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The Governing Principlesof Ancient China
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The Governing Principles of Ancient China 中國古代的治國原則


The Governing Principles of Ancient China—Based on 360 passages excerpted from the original compilation of Qunshu Zhiyao (Compilation of Books and Writings on the Important Governing Principles).
First edition, May 2012
Second edition, October 2012
No part of this book may be altered for distribution purpose without written permission from the publisher. For the latest edition, please contact the publisher.
Thank you.
Chung Hua Cultural Education Centre (M) Bhd (857510K)
1st - 4th Floor, Commercial Block,
The Heritage, Jalan SB Dagang,
43300 Seri Kembangan,
Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia
Tel: +6 (03) 89427792/3/4/5
Fax: +6 (03) 89382799
Website: www.mchunghua.org
Printed in Malaysia
Table of Contents
The Governing Principles of Ancient China
前言 Preface..........................................................................i
編譯組序 Qunshu Zhiyao 360 Editorial Notes................vi
Chapter One
修身 Character Building..................................................2
戒貪 Guard against greed......................................2
勤儉 Be frugal and diligent...................................9
懲忿 Refrain from anger.....................................11
遷善 Emulate good deeds..................................13
改過 Correcting our own mistakes...................14
敦親 Be Respectful of Relatives...................................19
反身 Self-Reflection......................................................24
尊賢 Be Respectful of Wise and Able Ministers........41
納諫 Be Receptive to Counsels from Ministers.........51
杜讒邪 Be Averse to Slanderous and Malevolent
審斷 Be Perceptive and Astute.....................................60
Chapter Two
立節 Uphold Integrity...................................................68
盡忠 Serve with Utmost Loyalty..................................73
勸諫 Presenting Counsels............................................77
舉賢 Nominating the Right Administrators..............81
Chapter Three
尚道 Be Respectful of the Dao........................................84
孝悌 Filial Piety and Kinship..........................................96
仁義 Benevolence and Righteousness.........................112
誠信 Be Sincere and Trustworthy................................117
正己 Righting Oneself...................................................127
度量 Magnanimity.........................................................142
謙虛 Humility.................................................................144
謹慎 Be Discreet.............................................................158
交友 Making Friends.....................................................173
學問 The Art of Learning..............................................176
有恆 Perseverance..........................................................182
Chapter Four
務本 Engaging the Principles........................................186
知人 Good Judge of Character.....................................220
任使 Appointing Officials..............................................234
至公 Paramount Impartiality........................................243
教化 Teach and Transform............................................251
禮樂 Propriety and Music.............................................270
愛民 Caring about People.............................................289
民生 The Livelihood of People......................................302
法古 Learn from the Past..............................................305
綱紀 The Basis of Principles..........................................309
賞罰 Reward and Punishment......................................322
法律 Law and Statute.....................................................329
慎武 Be Careful With Military Actions.......................335
將兵 Generals and Soldiers...........................................343
Chapter Five
微漸 Taking Precautions.............................................346
風俗 Social Customs...................................................361
治亂 Conquering Chaos.............................................367
鑒戒 Heedful of Troubling Signs...............................373
應事 Making Correct Response.................................393
慎始終 Exercise Caution from the Beginning to the
養生 Maintaining Good Health.................................406
Chapter Six
邪正 Good or Evil........................................................410
人情 Human Sentiments............................................416
才德 Talents and Virtues............................................423
朋黨 Formation of Cliques.........................................425
辨物 Differences that Matter......................................427
因果 Cause and Effect.................................................435
Glossary ..........................................................................440

At the beginning of the Zhenguan Era, Emperor Taizong (599-649) of the Tang dynasty decreed that Qunshu Zhiyao (The Compilation of Books and Writings on the Important Governing Principles) be compiled. At the tender age of sixteen, Taizong enlisted himself in the army, and joined his father’s forces to try to stop the turmoil that was going on in the society. For more than ten years, he dwelt himself in military matters. After he ascended to the throne at the age of twenty-seven, he laid down his armor and began to promote culture and education, paying particular attention to the principles of governing, and bringing peace to the country. He sought to rejuvenate the nation from the aftermath of civil strife by restoring order to life, lessening the burdens of ordinary people, and increasing prosperity.
Although Taizong was an intelligent, brave, and eloquent man, he regretted that his earlier military expeditions had prevented him from obtaining much formal education. He also learned from the mistakes made by the fallen Sui
ii Qunshu Zhiyao 360
dynasty and realized that to start a new dynasty was no
easy task, and to sustain it would be even harder. Hence
during his reign, he encouraged his ministers to point out
his mistakes and to candidly criticize his imperial policies.
To make up for lost time, Taizong ordered two advisors,
the honorable Wei Zheng and Yu Shinan, to comb through
all the historical records on imperial governing principles
from the Six Classics, the Four Collections of History and
the Hundreds of Schools1, and to extract the most important
lessons related to the cultivation of oneself, management of
family, good government, and ways to bring about peace
in the world. The result was a collection, titled Qunshu
Zhiyao, carefully excerpted from 14,000 books and 89,000
scrolls of ancient writings—500,000 words in all, and
covering sixty-five book categories—dating from the
era of the Five Legendary Emperors2 to the Jin dynasty.3
This truly is a treasured compilation on governing
principles that can bring about peace and order, which
“when used in the present, allows us to examine and
learn from our ancient history; when passed down to our
descendants, will help them learn valuable lessons in life.”
Those were the words written by Advisor Wei Zheng in
1The Six Classics are: Shijing 詩經 (Book of Odes), Shangshu 尚書 (History
of Antiquities), Yili 儀禮 (Etiquettes and Ceremonies), Yuejing 樂經 (Book
of Music), Yi-Jing 易經 (Book of Changes), and Chunqiu 春 秋 (Spring and
Autumn Annals). Sishi 四史 (The Four Collections of History) are: Shiji 史
記 (The Records of History), Hanshu 漢書 (The Book of Han), Houhanshu 後
漢書 (The Book of Later Han), and San’guozhi 三國志 (Records of the Three
Kingdoms). Zhuzi-Baijia 諸子百家 (The Hundreds of Schools) are schools
of philosophies that sprang up during the Spring and Autumn, and Warring
States periods, circa 770 -221 BC.
2The Five Emperors of antiquity (circa 2600 BC) are: Emperor Huang 黃帝,
Emperor Zhuanxu 顓頊, Emperor Diku 帝嚳, Emperor Yao 堯, and Emperor
Shun 舜.
3Jin dynasty (265-420)
the preface of the completed compilation. Emperor Taizong was extremely pleased with the broad yet concise compilation and would not let the books out of his sight. He said: “The collection has helped me learn from the ancients. When confronted with issues, I am very certain of knowing what to do. This is all due to your efforts, my advisors.” From here we can see that the subsequent peace and prosperity of the Zhenguan Era was attributed greatly to this compilation! This treasure is truly a must-read for all politicians.
However, by the beginning of the Song dynasty, Qunshu Zhiyao disappeared from circulation. This is due to the fact that Chinese woodblock printing was not well developed at that time. The History of Song also did not show any record of this compilation. Fortunately, the Japanese Kanazawa Bunko museum collection had a complete manuscript hand-copied by Japanese monks during the Kamakura period (1192-1330). The Japanese returned the books to China in the 60th year of the reign of Emperor Qianlong, and they became the master copy for the Four Series Books published by the Commercial Press (Shanghai) as well as publications used by Taiwan.
At the end of 2010, I was fortunate to obtain a copy of
Qunshu Zhiyao. I read the work repeatedly, and I was filled with immense joy that eternal stability and peace to the entire world can be brought about by the cultural teachings of our ancient saints and sages. I deeply feel this is so. The most important thing is that the Chinese people themselves must truly comprehend and embrace this traditional
culture, to stop doubting and start believing. The teachings of the saints and sages constitute an embodiment of the true
iv Qunshu Zhiyao 360
self-nature of all beings that transcends time and space. Even
now, they still hold true. The key learning point hinges on
two words “sincerity and respect.” The article “Summary of
the Rules of Propriety” says: “Always and in everything let
there be reverence.” Emperor Kangxi of the Qing dynasty
said: “When a ruler interacts with his people, the element
of respect is fundamental.” He also said: “All the teachings
that have been passed down through thousands of years is
no more than sincerity and respect.” The prominent Song
scholar Chengzi said: “Respect triumphs over all evils.”
These sayings illuminate the fact that in order to cultivate
ourselves, advance our virtues, help people, and benefit the
world, only sincerity and respect can enable us to perfectly
achieve these. If we lack respect and sincerity toward the
teachings of ancient sages and virtuous emperors, little
benefit will be gained even if we had read the ancient
texts extensively. Confucius stressed that he only cited
the teachings of others and did not create his own. He
believed in and loved the teachings of the ancients.
The honorable Dr. Sun Yat Sen, in his speech on the Three
Principles of the People (Principle of Nationalism Fourth
Lecture), said: “The advancement in science and material
civilization in Europe only happened mostly in the last
200 years. But when it comes to the essence of political
philosophy, Europeans still need to look to China for
answers. Gentlemen, you all know that our world’s best
scholars come from Germany. But today’s German scholars
are studying Chinese philosophies as well as Buddhism
from India to correct the bias in science.”
British historian Professor Arnold Toynbee asserted: “In
order to resolve the social problems of the twenty-first
century, we must rely on the teachings of Confucius and Mencius, and on Mahayana Buddhism.” Look at the chaos and uncertainties that we face today. If we truly want to save the world and save China, only traditional Chinese cultural education will provide the answers we seek. The wisdom, the ideas, the methods, the experience, and the results of governing, which are all in Qunshu Zhiyao, are crystallized from thousands of years of trials and tribulations. They are indeed precious! If we can fully comprehend and apply these principles, world peace and individual bliss can be achieved naturally. If we do not follow these principles of governance, we will be inviting endless catastrophes and tragedies.
I realized that the reappearance of Qunshu Zhiyao indicates the sacred mission of this compilation. I am happy to print 10,000 copies, to be published by the World Book Company, to be given away to political parties and various leaders in mainland China, Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan, and around the world, for them to learn about the essence of governing. This way, a harmonious society and a peaceful world will not be far away. I am pleased to know that Qunshu Zhiyao will soon be circulated again in the near future. At the invitation of Ms. Yan Chu I wrote these few words to express my heartfelt praise for the realization of this project.
Chin Kung
December 28, 2010
Hong Kong
vi Qunshu Zhiyao 360
Qunshu Zhiyao 360 Editorial Notes
Qunshu Zhiyao, The Compilation of Books and Writings
on the Important Governing Principles, is a compilation
containing advice, methods, and historical notes on the
successes and failures of the imperial government of
China. This compilation takes us through thousands of
years of Chinese political thinking, and offers us some
valuable leadership principles which not only helped the
great Tang Emperor Taizong to establish the glorious Reign
of Zhenguan, but which will also prove valid as points of
reference for contemporary leaders. As for the general
public, this compilation is a great source of inspiration
for self-improvement, family management and human
Our Centre’s advisor, Venerable Prof. Chin Kung, is
mindful of the importance of passing on traditional
Chinese culture. When he received a copy of the Qunshu
Zhiyao at the end of 2010, he immediately commissioned
the World Book Company to print the compilation for
distribution, as he deeply believed that this compilation
contains remedies that can cure today’s problems. In 2011,
when Prof. Chin Kung came to Malaysia and visited the Prime Minister, the honorable Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib Razak, and the former Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, he briefly introduced the contents of the book to them. Both leaders expressed their wish to see the English translation as soon as possible. Hence, Prof. Chin Kung came up with the idea of extracting 360 quotes from Qunshu Zhiyao and translating them into modern Chinese and other languages to facilitate easy daily reading. He entrusted the Centre with the task, and this marked the beginning of the Qunshu Zhiyao 360 project. Prof. Chin Kung hopes that over the course of the next ten years, 360 quotes will be selected each year from the compilation to be translated into different languages and distributed internationally. He believes that this is the biggest contribution toward peace that China can offer to the world.
Qunshu Zhiyao is made up of extracts from various classics, histories, and the works of the saints and sages. It consists of a total of 65 books compiled in 50 scrolls/volumes. This version of Qunshu Zhiyao 360 groups the contents of Qunshu into six chapters, namely: The Way of a Leader, The Art of a Minister, Esteeming Virtues, On the Subject of Administration, Respectfully Cautious, and Discerning. Each chapter is given sub-headings that substantiate the related key points. It is hoped that this edition will enable readers to grasp the essence of Qunshu Zhiyao.
A point worth mentioning here is that the term for “ruler” in the original Chinese is gender neutral. This book has chosen to use masculine pronouns and possessive pronouns, partly to enable the sentences to flow more smoothly, and partly
viii Qunshu Zhiyao 360
to reflect the norms of ancient China where government
was run mostly by men. No gender bias is intended here,
particularly in view of the fact that today’s women have
increasingly taken up important positions in government.
When the task of translating Qunshu Zhiyao 360 into
English began, many kind individuals from Australia,
Canada, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Malaysia and United
States took time out of their busy schedules to help us
complete this project. Without their generous contribution,
this translation would not have been possible. Here, we
would like to express our sincerest gratitude to all of them.
Upon completion of the first edition and with the feedback
that we received, we have refined the translation and
addressed punctuation errors, style inconsistency, and
typo issues in this second edition. Conventions used in
this edition include:
Italic: Indicates non-English word, book title, and
transliterated Chinese terms.
Romanization system: This book uses the Hanyu Pinyin
romanization system for transliterated names and terms.
Exceptions for figures whose customary transliteration is
more common than pinyin, like Sun Yat Sen, the founding
father of the Republic China, or, whose English name is
more familiar to western readers, such as Confucius.
Names of emperors:
i. According to Shiji 史記 (The Records of History), The
Five Emperors 五帝 (denoting much more reverential
status than the modern term “Emperor”) are Emperor
Huang 黃帝, Emperor Zhuanxu 顓頊, Emperor Diku 帝嚳, Emperor Yao 堯, and Emperor Shun 舜.
ii. From the Shang dynasty to the Qin dynasty (1600BC-221BC), rulers usually held the title Wang 王, “King”. Example: King Cheng 成王, King Kang 康王, King Wen 文王 and King Wu 武王. With the division of China into separate Warring States, this title had become so common that the unifier of China, Qin Shi Huang 秦始皇 (the “First Emperor of Qin dynasty”), created a new title of Huangdi 皇帝 “Emperor”, thus claiming legendary status for himself. The title of Emperor of China continued to be used for the remainder of China’s Imperial history, right down to the fall of the Qing dynasty in 1912.
iii. Before the Tang dynasty: Use posthumous names, such as Han Wu Di 漢武帝, Emperor Wu of Han.
iv. Emperors of the Tang, Song, Liao and Jin (1115-1234) dynasties: Use temple names, such as Tang Taizong 唐太宗 (“Emperor Taizong of Tang dynasty.”)
v. Emperors of the Ming dynasty and Qing dynasty: Use era names (same as reign names), such as Emperor Kangxi 康熙.
Order of names:
i. Personal names in Chinese present the family/clan name first. For example, Lin Xiangru 藺相如, with “Lin” being the family name.
ii. In ancient China, the word zi 子is given to one’s
respected teacher after the teacher’s last name. In this case,
x Qunshu Zhiyao 360
zi will join the last name like, Zengzi 曾子, Mozi 墨子.
iii. Book titles named after the author: Last name and given
name will be separated. For example, the book Mo Zi 墨子,
was written by Mozi, founder of the Mohist School.
iv. Where a respectable title consists of 2 words, such as Tai
Gong 太公, Qing Zi 卿子, the title will not be joined to the
last name. Example: Jiang Tai Gong 姜太公 (The Grand
Duke Jiang), Sun Qing Zi 孫卿子 (The Respectable Master
We continue to look forward to receiving your input as to
how this abstract may be improved, especially at places
where meanings might have been wrongly conveyed
during the course of translation.
