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p. 219


   "To tell you the truth, Cephalus, I replied, I delight in conversing with very old persons. For as they have gone before us on the road over which perhaps we also shall have to travel, I think we ought to try to learn from them what the nature of that road is,—whether it be rough and difficult, or smooth and easy."

The Republic Of Plato.

p. 220


{notes|elucidations and analyses}

An interpretation of Wu Wei.

   Hsiu (###) means endeavour. Wu (###) to rush eagerly towards a goal. The sages always rush to do things according to the times. They do not think in their so doing of winning a high position and glory, nor do they study their own personal affairs. They are weighed with the conviction that they must use the doctrine of humanity and justice to rescue the world. This is the meaning of the title.

   Some may maintain that the person who acts in the spirit of Wu Wei is one who is in serenity, without speaking, and in meditation, without acting: he will not come when called nor be driven by force. And this demeanour is, it is assumed, the phenomenal appearance of one getting the Cosmic Spirit. Such an interpretation of Wu Wei I cannot admit. I never heard such an explanation from any sage.

   Now if it be granted that Shen Nung, Yao, Shun, Yü and T‛ang1 were sages, authors and writers cannot
Wu Wei is not inaction.
neglect their significance; for it is quite evident that none of these sages were men of Inaction, (Wu Wei in the literal sense) though they acted on the principle of Wu Wei.

   People of old fed on grass, drank spring water, plucked the fruits of the trees for their food and fed on the flesh
Men of Wu Wei were men of action.
of wasps and mussels. They often were sick and poisoned. Then Shen Nung appeared and taught them, for the first time, the art of sowing and planting cereals, how to discern p. 221 the relative values of lands and the seeds suitable to the soil; he taught them to differentiate between the dry and humid, the rich and poor, the high and low lands. By empirical methods of tasting the flavours of the various plants and grasses, of testing the bitter and sweet waters in the springs, he enabled the people to avoid the noxious. It was then, under his regime, that, in one day, 70 kinds of poisonous plants were discriminated.

   Yao founded the doctrines of filial piety, mercy, benevolence and love, which established the people in brothrerhood. Thus he instructed the Wo people, to the west; he went to the black-teeth people,2a on the east; he looked after the people of the gloomy regions in the north and taught the cloven-footed people of the south. Yao banished his minister, Huan Tou, to the Ch‛un mountain; he drove out the (prince of the) Three Aborigines to the outer San Wei; he exiled the Superintendent of works to Yu Chou; he transported Chi Kun to the mountain Yu.2 Shun taught the art of building houses, by erecting walls and thatching roofs; of breaking-up fallow land and planting cereals and trees, thus helping the people to do away with the rough life of caves, by each having a house of his own. He died at Tsang Wu (Hunan), as he was making a tour of inspection in the south and instructing the Three Aborigines.

   Yü3 toiled through rough and stormy weather: the wind combed his hair and the rain drenched his person. He brought the mighty Chiang within banks and led the yellow river into channels. He bore a way through the mountains, hewing the Dragon Gate and drilling away through I Ch‛ueh for the waters to issue forth. He built the dykes and made the Po Yang lake, in the marshy regions. By building roads along the mountains' base, hewing down the thick timber in the way, he opened up lines of communication. In this way he settled 1800 kingdoms. (Book of Histories Pt iii. Bk I. Sec. I.)

   T‛ang early and late meditated on the multitude of p. 222 state affairs of his country and became wise in them. Being frugal and economical in his personal habits, he exacted but light taxes and thus enriched the rustic people. His virtue and kindness flowed everywhere, so that the oppressed and poor were relieved. He comforted those who mourned for the dead; he enquired after the sick and fed the orphan and widow. The people clung to him with affection, his commands were readily obeyed in the country. He drilled his troops at Ming Tiao; he invested Hsia at Nan Ch‛ao, and, having reprimanded him for his sins, exiled him to Li Shan.

   These Five Sages were the brilliant masters of the empire. They did not spare themselves: they toiled, with
They toiled.
mind and body, in the interests of the people; the cup of anxieties was full, working out economical plans and expelling all that was detrimental. They were not lazy.

   A person will raise a glass of wine without changing colour; but he who lifts the amphora, a picul in weight, will have the sweat running down his cheeks. How much more so he who carries the anxieties of empire and the affairs of the country. Such anxieties are far heavier than an amphora of a hundred weight. Moreover, the Sage doesn't mind the indignity of labour or the absence of honour: what he is troubled about is lest there be a failure of the Tao in practice: he is not grieved over an early death, but he is concerned about the difficulties and poverty of
They yearned over the people.
the people. It was this that led Yü to drain the waters, sacrificing his life at the river Yang Hsü: similarly T‛ang offered his person in his prayer at the forest of the Mulberry mountain. Thus the Sages yearned over the people is clearly shown by these instances. Such was their clearsighted vision. To assume that they followed the principle of Wu Wei, in the sense of doing nothing, is a grievous misconception.

