Chinese Philosophical Texts



2 Leave a comment on paragraph 2 0 1.  J. J. L. Duyvendak, tr., The Book of Lord Shang (Chicago: University of Chicago, 1928)

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. 天地設而民生。

6 Leave a comment on paragraph 6 0 2. 當此之時也,民知其母而不知其父。

7 Leave a comment on paragraph 7 0 3. 其道親親而愛私。

8 Leave a comment on paragraph 8 0 4. 親親則別,愛私則險。

9 Leave a comment on paragraph 9 0 5. 民衆而以別險為務,則民亂。

10 Leave a comment on paragraph 10 0 6. 當此時也,民務勝而力征。

11 Leave a comment on paragraph 11 0 7. 務勝則爭,力征則訟。

12 Leave a comment on paragraph 12 0 8. 訟而無正,則莫得其性也。

13 Leave a comment on paragraph 13 0 9. 故賢者立中正,設無私而民悅仁。

14 Leave a comment on paragraph 14 0 10. 當此時也,親親廢,上賢立矣。

15 Leave a comment on paragraph 15 0 11. 凡仁者以愛為務,而賢者以相出為道。

16 Leave a comment on paragraph 16 0 12. 民衆而無制。

17 Leave a comment on paragraph 17 0 13. 久而相出為道則有亂。

18 Leave a comment on paragraph 18 0 14. 故聖人承之,作為土地貨財男女之分。

19 Leave a comment on paragraph 19 0 15. 分定而無制,    不可,故立禁。

20 Leave a comment on paragraph 20 0 16. 禁立而莫之司,不可,故立官。

21 Leave a comment on paragraph 21 0 17. 官設而莫之壹,不可,故立君。

22 Leave a comment on paragraph 22 0 18. 既立君則上賢廢而貴貴立矣。

23 Leave a comment on paragraph 23 0 19. 然則上世親親而愛私。

24 Leave a comment on paragraph 24 0 20. 中世上賢而悅仁。

25 Leave a comment on paragraph 25 0 21. 下世貴貴而尊君。

qīn kin, relatives, parents; to love, to be close to; person; personally
to love; to begrudge
private; selfish; biased; secret; illegal
bié to separate, to divide, to distinguish
xiăn dangerous; difficult; dishonest; a strategic position
to devote oneself to, to work at; to emphasize; affairs, business, task, duty
zhēng to invade, to attack; to go on a journey; to collect (tax)
zhēng to compete, to struggle
sòng to argue; to blame; to accuse; a lawsuit
中正 zhòng zhèng “to hit correctness,” i.e., a standard
fèi to set aside, to abandon, to abolish
相出 xiāng chū (here) to surpass one another
zhì to control, to regulate; to establish; institution, system (of laws); standard
chéng to continue, to take over; to receive from above; to serve
zuò to raise; to make, to do
soil, earth
huò commodities; money; to sell
cái wealth, property; talent (= 才cái)
nán male; man
female; woman
to take charge of, to administer; official; administrative department

