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Mencius: (Meng Tzu, Meng K'o, 371-289 B.C.) A native of Tsao (in present Shantung), studied under pupils of Tzu Ssu, grandson of Confucius, became the greatest Confucian in Chinese history. He vigorously attacked the "pervasive teachings" of Yang Chu and Mo Tzu. Like Confucius, he travelled for many years, to many states, trying to persuade kings and princes to practice benevolent government instead of government by force, but failed. He retired to teach and write. (Meng Tzu, Eng. tr. by James Legge: i.) -- W.T.C.
(b) A sage (Confucianism). A great man who exercises a transforming influence (as in Mencius).
Mencius: (Meng Tzu, Meng K'o, 371-289 B.C.) A native of Tsao (in present Shantung), studied under pupils of Tzu Ssu, grandson of Confucius, became the greatest Confucian in Chinese history. He vigorously attacked the "pervasive teachings" of Yang Chu and Mo Tzu. Like Confucius, he travelled for many years, to many states, trying to persuade kings and princes to practice benevolent government instead of government by force, but failed. He retired to teach and write. (Meng Tzu, Eng. tr. by James Legge: i.) -- W.T.C.
(b) The school of Yang Chu (c 440 - c 360 B.C.) and his followers, whose main doctrines are neither hedonism as Lieh Tzu seerns to represent him, nor egoism as Mencius interpreted him, but rather the Taoist doctrines of following nature, of "preserving life and keeping the essence of our being intact and not injuring our material existence with things," of "letting life run its course freely," and of "ignoring not only riches and fame but also life and death." -- W.T.C.
Ch'eng I-ch'uan: (Ch'eng-I, Ch'eng-cheng-shu, 1033-1107) Was younger brother of Ch'eng Ming-tao. He led an active life as a high government official and a prominent teacher. "There was no book which he did not read and he studied with absolute sincerity. With the Great Learning, the Analects, Works of Mencius and the Chung Yung (Golden Mean) as basis, he penetrated all the six (Confucian) classics." He ranks with his brother as great Neo-Confucians. -- W.T.C.
Ch'eng Ming-tao: (Ch'eng Hou, Ch'eng Po-tun, 1032-1086) Served as government official both in the capital and in various counties with excellent records in social and educational achievements. For decades he studied Taoism and Buddhism but finally repudiated them. Together with his brother, he developed new aspects of Confucianism and became the greatest Confucian since Mencius and a leader of Neo-Confucianism (li hsueh). His works and those of his brother, called Erh Ch'eng Ch'uan-shu (complete works of the Ch'eng brothers), number 107 chuans, in 14 Chinese volumes. -- W.T.C.
Chih chih: Extension of knowledge or achieving true knowledge through the investigation of things (ko wu) and understanding their Reason (li) to the utmost, not necessarily by investigating all things in the world, but by thoroughly investigating one thing and then more if necessary, so that the Reason in that thing, and thereby Reason in general, is understood. In Wang Yang-ming (1473-1529), it means "extension to the utmost of the mind's intuitive knowledge of good -- the knowledge of good which Mencius calls the good-evil mind and which all people have." (Neo-Confucianism). -- W.T.C.
China. The traditional basic concepts of Chinese metaphysics are ideal. Heaven (T'ien), the spiritual and moral power of cosmic and social order, that distributes to each thing and person its alloted sphere of action, is theistically and personalistically conceived in the Shu Ching (Book of History) and the Shih Ching (Book of Poetry). It was probably also interpreted thus by Confucius and Mencius, assuredly so by Motze. Later it became identified with Fate or impersonal, immaterial cosmic power. Shang Ti (Lord on High) has remained through Chinese history a theistic concept. Tao, as cosmic principle, is an impersonal, immaterial World Ground. Mahayana Buddhism introduced into China an idealistic influence. Pure metaphysical idealism was taught by the Buddhist monk Hsuan Ch'uang. Important Buddhist and Taoist influences appear in Sung Confucianism (Ju Chia). a distinctly idealistic movement. Chou Tun I taught that matter, life and mind emerge from Wu Chi (Pure Being). Shao Yung espoused an essential objective idealism: the world is the content of an Universal Consciousness. The Brothers Ch'eng Hsao and Ch'eng I, together with Chu Hsi, distinguished two primordial principles, an active, moral, aesthetic, and rational Law (Li), and a passive ether stuff (Ch'i). Their emphasis upon Li is idealistic. Lu Chiu Yuan (Lu Hsiang Shan), their opponent, is interpreted both as a subjective idealist and as a realist with a stiong idealistic emphasis. Similarly interpreted is Wang Yang Ming of the Ming Dynasty, who stressed the splritual and moral principle (Li) behind nature and man.
Chin hsin: Exerting one's mind to the utmost; complete development of one's mental constitution, by which one knows his nature and thereby Heaven. (Mencius, Wang Yang-ming, 1473-1529, and Tai Tung-yuan, 1723-1777.) -- W.T.C Chin tan: Medicine of immortality. (Taoist alchemy, especially Pao-p'o Tzu, c 268-c 334.) See Wai tan. -- W.T.C.
Confucianism (ju chia), on the other hand, advocated true manhood (jen) as the highest good, the superior man (chun tzu) as the ideal being, and cultivation of life (hsiu shen) as the supreme duty of man. It was toward this moralism and humanism that Confucius (551-479 B.C.) taught the doctrines of "chung," or being true to the principles of one's nature, and "shu," or the application of those principles in relation to others, as well as the doctrine of the Golden Mean (chung yung), i.e., "to find the central clue of our moral being and to be harmonious with the universe." Humanism was further strengthened by Mencius (371-289 B.C.) who insisted that man must develop his nature fully because benevolence (jen) and righteousness (i) are natural to his nature which is originally good, and again reinforced by Hsun Tzu (c. 335-286 BC) who, contending that human nature is evil, advocated the control of nature. Amid this antagonism between naturalism and humanism, however, both schools conceived reality as unceasing change (i) and incessant transformation, perpetually in progress due to the interaction of the active (yang) and passive (yin) cosmic principles.
Confucius taught that "it is man that can make truth great, and not truth that can make man great." Consequently he emphasized moral perfection, true manhood (jen), moral order (li) the Golden Mean (Chung Yung) and the superior man (chun tzu). To this end, knowledge must be directed, names must be rectified (cheng ming), and social relationships harmonized (wu lun). The whole program involved the investigation of things, the extension of knowledge, sincerity of the will, rectification of the heart, cultivation of the personal life, regulation of family life, national order, and finally, world peace. Mencius (371-289 B.C.) carried this further, holding that we not only should be good, but must be good, as human nature is originally good. True manhood (jen) and righteousness (i) are considered man's mind and path, respectively. Government must be established on the basis of benevolence (jen cheng) as against profit and force. Hsun Tzu (c 335-c 288 B.C.) believing human nature to be evil, stressed moral accumulation and education, especially through the rectification of names, music, and the rule of propriety (li). In the book of Chung Yung (Central Harmony, the Golden Mean, third or fourth century B.C.), the doctrine of central harmony is set forth. Our central self or moral being is conceived to be the great basis of existence and harmony or moral order is the universal law in the world. From then on, the relationship between man and the universe became one of direct correspondence. The idea of macrocosmos-rnicrocosmos relationship largely characterized the Confucianism of medieval China. The most glorious development of Confucianism is found in Neo-Confucianism, from the eleventh century to this day. For a summary of medieval Confucianism and Neo-Confucianism, see Chinese philosophy. -- W.T.C.
