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Hons appealing to his selfishness, and fill up the measure of the goodness which is natural to him. This chapter is what the writer Yang called it,—" The sum of the whole work." In the ten chapters which follow, Tszesze quotes the words of the Master to complete the meaning of this.
II. 1. Chung-ne said, "The superior man embodies the course of the Mean; the mean man acts contrary to the course of the Mean.
2. "The superior man's embodying the course of the Mean is because he is a superior man, and so always maintains the Mean. The mean man's acting contrary to the course of the Mean is because he is a mean man, and has no caution."
III. The Master said, "Perfect is the virtue which is according to the Mean! Rare have they long been among the people, who could practise it!"
IV. I. The Master said, "I know how it is that the path of the Mean is not walked in :—The knowing go beyond it, and the stupid do not come up to it. I know how it is that' the path of the Mean is not understood :—The men of talents and virtue go beyond it, and the worthless do not come up to it.
2. "There is no body but eats and drinks. But they are few who can distinguish flavours."
2. Only The Superior Man Can Follow The Mean; The Mean Man is Always Violating It. 1. Why Confucius should here be quoted by his designation, or marriage name, is a moot-point. It is said by some that disciples might in this way refer to their teacher, and a grandson to his grandfather, but such a rule is constituted probable on the strength of this instance, and that in chapter xxx. Others say that it is the honorary designation of the sage, and = the "Father ne," which Duke Gae used in reference to Confucius, in eulogizing him after his death. See the Le-ke, II. Pt I. iii. 43. This, and the ten chapters which follow, all quote the words of Confucius with reference to the Chung-yung, to explain the meaning of the first chapter, and " though there is no connection of composition between them," says Choo He, "they are all related by their meaning."
3. The hardy, Long Existing In Confucius' Time, Of The PracTice Of The Mean. See the Analects VI. xxvii. K'ang-sbingand Ying-ta take the last clause as=" few can practise it long." But the view in the translation is better.
i. HOW IT WAS THAT FEW WERE ABLE TO PRACTISE THE MEAN.
2. We have here not a comparison, but an illustration which may help
V. The Master said, "Alas! How is the path of the Mean untrodden!"
VI. The Master said, "There was Shun :—He indeed was greatly wise! Shun loved to question others, and to study their words, though they might be shallow. He concealed what was bad in them, and displayed what was good. He took hold of their two extremes, determined the Mean, and employed it in his government of the people. It was by this that he was Shun!"
VII. The Master said, "Men all say, 'We are wisei ' but being driven forward and taken in a net, a trap, or a pitfall, they know not how to escape. Men all say, 'We are wise;' but happening to choose the course of the Mean, they are not able to keep it for a round month."
VIII. The Master said, "This was the manner of
to an understanding of the former paragraph, though it does not seem very apt. People don't know the true flavour of what they eat and drink, but they need not go beyond that to learn it. So, the Mean belongs to all the actions of ordinary life, and might be discerned and practised in them, without looking for it in extraordinary things.
5. Choo He says :—" From not being understood, therefore it is not practised." According to K'ang-shing, the remark is a lament that there was no intelligent sovereign to teach the path. But the two views are reconcileable.
6. How Shun Pursued The Course Of The Mean. This example of Shun, it seems to me, is adduced in opposition to the knowing of chapter iv. Shun, though a sage, invited the opinions of all men, and found truth of the highest value in their simplest sayings, and was able to determine from them the course of the Mean. "The two extremes" are understood by K'ang-shing of the two errors of exceeding and coming short of the Mean. Choo He makes them—" the widest differences ia the opinions which he received." I conceive the meaning to be that he examined the answers which he got, in their entirety, from beginning to end. Compare Analects IX. vii. His concealing what was bad, and displaying what was good, was alike to encourage people to speak freely to him. K'ang-shing makes the last sentence to turn on the meaning of Shun when applied as an honorary epithet of the dead, -= " Full, all-accomplished ; " but Shun was so named when he was alive.
7. Their contrary Conduct Shows Men's Ignorance Of The Course And Nature OP THE Mean. The first " We are wise " is to be understood with a general reference,—" We are wise," i.e., we can very well take care of ourselves. Yet the presumption of such a profession is seen in men's not being able to take care of themselves. The application of this illustration is then made to the subject in hand, the second " We are wise," being to be specially understood, with reference to the subject of the Mean. The conclusion in both parts is left to be drawn by the reader for himself.
Hwuy:—he made choice of the Mean, and whenever he got hold of what was good, he clasped it firmly, as if wearing it on his breast, and did not lose it."
IX. The Master said, " The empire, its States, and its families may be perfectly ruled; dignities and emoluments may be declined; naked weapons may be trampled under the feet; but the course of the Mean cannot be attained to."
X. 1. Tsze-loo asked about forcefulness.
2. The Master said, "Do you mean the forcefulness of the South, the forcefulness of the North, or the forcefulness which you should cultivate yourself?
3. "To show forbearance and gentleness in teaching others; and not to revenge unreasonable conduct:—this is the forcefulness of Southern regions, and the good man makes it his study.
4. "To lie under arms ; and meet death without regret: —this is the forcefulness of Northern regions, and the forceful make it their study.
