Chinese Philosophical Texts

4. MÒZĬ 墨子

1 Leave a comment on paragraph 1 0 Translations

2 Leave a comment on paragraph 2 0 1.  Ian Johnston, tr., The Mozi: A Complete Translation (New York: Columbia University, 2010)
2.  Burton Watson, Mo-tzu: Basic Writings (New York: Columbia University, 1963)
3.  A. C. Graham, Later Mohist Logic, Ethics and Science (Hong Kong: Chinese University of Hong Kong, 1978)

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.  然則奚以為治法而可?

6 Leave a comment on paragraph 6 0 2. 當皆法其父母奚若?

7 Leave a comment on paragraph 7 0 3. 天下之為父母者衆而仁者寡。

8 Leave a comment on paragraph 8 0 4. 若皆法其父母, 此法不仁也。

9 Leave a comment on paragraph 9 0 5. 法不仁不可以為法。

10 Leave a comment on paragraph 10 0 6. 當皆法其學奚若?

11 Leave a comment on paragraph 11 0 7. 天下之為學者衆而仁者寡。

12 Leave a comment on paragraph 12 0 8. 若皆法其學,此法不仁也。

13 Leave a comment on paragraph 13 0 9. 法不仁不可以為法。

14 Leave a comment on paragraph 14 0 10. 當皆法其君奚若?

15 Leave a comment on paragraph 15 0 11. 天下之為君者衆而仁者寡。

16 Leave a comment on paragraph 16 0 12. 若皆法其君,此法不仁也。

17 Leave a comment on paragraph 17 0 13. 法不仁不可以為法。

18 Leave a comment on paragraph 18 0 14. 故父母學君三者,莫可以為治法。

19 Leave a comment on paragraph 19 0 15.  然則奚以為治法而可?

20 Leave a comment on paragraph 20 0 16. 故曰:莫若法天。

21 Leave a comment on paragraph 21 0 17. 天之行廣而無私。

22 Leave a comment on paragraph 22 0 18. 其施厚而不德。

23 Leave a comment on paragraph 23 0 19. 其明久而不衰。

24 Leave a comment on paragraph 24 0 20. 故聖王法之。

25 Leave a comment on paragraph 25 0 21. 既以天為法,動作有為必度於天。

26 Leave a comment on paragraph 26 0 22. 天之所欲則為之。

27 Leave a comment on paragraph 27 0 23. 天之所不欲則止。

28 Leave a comment on paragraph 28 0 24. 然而天何欲何惡者邪?

29 Leave a comment on paragraph 29 0 25. 天必欲人之相愛相利, 而不欲人之相惡相賊也。

30 Leave a comment on paragraph 30 0 26. 奚以知天之欲人之相愛相利,而不欲人之相惡相賊邪?

31 Leave a comment on paragraph 31 0 27. 以其兼而愛之,兼而利之也。

32 Leave a comment on paragraph 32 0 28. 奚以知天兼而愛之,兼而利之邪?

33 Leave a comment on paragraph 33 0 29. 以其兼而有之,兼而食之也。

34 Leave a comment on paragraph 34 0 30. 今天下無大小國,皆天之邑也。

35 Leave a comment on paragraph 35 0 31. 人無幼長貴賤,    皆天之臣也。

36 Leave a comment on paragraph 36 0 32.  此以莫不犓羊,豢犬豬,絜為酒醴粢盛,以敬事天。

37 Leave a comment on paragraph 37 0 33.  此不為兼而有之,兼而食之邪?

38 Leave a comment on paragraph 38 0 34. 天苟兼而有食之,奚說以不欲人之相愛相利邪?

39 Leave a comment on paragraph 39 0 35. 故曰:愛人利人者,天必福之。

40 Leave a comment on paragraph 40 0 36. 惡人賊人者,天必禍之。

41 Leave a comment on paragraph 41 0 37. 曰:殺不辜者,得不祥焉。

42 Leave a comment on paragraph 42 0 38. 夫奚說人為其相殺而天與禍乎?

43 Leave a comment on paragraph 43 0 39. 是以知天欲人相愛相利,而不欲人相惡相賊也。

44 Leave a comment on paragraph 44 0 40. 昔之聖王禹湯文武兼愛天下之百姓,率以尊天事鬼。

45 Leave a comment on paragraph 45 0 41. 其利人多,故天福之,使立為天子。

rán it is so, it is thus; right; suffix indicating adverb (see “Particles and Grammar”)
interrogative particle used like 何 (see “Particles and Grammar”)
zhì to put in order, to regulate, to set up; to govern, to administer; to treat (a disease)
dāng ought to, should; to face, to match; to fill an office, to be in charge; to correspond to, to equal; at, in front of; 當 + time = “at that time (year, month, etc.)” (see “Particles and Grammar”)
dàng to regard as; to pawn; to trick, to trap
當=儻=倘 tăng if; supposing that (see “Particles and Grammar”)
third person possessive pronoun: “his, hers, its, their”
父母 fù mŭ father and mother; parents
ruò a character with the same meanings as 如: you; if; to be like, to resemble (see “Particles and Grammar”)
奚若 xī ruò equivalent to 何如: “what is it like,” “how would it be”
rén benevolence; humanity; humane
guă little, few; widowed; 寡人is the self-referent of the ruler
this, these
negative particle: “no one,” “nothing”; negative imperative “do not” (see “Particles and Grammar”)
