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tions of consciousness, this course cannot be considered THE PATH."*
THE GOLDEN RULE NEGATIVELY AND POSITIVELY EX
PRESSED. CONFUCIUS CONFESSES THAT HE HAS NOT
ATTAINED TO IT.
“When one cultivates to the utmost the principles of his nature, and exercises them on the principle of reciprocity, he is not far from the path. What you do not like, when done to yourself, do not do to others.” In the
way of the superior man there are four things, to not one of which have I as yet attained. To serve my father, as I would require my son to serve me : to this I have not attained. To serve my prince, as I would require my minister to serve me: to this I have not attained. To serve my elder brother as I would require my younger brother to serve me: to this I have not attained. To set the example in behaving to a friend, as I would require him to behave to me: to this I have not attained. Earnest in practicing the ordinary virtues, and careful in speaking about them, if, in his practice, he has anything defective, the superior man dares not but exert himself ; and if, in his words, he has any excess, he dares not allow himself such license. Thus his words have respect to his actions, and his actions have respect to his words: is it not just an entire sincerity which marks the superior man?"
* The path of the Mean is not far to seek. Each man has the law of it in himself, and it is to be pursued with earnest sincerity.
DISCHARGE WITH CHEERFULNESS THE DUTIES OF YOUR
STATION, NOR MURMUR AT THE APPOINTMENTS OF HEAVEN.
In a poor
The superior man does what is proper to the station in which he is; he does not desire to go beyond this.
In a position of wealth and honor he does what is proper to a position of wealth and honor. and low position, he does what is proper to a poor and low position. Situated among barbarous tribes, he does what is proper to a situation among barbarous tribes. In a position of sorrow and difficulty, he does what is proper to a position of sorrow and difficulty. The superior man can find himself in no situation in which he is not himself.
In a high situation, he does not treat with contempt his inferiors. In a low situation, he does not court the favor of his superiors. He rectifies himself, and seeks for nothing from others, so that he has no dissatisfactions. He does not murmur against heaven, nor grumble against men.
Thus it is that the superior man is quiet and calm, waiting for the appointments of Heaven ; while the mean man walks in dangerous paths, looking for lucky occurrences.
The Master said, “ In archery, we have something like the way of the superior man. When the archer misses the center of the target, he turns round and seeks for the cause of his failure in himself."
A PORTRAITURE OF THE PERFECT MAN WHO WALKS IN
THE PATH OF THE MEAN,
“The superior man cultivates a friendly harmony, without being weak. How firm is he in his energy! He stands erect in the middle, without inclining to either side. How firm is he in his energy! When good principles prevail in the government of his country, he does not change from what he was in retirement. How firm is he in his energy! When bad principles prevail in the country, he maintains his course to death without changing How firm is he in his
energy !” “The superior man accords with the course of the Mean. Though he may be all unknown, unregarded by the world, he feels no regrets. It is only the sage who is able for this.” The
way which the superior man pursues, reaches wide and far, and yet is secret.
Common men and women, however ignorant, may intermeddle with the knowledge of it; yet in its utmost reaches, there is that which even the sage does not know. Common men and women, however much below the ordinary standard of character, can carry it into practice; yet in its utmost reaches, there is that which even the sage is not able to carry into practice. Great as heaven and earth are, men still find some things in them with which to be dissatisfied. Thus it is, that were the superior man to speak of his way in all its greatness, nothing in the world would be found able to embrace it ; and were he to speak of it in its minuteness, nothing in the world would be found able to split it.
The way of the superior man may be compared to what takes place in traveling, when to go to a distance, we must first traverse the space that is near, and in ascending a height, we must begin from the lower ground.
It is said in the Book of Poetry, "Although the fish sink and lie at the bottom, it is still quite clearly seen." Therefore the superior man examines his heart, that there may be nothing wrong there, and that he may have no cause for dissatisfaction with himself. That wherein the superior man cannot be equaled is simply this: his work, which other men cannot see.
It is said in the Book of Poetry, “Looked at in your apartment, be there free from shame, where you are exposed to the light of heaven.” Therefore, the superior man, even when he is not moving, has a feeling of revererence, and while he speaks not, he has the feeling of thoughtfulness.
Sincerity is the way of heaven. The attainment of sincerity is the way of men. He who possesses sincerity is he who, without an effort, hits what is right, and apprehends, without the exercise of thought; he is the sage who naturally and easily embodies the right way. He who attains to sincerity is he who chooses what is good, and firmly holds it fast.
“ To this attainment there are requisite the extensive study of what is good, accurate inquiry about it, careful reflection on it, the clear discrimination of it, and the earnest practice of it."
CONFUCIUS THE EQUAL OF HEAVEN.
Confucius is by his disciples set up as the pattern of the perfectly sincere man, and is compared to heaven and earth. Heaven and earth are worshiped as divine, and so is Confucius.
Chung-ne (Chung-ne, the marriage name of Confucius) handed down the doctrines of Yaou and Shun, as if they had been his ancestors, and elegantly displayed the regulations of Wăn and Woo, taking them as his model. Above, he harmonized with the times of heaven, and below, he was conformed to the water and land.
He may be compared to heaven and earth, in their supporting and containing, their overshadowing and curtaining all things. He may be compared to the four seasons in their alternating progress, and to the sun and moon in their successive shining.
All-embracing and vast, he is like heaven. Deep and active as a fountain, he is like the abyss. He is seen, and the people all reverence him ; he speaks, and the people all believe him : he acts, and the people all are pleased with him. Therefore his fame overspreads the Middle Kingdom, and extends to all barbarous tribes. Wherever ships and carriages reach; wherever the strength