Chinese Philosophical Texts



2 Leave a comment on paragraph 2 0 John Knoblock and Jeffrey Riegel, tr., The Annals of Lü Buwei (Stanford: Stanford University, 2000)

3 Leave a comment on paragraph 3 0 Extracts

4 Leave a comment on paragraph 4 0 A.

5 Leave a comment on paragraph 5 0 1. 天無私覆也,地無私載也,日月無私燭也,四時無私行也,行其德而萬物

6 Leave a comment on paragraph 6 0 2. 堯有子十人, 不與其子而授舜,舜有子九人, 不與其子而授禹,至公也。

7 Leave a comment on paragraph 7 0 3. 晉平公問於祈黃羊曰:南陽無令,其誰可而為之?

8 Leave a comment on paragraph 8 0 4. 祈黃羊對曰:解狐可。

9 Leave a comment on paragraph 9 0 5.  平公曰:解狐非子之讎邪?

10 Leave a comment on paragraph 10 0 6.  對曰:君問可,非問臣之讎也。

11 Leave a comment on paragraph 11 0 7.  平公曰:善。

12 Leave a comment on paragraph 12 0 8.  遂用之。

13 Leave a comment on paragraph 13 0 9.  國人稱善焉。

14 Leave a comment on paragraph 14 0 10. 居有間,平公又問祈黃羊曰:國無尉,其誰可而為之?

15 Leave a comment on paragraph 15 0 11. 對曰:午可。

16 Leave a comment on paragraph 16 0 12. 平公曰:午非子之子邪?

17 Leave a comment on paragraph 17 0 13. 對曰:君問可,非問臣之子也。

18 Leave a comment on paragraph 18 0 14. 平公曰:善。

19 Leave a comment on paragraph 19 0 15. 又遂用之。

20 Leave a comment on paragraph 20 0 16. 國人稱善焉。

21 Leave a comment on paragraph 21 0 17. 孔子聞之曰:善哉!祈黃羊之論也。

22 Leave a comment on paragraph 22 0 18. 外舉不避讎,內舉不避子。

23 Leave a comment on paragraph 23 0 19. 祈黃羊可謂公矣。

private; partial; biased; secret; selfish
to cover; to overturn; to pour out
zài to transport, to convey; to carry; to record
zhú a candle; to shine upon, to illuminate
virtue, kindness; potency, power
萬物 万物 wàn wù “the ten thousand objects,” i.e., all things
to obtain (when followed by a noun); able to (when followed by a verb)
suì to complete, to succeed; then, consequently
yáo Yáo, an ancient sage-king
to give; to share, to join together; an ally; and, with
to take part in
shòu to give; to pass on to; to bestow
shùn Shùn, an ancient sage-king
Yŭ, an ancient sage-king
zhì to arrive, to reach; to the extent that; most, greatest
gōng ruler, “duke”; public; unbiased, fair and just; universal
jìn Jìn, the name of a state
平公 píng gōng Duke Píng
祈黃羊 qí huáng yáng Qí Huángyáng, a personal name
南陽 南阳 nán yáng Nányáng, placename
lìng a magistrate; a command, a law; to make (someone do something), to allow (someone to do something)
duì to face; to reply
xiè Xiè, a surname
jiě to untie; to cut open; to explain; to understand; to dispel
解狐 xiè hú Xiè Hú, a personal name
chóu an enemy; an old grudge or insult
yòng to employ; to use
國人 国人 guó rén “the people of the capital,” the urban populace
chēng to praise, to extol; to declare officially
chèng a weighing scale; to weigh; to fit
to dwell, to live; to hold a post; to accumulate; (居 + time = after + time)
jiàn a space, an opening; an interval, a duration of time; to separate; to alternate
jiān a place; a mid-point
yòu again, further
wèi military official, commandant
Wŭ, a personal name
孔子 kŏng zĭ Master Kŏng, i.e., Confucius
zāi particle that marks an exclamation
lùn to assess, to pass judgment, to discuss; a discussion
wài outside
to lift, to raise; to begin; to recommend; to praise; to propose
to avoid
nèi inside