26 Leave a comment on paragraph 26 0 B.

27 Leave a comment on paragraph 27 0 1.  凡人主之所以勸民者,官爵也。

28 Leave a comment on paragraph 28 0 2.  國之所以興者,農戰也。

29 Leave a comment on paragraph 29 0 3.  今民求官爵,皆不以農戰,而以巧言虛道,此謂勞民。

30 Leave a comment on paragraph 30 0 4.  勞民者其國必無力。

31 Leave a comment on paragraph 31 0 5.  無力者其國必削。

32 Leave a comment on paragraph 32 0 6.  善為國者,其教民也,皆作壹而得官爵,是故不官無爵。

33 Leave a comment on paragraph 33 0 7.  國去言則民樸。

34 Leave a comment on paragraph 34 0 8.  民樸則不淫。

35 Leave a comment on paragraph 35 0 9.  民見上利之從壹空出也,則作壹。

36 Leave a comment on paragraph 36 0 10. 作壹則民不偷營。

37 Leave a comment on paragraph 37 0 11.  民不偷營,則多力。

38 Leave a comment on paragraph 38 0 12. 多力則國強。

39 Leave a comment on paragraph 39 0 13. 今境內之民皆曰:農戰可避,而官爵可得也。

40 Leave a comment on paragraph 40 0 14.  是故豪傑皆可變業,務學‘詩’‘書’,隨從外權,上可以得顯,

41 Leave a comment on paragraph 41 0 下可以求官爵;要靡事商賈,為技藝,皆以避農戰。

42 Leave a comment on paragraph 42 0 15.  具備國之危也。

43 Leave a comment on paragraph 43 0 16.  民以此為教者,其國必削。

quàn to encourage, to urge
jué a rank, a title; a drinking vessel
xīng to rise, to flourish, to prosper; to prevail, to be popular
xìng excitement, stimulation, joy; a mood, an impulse
qiăo clever, skillful, deceitful
empty; vain, futile; false, insubstantial; the sky; a weak point; imaginary (as opposed to 實 shí)
xuè to scrape off, to peel; to exterminate, to cut off; steep
為國 为国 wéi guó “to conduct a state,” i.e., to run a government
壹 = 一 (graphic variant) one; to unite; united
uncarved wood; simple, unadorned, honest
yín immoral, licentious; excessive, unrestrained; debauchery
kòng cleft, fissure, opening; deficit
kōng empty, hollow; unreal; the open air; a void
tōu to steal; to attack by surprise; to steal a moment of leisure; lazy; secretly
yíng to run a business, to manage; to plan, to build; a camp, a barracks, a battalion
to avoid, to disappear from view
háo socially prominent; a hero, a champion; strong, relying on force; heroic
jié talented, extraordinary (person)
豪傑 háo jié powerful families; local eminences; local bullies
biàn to change; transformation
profession; achievement; (family) property; already
shī poetry; lyrics; the Book of Odes 詩經
shū writing; documents; the Book of Documents 書經
suí to follow, to accompany
quán strategems; expedient; temporary; a balance; to weigh, to assess; measures, assessments
要靡 yào mǐ “petty people,” i.e., people of no moral character
shāng a merchant; trade, commerce
a technique
an art; a skill
to provide, to furnish; a tool; talent; = 俱 “completely, fully”
bèi to provide, to prepare; all, completely, fully
wéi danger; to threaten

