1. Mencius said,
'He who, using force, makes a pretence to benevolence is the
leader of the princes. A leader of the princes requires a large
kingdom. He who, using virtue, practises benevolence is the
sovereign of the kingdom. To become the sovereign of the
kingdom, a prince need not wait for a large kingdom. T'ang did
it with only seventy lî, and king Wan with only a hundred.
2. 'When one by
force subdues men, they do not submit to him in heart. They
submit, because their strength is not adequate to resist. When
one subdues men by virtue, in their hearts' core they are
pleased, and sincerely submit, as was the case with the seventy
disciples in their submission to Confucius. What is said in the
Book of Poetry,
west, from the east,
From the south, from the north,
There was not one who thought of refusing submission,"
is an illustration
1. Mencius said,
'Benevolence brings glory to a prince, and the opposite of it
brings disgrace. For the princes of the present day to hate
disgrace and yet to live complacently doing what is not
benevolent, is like hating moisture and yet living in a low
2. 'If a prince
hates disgrace, the best course for him to pursue, is to esteem
virtue and honour virtuous scholars, giving the worthiest among
them places of dignity, and the able offices of trust. When
throughout his kingdom there is leisure and rest from external
troubles, let him, taking advantage of such a season, clearly
digest the principles of his government with its legal
sanctions, and then even great kingdoms will be constrained to
stand in awe of him.
3. 'It is said in
the Book of Poetry,
heavens were dark w1th rain,
I gathered the bark from the roots of the mulberry trees,
And wove it closely to form the window and door of my nest;
Now, I thought, ye people below,
Perhaps ye will not dare to insult me."
"Did not he who made this ode understand the way of governing?"
If a prince is able rightly to govern his kingdom, who will dare
to insult him?
4. 'But now the
princes take advantage of the time when throughout their
kingdoms there is leisure and rest from external troubles, to
abandon themselves to pleasure and indolent indifference;-- they
in fact seek for calamities for themselves.
5. 'Calamity and
happiness in all cases are men's own seeking.
6. 'This is
illustrated by what is said in the Book of Poetry,--
studious to be in harmony with the ordinances of God,
So you will certainly get for yourself much happiness;"
and by the passage
ofthe Tâi Chiah,-- "When Heaven sends down calamities, it is
still possible to escape from them; when we occasion the
calamities ourselves, it is not possible any longer to live."'
1. Mencius said,
'If a ruler give honour to men of talents and virtue and employ
the able, so that offices shall all be filled by individuals of
distinction and mark;-- then all the scholars of the kingdom
will be pleased, and wish to stand in his court.
2. 'If, in the
market-place of his capital, he levy a ground-rent on the shops
but do not tax the goods, or enforce the proper regulations
without levying a ground-rent;-- then all the traders of the
kingdom will be pleased, and wish to store their goods in his
3. 'If, at his
frontier-passes, there be an inspection of persons, but no taxes
charged on goods or other articles, then all the travellers of
the kingdom will be pleased, and wish to make their tours on his
4. 'If he require
that the husbandmen give their mutual aid to cultivate the
public feld, and exact no other taxes from them;-- then all the
husbandmen of the kingdom will be pleased, and wish to plough in
5. 'If from the
occupiers of the shops in his market-place he do not exact the
fine of the individual idler, or of the hamlet's quota of cloth,
then all the people of the kingdom will be pleased, and wish to
come and be his people.
6. 'If a ruler can
truly practise these five things, then the people in the
neighbouring kingdoms will look up to him as a parent. From the
first birth of mankind till now, never has any one led children
to attack their parent, and succeeded in his design. Thus, such
a ruler will not have an enemy in all the kingdom, and he who
has no enemy in the kingdom is the minister of Heaven. Never has
there been a ruler in such a case who did not attain to the
1. Mencius said,
'All men have a mind which cannot bear to see the sufferings of
2. 'The ancient
kings had this commiserating mind, and they, as a matter of
course, had likewise a commiserating government. When with a
commiserating mind was practised a commiserating government, to
rule the kingdom was as easy a matter as to make anything go
round in the palm.
3. 'When I say
that all men have a mind which cannot bear to see the sufferings
of others, my meaning may be illustrated thus:-- even
now-a-days, if men suddenly see a child about to fall into a
well, they will without exception experience a feeling of alarm
and distress. They will feel so, not as a ground on which they
may gain the favour of the child's parents, nor as a ground on
which they may seek the praise of their neighbours and friends,
nor from a dislike to the reputation of having been unmoved by
such a thing.