24 Leave a comment on paragraph 24 0 B.

25 Leave a comment on paragraph 25 0 1.  先王之法,胡可得而法?

26 Leave a comment on paragraph 26 0 2.  雖可得,猶若不可法。

27 Leave a comment on paragraph 27 0 3.  凡先王之法,有要於時也,時不與法俱至。

28 Leave a comment on paragraph 28 0 4.  法雖今而至,猶若不可法。

29 Leave a comment on paragraph 29 0 5.  故釋先王之成法,而法其所以為法。

30 Leave a comment on paragraph 30 0 6.  先王之所以為法者何邪?

31 Leave a comment on paragraph 31 0 7.  先王之所以為法者人也。

32 Leave a comment on paragraph 32 0 8.  而己亦人也。

33 Leave a comment on paragraph 33 0 9.  故察己則可以知人,察今則可以知古, 古今一也,人與我同耳。

34 Leave a comment on paragraph 34 0 10. 夫不敢議法者,衆庶也。

35 Leave a comment on paragraph 35 0 11. 以死守法者,有司也。

36 Leave a comment on paragraph 36 0 12.  因時變法者,賢主也。

37 Leave a comment on paragraph 37 0 13.  是故有天下七十一聖,其法皆不同。

38 Leave a comment on paragraph 38 0 14.  非務相反也,時勢異也。

39 Leave a comment on paragraph 39 0 15.  楚人有涉江者,其劍自舟中墜於水。

40 Leave a comment on paragraph 40 0 16.  遽契其舟曰:是吾劍之所從墜。

41 Leave a comment on paragraph 41 0 17.  舟止,從其所契者入水求之。

42 Leave a comment on paragraph 42 0 18.  舟已行矣,而劍不行,求劍如此,不亦惑乎?

43 Leave a comment on paragraph 43 0 19.  以古法為其國者與此同。

44 Leave a comment on paragraph 44 0 20.  時已徙矣,而法不徙,以此為治,豈不難哉?

先王 xiān wáng the former kings
model, standard; law; to take as a model, to imitate
interrogative particle, like 何
suī even if, even though
猶若 yóu ruò still, even yet
fán in all cases; all; common
要=約 yuē to bind; to compel; to restrain; a treaty; simple
all, both
shì to release; to abandon, to let go; to explain
chéng to complete, to finish; to perfect
所以 suŏ yĭ means by which, reason for which
self (do not confuse with 已 )
likewise, also; indeed
chá to examine, to investigate
tóng the same, identical
ěr fusion of 而+已 “and that’s all”; an ear
găn to dare
to discuss, to criticize
zhòng the masses; many
shù children of a secondary wife; commoners; the masses; many
shŏu to defend; to preserve; to keep
有司 yŏu sī the officials
yīn to follow; to accord with
biàn to change
xián worthy; talented
shèng sage
fēi (at the beginning of a phrase) “it is not the case that”
to devote oneself to; to take as a profession; to try to be; affairs, business
xiāng indicates an understood object; mutually
xiàng appearance; to physiognomize; to look for opportunity; to assist; a high minister
făn to reverse; to oppose; to turn over; to rebel; opposite; anti-; on the contrary
shì tendency; force of circumstances; dynamism, power
different; to distinguish
chŭ Chŭ, name of a state
shè to cross; to wade across
jiāng a major river; the Yangzi
jiàn a sword
from; self
zhōu a boat
zhuì to fall down or off
rapidly; immediately
契=鍥 qiè to chisel; to notch; to carve; a sickle
zhĭ to stop
to enter
qiú to seek for; to beg for
huò deluded, confused
to move, to shift
zhì to regulate, to put in order; regulation; to cure
nán difficult