Last but not least, may all of you enjoy a blissful family
life and career, and join our hands to bring PEACE to this
English Translation Group of Qunshu Zhiyao 360
October 2012

2 Qunshu Zhiyao 360
Character Building
Guard against greed
1. 自成康以來,幾且千歲,欲為治者甚眾,然而太平
仁義廢也。(卷十九 漢書七 )
1. Almost a thousand years have passed since the heyday of
King Cheng and King Kang, and many rulers having tried
to attain the same glory. But this golden era of peace and
prosperity never returned. Why has this been so? It is
because rulers have forsaken the law and moral standards,
and have instead pursued selfish desires, spoiling
themselves with extravagance, and totally neglecting the
practice of benevolence and righteousness.
Scroll 19: Han Shu, Vol. 7
2. 夫物速成則疾亡,晚就則善終。朝華之草,夕而零落;松柏之茂,隆寒不衰。是以大雅君子惡速成。
(卷二十六 魏志下)
2. In general, anything that develops too fast will fall apart just as quickly, whereas a slow and steady development is more assured of yielding favorable results. Plants that unravel into full bloom in early morning may wither and fall by the evening, but the slow-growing pine trees will not wither even in the extreme winter cold. Hence, a superior person4 does not hasten to achieve results.
Scroll 26: Wei Zhi, Vol. 2
4Superior person, junzi 君子 deserves a special mention here because it is a central notion in Confucian philosophy. It embodies an ideally ethical and capable
person, sometimes meaning a power holder, which is its original sense. The term is a compound word composed of two written characters, which separately means “ruler’s son.” Under the changing social conditions of the Warring States period, the concept of birthright was replaced by the notion of an “aristocracy of merit,” and in the Confucian school, the term junzi came to denote an “ethical aristocrat” rather than a future king. The hallmark of the junzi was his complete internalization of the virtue of ren (benevolence) and associated qualities, such as, yi (righteousness) and full socialization through ritual skills. –Bob Eno, The Analects of Confucius, 2010.
Guard against greed
4 Qunshu Zhiyao 360
3. 夫榮公好專利而不知大難。夫利,百物之所生也,
王,王其能久乎?(卷十一 史記上)
3. Duke Yi of the state of Rong was known for monopolizing
wealth and profits for himself and for being oblivious to its
adverse effects on the society. One should know that wealth
and profits are the very sources of survival for hundreds
of materials nurtured between heaven and earth. To
monopolize them will give rise to an unbalanced situation
thereby causing much harm. How can one monopolize
the resources when they are needed by so many? To do
so will arouse anger from the public. If we teach our lord
to monopolize resources instead of urging him to take
precaution against major disasters, can his reign last long?
Scroll 11: Shi Ji, Vol. 1
4. 五色令人目盲;五音令人耳聾;五味令人口爽;馳騁田獵,令人心發狂;難得之貨,令人行妨。
(卷三十四 老子)
4. Craving for visual splendor can distort our vision and impede our ability to see the truth about things. Basking in musical amusement can numb our hearing and impede our ability to appreciate the finer meanings in music. Excessive indulgence in fine cuisine can dull our taste buds and impede our ability to appreciate the food. Wallowing in the thrill of game hunting can make us reckless and lose our sanity. Being desirous of rare and precious objects can cause our greediness to grow and drive us to behave wickedly.
Scroll 34: Lao Zi
Guard against greed
6 Qunshu Zhiyao 360
5. 訓有之,內作色荒,外作禽荒。甘酒嗜音,峻宇雕
牆。有一于此,未或弗亡。(卷二 尚書)
5. King Yu of antiquity said: “If a ruler is obsessed with
womanizing and hunting, drinking fine wine, singing
and dancing, living in lofty mansions with intricate wall
paintings and carvings; any one of these will surely bring
forth the ruin of his country.”
Scroll 2: Shang Shu
6.故亂國之主,務於廣地,而不務於仁義,務於高位,而不務於道德,是舍其所以存,而造其所以亡也。(卷三十五 文子)
6. Hence, a ruler who can ruin a country will be a leader zealous about expanding his territory but unconcerned with his duty to advance benevolence. He is concerned with pursuing a position of great authority but does not care too much about promoting virtues. By doing this, he has in fact given up all the conditions that can assure his country’s survival. Inevitably he will lead the country to a path of destruction.
Scroll 35: Wen Zi
Guard against greed
8 Qunshu Zhiyao 360
7. 人主之大患,莫大乎好名。人主好名,則群臣知所
要矣。(卷四十八 體論)
7. Nothing can do more harm to a leader than widespread
knowledge of the fact that he craves adoration and popularity.
Once a leader falls into the traps of wanting an inflated
name for himself, his officials will know what he wants and
conform to his wishes.
Scroll 48: Ti Lun
Be frugal and diligent
8. 古之人曰:「一夫不耕,或受之飢;一女不織,或受之寒。」生之有時,而用之無度,則物力必屈。古之治天下,至纖至悉也,故其蓄積足恃。
(卷十四 漢書二)
8. The ancients said: “If a farmer refuses to work, some people will starve. If a woman refuses to weave, some people will suffer in the cold.” When the growth of all things is limited by seasons but we consume them as if they will be available without limitation, the resources will sooner or later be depleted. The ancients governed and planned meticulously and they would have had the foresight to ensure the treasury had enough reserves to sustain the nation.
Scroll 14: Han Shu, Vol. 2
Be frugal and diligent
Qunshu Zhiyao 360
9. 故脩身治國也,要莫大於節欲。傳曰:「欲不可縱。」歷觀有家有國,其得之也,莫不階於儉約;其失之也,莫不由於奢侈。儉者節欲,奢者放情。放情者危,節欲者安。(卷四十七 政要論)
9. Thus, to cultivate oneself in order to rule a country, nothing can be more significant than to restrain one’s desires. The book of Li Ji said: “Don’t give in to desires.” We have seen rulers and senior ministers of the past and present had achieved success through hard work and lived frugally, and that those who failed did so were extravagant and wasteful. Frugal people will restrain their desires but spendthrifts will let their desires run free. Self-gratification will endanger one’s life while moderation will keep one safe.
Scroll 47: Zheng Yao Lun
Refrain from anger
10. 禁令不明,而嚴刑以靜亂;廟筭不精,而窮兵以侵鄰。猶釤禾以計蝗蟲,伐木以殺蛣蛣作蠹蝎,減食減食作食毒以中蚤蝨,撤舍以逐雀鼠也。
(卷五十 抱朴子)
10. Before a ban has been stated clearly by the govern-
ment, severe punishments were enforced to suppress disorderliness. Before a well-planned military strategy has been devised, the armed forces were deployed in full force to invade a neighboring country. Is this not like cutting down the crops in order to destroy the locusts; or chopping down trees to get rid of infestations of worms or bugs; or swallowing poison in order to kill lice and fleas; or tearing down a house in order to chase away sparrows and rats?
Scroll 50: Bao Pu Zi
Refrain from anger
12 Qunshu Zhiyao 360
11. 夫聖人以天下為度者也,不以己私怒,傷天下之
功。(卷十七 漢書五)
11. Thus, a sage ruler always has the welfare of the people
at heart. He would never wage a personal vendetta at the
expense of public justice.
Scroll 17: Han Shu, Vol. 5
Emulate good deeds
12. 子曰:「我三人行,必得我師焉。擇其善者而從之,其不善者而改之。」(卷九 論語)
12. Confucius said: “When I walk along with others, they will serve me as my teachers. I will select their good qualities and follow them; but as for their bad qualities I will correct them in myself.”
Scroll 9: Lun Yu
Emulate good deeds
14 Qunshu Zhiyao 360
Correcting our own mistakes
13. 子曰:「過而不改,是謂過矣。」(卷九 論語)
13. Confucius said: “To make a mistake and not correct it
is a real mistake.”
Scroll 9: Lun Yu
14. 子貢曰:「君子之過也,如日月之食焉:過也,人皆見之;更也,人皆仰之。」(卷九 論語)
14. Zigong said: “The faults of a superior person are analogous to the eclipses of the sun and the moon. When he is at fault, everyone can see his faults clearly. But when he corrects his faults, everyone will look up to him with respect.”
Scroll 9: Lun Yu
Correcting our own mistakes
16 Qunshu Zhiyao 360
15. 古者聖王之制,史在前書過失,工誦箴諫,庶人
(卷十七 漢書五)
15. The government of the ancient sage-kings had official
historians who recorded the mistakes made by the
ruler, and official musicians to sing ballads to remind
the ruler of his mistakes. Ordinary folk could be heard
making criticisms against the ruler on the roadside, and
businessmen could be heard discussing the ruler’s faulty
actions in the marketplace. Thus, sage rulers were able
to hear about their mistakes and correct them, and to
implement sensible policies that were just and honorable.
These were factors that contributed to the longevity of
their government.
Scroll 17: Han Shu, Vol. 5
16. 大忌知身之惡而不改也,以賊其身,乃喪其軀,有行如此,之謂大忌也。(卷三十一 鬻子)
16. The most serious blunder we can make is in knowing we have failings and yet we refuse to correct them until such failings harm and cost our life.
Scroll 31: Yu Zi
Correcting our own mistakes
18 Qunshu Zhiyao 360
17. 先民有言,人之所難者二,樂知知作攻其惡者難,
以惡告人者難。(卷四十六 中論)
17. The ancients said: “There are two things that individuals
will find difficult to achieve in life—One is a willingness to
accept and correct their own faults; another is the wisdom
to know when to point out and correct the faults of others.”
Scroll 46: Zhong Lun
Be Respectful of Relatives
18. 子曰:「愛親者,不敢惡於人;敬親者,不敢慢於人。愛敬盡於事親,而德教加於百姓,形形作刑于四海,蓋天子之孝也。《呂刑》云:『一人有慶兆民賴之。』」(卷九 孝經)
18. Confucius said: “A leader who loves his parents will not despise the parents of other people, and as he respects his parents he will not be contemptuous of the parents of other people. A leader who is wholeheartedly dedicated, with love and respect, to taking care of his parents will impart the same highest degree of virtuous conducts to teach and reform his people, setting an exemplary standard for the whole world to follow. This is the filial piety of the Son of Heaven(tian zi)!5 The book of Lü-Xing said: ‘When a leader respects and loves his parents, all his people will trust and rely on him, and so the nation will enjoy long and lasting stability.’ ”
Scroll 9: Xiao Jing
5Since King Wu founded the Zhou dynasty (1134BC to 256BC), he proclaimed that he was the Tian Zi (Son of Heaven) and from that time on all the future kings and emperors called themselves the “Son of Heaven”.
Be Respectful of Relatives
Qunshu Zhiyao 360
19. 昔三代明王之必敬妻子也,蓋有道焉。妻也者,親之主也;子也者,親之後也;敢不敬與?是故君子無不敬也。敬也者,敬身為大;身也者,親之支也,敢不敬與?不敬其身,是傷其親;傷其親,是傷其本也;傷其本,則支從而亡。三者,百姓之象也。身以及身,子以及子,妃以及妃,君修此三者,則大化愾於天下。 (卷十  孔子家語)
19. There were reasons why the sage kings of Xia, Shang and Zhou dynasties loved and respected their wives and children. For the wife, she was the key lady attending to matters related not only to the rites of remembrance of the ancestors, but also to the king’s parents, as well as to the education of his heirs. As for the children, they were the heirs to the king’s legacy. So how could the king not be respectful of his wife and children? A king therefore will not be disrespectful toward anybody. With regard to the
virtue of respect, a person will first respect his own self, for his life is an extension of his parents. How can he not be respectful of himself? Not respectful of one’s self is
tantamount to hurting one’s parents. Hurting one’s parents is amounting to hurting one’s root, and when the root is damaged the branches will die off subsequently. Since the commoners and the king both have these three things in common—own self, wife and children, they will naturally follow the king’s example. As the king respects his own self he extends this respect to other people. As he loves his children he extends this love to the children of other people. And as he respects his wife he extends this respect to the wives of other people. When a king can manage these three matters well, this profound and far-reaching education will then be able to spread to the whole world.
Scroll 10: Kong Zi Jia Yu
Be Respectful of Relatives
22 Qunshu Zhiyao 360
20. 帝王之於親戚,愛雖隆,必示之以威;體雖貴,
必禁之以度。(卷二十四 後漢書四)
20. Although a leader may love his relatives deeply,
he should maintain his authority over them or they
will become arrogant and disrespectful. The status of
the relatives may be privileged but they must be held
accountable by law in order to restrain them from behaving
wildly and uncontrollably.
Scroll 24: Hou Han Shu, Vol. 4
21. 所貴於善者,以其有禮義也;所賤於惡者,以其有罪過也。今以所貴者教民,以所賤者教親,不亦悖乎?(卷四十五 昌言)
21. Good deeds and good people are revered because they embody propriety and justice. Bad deeds and villains are despised because they embody wickedness. Now that we use what is revered to teach and demand the common people to behave well on the one hand, but use what is despised to teach and allow members of the royal family to behave repulsively on the other hand, is this not going against moral and virtue?
Scroll 45: Chang Yan
Be Respectful of Relatives
24 Qunshu Zhiyao 360
22. 立德之本,莫尚乎正心。心正而後身正,身正而後
家正而後天下正。(卷四十九 傅子)
22. The foundation of virtue is built upon a mind that is
righteous. When the mind of a ruler is righteous, his conduct
will be righteous. When his conduct is righteous, the conduct of
his ministers will be righteous. When the conduct of his
ministers is righteous, the government will be just. When
the government is just, the country will be just. And when
the country is just, the whole world will be just.
Scroll 49: Fu Zi
23. 曾子曰:「吾日三省吾身:為人謀,而不忠乎?與朋友交,而不信乎?傳不習乎?」(卷九 論語)
23. Zengzi said: “Every day I reflect upon three things: Have I done my best to do my job well? Have I been a trusted friend? Have I put into practice lessons given to me by my teacher, or prepared my lessons before teaching them to my students?”
Scroll 9: Lun Yu
26 Qunshu Zhiyao 360
24. 天子無戲言。言則史書之,禮成之,樂歌之。
(卷十一 史記上)
24. The Son of Heaven does not speak playfully. Once said,
official historians will record it; ceremonial proceedings
will be held to fulfill it, and songs will be sung to glorify
Scroll 11: Shi Ji, Vol. 1
25. 子曰:「躬自厚,而薄責於人,則遠怨矣。」
(卷九 論語)
25. Confucius said: “Reprimand yourself harshly but reprimand others more forgivingly. You will avoid making enemies this way.”
Scroll 9: Lun Yu
28 Qunshu Zhiyao 360
26. 君不肖,則國危而民亂;君賢聖,則國家安而天
下治。禍福在君,不在天時。(卷三十一 六韜)
26. If a leader is unvirtuous he will bring danger to the
nation and chaos to his people. A virtuous leader, on the
other hand, will bring stability to the nation and order to
his people. The fate of a nation therefore lies in the hands
of a good ruler who is capable and wise, independent from
the changing of seasons.
Scroll 31: Liu Tao
27. 「朕躬有罪,無以萬方;萬方有罪,罪在朕躬。」(卷九 論語)
27. King Tang who founded the Shang dynasty said: “If in my person as a king I have committed offenses, oh Lord of heaven, do not hold the people of the myriad regions responsible. If people in the myriad regions committed offenses, let the punishment fall on me alone, for I have not taught people the proper way to behave.”