莫若 mò ruò “nothing is as good as,” i.e., “the best way is to”
xíng to go, to proceed; to execute, to carry out; to commit
xìng conduct, behavior
háng column, row; guild, shop, profession
广 guăng broad, vast
private, familial; biased, partial; selfish; secret, illegal; to have sexual relations with
shī to give, to distribute; to apply; to execute, to carry out
hòu thick; generous
virtue; power; moral character; special act of kindness; to feel grateful for
míng clear, bright; enlightened, discerning; open; to understand; brilliance, intelligence
jiŭ for a long time; long lasting
shuāi to decline, to wane
shèng sage
wáng king
having + verb (e.g., “having eaten”), since; already; complete, full (see “Particles and Grammar”)
dòng movement, action; to move; to stir, to arouse; dynamic
zuò to do, to make; to arise
有為 有为 yǒu wéi to accomplish, to achieve
degree, measure; to pass (time)
duò to conjecture, to estimate, to assess, to measure
to desire, to want; desire (see “Particles and Grammar”)
zhǐ to stop, to halt
è evil, wicked; fierce
to loathe, to dislike; to offend
interrogative particle, like 何 and 奚 (see “Particles and Grammar”)
final interrogative particle (also written 耶)
xié evil, corrupt; heterodox, underground; miasma
xiāng particle that indicates an understood object; mutually (see “Particles and Grammar”)
xiàng appearance, physiognomy; to evaluate by appearance; to watch for an opportunity; to assist
love; to love, to cherish; to begrudge
to benefit, to profit; profit; sharp; smooth
zéi thief, rebel; to harm; treacherous
jiān bring together, unite, embrace; both; each one
shí to eat; food; salary, pay
to feed
jīn now
xiăo small
city, town; fief; state
yòu young, immature, delicate; to take care of the young
zhăng old, senior; chief, leader; to grow, to increase; to become (through growth)
cháng long
guì noble, honored, expensive; to esteem
jiàn base, lowly; cheap, inexpensive; to look down on, to slight
chén subject, minister; slave, servant; humble self-referent for men
莫不 mòbù “none do not,” an intensive form of saying “all”
chú to feed with cut grass; hay, fodder; animals that feed on grass
huàn to feed with grain; domesticated animals; to tempt or entice
quăn dog
zhū pig, hog
jié clean, spotless, pure, immaculate; to cleanse, to keep clean
xié to assess, to measure; to restrain, to regulate
jiŭ liquor, wine
sweet wine; sweet spring
rice to be offered as a sacrifice
chéng to put (loose material) into a bowl or basin
shèng abundant, rich, flourishing, prosperous
粢盛 zīchéng an offering of grain in a vessel
jìng respect, honor, esteem, revere
gŏu if; negligent, heedless; indiscriminately (see “Particles and Grammar”)
blessings, happiness; blessed, lucky; to bless
huò disaster, misfortune; to bring disaster
shā to kill
guilty; guilt
xiáng good fortune; auspicious omens
yān interrogative particle like 何, 奚, and 惡; fusion of 於 + 此 “from this,” “in this,” “among these,” etc. (see “Particles and Grammar”)
shuō to say, explain
shuì to persuade
是以 shì yǐ by means of this; therefore
long ago; ancient times; the past
Yŭ, the sage-king who tamed the great flood
tāng Tāng, founder of the Shāng dynasty; soup, hot water
wén King Wén of the Zhōu, father of King Wŭ; culture
King Wŭ, conqueror of the Shāng; martial, military
băi one hundred
xìng surname
百姓 băi xìng “the Hundred Surnames,” the common people
shuài to lead; straightforward; in general
rate; velocity
zūn to reverence, to respect
shì to serve; service; sacrifice; affair, business
guǐ ghost, demon
使 shǐ to cause, to let (someone do something), to have (someone do something); to send, to let go; if (see “Particles and Grammar”)
shì messenger