45 Leave a comment on paragraph 45 0 成語:刻 ( “to carve, to notch) 舟求劍  to be stubbornly unimaginative and cling to old ways

46 Leave a comment on paragraph 46 0 C.

47 Leave a comment on paragraph 47 0 1.  欲知平直, 則必準繩。

48 Leave a comment on paragraph 48 0 2.  欲知方圓,則必規矩。

49 Leave a comment on paragraph 49 0 3.  人主欲自知,則必直士。

50 Leave a comment on paragraph 50 0 4.  故天子立輔弼, 設師保,所以舉過也。

51 Leave a comment on paragraph 51 0 5.  夫人固不能自知, 人主尤甚。

52 Leave a comment on paragraph 52 0 6.  存亡安危, 勿求於外,務在自知。

53 Leave a comment on paragraph 53 0 7.  范氏之亡也,百姓有得鐘者。

54 Leave a comment on paragraph 54 0 8.  欲負而走,則鐘大不負。

55 Leave a comment on paragraph 55 0 9.  以椎毀之,鐘況然有音。

56 Leave a comment on paragraph 56 0 10. 恐人聞之而奪己也,遽掩其耳。

57 Leave a comment on paragraph 57 0 11. 惡人聞之,可也。

58 Leave a comment on paragraph 58 0 12. 惡己自聞之,悖矣。

59 Leave a comment on paragraph 59 0 13. 為人主而惡聞其過,非猶此邪?

to want to, to desire
píng flat, level; fair
zhí straight; direct; honest
zhŭn a (carpenter’s) level; a standard, a criterion; reliable
shéng a cord; a cord dipped in ink and stretched out which was used by carpenters as a straightedge
yuán round
guī a pair of compasses (for drawing circles); rules
a T-square; rules, regulations
zhŭ a master; a ruler
shì a man in state service; a scholar
to establish, to set up
a side pole of a cart; an assistant; to assist
to assist; an assistant
shè to establish, to set up; suppose, if
băo to protect; a tutor
yóu particularly, especially; strange, peculiar; to blame
cún to preserve; to survive
wáng to perish; to disappear; to flee
ān peace; security; question particle like 何
wéi peril, danger
范氏 fàn shì the Fàn clan
zhōng a bell
to carry on the back; to be responsible for; to “turn the back on,” i.e., to betray, to abandon; to flee
zŏu to run; to flee; to go on foot; to depart
zhuī a hammer; a wooden mallet
huĭ to destroy; to slander
kuàng condition, situation; furthermore; (here) an onomatopoeia
rán to be so, to be thus; to agree; X + 然 = in an X manner
yīn a sound; a (musical) note; a voice; news, tidings
kŏng to fear; probably
duó to rob, to take by force; to capture; to force one’s way in
yăn to cover up; to shut; to ambush
bèi contrary, against; contrary to reason or nature, perverse; lawless, violent

60 Leave a comment on paragraph 60 0 成語: 掩耳盜 (dào “to steal; a burglar) 鈴 (líng “a bell”) to deceive only oneself


62 Leave a comment on paragraph 62 0 A.1. Heaven has no bias in its covering; Earth has no bias in its carrying; the sun and moon have no bias in their illuminating; the four seasons have no bias in their moving on. They [each] put into practice their [respective] virtue, and the myriad things are able to successfully grow through this. 2. Yáo had ten sons, but not giving [the throne] to his sons, he bestowed it on Shùn. Shùn had nine sons, but not giving it to his sons, he bestowed it on Yŭ. This is the ultimate in impartiality.