Scroll 9: Lun Yu
30 Qunshu Zhiyao 360
28. 故明王有過則反之於身,有善則歸之於民。有過
懼身,此明王之所以治民也。(卷三十二 管子)
28. When a sage ruler committed a mistake, he would reflect
upon the mistake and correct it. When he accomplished
any achievement, he would attribute the achievement
to the people. The self-reflection would help him to stay
disciplined, while the attribution of success to others
would bring great joy and happiness to the people. Making
people feel happy while he remained watchful over his
own actions is the successful governing principle of a good
Scroll 32: Guan Zi
29. 傳曰:「禹湯罪己,其興也勃焉;桀紂罪人,其亡也忽焉。」由是言之,長民治國之本在身。
(卷四十七 政要論)
29. In the book of Zuo Zhuan, it was said: “King Yu and King Tang took all blames upon themselves and their countries prospered. King Jie and King Zhou put all blames upon others and their downfall was hastened.” Hence, we can see that the key to a good and lasting government is dependent on the virtuous character of the leader.
Scroll 47: Zheng Yao Lun
32 Qunshu Zhiyao 360
(卷三十七 孟子)
30. Mencius said to Duke Xuan of the state of Qi: “When
a lord treats his subordinates like brothers, they will
pledge allegiance to him in return. When a lord treats his
subordinates like slavish animals, they will regard him as a
stranger on the street. When a lord treats his subordinates
like dirt and weeds, they will regard him as a robber and
an enemy.”
Scroll 37: Meng Zi
「易。節欲則民富,中聽則民安,行此兩者而已矣。」(卷三十三 晏子)
31. Duke Jing of the state of Qi asked Yanzi: “The task to bring wealth to the people and stability to the state—Will this be difficult to achieve?” Yanzi said: “Not difficult at all. Frugality on the part of the ruler will bring prosperity to the people, and fair trials will bring stability to the state. Doing these two things well will suffice.”
Scroll 33: Yan Zi
34 Qunshu Zhiyao 360
32. 明主者有三懼:一曰處尊位而恐不聞其過;二曰得
(卷四十三 說苑)
32. A sage ruler worries about three things. His first worry
is that his high position may shelter him from hearing
criticisms of his mistakes. Next, he worries that his success
may spur him to arrogance. And last, he worries that he
may not be able to govern based on the truth and reality
that he had gathered from all quarters of the society.
Scroll 43: Shuo Yuan
33. 昔成湯遭旱,以六事自責曰:「政不節耶?使民疾耶?宮室榮耶?女謁盛耶?苞苴行耶?讒夫昌耶?」(卷二十二 後漢書二)
33. Once upon a time, a severe drought hit the land ruled by King Cheng Tang. Cheng Tang then used the following six questions to reproach himself: “Is my governance not in accord with laws and regulations? Have the people been made to labor too hard? Are my palace and dwellings too luxurious? Have the favored court ladies interfered too much in politics? Have briberies become rampant? Have the obsequious and the slanderers become too reckless?”
Scroll 22: Hou Han Shu, Vol. 2
36 Qunshu Zhiyao 360
34. 曾子曰:「上失其道,民散久矣。如得其情,則哀
矜而勿喜。」(卷九 論語)
34. Zengzi said: “The government has deviated from the
righteous way of leadership and the people have long been
left to their own devices. If you can finally uncover the truth
behind the making of a crime, you ought to be sympathetic
toward the criminals instead of being delighted in your
ability to solve crimes.”
Scroll 9: Lun Yu
35. 上失其道,而殺其下,非理也。不教以孝,而聽其獄,是殺不辜也。(卷十 孔子家語)
35. It is not right for a ruler who has deviated from the righteous way of leadership to put his officials and subjects to death. Even though the people are not being taught the way of filial piety and the proper behavior that goes along with it, they are being convicted and put into prisons. To do so amounts to killing the innocent.
Scroll 10: Kong Zi Jia Yu
38 Qunshu Zhiyao 360
36. 致治之術,先屏四患,乃崇五政。一曰偽,二曰
(卷四十六 申鑒)
36. A good government must first eradicate the Four Perils
before it can carry out the Five Correct Policies. The Four
Perils are:
1. Hypocrisy, for it will upset social customs.
2. Bribery, for it will wreck the legal system.
3. Unruliness, for it will overstep propriety.
4. Luxury, for it will breach rules and regulations.
As long as these Four Perils persist, benevolent rule cannot
be put into practice because of the following:
When social customs are upset, moral decadence will ensue
and no divine beings can hope to safeguard the purity of human nature. When the legal system is wrecked, society will fall apart and no leader can hope to uphold any law at that point. When propriety is overstepped, proper rites will wither away and no saints can hope to defend the path of righteousness. Lastly, when rules and regulations are breached, a ruler’s desires will become so unfettered that even the vast territories of the four corners of the world could not hope to satisfy his insatiable appetites. Such are the Four Perils.
As for the Five Correct Policies, they are:
1. Revive farming to provide food for the people.
40 Qunshu Zhiyao 360
2. Distinguish what is right from wrong to establish good
social customs.
3. Proclaim cultural and educational policies to advocate
the education effort made by the government.
4. Establish military facilities to uphold the dignity of the
5. Unify the national legal system by being strict and
impartial in meting out rewards and punishments.
Scroll 46: Shen Jian
Be Respectful of Wise and Able Ministers
37. 無常安之國,無恆治之民。得賢者則安昌,失之者則危亡。自古及今,未有不然者也。
(卷四十三 說苑)
37. No country will enjoy everlasting peace and no common people will stay forever submissive. When the wise are recruited to serve in the government, the country will enjoy peace and prosperity. To lose them could mean an end to a government. From ancient times until today this recurring theme has not changed at all.
Scroll 43: Shuo Yuan
Be Respectful of Wise and Able Ministers
42 Qunshu Zhiyao 360
38. 書曰:「有不世之君,必能用不世之臣。用不世
之臣,必能立不世之功。」(卷二十六 魏志下)
38. The ancients said: “An extraordinary leader will use the
services of extraordinary ministers. Together with these
extraordinary ministers they will attain extraordinary
achievements in history.”
Scroll 26: Wei Zhi, Vol. 2
39. 子曰:「大臣不可以不敬也,是民之表也。邇臣不可以不慎也,是民之道也。」(卷七 禮記)
39. Confucius said: “A leader must respect his ministers because they are the representatives of the people. He must choose ministers close to him carefully because they are the role models for the people.”
Scroll 7: Li Ji
Be Respectful of Wise and Able Ministers
44 Qunshu Zhiyao 360
40. 文王好仁,故仁興;得士而敬之,則士用,用之
(卷十七 漢書五)
40. King Wen’s benevolence had helped him to revive a
government that was beneficent to the people. When he
obtained the services of virtuous people he paid great
respect to them and continued to treat them in accord
with the proper rites and protocols. Had he not treasured
the virtuous people he would not have been able to gain
their confidence, and enabled them to work in peace and
maximize their potential to help him secure his objectives.
Likewise, the wise king of antiquity would respect the jurisdictions of his ministers, their stipends, and also take good care of them. He would regularly visit ministers who
had been stricken ill. And when a minister passed away he would personally offer condolences to the minister’s bereaved family and attend the complete funeral rites conducted in three stages. A king would not drink wine or eat meat until the body of the deceased minister had been placed in the coffin. Neither would he entertain himself with music before the burial rites were done. If a minister passed away during an ancestral offering ceremony, the king would call off the ceremonial music as a sign of mourning for the deceased minister. Thus, the kings in ancient time did everything they could to live up to the requirements of the propriety, and their ministers would repay them with undying devotion.
Scroll 17: Han Shu, Vol. 5
Be Respectful of Wise and Able Ministers
46 Qunshu Zhiyao 360
41. 周公戒伯禽曰:「我文王之子,武王之弟,成王
無以國驕人。」(卷十一 史記上)
41. The Duke of Zhou taught his son, Bo Qin, this lesson:
“I am the son of King Wen, the younger brother of King
Wu, and uncle to King Cheng. My position is therefore not
lowly. However, there were times when I had to stop several
times in the course of washing my hair; or stop several
times in the course of eating, so that I could greet virtuous
men who came by for a visit. Still, I am afraid that I might
have overlooked any virtuous man. When you arrive at the
state of Lu, you must remember this—Never regard your
status as a king and look down on anybody.”
Scroll 11: Shi Ji, Vol. 1
42. 惟恤十難,以任賢能。一曰不知,二曰不求求作進,三曰不任,四曰不終,五曰以小怨棄大德,六曰以小過黜大功,七曰以小短短作失掩大美,八曰以干訐傷忠正,九曰以邪說亂正度,十曰以讒嫉廢賢能,是謂十難。十難不除,則賢臣不用;賢臣不用,則國非其國也。(卷四十六 申鑒)
42. There are Ten Hindrances that can render difficult the task of appointing virtuous and able people to a government position:
1. The inability to recognize an able person.
2. If such a person is recognized, no appointment is offered to him.
3. If such a person is appointed, his ability is under-utilized.
4. The service of this person is terminated before his term is over.
Be Respectful of Wise and Able Ministers
48 Qunshu Zhiyao 360
5. A person’s virtues are overlooked and his service is
disregarded due to minor resentments from the leader.
6. This person’s outstanding contributions are dismissed
because of some minor offenses he has committed.
7. This person’s overall excellence is concealed because of
some minor flaws in his character.
8. This person’s integrity is hurt because of disparaging
attacks waged against him by malicious parties.
9. Deviant beliefs have disrupted regular laws.
10. A virtuous and able person is dismissed because of
unfounded accusations made by back-stabbers who are
jealous of his presence.
If these Ten Hindrances are not eradicated, the able and
virtuous ministers will not be able to serve and assert
any influence within the government. And when good
ministers are not put to good use, a country’s ability to
survive will be challenged.
Scroll 46: Shen Jian
43. 文王問太公曰:「君務舉賢,而不獲其功,世亂愈甚,以致危亡者,何也?」太公曰:「舉賢而不用,是有舉賢之名也,無得賢之實也。」文王曰:
「其失安在?」太公曰:「其失在好用世俗之所譽,不得其真賢。」(卷三十一 六韜)
43. King Wen posed this question to his strategist Jiang Tai Gong: “A ruler is enthusiastic in recruiting the best of minds to work in the government but little has been gained. Social disruptions are on the rise and they are threatening the security of the country. How can this happen?” Tai Gong said: “If you select the best of minds but cannot put them in positions of influence, their presence is only useful in name but not useful in practice.” King Wen asked: “So who is at fault here?” Tai Gong replied: “These problems arose because a leader favors a so-called celebrity made famous by worldly standards and not somebody with any
ability to do the job properly.”
Scroll 31: Liu Tao
Be Respectful of Wise and Able Ministers
50 Qunshu Zhiyao 360
44. 為人君而侮其臣者,智者不為謀,辨者不為使,
(卷四十二 新序)
44. If a leader habitually humiliates his ministers and
subjects, wise strategists will become reluctant to devise
plans for him; eloquent people will become reluctant
to embark on diplomatic missions for him; courageous
men will become reluctant to engage in warfare for him.
Without the advice from the wise strategists, the country
will be trapped in danger. Without the services of eloquent
diplomats, the relations with other countries will be put
under strain. And without the dedication of brave men to
fight gallantly, the frontiers will soon become targets of
Scroll 42: Xin Xu
Be Receptive to Counsels from Ministers
45. 國之所以治者,君明也。其所以亂者,君闇也。君之所以明者,兼聽也。其所以闇者,偏信也。是故人君通必必作心兼聽,則聖日廣矣;庸說偏信,則愚日甚矣。(卷四十四 潛夫論)
45. A country is governed well because it has a wise leader. A country is in ruin because it has a foolish leader. A wise leader will listen and gauge opinions from all sides, but a foolish leader will only listen to opinions that echo his own mind. So if a leader is broad-minded and able to accept suggestions from all parties, his sagacity will increase day by day. On the contrary, if he insists on listening to the one-sided, sly, and fawning remarks, his foolishness will also increase day by day.
Scroll 44: Qian Fu Lun
Be Receptive to Counsels from Ministers
52 Qunshu Zhiyao 360
46. 臣聞人君莫不好忠正而惡讒諛,然而歷世之患,
也。(卷二十三 後漢書三)
46. We have heard that a good leader will not refuse to
hear from the loyal and forthright ministers, and distance
himself from the obsequious and the servile. However,
government after government had fallen throughout
history because forthright and loyal ministers were
punished while obsequious ministers were rewarded and
favored. Perhaps it is easier to accept flattery than to accept
honest advice.
Scroll 23: Hou Han Shu, Vol. 3
47.明主患諛己者眾,而無由聞失也,故開敢諫之路,納逆己之言,苟所言出於忠誠,雖事不盡,是猶歡然然下有受字之。(卷四十九 傅子)
47. A wise leader worries about being surrounded by flatterers, a situation that can isolate him from hearing the truth about his own mistakes. Hence he opens up the channels where people can speak their mind, and he listens to people who defy his wishes. As long as the proponents express their opinions out of loyalty and sincerity for the common good, he will gladly accept them even though their propositions may not be right all the time.
Scroll 49: Fu Zi
Be Receptive to Counsels from Ministers
54 Qunshu Zhiyao 360
通矣。(卷四十四 潛夫論)
48. Emperor Shun said: “If I made a mistake you must help
to correct me. Do not seem agreeable in front of me but stir
up negative remarks against me behind my back.” Likewise,
a good government will encourage people to submit their
dissensions to the government and guide them to speak
out truthfully. This way a government will be able to get to
the bottom of things and draw up sensible policies.
Scroll 44: Qian Fu Lun
49. 興國之君,樂聞其過;荒亂之主,樂聞其譽。聞其過者,過日消而福臻;聞其譽者,譽日損而禍至。(卷二十八 吳志下)
49. A leader who brings greatness to his nation welcomes criticism directed at him. A leader who brings chaos to his nation prefers praise that glorifies his name. For the former, good fortune will follow him because he will make fewer mistakes over time. But for the latter, misfortune will beset him as he sinks deeper into the false acclaim that is detrimental to his virtues.
Scroll 28: Wu Zhi, Vol. 2
Be Receptive to Counsels from Ministers
56 Qunshu Zhiyao 360
50. 折直士之節,結諫臣之舌,群臣皆知其非,然不
(卷十九 漢書七)
50. On seeing men of integrity being dishonored and
witnessing officials who dared to speak up being silenced,
many ministers knew this was wrong but nobody dared
to stand up and fight to remedy this situation. When
everybody is wary of admonishing the government, this is
indeed the greatest misfortune that besets a nation!
Scroll 19: Han Shu, Vol. 7
51. 孔子曰:「藥酒藥酒作良藥苦於口而利於病,忠言逆於耳而利於行。湯武以諤諤而昌,桀紂以唯唯而亡。」(卷十 孔子家語)
51. Confucius said: “Effective medicine is bitter but it can cure sickness. Truthful words are not enticing but they can help people to correct their mistakes. The nation enjoyed prosperity under King Tang and King Wu because they listened to admonitions extensively from all sides. On the contrary, the brutal King Jie and King Zhou preferred to listen to agreeable words that appealed to them, and this eventually led to their downfall.”
Scroll 10: Kong Zi Jia Yu
Be Receptive to Counsels from Ministers
58 Qunshu Zhiyao 360
Be Averse to Slanderous and Malevolent Advice
52. 聞言未審,而以定善惡,則是非有錯,而飾辯巧言
之流起矣。(卷四十九 傅子)
52. If we make judgment lightly before all facts have
been taken into consideration, what is right or wrong
will no longer be clear, and the customs of making false
accusations and engaging in flowery rhetoric will soon
become fashionable.