44 Leave a comment on paragraph 44 0 C.

45 Leave a comment on paragraph 45 0 1. 聖人之為國也,一賞,一刑,一教。

46 Leave a comment on paragraph 46 0 2. 一賞則兵無敵。

47 Leave a comment on paragraph 47 0 3. 一刑則令行。

48 Leave a comment on paragraph 48 0 4. 一教則下聽上。

49 Leave a comment on paragraph 49 0 5.  夫明賞不費,明刑不戮,明教不變,而民知於務,國無異俗。

50 Leave a comment on paragraph 50 0 6.  明賞之猶至於無賞也。

51 Leave a comment on paragraph 51 0 7.  明刑之猶至於無刑也。

52 Leave a comment on paragraph 52 0 8.  明教之猶至於無教也。

53 Leave a comment on paragraph 53 0 9.  所謂一賞者,利祿官爵,專出於兵,無有異施也。

54 Leave a comment on paragraph 54 0 10.夫固愚知,貴賤,勇怯,賢不肖,皆盡其胸臆之知,竭其股肱之力,

55 Leave a comment on paragraph 55 0 。。。

56 Leave a comment on paragraph 56 0 11. 所謂一刑,無等級,自卿相將軍以至大夫庶人,有不從王令,犯國禁,
亂上制者, 罪死不赦。

57 Leave a comment on paragraph 57 0 12. 有功於前,有敗於後,不為損刑。

58 Leave a comment on paragraph 58 0 13. 有善於前,有過於後,不為虧法。

59 Leave a comment on paragraph 59 0 14.  忠臣孝子有過,必以其數斷。

60 Leave a comment on paragraph 60 0 15.  守法守職之吏有不行王法者,罪死不赦,刑及三族。

61 Leave a comment on paragraph 61 0 16.  周官之人,知而訐之上者,自免於罪,無貴賤,尸襲其官長之官爵田祿。

62 Leave a comment on paragraph 62 0 17.  故曰:重刑連其罪,則民不敢試。

63 Leave a comment on paragraph 63 0 18.  民不敢試,故無刑也。

64 Leave a comment on paragraph 64 0 19.  夫先王之禁,刺殺,斷人之足,黥人之面,非求傷民也,以禁姦止過也。

65 Leave a comment on paragraph 65 0 20.  故禁姦止過,莫若重刑。

66 Leave a comment on paragraph 66 0 21.  刑重而必得,則民不敢試,故國無刑民。

67 Leave a comment on paragraph 67 0 22.  國無刑民,故曰:明刑不戮。

shăng an award for merit; to bestow (an award); appreciate
xíng punishment; to punish
enemy, rival; match, equal; to match in strength
lìng official command; the law; a magistrate; to have someone do something
tīng to listen; to hear; to obey
fèi to cost, to waste, to consume; expenses, expenditure
to execute, to slay, to slaughter
different, strange, extraordinary; disloyal (changing mind); to distinguish, to separate
猶 = 尤   (phonetic loan) yóu extraordinary; extreme; apogee
祿 salary (of an official); a rank; a blessing
zhuān to monopolize; solely; concentrated, devoted; arbitrary; tyrannical; confined to one subject area
shī to give, to distribute; to apply; to carry out
solid, firm, fixed; stubborn, insistent; chronic; certainly
stupid, ignorant
jiàn base, humble, worthless
yŏng brave, heroic
qiè cowardly
xiào to resemble; to be a good son
不肖 bú xiào unworthy, wicked
jìn (here) to exhaust, to use completely
xiōng the chest; the breast; degree of generosity, largeness of view, mental capacity
the chest; breadth of view, generosity or tolerance
jié to exhaust; to make the utmost effort
the thigh, the haunches;  a share of capital stock
gōng the forearm
wéi (here) 為 + verb marks a passive voice (see “Particles and Grammar,” Lesson Eight)
děng a class, a grade; equal to; to wait
a ranking, a grade; class in school
卿相 qīng xiàng high minister
將軍 将军 jiàng jūn commander of an army, a general
大夫 dài fū hereditary noble
庶人 shù rén commoner; the masses
fàn to violate, to disobey; to encroach upon
zuì crime, guilt, responsibility; to blame
shè to pardon
gōng merit, achievement
sŭn to damage; to reduce
guò (here) transgression, crime, fault, error
kuī to damage; to have a deficit; to wane
xiào filial
duàn to decide, to judge; to cut off, to snap; to discontinue, to stop; certainly, absolutely
zhí office, post
to reach to, to attain; and
tribe, clan, family; a race
三族 sān zú three groups of kin, three generations (one’s parents, siblings, and children)
周 = 同 (graphic error) tóng same, shared
同官 tóng guān colleague
jié slander, malign; accuse
miăn avoid, escape, be released
shī corpse; ritual substitute for the deceased; to substitute for or replace; hold a job without doing anything
to inherit; to succeed (to a position)
lián connect, join, unite; to implicate (in a crime); including
găn to dare
shì to test, to try out; a trial, a test
xiān ahead (in place), before (in time); pertaining to past ages; first; of prime importance
先王 xīan wáng the earlier kings, as opposed to the 後王 hòu wáng
to pierce, to stab
(here) foot, leg
qíng to tattoo (as a form of punishment)
miàn a face; a surface; a side, an aspect; to face; superficial
shāng to harm, to wound
jiān a wicked person, a villain; commit adultery, have illicit sexual relations; villainous
zhòng heavy, serious
chóng layer, -fold (as in “three-fold”)


69 Leave a comment on paragraph 69 0 A.  1. Heaven and Earth being established, the people were born.  2. At this time, people knew their mothers but did not know their fathers.  3. Their Way was to treat kin as kin and to love their own.  4. If one treats kin as kin, then there is division; if one loves one own, then there is obstruction.  5. When the people became numerous and took division and obstruction to be their duty, then they were in chaos.  6. At this time people devoted themselves to conquest and expeditions of force.  7. When they devoted themselves to conquest, then they struggled; when they had expeditions of force, then they quarreled.  8. When they quarreled and there was no justice, then none ‘obtained their nature,’ [i.e., lived out their natural life span].  9. Therefore the worthy established [means to] select what was just; they established impartiality, and the people delighted in benevolence.  10. At this time, treating kin as kin was abandoned, and placing the worthy in authority was established.  11. All benevolent people took love as their duty, and the worthy took standing out [from one another] as their Way.  12. The people became numerous, and they had no institutions.  13. After a long time of taking standing out as the Way, then there was chaos.  14. Therefore the sages inherited this situation, and they created divisions in land, in property, and between men and women.  15. When divisions were fixed but there were no institutions, it did not work, so they established [legal] prohibitions.  16. When prohibitions were established but no one supervised them, it did not work, so they established officials.  17. When officials were established but no one united them, it did not work, so they established a ruler. 18. Having established a ruler, then placing the worthy in authority was abandoned, and honoring the noble was established.  19. This being so, then in high antiquity they treated kin as kin and loved their own.  20. In the next period they placed the worthy in authority and delighted in benevolence.  21. In recent times they have honored the noble and reverenced the ruler.