63 Leave a comment on paragraph 63 0 3. Duke Píng of Jìn enquired of Qí Huángyáng, ‘Nányáng has no magistrate. Which of our people is suitable and will do it? 4. Qí Huángyáng replied, ‘Xiè Hú is suitable.’ 5. Duke Píng said, ‘Is not Xiè Hú your mortal enemy?’ 6. [Qí Huángyáng] replied, ‘My Lord asked who was suitable, he did not ask who was my mortal enemy.’ 7. Duke Píng said, ‘Excellent!’ 8. Consequently he employed him [Xiè Hú]. 9. The populace of the capital praised the excellence in this. 10. After a while, Duke Píng again asked Qí Huangyáng, ‘The capital has no commandant. Which of our people is suitable and will do it?’ 11. [Qí Huángyáng] replied, ‘Wŭ is suitable.’ 12. Duke Píng said, ‘Is not Wŭ your son?’ 13. [Qí Huángyáng] replied, ‘My Lord asked who was suitable, he did not ask who was my son.’ 14. Duke Píng said, ‘Excellent!’ 15. Again he consequently employed him [Wŭ]. 16. The populace of the capital praised the excellence in this. 17. Confucius heard of this and said, ‘Excellent indeed are Qí Huángyáng’s judgements!  18. When recommending on the outside, he does not avoid his mortal enemy; when recommending on the inside, he does not avoid his son. 19. Qí Huángyáng should be called impartial.

64 Leave a comment on paragraph 64 0 Sentence #1 begins with four phrases that are essentially parallel. The first is exactly parallel to the second, and the third to the fourth; all four follow the same pattern and communicate the same message. The four phrases take as their subject four fundamental constituents of the cosmos, and assert that each of these has no bias in the performance of its characteristic action: for Heaven to cover, for Earth to support or carry, for the sun and the moon to shine, and for the four seasons to inexorably advance. In the concluding phrase, the four announced subjects carry forward as a collective, understood subject for the verbal phrase preceding 而. This phrase states that each of these cosmic forces carries out its own 德, a character that both indicates the capacity/potency that defines or characterizes each force and suggests that this potency is life-giving. In the phrase following the 而, the subject is the “myriad objects,” 得 is a modal verb, 遂 appears to be an adverb meaning “completely” or “successfully,” and 長 “to grow” is the main verb. Both verbs, 得 and 長, are linked to the character 德. The former is a homophone and a regular gloss, while the latter is related through belonging to a common semantic field dealing with life and growth. Thus what the “myriad objects” do in this concluding phrase emerges directly from the attributes (無私X也) of the cosmic agents in the initial four parallel phrases. 焉 is the fusion of 於+此 here meaning “from this, through this, by this,” where “this” refers to these attributes. Sentence #2 features a strict parallelism between the unit formed by the first two phrases and that formed by the third and fourth. The transformation of one into the other is carried out simply by changing the names of the sages and altering the numbers of the sons. Note also that the ultimate object of the first “half” (舜) is the initial subject of the second. The final three characters effectively play the role of predicate to a subject constituted by all that has preceded them. Thus the over-arching structure is “subject = predicate 也” where the two parallel sentences about the passing over of sons and the yielding of the throne to the virtuous are equated with the “supremely universal/unbiased/public-spirited.” 公 and 私 are opposites, so the 無私 of cosmic process (in Sentence #1) and the 至公 of sagely action are equivalent. Thus this prologue celebrates the ideal of absolute impartiality through the twin models of the cosmos and the sages. It is also significant that the verb applied to the sons is 與, while that applied to the sage who receives the throne is 授. The two verbs are synonyms meaning “to give,” but the former has the additional meaning of “to join together with, to be an ally,” so by using this word the author suggests that in not giving them the throne, the sages also rejected their ties to their offspring.