Scroll 49: Fu Zi
53. 夫人主莫不愛愛己,而莫知愛己者之不足愛也。故惑小臣之佞,而不能廢也;忘忘疑忌違己之益己,而不能用也。(卷四十七 劉廙政論)
53. Rare indeed is a leader who will not favor his admirers. Little does he know that his admirers are not deserving of his unquestioning trust. When a leader is charmed by these scheming ministers and refuses to dismiss them, he will overlook ministers who may oppose his wishes but nonetheless be truly helpful to his government. In the end, the right people will not be appointed to the right positions.
Scroll 47: Liu Yi Zheng Lun
Be Averse to Slanderous and Malevolent Advice
60 Qunshu Zhiyao 360
Be Perceptive and Astute
54. 金玉滿堂,莫之能守,富貴而驕,還自遺咎。功
成名遂身退,天之道也。(卷三十四 老子)
54. A house full of gold and jade cannot be safely kept
forever. When wealth and honor leads to arrogance, it
sows the seeds of one’s own downfall. To retire at the height
of one’s own merit and fame, is in accord with the law of
Scroll 34: Lao Zi
55. 夫聽察者,乃存亡之門戶,安危之機要也。若人主聽察不博,偏受所信,則謀有所漏,不盡良策;若博其觀聽,納受無方,考察不精,則數有所亂矣。
(卷四十八 體論)
55. The ability to “listen and observe” is the door to life or death, the key to safety or danger. If a leader cannot listen and observe from diverse sources but relies only on opinions provided by his trusted sources, his plans will be deficient and incomplete. On the other hand, if he were to hear from diverse sources, and yet were to embrace this information in an unsuitable manner, or were to fail to evaluate them accurately, the resulting plans would still be disastrous.
Scroll 48: Ti Lun
Be Perceptive and Astute
62 Qunshu Zhiyao 360
56. 孔子曰:「眾好之必察焉,眾惡之必察焉。」故
(卷四十四 潛夫論)
56. Confucius said: “If everybody likes him, observe and
study him carefully. If everybody dislikes him, also observe
and study him carefully.” A virtuous sage will neither make
decisions based on public opinions, nor insist that his
personal opinion be the only right way. Instead, he will
consider both sides of the argument and measure them by
the standards of righteous virtue, so that good candidates
will not be omitted from the government, and save the
government from becoming corrupt and meeting with its
Scroll 44: Qian Fu Lun
57. 人君之大患也,莫大乎詳於小事,而略於大道;察於近物,而暗於遠數。自古及今,未有如此而不亡也。(卷四十六 中論)
57. One of the biggest problems about a leader is that when he spends too much time on minor details and not enough time on what is really important. He can be too concerned about immediate issues but lacks foresight to plan for the future. History has shown us that such a leader will certainly bring forth destruction.
Scroll 46: Zhong Lun
Be Perceptive and Astute
Qunshu Zhiyao 360
58. 景公問晏子曰:「古者離散其民而隕失其國者,其常行何如?」對曰:「國貧而好大,智薄而好專;尚讒諛而賤賢人,樂簡慢而輕百姓;國無常法,民無經紀;好辨以為智,刻民以為忠;流湎而忘國,好兵而忘民;肅於罪誅,而慢於慶賞;樂人之哀,利人之害;德不足以懷人,政不足以匡民;賞不足以勸善,刑不足以防非。此亡國之行也。今民聞公令如寇讎,此古之離其民隕其國常行也。」(卷三十三 晏子)
58. Duke Qi asked Yanzi: “In the past, kings who dispersed their citizens and ruined their states—what was their leadership like?” Yanzi said: “While the country struggled in poverty, they craved for greatness and grandiosity. While their ability and intelligence were weak, they craved for absolute power and clung on stubbornly to their own views. They favored the flatterers and disdained those who were virtuous. They were arrogant and contemptuous of the
people. They did not impose consistent laws, nor did they set behavioral standards for the people. They misidentified purnacious officials as being intelligent, and assumed that
these officials’ oppression of the people was a sign of their allegiance. In great lavishness the leaders forgot their duties to the nation and merrily they waged war with no concerns for the welfare of the people. They were quick at convicting and executing the condemned but slow at rewarding those with a fine record of services. They delighted in causing miseries to others and took advantage of others’ sufferings. They have so little virtue to speak of that they could not possibly appease the people, and their ironclad rules could do little to transform the people. In other words, the reward system was insufficient to compel people to do good things, while the penalty system was insufficient to deter people from breaking the law. All the above will ruin a country. Now that the people despise the laws imposed on them, this is tantamount to the consequences caused by
Be Perceptive and Astute
Qunshu Zhiyao 360
leaders who dispersed their citizens and lost their states in the past.”
Scroll 33: Yan Zi

68 Qunshu Zhiyao 360
Uphold Integrity
59. 歷觀古今功名之士,皆有積累殊異之跡,勞身苦
(卷二十八 吳志下)
59. Looking at the individuals in history who have made
great contributions to the society, it is evident that they
all had accumulated outstanding and remarkable stories
through their endurance against innumerable physical
strains and hardships. As well, they were assiduously
thoughtful, they never let their studies go to waste, and
they never changed their ideals despite poverty.
Scroll 28: Wu Zhi, Vol. 2
60. 夫賢者之為人臣,不損君以奉佞,不阿眾以取容,不墮公以聽私,不撓法以吐剛,其明能照奸,而義不比黨。(卷四十四 潛夫論)
60. Wise ministers do not fawn upon their leader to the extent that will corrupt his virtues. They also do not fawn upon the masses just to gain their favor. Neither will they benefit themselves at the expense of the public interests, nor do they hinder the enforcement of laws for the fear of powerful adversaries. They are wise enough to recognize the crafty and the evil. They conform to morality and justice, and their integrity prevents them from forming factions to advance their personal interests.
Scroll 44: Qian Fu Lun
Uphold Integrity
70 Qunshu Zhiyao 360
61. 楊震字伯起,弘農人也。遷東萊太守。道經昌邑,
謂無知?」(卷二十三 後漢書三)
61. Once upon a time, the great scholar and government
minister, Yang Zhen, was promoted to become the prefect
of Donglai prefecture. During his travel to Donglai via
Changyi county, he was approached in the middle of the
night by a man called Wang Mi, who had been nominated
by Yang Zhen to become the magistrate of Changyi county.
Wang Mi brought with him 10 kilograms of gold as a gift.
Yang Zhen was appalled and upset at the sight of this gift.
He said to Wang Mi: “As your old friend I understand
you very well. But you don’t seem to understand this old
friend of yours very well.” Wang Mi replied: “It is the
dead of night. No one will know you received the gold!” Yang Zhen corrected his friend: “Heaven knows, the deities
know, I know and you know. How can you say nobody knows?”
Scroll 23: Hou Han Shu, Vol. 3
Uphold Integrity
72 Qunshu Zhiyao 360
62. 昔者晉平公問於叔向曰:「國家之患,孰為大?」
上通,此患之大者。」(卷二十二 後漢書二)
62. Once Duke Jinpin asked Shuxiang: “Of all the
misfortunes that can befall a nation, which one is the
greatest?” Shuxiang replied: “When a high-ranking official
would rather covet wealth and power than to provide sensible
counsel, and a low-ranking official would rather refrain
from speaking the truth than to offend his superiors, and
thus the leader cannot hear the voice of the people. This is
the greatest misfortune that can befall a nation.”
Scroll 22: Hou Han Shu, Vol. 2
Serve with Utmost Loyalty
63. 人臣之行,有有作行六正則榮,犯六邪則辱。
(卷四十三 說苑)
63. A minister with great moral integrity who follows the Six Good Conducts will enjoy honor and glory. In contrast, a minister who commits any of the Six Evil Conducts will provoke humiliations.
Scroll 43: Shuo Yuan
Note: The Six Good Conducts of a minister are:
1. Has great foresight and takes preventive measures. Such a person is a “sagely minister.”
2. Modest and diligent, supports the good and eradicates the evil. Such a person is a “good minister.”
3. Hardworking and never tire of recommending good people to work for the government. Such a person is a
“loyal minister.”
Serve with Utmost Loyalty
74 Qunshu Zhiyao 360
4. Perceptive about success or failure, turns misfortune
into good fortune. Such a person is a “wise minister.”
5. Honest and scrupulous in his dealings, performs official
duties with integrity. Such a person is an “honorable
6. Upright and outspoken, unafraid to point out the faults
of his government. Such a person is a “forthright minister.”
The Six Evil Conducts of a minister are:
1. Being content with an official salary but having no interest
in his job. Such a person is an “incompetent minister.”
2. Flatters effusively to placate his superiors. Such is a
“flattering minister.”
3. Talks cleverly in an ingratiating manner, and is jealous
of good and able people. Such a person is a “treacherous
4. Talks artfully and sows discord among people. Such a
person is a “slandering minister.”
5. Dictatorial and arbitrary, and forms divisive factions to advance his personal interests. Such a person is a “crooked minister.”
6. Works behind the scenes and stirs up trouble and unrest. Such a person is a “vicious minister.”
Serve with Utmost Loyalty
76 Qunshu Zhiyao 360
64. 子曰:「君子之事上也,進思盡忠,退思補過,
(卷九 孝經)
64. Confucius said: “In attendance to the leader, superior
persons reflect upon the ways in which they can serve with
utmost loyalty in their official duties. And on retirement
they reflect upon the ways in which they can remedy their
leader’s mistakes. They will help to advance worthy causes
put forward by the leader, and they will not hesitate to
remedy his shortcomings. Hence, the relationship between
the superior and the subordinate is cordial and amicable.”
Scroll 9: Xiao Jing
Presenting Counsels
65. 忠有三術:一曰防,二曰救,三曰戒。先其未然,謂之防也;發而進諫進諫作止之,謂之救也;行而責之,謂之戒也。防為上,救次之,戒為下。
(卷四十六 申鑒)
65. There are three kinds of approach that an official can take to fulfill his duties: Prevent, Rectify, and Reprimand. “Prevent” involves taking precautionary measures to prevent mistakes from happening. “Rectify” involves rectifying mistakes that have been done. “Reprimand” involves giving direct reprimands to the perpetrators. Among the three, “Prevent” is the best approach; followed by “Rectify”; then by “Reprimand”.
Scroll 46: Shen Jian
Presenting Counsels
Qunshu Zhiyao 360
66. 孔子曰:「侍於君子有三愆:言未及之而言,謂之躁;言及之而不言,謂之隱;未見顏色而言,謂之瞽。」(卷九 論語)
66. Confucius said: “For the ones who serve the lords may make the following three errors: To speak when it is not necessary is being rash; not to speak when it is necessary is being evasive; to speak without observing the lord’s facial expression is being blind.”
Scroll 9: Lun Yu
67. 景公問晏子曰:「忠臣之事君,何若?」對曰:「有難不死,出亡不送。」公不悦曰:「君裂地而富富作封之,疏爵而贵之,有难不死,出亡不送,其说何也?」对曰:「言而見用,終身無難,臣何死焉;謀而見從,終身不出,臣何送焉。若言不用,有難而死,是妄死也;謀而不從,出亡而送,是詐偽也。忠臣也者,能納善於君,而不與君陷於難者也。」
(卷三十三 晏子)
67. Duke Jing asked Yanzi: “How should a loyal minister serve his lord?” Yanzi replied: “A loyal minister will not die for his lord when his lord is in danger, and he will not send his lord away when his lord is about to flee the state.” Duke Jing was not very pleased with Yanzi’s reply and said: “A lord confers land to his minister and thus enables the minister to become rich. He confers title to a minister and thus enables the minister to become noble. And if a
Presenting Counsels
Qunshu Zhiyao 360
minister is not willing to die for his lord, or send his lord away when his lord is about to flee the state, how can this be justified?” Yanzi replied: “Had the lord listened to the
loyal minister’s advice, the lord would never be exposed to any danger in his life. Therefore, no situation would arise where a loyal minister had to sacrifice his life for his lord. Likewise, a lord who had accepted strategies proposed by the loyal minister would never need to flee the state. So no situation could arise where the minister would have to send the lord on his way to exile. If advice was dismissed and consequently the loyal minister had to accompany his lord to face death, would this not be absurd? And if his lord did not accept good strategies proposed by the loyal minister and consequently the minister had to send the lord on his way to exile, is this not hypocritical? Thus, a loyal minister should be able to provide counsel that can be accepted by his lord and thereby can save both himself and the lord from tragedy.”
Scroll 33: Yan Zi
Nominating the Right Administrators
68. 子曰:「……汝聞用力為賢乎?進賢為賢乎?」子貢曰:「進賢賢哉。」子曰:「然。」
(卷十 孔子家語)
68. Confucius asked his student, Zigong: “...Who do you think is wiser—the one working hard for himself, or the one nominating worthy officials to the government?” To this Zigong answered: “The one nominating worthy officials to the government is wiser.” Confucius said: “You are right.”
Scroll 10: Kong Zi Jia Yu
Nominating the Right Administrators
Qunshu Zhiyao 360
69. 忠臣之舉賢也,不避仇讎;其廢不肖也,不阿親近。(卷四十 韓子)
69. A loyal official will nominate a competent person for an important post even if that person is his foe. He will also dismiss an unscrupulous character from a task even if that person is his close relative.
Scroll 40: Han Zi

84 Qunshu Zhiyao 360
Be Respectful of the Dao
70. 天命之謂性,率性之謂道,脩道之謂教。道也者
不可須臾離也,可離非道也。(卷七 禮記)
70. The original good self-nature of humans is called Xing.
The right way of behavior following one’s nature is called
Dao. The teaching and nurturing of human behavior in
accordance with these norms is called Jiao. Therefore,
Dao is indispensable to all human beings. That which is
dispensable is not Dao.
Scroll 7: Li Ji
71. 保合大和,乃利貞。首出庶物,萬國咸寧。
(卷一 周易)
71. Heaven in its motions preserves great harmony in union, enabling all creations to be peaceful and beneficial, and perpetually correct and firm. Heaven creates all things on the earth, and made every place under it serene and tranquil. Respected leaders in the myriad states follow the virtuous attributes of heaven so they shall run their respective states in stable peace.
Scroll 1: Zhou Yi
Be Respectful of the Dao
86 Qunshu Zhiyao 360
72. 人法地,地法天,天法道,道法自然。
(卷三十四 老子)
72. Man takes his law from the earth, which is serene
and gentle, hardworking and uncomplicated, meritorious
without showing off. The earth takes its law from the
heaven, giving without expecting rewards, allowing all
things to grow without expecting returns. Heaven takes its
law from the Dao, tranquil and quiet, allowing all things to
form naturally, as they should be. The law of Dao follows
its nature; the Dao is being what it is.
Scroll 34: Lao Zi
73. 聖人不積,既以為人,己愈有。天之道,利而不害;聖人之道,為而不爭。(卷三十四 老子)
73. Sages have no selfish desires. They cultivate virtue instead of amassing wealth for themselves. With virtuous disposition, they teach the ignorant, and with the money they have, they give to the needy. They reserve nothing for themselves. It appears that the more they give to others, the more they receive in return. The law of nature is naturally beneficial and never does any harm to anything; the conduct of sages will benefit people naturally and does not struggle to control along the way.
Scroll 34: Lao Zi
Be Respectful of the Dao
88 Qunshu Zhiyao 360
74. 好學近於智,力行近於仁,知恥近於勇。知斯三
所以治人,則能成天下國家矣。(卷十 孔子家語)
74. Confucius said: “The eagerness to learn from the sages
is an indication of ‘wisdom.’ Putting lessons into practice is
an indication of ‘benevolence.’ Discovering one’s mistakes
and generating the determination to correct them is an
indication of ‘courage.’ A man who understands what
constitutes wisdom, benevolence and courage will correct
his erroneous views, speech and actions. Consequently, he
will know how to lead the people, and when he does, he
will be able to govern the country properly.”
