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THE STUDY OF MARTIAL FORTUNE.
Returning from exercise some young men stopped one day, and the Old Man said to them: As your profession is that of arms constant drill is necessary; but good fortune is more important than skill since without it skill avails not. Mori Musashi no Kami was called the Demon of Musashi, so skillful and strong was he: but at Nagakute1 he was killed instantly by a bullet, and what benefit was there in his skill and courage? Skill rests on fortune; so study this most earnestly. Your instructors teach you arms but they know not the study of fortune. Such as I can teach you that!
Then one replied: I do not understand this study of martial fortune. Surely it is beyond man's control. Could it be acquired by study all the world would learn! The Old Man shook his head: Yes, there is such study. Tell us of it then, the students said; and the Old Man went on:
Consider, all of you! Whence is fortune? From Heaven! Even the world says, "Fortune is in Heaven." So then there is no resource save prayer to Heaven. Let us then ask: What does Heaven hate and what does Heaven love? It loves benevolence and hates malevolence. p. 64 It loves truth and hates untruth. Its heart is this, that it forms all things and unceasingly begets men. Even when in autumn and winter it seems the spirit of death it is not so, but the root, the spirit of birth is gaining strength. So does the Book of Changes declare: "Birth is called "change,"2 and again: "The great virtue of Heaven and Earth is called birth."3 That which in Heaven begets all things in man is called love. So doubt not that Heaven loves benevolence and hates its opposite.
So too with truth. For countless ages sun and moon and stars constantly revolve and we make calendars without mistake. Nothing is more certain! It is the very truth of the universe! When man leaves all else and is humane and true he accords with Heaven, it surely cherishes and embraces him. But with mere temporary virtue4 comes no such revelation. We must always obey, being ever benevolent and injuring no one, being ever true and deceiving no one. As the days and months pass such truth appeals to Heaven, and Heaven helps so that even in battle we meet no misfortune nor strike against bullet or spear. This is the study of martial fortune. Do not think it an old man's foolish talk.
How sad is the condition of the world! Men seek only profit and hate their follows! With their wisdom they make a lying appearance and think it a skilful device for passing through the world. At last they are cast off by Heaven and how can there be any good for them? I have noticed prayers for good luck brought year by year from famous temples and hills decorating the entrances to the p. 65 abodes of famous samurai. But none the less have they been killed or punished, or their line has been destroyed and house extinguished. Or at the least, to many shame and disgrace have come. They have not learned "fortune" but foolishly depend on prayers and charms. Confucius said: "When punished by Heaven there is no place for prayer."5 Women of course follow the temples and trust in charms but not so should men. Alas! Now all are astray, those who should be teachers, the samurai and those higher still! Whose fault is it then that this evil way wins the multitude? Okina weeps as he repeats the verse of Moshi,—"Watching the crow—on whose roof will it alight?"6
THE REWARDS OF VIRTUE AND VICE.
After a little some one said: I am much impressed with this new study of martial fortune, nor shall I forget it. But still I have my doubts. Do not men of humanity and truth meet with misfortune, while selfish, false men are happy? Gankai the saint died young and poor; Tōseki7 the infamous robber was long-lived and rich. Do explain such facts.
The Old Man replied:—The good are happy and the wicked miserable. This is the certainly determined and just law. But happiness and misery are not thus fore-ordained. They depend on circumstances. The Sages speak of the true law and not of the undetermined circumstances. If we would live long we abstain from drink and lust that the body may be strong. If in service we seek promotion we are diligent in duty. But some men who are careful of their health die young and some careless men live long. Yet surely, care is not in vain! So too some diligent men through misfortune gain no promotion and negligent men by chance have been advanced. Yet surely, diligence is not in vain! Were we to think care of the body useless we should spend days and nights in drinking and lust until at last we should be diseased and die. And were we to think diligence in vain we so frequently should neglect our duty that punishment and degradation would be ours. Care of the body is the "way" of long life, as is diligence of promotion. These laws are unchangeable. Again consider! When we make plans, do we leave all to chance or determine first the principles of our action? Of course the latter, and then we do not repent even though we are unfortunate. We cannot arrange for chance. But to leave all to chance and fail, that leads to repentance. Sin is the source of pain and righteousness of happiness. This is the settled law. The teaching of the Sages and the conduct of superior men is determined by principles and the result is left to Heaven. Still, we do not obey in the hope of happiness, nor do we forbear to sin from fear. Not with this meaning did Confucius and Mencius teach that happiness is in virtue and pain in sin. But the "Way" is the law of man. It is said: "The 'Way' of Heaven blesses virtue and curses sin." That is intended for the ignorant multitude. Yet it is not like the Buddhist hōben, for it is the determined truth.
THE VICTORY OF HEAVEN AND MAN.
Again he said;—When men are many they win from Heaven, but when Heaven decrees it wins. It is a famous saying: Heaven always wins, evil cannot contend with right. Men, when many and strong, may succeed for a time, yet only for a time while Heaven is undecided; afterwards it wins. Heaven is forever and is not to be understood at once, like the promises of men. Short-sighted men consider its ways and decide that there is no reward for vice or virtue. So they doubt when the good are virtuous and fear not when the wicked sin. They do not know that there is no victory against Heaven when it decrees.
Gankai died young. Tōseki lived long, for Heaven's decree was not yet formed. But now as we study the decree: Gankai indeed lived poverty-stricken and in obscurity, but his name lasts thousands of years with the sun and moon. Tōseki had a thousand followers and walked in pride but when he died his name perished before his body was cold; while his shame lasts an hundred generations, memorial of many evil deeds. Was then Gankai's reward from Heaven small, and Tōseki's great?