65 Leave a comment on paragraph 65 0 The rest of the passage is a parable on the theme of impartiality. In Sentence #3 note the use of 於 to mark the person to whom a question is put. In the final phrase the character 其 is the third-person possessive, hence “of them,” so 其誰 would mean “who among them.” The next noteworthy feature, in Sentence #5, is the use of a negative combined with a question particle to form a question that assumes a positive response, thus “A 非 B 邪?” “Isn’t A B?” Just as in the English, this pattern suggests that the speaker thinks that A is B.  In Sentence #6, in the response, the use of the 非 in the second phrase indicates that the pattern of the sentence is “A is B, it is not C,” where the overarching structure is “subject = predicate 也.” Thus something like “What your Majesty asked [about] was suitability, it was not my mortal enemy.” The next feature to note is in Sentence #9 pertaining to the “capital populace,” where 焉 is the fusion of 於 + 此 “in this,” where the “this” refers to the duke’s action. Sentence #10 begins with a standard formula for noting the passage of time: 居 + unit of time, in this case 有間 “there was an interval.” The second half of the story is a virtual repetition of the first, switching only the name of the office, the name of the proposed appointee, the relation to Qí Huángyáng, and the repeated addition of the character 又. Otherwise every character is identical. Sentence #17, the first sentence of Confucius’s pronouncement, is “subject = predicate 也”, unusual only in the use of a stative verb (善) as the subject and the insertion of an exclamatory particle (哉). Sentence #18 is composed of two parallel phrases built around the opposition of “outer” and “inner.” These are, of course, correlative terms and will have different meanings in different contexts (foreign as opposed to China, provinces as opposed to capital, capital as opposed to court, court as opposed to emperor’s personal chambers, exterior world as opposed to self, etc.). Here they refer to the two extremes of social relations, the most distant/hostile vs. the most intimate/affectionate.

66 Leave a comment on paragraph 66 0 B. 1. How can the laws of the former kings be obtained and taken as a model? 2. Even if you could obtain them, you still could not take them as a model. 3. In all cases the laws of the former kings had links to their times. The times do not come down to us together with their laws. 4. Even if the laws did come down to now, you still could not take them as a model. 5. Therefore, abandon the formulated laws of the former kings and take as a model the means by which they created laws. 6. What is the means by which the former kings created laws? 7. The means by which the former kings created laws were people. 8. And I myself am also a person. 9. Therefore if I examine myself, then I am able thereby to know others. If I examine the present, then I am able thereby to know antiquity. Antiquity and the present are one; others and myself are the same. 10. Those who do not dare to discuss the laws are the masses. 11. Those who defend the laws to the death are the officials. 12. Those who accord with the times and change the laws are worthy rulers. 13. Therefore of the seventy-one sages who possessed the world [i.e., were sons of Heaven], their laws were all different. 14. It was not the case that they devoted themselves to reversing one another, but the tendencies of the times were different.

67 Leave a comment on paragraph 67 0 15. Among the men of Chŭ there was one who crossed the Yangzi. His sword fell from the boat into the water. 16. He immediately notched his boat, saying, ‘This is [the place] from which my sword fell.’ 17. When the boat stopped, he followed the place he had notched to enter the water and seek for it [the sword]. 18. The boat had already moved on, but the sword had not moved. To seek the sword in this way, is it not indeed deluded? 19. Those who administer their states with ancient laws are the same as this. 20. The times have already shifted, but the laws do not shift. To use this to create order, how could it not be difficult?