46 Leave a comment on paragraph 46 0 B.

47 Leave a comment on paragraph 47 0 1. 子墨子言曰:若以衆之所同見與衆之所同聞,則若昔者杜伯是也。

48 Leave a comment on paragraph 48 0 2. 周宣王殺其臣杜伯而不辜。

49 Leave a comment on paragraph 49 0 3. 杜伯曰:吾君殺我而不辜。

50 Leave a comment on paragraph 50 0 4. 若以死者為無知,則止矣。

51 Leave a comment on paragraph 51 0 5. 若死而有知,不出三年,必使吾君知之。

52 Leave a comment on paragraph 52 0 6. 其三年周宣王合諸侯而田於圃。

53 Leave a comment on paragraph 53 0 7. 田車數百乘,從數千人滿野。

54 Leave a comment on paragraph 54 0 8. 日中,杜伯乘白馬素車,朱依冠,執朱弓,挾朱矢,追周宣王,射之車上,  中心折脊,殪車中,伏弢而死。

55 Leave a comment on paragraph 55 0 9. 當是之時,周人,從者莫不見,遠者莫不聞。

56 Leave a comment on paragraph 56 0 10. 著在周之春秋。

57 Leave a comment on paragraph 57 0 11. 為君者以教其臣,為父者以警其子。

58 Leave a comment on paragraph 58 0 12. 曰:戒之,慎之。

59 Leave a comment on paragraph 59 0 13. 凡殺不辜者,其得不祥,鬼神之誅,若此之憯速也。

Master Mò’s name; ink, black
tóng the same, identical
杜伯 dù bó the Earl (bó) of Dù (a city-state)
zhōu the Zhōu dynasty; cycle, circumference
xuān Xuān, name of a king; to proclaim, to transmit
to join, to unite; fitting, proper; jointly; to shut
zhū particle that pluralizes the noun which follows it; fusion of 之 + 於 , or 之 + 乎 (see “Particles and Grammar”)
hóu “marquis,” feudal lord
諸侯 zhū hóu the feudal lords
tián a field; to hunt
here a proper name; orchard, garden
chē carriage, chariot
shù a number; fate; technique
shŭ to count; to rebuke, to scold
shuò several; repeatedly; frequent
chéng to ride (horse or chariot); to take advantage of (an opportunity); to multiply (as in 3 x 8)
shèng measure word for chariots (see “Particles and Grammar”); main Buddhist schools
cóng to follow; to obey; from, ever since
zòng retinue; accessory (to a crime)
qiān a thousand
滿 măn to fill; full; satisfactory
field, countryside; wild, rustic, primitive; not in power
bái white; clear; to explain, to present; for no reason, in vain
white silk; white, colorless; plain, unadorned; vegetarian; hitherto
zhū vermillion
garment, upper garment
to dress, to wear
guān ceremonial cap
guàn to put on a cap; to cap as a ceremony of initiation of a young man to adulthood; to excel
zhí to grasp; to keep; to carry out, to execute; to persist
gōng a bow
xiá to hold under the arm; to nurse (a grudge); to rule in the name of; to rely on for protection
shǐ arrow
zhuī to pursue
shè to shoot; archery
zhōng middle; in
zhòng to hit (a target); to poison
zhé to break; to break off, to pluck
the backbone; a ridge
to kill; to die
to lie prostrate; to yield; to lie in ambush
弢 = 韜 tāo a scabbard, a bow case; to conceal
zhù to compose; to make clear; written works; well-known
zhuó a move (in chess); to make a move, to apply, to put one’s  hand on; to send
zhāo a plan, a strategy; to catch (cold)
zháo to make an effort; to hit, strike
chūn spring; youth
qiū autumn
春秋 chūn qiū “Springs and Autumns,” a chronicle
jiào to educate; a teaching, doctrine; an order, a directive; to urge, to bid, to instigate
jiāo to teach; to guide
jǐng alarm; to warn
jiè to warn, to alert; an injunction
shèn caution; careful
shén spirit; divinity
zhū to kill, to execute; to invade (in order to punish)
căn sharp; grievous; sorrowful
swift, prompt
憯速 căn sù urgent and swift


61 Leave a comment on paragraph 61 0 a.  Major Particles

62 Leave a comment on paragraph 62 0 1.  然 rán

63 Leave a comment on paragraph 63 0 This character has the basic meaning “It is so,” or “It is thus.”  It can function as an independent sentence when the speaker wishes to respond to a question in the affirmative, much like 唯.  It frequently appears as a conjunction, where it usually means, “It is so, but…” It often appears with a second conjunction immediately following, as in Extract A, Sentences #1 and #15 然則 “This being so, then . . . “ or the phrase 然而 in Extract A, Sentence #24 “This being so, yet…” or the common phrase 然後 “(Only) when it is so, then…”  然 directly following an adjective functions like the adverbial suffix “-ly” in English.  Thus “adjective + 然” means “in an (adjective) manner,” e.g., 廣然 “broadly.”  It can also directly follow a noun, in which case it means “in the manner of (the noun).”  Thus 若大人然 “In the manner of great men…”

64 Leave a comment on paragraph 64 0 2.  奚

65 Leave a comment on paragraph 65 0 This is another question particle which functions exactly like 何.  It asks for additional information, like the English question words “who, what, when, how,” etc.