Fang hsin: The lost heart, i.e., the originally good mind which has turned away from the principles of benevolence and righteousness. (Mencius.) -- W.T.C.
Hsiao ku: Minor cause. See Ku. Hsiao t'i: The senses which man shares with animals are "the part of man which is small", making him not merely an inferior man, but a mere animal. Not man's nature, but his animal nature. (Mencius.) -- H.H.
Hsin: Heart; mind. The original or intuitive mind of man which is good (Mencius). Human desires (the hsin of man as different from the hsin of the Confucian Moral Law or tao). The Mind which is identical with the Great Ultimate (T'ai Chi). (Shao K'ang-chieh, 1011-1077.) One aspect of the Nature (hsing). "When the Nature is viewed from its goodness, it is the Moral Law (tao); when it is viewed from its essence, it is the Destiny (ming) ; when it is viewed from its natural state or spontaneity, it is Heaven (T'ien); and when it is viewed from its manifestations, it is the Mind (hsin)." (Ch'eng I-ch'uan( 1033-1107.) "The pure and refined portion of the vital force, ch'i." Being such it "has the Great Ultimate as its Reason (li) and Yin and Yang as its passivity and activity." It is the spiritual faculty or consciousness of man. (Chu Hsi, 1130-1200.) The mind conceived as identical with the Universe and Reason (li). (Lu Hsiang-shan, 1139-1193.) The mind conceived as identical with Reason (li) and intuition. (Wang Yang-ming, 14-73-1529.)
Hsun Tzu: (Hsun Ch'ing, Hsun Kuan, c. 335-286 B.C.) For thirty years travelled, offered his service to the various powerful feudal states, and succeeded in becoming a high officer of Ch'i and Ch'u. A great critic of all contemporary schools, he greatly developed Confucianism, became the greatest Confucian except Mencius. Both Han Fei, the outstanding Legalist, and Li Ssu, the premier of Ch'in who effected the first unification of China, were his pupils. (Hsun Tzu, Eng. tr. by H. H. Dubs: The Works of Hsun Tze.) -- W.T.C.
I: Righteousness, justice; one of the four Confucian Fundamentals of the Moral Life (ssu tuan) and the Five Constant Virtues (wu ch'ang). It is the virtue "by which things are made proper," "by which the world is regulated." It means the proper application of filial piety. It means, as in Han Yu (767-824), "the proper application of the principle of true manhood (jen)." It also means the removal of evil in the world. Mencius (371-289 B.C.) said that "righteousness is man's path, whereas true manhood is man's mind." Tung Chung-shu (177-104 B.C.) regarded it as the cardinal virtue by which one's self is rectified, whereas benevolence (jen) is the virtue by which others are pacified. To the Nco-Confucians, "seriousness (ching) is to straighten one's internal life and righteousness is to square one's external life." It is to regulate things and affairs by Reason (li). -- W.T.C.
Jen: Man. Goodness; virtue in general; the moral principle; the moral ideal of the superior man (chun. tzu); the fundamental as well as the sum total of virtues, just as the Prime (yuan) is the origin and the vital force of all things --jen consisting of "man" and "two" and yuan consisting of "two" and "man". (Confucianism.) True manhood; man's character; human-heartedness; moral character; being man-like; "that by which a man is to be a man;" "realization of one's true self and the restoration of the moral order." (Confucius and Mencius.) "The active (yang) and passive (yin) principles are the way of Heaven; the principles of strength and weakness are the way of Earth; and true manhood and righteousness (i) are the way of Man." "True manhood is man's mind and righteousness is man's path." It is one of the three Universally Recognized Moral Qualities of man (ta te), the four Fundamentals of the Moral Life (ssu tuan), and the five Constant Virtues (wu ch'ang). True manhood and righteousness are the basic principles of Confucian ethics and politics. (Confucianism.) The golden rule; "Being true to the principles of one's nature (chung) and the benevolent exercise of them in relation to others (shu)." "The true man, having established his own character, seeks to establish the character of others; and having succeeded, seeks to make others succeed." (Confucius.) Love; benevolence; kindness; charity; compassion; "the character of the heart and the principle of love;" "love towards all men and benefit towards things." (Confucianism.) "Universal love without the element of self," (Chuang Tzu, between 399 and 295 B.C.) "Universal Love." (Han Yu, 767-824.) The moral principle with regard to others. "True manhood is the cardinal virtue by which others are pacified, whereas righteousness is the cardinal principle by which the self is rectified." It means "to love others and not the self." (Tung Chung-shu, 177-104 B.C.) Love of all men and things and impartiality and justice towards all men and things, this virtue being the cardinal virtue not only of man but also of the universe. "Love means to devote oneself to the benefit of other people and things." "Love implies justice, that is, as a man, treating others as men." "The true man regards the universe and all things as a unity. They are all essential to himself. As he realizes the true self, there is no limit to his love." (Ch'eng Ming-tao, 1032-1068.) "Love is the source of all laws, the foundation of all phenomena." "What is received from Heaven at the beginning is simply love, and is therefore the complete substance of the mind." "Love is the love of creating in the mind of Heaven and Earth, and men and other creatures receive it as their mind." (Chu Hsi, 1130-1200.)
Li: (a) Profit, the principle of gain in contrast with the principle of righteousness (i). (Mencius, etc.)
Ming: Fate; Destiny; the Decree of Heaven. The Confucians and Neo-Confucians are unanimous in saying that the fate and the nature (hsing) of man and things are two aspects of the same thing. Fate is what Heaven imparts; and the nature is what man and things received from Heaven. For example, "whether a piece of wood is crooked or straight is due to its nature. But that it should be crooked or straight is due to its fate." This being the case, understanding fate (as in Confucius), establishing fate (as in Mencius, 371-289 B.C.), and the fulfillment of fate (as in Neo-Confucianism) all mean the realization of the nature of man and things in accordance with the principle or Reason (li) of existence. "That which Heaven decrees is true, one, and homogeneous . . . Fate in its true meaning proceeds from Reason; its variations (i.e., inequalities like intelligence and stupidity) proceed from the material element, the vital force (ch'i) . . . 'He who understands what fate is, will not stand beneath a precipitous wall.' If a man, saying 'It is decreed,' goes and stands beneath a precipitous wall and the wall falls and crushes him, it cannot be attributed solely to fate. In human affairs when a man has done his utmost he may talk of fate." The fate of Heaven is the same as the Moral Law (tao) of Heaven. The "fulfillment of fate" consists of "the investigation of the Reason of things to the utmost (ch'iung li)" and "exhausting one's nature to the utmost (chin hsing)" -- the three are one and the same." In short, fate is "nothing other than being one's true self (ch'eng)." -- W.T.C.
Pu jen: Early kings, being of "unbearing", commiserating mind, unable to bear and see others suffer, exemplified a virtuous government. (Mencius.) -- H.H.
Pu tung hsin: A Chinese term for the state of unperturbed mind, as a result of “maintaining firm one’s will and doing no violence to the vital force” which pervades the body. (Mencius.)
Pu tung hsin: The state of unperturbed mind, as a result of "maintaining firm one's will and doing no violence to the vital force" which pervades the body (Mencius.) -- H.H.