68 Leave a comment on paragraph 68 0 Sentence #1 has a four-character subject, an interrogative particle, and a four-character predicate. Both the subject and predicate finish with a particle in the third position and the character 法 in the final position. However, as is indicated by the overall structure and by the specific particles that precede them, the first 法 is a noun and the second a verb. The character 法 has a range of meanings, and Graham translates it in this passage as “standard.” However, Sentences #10-12 about the masses, officials, and rulers suggests that we are dealing here with the more specifically political, state-based sense of “law.” The predicate consists of the modal verb 可 which applies to the two main verbs 得 and 法. In Sentence #2 this predicate bifurcates into two phrases, each containing the 可 and one of the two verbs. These two clauses are linked by particles in the pattern “雖…猶若…” “even if…still…” The 若 could be omitted in this pattern. Sentence #3, which is intended to defend the first two, begins with a repetition of the opening phrase, except for the addition of the initial universalizing particle 凡. What this does is effectively convert a proposition into an inductive argument, claiming to argue from the authority of all individual cases. This modified phrase is the subject, the verb is 有 “to have,” and the object is 要於時 “bonds/links to [their] times.” Having argued that laws are always bound to the ages that produce them, the author then states that, unlike laws, earlier ages cannot come down to the present time (至 “to reach the limit,” and the limit of time is the present moment). This argument assumes the inevitability of change; the passage of time is equivalent to the emergence of a new age with new characteristics. Note the symmetry built into the argument through the inversion of subject (法) and object (時) in the final phrase and the addition of the character 不. Laws are inevitably bound to the time, but the time cannot be bound to the law. Sentence #4 is a reformulation of Sentence #2 (note that in these two sentences the two second phrases beginning with 猶若 are identical) in terms of the temporal model introduced in Sentence #3. Thus it simply replaces 可得 with 今而至, couching the (in)ability to “obtain” it in terms of its having reached the present. Note that in the phrase 今而至 the character 今 must be read as a verb “to exist at present, to be present.” In Sentence #5 there is a semantic parallelism between the two phrases. Each begins with a particle indicating linkage (故, 而), then the verb (釋, 法, which are opposites), then a phrase indicating possession (先王之 and 其, where the second is a pronoun replacing the first), then two verb phrases functioning as modifiers (成, 所以為) and finally the common object (法). Thus each phrase consists of four elements wherein the first elements are opposed, the second “identical,” the third opposed, and the fourth identical. Sentence #6 takes the predicate of the second phrase in Sentence #5 (replacing the 其 with the phrase that it itself had originally replaced), sets it off with the nominalizing 者, and then interrogates it. The structure of this sentence is the interrogative form of “subject = predicate 也,” which is formed by inserting a question particle (何) as the predicate and replacing 也 with the (homophonous) 邪. In Sentence #7 this question is then answered simply by substituting the answer (人) for the question particle and replacing 邪 with 也. Having established that knowledge of men is the key to creating laws, the author then points out in Sentence #8 that he himself (己, indeed any self, but one must lay the ground in the translation for the approaching 我) is a man. This sentence is the simplest possible “subject = predicate 也” sentence (one-word subject, one-word predicate). Only the linking particle 而 and the 亦 “likewise, also” stretch it out. The equivalence of “self” and “people/others” established in this sentence allows for the “if…then…” sentence (marked by 則) that follows in Sentence #9. The second phrase of Sentence #9 is parallel with the first and fashioned simply by the substitution of 今 for 己 and 古 for 人. This substitution is authorized because the author lives at the present time while the sages lived in antiquity, thus the identity of human nature across time allows for a link through which the past can be known in the present. Hence the author concludes in a pair of simple “subject = predicate 也/耳” phrases that “past and present” (subject) are “identical, one thing” (predicate), and “others and I” (subject) are “the same” (predicate). To summarize the argument thus far, the laws of past dynasties have no value as models because the past and present are different. What is identical across the changes from past to present is human nature, which thus provides a constant foundation for changing laws. This appeal to the necessity of changing laws and the possibility of doing so without sinking into the arbitrary is followed by a sociological qualification presented in three, hierarchically ascending, parallel sentences, Sentences #10-12. Each sentence is a “subject = predicate 也” with a four-character subject nominalized by 者 and a two-character predicate. These sentences reserve the ability and the right to change the laws to the sage. Sentence #13 elaborates that not only is the sage the sole individual who can change the laws, but also (since change is inevitable and constant) he is obliged to change them. It begins with a pre-posed topic “the seventy-one sages who have possessed/ruled the world” (most texts in the Han period refer to seventy-two), this topic is summed up in the possessive particle 其 that modifies the subject (法), this is universalized by 皆, and then the predicate asserts their difference. Thus every sage must have his own law. Sentence #14 uses the now-familiar pattern “It is not A 也, it is B 也,” i.e., a double “subject = predicate 也” where one is negative and one positive. In the first phrase the sages carry forward as the understood subject, 務 is the verb, and 相反 “mutual reversal” is the object. In the second phrase 時勢 “the natural tendency of the ages” is the subject, and 異 is the stative verb.