   Further the creation of emperors and kings in ancient p. 223 times did not arise from any wish to gratify personal desire.
Kings are for protection.
Sages trod the way of kings with no selfish object in view of gaining personal pleasure. They took this office rather because the strong oppressed the weak; the many outraged the few; the wily cheated the simple; the bold robbed the timid. In a word, they became kings, because men who were in possession of knowledge did not impart it to others; because those with wealth did not share it with others. It was thus that they came to play the role of kingship by the needs of state. They felt they could equalize and adjust social matters best in that way.

   The wisdom of any one man is not great enough to illumine all the empire, so the offices of the Three Dukes and Nine Ministers were created, wings on the king's right and left hand to assist the throne. With this help it was possible to overshadow distant kingdoms with kingly virtue and generosity, to influence the various customs and to open up the distant and rustic regions, and the system of Feudal
With ministers to help.
Lords was established to instruct all by education. Thus, with this assistance, the whole land was reached and the duties of every season attended to. Officers, being free from dereliction of duties, no public good was neglected. Therefore, the needy were clothed and the hungry fed; the aged and feeble were nourished and tired toilers were rested.

   Let us consider those sages who (started life as common people) were the people of the cotton clothes, and the foot travellers. There was Yi-yun4 who had his first acquaintance with T‛ang, the emperor, when he was cook
Sages are toilers.
and carried the saucepan: there was Yü-wang5 who made the acquaintance of the future emperor of Chou when he was a butcher: Peh-li-hsi,6 a man of Yu, who sold himself for five pieces of hide to the Duke Mu of Ts‛in and became Prime Minister: there was Kuan Chung7 who became a captive and later rose to great power: there was Confucius p. 224 whose cooking stove was never warm for he was always out travelling: and there was Mei Tzû but who seldom warmed his domestic bed in his zeal for the public good. These Sages8 thought no mountain too high, no river too broad to traverse in the pursuit of their work: they bore every buffeting, by waiting on kings. It wasn't because they lusted after emoluments or sought positions of power that they did so; but they desired rather to advance the good of the empire and to expel everything hurtful to the people.

   I have read in an old book that Shen Nung was tanned and, that Yao was thin, that Shun was swarthy and that Yü was horny of hands and feet. Whence we may learn of the intense solicitude and toil of the Sages for the people. (Hence it has never been seen that government could be carried on successfully or affairs be transacted satisfactorily if king and people did not exert their physical and mental energies). The configuration of the earth causes water to
Kings toil according to natural law.
flow eastward; nevertheless man must open channels for it in order to lead the water to run in streams (not lie over the land). Cereals sprout in spring; but it is necessary to add human labour, in order to induce it to grow and mature. If everything were left to nature and birth and growth were waited for without human labour, then there would be no accruing merits to Kun and Yü,9 and the knowledge of Hou Chi9a could not be put to use. What is meant, therefore, in my view, by Wu Wei, is that no selfish idea or personal will can enter and interfere with natural justice: no personal lust or desire may twist and wrench the true course of action. Reason and right must guide in action, in order to exercise power according to the intrinsic properties of things. This is a natural exercise of force, and, by so doing, there will be no room for any subtle art or craftiness. Thus, in any achievement human merit finds no ground of glory; in any success personal renown will find no place. This is not to say there is no response to stimulus, no movement after compulsion. Now were there p. 225 such a thing as a workman drying up a well by fire, or were the waters of the river Huai led to irrigate a mountain, such things would be personal effort and actions contrary to the natural law. Such deeds may be called Yu Wei or
Yu Wei effort.
work by effort, i.e. they are deeds contrary to the course of nature. But in the case of the use of boats on water, sledges for running over sands, sleighs over mud, or the use of chairs on mountains, the digging of channels for summer floods, means for protection against cold in winter, the making of arable land on high ground, reserving low ground for marshes, such activities are not what I call Yu Wei, i.e. they are according to natura rerum.