66 Leave a comment on paragraph 66 0 3.  當 dāng

67 Leave a comment on paragraph 67 0 This is basically a verb which has a range of meanings derived from the core meaning of “to face” or “to match.” Preceding a unit of time (日,年,月) or the character 時, it means “on that day,” “in that year/month,” or “at that time.”

68 Leave a comment on paragraph 68 0 It can also serve as a modal meaning “should” or “ought to.”  Thus 當去 would mean “should depart.”  This usage derives from the sense of “to match,” from which derives the sense of “to be appropriate” or “should.”

69 Leave a comment on paragraph 69 0 4.  儻 or 倘 tăng

70 Leave a comment on paragraph 70 0 These are graphic variants of the same word, which means “if” or “supposing that.”

71 Leave a comment on paragraph 71 0 5.  若 ruò

72 Leave a comment on paragraph 72 0 As explained in the vocabulary, this character has the same range of meanings as the character 如: 1) you, your; 2) to be like, to resemble; 3) if.  The two characters are freely substituted.  They may have represented a single word that split into two pronunciations over time.

73 Leave a comment on paragraph 73 0 6.  莫

74 Leave a comment on paragraph 74 0 This character primarily functions as the negative pronoun in classical Chinese, thus being translatable by the English “no one” or “nothing.”  Thus 莫能止之 “No one was able to stop it.”  This pronoun often appears in double negatives that serve to rhetorically emphasize universality.  Thus 莫不欲之 “There was none who did not desire it.”

75 Leave a comment on paragraph 75 0 莫 can also serve as a negative  imperative: “Do not…”

76 Leave a comment on paragraph 76 0 7.  既

77 Leave a comment on paragraph 77 0 This character can be an adjective meaning “complete,” but its most common function is to mark the completion of an action or state in order to assert the consequence, like the English “since” in “Since you already speak French, why are you taking this course?”  Thus 既惡此人,奚不殺之 “Since you (have come to) hate this person, why don’t you kill him?”

78 Leave a comment on paragraph 78 0 8.  欲

79 Leave a comment on paragraph 79 0 This character can be a noun meaning “desire.”  Its primary use is as a modal verb to form sentences expressing desire through the formula “subject + 欲 + verb.”  Thus 人皆欲長生無死 “Men all desire immortality (long life 長生 cháng shēng without death).”

80 Leave a comment on paragraph 80 0 9.  相 xiāng

81 Leave a comment on paragraph 81 0 When used as a particle this character usually immediately precedes the verb.  It indicates that the verb is to be read as transitive and that there is an understood object.  Sometimes this object is identical with the subject, in which case it can be translated as “mutually,” as is the case in Extract A, Sentences #25 and #26.

82 Leave a comment on paragraph 82 0 10.  惡

83 Leave a comment on paragraph 83 0 As noted in the vocabulary, this character has three pronunciations, each with a different meaning.  As a particle it is pronounced and functions as a question particle like 何 or 奚.  Pronounced it is a transitive verb meaning “to loathe,” “to hate” or “to dislike.”  Pronounced è it is an adjective or noun meaning “evil” or “wicked(ness).”

84 Leave a comment on paragraph 84 0 11.  苟 gŏu

85 Leave a comment on paragraph 85 0 This is yet another particle that can mean “if” (like 如,若,倘,儻).

86 Leave a comment on paragraph 86 0 12. 焉 yān

87 Leave a comment on paragraph 87 0 This particle has two primary functions.  First, it is yet another question particle, like 何, 奚, or 惡.  Second, it is a fusion character (see Lesson One) representing the two characters 於 + 此 when these were pronounced rapidly and “fused.”  Thus 王施弓焉 means “The king distributed the bows in this place (or ‘to these people’).”

88 Leave a comment on paragraph 88 0 13.  使 shì/shǐ

89 Leave a comment on paragraph 89 0 Pronounced in the fourth tone, this word meant “messenger” or “emissary.”  Pronounced in the third tone it had the verbal sense “to send,” and by extension “to allow,” “to cause,” etc.  Thus 王使衆作新國 “The king had the masses build a new capital.”  使 can also mean “if” or “supposing.”

90 Leave a comment on paragraph 90 0 14.  諸 zhū

91 Leave a comment on paragraph 91 0 This character precedes nouns and has the sense of “all of” or “the collective.”  Its use is generally restricted to a small group of nouns, most notably 侯 “feudal lords,” as well as 臣 “ministers,” 子 “masters, philosophers,” and 大夫 dài fū “hereditary ministers.”