And seldom is the award so late; generally it is at once. Sometimes it is delayed awhile and yet is received in person. Nowadays in Japan are many evil officials; some are punished soon, some after a delay; some are detected at once, some only by and by and some not until after death. For the collection and disbursement of taxes in town and province goes on unceasingly and a deficit is not perceived. So the wicked man is wise in his own interest and, by many devices, appropriates the property of the government to his own use that he may live in luxury and ease. While still undiscovered he congratulates himself upon his cleverness. And when others are detected he puts it to their want of skill, and grows in pride instead of being warned. But surely his evil wisdom makes some mistake. He overlooks something p. 68 which reveals his wickedness, and cleverness and devices avail not when he is examined and every item studied. For a time he was free, but soon or late there is no escape.
Since thus something may be taken from the great stores of the government and the loss be not perceived at once, still more from Heaven whose treasures, lands and seas and men by millions, are very great. Evil and good mingle in vast numbers and awards cannot be made at once. It is not wonderful that bad men tread the dangerous evil way in search of gain. But Heaven too has its time for settling its accounts. Then the most clever accountant cannot rival the exactness of its perception; and its awards, mild and bitter, heavy and light are without the least mistake. In China and Japan many strong men have prided themselves on courage, wisdom and plots, and, Heaven being still undetermined, have thought it could be moved by man's power. For a while as they strive with great and evil powers they seem to gain their ends, but Heaven soon decrees and body and house are lost. Many such instances there are, of old and now. To think that man may win from Heaven is the source of evil. For bad men see temporary gain and rejoice with shallow wisdom. But true men see and greatly fear the evil that is invisible. As the Book of Poetry says,—"Fear the will of Heaven. Obey according to the times." Truly ever fear and cherish it.
THE FLEETING, DREAM-LIKE WORLD.
One of the students who had been a Buddhist but now studied philosophy with the Old Man, said one day to another student;—The Old Man teaches me the exalted truth of Confucius, but Buddhism too has truth not to be cast aside. Scholars are entangled by the world and deceived by reality and seek fame and gain. So they die without seeing the truth. Buddhism knows the world's a dream, a vision, p. 69 and though it is heresy still it leads many to the truth as it teaches the true nature of the Buddha. Good and evil are twisted together like the strands of a rope. Joy and sorrow stand ever at the gate waiting to enter. The fleeting world is like a dream; how shall we find satisfaction in it? To see that it is a dream is to find the beginning of the "Way."
The Old Man replied;—There is reason in what you say, and therefore many famous samurai have forsaken philosophy for Buddhidm. They are like the guest who ate too much at a feast and went home in agony, holding his big belly with his hands. He met an empty bellied beggar seeking food and cried out: Oh! If I were only like that man! Then I should not suffer so. Such are the scholars who, surfeited with the world and offended with philosophy, turn to the teaching of the priests. They know not that the land of rest is in our teaching.
From the beginning of Heaven and Earth the "Way" of the three relations and five laws has not changed. It is Heaven's truth. It is not a dream. It is not a "borrowed world." But men want rank and gain. They seek them day and night until death and pursue them west and east. Success and ruin quickly come and quickly go, all alike unexpected. Such unrighteous success Confucius called, "Clouds that form and disappear."8 But in the Buddhist doctrine of "three worlds" all seems a dream. There is no distinction of truth and falsehood; and the "Way" of the three relations and five laws is destroyed and thrown away as rubbish. As if we should destroy eye and ear! We see and hear by them and, forsooth, in sight and sound are errors! Shall we then make ourselves deaf and blind and be content, hearing and Seeing naught? The heart is from Heaven; is endowed with all reason and responds to all things. Thus is the "empty spirit"9 exalted, Now if we p. 70 deny both reason and things, the three relations and the five laws, and our own heart, what shall be the true heart? These heretics even must make our wonderful consciousness to be the true nature of Buddha.
The heart is like light. Fire is called light because it shines on things. The phosphorescence of sea and hill is like fire: yet lights nothing but dances in solitude, in waste places far from men. Shall we exalt it and call it a light Divine? Buddhism, separated from the "Way" of the five relations and the five virtues, moves men uselessly, without real connection with reason or affairs. Vainly it talks of Divine knowledge. In Japan before the Empress Suikō, and in China before the Emperor Mei10 were no such men or hearts. It is all useless but for a thousand years here and in China high and low have felt its influence. Lords and retainers, parents and children have been deserted by men who have become priests. And others look on with longing and say,—"They have accepted the true religion," It is most contemptible, no matter what may be the purpose. Surely it is shameful! And the Old Man was silent for a while.
Reason comes from Heaven, he continued, and is in men. If we know it not in ourselves we know it not at all. This kind knowledge exceeds all former experience as we love our friend an hundredfold as we discover that he is bound to us by the ties of nature, is our lost father or brother. An abstainer knows that sake is sweet, but not as if he tasted it. And the sake drinker knows not the taste of mochi. The true philosopher knows the truth as the drinker knows the taste of sake and the abstainer the taste of sweets. How shall he forget it? How shall he fall into p. 71 error? Lying down, getting up, moving, resting, all is well. In peace, in trouble, in life, in death, in joy, in sorrow, all is well. Never for a moment will he leave this "Way." This is to know it in ourselves. But I have not yet attained to this, nor do I truly know the "Way."11
THE MORNING GLORY'S HOUR.