Scroll 10: Kong Zi Jia Yu
75. 發政施令,為天下福者,謂之道;上下相親,謂之和;民不求而得所欲,謂之信;除天下之害,謂之仁。仁與信,和與道,帝王之器也。
(卷三十一 鬻子)
75. When a ruler declares and carries out laws in order to pursue welfare for the people, this is called “righteousness.” When a ruler and his people respect and love each other, this is called “harmony.” When a ruler can meet the people’s needs before the people have to plead for their attention, this is called “trustworthiness.” When a ruler can eliminate troubles for his people, this is called “benevolence.” Benevolence and trustworthiness, harmony and righteousness are the valuable implements of a ruler.
Scroll 31: Yu Zi
Be Respectful of the Dao
90 Qunshu Zhiyao 360
76. 文王曰:「何如而可以為天下?」太公對曰:
天下 ;權蓋天下,然後可以不失天下;事而不疑,然
(卷三十一 六韜)
76. King Wen asked Tai Gong: “What should one do so that
he can govern all under heaven (tian-xia6)?” Tai Gong said:
“When your magnanimity encompasses tian-xia, you will
be able to accommodate it. When your trustworthiness
encompasses tian-xia, you will be able to make covenants
with it. When your benevolence encompasses tianxia,
you will be able to embrace it. When your
6The notion of “tian-xia” is a wide-reaching term that embraces ideas of
populace, nations, communities, countries or the world. Hence the original
Chinese term has not been translated to preserve the implications of these
ideas in this context.
generosity and kindness encompasses tian-xia,
you will be able to command it. When your authority encompasses tian-xia, you will not lose it to others.
Take decisive actions and your subjects will be able to depend upon your decisiveness. If a ruler has all the six elements, he can then govern all under heaven.”
Scroll 31: Liu Tao
Be Respectful of the Dao
92 Qunshu Zhiyao 360
77. 故君子不恤年之將衰,而憂志之有倦。不寑道焉,
(卷四十六 中論)
77. Therefore, a superior person will not worry about
becoming old and frail. Instead, he worries about his mind
becoming weary and dull. He will neither let virtuous
causes lie dormant nor let righteous causes lie still. For a
man of words and not of actions will let virtuous causes
lie dormant; a man of actions who cannot persevere to the
end will let righteous causes lie still. Thus, a superior person
must persevere in putting his words into action.
Scroll 46: Zhong Lun
78. 乾……《象》曰:天行健,君子以自強不息。
(卷一 周易)
78. The book of Xiang Zhuan said: “The oracle Qian symbolizes the strength and eternity of heaven in its motion. A superior person should learn from the attributes of heaven, to be self-reliant and vow to work hard, never giving up.”
Scroll 1: Zhou Yi
Be Respectful of the Dao
94 Qunshu Zhiyao 360
79. 坤。《象》曰:地勢坤。君子以厚德載物。
(卷一 周易)
79. The book of Xiang Zhuan said: “The oracle Kun
symbolizes the gentle terrain of the earth. The superior
person should learn from the earth, carry and support all
things in the world with his great virtue.”
Scroll 1: Zhou Yi
80. 不修善事,即為惡人;無事於大,則為小人。紂為無道,見稱獨夫;仲尼陪臣,謂為素王。即君子不在乎富貴矣。(卷五十 抱朴子)
80. One who does not cultivate good deeds is a malicious man. One who does not assist his elders is a petty person.7 King Zhou was known as a despot because he was cruel and oppressive. But Confucius, a man who served only as a counsel to many feudal lords, was reckoned as a “commoner king”—a man with kingly virtues but not with kingly rank. This demonstrates clearly that noble status and wealth is not the measure of a superior person.
Scroll 50: Bao Pu Zi
7Xiaoren 小人, “small or petty person” does not grasp the value of virtues and seeks only immediate gains.
Be Respectful of the Dao
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Filial Piety and Kinship
81. 孝悌之至,通於神明,光于四海,無所不通。
(卷九 孝經)
81. If one were able to perfect his filial piety and attention
to fraternal duties, he would move the gods and divinities
in heaven and earth, and will reach to the spiritual
intelligence. The light of his great virtue would illuminate
the whole world and all would be touched by the virtues of
filial piety.
Scroll 9: Xiao Jing
82. 蓼蓼者莪,匪莪伊蒿。哀哀父母,生我劬勞。無父何怙?無母何恃?出則啣恤,入則靡至。父兮生我,母兮鞠我。拊我畜我,長我育我,顧我復我,出入腹我。欲報之德,昊天罔極。(卷三 毛詩)
82. Long and large grows the e; it is not the e but the hao.8 I am saddened by the loss of my parents, who gave me birth and brought me up at great personal cost. Fatherless, who is there to rely on? Motherless, who is there to depend on? When I go abroad, I carry my grief with me. When I came home, I have no one to go to. Oh my father, who begat me!
8 “e” and “hao” are two species of artemisia belonging to the daisy family of Asteraceae. According to the interpretation offered by the editor of the compilation, Wei Zheng, the son felt so sad over the death of his parents that he could not distinguish the difference between the two artemisia species. Another popular intepretation for this metaphor is that since “e” is aromatic and edible, it represents a promising future. “Hao”, which is bitter and unpalatable, represents a future that is bleak. The contrast meant to bring out the fact that the parents had hoped to have a son who has prospects of success in life, however, the son has failed to do so before his parents passed away, and this is a cause of great regrets for the son.
Filial Piety and Kinship
98 Qunshu Zhiyao 360
Oh my mother, who nurtured me! You raised me, you loved
me; you brought me up, and you taught me. You cared for
me and you worried for me; everywhere you went you held
me in your arms. If I would return your kindness, it is like
great heaven, illimitable.
Scroll 3: Mao Shi
83. 孝有三:小孝用力,中孝用勞,大孝不匱。思慈愛忘勞,可謂用力矣;尊仁安義,可謂用勞矣;博施備物,可謂不匱矣。父母愛之,喜而弗忘;父母惡之,懼而無怨;父母有過,諫而不逆;父母既沒,必求仁者之粟以祀之。此之謂禮終。(卷七 禮記)
83. There are three levels of filial piety in action: A minor filial piety that takes the form of physical labor; an intermediate filial piety that applies meritorious deeds; a greater filial piety that holds back nothing. When I remember the love my parents gave me and the sacrifices they had to make in bringing me up, I am able to forget my own physical fatigue when I make ends meet to serve them. Such is the minor filial piety that takes the form of physical labor. When I revere benevolent virtues and enable society to abide contentedly in righteousness, such is the intermediate filial piety that
Filial Piety and Kinship
100Qunshu Zhiyao 360
applies meritorious deeds. Propagating moral and ethical
teachings across the lands, dispensing benefits, and providing
for all things necessary to enable every person to support their
parents and prepare adequate offerings to their ancestors,
such is the greater filial piety that holds back nothing. If
my parents love me I will rejoice and never forget their
kindness. If they dislike me I will be even more vigilant
against any wrong doings that I may commit and bear no
resentment against my parents. If they commit a mistake
I will persuade them to change but I will not rebel against
them. When my parents pass away, I will pay my respects
to them with food I obtained with legitimate means. Such
is the complete fulfillment of propriety.
Scroll 7: Li Ji
84. 身體髮膚,受之父母,不敢毀傷,孝之始也。立身行道,揚名於後世,以顯父母,孝之終也。夫孝,始於事親,中於事君,終於立身。(卷九 孝經)
84. Our bodies, to every hair and every bit of skin, are given to us by our parents, and we must not presume to injure or wound them. This is the beginning of filial piety. When we have established a virtuous character by the practice of the filial course, so as to make our name revered in future ages and thereby glorify our parents, this is the ultimate goal of filial piety. It commences with the service of parents; it proceeds to the service of the ruler; it ends with the establishment of a virtuous character.
Scroll 9: Xiao Jing
Filial Piety and Kinship
102Qunshu Zhiyao 360
85. 在上不驕,高而不危;制節謹度,滿而不溢。高而
冰。」(卷九 孝經)
85. Above others, and yet free from conceit, even when
they live in high-status position, they will not invite perils
to themselves. They live with economy and carefully
observe the rules and laws, thus even when they are
wealthy, they will not spend wastefully. To live in a highstatus
position without peril is the way to preserve lasting
nobility. To possess wealth without wastefulness is the way
to preserve lasting riches. When their riches and nobility
do not leave their persons, they are able to preserve their
land and bring harmony to their people. This is the filial
piety of the lords. It is said in the book of Shi-Jing: Xiao
Ya (Book of Odes): “Be apprehensive, be cautious, as if on the brink of a deep abyss, as if treading on thin ice.”
Scroll 9: Xiao Jing
Filial Piety and Kinship
104Qunshu Zhiyao 360
86. 非先王之法服不敢服,非先王之法言不敢道,非先
云:「夙夜匪懈,以事一人。」(卷九 孝經)
86. Senior ministers do not presume to wear robes other
than those appointed by the laws of the ancient kings, or
to speak words other than those sanctioned by the ancient
kings, or to exhibit conduct other than that exemplified by
the ancient kings. Thus none of their words are contrary
to those sanctions and none of their actions are contrary
to the virtuous way. From their mouths there comes no
exceptionable speech, and in their conduct there are no
exceptionable actions. Their words may spread all over the
world and no error of speech will be found in them. Their
actions may spread all over the world, and no grievances
or dislikes will be awakened by them. When these three things—their robes, their words, and their conduct—are all complete as they should be, they can then preserve
their ancestral shrines. This is the filial piety of the high ministers and great officers. It is said in the book of Shi Jing: “He is never idle, day or night, in the service of the Son of Heaven.”
Scroll 9: Xiao Jing
Filial Piety and Kinship
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87. 故以孝事君則忠,以敬事長則順。忠順不失,以
也。(卷九 孝經)
87. Servicing a leader with the heart of a filial child will
enable one to perform his duties to the leader loyally.
Servicing a superior with the heart of a respectful sibling
will enable one to comply with duties given by that
superior. When subordinates can engage loyalty and
comply flawlessly in the service of the leader and superior,
they will be able to maintain their earnings and positions
as well as preserve the ritual services of their ancestors.
This is the filial piety of a lower ranking officer.
Scroll 9: Xiao Jing
88. 因因上舊有子曰二字。刪之。天之道,分地之利。謹身節用,以養父母。此庶人之孝也。故自天子至于庶人,孝無終始,而患不及己者,未之有也。(卷九 孝經)
88. By following and making the most out of the changing seasons, common people distinguish the advantages afforded by different soils in order to reap the biggest harvest. They are careful in their conduct and frugal with their expenses so that they may support their parents. This is the filial piety that common people should fulfill. Thus from the Son of Heaven down to the common people, starting with serving parents reverently to the end when a name is established in honor of the family, the filial duties are not difficult to fulfill. The way of filial piety sees no divisions of superiority or inferiority; it transcends time and space; it is eternal, without beginning or an end. No one should worry that they would not be able to fulfill their filial duties.
Scroll 9: Xiao Jing
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89. 子曰:「孝子之事親,居則致其敬;養則致其樂;
然後能事親。」(卷九 孝經)
89. Confucius said: “When filial children serve their parents
at home they will do so with utmost respects. When they
tend to the needs of their parents they will do so with
utmost gladness. When they take care of their parents who
are ill they will do so with utmost concern. When their
parents pass away they will take care of the funeral services
with the greatest grief, and in offering memorials to their
parents they will show utmost solemnity. It can be said that
children have truly fulfilled their duties to their parents
when these five things are complete.”
Scroll 9: Xiao Jing
90. 曾子曰:「身也者,父母之遺體也。行父母之遺體,敢不敬乎?居處不莊,非孝也;事君不忠,非孝也;蒞官不敬,非孝也;朋友不信,非孝也;戰陳無勇,非孝也。五者不遂,災及於親,敢不敬乎?」
(卷七 禮記)
90. Zengzi said: “Our bodies came from our parents. How can any person not be prudent in using this body to conduct his affairs? Leading a frivolous lifestyle is unfilial. Serving one’s superior disloyally is unfilial. Working as government officials but not being serious and responsible is unfilial. Not being trustworthy toward friends is unfilial, and being cowardly when at war is unfilial. Failure to fulfill these five filial duties will be detrimental to our parents’ reputation. How can we not be prudent in using this body to conduct our affairs?”
Scroll 7: Li Ji
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91. 壹舉足而不敢忘父母,壹出言而不敢忘父母。壹
其親,可謂孝矣!(卷七 禮記)
91. I dare not forget my parents in every step I take, and
I dare not forget my parents in every word I say. As I
remember my parents in every step I take, I will choose
the right course of actions in preference to a devious short
cut. If there is a boat I can ride I will not choose to wade
across the river—all for the fear of putting this body given
to me by my parents at risk. As I remember my parents
in every word I say, I will not use abusive language and
cause revile words to be thrown back at me. Not subjecting
myself to indignities and causing my parents shame, this
can be considered as filial piety.
Scroll 7: Li Ji
92. 故不愛其親,而愛他人者,謂之悖德。不敬其親,而敬他人者,謂之悖禮。(卷九 孝經)
92. He who does not love his parents but loves others rejects virtue. He who does not revere his parents but reveres others rejects propriety.
Scroll 9: Xiao Jing
Filial Piety and Kinship
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Benevolence and Righteousness
93. 曾子曰:「士不可以不弘毅,任重而道遠。仁以為
(卷九 論語)
93. Zengzi said: “An officer cannot be without breadth of
mind and vigorous endurance. His responsibilities are
heavy and his journey ahead is far and long indeed. When
committed to practicing the virtue of benevolence as a
personal goal, is this not a heavy responsibility? Only with
death will this commitment end. Is this not a journey that
is far and long indeed?”
Scroll 9: Lun Yu
94. 有一言而可常行者,恕也;一行而可常履者,正也。恕者仁之術也,正者義之要也。至矣哉。
(卷四十六 申鑒)
94. If there is one word that you should hold permanently to your heart, it is this word, Shu—“What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others.” If there is one standard of conduct that you should always exemplify, it is this, Zheng—“Integrity”. Shu is the practice that leads to benevolence, and Zheng is the key to righteousness.
Scroll 46: Shen Jian
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114Qunshu Zhiyao 360
95. 顏淵問仁。子曰:「克己復禮為仁。一日克己復
勿言,非禮勿動。」(卷九 論語)
95. Yan Yuan asked Confucius about the definition of
“benevolence.” Confucius answered: “To be able to control
your desires and to let your words and deeds to be steadfast
in propriety is benevolence. Once you can do this you will
be able to affect the world to become benevolent also. Take
the initiatives upon yourself and do not expect initiation
from someone else.” Yan Yuan asked again: “How can one
carry on such a practice?” Confucius replied: “Do not look
at things that do not accord with propriety. Do not listen to
things that do not accord with propriety. Do not say things
that do not accord with propriety, and do not do anything
that does not accord with propriety.”
Scroll 9: Lun Yu
96. 仲弓問仁。子曰:「出門如見大賓,使民如承大祭。己所不欲,勿施於人。在邦無怨,在家無怨。」(卷九 論語)
96. Zhong-gong asked about benevolence. Confucius said: “When you face the public, act as if you were greeting prestigious guests. While employing the services of the common people, act as if you were officiating a major ceremony. What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others. In this way, you will not incur any bitter feelings from anybody.”