   The Sages, in all their diverse methods of actions, follow the nature of things. Though there were diversities of methods, yet all reverted to the one objective the preservation of the tottering, the righting of the crooked, which are governed by the one purpose, which is never forgotten, for a moment—the desire to benefit the people. This may be
demonstrated by many examples such as that in ancient times when the king of Ts‛u desired to conquer Sung, Mei Tzŭ, hearing of it, was grieved and hastened from Luh to interview the king. He travelled ten days and nights; he tore his garments in order to wrap and ease his swollen feet. Having arrived, he told the king in an interview that he had heard of the meditated attack on Sung, and he assumed the purpose to be the capture of territory. "Will you still attack," he said, "when you think what sufferings the movement of troops will cause the people? Think of the expenditure on the weapons of war and the odium of an unrighteous name that will be transmitted to the whole empire! Will you still embark on this expedition when you cannot gain an inch of territory?" The king replied: "Of course I mean to gain possession of Sung: that is the object of my attack." Mei Tzu replied, "I see the Great King is bent on violating the principle of right. Withal I assure him he will not gain possession of p. 226 Sung." The king responded, "Kung Shu, the master craftsman of the empire, has created a ram reaching to the clouds for storming the city of Sung which will ensure me the capture of it." Mei Tzû replied, "If you order Kung Shu Pan to erect this ram, permit me to say that I will aid the defenders." Kung Shu Pan, hereupon, attacked with his turret-ram. Mei Tzŭ prepared defensive means and repulsed nine attacks successfully. Subsequently, the attacking force, owing to its failure, was recalled.

   Tuan Kan Mu refused the emoluments of office and dwelt at home. Wei Wen Hou happened to pass his village and wished to pay his respects. Tuan's servant asked why he came, and Wen Hou replied. "To pay my respects to a worthy man at his home." The servant said. "Tuan Kan Mu is a private individual, and for the Duke to come thus is surely overstepping etiquette." To which reprimand Wei Wen Hou replied: "Tuan Kan Mu is a man who doesn't seek gain or the exercise of power—a true gentleman. His name has travelled widely, though he lives in retirement and in a mean abode. I dare not pass without offering my cordial respects. Tuan Kan Mu is renowned for his virtue,
Influence of personality.
I for my power. Tuan is rich in righteousness, I in wealth. But power is not so estimable as virtue, not is wealth comparable to righteousness. Kan Mu wouldn't change place with me. I am constantly grieved at my unworthy deeds. I am afraid of my shadow, i.e. from failure to duty. You shouldn't look so slightingly on your master and think I shouldn't pay my respects in passing."

   Later on, when Ts‛in was about to attack Wei, Ssŭ Ma Yü remonstrated, on the grounds that Tuan Kan Mu, the sage, lived there, and that his Prince had gone even to his home to pay his respects. This fact was universally known, amongst the Feudal Lords. To move an army against the country of such a person would be to violate right. Whereupon the troops were disbanded and the attack was never made. Thus Mei Tzû saved both Ts‛u and Sung p. 227 by his forced and swift journey; and Tuan Kan Mu, in the quietude of his home, settled the trouble between Ts‛in and Wei. The one did it by a journey, the other without stirring out. The method of action was radically different, the end attained the same. Both saved their countries from war.

   Take, again, the stamping out of a conflagration. Water is hauled from wells and carried to the scene of fire.
Unity in Variety.
It may be by means of buckets or jugs, basons or pails. Their shapes may be different, one being round, the other square; one may be cylindrical, another globular; again, each vessel may be of a different capacity; but their efficiency in extinguishing the flames is equal. The songs of Ts‛in, of Ts‛u, of Yen and of Wei are in differing keys, but all give joy to the hearers: all the songs are music.

   Again the wails of the nine I and eight Ti tribes are very different in sound, but all show the signs of grief. Thus songs are the evidence of joy, wailings the result of grief. What stirs the heart is seen in the outward expression. Hence, each sends forth what moves the feelings. The Sages, neither night nor day, forgot their desire to help the people and, wherever their kindnesses came, it was effective and great.

   There are many strange theories to account for the degraded morals of the age. Some account for it by saying that men's natures have their differences, some being good and some bad, just as there is a difference in the leaping
Education will not change the nature.
of fishes or the spotted colouring of the cranes. Such difference pertains to natural qualities and are unalterable. Even learning will not alter natural qualities.12 I do not agree with this explanation. The leaping of fishes, the colours of the cranes are similar in nature to that which makes man a man and horse a horse. For the qualities of bone, tissues and form which each has received from nature cannot be altered. The difference is one of kind. But p. 228 this is not true of man's nature.

   When a horse is yet a colt in pasture, he gambols, kicking his heels and erecting his tail, he is not subject to
But will enlighten endowment.
control in such a state. He bites and kicks to the danger of life and limb. However put him in training and let him be trained by a wise trainer, let him be controlled by bit and harness and he will become docile and obedient. So that whilst, in form and bone and tissue, a horse is a horse always and may not be changed, it yet may be trained into obedience by bit and harness. And if an irrational creature may be instilled with sense by the will of man, how much more so may a rational creature, like man, be so instilled with and influenced by the mind and thought of another.