Matsunaga thus sings of the Morning-glory:—"The Morning-glory of an hour, Differs not in heart from the pine of a thousand years."12 What profundity! Many have sung of the morning-glory, of its short life, of autumn loneliness and the vanity of the world, so Hakkyoi:—13 "After a thousand years the pine decays; The flower has its glory in blooming for a day." That is pretty but it merely makes bloom and decay one. The ignorant think it profound but it is very superficial, like Buddhism and Taoism. Matsunaga's verse has other meaning, has it not? I think it means. "He who in the morning hears the 'Way' may die content at night."14 To blossom early, wait for the rising sun and die, such is the morning-glory's nature received from Heaven. It does not forget its own nature and envy the pine its thousand years. So every morning splendidly it blooms, waits for the rising sun and dies. Thus it fulfils its destiny. How can we despise this truth the flower reveals? The pine differs not, but we p. 72 learn the lesson best from the short-lived flower. The pine's heart is not of a thousand years nor the morning-glory's of an hour, but only that they may fulfil their destiny.
The glory of the thousand years, the evanescence of the single hour are not in pine or flower but in our thought. So is it with unfeeling things, but man has feeling and is the head of all. Yet is he deceived by things and does not attain to this unless he knows the "Way." To know the "Way" is not the mystic contemplation of which Buddhism speaks. The "Way" is so adjusted to all things that even miserable men and women may know and do it. And only as we truly know it can we truly do it. Otherwise even with practice we do not know, and even in doing it we find no profit. Though we are in the "Way" until death we do not understand. Truly to know and act is to be like fish in water and bird in forest.
Reason should be our life. Never should we separate from it. While we live we obey, and "Way" and body together come to death. Long shall we be at peace. To live a day is to obey a day, and then to die: to live a year is to obey a year and then to die. If thus in the morning we hear and die at night there is no regret. So the morning-glory lives a day, blooms wholly as it had received, and without resentment dies. How greatly differ the thousand years of the pine in length, yet both fulfil their destiny and both are equally content. Thus, "The morning-glory of an hour, Differs not in heart from the pine of a thousand years." As Matsunaga shows his aspirations in his verse so I in imitation; "By the truth received from Heaven and Earth, The morning-glory blooms and fades."
"Regret not what you see: Decay and bloom alike are morning-glory's truth."
"Hurting not, lusting not, This is the morning-glory's heart, Not different from the pine's."
The verses are wretched as you see. But never mind their form, take their truth.
THE EYELASH MYSTERY.
Said the students;—When we read we see only the surface and do not know how to apply the lesson to the world, but you find profound reason in everything. We do not understand that which is close at hand, it is as secret as the eyelashes.
And the Old Man replied;—Confucius said of the common words of Shun, "They show his wisdom": the Sage does not neglect the speech of the vulgar. "A boy thus sang:—When the river is clear I wash the strings of my cap; when it is muddy I wash my feet." And its meaning is, the Sage is not stopped but moves with the current of the world. Confucius commented thus,—"Because the water is clear he washes the strings of his cap, because it is muddy he washes his feet; so the washing is not of man's goodness or evil but the water by its clearness or muddiness brings it on itself. Consider!"15 So are praise and shame, misery and blessedness all of self and not of others. Blame not men but heed thyself! Hear not unthinkingly even a common verse.
When young I met an old philosopher in Kyōto who told me stories of the past, and among them this of Ieyasu. He once said to his followers;—"Would you avoid misfortune? Here is advice for you in five syllables or in seven. Which will you have?" "Give us both," they said; and he went on:—"In five,—Do not look above, (ne wo mi na); and in seven,—Know thy own capacity (mi no hodo wo shire). Forget them not."
But men look above and know not themselves. Extravagant, proud, fond of adornment, they crumble their property and invite misfortune. A great daimyō had a karō whose income was ten thousand koku and on a certain day he went to the castle wearing a cotton robe dyed red. Getting p. 74 wet en route he hung his robe in the sun to dry. The daimyō returning from the chase saw the robe and said, "Red fades in the sun, take it inside." But in the house of another great noble was an officer who gave ten gold ryō for the ornaments of his armour and remarked: "Weapons of war are most precious and from this expenditure my son and grandson will know my meaning." A third daimyō was thought especially wise. The son of his karō was fond of medicine cases and wore one, three coral heads ornamenting the string. His lord remarked to him:—"I see you are fond of medicine cases; here is one that preserves the strength of the medicine for ever. Wear it," and gave him one whose beads were nuts. So all the officials renounced extravagance.
All this was sixty or seventy years ago but now everywhere is extravagance. We may well spend money on our weapons but luxury must be reproved. In the Ōsaka war great nobles and knights had only the simplest weapons and armour, while their houses and possessions were ruder still. Extravagance unrepressed destroys the empire. Its origin is selfishness, looking above and not knowing self. This is what Ieyasu meant. This disease, extravagance, is not merely individual and personal. It affects high and low. It leads generals to overestimate their own powers and despise their adversaries. So they lose the empire and themselves, like Nobunaga and many another in China and Japan. But Ieyasu did not become extravagant. He knew himself. Success did not make him proud, and so at last he ruled the empire. His syllables five and seven have profound meaning everywhere.
BENEVOLENCE THE LIFE OF THE SOUL.
