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THE DOCTRINE OF THE MEAN.
ITS PLACE IN THE LE KE, AND ITS PUBLICATION SEPARATELT.
1. The Doctrine of the Mean was one of the treatises which came to light in connection with the labours of Lew Heang, and its place as the 31st Book in the Le Ke was finally determined by Ma Yung and Ch'ing Heuen.
2. But while it was thus made to form a part of the great collection of Works on Ceremonies, it maintained a separate footing of its own. In Lew Hin's catalogue of the Classical Works, we find "Two p'een of Observations on the Chung Yung." In the Records of the dynasty of Suy (a.d. 589— 617), in the chapter on the History of Literature, there are mentioned three Works on the Chung Yung; "—the first called "The Record of the Chung Yung," in two Iceuen, attributed to Tae Yung, a scholar who flourished about the middle of the 5th century; the second, "A Paraphrase and Commentary on the Chung Yung," attributed to the Emperor Woo (am. 502—549) of the Leang dynasty, in one heuen;and the third, "A Private Record, determining the Meaning of the Chung Yung," in five keuen, the author, or supposed author, of which is not mentioned.
It thus appears, that the Chung Yung had been published and commented on separately long before the time of the Sung dynasty. The scholars of that, however, devoted special attention to it, the way being led by the famous Chow Leen-k'e. He was followed by the two brothers Ch'ing, but neither of them published upon it. At last came Choo He, who produced his Work called "The Chung Yung, in Chapters and Sentences," which was made the text book of the Classic at the literary examinations, by the fourth
emperor of the Yuen dynasty (am. 1312—1320), and from that time the name merely of the Treatise was retained in editions of the Le Ke. Neither text nor ancient commentary was given.
Under the present dynasty it is not so. In the superb edition of "The Five King," edited by a numerous committee of scholars towards the end of the reign K'ang-he, the Chung Yung is published in two parts, the ancient commentaries from "The Thirteen King " being given side by side with those of Choo He.
ITS AUTHOR j AND SOME ACCOUNT OF HIM.
1. The composition of the Chung Yung is attributed to K'ung Keih, the grandson of Confucius. Chinese inquirers and critics are agreed on this point, and apparently on sufficient grounds. There is indeed no internal evidence in the Work to lead us to such a conclusion. Among the many quotations of Confucius' words and references to him, we might have expected to find some indication that the sage was the grandfather of the author, but nothing of the kind is given. The external evidence, however, or that from the testimony of authorities, is very strong. In Sze-ma Ts'een's Historical Records, published about the beginning of the first century B.C., it is expressly said that "Tsze-sze made the Chung Yung." And we have a still stronger proof, a century earlier, from Tsze-sze's own descendant, K'ung Foo, whose words are, "Tsze-sze compiled the Chung Yung in 49 p'een."1 We may, therefore, accept the received account without hesitation.
2. As Keih, spoken of chiefly by his designation of Tszesze, thus occupies a distinguished place in the classical literature of China, it may not be out of place to bring to
1 This K'ung Foo was that descendant of Confucius, who hid several books in the wall of his house, on the issuing of the imperial edict for their burning. He was a writer himself, and his Works are referred to under the title of K'ung Ts'ung-tsze.
gether here a few notices of him gathered from reliable sources.
He was the son of Le, whose death took place B.C. 482, four years before that of the sage, his father. I have not found it recorded in what year he was born. Sze-maTs'een says he died at the age of 62. But this is evidently wrong, for we learn from Mencius that he was high in favour with the Duke Muh of Loo,1 whose accession to that principality dates in B.C. 408, seventy years after the death of Confucius. In the "Plates and Notices of the Worthies, sacrificed to in the Sage's Temples," it is supposed that the 62 in the Historical Records should be 82. It is maintained by others that Tsze-sze's life was protracted beyond 100 years. This variety of opinions simply shows that the point cannot be positively determined. To me it seems that the conjecture in the Sacrificial Canon must be pretty near the truth.3
During the years of his boyhood, then, Tsze-sze must have beenwithhis grandfather, and received his instructions. It is related, that one day, when he was alone with the sage, and heard him sighing, he went up to him, and, bowing twice, inquired the reason of his grief. "Is it," said he, "because you think that your descendants, through not cultivating themselves, will be unworthy of you? Or is it that, in your admiration of the ways of Yaou and Shun, you are vexed that you fall short of them?" "Child," replied Confucius, "how is it that you know my thoughts V "I have often," said Tsze-sze, "heard from you the lesson, that when the father has gathered and prepared the firewood, if the son cannot carry the bundle, he is to be pronounced degenerate and unworthy. The remark comes frequently into my thoughts, and fills me with great apprehension." The sage was de
1 Mencius, V. Pt. II. vi. 4.
2 82 and 62 may more easily be confounded as written in Chinese than with the Roman figures.
