Mencius : Chapter 6 |
1. Mencius said, 'He who, using force, makes a pretence to benevolence is the
leader of the princes. A leader of the princes requires a large kingdom. He who,
using virtue, practises benevolence is the sovereign of the kingdom. To become
the sovereign of the kingdom, a prince need not wait for a large kingdom. T'ang
did it with only seventy lî, and king Wan with only a hundred.
2. 'When one by force subdues men, they do not submit to him in heart. They
submit, because their strength is not adequate to resist. When one subdues men
by virtue, in their hearts' core they are pleased, and sincerely submit, as was
the case with the seventy disciples in their submission to Confucius. What is
said in the Book of Poetry,
"From the west, from the east,
From the south, from the north,
There was not one who thought of refusing submission,"
is an illustration of this.'
1. Mencius said, 'Benevolence brings glory to a prince, and the opposite of it
brings disgrace. For the princes of the present day to hate disgrace and yet to
live complacently doing what is not benevolent, is like hating moisture and yet
living in a low situation.
2. 'If a prince hates disgrace, the best course for him to pursue, is to esteem
virtue and honour virtuous scholars, giving the worthiest among them places of
dignity, and the able offices of trust. When throughout his kingdom there is
leisure and rest from external troubles, let him, taking advantage of such a
season, clearly digest the principles of his government with its legal
sanctions, and then even great kingdoms will be constrained to stand in awe of
3. 'It is said in the Book of Poetry,
"Before the heavens were dark w1th rain,
I gathered the bark from the roots of the mulberry trees,
And wove it closely to form the window and door of my nest;
Now, I thought, ye people below,
Perhaps ye will not dare to insult me."
Confucius said, "Did not he who made this ode understand the way of governing?"
If a prince is able rightly to govern his kingdom, who will dare to insult him?
4. 'But now the princes take advantage of the time when throughout their
kingdoms there is leisure and rest from external troubles, to abandon themselves
to pleasure and indolent indifference;-- they in fact seek for calamities for
5. 'Calamity and happiness in all cases are men's own seeking.
6. 'This is illustrated by what is said in the Book of Poetry,--
Be always studious to be in harmony with the ordinances of God,
So you will certainly get for yourself much happiness;"
and by the passage ofthe Tâi Chiah,-- "When Heaven sends down calamities, it is
still possible to escape from them; when we occasion the calamities ourselves,
it is not possible any longer to live."'
1. Mencius said, 'If a ruler give honour to men of talents and virtue and employ
the able, so that offices shall all be filled by individuals of distinction and
mark;-- then all the scholars of the kingdom will be pleased, and wish to stand
in his court.
2. 'If, in the market-place of his capital, he levy a ground-rent on the shops
but do not tax the goods, or enforce the proper regulations without levying a
ground-rent;-- then all the traders of the kingdom will be pleased, and wish to
store their goods in his market-place.
3. 'If, at his frontier-passes, there be an inspection of persons, but no taxes
charged on goods or other articles, then all the travellers of the kingdom will
be pleased, and wish to make their tours on his roads.
4. 'If he require that the husbandmen give their mutual aid to cultivate the
public feld, and exact no other taxes from them;-- then all the husbandmen of
the kingdom will be pleased, and wish to plough in his fields.
5. 'If from the occupiers of the shops in his market-place he do not exact the
fine of the individual idler, or of the hamlet's quota of cloth, then all the
people of the kingdom will be pleased, and wish to come and be his people.
6. 'If a ruler can truly practise these five things, then the people in the
neighbouring kingdoms will look up to him as a parent. From the first birth of
mankind till now, never has any one led children to attack their parent, and
succeeded in his design. Thus, such a ruler will not have an enemy in all the
kingdom, and he who has no enemy in the kingdom is the minister of Heaven. Never
has there been a ruler in such a case who did not attain to the royal dignity.'
1. Mencius said, 'All men have a mind which cannot bear to see the sufferings of
2. 'The ancient kings had this commiserating mind, and they, as a matter of
course, had likewise a commiserating government. When with a commiserating mind
was practised a commiserating government, to rule the kingdom was as easy a
matter as to make anything go round in the palm.
3. 'When I say that all men have a mind which cannot bear to see the sufferings
of others, my meaning may be illustrated thus:-- even now-a-days, if men
suddenly see a child about to fall into a well, they will without exception
experience a feeling of alarm and distress. They will feel so, not as a ground
on which they may gain the favour of the child's parents, nor as a ground on
which they may seek the praise of their neighbours and friends, nor from a
dislike to the reputation of having been unmoved by such a thing.
