Front Page Titles (by Subject) BOOK XX. * - The Chinese Classics: Vol. 1. The Life and Teachings of Confucius (Analects, Great Learning, Doctrine of the Mean)
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BOOK XX. * - Confucius, The Chinese Classics: Vol. 1. The Life and Teachings of Confucius (Analects, Great Learning, Doctrine of the Mean) 
The Chinese Classics: Translated into English with Preliminary Essays and Explanatory Notes by James Legge. Vol. 1. The Life and Teachings of Confucius. Second Edition (London: N. Trübner, 1869).
Part of: The Chinese Classics
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ChapterI.1. Yaou said, “Oh! you, Shun, the Heaven-determined order of succession now rests in your person. Sincerely hold fast the due Mean. If there shall be distress and want within the four seas, your Heavenly revenue will come to a perpetual end.”
2. Shun also used the same language in giving charge to Yu.
3.T‘ang said, “I, the child Le, presume to use a dark-coloured victim, and presume to announce to Thee, O most great and sovereign God, that the sinner I dare not pardon, and thy ministers, O God, I do not keep in obscurity. The examination of them is by thy mind, O God. If, in my person, I commit offences, they are not to be attributed to you, the people of the myriad regions. If you in the myriad regions commit offences, these offences must rest on my person.”
4. Chow conferred great gifts, and the good were enriched.
5. “Although he has his near relatives, they are not equal to my virtuous men. The people are throwing blame upon me, the one man.”
6. He carefully attended to the weights and measures, examined the body of the laws, restored the discarded officers, and the good government of the empire took its course.
7. He revived States that had been extinguished, restored families whose line of succession had been broken, and called to office those who had retired into obscurity, so that throughout the empire the hearts of the people turned towards him.
8. What he attached chief importance to, were the food of the people, the duties of mourning, and sacrifices.
9. By his generosity, he won all. By his sincerity, he made the people repose trust in him. By his earnest activity, his achievements were great. By his justice, all were delighted.
II.1. Tsze-chang asked Confucius, saying, “In what way should a person in authority act, in order that he may conduct government properly?” The Master replied, “Let him honour the five excellent, and banish away the four bad, things;—then may be conduct government properly.” Tsze-chang said, “What are meant by the five excellent things?” The Master said, “When the person in authority is beneficent without great expenditure; when he lays tasks on the people without their repining; when he pursues what he desires without being covetous; when he maintains a dignified ease without being proud; when he is majestic without being fierce.”
2. Tsze-chang said, “What is meant by being beneficent without great expenditure?” The Master replied, “When the person in authority makes more beneficial to the people the things from which they naturally derive benefit; is not this being beneficent without great expenditure? When he chooses the labours which are proper, and makes them labour on them, who will repine? When his desires are set on benevolent government, and he realizes it, who will accuse him of covetousness? Whether he has to do with many people or few, or with things great or small, he does not dare to indicate any disrespect;—is not this to maintain a dignified ease without any pride? He adjusts his clothes and cap, and throws a dignity into his looks, so that, thus dignified, he is looked at with awe; is not this to be majestic without being fierce?”
3. Tsze-chang then asked, “What are meant by the four bad things?” The Master said, “To put the people to death without having instructed them;—this is called cruelty. To require from them, suddenly, the full tale of work, without having given them warning;—this is called oppression. To issue orders as if without urgency, at first, and, when the time comes, to insist on them with severity;—this is called injury. And, generally speaking, to give pay or rewards to men, and yet to do it in a stingy way;—this is called acting the part of a mere official.”
III.1. The Master said, “Without recognizing the ordinances of Heaven, it is impossible to be a superior man.
2. “Without an acquaintance with the rules of Propriety, it is impossible for the character to be established.
3. “Without knowing the force of words, it is impossible to know men.”
My master, the philosopher Ch‘ing, says:—“The Great Learning is a book left by Confucius, and forms the gate by which first learners enter into virtue. That we can now perceive the order in which the ancients pursued their learning, is solely owing to the preservation of this work, the Analects and Mencius coming after it. Learners must commence their course with this, and then it may be hoped they will be kept from error.”