One day, after study was ended, the talk was of benevolence and righteousness, and one of the company remarked: The heart of Heaven and Earth becomes man's heart. p. 75 Heaven's heart is to produce all things, and as this becomes the heart of man, love to his fellows will be the virtue of his heart. So is it that benevolence, the principle of love, is the virtue of the heart. And with this virtue are all the others, for they are included in it and come from it. This have I learned from you. Benevolence means the heart which loves mankind and is chief of the virtues. Many teachers give the chief place to compassion, and if enough meaning is read into it we may agree; but this teaching that benevolence is the virtue of the heart is not that ordinary shallow commonplace. Why is it that righteousness, propriety and truth are destroyed when there is no benevolence, even though compassion be made the virtue of the heart? Talk to us awhile of this. And the Old Man replied:
I agree with you and have nothing new to say, but still I will speak a little in detail. Benevolence in the heart is like the vital spirits in the body, and as these are shown in the pulse so is benevolence shown in love. When the pulse ceases to beat man dies, and when the law of love is lost the heart is destroyed. Thus is benevolence the life of the heart. It lives with benevolence and pity. Naturally when we see our parents we love them, and naturally we reverence superiors; naturally we are humble in the presence of old age; naturally we respond to the story of righteousness and are ashamed as we hear of evil. But if there is no sympathy or pity the heart is hard like demon, or beast, or wood, or stone, and we have no feeling. How then shall we love or reverence, respond to righteousness or be ashamed at wrong?16
Thus are benevolence, righteousness, propriety and wisdom all of the virtue of the heart. They are separate laws and yet all of this one origin, benevolence. Without it men may have indeed a virtuous appearance and activity, but they come not from the heart and are not true virtue or true law. For benevolence is the essence of virtue and the law of love.
Bravery even comes from benevolence and is of the pitying heart. War seems a violent "way," taking and killing, and compared with benevolence like black compared with white. Yet only when benevolence is its foundation is the warrior's bravery true courage. Only as chivalry, and letters too, and all spring from the heart and combine with benevolence are they true. With such a heart, even if we purpose not to aid our neighbors, still aid them we must and shall.
RIGHTEOUSNESS THE EDGE OF THE HEART.
Another of those present spoke:—We now fully understand that benevolence is the virtue of the heart, the law of love, and that in its perfection all virtues are included. But righteousness is singled out and put with it. Explain, please, this righteousness. So the Old Man replied:
As are the In and Yō in Heaven, so are benevolence and righteousness in man. This is the teaching of the Book of Changes:—"The 'Way' of Heaven is In and Yō; the 'Way' of man is benevolence and righteousness."17 And in the first figure of the Book of Changes the four seasons are all included in spring.18 Though the spirit of autumn seems to destroy and kill, yet really it strengthens the power that shall bring forth the verdure of the spring. So is it with man's "Way." The four virtues are all in benevolence but not indiscriminately, for without the rule of righteousness the living "Way" of the heart is hurt and benevolence is destroyed.
As I once said to a beginner: Righteousness is the "edge" of the heart. Shushi called it the "ruler" of the heart. Usually, with action, coming and going, taking and giving, the heart is filled up and cannot be just. Such a heart, stuck fast, even when learned, cannot be wise. It is without repentance and makes no rapid advance in virtue. So our action depends upon the "edge" of the heart. Thus did Confucius speak of the superior man; "Righteousness is his nature."19 And he thus explains a passage in the Book of Changes: "He purifies his heart with reverence and his conduct with righteousness."20 And again, he separates the man of true distrinction from the man of mere notoriety thus: "His nature is honest and he loves righteousness."21
Our lusts hurt the heart and are the enemies of benevolence and righteousness. Even those who are benevolent and know pity, whose nature is tender, become hard and lose their communion with Heaven when they are led by evil wisdom and by external things. Lusts daily increase like the insects which devour trees, and when the vital spirit dies the great tree is dead. As the edge of the heart is dulled, alas! righteousness disappears. Rust makes valueless the best cutting sword as the edge is dulled. So is it that the Confucian philosophy magnifies benevolence and teaches that self-conquest is essential to its attainment.
When Gankai asked Confucius about benevolence, the Sage replied: "Conquer self and return to propriety."22 Propriety is the adornment of Heaven and Earth, man's rule for self-examination and instrument for victory over self. Gankai sought the method of self-government. Men who know not this cannot conquer self, though they strive strenuously. So it is that the Great Learning put knowledge of the truth before the reformation of the heart.23 Though we know that the "Way" is benevolence and righteousness, yet we cannot attain perfection if we neglect propriety and knowledge. Thus does the Book of Changes speak of the virtue of the sage: "Knowledge is high, propriety is low; the height of the knowledge is Heaven, the lowliness of the propriety is Earth."24 As the high increases so does the low improve. This is the "Way," complete doing at first and complete doing at last. This has been philosophy's great law from Confucius until now.
THE BROAD SPIRIT.
When studying penmanship I read the sentence of Imagawa, "If one of the four virtues is lost, the 'Way' cannot be fulfilled." Imagawa was not a great philosopher, but this saying is truly great. I well remember it yet. All four are important, yet is righteousness next to benevolence, as we may learn from Mencius' teaching of the Broad Spirit, "Very great, very strong, filling Heaven and Earth!"25 Consider how so great a thing can come from righteousness. Endowed with the living spirit of Heaven and Earth man is naturally a broad being, but lusts dull the "edge" of the heart and the spirit grows small. So the broad spirit is from the "edge" of the heart. Without it, as the proverb says, "with one bound of an ox," we are wholly given up to self. Nor are we to be righteous all at once. Mencius says: "It is by the accumulation of righteousness."25 The broad spirit does not give forth its power at once, with one thing or at one time, but day by day using the "edge" of the heart in accord with reason in all things great and small, important and unimportant, without any doubt, as with a sword you cut in two, deciding thus it fits well, this is the "Way", so is the broad spirit produced. Thus ceaselessly, this spirit continuing, ever it grows strong and at last the spirit so aids the "edge" of the heart that it unites with righteousness and the spirit is naturally very broad.
