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Mencius : Chapter 18

528

1. Wan Chang said, 'Was it the case that Yo gave the throne to Shun?' Mencius said, 'No. The sovereign cannot give the throne to another.'

529

2. 'Yes;-- but Shun had the throne. Who gave it to him?' 'Heaven gave it to him,' was the answer.

530

3. '" Heaven gave it to him:"-- did Heaven confer its appointment on him with specific injunctions?'

531

4. Mencius replied, 'No. Heaven does not speak. It simply showed its will by his personal conduct and his conduct of affairs.'

532

5. '"It showed its will by his personal conduct and his conduct of affairs:"-- how was this?' Mencius's answer was, 'The sovereign can present a man to Heaven, but he cannot make Heaven give that man the throne. A prince can present a man to the sovereign, but he cannot cause the sovereign to make that man a prince. A great officer can present a man to his prince, but he cannot cause the prince to make that man a great officer. Yo presented Shun to Heaven, and Heaven accepted him. He presented him to the people, and the people accepted him. Therefore I say, "Heaven does not speak. It simply indicated its will by his personal conduct and his conduct of affairs."'

533

6. Chang said, 'I presume to ask how it was that Yo presented Shun to Heaven, and Heaven accepted him; and that he exhibited him to the people, and the people accepted him.' Mencius replied, 'He caused him to preside over the sacrifices, and all the spirits were well pleased with them;-- thus Heaven accepted him. He caused him to preside over the conduct of affairs, and affairs were well administered, so that the people reposed under him;-- thus the people accepted him. Heaven gave the throne to him. The people gave it to him. Therefore I said, "The sovereign cannot give the throne to another."

534

7. 'Shun assisted Yo in the government for twenty and eight years;-- this was more than man could have done, and was from Heaven. After the death of Yo, when the three years' mourning was completed, Shun withdrew from the son of Yo to the south of South river. The princes of the kingdom, however, repairing to court, went not to the son of Yo, but they went to Shun. Litigants went not to the son of Yo, but they went to Shun. Singers sang not the son of Yo, but they sang Shun. Therefore I said, "Heaven gave him the throne." It was after these things that he went to the Middle Kingdom, and occupied the seat of the Son of Heaven. If he had, before these things, taken up his residence in the palace of Yo, and had applied pressure to the son of Yo, it would have been an act of usurpation, and not the gift of Heaven.

535

8. 'This sentiment is expressed in the words of The Great Declaration,-- "Heaven sees according as my people see; Heaven hears according as my people hear."'

536

1. Wan Chang asked Mencius, saying, 'People say, "When the disposal of the kingdom came to Y, his virtue was inferior to that of Yo and Shun, and he transmitted it not to the worthiest but to his son." Was it so?' Mencius replied, 'No; it was not so. When Heaven gave the kingdom to the worthiest, it was given to the worthiest. When Heaven gave it to the son of the preceding sovereign, it was given to him. Shun presented Y to Heaven. Seventeen years elapsed, and Shun died. When the three years' mourning was expired, Y withdrew from the son of Shun to Yang-ch'ang. The people of the kingdom followed him just as after the death of Yo, instead of following his son, they had followed Shun. Y presented Y to Heaven. Seven years elapsed, and Y died. When the three years' mourning was expired, Y withdrew from the son of Y to the north of mount Ch'. The princes, repairing to court, went not to Y, but they went to Ch'. Litigants did not go to Y, but they went to Ch', saying, "He is the son of our sovereign;" the singers did not sing Y, but they sang Ch', saying, "He is the son of our sovereign."

537

2. 'That Tan-ch was not equal to his father, and Shun's son not equal to his; that Shun assisted Yo, and Y assisted Shun, for many years, conferring benefits on the people for a long time; that thus the length of time during which Shun, Y, and Y assisted in the government was so different; that Ch' was able, as a man of talents and virtue, reverently to pursue the same course as Y; that Y assisted Y only for a few years, and had not long conferred benefits on the people; that the periods of service of the three were so different; and that the sons were one superior, and the other superior:-- all this was from Heaven, and what could not be brought about by man. That which is done without man's doing is from Heaven. That which happens without man's causing is from the ordinance of Heaven.

538

3. 'In the case of a private individual obtaining the throne, there must be in him virtue equal to that of Shun or Y; and moreover there must be the presenting of him to Heaven by the preceding sovereign. It was on this account that Confucius did not obtain the throne.

539

4. 'When the kingdom is possessed by natural succession, the sovereign who is displaced by Heaven must be like Chieh or Chu. It was on this account that Y, Yin, and Chu-kung did not obtain the throne.

540

5. ' Yin assisted T'ang so that he became sovereign over the kingdom. After the demise of T'ang, T'i-ting having died before he could be appointed sovereign, W'i-ping reigned two years, and Chung-zin four. T'i-chi was then turning upside down the statutes of T'ang, when Yin placed him in T'ung for three years. There T'i-chi repented of his errors, was contrite, and reformed himself. In T'ung be came to dwell in benevolence and walk in righteousness, during those threee years, listening to the lessons given to him by Yin. Then Yin again returned with him to Po.

541

6. 'Chu-kung not getting the throne was like the case of Y and the throne of Hsi, or like that of Yin and the throne of Yin.

542

7. 'Confucius said, "T'ang and Y resigned the throne to their worthy ministers. The sovereign of Hsi and those of Yin and Chu transmitted it to their sons. The principle of righteousness was the same in all the cases."'