Scroll 9: Lun Yu
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97. 貧賤之知不可忘,糟糠之妻不下堂。
(卷二十二 後漢書二)
97. A man should not forget the friends he made when he
was poor. A wife who has shared her husband’s hardships
must never be cast aside.
Scroll 22: Hou Han Shu, Vol. 2
Be Sincere and Trustworthy
98. 天地有紀矣,不誠則不能化育;君臣有義矣,不誠則不能相臨;父子有禮矣,不誠則疏;夫婦有恩矣,不誠則離;交接有分矣,不誠則絕。以義應當,曲得其情,其唯誠乎。(卷四十八 體論)
98. Heaven and earth are bound within the natural order, but when actualities are absent they cannot transform and nourish all things. A leader and his subordinates are bound by a mutual commitment, but when sincerity is absent, they cannot work together in mutual admiration. Parents and children are bound by propriety, but when sincerity is absent, they become estranged from each other. Husband and wife are bonded in a relation of gratefulness, but when sincerity is absent, they will end up leaving each other. Friendship is founded on ties of affection, but when sincerity is absent, all ties will be severed. Morality and ethics can help us to manage our tasks appropriately, but it
Be Sincere and Trustworthy
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is through sincerity that we can earnestly understand the
needs of others as well as the truth of things.
Scroll 48: Ti Lun
99. 君子養心,莫善於誠。致誠無他,唯仁之守,唯義之行。誠心守仁則能化;誠心行義則能變。變化代興,謂之天德。(卷三十八 孫卿子)
99. In the cultivation of a good character, nothing can surpass the value of sincerity. Utmost sincerity can only be achieved through upholding benevolence and implementing righteousness. By being most sincere in upholding benevolence we can right ourselves and influence people to do the same. By being most sincere in implementing righteous deeds we can transform social customs from bad to good. Using benevolent and righteous values to educate people, the habits of self-correction and doing good deeds will eventually become an acceptable social norm. In this respect, the society will progress in line with the moral principles of heaven.
Scroll 38: Sun Qing Zi
Be Sincere and Trustworthy
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100. 唯君子為能信,一不信則終身之行廢矣,故君子
重之。(卷五十 袁子正書)
100. Only a superior person can be trusted to act in good
faith. As soon as he loses his trustworthiness, everything
he did in his life will be invalidated. Hence, a superior person
takes his reputation for being honest very seriously.
Scroll 50: Yuan Zi Zheng Shu
101. 孔子曰:「欲人之信己,則微言而篤行之。篤行之,則用日久;用日久,則事著明;事著明,則有目者莫不見也,有耳者莫不聞也,其可誣乎?」
(卷四十六 中論)
101. Confucius said: “If you want others to have confidence in you, you should speak little and carry out your words. Your actions will speak for themselves. After a period of time, the results become so evident that no one else could distort the truth from the eyes and ears of the public.”
Scroll 46: Zhong Lun
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(卷九 論語)
102. Zixia said: “When a superior person assumes the
position of an official he must first earn the trust of the
people before he gives orders to them. Otherwise, people
will regard him as oppressive. When a superior person
assumes the position of a subordinate he must first earn
the trust of his superior before he offers any advice to the
latter. Otherwise, the superior will take it as an insult.”
Scroll 9: Lun Yu
103. 君以信訓其臣,則臣以信忠其君;父以信誨其子,則子以信孝其父;夫以信先其婦,則婦以信順其夫。上秉常以化下,下服常而應上,其不化者,百未有一也。(卷四十九 傅子)
103. If a leader instructs his minister in good faith, the ministers will also serve him in good faith. If a father teaches his children in good faith, his children will also show filial obedience in good faith. If a husband honors his wife in good faith, the wife will also submit to him in good faith. The leaders who adhere to virtuous principles will gain the faithful submission of their subjects in return. With this, all can be educated and transformed without exception.
Scroll 49: Fu Zi
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104. 色取仁而實違之者,謂之虛;不以誠待其臣,而
須而成也。(卷四十八 體論)
104. A ruler who pretends to be benevolent is a hypocrite,
and he who expects the ministers to serve him earnestly
while he treats them insincerely is ignorant. A hypocritical
and ignorant leader will not attract ministers who will serve
him with undying loyalty. Hence it was said in the book of
Shang Shu: “A leader is analogous to the head of a man, and
his ministers, the arms and the legs.” It is hoped that the
leader and his ministers can work amicably as one body so
that they will be able to govern the country properly.
Scroll 48: Ti Lun
105. 巧詐不如拙誠。(卷四十 韓子)
105. Simple honesty is better than subtle hypocrisy.
Scroll 40: Han Zi
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106. 作德,心逸日休;作偽,心勞日拙。
(卷二 尚書)
106. Practice virtue and you will calm the mind and
become more restful day after day. Practice hypocrisy and
you will wear out your mind only to worsen the situation
day after day.
Scroll 2: Shang Shu
Righting Oneself
107. 曾子曰:「敢問何謂七教?」孔子曰:「上敬老,則下益孝;上尊齒,則下益悌;上樂施,則下益寬;上親賢,則下擇友;上好德,則下無隱;上惡貪,則下恥爭;上廉讓,則下知節。此之謂七教也。七教者,治民之本也。政教定,則本正矣。凡上者,民之表也,表正則何物不正!」
(卷十 孔子家語)
107. Zengzi said: “May I ask what the Seven Lessons are about?” Confucius said: “If a leader respects old people, his subjects will show more filial obedience toward their parents. If a leader respects the elderly, his subjects will show more respect toward their elder siblings. If a leader is kind and giving, his subjects will become more tolerant and generous. If a leader favors the virtuous, his subjects will attach more importance to choosing their friends wisely. If a leader places great importance on ethical conducts,
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his subjects will not commit acts that cannot be revealed
to the public. If a leader is not greedy, his subjects will be
ashamed of fighting with each other for profits. If a leader
is honorable and humble, his subjects will uphold integrity
firmly. These are the Seven Lessons, the foundation of
governing. Once the principles of governing are established,
the government will become stable and strong. Since
people look up to all the senior ministers and bureaucrats
as examples to follow, and as long as they are upright, what
else cannot be upright?”
Scroll 10: Kong Zi Jia Yu
108. 子曰:「其身正,不令而行;其身不正,雖令不從。」(卷九 論語)
108. Confucius said: “When a leader’s personal conduct is upright, his government is effective without the issuing of orders. If his personal conduct is not upright, he may issue orders but they will not be followed.”
Scroll 9: Lun Yu
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109. 故君子為政,以正己為先,教禁為次。
(卷四十七 政要論)
109. A superior person must first and foremost be
an exemplar of integrity in his official duties. Giving
instructions and punishment are secondary measures.
Scroll 47: Zheng Yao Lun
110. 子曰:「下之事上也,不從其所令,而從其所行。上好是物,下必有甚矣。故上之所好惡,不可不慎也,是民之表也。」(卷七 禮記)
110. Confucius said: “In serving a superior, the subordinates will not only follow by obeying the commands of his superior but also follow by observing the superior’s conduct. Whatever preferences shown by a superior will be exceeded by the preferences of his subordinates. Therefore, a leader must be careful with what he likes or dislikes for he is the role model for the people.”
Scroll 7: Li Ji
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111. 我有公心焉,則士民不敢念其私矣;我有平心焉,
奢矣。此躬行之所徵者也。(卷四十五 昌言)
111. If a superior is impartial, his subjects will not dare
to profiteer. If he is honest and fair, his subjects will not
dare to engage in dishonest enterprises, thinking they can
get away without punishment. If he is frugal, his subjects
will not dare to spend lavishly. These are the effects of a
leadership that practices what he preaches.
Scroll 45: Chang Yan
112. 太公曰:「將有三禮。冬日不服裘,夏日不操扇,天雨不張蓋幕,名曰三禮也。」(卷三十一  六韜)
112. Tai Gong said: “There are three protocols for generals and commanders of an army: Do not wear fur coats in the winter; do not use fans in the summer; do not open umbrellas on rainy days.”9
Scroll 31: Liu Tao
9The purpose of this protocol is to remind the generals and commanders to place themselves in the same situations as their soldiers, be it hot or cold, damp or dry. A commander who can empathize with the circumstances in which he places his soldiers will not only gain the loyalty of his soldiers, but also come up with good strategies that will find victory with the least sacrifice of human lives.
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三恕之本,則可謂端身矣。」(卷十 孔子家語)
113. Confucius said: “A superior person shows his
consideration for others in three ways: Not serving his
leader wholeheartedly while ordering his own subordinates
around is inconsiderate. Not fulfilling his filial duties to his
parents but demanding that his own children to be filial
to him is inconsiderate. Not respecting his elder siblings
but demanding his own younger siblings to respect him is
inconsiderate. If he can understand that consideration for
others stems from loyalty to his own leader, filial obedience
to his own parents, and reverence to his elder siblings, he is
truly a person who has an upright character.”
Scroll 10: Kong Zi Jia Yu
114.是故君子有諸己,而後求諸人;無諸己,而後非諸人。(卷七 禮記)
114. A virtuous leader will lead the way to do good deeds before he asks others to do the same. He will expect himself to be devoid of wrongdoing before he can stop others from wrongdoing.
Scroll 7: Li Ji
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115. 君子能為可貴,不能使人必貴己;能為可信,不能
(卷三十八 孫卿子)
115. A superior person can work on earning respect, but
he cannot expect others to respect him. He can work on
being trustworthy but he cannot expect others to trust
him. He can be worthy of appointment to a post but he
cannot expect the post to be given to him. Therefore, a
superior person is ashamed of not being a man of character
but he is not ashamed of being insulted. He is ashamed
of breaking his promise but he is not ashamed of being
distrusted. He is ashamed of being unskillful but he is not
ashamed of missing the chance to get appointed. In short,
he is not tempted by superficial reputation, or intimidated
by slanders. He is honorable and upright, unwavering in his convictions.
Scroll 38: Sun Qing Zi
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116. 榮辱之責,在乎己,而不在乎人。
(卷四十 韓子)
116. The responsibility for honor and disgrace rests with
nobody but oneself.
Scroll 40: Han Zi
117. 家人。《象》曰:……君子以言有物,而行有恆。(卷一 周易)
117. The book of Xiang Zhuan interprets the oracle of Jia Ren (family members) as: “...A superior person speaks meaningful words and his conduct is uniformly consistent.”
Scroll 1: Zhou Yi
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118. 衣冠中,故朝無奇僻之服;所言義,故下無偽上
子常行也。(卷三十三 晏子)
118. When a leader dresses in a manner that befits his
status, no eccentric attire will be worn by his officials.
When a leader’s words are just, no fabricated reports will be
produced by his subordinates. When a leader is honorable
and fair, no servile official or factionalism will arise in the
civil service. These three points should serve as a guideline
for the leader.
Scroll 33: Yan Zi
119. 故聲無小而不聞,行無隱而不形。玉在山而木草潤,淵生珠而崖不枯。為善積也,安有不聞者乎? (卷三十八 孫卿子)
119. No matter how slight a sound may be, it will still be heard. No matter how carefully a good deed is concealed, it will still be known. When jade is embedded deep in the mountain, the mountain grass and wood will be moistened. When a deep pool produces pearls, the edge around the deep pool will not dry up. If one persists in doing good, how can people not know his good deeds?
Scroll 38: Sun Qing Zi
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120. 帝曰:「夫建大事者,不忌小怨。」
(卷二十一 後漢書一)
120. Emperor Guang Wu of the Han dynasty said: “He who
dreams of great success will not hold a grudge over minor
Scroll 21: Hou Han Shu, Vol. 1
121. 老子曰:「報怨以德。」(卷四十 賈子)
121. Laozi said: “Respond to anger with virtue. Recompense injury with kindness.”
Scroll 40: Jia Zi
144Qunshu Zhiyao 360
子之終也。(卷一 周易)
122. According to the book of Tuan Zhuan, the oracle
of Humility (Qian) —“gets through”—indicates
“progress and success.” In the way of heaven, to send
down its beneficial influences below, where they are
brilliantly displayed. In the way of earth, lying low, to
send its influences upwards and (there) to act. It is the
way of heaven to diminish the full and augment the
humble. It is the way of earth to overthrow the full and
replenish the humble. Spiritual Beings inflict calamity
on the full and bless the humble. It is the way of men
to dislike the full and love the humble. Humility in
a position of honor makes that still more brilliant;
and in a low position its virtuous accomplishment
is unsurpassable. This is the result attained by a superior person through the cultivation of moral character.
Scroll 1: Zhou Yi
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123. 惟德動天,無遠弗屆。滿招損,謙受益,時乃天
道。(卷二 尚書)
123. Only virtuous conducts can touch the heart of heaven
and earth. And people, irrespective of where they live,
will come and pledge their allegiance to the virtuous.
Complacency brings harm; humility brings benefits. This
is the law of nature.
Scroll 2: Shang Shu
(卷一 周易)
124. The book of Xiang Zhuan states that: “A diligent and humble superior person draws admiration and respect from tens of thousands of people to come and pledge their allegiance.”
Scroll 1: Zhou Yi
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125. 德日新,萬邦惟懷;志自滿,九族乃離。
(卷二 尚書)
125. When the virtues of a leader are renewed daily, the
myriad states harbor affection for him. When he is selfsatisfied
and conceited, even his relatives will abandon
Scroll 2: Shang Shu
126. 故《易》曰:「有一道,大足以守天下,中足以守國家,小足以守其身,謙之謂也。」
(卷四十三 說苑)
126. The book of Yi Jing says: “There is a Way which, if adhered to, at best can keep the world at peace; to a lesser degree can safeguard the country; at the least can keep oneself from harm. The Way is—Humility.”
Scroll 43: Shuo Yuan
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127. 若升高,必自下;若陟遐,必自邇。
(卷二 尚書)
127. To climb up a mountain, one must start from the
bottom. To journey afar, one must start from the closest
Scroll 2: Shang Shu
128. 江海所以能為百谷王,以其善下之。
(卷三十四 老子)
128. The reason why the rivers and seas are able to receive the homage and tribute of all the valley streams is that they are lower than all the others. It is thus that they are the kings of them all.
Scroll 34: Lao Zi
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129. 君子常虛其心志,恭其容貌,不以逸群之才加乎
不厭,誨之而不倦。(卷四十六 中論)
129. A superior person is always humble and respectful, and
his behavior is in accordance with propriety. Moreover, he
never puts himself above others despite his outstanding
abilities. He regards others as able and virtuous and sees
himself as a less than capable person. Hence, other people
are never tired of giving him advice or teaching him.
Scroll 46: Zhong Lun
130. 汝惟弗矜,天下莫與汝爭能。汝惟弗伐,天下莫與汝爭功。(卷二 尚書)
130. If you were not conceited, no one in the world would strive to surpass your position. If you were not boastful, no one in the world would strive to surpass your contributions.
Scroll 2: Shang Shu
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131. 夫人有善鮮不自伐,有能者寡不自矜。伐則掩人,
(卷二十六 魏志下)
131. Not many people can stop themselves from bragging
about the good deeds that they have performed, and very
few talented people can stop themselves from becoming
egotistical. A boastful person will neglect the strengths of
others, and an egotistical person will certainly dominate
others. However, he who neglects others will also be
neglected by others, and he who dominates others will also
be dominated by others.
Scroll 26: Wei Zhi, Vol. 2
132. 子曰:「如有周公之才之美,使驕且吝,其餘不足觀也已。」(卷九 論語)
132. Confucius said: “If a person had the talent and administrative ability as splendid as the Duke of Zhou, but then grew to become conceited and miserly, the rest of his good qualities would not be worth a glance.”