70 Leave a comment on paragraph 70 0 In Sentence #1 both verbs (設 and 生) are usually transitive but here have no objects and hence are to be read in a passive sense.  As in several late Warring States texts, this passage traces the roots of government back to the origins of the world, but this example does not dwell on the conditions of the urzeit.  The first phrase of Sentence #2 uses 當 to indicate “at” a certain time.  The 也 marks a pre-posed topic, here being used to indicate time.  The phrase 當此 becomes the leitmotif of the entire passage, signaling the announcement of the nature of each new stage in the evolution of society (Sentences #2, #6, and #10). In Sentence #2 the reference to only knowing mothers (two parallel phrases distinguished by the addition of 不 and the substitution of “father” for “mother”) has been used by some modern scholars to suggest memories of an ancient matriarchal system, but it is more likely that the authors imagined ignorance of fathers to be a sign of the absence of a public realm in a purely “biological” world of blood ties. Sentence #3 gives the two traits of this purely “biological” society, which is defined by blood ties (親) and partiality/selfishness (私).  In Sentence #4 each of these traits becomes the “if” clause of an “if . . . then . . .” phrase.  The consequences noted in the “then” clauses, each marked by 則, are linked, 別 meaning “to divide, to separate,” while 險 means “narrow, difficult, strategic” (of a road), with the extended sense of “dangerous.” Sentence #5 is again “if/when . . . then . . .” The “when” clause has two parts linked by 而 with the first clause indicating background or pre-condition.  The 衆 here should be read as a change of state; as in certain passages of the Xúnzĭ, population growth and its attendant stresses are assumed to be causes of social evolution.  The phrase following 而 is a basic 以 A 為 B “to take A to be B.”  The A is formed from the two “then” clauses of Sentence #4 (別 and 險).  Having reached the condition of chaos, the leitmotif 當此 is repeated in Sentence #6 and the new stage in turn characterized.  In Sentence #6 the two traits of this new age are “devotion to conquest (務勝)” and “military expeditions” or “expeditions of force (力征).”  Since this is still a pre-state society, this must be understood as a “state of nature” characterized by a “war of each against all,” wherein the kin units battle for dominance through force. Following the pattern of the first stage of the evolution of human society, in Sentence #7 each of the two traits (務勝 and 力征) becomes an “if” clause leading to a “then” consequence. In Sentence #8 the pattern varies in that the first “then” clause in Sentence #7 (爭) is not repeated (as 別 in Sentence #4 was repeated in Sentence #5), perhaps because the two “then” clauses are synonyms and to repeat them both would have created a five-character line, instead of the more desirable four-character one employed. 正 has a range of meanings: “rightness, to correct, justice, etc.” as well as being interchangeable with 政 “government, to govern” and 征 “(punitive) military expedition.”  Here 無正 indicates a world in which there is no justice, or no government to determine what is just. 得其性 means literally “to obtain its nature, i.e., what is natural to it,” but as A.C. Graham has shown, in early texts this often simply meant “to live out one’s full natural lifespan.”  In Sentence #9 立 is the verb and 中正 is the object.  This object itself consists of a verb 中 (fourth tone) “to hit [a target]” and an object 正 “justice.”  Thus what is established by the worthy are standards of justice, which allow the society to know what is right.  This, of course, fills the absence of justice (無正) noted above in Sentence #8.  Parallel to 立中正, the worthy also 設無私, also a verb-object phrase, in which the object consists of verb + object.  In this case what is established is the absence of the partiality that underlay values in kin-based society, but which led to violent conflict. Following the 而 is yet another three-character phrase, in this case subject + verb + object. The people’s delighting in benevolence (or “humanity”), the central value of the Confucian school, is a result of the establishment of justice and the elimination of partiality.  It is also closely linked to the fact that this is a society dominated by 賢, the moral worthies who were the ideal of the Confucian school (sagehood in this period being understood as the attribute of only a handful of beings throughout human history).  After the recurrence of the leitmotif 當此 at the beginning of Sentence #10, the author announces the abolition of the defining trait of kin-based society (an abolition already indicated in Sentence #9 by the removal of partiality) and the establishment of a society based on the honoring (上) of moral virtue.  The next sentences rework elements from the account of the decline of kin-based society, although they do not strictly follow the model.  Thus whereas, in Sentence #5, in the account of the first stage of societal evolution there was only one “take A to be B (duty),” Sentence #11 is doubled into two parallel phrases linked by 而 with the synonyms 務 and 道 in parallel. The 凡 universalizes the propositions, here serving to make the difficulties of this stage appear as necessary consequences of universal truths.  The first phrase takes as its subject the characteristic virtue (仁) of this stage, while the second speaks of the ideal human type (賢), thus repeating and strengthening the linking of these two established in Sentences #9 and #10.  The phrase 以相出為道 means that they take individual excellence (“standing out from one another”) to be their Way. Sentence #12 reiterates the theme of population growth, and then speaks of 無制, the absence of government institutions, which corresponds to the 無正 (in Sentence #8) noted in the second stage of societal evolution. Finally, Sentence #13 concludes that over time (久) the agonistic, competitive values again led to chaos. It is an “if… then…” sentence, as marked by 則. Just as the second stage culminates in Sentence #9 with the appearance of the worthy, the third stage culminates in Sentence #14 with the entrance of the sage.  Here the verb 承 means “to receive, to inherit,” while the object pronoun 之 refers to the chaotic situation announced in Sentence #13.  In the second phrase of Sentence #14 the sage is the understood subject, the verb is the synonym compound 作 “to erect”+為 “to bring into being,” and the object is 分 (remember Extract C from the Xúnzĭ, which also identified 分 as the basis of an orderly society).  The six characters preceding the 之 consist of three pairs which all modify 分.  Thus “divisions of land,” “divisions of [movable] property,” and “divisions between men and women.” Sentences #15, #16, and #17 are parallel structures composed of three phrases: “When A then B therefore C.” Sentence #15 states that these divisions cannot work without regulations, so the sages created legal prohibitions (禁).  Sentence #16 states that legal prohibitions cannot work without administration (司), so the sages created officials (官).  Sentence #17 states that officials cannot work if they are not united in a single body (壹), so the sages created rulers (君).  Note the repeated inversion of object and verb after the negative pronoun 莫. Sentence #18 repeats the formula to announce the end of one stage of societal evolution and the beginning of the next through the abolition of the characteristic trait of the former and the establishment of the characteristic trait of the latter.  In this last stage, the characteristic is to 貴貴 “to treat the noble as noble,” i.e., to accept the hierarchy imposed by the state without concern for moral excellence or individual worth. Sentences #19-21 reprise the entire process, dividing human history into three stages (上中下) each characterized by a different set of values and institutions.