Ssu tuan: All men possess the 'four beginnings' of benevolence (jen), righteousness (i), propriety (li), and wisdom (chih). (Mencius). -- H.H.
T'ai yang: The Major Mode of Activity See T'ai Chi. T'ai yin: The Major Mode of Passivity. See T'ai Chi. Tai Tung-yuan: (Tai Chen, Tai Shen-hsiu, 1723-1777) carne from a poor family, self-made to be a leader in outstanding intellectual activities of the time, and became an authority in philology, mathematics, geography as well as philosophy. By reinteipreting the teachings of Mencius, he attempted to rediscover the original meanings of Confucius and Mencius. His Tai-shih I-shu (works) consists of 31 chuans in several volumes. -- W.T.C.
Tantric: Adjective to Tantra (q.v.) Tao: The Way, principle, cosmic order, nature. "The Tao that can be expressed in words is not the eternal Tao." It is "vague and eluding," "deep and obscure," but "there is in it the form" and "the essence." "In it is reality." It "produced the One, the One produced the two, the two produced the three, and the three produced all things." Its "standard is the Natural." (Lao Tzu). "Tao has reality and evidence but no action nor form. It may be transmitted, but cannot be received. It may be attained, but cannot be seen. It is its own essence, and its own root." "Tao operates, and results follow." "Tao has no limit." "It is in the ant," "a tare," "a potsherd," "ordure." (Chuang Tzu, between 399 and 295 B.C.). The Confucian "Way;" the teachings of the sage; the moral order, the moral life, truth, the moral law; the moral principle. This means "the fulfillment of the law of our human nature." It is the path of man's moral life. "True manhood (jen) is that by which a man is to be a man. Generally speaking, it is the moral law" (Mencius, 371-289 B.C.). "To proceed according to benevolence and righteousness is called the Way." (Han Yu, 767-824). The Way, which means following the Reason of things, and also the Reason which is in everything and which everything obeys. (Neo-Confucianism). The Way or Moral Law in the cosmic sense, signifying "what is above the realm of corporeality," and the "successive movement of the active (yang) and the passive principles (yin)." In the latter sense as understood both in ancient Confucianism and in Neo-Confucianism, it is interchangeable with the Great Ultimate (T'ai Chi). Shao K'ang-chieh (1011-1077) said that "The Moral Law is the Great Ultimate." Chang Heng-ch'u (1022-1077) identified it with the Grand Harmony (Ta Ho) and said that "from the operation of the vital force (ch'i) there is the Way." This means that the Way is the principle of being as well as the sum total of the substance and functions of things. To Ch'eng I-ch'uan (1033-1107) "There is no Way independent of the active (yang) principle and the passive (yin) principle. Yet it is precisely the Way that determines the active and passive principles. These principles are the constituents of the vital force (ch'i), which is corporeal. On the other hand, the Way transcends corporeality." To Chu Hsi (1130-1200), the Way is "the Reason why things are as they are." Tai Tung-yuan (1723-1777) understood it to mean "the incessant transformation of the universe," and "the operation of things in the world, involving the constant flow of the vital force (ch'i) and change, and unceasing production and reproduction."
Ta t’i: A Chinese term which in the teachings of Mencius means “that part of man which is great.”
Ta t'i: "The part of man which is great " (Mencius). -- H.H.
To Kao Tzu, contemporary of Mencius, human nature is capable of being good or evil; to Mencius (371-289 B.C.), good; to Hsi'm Tzu (c 355-c 238 B.C.), evil; to Tung Cchung-shu (177-104 B.C.), potentially good; to Yang Hsiung (d. 18 B.C.), both good and evil; to Han Yu (676-82+ A.D.), good in some people, mixed in some, and evil in others; to Li Ao (d. c 844), capable of being "reverted" to its original goodness. To the whole Neo-Confucian movement, what is inborn is good, but due to external influence, there is both goodness and evil. Chang Heng-ch'u (1020-1077) said that human nature is good in all men. The difference between them lies in their skill or lack of skill in returning to accord with their original nature. To Ch'eng I-ch'uan (1033-1107) and Ch'eng Ming-tao (1032-1193), man's nature is the same as his vital force (ch'i). They arc both the principle of life. In principle there are both good and evil in the vital force with which man is involved. Man is not born with these opposing elements in his nature. Due to the vital force man may become good or evil. Chu Hsi (1130-1200) regarded the nature as identical with Reason (li). Subjectively it is the nature; objectively it is Reason. It is the framework of the moral order (tao), with benevolence, righteousness, propriety, and wisdom (ssu tuan) inherent in it. Evil is due to man's failure to preserve a harmonious relation between his nature-principles. Wang Yang-ming (1473-1529) identified the nature with the mind, which is Reason and originally good. -- W.T.C.
Ts'ai: a) This means that when a man is not good, it is not because he is actually lacking in the basic 'natural powers,' 'natural endowment,' or 'raw material', whereby to be good. His badness results simply from the fact that he has not developed the beginnings of virtue, which is not the fault of his 'natural powers' (Mencius).
Ts'e yin: The feeling of commiseration. (Mencius) -- H.H.
Ts'un hsin: Preserving one's native mind, that is, preserving in one's heart benevolence and propriety which are natural to man. (Mencius). -- W.T.C.
Tuan: Human nature is innately good insofar as all men possess the 'beginnings' of the virtues, which if completely developed, make a man a sage. (Mencius). -- H.H.
Wai wang: Often used as referring to the man who through his virtues and abilities gains the necessary qualifications of a ruler. (Mencius). -- H.H.
Wang tao: The ideal institutions described by Mencius constitute the 'Kingly Way,' one that is a kingly or virtuous government. -- H.H.
Wei wo: "For the self," in the sense of "preserving life and keeping the essence of our being intact and not to injure our material existence with things," erroneously interpreted by Mencius as egotism, selfishness, "everyone for himself." (Yang Chu, c 440-c 360 B.C.). -- W.T.C.
When it came to the Ming period especially in Wang Yang-ming (1473-1529), Reason became identified with Mind. Mencius' doctrine of intuitive knowledge (liang chih) was revived and made the basis of his theory of the identity of knowledge and conduct and the sacred duty of man to "fully exercise his mind" and to "manifest his illustrious virtues."
Wu lun: The five human relationships, "those between the father and the son, the ruler and subordinates, husbind and wife, the elder and the younger, and friends." Also called the Five Constants (wu ch'ang). "Between father and son, there should be affection, between sovereign and ministers, there should be righteousness, between husband and wife, attention to their separate functions; between old and young, a proper order; and between friends, good faith (hsin)." (Mencius) -- W.T.C.
Yang Chu: (c. 440-360 B.C.) Was a great Taoist whose teachings, together with those of Mo Tzu, "filled the empire" and strongly rivaled Confucianism at the time of Mencius (371-289 B.C.) His main doctrines of following nature and preserving life and the essence of being have been distorted as hedonism and egoism in the work bearing his mme (Ch. VII of Lieh Tzu, c. 300 A.D.; Eng. tr. by A. Forke: Yang Chu's Garden of Pleasure). -- W.T.C.
Yeh ch'i: The "air of the night," i.e., the strength or force obtained through the rest and recuperation during the night, suggestive of the moral invigoration from the calmness and repose of the mind which is necessary for the realization of one's good nature. (Mencius, 371-289 B.C.). -- W.T.C.