92 Leave a comment on paragraph 92 0 諸 is also the fusion character for two phrases, “之 + 於” and “之 + 乎.”  Thus 有諸 is equivalent to 有之乎 “It there such a thing?” “Does it exist?”  問諸門外 is equivalent to 問之於門外 “Asked about it outside the door.”

93 Leave a comment on paragraph 93 0 b.  Grammar Notes

94 Leave a comment on paragraph 94 0 1.  Measure words

95 Leave a comment on paragraph 95 0 In Sentence #7 in Extract B we encountered for the first time measure words in classical Chinese: 車數百乘 “several hundreds of chariots” and 從數千人 “a retinue of several thousand men.”  Note that in contrast to modern Chinese, where the order is “number + measure + noun,” in classical Chinese the order is “noun + number + measure.”

96 Leave a comment on paragraph 96 0 2.  Titles

97 Leave a comment on paragraph 97 0 Note the title 周宣王 “King Xuān of Zhōu.”  “Dynasty (or state) + name + title” is the standard order for titles of nobility in Chinese.


99 Leave a comment on paragraph 99 0 A.   1. It being so, then what should we use as a regulatory model that would be suitable?  2. “Everyone ought to imitate their parents; how would that be?”  3. Those under Heaven who are parents are many, but benevolent ones are few. 4. If everyone imitated their parents, this would mean imitating the unbenevolent.  5. Imitating the unbenevolent cannot be taken as one’s model.  6. “Everyone ought to imitate their scholars [teachers]; how would that be?”  7. Those under Heaven who are scholars are many, but benevolent ones are few.  8. If everyone imitated their scholars, this would mean imitating the unbenevolent.  9. Imitating the unbenevolent cannot be taken as one’s model.  10. “Everyone ought to imitate their ruler; how would that be?”  11. Those under Heaven who are rulers are many, but benevolent ones are few.  12. If everyone imitated their rulers, this would mean imitating the unbenevolent.  13. Imitating the unbenevolent cannot be taken as one’s model.  14. Therefore of parents, teachers and rulers, these three, none of them can be used to fashion laws. 15. It being so, then what should we use as a regulatory model that would be suitable?  16. (Therefore) I say, “Nothing is as good as imitating Heaven. 17. Heaven’s conduct is broad and unbiased. 18. Its bestowals are generous and show no favoritism (i.e., not a special act of kindness). 19. Its illumination is long lasting and does not decline. 20. Therefore the sage-kings imitate it. 21. Having taken Heaven as one’s model, actions and achievements must be measured against Heaven.  22. If it is that which Heaven desires, then do it.  23. If it is that which Heaven does not desire, then cease.” 24. It being so, then what is it that Heaven desires, and what is it that it hates? 25. Heaven necessarily desires people’s mutual love and benefit, and it does not desire people’s mutual hate and harm.  26. How do we know Heaven’s desiring people’s mutual love and benefit, and its not desiring people’s mutual hate and harm?  27. By means of its being universal in loving them, being universal in benefiting them all.  28. How do we know Heaven’s being universal in loving them, being universal in benefiting them?  29. By means of its being universal in possessing them, being universal in feeding them.  30.  Now under Heaven all states, without regard for their size, are Heaven’s fiefs.  31.  All people, without regard for their age or status, are Heaven’s subjects.  32.  Therefore, without exception they all provide fodder to their sheep, feed grain to their dogs and pigs, and immaculately prepare their offerings of wine and grain to respectfully serve Heaven.  33.  Isn’t this due to [Heaven’s] being universal in possessing and feeding them? 34. If Heaven is universal in possessing and feeding them, how could we explain this by [saying] that it does not desire their mutual love and benefit?  35. Therefore I say, “Those who love people and benefit people, Heaven will certainly bless them. 36. Those who hate people and harm people, Heaven will certainly bring disaster upon them. 37. People say, ‘Those who kill the innocent will obtain misfortune from this [act].’  38. How can we say that on account of people’s killing one another Heaven brings them misfortune? 39. It is by knowing that Heaven desires for people to mutually love and mutually benefit, and it does not desire for people to mutually hate and mutually harm.  40. The former sage-kings–Yǔ, Tāng, Wén, Wŭ–universally loved the common people under Heaven, and led them to venerate Heaven and serve the ghosts.  41. Their benefiting people was great, so Heaven blessed them, and caused them to be established as Son of Heaven.”