   It may be granted that the superior man whose person is correct and nature good, whose every movement breathes
It is for the normal not the abnormal
humanity and whose every action overflows with justice—a nature that all praise—such a man needs no instuction to make him good. Every action is consonant with truth. Such were Yao, Shun and Wen Wang.13 Granted again that the other extreme class, such as the drunken and sensual, are incorrigible, whom no instruction can enlighten nor command bring to reason: such incorrigibles a disciplinarian father can never correct by moral instruction nor good men convert. Such were Tan Chu (Yao's son) and Shang Chun (Shun's son).

   People of beautiful physique need not add powder and lavender to make others like them. Such were Hsi Shih and Yang Wen (two famous beauties). Ugly and deformed persons with narrow chests and protruding stomachs, thick lips and crooked mouths, on the other hand, though they daub themselves with powder and paint and pencil their eyebrows, can never hope to get people to admire their good looks: such were Mo Mu and P‛i Sui.

   But the bulk of men do not belong to either extremes, the one needing no instruction, the other incapable of it. p. 229
Improvement is possible.
The majority, that is to say, can be led in the way of instruction; to such a fragrant and generous education may be given. And though there may be a few perverse sons such as would be parricides, yet it can't be maintained that all fathers, for this reason, should be estranged from their sons, since, generally speaking, all sons love their parents. It may be confessed that there are some unworthy scholars; but the fact that
The normal is the rule.
the truth of former kings still prevails, shows that the bulk of scholars carry out their precepts and are good men. Now it would be foolish to give up learning because there are a few bad scholars, just as foolish as to give up eating because of an attack of indigestion: or to refuse to use one's legs because of an occasional stumble.

   A good horse needs no stirrup and whip to urge it on; but double thongs will not make a bad horse move any faster. Nevertheless, it would be absurd to argue that, therefore, a whip and spurs should never be used! The majority of horses are of the mediocre class.

   A timid person carrying a sharp sword would be afraid to hew down a person or stab him with it. But a person of courage would roll up his sleeves and sway it and run it into the bone and marrow. But it wouldn't be at all logical to give up the use of all famous swords, the Kan Chiang and Mo Yeh,14 and fight only with fists for these reasons!

   What we mean to say applies to things generally, common to all and current in society: we don't refer to the rare and exceptional, to anything at either extreme.14a The extremes of anything cannot be taken as a general standard in an argument.

   Some oranges and pumeloes grow in winter; but people say that, in winter, things die, because most things die in winter. Some wheat and greens die in summer; yet people say that summer begets things, because most things do grow in summer. Rivers and streams do, now and then, meander p. 230 and at times wend north and south; yet people say all water flows eastward. The Nieh T‛i, the star near the Great Bear, the Chen Star, sun and moon revolve eastwards; yet people speak of the constellations moving westwards. It is a general way of speaking. It is a manner of speech.

   There are Mongols of a penetrating knowledge; yet people generally consider the race sluggish. The southern
Unusual talents.
tribes15 have people that are slow-witted; yet we generally think of them as quick and fiery. The common designation springs from the general tenour.

   Let us again take the common saying that Yao had eyebrows of eight hues and nine penetrative senses; that his acts were all just and free from self-interest. Every word of his was enough to unify the people. Shun is said to have had double pupils which gave him an overwhelming power of penetration in understanding men; an act of his became law, a word an example to the world. Yü had three orifices to the ear which gave him great comprehension of world affairs, enabling him to advance the interests of the people and to eliminate what was detrimental to them, such as the dredging of rivers and the clearing of obstructions from streams. Wen Wang is said to have had four teats and so was prolific in his methods of social economy, resulting in the adhesion of the empire and the affection of the people. Kao Yao16 had equine, long lips and so was called "the perfectly faithful" and spoke no nonsense: hence he judged criminals with perspicacity and his knowledge of men was penetrative. Yü was born as a result of the influence of the stone on his mother: Hsieh as the result of his mother's pregnancy through eating a swallow's egg. Shih Huang17 could write as soon as he was born. All these nine noted men embrace a period of a thousand years; but they are thought of as each one, following on the heels of the other (Sages are rare). At the present time there are no five Sages inspired by Heaven: it is most difficult to obtain the services of such four great men of talent. But p. 231 to adandon learning on this account and simply follow instinct, would be similar to abandoning the ferry boat and walking through the river.

   When the two famous swords, Ch‛un Kou and Yu Chang,18 were first put in the furnace, they could neither
Function of education.
cut nor pierce an object. But after the process of grinding and the finishing of the edge, they could cleave the great dragon boat and pierce the rhinoceros' armour.

   A bright mirror is opaque in its rough state and no object is visible in it; but when ground and burnished with quicksilver, it will show the smallest hair and the finest line.

   Now education is as the quicksilver, grindstone and file. To say that there is no advantage in education is to
Education is fruitful.
misuse argument. The deficiency of a man of knowledge is inferior to the knowledge of an ignorant person. The lack of the wise is inferior to the general information of the public.