NEW FULL DB (2.4M)
16 Mencius Moldbug
2 Jonathan Haidt
1:The way of truth is like a great road. It is not difficult to know it. The evil is only that men will not seek it.
*** WISDOM TROVE ***
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1:Never lose your child's heart. ~ Mencius,
2:Sincerity is the way to heaven. ~ Mencius,
3:In abundance prepare for scarcity. ~ Mencius,
4:Human nature is disposed to do good. ~ Mencius,
5:Friendship is one mind in two bodies. ~ Mencius,
6:All things are complete within ourselves. ~ Mencius,
7:Friends are the siblings God never gave us. ~ Mencius,
8:Truth uttered before its time is dangerous. ~ Mencius,
9:The Tao is near and people seek it far away. ~ Mencius,
10:Mankind fears an evil man but heaven does not. ~ Mencius,
11:Secure property in hand leads to peace in mind. ~ Mencius,
12:He who wishes to be benevolent will not be rich. ~ Mencius,
13:The great person never loses a childlike spirit. ~ Mencius,
14:If the King loves music, it is well with the land. ~ Mencius,
15:A real man is he whose goodness is a part of himself. ~ Mencius,
16:The ways are two: love and want of love. That is all. ~ Mencius,
17:A great man is one who has not lost the child's heart. ~ Mencius,
18:Friends are the siblings God never gave us” (Mencius) ~ L J Shen,
19:He who exerts his mind to the utmost knows his nature. ~ Mencius,
20:The feeling of compassion is the beginning of humanity. ~ Mencius,
21:The great man is he who does not lose his child's heart. ~ Mencius,
22:The man of true greatness never loses his child's heart. ~ Mencius,
23:The feeling of right or wrong is the beginning of wisdom. ~ Mencius,
24:Benevolence is one of the distinguishing characters of man. ~ Mencius,
25:Mencius said that human nature is good. I disagree with that. ~ Xunzi,
26:The sole concern of learning is to seek one's original heart. ~ Mencius,
27:The way of learning is none other than finding the lost mind. ~ Mencius,
28:Heaven sees as the people see. Heaven hears as the people hear. ~ Mencius,
29:One who believes all of a book would be better off without books ~ Mencius,
30:He who goes to the bottom of his own heart knows his own nature; ~ Mencius,
31:The way of truth is like a great highway. It is not hard to find. ~ Mencius,
32:A man must first despise himself, and then others will despise him. ~ Mencius,
33:Never has a man who has bent himself been able to make others straight. ~ Mencius,
34:Kindly words do not enter so deeply into men as a reputation for kindness. ~ Mencius,
35:The best things in life come in threes, like friends, dreams, and memories. ~ Mencius,
36:Every duty is a charge, but the charge of oneself is the root of all others. ~ Mencius,
37:The way is One and only One. The way is close at hand, but men seek it afar. ~ Mencius,
38:Sincerity is the way to heaven; to think how to be sincere is the way of man. ~ Mencius,
39:Cthulhu may swim slowly. But he only swims left. Isn’t that interesting? ~ Mencius Moldbug,
40:There is no greater delight than to be conscious of sincerity on self-examination. ~ Mencius,
41:The tendency of mans nature to good is like the tendency of water to flow downward. ~ Mencius,
42:Where it is permissible both to die and not to die, it is an abuse of valour to die. ~ Mencius,
43:It is not difficult to govern. All one has to do is not to offend the noble families. ~ Mencius,
44:If the prince of a State love benevolence, he will have no opponent in all the empire. ~ Mencius,
45:Morality is like taste in many ways—an analogy made long ago by Hume and Mencius. ~ Jonathan Haidt,
46:Only when someone refuses to do certain things will he be capable of doing great things. ~ Mencius,
47:There is a power in everything; it is the job of the artist to determine it and express it. ~ Mencius,
48:The regular path of virtue is to be pursued without any bend, and from no view to emolument. ~ Mencius,
49:The disease of men is that they neglect their own fields and go to weed the fields of others. ~ Mencius,
50:A man must not be without shame, for the shame of being without shame is shamelessness indeed. ~ Mencius,
51:Listen to a man's words and look at the pupil of his eye. How can a man conceal his character? ~ Mencius,
52:To lay hold of the mean without taking into account the occasion is like grasping one thing only. ~ Mencius,
53:People are eager to comment on something when they themselves are not in the situation of doing it. ~ Mencius,
54:He who loves others is always loved by them, and he who respects others is always respected by them. ~ Mencius,
55:The way is near, but men seek it afar. It is in easy things, but men seek for it in difficult things. ~ Mencius,
56:Friendship with a man is friendship with his virtue, and does not admit of assumptions of superiority. ~ Mencius,
57:He who loves others is constantly loved by them. He who respects others is constantly respected by them. ~ Mencius,
58:Is it only the mouth and belly which are injured by hunger and thirst? Men's minds are also injured by them. ~ Mencius,
59:The Way lies at hand yet it is sought afar off; the thing lies in the easy yet it is sought in the difficult. ~ Mencius,
60:Only those who develop their minds and spirits to the utmost can serve Heaven and fulfill their own destinies. ~ Mencius,
61:The myriad things are complete in us. There is no greater joy than to reflect on ourselves and become sincere. ~ Mencius,
62:If you know that a thing is unrighteous, then use all dispatch in putting an end to it--why wait till next year? ~ Mencius,
63:Men must be decided on what they will not do, and then they are able to act with vigor in what they ought to do. ~ Mencius,
64:Virtue alone is not sufficient for the exercise of government; laws alone cannot carry themselves into practice. ~ Mencius,
65:The way of truth is like a great road. It is not difficult to know it. The evil is only that men will not seek it. ~ Mencius,
66:He who attends to his greater self becomes a great man, and he who attends to his smaller self becomes a small man. ~ Mencius,
67:The way of truth is like a great road. It is not difficult to know it. The evil is only that men will not seek it.