100 Leave a comment on paragraph 100 0 The 然 with which the excerpt begins links this argument to the preceding passage in the Mòzĭ. Sentence #1 already shows the wordiness which is a characteristic of the Mòzĭ, a trait that is considered a major stylistic failing and which many modern scholars have used to suggest a lower class or mercantile origin for Master Mò or his followers.  This is groundless snobbery.  The use of seemingly redundant words and phrases, and of frequent repetition, could just as well be an attempt to address a wider audience, to avoid confusion, and to construct systematic arguments.  奚以 is a variant of the more common 何以, “by means of what?  how?” This sentence uses 以為 in the sense of “to take and make into.”  法 means “model” or “law,” and this passage shows the clear link between the two, since it begins by asking what could serve as a law, and then uses 法 throughout in the verbal sense of “to imitate.”  The 治, since it precedes the 法, functions as a modifier meaning something like “regulatory” or “controlling.”  The fact that Sentences #5, #9, and #13 repeat the formula 不可以為法 “cannot be taken as one’s model” shows that the 法 is the central issue and the 治 a modifier. The question-and-answer form that follows throughout the extract suggests a dialogue, although this is not marked by repeated use of the character 曰 and I have consequently not punctuated it as such.  The questions in Sentences #2, #6, and #10 are identical in form, varying only in the substitution of a single character.  Each question follows the formula of suggesting a course of action (with the character 當 showing it as normative) and then asking 奚若, a variant of the more common 何如 “What would that be like?  How would that be?”  This formula for seeking comments on a suggested course of action is very common in classical Chinese.  The manner in which the question of how one should make “law” (法) is answered by suggesting whom (or what) one should imitate (法), showing that the one is simply the verbal form of the other, and that the need to translate them by distinct words reflects the mental universe of English rather than Chinese usage.  The translation of 學 as “scholar” or “teacher” (Sentences #6, #7, #8, #14) is indicated by parallelism with Sentences #2 and #10, where it is always a case of a person to be imitated.  This translation is supported by the fact that this triad of authorities–father, teacher, and ruler–is very common in Warring States texts, although the most common word for “teacher” is 師.  It is interesting to note that 仁, the central virtue of Confucian thought, is the value in terms of which suitability to serve as a model is judged.  I will come back to this.  Note that the phrase that concludes the first part (Sentences #1-14)—莫可以為治法—is a simple reworking of Sentence #1.  The 莫 “none” corresponds to and answers the question particle 奚 “what,” and 可 has been moved up to act as a modal rather than as a separate verbal phrase.  Otherwise the answer is identical to the question.  Note the exact repetition of the questions (Sentences #2, #6, #10), just like the double repetition of the statement that the unbenevolent cannot serve as models (Sentences #5, #9, #13).  This is again a demonstration of Mohist wordiness.  Sentence #15, which begins the second part, exactly repeats Sentence #1. The 故 in Sentence #16 is a simple connective with no real logical force.  The 莫 of 莫若 (Sentence #16) seems to exactly pick up the initial 莫 of the conclusion of the first part (Sentence #14).  Once the authors have eliminated all known human authorities, the formulaic 莫若 becomes semantically recharged; it is literally and demonstrably the case that “nothing is as good as [copying Heaven].”  This is followed by three parallel sentences (#17, #18, #19, in which the 天之 of #17 becomes the 其 of #18 and #19, all of them meaning “Heaven’s”) that strike variations on the theme of Heaven’s universality—spatial, moral, and temporal—and its lack of bias or limitation.  This same universality is picked up later in the repeated use of the character 兼 (Sentences #27-29, #33-34) as a verb meaning “to take each and every one,” but which in English is better translated as an adjective “universal” or adverb “universally.”  兼 and 兼愛 are central virtues of Mohist thought, and routinely opposed to Confucian 仁, which is by nature particularist and differentiating.  It is important to note here how the argument is actually working.  Quick reading might lead one to think that Heaven is proposed as an ultimate foundation and its virtues treated as exemplary because they are Heaven’s.  However, the opposite is the case.  Heaven is identified as the exemplary agent by a process of elimination, with the prior and underlying assumption that the highest virtue and supreme model is that which benefits and nourishes the greatest number.  By contrast, only some parents, teachers, or rulers are 仁, and, although it is not stated here, 仁 is by definition partial, in both senses of the term.  The “utilitarianism” underlying this argument is the third of the “Three Gnomons” (see Graham, p. 37) that the Mohists proclaim as the standard for judging truths.  We know that Heaven is a model because taking it as a model leads to the widest “benefit of the Hundred Clans and the people of the states.”  The first of the “Three Gnomons,” the “root,” i.e., “the practice of the sage kings of old,” is also invoked here, for immediately after asserting Heaven’s universal scope and generosity, the text states that the sage-kings imitated Heaven (Sentence #20).  This same aspect of the argument is reiterated in Sentences #40-41, with the added information that it was precisely because they copied Heaven and benefited the people that the early sages became kings.  The grammar and rhetoric of the last half of the extract has little of note, except its plodding repetitions. Note that Sentences #22 and #23 are both “If  .  .  .  then…” structures, as marked by the character 則.  The character 者 in Sentence #24 nominalizes the preceding four characters (hence “what is it that…”).  This leads to the reply, in Sentence #25, in which Heaven’s desires and hates are named with noun phrases, as marked by the character 之:  “people’s mutual love and benefit” and “people’s mutual hate and harm.”  Note the repeated pattern of asking 奚以 (Sentences #26, #28) “by means of what” and replying with 以 (Sentences #27, #29) “by means of” followed by a phrase that replaces the 奚.  This shows how sentence-initial question words often work in Chinese, and demonstrates the evolution of the phrases 此以 and 是以 “by means of this,” which appear in Sentences #32 and #39.  The 此 and 是, which are pronouns that stand for the preceding phrases, simply replace the question particle. Sentences #30 and #31 are notable for using the set formula “無 + two opposed stative verbs/adjectives.”  This means literally “not having either adjective” (big or small, young or old, noble or base), which in English means “without regard to,” “with no distinction between,” or “no matter whether.”  The paired adjectives can be translated as a pair (“big or small,” “young or old,” etc.) or as indicating a dimension (size, age, etc.) The 莫不 in Sentence #32 is a rhetorical form indicating universality, hence something like “everyone without exception” or “absolutely everyone.”  This sentence is also of interest in that the two verbs that indicate the different categories of feeding animals (grass or fodder as opposed to grain) clearly establish a pattern of increasing domesticity based on the possibility of sharing food with people.  There are two uses of 以 worth noting in Sentences #34 and #40.  In #34—說以不欲人之相愛相利—the 以 indicates what is said.  This same pattern occurs with other verbs that indicate speech, e.g., 告.  In #40 the 以 in 率以尊 comes between two verbs, so it means “[in order] to.”  Thus “lead [them] to revere.”  It is worth noting that the objects of reverence and service are Heaven and ghosts, which are the topics of this and the next extract.  Appeals to Heaven and ghosts are central to the early Mohist school.