71 Leave a comment on paragraph 71 0 This passage contains many of the basic themes of what is commonly called “legalism.”  First, it insists on the necessity of constant change in human society to adapt to new material conditions.  The emphasis placed on population growth and the resultant competition figures in several works of the late Warring States period.  Second, it grants a place in the scheme of human history to the values espoused by the Confucians, but treats them as relics of a by-gone age.  Third, it insists on the priority of rulers, legal systems, and state-imposed hierarchies over any individual moral worth.  This same denunciation of 賢 as being inadequate to maintain social order figures prominently in the extracts from the Hán Fēizĭ.

72 Leave a comment on paragraph 72 0 B.  1. In all cases the means by which a ruler encourages his people are offices and titles.  2. The means by which states rise are agriculture and warfare.  3. Nowadays when people seek offices and titles, they never do so by means of agriculture and warfare, but [instead] by means of clever words and empty doctrines; this is called “wearying the people.”  4. As for one who wearies the people, his state will invariably have no power.  5. As for one who has no power, his state will invariably be whittled away.  6. One who is skilled in running a state, as for his instructing his people, [it is that they] obtain offices and titles in doing the one thing; therefore one who does not act as an official will have no title.  7. The state will eliminate [clever] words, and then the people will be simple.  8. When the people are simple, then they will not be immoral.  9. When the people see the fact of the highest profit’s coming from a single source, then they will do that one thing.  10. When they do that one thing, then they will not try to manage [“get by”] through deceit.  11. If the people do not try to manage through deceit, then there will be great power.  12. When there is great power, then the state is strong.  13. Now the people within the boundaries all say, “Agriculture and warfare can be avoided, and titles and ranks [still] obtained.”  14. Therefore the leading families all change their occupations, devote themselves to studying the Poetry and the Documents, and follow heterodox judgments; at best they can obtain fame, and at least they can seek offices and titles; petty people serve merchants in performing minor arts, and they all thereby avoid agriculture and warfare.  15. This completes the peril of the state.  16. When the people take these policies as their teaching, their states will inevitably be whittled away.