4. 'From this case we may perceive that the feeling of commiseration is
essential to man, that the feeling of shame and dislike is essential to man,
that the feeling of modesty and complaisance is essential to man, and that the
feeling of approving and disapproving is essential to man.
5. 'The feeling of commiseration is the principle of benevolence. The feeling of
shame and dislike is the principle of righteousness. The feeling of modesty and
complaisance is the principle of propriety. The feeling of approving and
disapproving is the principle of knowledge.
6. 'Men have these four principles just as they have their four limbs. When men,
having these four principles, yet say of themselves that they cannot develop
them, they play the thief with themselves, and he who says of his prince that he
cannot develop them plays the thief with his prince.
7. 'Since all men have these four principles in themselves, let them know to
give them all their development and completion, and the issue will be like that
of fire which has begun to burn, or that of a spring which has begun to find
vent. Let them have their complete development, and they will suffice to love
and protect all within the four seas. Let them be denied that development, and
they will not suffice for a man to serve his parents with.'
1. Mencius said, 'Is the arrow-maker less benevolent than the maker of armour of
defence? And yet, the arrow-maker's only fear is lest men should not be hurt,
and the armour-maker's only fear is lest men should be hurt. So it is with the
priest and the coffin-maker. The choice of a profession, therefore, is a thing
in which great caution is required.
2. 'Confucius said, "It is virtuous manners which constitute the excellence of a
neighbourhood. If a man, in selecting a residence, do not fix on one where such
prevail, how can he be wise?" Now, benevolence is the most honourable dignity
conferred by Heaven, and the quiet home in which man should awell. Since no one
can hinder us from being so, if yet we are not benevolent;-- this is being not
3. 'From the want of benevolence and the want of wisdom will ensue the entire
absence of propriety and righteousness;-- he who is in such a case must be the
servant of other men. To be the servant of men and yet ashamed of such
servitude, is like a bowmaker's being ashamed to make bows, or an arrow-maker's
being ashamed to make arrows.
4. 'If he be ashamed of his case, his best course is to practise benevolence.
5. 'The man who would be benevolent is like the archer. The archer adjusts
himself and then shoots. If he misses, he does not murmur against those who
surpass himself. He simply turns round and seeks the cause of his failure in
1. Mencius said, 'When any one told Tsze-lû that he had a fault, he rejoiced.
2. 'When Yü heard good words, he bowed to the speaker.
3. 'The great Shun had a still greater delight in what was good. He regarded
virtue as the common property of himself and others, giving up his own way to
follow that of others, and delighting to learn from others to practise what was
4. 'From the time when he ploughed and sowed, exercised the potter's art, and
was a fisherman, to the time when he became emperor, he was continually learning
5. 'To take example from others to practise virtue, is to help them in the same
practice. Therefore, there is no attribute of the superior man greater than his
helping men to practise virtue.'
1. Mencius said, 'Po-î would not serve a prince whom he did not approve, nor
associate with a friend whom he did not esteem. He would not stand in a bad
prince's court, nor speak with a bad man. To stand in a bad prince's court, or
to speak with a bad man, would have been to him the same as to sit with his
court robes and court cap amid mire and ashes. Pursuing the examination of his
dislike to what was evil, we find that he thought it necessary, if he happened
to be standing with a villager whose cap was not rightly adjusted, to leave him
with a high air, as if he were going to be defiled. Therefore, although some of
the princes made application to him with very proper messages, he would not
receive their gifts.-- He would not receive their gifts, counting it
inconsistent with his purity to go to them.
2. 'Hûi of Liû-hsiâ was not ashamed to serve an impure prince, nor did he think
it low to be an inferior officer. When advanced to employment, he did not
conceal his virtue, but made it a point to carry out his principles. When
neglected and left without office, he did not murmur. When straitened by
poverty, he did not grieve. Accordingly, he had a saying,"You are you, and I am
I. Although you stand by my side with breast and aims bare, or with your body
naked, how can you defile me?" Therefore, self-possessed, he companied with men
indifferently, at the same time not losing himself. When he wished to leave, if
pressed to remain in office, he would remain.-- He would remain in office, when
pressed to do so, not counting it required by his purity to go away.'
3. Mencius said, 'Po-î was narrow-minded, and Hûi of Liû-hsiâ was wanting in
self-respect. The superior man will not manifest either narrow-mindedness, or
the want of self-respect.'
Mencius : Chapter 6