101 Leave a comment on paragraph 101 0 B.  1. Master Mò said, “If one were to take something which the masses have all seen and all heard, then something like [the case of] the Earl of Dù in ancient times would be this [i.e., would be something the common people had heard and seen].  2. King Xuān of Zhōu killed his minister, the Earl of Dù, but the latter was innocent.  3. The Earl of Dù said, ‘My ruler is killing me, but I am innocent.  4. If as a dead person I have no consciousness, then that is the end of it.  5. If I die and remain conscious, within three years I will certainly let my ruler know it.’  6. In its third year [i.e., within three years of the event] King Xuān of Zhōu assembled the feudal lords and hunted at Pŭ.  7. The several hundred hunting chariots and the thousands of followers filled the wilds.  8. When the sun reached mid-day, the Earl of Dù—riding on a colorless chariot drawn by white horses, wearing a vermillion robe and cap, clutching a vermillion bow, carrying under his arm vermillion arrows—pursued King Xuān of Zhōu, shot at him on his chariot, hit his heart and shattered his spine, thus killing him in his chariot; slumped over his scabbard, [the king] died.  9. At that time, of the men of Zhōu who accompanied [the king], there was not one who did not see it; of those further away, there was not one who did not hear of it.  10. It is written in the Zhōu chronicle.  11. Those who are rulers take [this story] and instruct their ministers; those who are fathers take it and warn their sons.  12. They say, ‘Take heed of this! Be careful about this! 13. Whoever kills the innocent will obtain misfortune; this is the punishment of the spirits [i.e., the punishment which the spirits impose], which is swift like this.’”