[* ]Heading and contents of this book.—“Yaou said” Hing Ping says:—“This records the words of the two emperors, the three kings, and Confucius, throwing light on the excellence of the ordinances of Heaven, and the transforming power of government. Its doctrines are all those of sages, worthy of being transmitted to posterity. On this account, it brings up the rear of all the other books, without any particular relation to the one immediately preceding.”
[1. ]Principles and ways of Yaou, Shun, Yu, T‘ang, and Woo. The first five paragraphs here are mostly compiled from different parts of the Shoo-king. But there are many variations of language. The compiler may have thought it sufficient, if he gave the substance of the original in his quotations, without seeking to observe a verbal accuracy, or, possibly, the Shoo-king, as it was in his days, may have contained the passages as he gives them, and the variations be owing to the burning of most of the classical books by the founder of the Ts‘in dynasty, and their recovery and restoration in a mutilated state. 1. We do not find this address of Yaou to Shun in the Shoo-king. Pt I., but the different sentences may be gathered from I’t II. Bk II. 14, 15, 17, where we have the charge of Shun to Yu. Yaou’s reign commenced bc 2356, and after reigning 73 years, he resigned the administration to Shun. He died, bc 2256, and, two years after, Shun occupied the throne, in obedience to the will of the people. “The Heaven-determined order of succession” is, literally, “the represented and calculated numbers of heaven,” i.e., the divisions of the year, its terms, months, and days, all described in a calendar, as they succeed one another with determined regularity. Here, ancient and modern interpreters agree in giving to the expression the meaning which appears in the translation. I may observe here, that Choo He differs often from the old interpreters in explaining these passages of the Shoo-king, but I have followed him, leaving the correctness or incorrectness of his views to be considered in the annotations on the Shoo-king. 3. At the commencement of this paragraph we must understand T‘ang, the founder of the Shang dynasty. The sentences here may in substance be collected in a measure from the Shoo-king, Pt IV. Bk III. 4, 8. The sinner is Keĕ, the tyrant, and last emperor of the Hea dynasty. “The ministers of God” are the able and virtuous men, whom T‘ang had called, or would call, to office. 4. In the Shoo-king, Pt V. Bk III. 9, we find King Woo saying, “He distributed great rewards through the empire, and all the people were pleased and submitted.” 5. See the Shoo-king, Pt V. Bk I. sect. ii. 6, 7. The subject is Chow, the tyrant of the Yin dynasty. The people found fault with King Woo, because he did not come to save them from their sufferings, by destroying their oppressor. The remaining paragraphs are descriptive of the policy of King Woo, but cannot, excepting the eighth one, be traced in the present Shoo-king.
[2. ]How government may be conducted with efficiency, by honouring five excellent things, and putting away four bad things:—a conversation with Tsze-chang. It is understood that this chapter, and the next, give the ideas of Confucius on government, as a sequel to those of the ancient sages and emperors, whose principles are set forth in the last chapter, to show how Confucius was their proper successor.
[3. ]The ordinances of Heaven, the rules of Propriety, and the force of Words, all necessary to be known.
[* ]Title of the Work.—“The Great Learning.” I have pointed out, in the prolegomena, the great differences which are found among Chinese commentators on this Work, on almost every point connected with the criticism and interpretation of it. We encounter them here on the very threshold. The name itself is simply the adoption of the two commencing characters of the treatise, according to the custom noticed at the beginning of the Analects, but in explaining those two characters, the old and new schools differ widely. I have contented myself with the title—“The Great Learning,” which is a literal translation of the characters.
[** ]The introductory note.—I have thought it well to translate this, and all the other notes and supplements appended by Choo He to the original text, because they appear in nearly all the editions of the work which fall into the hands of students, and his view of the classics is what must be regarded as the orthodox one. The translation, which is here given, is also, for the most part, according to his views, though my own differing opinion will be found freely expressed in the notes. Another version, following the order of the text, before it was transposed by him and his masters, the Ch‘ing, and without reference to its interpretations, will be found in the translation of the Le-ke. The Ch‘ing here is the second of the two brothers, to whom reference is made in the prolegomena. But how can we say that “The Great Learning” is a work left by Confucius? Even Choo He ascribes only a small portion of it to the Master, and makes the rest to be the production of the disciple Tsăng, and before his time, the whole work was attributed generally to the sage’s grandson.