73 Leave a comment on paragraph 73 0 Sentence #1 is a simple “subject  + 者  = predicate 也” structure.  The core of the subject is 所以 “means by which.”  In this case it is the means of rulers (人主) to “encourage (勸)” their people, i.e., to guide their actions through reward rather than punishment. Sentence #2 is parallel to Sentence #1, although the modifier (國) and the verb (興) following 所以 each consists of only a single character.  The first five characters of Sentence #3 are a pre-posed topic.  The 皆 at the beginning of the second phrase indicates universality (a trope which occurs often in this text).  The two characters 以 in the two phrases linked by 而 mean “by means of.”  In the final four-character phrase note again the pairing of 此 and 謂.  This was discussed in Extract B, Sentence #7 of the Zhuāngzĭ. Sentences #4, #5, and #6 all begin with a phrase A + 者.  Grammatically this could mean 1) “doing A . . .” 2)  “What A means is . . .” or 3) “The one(s) who do(es) A . . .”  Because of the 其 “his, hers, its, their” which follows in each case, the third reading is correct. Sentence #6 has two pre-posed topics, marked by 者 and 也, and then gives two phrases linked by 而, which marks the first phrase—“doing the one thing”— as background or pre-condition to the second—“obtaining offices and titles.”  The 壹 is not explained here, but it becomes apparent later that it refers to 農戰.  This is already explicit in Sentence #2, where 農戰 are identified as the sole means by which a state may flourish, and hence the only sort of behavior which should be rewarded.  The emphasis on 壹 in various contexts throughout this text is worth noting.  The phrase 不官無爵 is a four-character parallelism which seems to be an “if . . . then . . .” sentence.  Note that 不 indicates that what follows is a verb, thus “not act as an official,” while 無 indicates that what follows is a noun, “will not have a title.”  The sentence is a little odd, because everywhere else in the passage 官 and 爵 form a unit, and the focus of the argument is on not getting either office or title without work in agriculture and war.  It is, however, understandable within the context of the period.  The passage denounces rewarding literary men and wandering persuaders, people like Mencius, who were given titles and salary without doing any administrative work for the state.  Thus it makes sense in the broader context of the age, but does not make for a particularly cogent, consecutive argument here. Sentences #7 and #8 are “if (or ‘when’) . . . then . . .” sentences as marked by the 則.  In Sentence #7 the reference to 言 once again shows that the target is philosophical disputation and its practitioners. 樸, in Sentences #7 and #8, is a common term in Daoist philosophy, indicating an uncarved block of wood and figuratively anything simple and unadorned.  Here, as is often the case, it is adapted to political argument where cultural and linguistic refinement are held to be threats to social order. Sentence #9 is likewise “when . . . then . . .” as marked by 則, but here the “when” clause, because of its length, is marked off by 也.  This could therefore be read as a pre-posed topic indicating the time of an event.  The phrase before 也 is a subject + verb + object:  民 is the subject, 見 is the verb, and the rest is the object.  The core of the object is 出 “to come out.”  The 從 indicates “from,” hence “from one hole.”  As marked by the 之, the 上利 modifies the 從壹空出, hence “the coming out from a single hole of the highest profit.”  The 壹 has already been mentioned in Sentence #6 as the sole means of obtaining office. Sentence #10 is yet again “if . . . then . . .” marked by 則.   偷營 is clear in meaning, but a bit difficult to translate.  營 means “to manage one’s affairs” or “to make a living,” and 偷 (here functioning as an adverb) means “lazily, dishonestly, craftily.”  The French débrouiller comes very close to the sense. Sentences #11 and #12, like most of the passage, are again “if . . . then . . .” as marked by 則.  今 at the beginnning of Sentence #13 echoes the earlier 今 in Sentence #3, which also introduced the current misbehavior of the people. The 皆 here again marks universality or inevitability. The “quotation” of the people consists of two parallel, four-character phrases linked by 而 and terminated by 也. In Sentence #14, the 豪傑 referred to are “local powers or bullies” who were a constant challenge to state power during the Warring States and Han periods.  Note again the use of 皆.  The local bullies’ misbehavior takes three forms: “changing their enterprises,” i.e., no longer devoting themselves to agriculture and war, “devoting themselves to the study of the Poetry and the Documents,” i.e., becoming scholars or Confucians, and 隨從外權.  This last phrase has several possible readings, although they overlap.  隨從 means “to follow, to obey,” but 外權 could mean either “foreign powers” or “heterodox/unconventional assessments/judgments.”  The first seems simple and straightforward, but the issue of alien states does not figure anywhere else in the passage.  The second reading has the advantage of linking up with the earlier 巧 in Sentence #3. (權, 巧, and 詐 are also closely linked in military treatises.)  It would also flow naturally from the immediately preceding phrase.  Those who study the Poetry and Documents will impose judgments or assessments that are alien to those decreed by the state; it is for this reason that they were denounced in the writings of Hán Fēi and Lǐ Sī.  Consequently I opt for the second reading, while leaving the first as an overtone or implication.  The next two phrases of Sentence #14 are parallel, introduced by the correlate pair 上 and 下.  In this context they mean something like “at most” and “at least.”  The 可以 means “able by means of [it, i.e., their actions described in the preceding phrases].”  In the next phrase the 要靡 are the subject.  These are people who are lower on the social ladder than the 豪傑.  The predicate is two parallel, three-character phrases (事商賈,為技藝) consisting of verb + object, where the object is a synonym compound. 技藝 means minor arts or techniques, which in this case could refer to craftsmen or entertainers.  Again the sentence uses 皆 to mark universality and reverts to the recurring theme of people’s avoiding agriculture and warfare. Sentence #15 has an understood subject, which seems to include the whole situation described in the preceding sentences. 具備 is a synonym compound (still in use) which means “to complete, to fully achieve.” Sentence #16 brings back elements from earlier sentences, and the second phrase (其國必削) exactly repeats the “then” part of Sentence #5.  The first phrase is a basic 以 A 為 B, “to use A as B.”  As in the earlier examples of this pattern, the 者 means “the one(s) who,” as indicated by the subsequent 其.

74 Leave a comment on paragraph 74 0 This passage articulates more of the basic tenets of “legalism.”  First, it emphasizes the reliance on rewards (and, elsewhere, on punishments).  Second, it reiterates the centrality of agriculture and warfare as the basis of state power.  Third, it demonstrates clear hostility to disputants and scholars.  Fourth, it advocates the ideal of keeping the people simple and uneducated.  Finally, it employs the flourishing or decline of the state as the measure of all teachings and policies.

75 Leave a comment on paragraph 75 0 C.  1. As for a sage’s running a state, he unifies the rewards, unifies the punishments, and unifies the teachings.  2. If he unifies rewards, then the troops will have no match.  3. If he unifies punishments, then orders will be carried out.  4. If he unifies teachings, then inferiors will obey superiors.  5. Clear rewards will not expend, clear punishments will not execute, clear teachings will not change, and the people will understand about their duties and the state will have no variations in its customs.  6. The apogee of clear rewards will achieve the absence of rewards.  7. The apogee of clear punishments will achieve the absence of punishments.  8. The apogee of clear teachings will achieve the absence of teachings.  9. What is meant by “unifying rewards” is that profits, salaries, offices, and titles will all come from military service, and there will be no alternative forms of bestowal.  10. Then it is certain that stupid or wise, noble or base, brave or cowardly, worthy or unworthy, all will use to the full the knowledge in their breasts and the strength in their limbs.  Going out to their deaths, they will be employed by their superiors.  .  .  .