So when in cold weather two men at daybreak are about to rise, the sake drinker does not hesitate while the abstainer shivers with the cold. For the spirit of the liquor aids his "edge" of the heart. But the broad spirit comes from righteousness and yet helps the righteousness, a thing most wonderful!
Last year I read in the Kam-bun-sho26 of a dragon. The dragon is a thing most wonderful and Divine; and this one made a cloud with its breath and then rode thereon up to the moon and down to the depths. The dragon formed the cloud which aided it in its flight! But not unreasonably are we to use the spirit strength to make the weak strong, or we shall be like the men of So who pulled up the rice that they might help it to grow long!25 That is to injure the "Way" and prevent the accumulation of righteousness. It should be accumulated without definite purpose, yet constantly as day or night a man forgets not his important business. Neither forgotten nor unreasonably accumulated, this is this "edge" of the heart. As the philosophers have said, "Hold with reverence." Not too careful, or greater harm comes than from forgetting to have a care. "Like holding an egg in the hand," not forgetting or down it goes; not too tight or it is crushed.
Not too careless and not too careful. The heart is wonderful and Divine. Empty and idle it cannot be. It must have intercourse with men and act, or in its idleness useless things come forth, it considers things without root or dependence and is confused like hemp. Long ago in Kaga a samurai asked me of this control of the heart and I said to him:—The heart is like a horse of spirit and "reverence" is that which rides it. If the spirit is weak so are seat and hands, away the horse runs and we are thrown. This is the "forgetting." If we hold too strongly the mouth hurts and the horse cannot go. This is to "nourish unreasonably." Not only is he unable to go: his evil spirit is aroused, he balks and rears and is no benefit but an injury. Not too loose nor too tight, but carefully in the mean, then fast and slow he comes and goes freely obedient to my desire.
So wrote I forty years since. Those to whom I wrote are now of the long ago.
Deeply moved was the old man as he spake these words.
THE PEOPLE, THE HEAVEN OF THE KING.
Once at the end of his exposition of the tenth book of the Analects, "He bowed to those who bore the tables of the census," the Old Man asked his guests: What is the meaning of the phrase, "The people are the Heaven of the king and food is the Heaven of the People"?
The people, replied one, are the foundation of the State; when they are obedient the State remains, but when they rebel it is destroyed. As its preservation and destruction are of the people the king must honour them as Heaven. And the people honour their food as Heaven, for it is their life and without it they die.
You have explained correctly the meanings, continued the Old Man, as both honouring agriculture. When Heaven begets men it brings forth grain for their food. If there are men there is grain and if there is grain there are men; if there is no grain there are no men. Nothing excels food. The farmers produce it and are entrusted by Heaven to the king who must honour them as he honours Heaven itself. Not one farmer may be abused. For this reason the census was received of old with honour by the king, and Confucius bowed when he met those who bore it. The people are to remember that they are entrusted with the production of this precious gift of Heaven and are to honour it as Heaven itself. They must not be idle, for their industry determines the land's prosperity.
In the days of the Sage kings all this was heeded. Taxes were light and when the crops failed there was such aid that the people were not scattered abroad. They lived at home without anxiety and gave their produce to the king p. 82 and no one failed to make "food to be as Heaven." Gradually their manners became the fashion with the officials and the city folk, and all were frugal and none lazy or luxurious. But later, in the time of the Shin dynasty,27 the heart which made the people to be Heaven grew less, and cruel taxes were imposed until at last there was separation and rebellion. All was confusion and disintegration and the mob originated. Again from the time of the Kan dynasty,27 though there was peace and safety, yet many were intent on gain and the great merchants lived like princes and in imitation the country folk too fell into extravagance and competed in costly amusements. Kagi28 complained to the government, and as something of the heart that makes "the people Heaven" still remained, the Emperor repeatedly proclaimed that agriculture is the foundation of the empire, remitted the taxes and reproved the local officials. He exhorted to filial obedience, brotherly respect and industry. So in the time of Bun-Kei29 lord and servant were frugal and the land grew rich. It was the best period after the times of the Sage kings.30 So our study shows that when the fashions of the country extend to the capital it is well, and when the capital influenced the country it is ill, for in the country is simplicity and in the capital extravagance.
Nowadays, so far as I hear, avaricious officials are many, and in the country too many who are outwardly obedient to the law amass wealth, are pleasure-loving, hide their faults, deceive the Government, injure their fellows and count all this shrewdness. At their feasts they eat only delicacies, gather women for song and dance, and spend immense sums in a day. They think it æsthetic; and when they see a man who is frugal and honest they ridicule him as "rustic" and unaccustomed to the ways of the world. As an individual can do nothing against the multitude, these fashions become universal and even the remote regions are extravagant and false. Alas! all the world praises extravagance and all the world desires money without which these lusts cannot be gratified. So those who are strong seize the wealth of the empire and its circulation is stopped. Gold and silver are scarce. But food grows every year, so it is cheap and money is dear. The samurai who are paid in grain must exchange cheap grain for dear cash and have not enough, while those who have money buy cheap grain with dear coin and increase their goods. But with limited coin their extravagance is unlimited and useful money goes for useless things. Money is less and less in quantity day by day and does not circulate. Rice grows ever cheaper, yet the poor country folk cannot buy it. The rich feast daily but the green-coloured31 are ever at their side. The bad become robbers to save their lives. From extravagance comes poverty and from poverty theft.