68:So I like life and I like righteousness; if I cannot keep the two together, I will let life go and choose righteousness. ~ Mencius,
69:Incessant falls teach men to reform, and distress rouses their strength. Life springs from calamity, and death from ease. ~ Mencius,
70:A small country cannot contend with a great; the few cannot contend with the many; the weak cannot contend with the strong ~ Mencius,
71:By exhaustively examining one's own mind,one may understand his nature.One who understands his own nature understands Heaven. ~ Mencius,
72:The gap between enthusiasm and indifference is filled with failures. The great man is he that does not lose his child's heart. ~ Mencius,
73:The people turn in allegiance to Humanity, as surely as water flows downward or as a wild animal takes cover in the wilderness. ~ Mencius,
74:Those who follow the part of themselves which is great are great men; those who follow the part which is little are little men. ~ Mencius,
75:When one by force subdues men, they do not submit to him in heart. They submit because their strength is not adequate to resist. ~ Mencius,
76:If you let people follow their feelings, they will be able to do good. This is what is meant by saying that human nature is good. ~ Mencius,
77:I dislike death, however, there are some things I dislike more than death. Therefore, there are times when I will not avoid danger. ~ Mencius,
78:The root of the kingdom is in the state. The root of the state is in the family. The root of the family is in the person of its head. ~ Mencius,
79:Try your best to treat others as you would wish to be treated yourself, and you will find that this is the shortest way to benevolence ~ Mencius,
80:When Heaven is about to confer a great office upon you, it first exercises your mind with suffering and your sinews and bones with toil. ~ Mencius,
81:Human nature is good, just as water seeks low ground. There is no man who is not good, just as there is no water that does not flow downward. ~ Mencius,
82:All people have the common desire to be elevated in honour, but all people have something still more elevated in themselves without knowing it. ~ Mencius,
83:The foundation of the world lies in the nation. The foundation of the nation lies in the family. The foundation of the family lies in the individual. ~ Mencius,
84:Reality is the perfect enemy: it always fights back, it can never be defeated, and infinite energy can be expended in unsuccessfully resisting it. ~ Mencius Moldbug,
85: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 others. ~ Mencius,
86: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. ~ Mencius,
87:The great man does not think beforehand of his words that they may be sincere, nor of his actions that they may be resolute- he simply speaks and does what is right. ~ Mencius,
88:To feed men and not to love them is to treat them as if they were barnyard cattle. To love them and not respect them is to treat them as if they were household pets. ~ Mencius,
89:To act without clear understanding, to form habits without investigation, to follow a path all one's life without knowing where it really leads; such is the behavior of the multitude. ~ Mencius,
90:The five kinds of grains are considered good plants, but if the grains are not ripe, they are worse than cockles. It is the same with regard to kindness, which must grow into maturity. ~ Mencius,
91:There is no way to receive a mainstream university education, read the Times every morning, trust both of them, and not be a progressive. Unless, of course, you’re an idiot. But ~ Mencius Moldbug,
92:Evil exists to glorify the good. Evil is negative good. It is a relative term. Evil can be transmuted into good. What is evil to one at one time, becomes good at another time to somebody else. ~ Mencius,
93:In other words, Kant is assuming that since voters are generally reasonable people, they will vote for reasonable governments that will act reasonably, and only undertake reasonable wars. ~ Mencius Moldbug,
94:Let not a man do what his sense of right bids him not to do, nor desire what it forbids him to desire. This is sufficient. The skillful artist will not alter his measures for the sake of a stupid workman. ~ Mencius,
95:Treat your elders as elders, and extend it to the elders of others; treat your young ones as young ones, and extend it to the young ones of others; then you can turn the whole world in the palm of your hand ~ Mencius,
96:He who outrages benevolence is called a ruffian: he who outrages righteousness is called a villain. I have heard of the cutting off of the villain Chow, but I have not heard of the putting of a ruler to death. ~ Mencius,
97:All things are already complete in us. There is no greater delight than to be conscious of right within us. If one strives to treat others as he would be treated by them, he shall not fail to come near the perfect life. ~ Mencius,
98:You could stamp on this natural shoot of compassion, Mencius argued, just as you can cripple or deform your body, but if you cultivate this altruistic tendency assiduously, it will acquire a dynamic power of its own.23 The ~ Karen Armstrong,
99:If you love men and they are unfriendly, look into your love; if you rule men and they are unruly, look into your wisdom; if you are courteous to them and they do not respond, look into your courtesy. If what you do is vain, always seek within. ~ Mencius,
100:In many ways nonsense is a more effective organizing tool than the truth. Anyone can believe in the truth. To believe in nonsense is an unforgeable demonstration of loyalty. It serves as a political uniform. And if you have a uniform, you have an army. ~ Mencius Moldbug,
101:[I]n many ways nonsense is a more effective organizing tool than the truth. Anyone can believe in the truth. To believe in nonsense is an unforgeable demonstration of loyalty. It serves as a political uniform. And if you have a uniform, you have an army. ~ Mencius Moldbug,
102:Water indeed will flow indifferently to the east or west, but will it flow indifferently up or down? The tendency of our nature to good is like the tendency of water to flow downwards. There are none but have this tendency to good, just as all water flows downward. ~ Mencius,
103:If you know the point of balance, You can settle the details. If you can settle the details, You can stop running around. Your mind will become calm. If your mind becomes calm, You can think in front of a tiger. If you can think in front of a tiger, You will surely succeed. ~ Mencius,
104:The Chinese philosopher Mencius believed that man is innately good. He argued that anyone who saw a child falling into a well would immediately feel shock and alarm, and that this impulse, this universal capacity for commiseration, was proof positive that man is inherently good. ~ T Greenwood,
105:Reality alone - bleak, elegant, mindless reality - is the null device on the Reactionary's black flag. Anyone who tells the truth, who believes her own lying eyes, who knows whereof the fsck she speaks, is in that moment as bitter and uncompromising a reactionary as ever put foot on the earth. ~ Mencius Moldbug,
106:But royalism, even if you stick a “neo-” on the front, is just too old-fashioned to appeal to some. So we also offer an extra decorative touch, available for a mere $ 19.95, in which the customer can fill her cyst’s void with our own synthetic organ of government. We call it neocameralism, and it is very fresh. ~ Mencius Moldbug,
107:How just will such reflections be, when our posterity shall fall under the merciless clutches of this uncharitable Generation! when our Church shall be swallowed up in Schism, Faction, Enthusiasm, and Confusion! when our Government shall be devolved upon Foreigners, and our Monarchy dwindled into a Republic! Rowan ~ Mencius Moldbug,
108:When Heaven is about to confer a great office on a man, it first exercises his mind with suffering, and his sinews and bones with toil ; it exposes his body to hunger, and subjects him to extreme poverty ; it confounds his undertakings. By all these methods it stimulates his mind, hardens his nature, and supplies his incompetencies. ~ Mencius,
109:When the men of antiquity realized their wishes, benefits were conferred by them on the people. If they did not realize their wishes, they cultivated their personal character, and became illustrious in the world. If poor, they attended to their own virtue in solitude; if advanced to dignity, they made the whole empire virtuous as well. ~ Mencius,
110:When heaven is about to confer a great responsibility on any man, it will exercise his mind with suffering, subject his sinews and bones to hard work, expose his body to hunger, put him to poverty, place obstacles in the paths of his deeds, so as to stimulate his mind, harden his nature, and improve wherever he is incompetent. MENG TZU (MENCIUS), fourth century BCE1 ~ Greg Lukianoff,
111:There is the work of great men and there is the work of little men. Therefore it is said, 'Some labor with their minds and some labor with their strength. Those who labor with their minds govern others; those who labor with their strength are governed by others.'1 Those who are governed by others support them; those who govern them are supported by them. This is a universal principle. ~ Mencius,
112:When Heaven is going to give a great responsibility to someone, it first makes his mind endure suffering. It makes his sinews and bones experience toil, and his body to suffer hunger. It inflicts him with poverty and knocks down everything he tries to build. In this way Heaven stimulates his mind, stabilizes his temper, and develops his weak points. —The Book of Mencius (Chinese, 300 BC) ~ Timothy J Keller,
