Mencius : Chapter 22 |
1. Mencius said, 'It is not to be wondered at that the king is not wise!
2. 'Suppose the case of the most easily growing thing in the world;-- if you let
it have one day's genial heat, and then expose it for ten days to cold, it will
not be able to grow. It is but seldom that I have an audience of the king, and
when I retire, there come all those who act upon him like the cold. Though I
succeed in bringing out some buds of goodness, of what avail is it?
3. 'Now chess-playing is but a small art, but without his whole mind being
given, and his will bent, to it, a man cannot succeed at it. Chess Ch'iû is the
best chess-player in all the kingdom. Suppose that he is teaching two men to
play.-- The one gives to the subject his whole mind and bends to it all his
will, doing nothing but listening to Chess Ch'iû. The other, although he seems
to be listening to him, has his whole mind running on a swan which he thinks is
approaching, and wishes to bend his bow, adjust the string to the arrow, and
shoot it. Although he is learning along with the other, he does not come up to
him. Why?-- because his intelligence is not equal? Not so.'
1. Mencius said, 'I like fish, and I also like bear's paws. If I cannot have the
two together, I will let the fish go, and take the bear's paws. So, I like life,
and I also like righteousness. If I cannot keep the two together, I will let
life go, and choose righteousness.
2. 'I like life indeed, but there is that which I like more than life, and
therefore, I will not seek to possess it by any improper ways. I dislike death
indeed, but there is that which I dislike more than death, and therefore there
are occasions when I will not avoid danger.
3. 'If among the things which man likes there were nothing which he liked more
than life, why should he not use every means by which he could preserve it? If
among the things which man dislikes there were nothing which he disliked more
than death, why should he not do everything by which he could avoid danger?
4. 'There are cases when men by a certain course might preserve life, and they
do not employ it; when by certain things they might avoid danger, and they will
not do them.
5. 'Therefore, men have that which they like more than life, and that which they
dislike more than death. They are not men of distinguished talents and virtue
only who have this mental nature. All men have it; what belongs to such men is
simply that they do not lose it.
6. 'Here are a small basket of rice and a platter of soup, and the case is one
in which the getting them will preserve life, and the want of them will be
death;-- if they are offered with an insulting voice, even a tramper will not
receive them, or if you first tread upon them, even a beggar will not stoop to
7. 'And yet a man will accept of ten thousand chung, without any consideration
of propriety or righteousness. What can the ten thousand chung add to him? When
he takes them, is it not that he may obtain beautiful mansions, that he may
secure the services of wives and concubines, or that the poor and needy of his
acquaintance may be helped by him?
8. 'In the former case the offered bounty was not received, though it would have
saved from death, and now the emolument is taken for the sake of beautiful
mansions. The bounty that would have preserved from death was not received, and
the emolument is taken to get the service of wives and concubines. The bounty
that would have saved from death was not received, and the emolument is taken
that one's poor and needy acquaintance may be helped by him. Was it then not
possible likewise to decline this? This is a case of what is called-- "Losing
the proper nature of one's mind."'
1. Mencius said, 'Benevolence is man's mind, and righteousness is man's path.
2. 'How lamentable is it to neglect the path and not pursue it, to lose this
mind and not know to seek it again!
3. 'When men's fowls and dogs are lost, they know to seek for them again, but
they lose their mind, and do not know to seek for it.
4. 'The great end of learning is nothing else but to seek for the lost mind.'
1. Mencius said, 'Here is a man whose fourth finger is bent and cannot be
stretched out straight. It is not painful, nor does it incommode his business,
and yet if there be any one who can make it straight, he will not think the way
from Ch'in to Ch'û far to go to him; because his finger is not like the finger
of other people.
