends. There is a way to make
one's parents pleased:-- if one, on turning his thoughts inwards, finds a want
of sincerity, he will not give pleasure to his parents. There is a way to the
attainment of sincerity in one's self:-- if a man do not understand what is
good, he will not attain sincerity in himself.
2. 'Therefore, sincerity is the way of Heaven. To think how to be sincere is the
way of man.
3. Never has there been one possessed of complete sincerity, who did not move
others. Never has there been one who had not sincerity who was able to move
1. Mencius said, 'Po-Î, that he might avoid Châ'u, was dwelling on the coast of
the northern sea. When he heard of the rise of king Wan, he roused himself, and
said, "Why should I not go and follow him? I have heard that the chief of the
West knows well how to nourish the old." T'âi-kung, that he might avoid Châu,
was dwelling on the coast of the eastern sea. When he heard of the rise of king
Wan, he roused himself, and said, "Why should I not go and follow him? I have
heard that the chief of the West knows well how to nourish the old."
2. 'Those two old men were the greatest old men of the kingdom. When they came
to follow king Wan, it was the fathers of the kingdom coming to follow him. When
the fathers of the kingdom joined him, how could the sons go to any other?
3. 'Were any of the princes to practise the government of king Wan, within seven
years he would be sure to be giving laws to the kingdom.'
1. Mencius said, 'Ch'iû acted as chief officer to the head of the Chî family,
whose evil ways he was unable to change, while he exacted from the people double
the grain formerly paid. Confucius said, "He is no disciple of mine. Little
children, beat the drum and assail him."
2. 'Looking at the subject from this case, we perceive that when a prince was
not practising benevolent government, all his ministers who enriched him were
rejected by Confucius:-- how much more would he have rejected those who are
vehement to fight for their prince! When contentions about territory are the
ground on which they fight, they slaughter men till the fields are filled with
them. When some struggle for a city is the ground on which they fight, they
slaughter men till the city is filled with them. This is what is called "leading
on the land to devour human flesh." Death is not enough for such a crime.
3. 'Therefore, those who are skilful to fight should suffer the highest
punishment. Next to them should be punished those who unite some princes in
leagues against others; and next to them, those who take in grassy commons,
imposing the cultivation of the ground on the people.'
2. 'Listen to a man's words and look at the pupil of his eye. How can a man
conceal his character?'
Mencius said, 'The respectful do not despise others. The economical do not
plunder others. The prince who treats men with despite and plunders them, is
only afraid that they may not prove obedient to him:-- how can he be regarded as
respectful or economical? How can respectfulness and economy be made out of
tones of the voice, and a smiling manner?'
1. Shun-yü K'wan said, 'Is it the rule that males and females shall not allow
their hands to touch in giving or receiving anything?' Mencius replied, 'It is
the rule.' K'wan asked, 'If a man's sister-in-law be drowning, shall he rescue
her with his hand?' Mencius said, 'He who would not so rescue the drowning woman
is a wolf. For males and females not to allow their hands to touch in giving and
receiving is the general rule; when a sister-in-law is drowning, to rescue her
with the hand is a peculiar exigency.'
2. K'wan said, 'The whole kingdom is drowning. How strange it is that you will
not rescue it!'
3. Mencius answered, 'A drowning kingdom must be rescued with right principles,
as a drowning sister-in-law has to be rescued with the hand. Do you wish me to
rescue the kingdom with my hand?'
2. Mencius replied, 'The circumstances of the case forbid its being done. The
teacher must inculcate what is correct. When he inculcates what is correct, and
his lessons are not practised, he follows them up with being angry. When he
follows them up with being angry, then, contrary to what should be, he is
offended with his son. At the same time, the pupil says, 'My master inculcates
on me what is correct, and he himself does not proceed in a correct path." The
result of this is, that father and son are offended with each other. When father
and son come to be offended with each other, the case is evil.
3. 'The ancients exchanged sons, and one taught the son of another.
4. 'Between father and son, there should be no reproving admonitions to what is
good. Such reproofs lead to alienation, and than alienation there is nothing
1. Mencius said, 'Of services, which is the greatest? The service of parents is
the greatest. Of charges, which is the greatest ? The charge of one's self is
the greatest. That those who do not fail to keep themselves are able to serve
their parents is what I have heard. But I have never heard of any, who, having
failed to keep themselves, were able notwithstanding to serve their parents.
2. 'There are many services, but the service of parents is the root of all
others. There are many charges, but the charge of one's self is the root of all
3. 'The philosopher Tsang, in nourishing Tsang Hsî, was always sure to have wine
and flesh provided. And when they were being removed, he would ask respectfully
to whom he should give what was left. If his father asked whether there was
anything left, he was sure to say, "There is." After the death of Tsing Hsî,
when Tsang Yüan came to nourish Tsing-tsze, he was always sure to have wine and
flesh provided. But when the things were being removed, he did not ask to whom
he should give what was left, and if his father asked whether there was anything
left, he would answer "No;"-- intending to bring them in again. This was what is
called-- "nourishing the mouth and body." We may call Tsang-tsze's practice--
"nourishing the will."
4. 'To serve one's parents as Tsang-tsze served his, may be accepted as flial
Mencius said, 'It is not enough to remonstrate with a sovereign on account of
the mal-employment of ministers, nor to blame errors of government. It is only
the great man who can rectify what is wrong in the sovereign's mind. Let the
prince be benevolent, and all his acts will be benevolent. Let the prince be
righteous, and all his acts will be righteous. Let the prince be correct, and
everything will be correct. Once rectify the ruler, and the kingdom will be
Mencius said, 'There are cases of praise which could not be expected, and of
reproach when the parties have been seeking to be perfect.'
1. The disciple Yo-chang went in the train of Tsze-âo to Ch'î.
2. He came to see Mencius, who said to him, 'Are you also come to see me?'
Yo-chang replied, 'Master, why do you speak such words?' 'How many days have you
been here?' asked Mencius. 'I came yesterday.' 'Yesterday! Is it not with reason
then that I thus speak?' 'My lodging-house was not arranged.' 'Have you heard
that a scholar's lodging-house must be arranged before he visit his elder?'
3. Yo-chang said, 'I have done wrong.'
Mencius, addressing the disciple Yo-chang, said to him, 'Your coming here in the
train of Tsze-âo was only because of the food and the drink. I could not have
thought that you, having learned the doctrine of the ancients, would have acted
with a view to eating and drinking.'
1. Mencius said, 'There are three things which are unfilial, and to have no
posterity is the greatest of them.
2. 'Shun married without informing his parents because of this,-- lest he should
have no posterity. Superior men consider that his doing so was the same as if he
had informed them.'
1. Mencius said, 'The richest fruit of benevolence is this,-- the service of
one's parents. The richest fruit of righteousness is this,-- the obeying one's
2. 'The richest fruit of wisdom is this,-- the knowing those two things, and not
departing from them. The richest fruit of propriety is this,-- the ordering and
adorning those two things. The richest fruit of music is this,-- the rejoicing
in those two things. When they are rejoiced in, they grow. Growing, how can they
be repressed? When they come to this state that they cannot be repressed, then
unconsciously the feet begin to dance and the hands to move.'
2. 'By Shun's completely fulfilling everything by which a parent could be
served, Kû-sâu was brought to find delight in what was good. When Kû-sâu was
brought to find that delight, the whole kingdom was transformed. When Kû-sâu was
brought to find that delight, all fathers and sons in the kingdom were
established in their respective duties. This is called great filial piety.'
Mencius : Chapter 14