This has not come about in a day. Until sixty or seventy years ago there was prosperity. Some were extravagant but the majority were frugal, for many old men of the former age still lived, men who had endured hardship as soldiers and had known no luxury even in their dreams. But their descendants, trained in their houses, think frugality rustic. The elders were without outer adornments but their p. 84 inner qualities were great. They loved labour and were loyal and sympathetic. But after their time the samurai with their hereditary pensions knew nothing of hardship in the times of peace. They desire drink and pleasure and know not its poison. Extravagant and vain and profligate, no wonder we are in such condition. Still worse are the money-getters and the givers of great entertainments. And the evil goes into the provinces. There remains even now something of the ancient customs, differing from the great towns. But the people are foolish and profligate, and some commit great crimes. Foolish and angry in their misery, some even rise against the Government. Still they are not cheats like the townfolk. They are naturally honest, simple, easily moved by blessings, quick to follow reason and satisfied with their daily food. When the officials remember the heart which makes the people Heaven, and modify the taxes according to circumstances and so treat the people that they may nourish parents and children without fear of death from cold and hunger, then the people are in peace. When the laws are made known showing the punishments for crime, forbidding extravagance, reproving the idle and dissolute, then the people admire and obey. As they become good their virtue passes to the towns. The townfolk are not the tenth of the countrymen; yet town fashions permeate the provinces. Were the conntrymen content and prosperous, still more readily then would their fashions go throughout the empire conquering extravagance and evil. Without doubt extravagance would give way gradually to frugality.
THE SKIRT OF FUJI.
Of old it was said: "When the people are discontented they think of insurrection," so important is their peace to the empire. In the days of Ieyasu a certain samurai who loved philosophy was sent on a tour of inspection. Before starting he asked his teacher for advice and was told, "You will travel around the skirt of Fuji, study the plain on p. 85 which it stands. Such a mountain can stand only on so great a plain. Mountains stand secure because they spread wide out their base. With top big and base small, over they would fall. Would you now serve the Government? Care for the people. I have no advice to give but this." This is the meaning of that figure of a mountain standing on the earth in the Book of Changes.32 The mountain rears itself on high but the base clings to the earth. The earth is its source. So are rulers to make the top small and the base great. Then is the empire at peace, like the mountain. But if the top is increased and the base diminished there is danger; it is a mountain upside down.
This is my thought:—In the towns are many evil men who set fire to houses and work mischief. For the greater part they are wanderers from the country who have come aimlessly to town because of the misery in the provinces. Should they return they would find no occupation and no place for their bodies. So their only resource is to rob and steal. Were the provinces unoppressed and the family relationship maintained, men would come to town only in exceptional circumstances. Should they find no work in town they would go home again. Had they friends they would not throw away their lives by committing crimes sure to be punished. Even the outcasts would go to their friends for aid. But now the provinces are in distress and all gather in the towns. And useless extravagance leads the fashion. The nobles, high officials and the rich put crowds of these fellows in livery. They gather in the long houses to drink and game. They drink until drunk, and by their carelessness the house catches fire and burns. The worst of them steal their master's money and fire the house to hide their misdeeds. The carelessness of the master permits such evils, but the real cause is the evil love of luxury. Stop the extravagant customs of the town and the provinces will prosper.
THE EMPIRE'S TREASURE.
But ever with a century of peace comes extravagance. That it may be replaced by frugality, honest and economical samurai must be given office. Mere laws and the machinery of government will not avail. So it is said: "Teach by example and they follow; by words and they accuse." When the great officers are righteous the mass of officials naturally follow with reverence and fear. When the great officers teach with words the subordinates quarrel and disobey. Though laws be many and increase yet is control difficult. The real and final fault is the unfitness of the officials for their places. Laws are necessary, but their efficiency is according to the men who enforce them. As Confucius said, "Government is by the man. With him it is complete; when he is destroyed it ceases."
The changes of man's heart are not according to a fixed system, but evil and good, falsehood and truth, are confused together. So the plausible excuses of Shokufu, though he seemed to make out his case, were not accepted by Chosekishi;33 and the efficient general was not dismissed when he was accused of stealing eggs;34 the seeming frugality of Kosonko in wearing a cotton robe was really evil extravagance, while the seeming extravagance of Kakushige35 in the end was not to be reproved as wrong. We cannot govern a multitude of changing beings by unchanging laws. That is like playing a koto with its bridge made fast, like marking the side of the boat that we may find again the sword lost overboard. Not thus are changing conditions suitably met.
Find the proper man and entrust the laws to him. Let him assert or modify, advance or retreat, using the laws according to the times, using them as not immovably bound by them. He should skillfully roll them along and not be rolled along by them. When all is entrusted to officials such as these, the Government is not obstructed, the laws are enforced, the people obey and there is continual peace. Jewels are not the treasure of the empire but wise men.