543

1. Wan Chang asked Mencius, saying, 'People say that Yin sought an introduction to T'ang by his knowledge of cookery. Was it so?'

544

2. Mencius replied, 'No, it was not so. Yin was a farmer in the lands of the prince of Hsin, delighting in the principles of Yo and Shun. In any matter contrary to the righteousness which they prescribed, or contrary to their principles, though he had been offered the throne, he would not have regarded it; though there had been yoked for him a thousand teams of horses, he would not have looked at them. In any matter contrary to the righteousness which they prescribed, or contrary to their principles, he would neither have given nor taken a single straw.

545

3. 'T'ang sent persons with presents of silk to entreat him to enter his service. With an air of indifference and self-satisfaction he said, "What can I do with those silks with which T'ang invites me? Is it not best for me to abide in the channelled fields, and so delight myself with the principles of Yo and Shun?"

546

4. 'T'ang thrice sent messengers to invite him. After this, with the change of resolution displayed in his countenance, he spoke in a different style,-- "Instead of abiding in the channelled fields and thereby delighting myself with the principles of Yo and Shun, had I not better make this prince a prince like Yo or Shun, and this people like the people of Yo or Shun ? Had I not better in my own person see these things for myself?

547

5. '"Heaven's plan in the production of mankind is this:-- that they who are first informed should instruct those who are later in being informed, and they who first apprehend principles should instruct those who are slower to do so. I am one of Heaven's people who have first apprehended;-- I will take these principles and instruct this people in them. If I do not instruct them, who will do so?"

548

6. 'He thought that among all the people of the kingdom, even the private men and women, if there were any who did not enjoy such benefits as Yo and Shun conferred, it was as if he himself pushed them into a ditch. He took upon himself the heavy charge of the kingdom in this way, and therefore he went to T'ang, and pressed upon him the subject of attacking Hsi and saving the people.

549

7. 'I have not heard of one who bent himself, and at the same time made others straight;-- how much less could one disgrace himself, and thereby rectify the whole kingdom? The actions of the sages have been different. Some have kept remote from court, and some have drawn near to it; some have left their offices, and some have not done so:-- that to which those different courses all agree is simply the keeping of their persons pure.

550

8. 'I have heard that Yin sought an introduction to T'ang by the doctrines of Yo and Shun. I have not heard that he did so by his knowledge of cookery.

551

9. 'In the "Instructions of ," it is said, "Heaven destroying Chieh commenced attacking him in the palace of M. I commenced in Po."'

552

1. Wan Chang asked Mencius, saying, 'Some say that Confucius, when he was in Wei, lived with the ulcer-doctor, and when he was in Ch', with the attendant, Ch' Hwan;-- was it so?' Mencius replied, 'No; it was not so. Those are the inventions of men fond of strange things.

553

2. 'When he was in Wei, he lived with Yen Ch'u-y. The wives of the officer M and Tsze-l were sisters, and M told Tsze-l, "If Confucius will lodge with me, he may attain to the dignity of a high noble of Wei." Tsze-l informed Confucius of this, and he said, "That is as ordered by Heaven." Confucius went into office according to propriety, and retired from it according to righteousness. In regard to his obtaining office or not obtaining it, he said, "That is as ordered." But if he had lodged with the attendant Ch Hwan, that would neither have been according to righteousness, nor any ordering of Heaven.

554

3. 'When Confucius, being dissatisfied in L and Wei, had left those States, he met with the attempt of Hwan, the Master of the Horse, of Sung, to intercept and kill him. He assumed, however, the dress of a common man, and passed by Sung. At that time, though he was in circumstances of distress, he lodged with the city-master Ch'ang, who was then a minister of Chu, the marquis of Ch'an.

555

4. 'I have heard that the characters of ministers about court may be discerned from those whom they entertain, and those of stranger officers, from those with whom they lodge. If Confucius had lodged with the ulcer-doctor, and with the attendant Ch Hwan, how could he have been Confucius?'

556

1. Wan Chang asked Mencius, 'Some say that Pi-l Hs sold himself to a cattle-keeper of Ch'in for the skins of five rams, and fed his oxen, in order to find an introduction to the duke M of Ch'in;-- was this the case?' Mencius said, 'No; it was not so. This story was invented by men fond of strange things.

557

2. 'Pi-l Hs was a man of Y. The people of Tsin, by the inducement of a round piece of jade from Ch'i-ch, and four horses of the Ch' breed, borrowed a passage through Y to attack Kwo. On that occasion, Kung Chih-ch' remonstrated against granting their request, and Pi-l Hs did not remonstrate.

558

3. 'When he knew that the duke of Y was not to be remonstrated with, and, leaving that State, went to Ch'in, he had reached the age of seventy. If by that time he did not know that it would be a mean thing to seek an introduction to the duke M of Ch'in by feeding oxen, could he be called wise? But not remonstrating where it was of no use to remonstrate, could he be said not to be wise? Knowing that the duke of Y would be ruined, and leaving him before that event, he cannot be said not to have been wise. Being then advanced in Ch'in, he knew that the duke M was one with whom he would enjoy a field for action, and became minister to him;-- could he, acting thus, be said not to be wise? Having become chief minister of Ch'in, he made his prince distinguished throughout the kingdom, and worthy of being handed down to future ages;-- could he have done this, if he had not been a man of talents and virtue? As to selling himself in order to accomplish all the aims of his prince, even a villager who had a regard for himself would not do such a thing; and shall we say that a man of talents and virtue did it?'


Mencius : Chapter 18

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