1. Mencius said,
'For the mouth to desire sweet tastes, the eye to desire
beautiful colours, the ear to desire pleasant sounds, the nose
to desire fragrant odours, and the four limbs to desire ease and
rest;-- these things are natural. But there is the appointment
of Heaven in connexion with them, and the superior man does not
say of his pursuit of them, "It is my nature."
2. 'The exercise
of love between father and son, the observance of righteousness
between sovereign and minister, the rules of ceremony between
guest and host, the display of knowledge in recognising the
talented, and the fulfilling the heavenly course by the sage;--
these are the appointment of Heaven. But there is an adaptation
of our nature for them. The superior man does not say, in
reference to them, "It is the appointment of Heaven."'
Pû-hâi asked, saying, 'What sort of man is Yo-chang?' Mencius
replied, 'He is a good man, a real man.'
2. 'What do you
mean by "A good man," "A real man?"'
3. The reply was,
'A man who commands our liking is what is called a good man.
4. 'He whose
goodness is part of himself is what is called real man.
5. 'He whose
goodness has been filled up is what is called beautiful man.
6. He whose
completed goodness is brightly displayed is what is called a
7. 'When this
great man exercises a transforming influence, he is what is
called a sage.
8. 'When the sage
is beyond our knowledge, he is what is called a spirit-man.
9. 'Yo-chang is
between the two first characters, and below the four last.'
1. Mencius said,
'Those who are fleeing from the errors of Mo naturally turn to
Yang, and those who are fleeing from the errors of Yang
naturally turn to orthodoxy. When they so turn, they should at
once and simply be received.
2. 'Those who
nowadays dispute with the followers of Yang and Mo do so as if
they were pursuing a stray pig, the leg of which, after they
have got it to enter the pen, they proceed to tie.'
'There are the exactions of hempen-cloth and silk, of grain, and
of personal service. The prince requires but one of these at
once, deferring the other two. If he require two of them at
once, then the people die of hunger. If he require the three at
once, then fathers and sons are separated.'
Mencius said, 'The
precious things of a prince are three;-- the territory, the
people, the government and its business. If one value as most
precious pearls and jade, calamity is sure to befall him.'
having obtained an official situation in Ch'î, Mencius said, 'He
is a dead man, that Pan-ch'ang Kwo!' Pan-chang Kwo being put to
death, the disciples asked, saying, 'How did you know, Master,
that he would meet with death?' Mencius replied, 'He was a man,
who had a little ability, but had not learned the great
doctrines of the superior man. He was just qualified to bring
death upon himself, but for nothing more.'
1. When Mencius
went to T'ang, he was lodged in the Upper palace. A sandal in
the process of making had been placed there in a window, and
when the keeper of the place came to look for it, he could not
2. On this, some
one asked Mencius, saying, 'Is it thus that your followers
pilfer?' Mencius replied, 'Do you think that they came here to
pilfer the sandal?' The man said, 'I apprehend not. But you,
Master, having arranged to give lessons, do not go back to
inquire into the past, and you do not reject those who come to
you. If they come with the mind to learn, you receive them
without any more ado.'
1. Mencius said,
'All men have some things which they cannot bear;-- extend that
feeling to what they can bear, and benevolence will be the
result. All men have some things which they will not do;--
extend that feeling to the things which they do, and
righteousness will be the result.
2. 'If a man can
give full development to the feeling which makes him shrink from
injuring others, his benevolence will be more than can be called
into practice. If he can give full development to the feeling
which refuses to break through, or jump over, a wall, his
righteousness will be more than can be called into practice.
3. 'If he can give
full development to the real feeling of dislike with which he
receives the salutation, "Thou," "Thou," he will act righteously
in all places and circumstances.
4. 'When a scholar
speaks what he ought not to speak, by guile of speech seeking to
gain some end; and when he does not speak what he ought to
speak, by guile of silence seeking to gain some end;-- both
these cases are of a piece with breaking through a neighbour's
1. Mencius said,
'Words which are simple, while their meaning is far-reaching,
are good words. Principles which, as held, are compendious,
while their application is extensive, are good principles. The
words of the superior man do not go below the girdle, but great
principles are contained in them.
2. 'The principle
which the superior man holds is that of personal cultivation,
but the kingdom is thereby tranquillized.
3. 'The disease of
men is this:-- that they neglect their own fields, and go to
weed the fields of others, and that what they require from
others is great, while what they lay upon themselves is light.'
1. Mencius said, 'Yâo
and Shun were what they were by nature; T'ang and Wû were so by
returning to natural virtue.
2. 'When all the
movements, in the countenance and every turn of the body, are
exactly what is proper, that shows the extreme degree of the
complete virtue. Weeping for the dead should be from real
sorrow, and not because of the living. The regular path of
virtue is to be pursued without any bend, and from no view to
emolument. The words should all be necessarily sincere, not with
any desire to do what is right.
3. 'The superior
man performs the law of right, and thereby waits simply for what
has been appointed.'
1. Mencius said,
'Those who give counsel to the great should despise them, and
not look at their pomp and display.