76 Leave a comment on paragraph 76 0 11. What is meant by “unifying punishments” is that without consideration of rank or degree, from ministers and generals down to officers and commoners, if there are any who do not follow the royal commands, who violate the state’s prohibitions, or who disturb their superiors’ regulations, they will be put to death without pardon.  12. If they had some earlier merit or some later failure, one will not on that account reduce the punishment.  13. If they had some earlier success or some later error, one will not on that account damage the law.  14. If loyal ministers or filial sons commit a fault, then it must invariably be adjudicated according to its severity [literally “number”].  15. If among the officials who are to preserve the law and uphold their offices there are those who do not carry out the king’s laws, they are to be put to death without pardon, and this punishment reaches three generations.  16. Colleagues who are aware [of their crime] and report it to their superiors will not be punished, but without regard to their rank they will inherit their fellows’ rank, titles, land, and salaries.  17. Therefore I say, “If heavy punishments implicate [their families], then people will not dare challenge [the laws].” 18. Since the people do not dare to challenge, therefore there will be no punishments.  19. As for the prohibitions of the earlier kings—executions, cutting off people’s feet, and tattooing people’s faces—it was not that they sought to harm people; it was in order to prohibit treachery and stop crimes.  20. Thus to prohibit treachery and stop crimes, nothing is as good as heavy punishments.  21. If punishments are heavy and inevitable [literally “must be obtained”], then the people will not dare to challenge; therefore the state will have no punished [i.e., mutilated] people.  22. The state having no punished people, therefore I say, “If there are clear punishments one will not execute.”

77 Leave a comment on paragraph 77 0 Sentence #1 begins with a pre-posed topic marked by 也.  The core of the topic is 為國, a recurring phrase that means “to administer a state, to run a state.”  The preceding two characters (聖人) modify this core, as marked by the character 之.  Here the sage’s administering of a state is divided into three rubrics: rewards, punishments, and teachings.  Each of these must be unified. Once again the character is 一 yī, which centrally figured in its graphic variant 壹 in the two preceding extracts. Sentences #2, #3, and #4 take each of these three rubrics as the “if” or “when” clause of a sentence, as marked by the 則. Sentence #5 is introduced by the particle 夫 which indicates a statement of general import.  It then substitutes the character 明 “clear, illumined” for the character 一 in each of the three rubrics to produce three parallel, four-character phrases.  The first two phrases are clearly intended as seeming paradoxes, i.e., the clarity or illumination of rewards and punishments means no rewards (hence no expenditure) and no punishments (hence no executions).  The third is not so clear, but it is worth noting that for the Confucians the primary role of instruction was to transform (化 huà), so this last phrase might also be “paradoxical” within the context of inter-school polemics.  The two phrases following the 而 are clear, except for the use of the character 於, which does not seem necessary and destroys the rhythmic balance with the next phrase.  Perhaps it suggests that the people have knowledge of how to do those things that are their duty (“knowing in their duties”) as opposed to simply knowing what they ought to do (“knowing their duties”).  The absence of different customs (俗) is another way of insisting on unity (壹). Sentences #6, #7, and #8 are exactly parallel, each using one of the three rubrics, with the only variations being the character indicating that rubric and the character indicating what will disappear as a result. Sentence #9 begins with 所謂 “that which is called,” and it begins the process of explaining the three rubrics around which the passage has thus far been organized.  The grammatical structure is subject + (者) = predicate + 也.  The subject consists of a four-character phrase (所謂一賞), and the predicate consists of three four-character phrases.  The first of these lists the targets of aspiration (利祿官爵), the second states that they all emerge from military service (專出於兵), and the third states there is no other (once again 異 as a negative attribute, here opposed to the constantly reiterated 壹) channel of bestowing office/title/salary/profit. In Sentence #10 the initial particle 夫 again suggests a statement of general import.  This is reinforced by the 固 “certainly, invariably” and the 皆 that begins the second phrase.  The use of the verbs 盡 and 竭, both indicating exhaustion or using up, also reinforces this rhetorical insistence on totality.  The first phrase, after the 固, consists of four pairs of opposites.  This is another rhetorical method of insisting that the statement applies to all people without exception.  The 皆 is followed by three phrases.  The first two are exactly parallel, with the aforementioned synonymous verbs, the character 其, and two parallel, four-character expressions respectively indicating mental and physical powers.  While not grammatically parallel, the final phrase is a variation on the theme of totality, because it uses the image of going to one’s death (in battle) as a marker of total devotion to one’s superiors. In 為上用 the 為 marks the passive voice “to be employed.”