113:At least in normal conditions of inter-patch peace and harmony, every Patchwork realm should positively exude rectitude and benevolence. This will of course infect its corporate culture. Perhaps it is possible to imagine Disneyland committing genocide. But it would have to be a very different Disneyland than the one we have right now. They would certainly have to replace at least half the employees. ~ Mencius Moldbug,
114:The feeling of commiseration is the beginning of humanity; the feeling of shame and dislike is the beginning of righteousness; the feeling of deference and compliance is the beginning of propriety; and the feeling of right or wrong is the beginning of wisdom.Men have these Four Beginnings just as they have their four limbs. Having these Four Beginnings, but saying that they cannot develop them is to destroy themselves. ~ Mencius,
115:Charity is in the heart of man, and righteousness in the path of men. Pity the man who has lost his path and does not follow it and who has lost his heart and does not know how to recover it. When people's dogs and chicks are lost they go out and look for them and yet the people who have lost their hearts do not go out and look for them. The principle of self-cultivation consists in nothing but trying to look for the lost heart. ~ Mencius,
116:Populists voters are people who genuinely believe in democracy. They believe that the way Washington works is that the people elect a President, who “runs the country.” I once had an email exchange with a very successful, and quite erudite, populist political blogger who did not understand that President Bush cannot fire a State Department employee just because that employee is openly trying to sabotage White House initiatives. ~ Mencius Moldbug,
117:But the factor is real: a sovereign is a sovereign, and no government can be entirely without paternal graces. No one in a sane society will be rendered into diesel, or even be allowed to starve to death for lack of productive earning power. Perhaps there are enough Randians on the planet for one city-state, but probably not two. Otherwise, it just won’t happen, and keeping it from happening is just one of the realm’s many business expenses. ~ Mencius Moldbug,
118:At the height of the lame, doomed "Red Scare," the Brown Scare was ten times bigger. You may think it was difficult making a living as a communist screenwriter in 1954. It was a lot easier than being a fascist screenwriter. Or even an anticommunist screenwriter. (Same thing, right?) And as any pathetic last shreds of real opposition shrink and die off, the Scare only grows. That's how winners play it. That's just how the permanent revolution rolls. ~ Mencius Moldbug,
119:On the one side were Confucians, inspired by Mencius, who, when asked how a state should raise profits, replied, “Why must Your Majesty use the word profit? All I am concerned with are the good and the right. If Your Majesty says, ‘How can I profit my state?’ your officials will say, ‘How can I profit my family?’ and officers and common people will say, ‘How can I profit myself?’ Once superiors and inferiors are competing for profit, the state will be in danger. ~ Mark Kurlansky,
120:The fruit of humanity is devotion to one's parents. The fruit of righteousness is to respect one's elders. The fruit of wisdom is to understand these two and not to betray them. The fruit of propriety is to regulate and polish them. The fruit of music is the joy that comes from rejoicing in them. When one rejoices in them, they grow. When they grow, how can they be stopped? And when they cannot be stopped, unconsciously one's feet begin to dance and one's arms begin to wave. ~ Mencius,
121:When I say that all men have the mind which cannot bear to see the suffering of others, my meaning is illustrated this way: when two men suddenly see a child about to fall into a well, they all have a feeling of alarm and distress, not to gain friendship with the child's parents, nor to seek the praise of their neighbors and friends. From such a case, we see that a man without the feeling of commiseration is not a man. The feeling of commiseration is the beginning of humanity. ~ Mencius,
122:It is true that water will flow indifferently to east and west, but will it flow equally well up and down? Human nature is disposed toward goodness, just as water tends to flow downwards. There is no water but flows downwards, and no man but shows his tendency to be good. Now, by striking water hard, you may splash it higher than your forehead, and by damming it, you may make it go uphill. But, is that the nature of water? It is external force that causes it to do so. Likewise, if a man is made to do what is not good, his nature is being similarly forced. ~ Mencius,
123:I grew up thinking the only scriptures on earth were those inspired by the Hebrew prophets of the Old Testament, the words and letters of Jesus and his apostles, and the scriptures of the Restoration. But how could the God I believed was the loving God of all the earth not speak somehow to everyone else? For years I wrestled with this idea. Having now read the Chinese classics, certainly Confucius, but others as well, I believe I have found the scriptural infusion God gave the Chinese nation. Mencius is my favorite, I must admit, and I do not hesitate to call what he bestowed upon the world scripture--some of the most optimistic, holy writing the world has. ~ S Michael Wilcox,
124:As Delegate of San Francisco, what should you do with these people? I think the answer is clear: alternative energy. Since wards are liabilities, there is no business case for retaining them in their present, ambulatory form. Therefore, the most profitable disposition for this dubious form of capital is to convert them into biodiesel, which can help power the Muni buses. Okay, just kidding. This is the sort of naive Randian thinking which appeals instantly to a geek like me, but of course has nothing to do with real life. The trouble with the biodiesel solution is that no one would want to live in a city whose public transportation was fueled, even just partly, by the distilled remains of its late underclass. ~ Mencius Moldbug,
125:Another word for private philanthropy, with different negative connotations, is charity. Charity was of course one of the principal obligations of the medieval ecclesiastical establishment, the other two being education and adult instruction. In consonance with the general 20th-century pattern in which State has captured the role of Church, thus effecting the merger of the two by different means, most of us today perceive charity as a sovereign function. And thus we trivialize any charitable establishment which is fully outside the State, as only the most hard-line of unreconstructed ecclesiasts are today. (Nonprofits in the US today tend to fund themselves via a mix of donations with government grants, contracts, etc.) ~ Mencius Moldbug,
126:For the Communist Party, the return of class presented an opportunity: the Party came to believe that co-opting those with property would buttress it against agitation toward democracy. Officials took to quoting the ancient sage Mencius, who said, “Those with a constant livelihood have a constant heart, those lacking a constant livelihood lack a constant heart.” But relying on prosperity to ensure a “constant heart” posed a problem that would grow into the Chinese Communist Party’s essential paradox: How could the heirs of Marx and Lenin, the rulers of the People’s Republic, who had risen to power denouncing bourgeois values and inequality, baldly embrace the new moneyed class? How could it retain its ideological claim to rule? ~ Evan Osnos,
127:The Chinese sage Mencius made the analogy between morality and food 2,300 years ago when he wrote that “moral principles please our minds as beef and mutton and pork please our mouths.”4 In this chapter and the next two, I’ll develop the analogy that the righteous mind is like a tongue with six taste receptors. In this analogy, morality is like cuisine: it’s a cultural construction, influenced by accidents of environment and history, but it’s not so flexible that anything goes. You can’t have a cuisine based on tree bark, nor can you have one based primarily on bitter tastes. Cuisines vary, but they all must please tongues equipped with the same five taste receptors.5 Moral matrices vary, but they all must please righteous minds equipped with the same six social receptors. ~ Jonathan Haidt,
128:The difference between a monarch and a dictator is that the monarchical succession is defined by law and the dictatorial succession is defined by power. The effect in the latter is that the fish rots from the head down — lawlessness permeates the state, as in a mafia family, because contending leaders must build informal coalitions. Since another name for a monarchist is a legitimist, we can contrast the legitimist and demotist theories of government. […] Perhaps unsurprisingly, I see legitimism as a sort of proto-formalism. The royal family is a perpetual corporation, the kingdom is the property of this corporation, and the whole thing is a sort of real-estate venture on a grand scale. Why does the family own the corporation and the corporation own the kingdom? Because it does. Property is historically arbitrary.
The best way for the monarchies of Old Europe to modernize, in my book, would have been to transition the corporation from family ownership to shareholder ownership, eliminating the hereditary principle which caused so many problems for so many monarchies. However, the trouble with corporate monarchism is that it presents no obvious political formula. “Because it does” cuts no ice with a mob of pitchfork-wielding peasants. […] So the legitimist system went down another path, which led eventually to its destruction: the path of divine-right monarchy. When everyone believes in God, “because God says so” is a much more impressive formula.