   How may these propositions be substantiated? Let us do so by some examples, such as the Sung art, the Wu methods of smelting and decorative work in carving. Their work in lines and decorations was profoundly wonderful and their workmanship exquisitely fine. No sage like Yao or Shun could touch it. The embroidery work of the maidens of Honan and the young girls of Wei was marvellous in the combination of colours. Their embroideries and patterns on cloth were a wonderful combination of black, and white and other colours worked into a harmonious whole. It was such that the knowledge of Yü and T‛ang could never match.

   What heaven covers, what earth sustains is all embraced within the six points and supported within the universe.
It gives knowledge.
Yin and Yang beget the vitality of life (animals). Those animals that have teeth and carry horns, those with claws in front and heels behind, birds that fly to and fro, lizards and reptiles that wriggle, unite when they are pleased with each p. 232 other and fight when enmity exists between them. When they see anything of advantage, they get near: when they scent danger, they go away. This is natural instinct. In this they are not different from men. Though their teeth
Instinct alone not reliable.
and claws are superior and their muscles are stronger than those of men, yet they cannot escape being controlled by man. They cannot combine through want of knowledge, their ability cannot bring unity between them. Each uses its natural strength in its own line and does not seek extraneous help. Hence their own strength being limited, they find no success.

   Geese fly with the wind to preserve their strength: they sail along with straws in their beaks to ward off any attacks from the shooting arrow. The ant knows to build its mound: the badger and otter build their zigzag paths underground: the tigers have their lairs of grass and the boar its home in the leaves. The moles have their winding subterranean passages as a home for protection against the rain, in cloudy weather, and the sun in its heat.

   Thus we find that beast and bird know, by their instincts, how to seek for those safeguards that suit them and which will be a means of defence to them.

   Now think of a person born in a secluded and rustic place, growing up in a poor hamlet and a mean abode. Growing up, he has no brothers, and he loses his parents young. Such an one has had no experience of rites and ceremonies. He has had no opportunity to hear the teachings of ancient sages. Living in solitude in his small home and never going out to the world, he, though not stupid by nature, yet could never have much knowledge.

   In ancient times Tsang Hsieh invented the written character. Yung Ch‛eng,19 made charts of the heavenly
Progress depends on education.
bodies and almanacs; Hu Ts‛ao20 was the creator of clothes; Hou Chi invented the System of agriculture; I Ti21 made wine; Hsi Chung22 was the creator of carriages. These six men in their inventions were divinely gifted, and possessed the p. 233 traditions of the wise. The inventions which men have transmitted to posterity could not all have been done by one individual. Each man is expert in his own speciality, and concentrates on that which he desires to be proficient in. These results have become of use to the whole world. Had these six men changed about from that in which each was superior to another, these inventions would never have accrued. Why so? Because creation is vast, and one person's knowledge is not enough to compass the whole.

   The successors of the house of Chou possessed no individual having the talent of these six men; yet all practise what these invented. The present generation has none with the talents of any one of these; but they comprehend the methods of these savants. And how? Because they know, by imitation, what these transmitted, and continue to practise what was given, and so they have the knowledge and can do what was invented.

   These examples make clear that education cannot be abandoned.

   Again think of a blind person who cannot distinguish night from day, nor differentiate between white and black; yet he can run his fingers over the strings of the harp and strike the correct note, without a single mistake. Now,
The trained mind is best.
if a person with the penetrating eyes of Li Chu23 were to beat the drum or run his fingers over the strings of the harp without any previous practice, he would surely fail: his fingers could never run up and down the strings correctly. And the secret is that such a proficiency can only be reached by assiduous practice and accumulated experience.

   The bow must be stretched on a frame to give it shape. The sword must be ground to give it edge. The jade of incomparable hardness must be carved with figures of beasts, by the application of the stone file. Wood, straight as a line, may be bent into the shape of a wheel so that it becomes exactly circular by the force of the bevelling tool. The hardest quality of the T‛ang jade stone may be made p. 234 into serviceable utensils by scalloping and cutting. How much more so may the mind of man be improved by training.

   The human spirit is plastic and impressionable, subtile and tenuous. It responds to change instantly, ever following influence. The clouds soar up, the wind hurries on; each distributing itself where it is. The superior man, by
Effort gives illumination.
constant application and labourious investigation, sharpens his talents: by intensitive {sic} understanding and scientific review over the wide field of matter, he apprehends the complexity of the material world, seeing the clews to the beginning and the end of things: he views the illimitable frontiers; he moves in the sphere of the profound, preeminently independent and unhampered by the conventions of the world.