Reverently would I speak my admiration of the great Ieyasu.36 Once when an office was vacant he said to his minister (karō): "I shall give the office to so and so. What is his character?" But the karō replied, "I do not know. He does not come to my house." Ieyasu changed colour and replied, "I am to be blamed if unreasonably I ask your opinion of the character of each one of my many men-at-arms and if it is not your duty to know. But so and so has rank and wealth. He is unknown to no one. What duty have you more important than to know the leading men and give me information when I ask it? Should you reply 'I do not know'? Not know? I erred when I entrusted you with an office of such importance. Consider. The faithful samurai does not go familiarly to the house of his superior. You are to seek out the good men among them and know them that they may not be unemployed. That is your duty to me. When fine swords, daggers and articles for the cha-no-yu are spoken of you seek them that they may be shown to me. But the best of them do not serve the State. They are not essential. But I ever say that man is the 'treasure of treasures.' And you are so inattentive that you can answer me like this? If you know only those who call at your house you will corrupt the samurai. They will think they p. 88 must flatter the men in power. My samurai, modest and virtuous, are the life-power of the state. If their hearts are soiled and they become shameless and spiritless in every thing, putting up with insults that they may save their lives, they will have no heart to fulfil righteousness. So with the loss of their vitality will the vigour of the State fail. Then the State will readily be overturned and destroyed. Fail not to remember what I say."
So did Ieyasu make wise men his treasure, and their righteousness the life-power of the State. Of all our rulers he stands first. I need not dwell longer on his lecture to the karō. In the Book of Rites provision is make for an officer whose duty shall be the choice of man. But in time the good old way failed and men were chosen only for rank, words, literary skill, and such like empty things. So has it been for generations. And in Japan from the beginning of the Kamakura times37 lord and karō never thought of advancing men by the test of character. How such men would fear this sharp word of Ieyasu. All fear and follow him, so it is that from his time many men of high character appear who govern well. There is constant progress and all in the empire are at peace. This blessing is all from him. To worship such virtue day and night is not enough.
CUSTOM IS THE FIELD OF THE GOVERNMENT.
Naught else is so essential to the empire as custom. The ruler's authority is like Heaven and his fear is as thunder, who dare disobey? But as the proverb says, "Against the multitude no hand," so against custom is no victory. p. 89 Mandates and laws effect a temporary reformation, but constantly do they yield and fail long to influence those beneath their sway. They permeate but a little way and are lost in the mass.
Custom is like a field and government like seed. Be the seed never so good, if the field is ill prepared it will not grow. Good laws accomplish nothing unless the customs too are good. First prepare the soil and then sow the seed. First reform customs if we desire good government. And the source of customs is the ruler himself. Let him govern himself and thus inspire those who are below. This is the unchanging law. If he govern not himself there is no model for the people.
When good or evil has hardened into custom there can be no immediate change. To go over to the bad is easy, but to become good is difficult. If reform is purposed, tie fast custom that there be no drift into evil. The ruler cannot accomplish it alone, but all the officials, small and great, must perceive his purpose, govern themselves and be examples to the people. Nowadays all know the frugality of the Shōgun, yet the extravagance of the lower orders ceases not. Such worthless men as I ever celebrate the virtues of the Shōgun, still more should all the high officials approve him. Doubtless they are not all slothful and yet cannot at once reform the customs which have long been decayed.
In the period Manji-Kwambun (1658-1672) quails were the fashion, and men of wealth competed for them and they became very costly. Abe Bungo no Kami, Tada-aki, fancied them and kept a cage ever by his side. A daimyō knew his fancy and buying one of highest price sent it to Abe by his physician. So the physician took it and said, "Be so kind as to accept it." But Abe merely replied, "I'll consider it." Then in a moment he called his servant and told him to turn the doors of the cages to the garden and open them. Out flew all the quails, to the surprise of the physician, who said, "Have they been so long with you that they will come p. 90 back again?" "No," was the reply; "I have let them go. By the will of the Shōgun I have been promoted and should have no fancies. Unthinkingly I became fond of quails and now men bring them as presents. I'll care for them no more." That answer made the physician ashamed. It is difficult to give up one's fancy and there is no objection to the acceptance of gifts. But Abe forgot not the people of his master. Trifles become the fashion, influence one's own rule and must be carefully guarded. And the other officials of the time were also pure and free from extravagance; nor were they proud of their power. And as their customs influenced those below them, the people too became pure and honest.
So does custom generally pass from rulers to the people, but the opposite is sometimes true. When the source is pure the stream is clear, and when the source is impure so is the stream. But if mud heaps up at the mouth it dams the stream, and the impurity ascends even to the source. So nowadays the sons of wealthy merchants in company with samurai and officials, with rascals and dissolute townfolk, make brothels their home by day and night, and waste their time in play and drink. The custom penetrates higher circles, and even nobles and high officials go secretly to brothels and samurai are eager to be leaders in debauchery. This is the influence of the low upon the high. To amend it only good men should be made high officials and thus will the stream be purified at its source. Then next, the dissolute among the people should be searched out and put under arrest that the mud may be removed from the mouth.
And there are other evils. The common folk are far from the tribunals. They have the right to enter protest against wrongs but, ignorant of the ceremonies and without learned words, they cannot go to the fine office and minutely state their case. The minor officials do not wish to listen, are proud of their authority and ready with severe reproof for the smallest error, even of a word. So people dread p. 91 the trouble, even when their cause is clearly just. And with only one court the cases heap up like mountains, as petitions come in from the four quarters. The smallest affair takes days, the neighbors are repeatedly summoned as witnesses, until the whole village is involved and hates the whole affair. The expense is great, and so, for the most part, wrongs are the rather borne in silence. Robbers and sins will never be diminished in this fashion.