Perhaps the best way to look at demotism is to see it as the Protestant version of rule by divine right — based on the theory of vox populi, vox dei. If you add divine-right monarchy to a religious system that is shifting from the worship of God to the worship of Man, demotism is pretty much what you’d expect to precipitate in the beaker. ~ Mencius Moldbug,
129:JANUARY 26 Being Kind-I You often say, “I would give, but only to the deserving.” The trees in your orchard say not so, nor the flocks in your pastures. They give that they may live, for to withhold is to perish. —KAHLIL GIBRAN The great and fierce mystic William Blake said, There is no greater act than putting another before you. This speaks to a selfless giving that seems to be at the base of meaningful love. Yet having struggled for a lifetime with letting the needs of others define me, I've come to understand that without the healthiest form of self-love—without honoring the essence of life that this thing called “self” carries, the way a pod carries a seed—putting another before you can result in damaging self-sacrifice and endless codependence. I have in many ways over many years suppressed my own needs and insights in an effort not to disappoint others, even when no one asked me to. This is not unique to me. Somehow, in the course of learning to be good, we have all been asked to wrestle with a false dilemma: being kind to ourselves or being kind to others. In truth, though, being kind to ourselves is a prerequisite to being kind to others. Honoring ourselves is, in fact, the only lasting way to release a truly selfless kindness to others. It is, I believe, as Mencius, the grandson of Confucius, says, that just as water unobstructed will flow downhill, we, given the chance to be what we are, will extend ourselves in kindness. So, the real and lasting practice for each of us is to remove what obstructs us so that we can be who we are, holding nothing back. If we can work toward this kind of authenticity, then the living kindness—the water of compassion—will naturally flow. We do not need discipline to be kind, just an open heart. Center yourself and meditate on the water of compassion that pools in your heart. As you breathe, simply let it flow, without intent, into the air about you. JANUARY 27 Being Kind-II We love what we attend. —MWALIMU IMARA There were two brothers who never got along. One was forever ambushing everything in his path, looking for the next treasure while the first was still in his hand. He swaggered his shield and cursed everything he held. The other brother wandered in the open with very little protection, attending whatever he came upon. He would linger with every leaf and twig and broken stone. He blessed everything he held. This little story suggests that when we dare to move past hiding, a deeper law arises. When we bare our inwardness fully, exposing our strengths and frailties alike, we discover a kinship in all living things, and from this kinship a kindness moves through us and between us. The mystery is that being authentic is the only thing that reveals to us our kinship with life. In this way, we can unfold the opposite of Blake's truth and say, there is no greater act than putting yourself before another. Not before another as in coming first, but rather as in opening yourself before another, exposing your essence before another. Only in being this authentic can real kinship be known and real kindness released. It is why we are moved, even if we won't admit it, when strangers let down and show themselves. It is why we stop to help the wounded and the real. When we put ourselves fully before another, it makes love possible, the way the stubborn land goes soft before the sea. Place a favorite object in front of you, and as you breathe, put yourself fully before it and feel what makes it special to you. As you breathe, meditate on the place in you where that specialness comes from. Keep breathing evenly, and know this specialness as a kinship between you and your favorite object. During your day, take the time to put yourself fully before something that is new to you, and as you breathe, try to feel your kinship to it. ~ Mark Nepo,
130:financially and employed him as his unofficial secretary.
In March 768, he began his journey again and got as far as Hunan province,
where he died in Tanzhou (now Changsha) in November or December 770, in his
58th year. He was survived by his wife and two sons, who remained in the area
for some years at least. His last known descendant is a grandson who requested
a grave inscription for the poet from Yuan Zhen in 813.
Hung summarises his life by concluding that, "He appeared to be a filial son, an
affectionate father, a generous brother, a faithful husband, a loyal friend, a
dutiful official, and a patriotic subject."
Criticism of ~ Du Fu
's works has focused on his strong sense of history, his moral
engagement, and his technical excellence.
Since the Song dynasty, critics have called ~ Du Fu
the "poet historian". The most
directly historical of his poems are those commenting on military tactics or the
successes and failures of the government, or the poems of advice which he wrote
to the emperor. Indirectly, he wrote about the effect of the times in which he
lived on himself, and on the ordinary people of China. As Watson notes, this is
information "of a kind seldom found in the officially compiled histories of the
~ Du Fu
's political comments are based on emotion rather than calculation: his
prescriptions have been paraphrased as, "Let us all be less selfish, let us all do
what we are supposed to do". Since his views were impossible to disagree with,
his forcefully expressed truisms enabled his installation as the central figure of
Chinese poetic history.
A second favourite epithet of Chinese critics is that of "poet sage" (?? shi shèng),
a counterpart to the philosophical sage, Confucius. One of the earliest surviving
works, The Song of the Wagons (from around 750), gives voice to the sufferings
of a conscript soldier in the imperial army, even before the beginning of the
rebellion; this poem brings out the tension between the need of acceptance and
fulfilment of one's duties, and a clear-sighted consciousness of the suffering
which this can involve. These themes are continuously articulated in the poems
on the lives of both soldiers and civilians which ~ Du Fu
produced throughout his
Although ~ Du Fu
's frequent references to his own difficulties can give the
impression of an all-consuming solipsism, Hawkes argues that his "famous
compassion in fact includes himself, viewed quite objectively and almost as an
afterthought". He therefore "lends grandeur" to the wider picture by comparing it
to "his own slightly comical triviality".
~ Du Fu
's compassion, for himself and for others, was part of his general
broadening of the scope of poetry: he devoted many works to topics which had
previously been considered unsuitable for poetic treatment. Zhang Jie wrote that
for ~ Du Fu
, "everything in this world is poetry", and he wrote extensively on
subjects such as domestic life, calligraphy, paintings, animals, and other poems.
~ Du Fu
's work is notable above all for its range. Chinese critics traditionally used
the term txt (jídàchéng- "complete symphony"), a reference to Mencius'
description of Confucius. Yuan Zhen was the first to note the breadth of ~ Du Fu
achievement, writing in 813 that his predecessor, "united in his work traits which
previous men had displayed only singly". He mastered all the forms of Chinese
poetry: Chou says that in every form he "either made outstanding advances or
contributed outstanding examples". Furthermore, his poems use a wide range of
registers, from the direct and colloquial to the allusive and self-consciously
literary. This variety is manifested even within individual works: Owen identifies
the, "rapid stylistic and thematic shifts" in poems which enable the poet to
represent different facets of a situation, while Chou uses the term "juxtaposition"
as the major analytical tool in her work. ~ Du Fu
is noted for having written more
on poetics and painting than any other writer of his time. He wrote eighteen
poems on painting alone, more than any other Tang poet. ~ Du Fu
negative commentary on the prized horse paintings of Han Gan ignited a
controversy that has persisted to the present day.
The tenor of his work changed as he developed his style and adapted to his
surroundings ("chameleon-like" according to Watson): his earliest works are in a
relatively derivative, courtly style, but he came into his own in the years of the
rebellion. Owen comments on the "grim simplicity" of the Qinzhou poems, which
mirrors the desert landscape; the works from his Chengdu period are "light, often
finely observed"; while the poems from the late Kuizhou period have a "density
and power of vision".