78 Leave a comment on paragraph 78 0 Sentence #11 defines the second rubric (刑), beginning with the same formula as in Sentence #9, but it does not follow an identical pattern.  The sentence is dominated by the four-character rhythm, including the subject, the two lists of social ranks that follow 自 and 以至, the first category of criminal (不從王令), and the last phrase (罪死不赦).  The predicate has three parts.  The first says that punishments make no distinctions of rank (無等級), and then gives a sequential list of ranks.  The second gives three rubrics of crime ending in 者 “those who,” and the third says that they are all are executed without pardon. Sentences #12 and #13 are composed of three four-character phrases, are exactly parallel and closely linked in meaning.  Indeed, the effort to write in parallels here seems to virtually triumph over the sense of the argument.  Thus it makes perfect sense to argue that punishment should not be reduced or the law damaged because of prior merit or earlier excellence, but what need is there to include the phrases about later defeats or errors?  These would scarcely merit any sort of remission of punishment, except for some argument of “sufficient suffering” which does not figure in the texts of the period.  The reason for the inclusion, apart from the neatness of the parallel, seems to be once again to rhetorically insist on totality or universality.  No exceptions will be made for any sort of conduct—good, bad, or indifferent—at any time—past, present or future. Sentence #14 is an implicit “if . . . then . . .” with the 必 reiterating the rhetorical stress on universality and necessity.  The subject is a four-character phrase (忠臣孝子), as is the second phrase (以其數斷).  Here we again see the insistence on the link between number (數) and the allotment of punishments (as in Extract A, Sentence #9, of the Xúnzĭ).

79 Leave a comment on paragraph 79 0 Sentence #15 likewise consists of four-character phrases (守法守職, 不行王法, 罪死不赦, and 刑及三族) whose relationships are marked by common particles (之 and 者).  The second and third four-character phrases are identical with or adaptations of those in the preceding sentences, with the key innovation being the reference to collective punishment of a whole family. In Sentence #16 everything up to the 者 constitutes the subject (“the colleague who knows and accuses him to his superiors”).  The predicate consists of two verbal phrases with the verbs 免 and then 尸襲 (which here function as a near synonym compound “replace and succeed”).  This second phrase is preceded by yet another of the adverbial phrases indicating no distinction or exceptions will be permitted (無貴賤) and uses another four-character phrase (官爵田祿) to indicate what will be inherited.  The 之 indicates that 官長 modifies, in this case marking possession, the final four-character phrase. Sentence #17 within the quotation marked by 曰 is an “if . . . then . . .” structure marked by 則, where the “if” consists of a subject 重刑 + verb 連 + object 其罪 and the “then” consists of a subject 民 + negative 不 + modal 敢 + main verb 試.  The “then” clause of this sentence becomes the “if”  (or “when”) of the next one, Sentence #18.  Sentence #19 is again constructed primarily of four-character phrases.  It consists of a subject 先王之禁 + negative 非 = predicate 求傷民 + 也, with a long “parenthetical expression” which lists the punishments mentioned in the subject.  The subject, two of the three punishments, the phrase beginning with 非, and the formula following 以 are all four-character phrases.  The final phrase is also internally parallel verb-object / verb-object, in which the two verbs (禁 and 止) are synonymous, as are the two objects (姦 and 過).  Note the interplay of 非求. . . 以 . . . that defines the predicate.  “As for (the subject), it was not seeking to . . . [rather] it was in order to . . .” Sentence #20, after the linking 故, consists of two four-character phrases, the first of which is a repetition of the final phrase of the preceding sentence.  Note the use of the set phrase 莫若 “nothing is as good as = the best thing is to .  .  .”  Sentence #21 is “if . . . then . . .” marked by 則.  The “if” consists of two phrases linked by 而, of which the first phrase is an inversion of the last two characters of Sentence #20. The inversion turns a noun phrase into a verbal phrase.  This allows the use of the 而, which always links verbs or verbal phrases, and it works better as an “if” clause.  The 必 again makes the rhetorical insistence on universality/inevitability. 刑民 works as a phrase because most of the punishments involved physical mutilation, so “punished people” were a distinctive group.  Note that Sentences #20-22 consist almost entirely of four-character phrases, with the repeated use of 故 to indicate that the assertions are connected.

80 Leave a comment on paragraph 80 0 This passage enunciates the three main tools of control advocated by the legalists:  rewards, punishments, and teaching.  The last is not central to most legalist writing, because the teaching they advocated consisted largely of non-teaching, as we saw in the preceding extract’s argument for eliminating language and keeping the people simple.  The passage is also important, because it makes it clear that rewards and punishments were neither ends in themselves nor purely tools to secure the ruler’s power, as one might imagine from some secondary treatments. It claims that if properly used these procedures will secure social order and a peaceful life for the common people.  It is a paternalist vision with a strong taint of contempt for the people’s capacities and suspicion of their character, but the same was true of all Chinese political theory.  Also like much of Chinese political practice, the primary target of government suspicion, and those subjected to the gravest penalties, are the officials themselves.  However, the vision enunciated in this passage and elsewhere throughout the text, of punishments that are to be imposed universally without regard to status, was at odds with actual practice in Qín state as revealed in the legal documents discovered in the tomb at Yúnmèng, a fact which shows we cannot read the theories articulated in Shāng Yăng’s name into the workings of the institutions that he actually created.

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Source: https://web.stanford.edu/group/chinesetexts/cgi-bin/site/9-shang-jun-shu-%E5%95%86%E5%90%9B%E6%9B%B8-the-book-of-lord-shang/