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The disciple Ȝăng said, 'I have heard your instructions on the affection of love, on respect and reverence, on giving repose to (the minds of) our parents, and on making our name famous;--I would venture to ask if (simple) obedience to the orders of one s father can be pronounced filial piety.' The Master replied, 'What words are these! what words are these! Anciently, if the Son of seven had seven ministers who would remonstrate with him,

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although he had not right methods of government, he would not lose his possession of the kingdom; if the prince of a state had five such ministers, though his measures might be equally wrong, he would not lose his state; if a great officer had three, he would not, in a similar case, lose (the headship of) his clan; if an inferior officer had a friend who would remonstrate with him, a good name would not cease to be connected with his character; and the father who had a son that would remonstrate with him would, not sink into the gulf of unrighteous deeds 1. Therefore when a case of unrighteous conduct is concerned, a son must by no means keep from remonstrating with his father, nor a minister from remonstrating with his ruler. Hence, since remonstrance is required in the case of unrighteous conduct, how can (simple) obedience to the orders of a father be accounted filial piety 2?'


484:1 The numbers 7, 5, 3, 1 cannot be illustrated by examples, nor should they be insisted on. The higher the dignity, the greater would be the risk, and the stronger must be the support that was needed.

484:2 Compare the Analects, IV, xviii, and the Lî kî, X, i, 15.

Next: Chapter XVI. The Influence of Filial Piety and the Response to It