According to the Encyclopædia Britannica, ~ Du Fu
's writings are considered by
many literary critics to be among the greatest of all time, and it states "his
dense, compressed language makes use of all the connotative overtones of a
phrase and of all the intonational potentials of the individual word, qualities that
no translation can ever reveal."
In his lifetime and immediately following his death, ~ Du Fu
was not greatly
appreciated. In part this can be attributed to his stylistic and formal innovations,
some of which are still "considered extremely daring and bizarre by Chinese
critics." There are few contemporary references to him—only eleven poems from
six writers—and these describe him in terms of affection, but not as a paragon of
poetic or moral ideals. ~ Du Fu
is also poorly represented in contemporary
anthologies of poetry.
However, as Hung notes, he "is the only Chinese poet whose influence grew with
time", and his works began to increase in popularity in the ninth century. Early
positive comments came from Bai Juyi, who praised the moral sentiments of
some of ~ Du Fu
's works (although he found these in only a small fraction of the
poems), and from Han Yu, who wrote a piece defending ~ Du Fu
and Li Bai on
aesthetic grounds from attacks made against them. Both these writers showed
the influence of ~ Du Fu
in their own poetic work. By the beginning of the 10th
century, Wei Zhuang constructed the first replica of his thatched cottage in
It was in the 11th century, during the Northern Song era that ~ Du Fu
reached its peak. In this period a comprehensive re-evaluation of earlier poets
took place, in which Wang Wei, Li Bai and ~ Du Fu
came to be regarded as
representing respectively the Buddhist, Daoist and Confucian strands of Chinese
culture. At the same time, the development of Neo-Confucianism ensured that
~ Du Fu
, as its poetic exemplar, occupied the paramount position. Su Shi famously
expressed this reasoning when he wrote that ~ Du Fu
because... through all his vicissitudes, he never for the space of a meal forgot his
sovereign". His influence was helped by his ability to reconcile apparent
opposites: political conservatives were attracted by his loyalty to the established
order, while political radicals embraced his concern for the poor. Literary
conservatives could look to his technical mastery, while literary radicals were
inspired by his innovations. Since the establishment of the People's Republic of
China, ~ Du Fu
's loyalty to the state and concern for the poor have been
interpreted as embryonic nationalism and socialism, and he has been praised for
his use of simple, "people's language".
~ Du Fu
's popularity grew to such an extent that it is as hard to measure his
influence as that of Shakespeare in England: it was hard for any Chinese poet not
to be influenced by him. While there was never another ~ Du Fu
, individual poets
followed in the traditions of specific aspects of his work: Bai Juyi's concern for the
poor, Lu You's patriotism, and Mei Yaochen's reflections on the quotidian are a
few examples. More broadly, ~ Du Fu
's work in transforming the lushi from mere
word play into "a vehicle for serious poetic utterance" set the stage for every
subsequent writer in the genre.
~ Du Fu
has also been influential beyond China, although in common with the other
High Tang poets, his reception into the Japanese literary culture was relatively
late. It was not until the 17th century that he was accorded the same level of
fame in Japan as in China, but he then had a profound influence on poets such as
Matsuo Basho. In the 20th century, he was the favourite poet of Kenneth
Rexroth, who has described him as "the greatest non-epic, non-dramatic poet
who has survived in any language", and commented that, "he has made me a
better man, as a moral agent and as a perceiving organism".
A Homeless Man's Departure
After the Rebellion of 755, all was silent wasteland,
gardens and cottages turned to grass and thorns.
My village had over a hundred households,
but the chaotic world scattered them east and west.
No information about the survivors;
the dead are dust and mud.
I, a humble soldier, was defeated in battle.
I ran back home to look for old roads
and walked a long time through the empty lanes.
The sun was thin, the air tragic and dismal.
I met only foxes and raccoons,
their hair on end as they snarled in rage.
Who remains in my neighborhood?
One or two old widows.
A returning bird loves its old branches,
how could I give up this poor nest?
In spring I carry my hoe all alone,
yet still water the land at sunset.
The county governor's clerk heard I'd returned
and summoned me to practice the war-drum.
This military service won't take me from my state.
I look around and have no one to worry about.
It's just me alone and the journey is short,
but I will end up lost if I travel too far.
Since my village has been washed away,
near or far makes no difference.
I will forever feel pain for my long-sick mother.
I abandoned her in this valley five years ago.
She gave birth to me, yet I could not help her.
We cry sour sobs till our lives end.
In my life I have no family to say farewell to,
so how can I be called a human being?
~ Du Fu,
1.01 - To Watanabe Sukefusa, #Beating the Cloth Drum Letters of Zen Master Hakuin, #unset, #Integral Yoga
12). Hakuin's ideas on the subject may be summed up fairly well in the calligraphic works he prepared and distributed in large numbers to people. These works consisted of one large character, filiality or parent, followed by the inscription, "There is no more valuable act of filiality than to save one's father and mother from the sad fate of an unfortunate rebirth in the next life"-exactly the sentiments Hakuin had expressed to Sukefusa as a young monk. a It was considered extremely unfilial to injure or disfigure the body of one's (male) children. This was especially heinous in the case of an eldest son, who, according to the canons of filial piety, is venerated because of his superior birth, age, and gender. b Although not all of these references can be traced, most of them are found in Tales of the TwentyFour Paragons of Filial Virtue (Ehr-shih-ssu hsiao), a popular Confucian text of the Yuan dynasty that was reprinted and widely read in Edo Japan. c A legendary sage ruler of ancient China. According to Mencius, when ministers came to him with good advice, Yu always received it with deep gratitude.
1.11 - Higher Laws, #Walden, and On The Duty Of Civil Disobedience, #Henry David Thoreau, #Philosophy
We are conscious of an animal in us, which awakens in proportion as our higher nature slumbers. It is reptile and sensual, and perhaps cannot be wholly expelled; like the worms which, even in life and health, occupy our bodies. Possibly we may withdraw from it, but never change its nature. I fear that it may enjoy a certain health of its own; that we may be well, yet not pure. The other day I picked up the lower jaw of a hog, with white and sound teeth and tusks, which suggested that there was an animal health and vigor distinct from the spiritual. This creature succeeded by other means than temperance and purity. That in which men differ from brute beasts, says Mencius, is a thing very inconsiderable; the common herd lose it very soon; superior men preserve it carefully. Who knows what sort of life would result if we had attained to purity? If I knew so wise a man as could teach me purity I would go to seek him forthwith. A comm and over our passions, and over the external senses of the body, and good acts, are declared by the Ved to be indispensable in the minds approximation to God. Yet the spirit can for the time pervade and control every member and function of the body, and transmute what in form is the grossest sensuality into purity and devotion. The generative energy, which, when we are loose, dissipates and makes us unclean, when we are continent invigorates and inspires us. Chastity is the flowering of man; and what are called Genius, Heroism, Holiness, and the like, are but various fruits which succeed it. Man flows at once to God when the channel of purity is open. By turns our purity inspires and our impurity casts us down. He is blessed who is assured that the animal is dying out in him day by day, and the divine being established. Perhaps there is none but has cause for shame on account of the inferior and brutish nature to which he is allied. I fear that we are such gods or demigods only as fauns and satyrs, the divine allied to beasts, the creatures of appetite, and that, to some extent, our very life is our disgrace.
How happys he who hath due place assigned
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