   In this way does the Sage exercise his mental powers. He refuses to sit idly at home in silent meditations, thrumming the drum or zither or reading the lore of the ancients. But not so the Worthies (second rate men). They discuss literature all day for their pleasure. They are empiricists in history, enquiring and differentiating the clear and obscure, the good and bad. They seek the reasons for the rise and fall of things in order to find the sources of disaster and happiness. They organize ceremonies and create precedents which may serve as laws. They examine the beginning and end of principles and fathom the essence, even the cause and effect of events. They uphold the true and eliminate the false for the enlightenment of posterity. Dead they bequeathe their art: living they have an honourable name. All this is within the capacity of men. Why is it, then, that men fail in attaining to this? It comes from the superficiality and laziness of men in the pursuit of knowledge.

   We see that many people in poor districts strive after perfection; but the people of rich places, like Soochow, have
Effort necessary.
few attainments because of their love of ease. From such considerations we may learn that intelligent men who refuse to exert themselves p. 235 are not equal to less intelligent people who strive after education.

   It has never been known that anything has been accomplished by any person, from the highest to the lowest, who has not striven for success. As the Odes say:—"The day revolves; the night wanes and there is a storing of learning that will reach luminosity." This illustrates my theme. "Renown can be won by effort. Merit can be gained by struggle."

   Hence the superior man concentrates his thought on correct principles and selects capable guides. He animates his life by purity of purpose and lofty aims, and breaks off connection with ordinary conventionalism.

   How may we know this is true? In olden time Nan Yung Chou24 who, being ashamed of failure in carrying out the teaching of the Sages, braved the inclemencies of weather, travelled over wilds and mountains, pushed his
Renown won.
way through deep jungle, and for a hundred days, with blistered feet, dared not rest on his journey until he arrived at the southern objective, the abode of Lao Tzû, whom he had come to see. His spirit was enlightened; he listened to truth that made things clear to him. He was so refreshed by what he heard that, though he took no food for seven days, yet he felt as though he feasted on the best joints. It was thus that he gained a comprehensive knowledge of all things and became illustrious. He apprehended the laws of Heaven and Earth and could distinguish the finest points (the autumn hairs on cereals). His reputation grew from one age to another, and is not forgotten even today. This illustrates the saying: "Merit is gained by exertion."

   Wu had a war with Ts‛u. Ta Hsin,25 the captain of the hosts, on going into battle, touched the arm of his aide-de-camp saying, "Today we are facing the force of the enemies' naked swords and hurtling darts. What if we die,
Merit won.
yet the victory of our soldiers will ensure the safety of the country and the preservation of p. 236 our hearths. That is the great thing! Is it not?" Whereupon he went into battle, never hesitating. He was disembowelled and his head struck off. Never once did he turn his foot round nor falter in his charge; and so died.

   Shen Pao Hsü,26 on the other hand, felt that were he to use his bodily strength in facing a terrible enemy, and by shedding his blood fall a corpse, it would be no more than what an ordinary infantryman could do. So he adopted a most effective way. Regardless of personal inconveniences and the shame of it, he became a suppliant to the Feudal Lords, begging their help. To meet the national crisis he wrapped a little food in a napkin, marched on foot, crossing mountains and rivers and valleys. Ascending great mountains, he plunged into the jungle and crossed deep gorges; he traversed over marshes in his journey to Ts‛in. He forced his way past the guards that held the passes. He pushed through thickets and walked over arid plains and stony paths. He was covered with briers and thorns. Though his knees were swollen and his feet raw to the bone, he did not loiter on his journey of seven days and nights, until he came to the palace of Ts‛in. He wept day and night with his face to the wall crying for help and relief. He was so agitated that his face became ashen grey, and his colour changed to black. His tears and humours trickled down, one on the other: eager was he for an interview with the prince of Ts‛in to plead for relief. On an interview being granted, he said that Wu was as a great boar or mighty snake slowly worming its way to the predominant place in the world; the oppression of Ts‛u was but the first movement towards this end. 'I, the king,' he said, 'am already driven from home and compelled to live in a mean abode. My people are scattered; men and women are at their wits end, fleeing hither and thither. This is the urgency of my appeal." The king of Ts‛in, hereupon, sent a large army of 70,000 men and 1,000 chariots to the rescue of Ts‛u under the command of Tzû Hu. He crossed over the Eastern pass, and engaging the p. 237 forces of Wu, routed them at the Chu waters on the Yangtse. In this way the kingdom of Ts‛u was saved. This martial prowess has been inscribed in the ancestral temple and illuminated in the records. Such is an example of the saying, 'Merit is gained by exertion.'

   Now the lives of mortals have much in common. Their bodies, minds, knowledge, anxieties, troubles and toils, their sensibilities to pain, heat and cold are similar; and the Sage, realizing the difficulties of men, exerts himself to gain success. He toils and worries and acts most carefully: he never avoids any trouble: he always confronts every crisis.