Scroll 9: Lun Yu
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者,其唯聖人乎!(卷一 周易)
133. The Book of Yi Jing divinized: “In the oracle Qian, the
dragon seated at the highest position will have cause to
repent.” Confucius interpreted this as being said: “When
a man seeks to climb so high that he loses his place in the
world, he becomes isolated. Nobody from below can reach
him, so in every move he makes, he is bound to make
mistakes, as no one can help him.” ...This foretells a person
whose only ambition is to move ahead, and for that he
discharges any possibility that calls for a retreat. He knows
about existence but he ignores death; he wants success but
cannot accept failure. Only a wise man will understand the
law of advance, retreat, existence and death; yet remain on the right path. Only a wise man can do this.
Scroll 1: Zhou Yi
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Be Discreet
134. 惟聖罔念作狂,惟狂克念作聖。(卷二 尚書)
134. When a sage lost sight of the truth, he became an
unruly person. When an unruly person overcame his
delusions, he became a sage.
Scroll 2: Shang Shu
135. 傳曰:「從善如登,從惡如崩。」
(卷二十七 吳志上)
135. It was said in the book of Guo Yu: “Becoming virtuous is like a struggling uphill but committing vice is like collapsing in a landslide.” [In other words, it is difficult to follow the path of virtue but easy to succumb to vice.]
Scroll 27: Wu Zhi, Vol. 1
Be Discreet
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哉!(卷七 禮記)
136. The book of Qu Li said: “Always, and in everything, let
there be reverence. Be dignified as if one is thinking deeply,
and speak with composure and clarity. This way will put
people at ease.”
Scroll 7: Li Ji
137. 位已高而意益下,官益大而心益小,祿已厚而慎不敢取。(卷四十三 說苑)
137. The higher one goes the more humble he should become. The more important one’s official role becomes the more cautious he should be. And the higher a salary he draws the more he should not be wanting for more.
Scroll 43: Shuo Yuan
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138. 生而貴者驕,生而富者奢。故富貴不以明道自鑒,
而能無為非者寡矣。(卷三十五 文子)
138. It is easy for a person born to a privileged family to
acquire an air of arrogance, and a person born to a rich
family to acquire a taste for extravagance. If the privileged
and the rich do not follow the right way to guard against
arrogance and wastefulness, seldom will they not commit
Scroll 35: Wen Zi
139. 九三:「君子終日乾乾,夕惕若厲,無咎。」何
(卷一 周易)
139. In the oracle of Qian: “A superior person works hard and remains vigilant all day, and in the evening he is still careful and apprehensive as if he is in danger. Hence there is no bad fortune.” What does this mean? Confucius said: “This is a metaphor about how a person advances in virtue and cultivates all the sphere of his duties. His devotion and trustworthiness are the means by which he advances in virtue. His attention to his words and establishing his sincerity are the means by which he excels in his duties. Therefore he occupies a high position without pride, and a low position without anxiety. Thus it is that, being diligent
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and vigilant, and forever careful and apprehensive, he will
be safe from danger even when his position is perilous.”
Scroll 1: Zhou Yi
140. 道也者,不可須臾離也,可離非道也。是故君子戒慎乎其所不睹,恐懼乎其所不聞。莫見乎隱,莫顯乎微,故君子慎其獨也。(卷七 禮記)
140. We cannot for one moment leave the Dao (righteous path). What can be left out is not Dao. A superior person will remain discreet even at places where nobody is around, and he will remain apprehensive at places where nobody can be heard. Beware that the most secretive place is also the easiest place to be found, and the tiniest thing is also the easiest thing to be seen, whenever one’s thoughts are most unguarded. A superior person therefore is most watchful when he is alone by himself.
Scroll 7: Li Ji
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141. 行有四儀: 一曰,志動不忘仁,二曰,智用不忘
響也。(卷三十六 尸子)
141. Thus, the conduct of a superior person bears four
features: He follows through his plans and never forgets to
be kind. He deploys his expertise and never forgets to be
righteous. He works hard and never forgets to be faithful.
When he speaks he never forgets to be truthful. If he can
keep these features all his life, honor will follow him like a
shadow to his form and an echo to his callings.
Scroll 36: Shi Zi
142. 君子口無戲謔之言,言必有防;身無戲謔之行,行必有撿。言必有防,行必有撿,雖妻妾不可得而黷也,雖朋友不可得而狎也。是以不慍怒,而教行于閨門;不諫諭,而風聲化乎鄉黨。傳稱「大人正己而物正」者,蓋此之謂也。(卷四十六 中論)
142. A superior person does not make jokes and his words are in line with propriety. He does not play pranks and his behavior is prudent. If his speech and his behavior are prudent, his wife will not act contemptuously toward him despite their intimate relation, and his friends will not slight him despite their close affiliation. Thus, a superior person’s behavior is sufficient to influence the behavior of his family members without any need for harsh reprimands, and moral social customs will be spread across the land without any need for remonstrations. Thus, in Mencius it was said: “When a sage is upright, all the things around him will follow suit.”
Scroll 46: Zhong Lun
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143. 戒之哉!無多言,多言多敗;無多事,多事多患。
安樂必誡,無行所悔。(卷十 孔子家語)
143. Be warned! Do not talk too much. Much talk incurs
much trouble. Do not be too inquisitive. Much prying will
incur much harm. Stay alert even at a comfortable place
and refrain from doing anything that will cause regrets.
Scroll 10: Kong Zi Jia Yu
144. 子曰:「亂之所生也,則言語為之階。君不密則失臣,臣不密則失身,機事不密則害成。是以君子慎密而不出也。」(卷一 周易)
144. Confucius said: “Chaos is created by indiscreet utterances. When a leader speaks indiscriminately he loses his ministers. If ministers speak indiscriminately they will bring troubles upon themselves. If classified information cannot be kept safe, catastrophes will happen. A superior person therefore is most discreet in keeping confidential matters unrevealed.”
Scroll 1: Zhou Yi
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145. 夫輕諾必寡信,多易必多難。是以聖人猶難之,故
終無難。(卷三十四 老子)
145. Laozi said: “One who makes promises lightly seldom
keeps good faith. One who makes light of many things
will encounter many difficulties. Therefore the sage sees
difficulty even in what seems easy, and so never has any
Scroll 34: Lao Zi
10A sage will always prepare for the worst and therefore no difficulties can get
the better of him.
146. 孔子曰:「益者三樂,損者三樂。樂節禮樂,樂道人之善,樂多賢友,益矣。樂驕樂,樂佚遊,樂宴樂,損矣。」(卷九 論語)
146. Confucius said: “There are three kinds of enjoyment which are beneficial and three kinds of enjoyment which are harmful. The enjoyment of cultivation in music and ritual, the enjoyment of speaking of the goodness of others, and the enjoyment of having many friends of good character are all beneficial. The enjoyment of taking pleasure in arrogance, the enjoyment of aimless idling, and the enjoyment of drinking and feasting are all harmful.”
Scroll 9: Lun Yu
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147. 君子以儉德避難,不可榮以祿。(卷一 周易)
147. A superior person remains steadfast in the virtue of
humility to avoid calamity. He should not take pride in
chasing after fame and fortune.
Scroll 1: Zhou Yi
Making Friends
148. 故君子之接如水,小人之接如醴;君子淡以成,小人甘以壞。(卷七 禮記)
148. The friendship offered by a superior person is plain like water; the friendship offered by a petty person is pleasing like sweet wine. Being friends with a superior person may not be exciting but the interactions are nevertheless beneficial to both sides. Being friends with a petty person may be exciting but may hurt in the end when no more selfish gains are to be made from it.
Scroll 7: Li Ji
Making Friends
174Qunshu Zhiyao 360
149. 故曰:與善人居,如入芝蘭之室,久而不聞其香,
(卷十 孔子家語)
149. Walking in the company of good people is like
walking into a room full of fragrant lilies. After a while we
cannot smell the fragrance as if we have become part of the
fragrance. Walking in the company of unsavory people is
like walking into a shop that sells salted fish. After a while
we cannot smell the salted fish as if we have become part
of the smell. Therefore, a superior person must choose
carefully whom he befriends.
Scroll 10: Kong Zi Jia Yu
150. 孔子曰:「益者三友,損者三友。友直,友諒,友多聞,益矣。友便辟,友善柔,友便佞,損矣。」(卷九 論語)
150. Confucius said: “There are three kinds of friendship which are beneficial and three kinds of friendship which are harmful. Being friends with people who are fair-minded, sincere, and knowledgeable, are beneficial. Being friends with people who are deceptive, unprincipled and smooth talking, are harmful.”
Scroll 9: Lun Yu
Making Friends
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The Art of Learning
151. 學不倦,所以治己也;教不厭,所以治人也。
(卷三十六 尸子)
151. Never tire of learning for it will subdue our bad habits;
never tire of teaching for it will educate and transform
Scroll 36: Shi Zi
152. 君子學以聚之,問以辨之,寬以居之,仁以行之。(卷一 周易)
152. A superior person will study hard so that he can accumulate knowledge and improve his moral standing. He will ask questions to find out about the truth. He is considerate in his dealings with people, and he uses benevolence and compassion to guide his actions.
Scroll 1: Zhou Yi
The Art of Learning
178Qunshu Zhiyao 360
153. 工欲善其事,必先利其器;士欲宣其義,必先讀
德。」(卷四十四 潛夫論)
153. If a craftsman wishes to perfect his skills he must
first sharpen his tools. If a scholar wishes to promote
the teachings of righteous virtues he must first study the
classics written by the sages. The book of Yi Jing said: “A
superior person must remember and learn from the many
paths taken by the forefathers so that he can enrich his own
moral cultivation.”
Scroll 44: Qian Fu Lun
154. 曾子曰:「君子攻其惡,求其過,強其所不能,去私欲,從事於義,可謂學矣。」
(卷三十五 曾子)
154. Zengzi said: “A superior person will exhaust all efforts to correct his own faults. He will examine his own shortcomings, break through his limitations, get rid of his selfish desires, and do what is right in accordance to the righteous principles. This can be said to be true scholarship.”
Scroll 35: Zeng Zi
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180Qunshu Zhiyao 360
155. 子曰:「吾嘗終日不食,終夜不寢,以思,無益,
不如學也。」(卷九 論語)
155. Confucius said: “I have tried to spend a whole day
without eating and a whole night without sleeping in order
to meditate but I got nothing out of it. I might just as well
study the classics written by the sages.”
Scroll 9: Lun Yu
156. 見善,必以自存也;見不善,必以自省也。故非我而當者,吾師也;是我而當者,吾友也;諂諛我者,吾賊也。(卷三十八 孫卿子)
156. I reflect upon the good deeds done by others and I will learn from them. I will also reflect upon the bad deeds done by others and warn myself against them. People who give me direct and accurate criticisms are my teachers. People who give me their support in a reasonable manner are my friends. People who fawn over me are the ones who will hurt me.
Scroll 38: Sun Qing Zi
The Art of Learning
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157. 合抱之木,生於毫末;九層之臺,起於累土;千
里之行,始於足下。(卷三十四 老子)
157. A tree you can barely get your arms around grows
from a tiny shoot. A nine-story tower begins as a heap of
earth. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single
Scroll 34: Lao Zi
158. 故不積跬步,無以至千里;不積小流,無以成河海。(卷三十八 孫卿子)
158.Without taking continuous steps, a journey of a thousand miles cannot be done. Without gathering water from small streams, no rivers or oceans can be formed.
Scroll 38: Sun Qing Zi
184Qunshu Zhiyao 360
159. 九三:不恆其德,或承之羞。不恆其德,無所容
也。(卷一 周易)
159. In the oracle of Heng, this is revealed: He who does
not continuously maintain his virtues may face disgrace.
He who does not continuously maintain his virtues will
not be allowed by society to establish himself.
Scroll 1: Zhou Yi

186Qunshu Zhiyao 360
Engaging the Principles
160. 孔子曰:「凡為天下國家者,有九經焉,曰:修身
也。」(卷十 孔子家語)
160. Confucius said: “In order for any ruler who wants to govern a country successfully, he must attend to the nine cardinal rules. These are:
1. Cultivating a ruler’s personal conduct.
2. Honoring worthy individuals.
3. Cherishing his kindred duties.
4. Respecting high ministers of the state.
5. Showing empathy to the whole body of public officials.
6. Loving the people as if they were his children.
7. Soliciting the services of different craftsmen and professionals.
8. Showing kindness to people from far countries.
9. Taking interest in the welfare of the other feudal lords.
When the ruler pays attention to the cultivation of his personal conduct, he will be able to build his virtuous character unaffected by fame and wealth. When the ruler
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honors worthy individuals, he will not be deceived by
devious officials. When the ruler cherishes affection for his
kindred, there will be no disaffection among the members
of his family. When the ruler shows respect to the high
ministers of the state, he will not be prone to making
mistakes. When the ruler shows empathy to the whole
body of public officials, there will be a strong spirit of
loyalty among the officials. When the ruler loves the
people as if they were his children, the mass of the people
will exert themselves for the good of the state. When the
ruler is able to entice different craftsmen and professionals
to live in the state, their presence will increase wealth and
revenue for the state. When the ruler shows kindness to the
people from far countries, they will be brought to pledge
their allegiance to him from all quarters. When the ruler
takes interest in the condition and welfare of the lords of
the land, he will inspire awe and respect for his authority
throughout the whole world.”
Duke Ai asked Confucius: “So how can this be achieved?”
Confucius said: “By attending to sincerity and to the
propriety and dignity of his attire, and in every word and act permitting nothing which is contrary to good taste and decency: this is how the ruler cultivates his personal conduct. By banishing all flatterers and keeping away from the temptations of women, loathing possession of material goods but valuing moral qualities in people: this is how the ruler gives honor to worthy individuals. By raising family members to high places of honor and bestowing ample emoluments that corresponds to their abilities, sympathizing with their tastes and opinions: this is how the ruler inspires love among members of his family. By conferring high government positions and giving them important duties: this is how the ruler shows his respect to the high ministers of the state. By bestowing a liberal scale of pay to the faithful and trustworthy: this is how the ruler gives encouragement to capable officials. By employing
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them only at the proper times, and making all taxes as little
as possible: this is how the ruler shows his love for his people.
By ordering daily inspection and monthly examination,
rewarding each according to the degree of his workmanship:
this is how the ruler is able to acquire the services of the
artisan class. By welcoming people from all over the world,
commending what is good in them and making allowance
for the weak: this is how the ruler shows kindness to
strangers from far countries. By restoring broken lines of
succession and reviving subjugated states, putting down
anarchy and disorder wherever they are found, and giving
support to the weak against the strong. Fixing specific time
periods for the attendance of diplomatic envoys at court,
lading them with abundant presents when they leave while
exacting little from them in the way of contribution when
they come: this is how the ruler takes interest in the welfare
of the lords of the land. For everyone who is called to the
government of nations, these are the nine cardinal bearings
to be attended to, and the key by which they can be carried
out, is through ‘Sincerity’.”
Scroll 10: Kong Zi Jia Yu
161. 民惟邦本,本固邦寧。(卷二 尚書)
161. People constitute the foundation of a nation. When the foundation is stable, the nation will become peaceful and harmonious.
Scroll 2: Shang Shu
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162. 文武之政,布在方策。其人存,則其政舉;其人
道,修道以仁。(卷十 孔子家語)
162. The governing principles of King Wen and King Wu
are recorded in the classics. Rulers such as them enable a
benevolent government to be formed. Without rulers like
them, benevolent governments will cease to exist. Hence,
the key to forming a good government is in having good
people to run the government, and good people will
be drawn to leaders who are able and virtuous, whose
character is in line with the principles of morality and
ethics grounded in benevolence.