69 Leave a comment on paragraph 69 0 The parable on the necessity of change begins in Sentence #15 with the familiar “Among [group] 有 phrase 者.”  The next phrase is built around the pattern “subject + 自 ‘from’ + place₁ + verb + 於 ‘to’ + place₂.”  The first phrase of Sentence #16 is simply adverb + verb + object. The man’s statement is a “subject = predicate 也” structure, but it omits the 也. The subject is 是, the rest is the predicate. The core of the predicate is the noun phrase 所從墜 “that from which fell” formed by the particle 所 nominalizing  the phrase 從墜 “from [here] fell.” This phrase is modified by 吾劍, as is indicated by the 之, hence “of my sword.” In Sentence #17, after the simple two-character subject + verb, the sentence proceeds “from (從) that which he had notched (其所契者), the last three characters of which form a noun phrase that is modified by the first character, the possessive particle 其. The two nominalizing particles (所 and 者) are not strictly both necessary, but they create a four-character phrase, which is followed by another four-character phrase composed of verb + object / verb + object. Also, the first nominalizing particle (所) is necessary to the meaning (because it indicates the passive sense), while the second particle (者) clearly separates the phrase of place from the verbal phrases that follow. Sentence #18 consists of four four-character phrases. The first two oppose the boat, which has moved (the 矣 in this phrase functions like the modern 了 marking a change of state), and the sword, which has not, through the shared verb (行) with the addition of the negative 不. Sentence #19 has a long subject phrase which is nominalized and set off by the character 者. In this phrase the 以 means “with, by means of,” but the 為 is tightly linked to the character 國 because of their regular association in the set phrase 為國 “to run a state” (noted earlier in Lesson Nine, Extract C). Hence it is not a classic “以 A 為 B” sentence, but rather “using this to run a state.” Sentence #20 is composed again of four four-character phrases, which are roughly parallel to the four phrases in Sentence #18. Thus the first two phrases simply substitute “time” and “law” respectively for “boat” and “sword,” and replace 行 with the synonym 徙. The third phrases are not grammatically or lexically parallel, but both refer to the manner in which something is done, and both use the character 此 to indicate the incorrect manner of doing the task. Note also that the 為治 of the penultimate phrase is synonymous with the 為國 that appeared in Sentence #19. The two fourth phrases are likewise not parallel, but both are rhetorical questions that dismiss the procedure indicated in the third phrase.

70 Leave a comment on paragraph 70 0 C. 1. If you want to know the level and the straight, then it must be with the spirit-level and the [marking] cord. 2. If you want to know the square and the round, then it must be with the compasses and the carpenter’s square. 3. If the ruler desires to know himself, then it must be with honest officials. 4. Therefore as for the son of Heaven setting up assistants and establishing tutors, these are the means by which he calls attention to errors. 5. Men certainly cannot know themselves, and rulers are particularly bad [in this respect]. 6. As for surviving or perishing, security or danger, do not seek these on the outside; the task lies in knowing oneself.

71 Leave a comment on paragraph 71 0 7. At the time of the destruction of the Fàn clan, among the peasants there was one who obtained a [bronze] bell. 8. When he wanted to flee, carrying it on his back, then [it turned out that] the bell was too big and it was not put on his back. 9. He took a hammer to break it up, and the bell made a sound ‘kuaaaang.’ 10. Fearing that others would hear it and take it from him, he immediately covered his ears. 11. To hate for others to hear it was admissible [or ‘acceptable’]. 12. To hate for oneself to hear it was contrary to reason [or ‘perverse’]. 13. Being a ruler and hating to hear of one’s errors, is it not like this?