The distance of the court and the difficulty of the procedure are the source of the trouble. Small courts should be set up everywhere with good men in authority. They should be connected with the higher courts. The system of grouping five or ten houses together with mutual responsibility should be made more strict. Then bad men may be accused even though they do not actually violate the laws, They can be examined at once and released if their offence is trifling and sent to prison if it is great. All should be written out and sent with the prisoner to the central tribunal there to be judged. So there will still be communication with the Govornment in everything though it go not to the central tribunal first. As the smaller courts can decide at once there will be no delay. As the guilty cannot be hidden they will fear public opinion. They will not be influenced at once but still will naturally reform. But customs cannot be reformed while the tribunal prefers to be idle, and while it cares only when the laws are broken.
In my opinion the reform of evil customs, while a way roundabout and slow, is the only efficient method. It is evil customs that obstruct the Government and destroy the virtue of the samurai.
1 In the war between Hideyoshi and Ieyasu, Rein p. 280.
2 The Yi King, Appendix III, Sec. I. Chap. V, 29.
3 The Yi King, Appendix III, Sec. II, Chap. I, 10.
4 Mencius, Book II, Pt. I, Chap. II, 15.
5 Analects, III; 13.
6 Book of Poetry, Part II, Book IV, Ode VIII; 3 "A lamentation over the miseries of the kingdom." These lines are "illustrative of the uncertainty of the writer's position in the future." Legge.
7 Of Gan-kai Confucius said, "Unfortunately his appointed time was short," Analects, (VI: II); and, when he died,—"Heaven is destroying me! Heaven is destroying me!" (XI: VIII) and again,—"If I am not to mourn bitterly for this man for whom should I mourn?" (XI: IX,) Legge's translation. Toseki had nine thousand followers and was eating a man's liver when visited by Confucius. The latter remonstrated with the robber, but was worsted in the encounter, at least according to "The Divine Classic of Nan-Hua" by Chuang Tsze, translated by Balfour, section "Che the Robber."
8 Analects, Book VII; XV.
9 See p. 21 preceding.
10 In Suikō's reign, A.D. 593-628, Buddhism was openly adopted by the court in Japan. In the reign of Mei, (Ming Ti) A.D. 58-76 it received the imperial sanction in China.
11 Man's true nature is "law," the eternal "reason" within him. And as "law" is the ideal benevolence and righteousness, these too are man's nature. It is therefore "good." But only when this truth is comprehended and obeyed does man "attain." Kyusō had not yet attained; he could say naught else for so does Confucius speak of himself. Analects VII; XXXII, XXXIII.
12 Matsunaga. an unknown author.
13 Hakkyoi. A famous poet of the Tō (Tang) dynasty.
14 Analects IV, VIII.
15 Mencius, Book IV. Pt. I, Chap. VIII; 2-3.
16 Our word benevolence by no means precisely represents the Chinese word "jin." Faber translates "humanity" and gives an excellent description of the virtue, "Doctrines of Confucius," pp. 71-75. But though "jin" is the characteristic virtue of man, and p. 76 his nature, yet as characteristic too of the heart of Heaven and Earth, humanity is a term at once too narrow and too broad. As St. Paul, in 1st Cor. XIII., sums up all the Christian virtues in the word love, so does "jin" comprise all the Confucian excellences. It is certainly noticeable that the words should so resemble each other, and when benevolence and righteousness are set forth as the yery essence of Heaven and Earth we readily exaggerate the likeness of doctrine. But though this Chinese philosophy has no place for a personal God, yet these virtues are reflected in the operations of impersonal nature, its fertility and its regularity.
17 Book of Changes, Appendix V, Chap. II; 4.
18 Book of Changes, Appendix I; 1.
19 Analects XV; 17.
20 Book of Changes. Appendix IV, Sec. II, Chap. II; 6.
21 Analects XII; 20.
22 Analects XII; 1.
23 The Great Learning, 4-5.
24 Appendix III: Sec. I: Chap. VII. 36.
25 Mencius, Book II, Pt. I, Chap. II; 11-16.
26 The writings of Kantaishi, p. 31 above, note.
27 The Shin (Ts'in) dynasty reigned B.C. 255-209 and was followed by the Kan (Han) dynasty.
28 A celebrated scholar of the "Han dynasty" who introduced various reforms. Mayers, p. 78.
29 Bun and Kei were emperors of the Han dynasty and reigned in succession, B.C. 179-140.
30 All good was in its perfection in the days of the Sage kings Gyō and Shun. But unfortunately, we know nothing of them or of their times historically. The golden age was already a thousand years in the past when authentic history began in China, the 12th century B.C.
31 The starving.
32 Book of Changes. Appendix II., Hex. XXIII.
33 A councillor of Han Wen Ti, B.C. 179.
34 Suin of Wei accused of stealing two eggs when a boy. Retained "since no one is perfect," Chinese Repository, Feb. 1851. p. 103.
35 D. 122 B.C. He had been a swineherd and became a minister. Mayers, p. 90. He used all of his own property for others. Kosonko affected economy that he might increase his popularity.
36 Ieyasu is always referred to by his posthumous title, Tō-shō-gū, but I have retained his well known name.
37 The beginning of the Kamakura times was toward the end of the twelfth century, when it was founded by Yoritomo.