2. 'Halls several
times eight cubits high, with beams projecting several cubits;--
these, if my wishes were to be realized, I would not have. Food
spread before me over ten cubits square, and attendants and
concubines to the amount of hundreds;-- these, though my wishes
were realized, I would not have. Pleasure and wine, and the dash
of hunting, with thousands of chariots following after me;--
these, though my wishes were realized, I would not have. What
they esteem are what I would have nothing to do with; what I
esteem are the rules of the ancients.-- Why should I stand in
awe of them?'
Mencius said, 'To
nourish the mind there is nothing better than to make the
desires few. Here is a man whose desires are few:-- in some
things he may not be able to keep his heart, but they will be
few. Here is a man whose desires are many:-- in some things he
may be able to keep his heart, but they will be few.'
1. Mencius said,
'Tsang Hsî was fond of sheep-dates, and his son, the philosopher
Tsang, could not bear to eat sheep-dates.'
2. Kung-sun Ch'âu
asked, saying, 'Which is best,-- minced meat and broiled meat,
or sheep-dates?' Mencius said, 'Mince and broiled meat, to be
sure.' Kung-sun Ch'âu went on, 'Then why did the philosopher
Tsang eat mince and broiled meat, and would not eat
sheep-dates?' Mencius answered, 'For mince and broiled meat
there is a common liking, while that for sheep-dates was
peculiar. We avoid the name, but do not avoid the surname. The
surname is common; the name is peculiar.'
1. Wan Chang
asked, saying, 'Confucius, when he was in Ch'an, said: "Let me
return. The scholars of my school are ambitious, but hasty. They
are for advancing and seizing their object, but cannot forget
their early ways." Why did Confucius, when he was in Ch'an,
think of the ambitious scholars of Lû?'
replied, 'Confucius not getting men pursuing the true medium, to
whom he might communicate his instructions, determined to take
the ardent and the cautiously-decided. The ardent would advance
to seize their object; the cautiously-decided would keep
themselves from certain things. It is not to be thought that
Confucius did not wish to get men pursuing the true medium, but
being unable to assure himself of finding such, he therefore
thought of the next class.'
3. 'I venture to
ask what sort of men they were who could be styled "The
4. 'Such,' replied
Mencius, 'as Ch'in Chang, Tsang Hsî, and Mû P'ei, were those
whom Confucius styled "ambitious."'
5. 'Why were they
6. The reply was,
'Their aim led them to talk magniloquently, saying, "The
ancients!" "The ancients!" But their actions, where we fairly
compare them with their words, did not correspond with them.
7. 'When he found
also that he could not get such as were thus ambitious, he
wanted to get scholars who would consider anything impure as
beneath them. Those were the cautiously-decided, a class next to
8. Chang pursued
his questioning, 'Confucius said, "They are only your good
careful people of the villages at whom I feel no indignation,
when they pass my door without entering my house. Your good
careful people of the villages are the thieves of virtue." What
sort of people were they who could be styled "Your good careful
people of the villages?"'
replied, 'They are those who say, "Why are they so magniloquent?
Their words have not respect to their actions and their actions
have not respect to their words, but they say, "The ancients!
The ancients! Why do they act so peculiarly, and are so cold and
distant? Born in this age, we should be of this age, to be good
is all that is needed." Eunuch-like, flattering their
generation;-- such are your good careful men of the villages.'
10. Wan Chang
said, 'Their whole village styles those men good and careful. In
all their conduct they are so. How was it that Confucius
considered them the thieves of virtue?'
replied, 'If you would blame them, you find nothing to allege.
If you would criticise them, you have nothing to criticise. They
agree with the current customs. They consent with an impure age.
Their principles have a semblance of right-heartedness and
truth. Their conduct has a semblance of disinterestedness and
purity. All men are pleased with them, and they think themselves
right, so that it is impossible to proceed with them to the
principles of Yâo and Shun. On this account they are called "The
thieves of virtue."
said, "I hate a semblance which is not the reality. I hate the
darnel, lest it be confounded with the corn. I hate glib-tonguedness,
lest it be confounded with righteousness. I hate sharpness of
tongue, lest it be confounded with sincerity. I hate the music
of Chang, lest it be confounded with the true music. I hate the
reddish blue, lest it be confounded with vermilion. I hate your
good careful men of the villages, lest they be confounded with
the truly virtuous."
13. 'The superior
man seeks simply to bring back the unchanging standard, and,
that being correct, the masses are roused to virtue. When they
are so aroused, forthwith perversities and glossed wickedness
1. Mencius said,
'From Yâo and Shun down to T'ang were 500 years and more. As to
Yu and Kâo Yâo, they saw those earliest sages, and so knew their
doctrines, while T'ang heard their doctrines as transmitted, and
so knew them.
2. 'From T'ang to
king Wan were 500 years and more. As to Î Yin, and Lâi Chû, they
saw T'ang and knew his doctrines, while king Wan heard them as
transmitted, and so knew them.
3. 'From king Wan
to Confucius were 500 years and more. As to T'âi-kung Wang and
San Î-shang, they saw Wan, and so knew his doctrines, while
Confucius heard them as transmitted, and so knew them.
4. 'From Confucius
downwards until now, there are only 100 years and somewhat more.
The distance in time from the sage is so far from being remote,
and so very near at hand was the sage's residence. In these
circumstances, is there no one to transmit his doctrines? Yea,
is there no one to do so?'