72 Leave a comment on paragraph 72 0 Sentences #1 and #2 consist of four parallel, four-character phrases. Particles and verbs remain constant; only the nouns that indicate desired attributes and the tools to attain them are switched. Sentence #3 carries forward this pattern with a couple of major switches. First, whereas Sentences #1-2 offer universal propositions true for all people, as indicated by the absence of any specified subject, Sentence #3 contracts its range to the ruler. This contraction of the subject is carried forward by the absence of an object, which is instead replaced by the reflexive pronoun 自. Thus whereas Sentences #1-2 have universal subjects and generalized objects, Sentence #3 has a unique subject and an object which is nothing except the subject. Second, whereas Sentences #1-2 offer material objects as standards, Sentence #3 offers only “upright” or “honest” men, who are the ruler’s tools. This asymmetry is justified by the later proposition that people cannot know themselves, hence self-knowledge only comes through the agency of others. Sentence #4 has an overarching structure of “subject = predicate 也,” where the subject is the first two phrases and the predicate begins with 所以. To get this structure in the English, I have treated the first two phrases as a pre-posed topic and treated 天子 as a modifier for the two nominalized, parallel, three-character verb phrases. In Sentence #5 after an initial particle 夫 indicating a statement of general import, the subject 人, and the adverb 固, the rest of the lead-in to the parable (Sentences #1-6) consists of four-character phrases (in Sentence #5 and Sentence #6). The two parts in Sentence #5 begin with the contrast of 人 and 人主, which in a sense was also the contrast underlying the opposition between Sentences #1-2 and Sentence #3. Sentence #6 consists of a pre-posed topic composed of four nouns structured as two pairs of opposites, followed by two semantically opposed phrases constructed around the opposition of the negative imperative 勿 “do not” and the character 務 (here a noun) which indicates an obligation or duty (thus, in a sense, “do”). The opposition is furthered by the tension between 外 and 自, that which is exterior and that which is self, hence interior.

73 Leave a comment on paragraph 73 0 The parable begins in Sentence #7 with a pre-posed topic marking the time of an event. The next phrase is our old friend “among [group] 有 phrase 者.” The reader must recognize that the destruction of the Fàn clan was a major political event in the history of Jìn state, and that what is taking place here is the pillaging of the clan’s wealth by the peasants. A bronze bell would be quite precious to a peasant for its metal, if not for its musical properties. Sentence #8 is a “when…then…” structure marked by 則, where both the “when” and the “then” are four-character phrases. Note that in the phrase where the 負 and 走 are linked by 而, the former would be background or pre-condition to the latter, hence it could also be translated “flee with the bell on his back.” In the second phrase the “bell” is the subject of both verbs (大 and 負). As a transitive verb without an object, the latter takes on a passive sense “was not put on the back.” In Sentence #9, the first phrase is “以 + noun + verb,” “to use noun to verb.” In the second phrase the 然 means “in the manner of,” hence “there was a sound (有音) like ‘kuaaaang.’” The character 況 is purely an onomatopoeia. This pattern employed to indicate a sound (onomatopoeia + 然有音 or 聲) continued to appear well into the 20th century. In Sentence #10 the phrase preceding 也 is a pre-posed topic which sets the background for the main action. The character 奪 could in theory mean either “take it away [from him]” or “take him away,” but it is much more common in the former sense and that would work better here. In the second phrase, the main action is simply an adverb + verb + possessive modifier + object, with the subject understood. Sentences #11 and #12 are semantically parallel, although the reflexive pronoun 自 in Sentence #12 prevents an exact rhythmic parallelism. Sentences #11 and #12 are based on the structure “subject + predicate 也/矣.” The opposition is expressed by the change from 人 “others” to 己 “self” and from 可, here in the technical sense “admissible,” and 悖 “contrary [to reason].”  Sentence #13 is a rhetorical question, marked by the particle 邪. The combination of the negative 非 with the final question particle again produces a sentence like the English “isn’t it…” i.e., the questioner indicates that the answer is “yes.”

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