3 Le himself was born in Confucius' 21st year, and if Tsze-sze had been born in Le's 21st year, he must have been 103 at the time of Duke Muh's accession. But the tradition is that Tsze-sze was a pupil of Tsang Sin, who was born b.C. 504. We must place his birth therefore considerably later, and suppose him to have been quite young when his father died. I was talking once about the question with a Chinese friend, who observed:—" Le was 50 when he died, and his wife married again into a family of Wei. We can hardly think, therefore, that she was anything like that age. Le could not have married so soon as his father did. Perhaps he was about 40 when Keih was born."
lighted. He smiled and said, "Now, indeed, shall I be without anxiety! My undertakings will not come to nought. They will be carried on and flourish." 1
After the death of Confucius, Keih became a pupil, it is said, of the philosopher Tsang. But he received his instructions with discrimination, and in one instance which is recorded in the Le Ke, the pupil suddenly took the place of the master. We there read:—" Tsang said to Tsze-sze, 'Keih, when I was engaged in mourning for my parents, neither congee nor water entered my mouth for seven days/ Tsze-sze answered, 'In ordering their rules of propriety, it was the design of the ancient kings that those who would go beyond them should stoop and keep by them, and that those who could hardly reach them should stand on tiptoe to do so. Thus it is that the superior man, in mourning for his parents, when he has been three days without water or congee, takes a staff to enable himself to rise.'' " 2
While he thus condemned the severe discipline of Tsang, Tsze-sze appears in various incidents which are related of him, to have been himself more than sufficiently ascetic. As he was living in great poverty, a friend supplied him with grain, which he readily received. Another friend was emboldened by this to send him a bottle of wine, but he declined to receive it. "You receive your corn from other people," urged the donor, "and why should you decline my gift, which is of less value? You can assign no ground in reason for it; and if you wish to show your independence, you should do so completely." "I am so poor," was the reply, "as to be in want; and being afraid lest I should die, and the sacrifices not be offered to my ancestors, I accept the grain as an alms. But the wine and the dried flesh which you offer to me are the appliances of a feast. For a poor man to be feasting is certainly unreasonable. This is the ground of myrefusing your gift. I have no thought of asserting my independence."
To the same effect is the account of Tsze-sze, which we have from Lew Heang. That scholar relates:—" When Keih was living in Wei, he wore a tattered coat, without any lining, and in 30 days had only nine meals. Teen Tsze-fang
1 For this incident we are indebted to K'ung Foo ; see note 1, p. 36.
having heard of his distress, sent a messenger to him with a coat of fox-fur, and being afraid that he might not receive it, he added the message,—' When I borrow from a man, I forget it; when I give a thing, I part with it freely as if I threw it away/ Tsze-sze declined the gift thus offered, and when Tsze-fang said, 'I have, and you have not; why will you not take it?' he replied, 'You give away so rashly, as if you were casting your things into a ditch. Poor as I am, I cannot think of my body as a ditch, and do not presume to accept your gift/"
Tsze-sze's mother married again, after Le's death, into a family of Wei. But this circumstance, which is not at all creditable in Chinese estimation, did not alienate his affections from her. He was in Loo when he heard of her death, and proceeded to weep in the temple of his family. A disciple came to him and said, "Your mother married again into the family of the Shoo, and do you weep for her in the temple of the K'ung?" "I am wrong," said Tsze-sze, "I am wrong;" and with these words he went to weep elsewhere.1
In his own married relation he does not seem to have been happy; and for some cause, which has not been transmitted to us, he divorced his wife, following in this, it would appear, the example of Confucius. On her death her son, Tszeshang,2 did not undertake any mourning for her. Tsze-sze's disciples were surprised and questioned him. "Did not your father," they asked, "mourn for his mother who had been divorced?" "Yes," was the reply. "Then why do you not cause Pih 3 to mourn for his mother?" Tsze-sze answered, "My father failed in nothing to pursue the proper path. His observances increased or decreased as the case required. But I cannot attain to this. While she was my wife, she was Pih's mother; when she ceased to be my wife, she ceased to be Pih's mother." The custom of the K'ung family not to mourn for a mother who had left it herself, or been divorced, took its rise from Tsze-sze.4
These few notices of K'ung Keih in his more private relations bring him before us as a man of strong feeling and strong will, independent, and with a tendency to asceticism in his habits.
1 See the Le Ke, II. Pt. II. iii. 15. 2 This was the designation of Tsze-sze's son. * This was Tsze-shang's name. 4 See the Le Ke, IL Pt. I. i. i.