2. 'When a man's finger is not like those of other people, he knows to feel
dissatisfied, but if his mind be not like that of other people, he does not know
to feel dissatisfaction. This is called-- "Ignorance of the relative importance
Mencius said, 'Anybody who wishes to cultivate the t'ung or the tsze, which may
be grasped with both hands, perhaps with one, knows by what means to nourish
them. In the case of their own persons, men do not know by what means to nourish
them. Is it to be supposed that their regard of their own persons is inferior to
their regard for a t'ung or tsze? Their want of reflection is extreme.'
1. Mencius said, 'There is no part of himself which a man does not love, and as
he loves all, so he must nourish all. There is not an inch of skin which he does
not love, and so there is not an inch of skin which he will not nourish. For
examining whether his way of nourishing be good or not, what other rule is there
but this, that he determine by reflecting on himself where it should be applied?
2. 'Some parts of the body are noble, and some ignoble; some great, and some
small. The great must not be injured for the small, nor the noble for the
ignoble. He who nourishes the little belonging to him is a little man, and he
who nourishes the great is a great man.
3. 'Here is a plantation-keeper, who neglects his wû and chiâ, and cultivates
his sour jujube-trees;-- he is a poor plantation-keeper.
4. 'He who nourishes one of his fingers, neglecting his shoulders or his back,
without knowing that he is doing so, is a man who resembles a hurried wolf.
5. 'A man who only eats and drinks is counted mean by others;-- because he
nourishes what is little to the neglect of what is great.
6. 'If a man, fond of his eating and drinking, were not to neglect what is of
more importance, how should his mouth and belly be considered as no more than an
inch of skin?'
1. The disciple Kung-tû said, 'All are equally men, but some are great men, and
some are little men;-- how is this?' Mencius replied, 'Those who follow that
part of themselves which is great are great men; those who follow that part
which is little are little men.'
2. Kung-tû pursued, 'All are equally men, but some follow that part of
themselves which is great, and some follow that part which is little;-- how is
this?' Mencius answered, 'The senses of hearing and seeing do not think, and are
obscured by external things. When one thing comes into contact with another, as
a matter of course it leads it away. To the mind belongs the office of thinking.
By thinking, it gets the right view of things; by neglecting to think, it fails
to do this. These-- the senses and the mind-- are what Heaven has given to us.
Let a man first stand fast in the supremacy of the nobler part of his
constitution, and the inferior part will not be able to take it from him. It is
simply this which makes the great man.'
1. Mencius said, 'There is a nobility of Heaven, and there is a nobility of man.
Benevolence, righteousness, self-consecration, and fidelity, with unwearied joy
in these virtues;-- these constitute the nobility of Heaven. To be a kung, a
ch'ing, or a tâ-fû;-- this constitutes the nobility of man.
2. 'The men of antiquity cultivated their nobility of Heaven, and the nobility
of man came to them in its train.
3. 'The men of the present day cultivate their nobility of Heaven in order to
seek for the nobility of man, and when they have obtained that, they throw away
the other:-- their delusion is extreme. The issue is simply this, that they must
lose that nobility of man as well.'
2. 'The honour which men confer is not good honour. Those whom Châo the Great
ennobles he can make mean again.
3. 'It is said in the Book of Poetry,
"He has filled us with his wine,
He has satiated us with his goodness."
"Satiated us with his goodness," that is, satiated us with benevolence and
righteousness, and he who is so satiated, consequently, does not wish for the
fat meat and fine millet of men. A good reputation and far-reaching praise fall
to him, and he does not desire the elegant embroidered garments of men.'
1. Mencius said, 'Benevolence subdues its opposite just as water subdues fire.
Those, however, who now-a-days practise benevolence do it as if with one cup of
water they could save a whole waggon-load of fuel which was on fire, and when
the flames were not extinguished, were to say that water cannot subdue fire.
This conduct, moreover, greatly encourages those who are not benevolent.
2. 'The final issue will simply be this-- the loss of that small amount of
2. 'A master-workman, in teaching others, uses the compass and square, and his
pupils do the same.'
Mencius : Chapter 22