   I have heard that Wen Tzŭ Fa27 (General of Ts‛u) went to the war forthright, straight as an arrow. His strategy was superb. His convergence of troops was like the roar of thunder: his deployment of them like the wind and rain. He wheeled troops into circles methodically: he formed them into squares exactly. He broke the power
Success depends on effort.
of the enemy by his strategy, putting their battalions into danger and preventing any new combinations. He was certain of victory in the open ground. His success in assault of cities was assured. It was not that he was regardless of his person or courted death. He bent his energies on the objective, paying no heed to fame and riches. His fame was thus established, and it has never been forgotten. This example illustrates the dictum of 'Personal effort assuring success.'

   The farmer who is not energetic will never have overflowing granaries. The charioteer who does not train his mind, will never be an expert in his art. Generals and statesmen who are not forceful, will never bring any labour to consummation. Kings and dukes who are indolent, will have no renown in posterity. The Ode says:—


p. 238

   These words speak of those who concentrate the mind on their business.

   Persons conversant with work are not to be frightened by anything uncommon. Persons who are well-informed
Education gives truth.
in principles are not to be moved by any unusual portent. Persons who can weigh words are not moved by mere names. Persons who see into the heart of things are not to be deceived by appearances. Many men of the world esteem what is ancient and despise the modern, hence, plausible speakers29 make use of the authority of the God of Agriculture, or Huang Ti, to gain an entrance into men's minds. Ignorant rulers of an anarchical age magnify these sources of antiquity and honour the speakers by giving them office. Scholars, confused by traditional hearing, captivated by the authority of distinguished names, reverently sit down, and, adjusting their dress, (parrot like) repeat (traditional truisms)—and chant them.30 It is clear that they lack the power of clear discrimination to judge a work on its merits. A person with the genius of Hsi Chung31 could not shape things into round and square without rule and compass: though he were a Luh Pan,32 he could never shape things into straight and angular, without line and square. It was because there was no one left to appreciate his music, after the death of Chung Tzu Ch‛i,33 that Pei Ya34 snapped the string and smashed his violin and played no longer. Chuang Tzŭ35 uttered no more oracles after the death of Hui Shih,36 because there was no appreciative hearer left to him in the world. Hsiang T‛o,37 a child of seven years, was a teacher of Confucius who paid heed to his words. A youth speaking to an elder generally gets his face slapped; but this boy was saved a castigation by the wisdom of his words.

   In ancient times Hui, King of Ts‛in, gave an interview to Sie Tzŭ and gladly listened to his suggestions. But when he questioned T‛ang Ku Liang, he heard from him that Sie Tzŭ was nothing but a charlatan, always suiting p. 239 his clever talk to the listener, being only desirous of gaining the goodwill of his prince. Hui Wang, therefore, changed his mind and, when Sie Tzŭ came again, he was not welcomed. Again music never varies; it is always the same. A mistake of a note lies in the faulty ear not in the string. To think sweet is bitter does not lie in any changed quality of an article but in the taste of the palate. A man of Ts‛u boiled a monkey and invited his neighbours to partake of it. When told it was broth made of dog's flesh, they enjoyed it. But hearing later it was monkey's broth, they vomited it all up. The symptom was governed by mental conditions.

   The musician, Han Tan,38 composed a new tune, giving out it was the creation of Li Ch‛i.39 Everybody strove to learn it. But on hearing later that it was not his creation, they gave it up. They really didn't judge from its merit as music. They hadn't the taste for that. They were enamoured of a name. A rustic found a rough jade and prized it as a thing of beauty. When he showed it to others, they said it was a common stone, which made him throw it away. He hadn't the connoisseur's discernment and knowledge of the preciousness of jade. Thus when there is a true knowledge there is real appreciation. This is a universal proposition. Whenever there is no real appreciation, then people esteem things simply because of their antiquity or tradition.

   This was the case with Mr. Ho who got a piece of hardest jade from a thicket of bramble, at the cost of much blood. Two successive kings, thinking he was trying to palm this on them as real jade, cut off the one and the other of his feet. They did not know its real value.

   Now let us mention an old sword, rusty, indented, knarled and blunt but with the reputation of being the sword of Ch‛ing Hsiang and much prized: for the possession of it there is quite a competition: or a lute, which may be out of tune, its strings flabby, its tuning keys cracked; but let it be looked on as a lute of Ts‛u Chuang, even the Palace ladies and Temple musicians all want to play on it. A p. 240 ram's-head sword, made from the rich ore of the Miao mines, which can cut the sides of a ship or pierce the rhinoceros-hide armour, has no competitors for its possession. A lute whose body is made of the hardest wood, gathered from near the waters of Chien, does not find eager players though its tones be mellow, resonant, and harmonious.