102 Leave a comment on paragraph 102 0 The use, as in Sentence #1, of 子 before and after the master’s name is routine in the Mòzĭ.  It also occurs with many names in the Zuŏ zhùan 左傳 and in bronze inscriptions.  Apparently it was a traditional form that fell into disuse over the course of the Warring States period.  The use of 若 and 則 in this sentence mark the overall structure as “if … then…”  The 以 in the first phrase again means “to take,” here used as in the English “to take as an example.” 衆之所同見與衆之所同聞 is the formula composed of two parallel phrases used to identify the second of the “Three Gnomons,” “evidence,” i.e., what is perceived as real by the senses of people.  This passage serves both as an epistemological argument—universally shared perceptions are true—and an argument for the existence of ghosts and the fact that they act in the human world.  所同見 and 所同聞 are both noun phrases with the verbs nominalized in the passive sense (“that which was seen/heard”) and 同 functioning as an adverb “identically.”  The 若 in the following phrase of Sentence #1 means “to be like, to resemble.”  The grammatical structure of this phrase is “subject = predicate 也.”  The subject is 若昔者杜伯 and the predicate is 是.  Sentences #2 and #3 give a third-person narrative (Sentence #2) followed immediately by a first-person reprise (Sentence #3).  This is achieved simply by substituting 吾君 in Sentence #3 for 周宣王 in Sentence #2, and 我 for 其臣杜伯.  Some scholars have argued that 吾 was originally a nominative “case” first-person pronoun and 我 its object equivalent; this sentence is not entirely out of line with that hypothesis, although the 吾 would more properly here be described as genitive.  Sentence #4 is another “if . . . then…” sentence with the same particles (若. . .則).  The phrase 以死者為無知 is hard to translate.  It at first seems to be the pattern “以 A 為 B,” but it makes no sense to treat it either as a material operation (“to take the dead and make them into unconscious [things]”) or as a mental one (“to regard ghosts as unconscious”).   We are concerned here with a question of objective fact that is a product neither of human artifice nor of supposition.  Thus I take 以 to mean “in the capacity of, as” (a common usage derived from the sense “by means of,” in this case “by means of being in some role”) and 為無知 to mean “to be [play the role of an] unconscious [thing].”  This reading fits with the flow of the sentences; 吾 is clearly the understood subject of 不辜 in Sentence #3 and all of Sentence #5, so to treat it as the understood subject of Sentence #4 “(If [I], as a dead thing am without consciousness, then [I] stop.”)  There is a jocular menace in the Earl of Dù’s use in Sentence #5 of the character 知, which appears first in Sentence #4 as the point of discussion (the consciousness of ghosts), and then returns here as the form of his promise of vengeance.  In Sentence #5 出, which basically means “to go out of,” here has an extended meaning of “to exceed, to surpass.”  In Sentence #6 其三年 literally means “its three years,” hence “three years of [hence ‘after’] it.”  In Sentence #7 the phrase 田車數百乘,從數千人 demonstrates the standard classical Chinese word order: noun + number + measure.  In Sentence #8 the phrase 日中 is a subject + verb “The sun hit the middle,” like hitting the center of a target.  The sentence has one subject, 杜伯, which applies across the first eight predicates; the subject then switches (without indication) to the King of Zhōu.  Predicates 2-4 (朱依冠,執朱弓,挾朱矢) consist of parallel phrases.  Note that the parallel indicates that the character 朱 “red” in the first phrase (朱衣冠) should be read as a verb: “making/wearing red.”  Sentence #8 shows some of the problems with narrative due to the paratactic nature of the Chinese language, i.e., the lack of clear markers of subordination.  The subject is followed by a whole series of verb + object phrases, but there is no way to distinguish between “background” description and “foreground” action (而 could achieve this for two phrases, but not for a whole series).  The shift of rhythm from three three-character phrases to describe his costume and armament followed by three four-character phrases to narrate the action could in part serve this function.  However, the rhythmic marking fails in the first and final phrases, although the latter could be explained by the unstated change of subject from the Earl of Dù to King Xuān.  In Sentence #9 周人 is a pre-posed topic identifying a general set which is then divided into two subsets by the following two five-character, parallel phrases.  Sentence #10 (note that once again it has no grammatical subject) is an early example of the citation of written texts as an authority.  Sentence #11 consists of two parallel phrases involving the changing of only three characters.  It is often the case that the one or two characters substituted in such parallelisms are either antonyms or synonyms.  Here they are the latter, since princes and fathers are two figures of human authority, ministers and sons of subordination, and 教 and 警 closely related in meaning.  Both subjects consist of the formula 為 + noun + 者 “one who is [plays the role of] noun.”   In Sentence #13 (a variation on Sentence #37 in Extract A), the first phrase ending in 者 is the pre-posed topic.  The following two four-character phrases are both noun phrases, since the possessive pronoun 其 indicates that the following three characters must serve as a noun “obtaining misfortune,” and the marker of modification 之 indicates that 誅 is a noun modified by 鬼神.  This apposition of two noun phrases indicates a statement of identity “Noun phrase A is noun phrase B.”  Thus “As for all those who kill the innocent, their obtaining misfortune is the punishment of the spirits, which is swift like this.”

103 Leave a comment on paragraph 103 0 Addendum:  I have dealt at length with the “Three Gnomons,” the Mohist criteria of truth against which arguments are tested.   The need for standards is a direct result of the creation of a contested field.  Whereas the Lún yŭ and Sūnzĭ accept the master as an unchallenged authority, present his pronouncements, and elaborate on them, the Mohists emerged in a split from and through a systematic rejection of Confucian teachings.  Thus their arguments were developed through the explicit challenging of other “truths.”  Such an adversarial, polemical model required appeals to standards outside the authority of a given literary tradition.

Page 5

Source: https://web.stanford.edu/group/chinesetexts/cgi-bin/site/4-mozi-%E5%A2%A8%E5%AD%90/