4. 'From this case
we may perceive that the feeling of commiseration is essential
to man, that the feeling of shame and dislike is essential to
man, that the feeling of modesty and complaisance is essential
to man, and that the feeling of approving and disapproving is
essential to man.
5. 'The feeling of
commiseration is the principle of benevolence. The feeling of
shame and dislike is the principle of righteousness. The feeling
of modesty and complaisance is the principle of propriety. The
feeling of approving and disapproving is the principle of
6. 'Men have these
four principles just as they have their four limbs. When men,
having these four principles, yet say of themselves that they
cannot develop them, they play the thief with themselves, and he
who says of his prince that he cannot develop them plays the
thief with his prince.
7. 'Since all men
have these four principles in themselves, let them know to give
them all their development and completion, and the issue will be
like that of fire which has begun to burn, or that of a spring
which has begun to find vent. Let them have their complete
development, and they will suffice to love and protect all
within the four seas. Let them be denied that development, and
they will not suffice for a man to serve his parents with.'
1. Mencius said,
'Is the arrow-maker less benevolent than the maker of armour of
defence? And yet, the arrow-maker's only fear is lest men should
not be hurt, and the armour-maker's only fear is lest men should
be hurt. So it is with the priest and the coffin-maker. The
choice of a profession, therefore, is a thing in which great
caution is required.
said, "It is virtuous manners which constitute the excellence of
a neighbourhood. If a man, in selecting a residence, do not fix
on one where such prevail, how can he be wise?" Now, benevolence
is the most honourable dignity conferred by Heaven, and the
quiet home in which man should awell. Since no one can hinder us
from being so, if yet we are not benevolent;-- this is being not
3. 'From the want
of benevolence and the want of wisdom will ensue the entire
absence of propriety and righteousness;-- he who is in such a
case must be the servant of other men. To be the servant of men
and yet ashamed of such servitude, is like a bowmaker's being
ashamed to make bows, or an arrow-maker's being ashamed to make
4. 'If he be
ashamed of his case, his best course is to practise benevolence.
5. 'The man who
would be benevolent is like the archer. The archer adjusts
himself and then shoots. If he misses, he does not murmur
against those who surpass himself. He simply turns round and
seeks the cause of his failure in himself.'
1. Mencius said,
'When any one told Tsze-lû that he had a fault, he rejoiced.
2. 'When Yü heard
good words, he bowed to the speaker.
3. 'The great Shun
had a still greater delight in what was good. He regarded virtue
as the common property of himself and others, giving up his own
way to follow that of others, and delighting to learn from
others to practise what was good.
4. 'From the time
when he ploughed and sowed, exercised the potter's art, and was
a fisherman, to the time when he became emperor, he was
continually learning from others.
5. 'To take
example from others to practise virtue, is to help them in the
same practice. Therefore, there is no attribute of the superior
man greater than his helping men to practise virtue.'
1. Mencius said,
'Po-î would not serve a prince whom he did not approve, nor
associate with a friend whom he did not esteem. He would not
stand in a bad prince's court, nor speak with a bad man. To
stand in a bad prince's court, or to speak with a bad man, would
have been to him the same as to sit with his court robes and
court cap amid mire and ashes. Pursuing the examination of his
dislike to what was evil, we find that he thought it necessary,
if he happened to be standing with a villager whose cap was not
rightly adjusted, to leave him with a high air, as if he were
going to be defiled. Therefore, although some of the princes
made application to him with very proper messages, he would not
receive their gifts.-- He would not receive their gifts,
counting it inconsistent with his purity to go to them.
2. 'Hûi of
Liû-hsiâ was not ashamed to serve an impure prince, nor did he
think it low to be an inferior officer. When advanced to
employment, he did not conceal his virtue, but made it a point
to carry out his principles. When neglected and left without
office, he did not murmur. When straitened by poverty, he did
not grieve. Accordingly, he had a saying,"You are you, and I am
I. Although you stand by my side with breast and aims bare, or
with your body naked, how can you defile me?" Therefore,
self-possessed, he companied with men indifferently, at the same
time not losing himself. When he wished to leave, if pressed to
remain in office, he would remain.-- He would remain in office,
when pressed to do so, not counting it required by his purity to
3. Mencius said,
'Po-î was narrow-minded, and Hûi of Liû-hsiâ was wanting in
self-respect. The superior man will not manifest either
narrow-mindedness, or the want of self-respect.'