   However, an expert does not look on things in that light. A swordsman desires edge on his sword rather than a mere renown of name such as a Mei Yang, or a Mo Hsien sword. An organist seeks tone, volume, harmony in his instrument rather than merely a celebrated name such as Lan Hsieh, Hao Chung. What a rider wants is a horse that can do a 1,000 li a day, not mere famous names. A poet or scholar wants reason and solid matter in his books and not merely names such as Hung Fan and Shang Sung.40 The Sage discriminates between the true and false in literature, just as his eye distinguishes light and dark, or as the ear discriminates bass from tenor. But not so the multitude. It is not governed by any real standard in what it accepts. For example: A son born after his father's death, when the time comes for him to pay his vows at the grave, he will do so with ceremonious tears: but his heart will not really be stirred. It is just the same in the case of twins that are so much alike that only the mother can know the one from the other. In the case of pieces of jade of equal hardness and quality, it is only a good artificer that can discriminate them. It is only a sage can appreciate the fine and delicate points in a book. Now if a new and great writer appears and composes a book, should it be attributed to Confucius or Mencius, litterateurs thumb each sentence and finger each word. Many will accept and read it. Beauties need not all be of the kind of Hsi Shih. Savants need not be of the type of Confucius or Mencius to express clearly the knowledge they have of matters. Hence, in composing a book, a writer aims at a clear expression of ideas to gain appreciative readers. When a reader of intelligence is found whose mind reflects as in a mirror the truth expounded, he doesn't mind whether p. 241 the book he reads is of ancient or modern date. A writer could die without regret feeling that he had written his work with clearness for the information of his readers.

   Of old Duke Ping of Ts‛in, Shansi, ordered his foundry-man to cast a bell. When this was done, he asked the minister of music, Shih Kuang, for his opinion on its tone. Shih Kuang replied that it was imperfect. Duke Ping, in turn, said that the opinions of the expert artificers were all favourable. How then did he consider it imperfect? Shih Kuang replied that it might do if posterity were without a person who understood music: but a true musician would at once discern its imperfection. Thus the wish of Shih Kuang was for a perfect-toned bell to satisfy the ear of a musician of all times.

   Now the men of the Three Dynasties, were such as I am: the Five Worthies were of similar knowledge to mine.
Endeavour necessary.
However, the difference lies in this that these men had the solid reputation of sages: but, as to me, I am an unknown member of a rustic village, living in an alleyway, all unknown. These have made name and reputation; but I spend my life in careless inutility to no purpose. What I mean may be illustrated. Mao Ch‛iang and Hsi Shih are the eminent beauties of the ages. Were they to decorate themselves with the furs of rotten rats and cloak themselves with the skins of hedgehogs or clothe themselves in leopard robes, and use dead snakes for girdles, then even women dressed in common calico
On correct lines.
would look askance at them and stop their noses as they passed by. But suppose them fragrant with lavender, with eyebrows annointed, and decorated with ear-rings and ornaments. Suppose them painted with powder and beautified with jade girdles. Were such to put on wanton smiles and cast seductive glances, pucker their mouths and show their teeth in seductive fashion, they would lead even palace people, of high purpose and noble aims, to look on them and keep them in mind and be seduced by their arts.

   Today people with only ordinary talents and intelligence p. 242 and of no distinction, without any definite calling and who cultivate no art, will not escape the finger of scorn and the contempt of the world, if they neglect education.

   Take the case of acrobats. They bend their bodies into a ring and turn and twist themselves into all sorts of strange and fantastic shapes, like genii. Their bodies are as flexible as are the autumn hairs to the winds. They can twist and twirl their bodies with lightning speed.

   Gymnasts, again, can lift heavy weights and bend tough sticks: they can mount trees like monkeys, play in the branches and do their dressing as they stand on a twig of a tree: they hurry and skip, jump and gambol like a dragon, in a way that stops the heart of the looker-on and makes the knees of the beholder tremble and shake. But they themselves are indifferent and smile nonchalantly. These, however, were not born thus with such nimble limbs. Gymnasts have no specially supple joints. They attained this art by immersing themselves in it, and by exercise they perfected themselves, step by step.

   Hence, a growing tree is not seen to add to its stature. The wearing away of a hard substance is not visible in the
Education gives culture.
grinding; but it gets thinner with time. The bramble and pulse plants are of mushroom growth and jump up in a day: but they would never serve for a beam of a house. The Keng tree, the box, the elm and camphor trees are of slow growth. It takes seven years to see any advance in them. But it is the quality of such that can make a coffin or boat.

   We may sum up and say, anything that costs only small labour is of little worth. That which is difficult of attainment, only, is of value. A gentleman who cultivates the beautiful, may reap no immediate gain: happiness is in the coming. Such will be gathered only in posterity. Hence the Ode says:—

Pt: IV. Bk 1. IV 

This, then, is the lesson.