8. How Hwuy Held Past The Course Of The Mean. Here the example of Hwuy is likewise adduced in opposition to those mentioned in chapter iv.
9. The Difficulty Of Attaining To The Course Of The Mean. "The empire; " we should say—" empires," but the Chinese know only of one empire, and hence this name, "all under heaven," for it. The empire is made up of States, and each State, of Families. See the Analects V. vii.; XII. xx.
10. On Forcefulness In Its Relation To The Mean. In the Analects we find Tsze-loo, on various occasions, putting forward the subject of his valour, and claiming, on the ground of it, such praise as the Master awarded to Hwuy. We may suppose, with the old interpreters, that hearing Hwuy commended, as in chapter viii., he wanted to know whether Confucius would not allow that he also could, with his forceful character, seize and hold fast the Mean. 1. I have ventured to coin the term " forcefulness." Choo He defines the original term correctly—" the name of strength, sufficient to overcome others." 3. That climate and situation have an influence on character is not to be denied, and the Chinese notions on the subject may be seen in the amplification of the ninth of K'ang-he's celebrated maxims. But to speak of their effects, as Confucius here does, is extravagant. The barbarism of the south, according to the interpretation mentioned above, could not have been described by him in these terms. The forcefulness of mildness and forbearance, thus described, is held to come short of the Mean; and therefore "the good man " is taken with a low and light meaning, far short of what it has in paragraph five. 4. This forcefulness of the north, it is said, is in excess of the Mean, and the "therefore," at the beginning of paragraph five, =
5. "Therefore, the superior man cultivates a friendly harmony, without being weak. How firm is he in his forcefulness! He stands erect in the middle, without inclining to either side.—How firm is he in his forcefulness! 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 forcefulness!" When bad principles prevail in the country, he maintains his course to death without changing.—How firm is he in his forcefulness!"
XI. 1. The Master said, "To live in obscurity, and yet practise wonders, in order to be mentioned with honour in future ages;—this is what I do not do.
2. "The good man tries to proceed according to the right path, but when he has gone half-way, he abandons it;—I am not able so to stop.
3. "The superior man accords with the course of the Mean. Though he may be all unknown, unregarded by the world, he feels no regret.—It is only the sage who is able for this."
"these two kinds of forcefulness being thus respectively in defect and excess." This illustrates the forcefulness which is in exact accord with the Mean, in the individual's treatment of others, in his regulation of himself, and in relation to public affairs.
11. Only The Sage Can Come Up To The Requirements Of The Mean. 3. The name Keun-Uze has here its very highest signification, and = the " sage," in the last clause. It will be observed how Confucius declined, saying that he had himself attained to this highest style.— "With this chapter," says Choo He, "the quotations by Tsze-sze of the Master's words, to explain the meaning of the first chapter, stop. The great object of the work is to set forth wisdom, benevolent virtue, and valour, as the three grand virtues whereby entrance is effected into the path of the Mean, and therefore, at its commencement, they are illustrated by reference to Shun, Yen Yuen, and Tsze-loo, Shun possessing the wisdom, Yen Yuen the benevolence, and Tsze-loo the valour. If one of these virtues be absent, there is no way of advancing to the path, and perfecting the virtue. This will be found fully treated of in the twentieth chapter." So, Choo He. The student forming a judgment for himself, however, will not see very distinctly any reference to these cardinal virtues. The utterances of the sage illustrate the phrase Chung-Yung, showing that the course of the Mean had fallen out of observance, some overshooting it, and others coming short of it. When we want some precise directions how to attain to it, we come finally to the conclusion that only the sage is capable of doing so. We greatly want teaching more practical and precise.
XII. 1. The way which the superior man pursues, reaches wide and far, and yet is secret.
2. 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.
3. It is said in the Book of Poetry, "The hawk flies up to heaven; the fishes leap in the deep." This expresses how this way is seen above and below.
4. The way of the superior man may be found, in its simple elements, in the intercourse of common men and women; but in its utmost reaches, it shines brightly through heaven and earth.
The twelfth chapter above contains the words of Tsze-sze, and is designed to illustrate what is said in the first
12. The course Of The Mean Reaches Far And Wide, But Yet Is Secret. With this chapter the third part of the work commences, and the first sentence may be regarded as its text. Mysteries have been found in the terms of it; but I believe that the author simply intended to say, that the way of the superior man reaching everywhere,—embracing all duties,—yet had its secret spring and seat in the Heaven-gifted nature, the individual consciousness of duty in every man. 2. I confess to be all at sea in the study of this paragraph. Choo He quotes from the scholar How, that what the superior man fails to know, was exemplified in Confucius having to ask about ceremonies, and about offices; and what he fails to practise, was exemplified in Confucius not being on the throne, and in Taou and Shun's being dissatisfied that they could not make every individual enjoy the benefits of their rule. He adds his own opinion, that wherein men complained of Heaven and Earth, was the partiality of their operations in overshadowing and supporting, producing and completing, the heat of summer, the cold of winter, &c. If such things were intended by the writer, we can only regret the vagueness of his language, and the want of coherence in his argument. See the She-king, Pt III. Bk I. v. 3. The ode is in praise of the virtue of King Wan. The application of the words of the ode does appear strange.
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