Scroll 10: Kong Zi Jia Yu
163. 昔者成王,幼在繈褓之中,召公為大保,周公為太傅,太公為太師。保保其身體;傅傅之德義;師導之教訓:此三公職也。於是為置三少,少保少傅少師,是與太子宴者也。故乃孩提有識,三公三少,明孝仁禮義,以導習之,逐去邪人,不使見惡行。於是皆選天下之端士,孝悌博聞有道術者,以衛翼之,使與太子居處出入。故太子乃生而見正事,聞正言,行正道,左右前後皆正人。……孔子曰:「少成若天性,習貫如自然。」(卷十六 漢書四)
163. When King Cheng of Zhou dynasty was an infant, Zhao Gong was the crown prince’s Tai-bao, whose duty was to safeguard the physical wellness of the crown prince. Zhou Gong, was his Tai-fu, whose duty was to guide the crown prince with moral and ethical codes of conduct. And Tai Gong, who was his Tai-shi, was responsible for inspiring the crown prince with the wisdom of the sages.11
11 Tai-Most senior. Bao-Guardian. Fu-Instructor. Shi-Teacher.
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In addition to the Three Venerated Elders (San-gong) and
their duties, another Three Supporting Elders (San-shao),
namely—Shao-bao, Shao-fu and Shao-shi were established
to accompany the crown prince in his learning on a
daily basis. Thus, ever since the young prince could
comprehend teachings, the three venerated elders and
the three supporting elders had imparted lessons on the
moral principles of filial piety, benevolence, propriety
and righteousness to the crown prince, guiding him
to implement these principles. Moreover, all deviant
characters were banished from the vicinity of the prince
so that he would not be corrupted by deviant behavior.
Only individuals who were filial and respectful of kinship,
knowledgeable and virtuous were chosen to live with the
prince on a daily basis. Therefore, from the moment that
the crown prince was born, all that he saw was proper, all
that he heard was proper, and all that he practiced was
proper because all the people by his side were righteous
gentlemen. …Confucius said: “Lessons learned from a young age will become so natural to an individual that they become natural habits.”
Scroll 16: Han Shu, Vol. 4
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164. 國無賢佐俊士,而能以成功立名、安危繼絕者,
(卷四十三 說苑)
164. A country that can succeed in establishing a good
reputation and turn crisis into peace without resorting
to the help from the able and virtuous is something quite
unheard of. Likewise, a country need not be big but the
government must have the people’s trust. The number of
government officials need not be high but the government
must have able and virtuous people to assist in its
administration. People will support a government that
is trustworthy, and able people will be drawn to a leader
flanked by able and virtuous officials.
Scroll 43: Shuo Yuan
165. 公問曰:「敢問人道誰為大?」孔子對曰:「夫人道政為大。夫政者正也。君為正,則百姓從而正矣。」……公曰:「敢問為政如之何?」孔子對曰:「夫婦別,父子親,君臣信。三者正,則庶物從之矣。」(卷十 孔子家語)
165. Duke Ai asked Confucius: “What is the most important element in humanity?” Confucius said: “In the way of humanity, Zheng, proper governing is most important, and Zheng is ‘uprightness’. When rulers are upright, the populace will follow and become the same.” ...Duke Ai pressed further: “May I ask how should one govern?” Confucius replied: “Husband and wife play different roles; parents and children are affectionate toward each other; superiors and subordinates show trust toward one another. When these three relationships are properly in place, all other relationships will work out amicably.”
Scroll 10: Kong Zi Jia Yu
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166. 天地為大矣,不誠則不能化萬物;聖人為智矣,
也。(卷三十八 孫卿子)
166. Heaven and earth may be enormous but without
sincerity they will not be able to give life to thousands of
things. Sages may be intelligent but without sincerity they
will not be able to transform thousands of people with
their teachings. Relationship between parents and children
may be intimate but without sincerity they will drift apart.
Kings are considered the noblest by status but without
sincerity they will not be respected. Hence, “Sincerity” is
that which a superior person will honor, and it is also the
foundation of a good government.
Scroll 38: Sun Qing Zi
167. 子路曰:「衛君待子而為政,子將奚先?」子曰:「必也,正名乎!名不正,則言不順;言不順,則事不成;事不成,則禮樂不興;禮樂不興,則刑罰不中;刑罰不中,則民無所措手足。」(卷九 論語)
167. Zilu asked Confucius: “If the ruler of Wei is anticipating your assistance in the administration of his state, what will be your top priority?” Confucius said: “What is necessary is to define terms more precisely. If terms are not precise, then what is commanded cannot be accurately obeyed. If what is commanded cannot be accurately obeyed, work cannot be accomplished. If work cannot be accomplished, propriety and music will not flourish. If propriety and music do not flourish, punishments will not be properly applied. If punishments are not properly applied, then people will have no standard to judge their actions.”
Scroll 9: Lun Yu
Engaging the Principles
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下定矣。(卷一 周易)
168. The book of Tuan Zhuan said: “In the oracle named
‘family members’: A woman has her correct place on the
inside, a man has his correct place on the outside. This is
the great equitable way of heaven and earth. Each family is
headed by ‘leaders’—a term referring to the father and the
mother—who are serious and principled. When parents
fulfill their duties as parents; when children fulfill their
duties as children; when elder brothers fulfill their duties
as elder brothers; when younger brothers fulfill their duties
as younger brothers; when a husband fulfills his duties
as a husband; when a wife fulfills her duties as a wife,
then the family will live in harmony. When all families
live in harmony, the whole world will become stable and harmonious."
Scroll 1: Zhou Yi
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169. 夫富民者,以農桑為本,以游業為末;百工者,
崩。(卷四十四 潛夫論)
169. To increase wealth for the people, first and foremost
base the economy on farming and textile production above
miscellaneous economic activities. To utilize the skills of
craftsmen properly, place the priority on practical projects
above decorative works. In business transactions, place
proper distribution of goods to the populace above selling
exotic items. People will become wealthier if these three
principles are followed. But if the least important became the most important, people will become poorer, and when they become poorer they will forsake proper behavior as
opposed to what they would do if they were richer. Likewise, in the field of education, imparting lessons that enable people to become moral individuals is more important than training people to become artful debaters. In the use of language, being truthful and sensible is more important than the ability to use flowery and cunning descriptions. For a learned individual, being filial and respectful toward his parents and elders is more important than entertaining his friends. In the practice of filial piety, what is important is to perform one’s duties with utmost reverence rather than lavishly displaying pomp and ceremony. For a subordinate, being loyal to his superior is more important than being a flatterer. If these five principles are followed, the practice of benevolence and righteousness will flourish. Abandoning what is important and pursuing what is less important will lead to the decline of morality in society.
Scroll 44: Qian Fu Lun
Engaging the Principles
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170. 夫仁義禮制者,治之本也;法令刑罰者,治之末
(卷五十 袁子正書)
170. The standards of benevolence, righteousness, and
propriety form the roots of the administration. The
standards of law and punishment form the offshoots of
an administration. Without the roots, a nation cannot
be established. Without the offshoots a nation cannot be
developed. To engage propriety and righteous principles
to guide a nation, the administration must first implement
benevolent rule and lead the people to nurture respects and
humility, making them akin to proper conducts without
being aware that this is happening.
Scroll 50: Yuan Zi Zheng Shu
171. 孔子曰:「行己有六本焉,然後為君子。立身有義矣,而孝為本;喪紀有禮矣,而哀為本;戰陣有列矣,而勇為本;治政有理矣,而農為本;居國有道矣,而嗣為本;生財有時矣,而力為本。置本不固,無務豐末;親戚不悅,無務外交;事不終始,無務多業;反本修迹,君子之道也。」(卷十 孔子家語)
171. Confucius said: “There are six fundamental principles that a person must be aware of before he is qualified as a superior person. They are: The basis of benevolence and righteousness is filial piety. The basis of funeral rites and rituals is the spirit of mournfulness. The basis of a brilliant military strategy is bravery. The basis of a sensible government policy is agricultural production. The basis of national peace and stability is the selection of successors. The basis of creating wealth at opportune times is through hard work. If all these bases are not strong, he should not
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pursue perfection in non-essential matters. If he cannot
associate harmoniously with his relatives, he should not
strive to extend friendship to others. If he cannot complete
his tasks, he should not accept additional tasks. In these
situations, he should return to the basics and begin to
work from the fundamentals. These are the approach and
principles adopted by a superior person.”
Scroll 10: Kong Zi Jia Yu
172. 諸葛亮之為相國也,撫百姓,示義軌,約官職,從權制,開誠心,布公道。盡忠益時者,雖讎必賞;犯法怠慢者,雖親必罰;服罪輸情者,雖重必釋;遊辭巧飾者,雖輕必戮。善無微而不賞,惡無纖而不貶。庶事精練,物理其本,循名責實,虛偽不齒。終於邦域之內,咸畏而愛之。刑政雖峻,而無怨者,以其用心平,而勸戒明也。可謂識治之良才,管蕭之亞匹矣。(卷二十七 蜀志)
172. When Zhuge Liang became the prime minister of the Kingdom of Shu, he worked hard to reassure the people. He imparted to them the principles of propriety and righteousness; he ran a lean government which adjusted its policies as necessary to reflect changing circumstances; he was sincere and fair in making decisions. If a political adversary was loyal and beneficial to the country, premier Zhuge would reward him. If a trusted aide broke the law
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and neglected his duty, he would punish him. Those who
repented their errors would be sentenced less severely
even though their offenses were serious. But those who
tried to talk their way out of their offenses were sentenced
more severely even though their offenses were slight.
No matter how small a contribution might be he would
give recognition to those who deserved it; no matter how
small an offense might be he would impose punishment
on the offenders. He was a master in administration, as
he would resolve problems at the root, with proper and
recognized procedures that gave no allowance to sham
and hypocrisy. In the end, all the people in Shu (kingdom)
venerated premier Zhuge. Although the laws imposed by
him were strict, the people did not utter any grievances
because he was fair and honorable, as the parameters of
rewards and prohibitions were clearly defined. Zhuge Liang was truly a remarkable politician and administrator, comparable to the caliber of Guan Zhong and Xiao He-r.12
Scroll 27: Shu Zhi
12Guan Zhong was the prime minister of Qi (state), who centralized power and divided the state into different villages, each carrying out a specific trade. Instead of relying on the traditional aristocracy for manpower, he applied levies to the village units directly. He also developed a better method for choosing talent to be governors. Under Guan Zhong, Qi shifted administrative responsibility from hereditary aristocrats to professional bureaucrats. Xiao He-r, was a renowned statesman and tactician who assisted Liu Bang in finding the Han dynasty. He re-established the laws and statutes and advocated “inaction” in management. He held the office of prime minister until his death in 193BC.
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173. 子曰:「夫孝,德之本也,教之所由生也。」
(卷九 孝經)
173. Confucius said: “Filial piety is the foundation of all
virtues, and the source of all teachings.”
Scroll 9: Xiao Jing
174. 君子務本,本立而道生。孝悌也者,其仁之本與!(卷九 論語)
174. A superior person concerns himself with the fundamentals. Once the fundamentals are established, virtues will emerge. Is not being filial to parents, and loving toward brothers and sisters fundamental to the enactment of benevolence?
Scroll 9: Lun Yu
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175. 子曰:「君子之事親孝,故忠可移於君;事兄
行成於內,而名立於後世矣。」(卷九 孝經)
175. Confucius said: “The faithfulness that a superior
person has shown in serving his parents can be applied to
serving his leader; the reverence that he holds in serving
his elder siblings can be applied to serving his superior;
the well-regulated operation of his family can be applied
to good government in any official position. Therefore,
when a person is accustomed to filial and fraternal duties
at home, he can venture to start a career and establish his
name with future generations.”
Scroll 9: Xiao Jing
176. 孔子曰:「事親孝,故忠可移於君。」是以求忠臣,必於孝子之門。(卷二十二 後漢書二)
176. Confucius said: “The filial piety with which a man serves his parents may be transferred as loyalty to the ruler.” Thus, in order to find a loyal subordinate one only needs to look from families with filial children.
Scroll 22: Hou Han Shu, Vol. 2
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177. 夫知為人子者,然後可以為人父;知為人臣者,
(卷十 孔子家語)
177. Learn how to be a good son and one will know how to
be a good father. Learn how to be a good subordinate and
one will know how to be a good leader. Learn how to serve
people properly and one will know how to appoint people
to the appropriate tasks.
Scroll 10: Kong Zi Jia Yu
178. 曾子曰:「慎終追遠,民德歸厚。」
(卷九 論語)
178. Zengzi said: “When the people are careful about observing all final rites and rituals for their parents, and continue this reverence even after the ancestors and parents are long gone, the virtue of the people will return to its simple kindness.”
Scroll 9: Lun Yu
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179. 水泉深,則魚鱉歸之;樹木盛,則飛鳥歸之;庶
務歸之者,而務其所歸。(卷三十九 呂氏春秋)
179. A deep spring will attract fish and turtles to dwell
beneath its waters; a thick forest will attract birds to flock
within it; a rich grassland will attract animals to rest upon
it; a benevolent ruler will attract virtuous people from all
over to serve with him. Hence, a sage-king need not beg
others to serve him. Instead, he will work hard in creating
conditions that will attract good people toward him.
Scroll 39: Lü Shi Chun Qiu
180. 夫為政者,莫善於清其吏也。
(卷四十七 劉廙政論)
180. In the matter of governing, nothing is better than making an effort to run a bureaucracy that has integrity.
Scroll 47: Liu Yi Zheng Lun
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181. 子貢問政。子曰:「足食,足兵,民信之矣。」
(卷九 論語)
181. Zigong asked about government. Confucius said:
“Provide sufficient food, sufficient military equipment,
and gain the confidence of the people.” Zigong said: “If
it cannot be helped, and one of these must be dispensed
with, which of the three should we forgo first?” “Military
equipment,” said Confucius. Zigong asked again: “If it
cannot be helped, and one of the remaining two must
be dispensed with, which one of them should we forgo?”
Confucius answered: “Part with the food. From ancient
times, death has come to all men, but if people have no
faith in their rulers, there is no standing for the state.”
Scroll 9: Lun Yu
182. 我有三寶,持而保之。一曰慈,二曰儉,三曰不敢為天下先。(卷三十四 老子)
182. Laozi said: “I have three precious things that I prize and hold fast. The first is compassion; the second is frugality; the third is not presuming to be at the head of the world.”
Scroll 34: Lao Zi
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Good Judge of Character
183. 凡論人,通則觀其所禮,貴則觀其所進,富則觀
(卷三十九 呂氏春秋)
183. In judging the character of a person, use the following
Eight Observations:
1. When he is prosperous, observe to whom he pays
2. When he is prominent and in power, observe whom he
recommends or promotes.
3. When he is wealthy, observe whom he employs.
4. When he is trusted by the superior, observe whether his
deeds fulfill his words.
5. When in recess, observe whether his recreational
activities are in accordance with righteousness.
6. When he is serving under a superior, observe if his conversations correspond with Dao (the righteous path).
7. When he is in poverty and distress, observe whether he will accept ill-gotten gains.
8. When he is in a lowly position, observe whether he will insist on keeping his moral convictions.
And Six Tests:
1. Bring him pleasures to test whether he can maintain his discipline.
2. Make him happy to test whether he will become evil.
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222Qunshu Zhiyao 360
3. Make him angry to test whether he is capable of
controlling his anger.
4. Bring him fear to test whether he can maintain his
disposition and integrity.
5. Make him feel sorrow to test his compassion and kindheartedness.
6. Put him in distress to test whether he can maintain a
strong will.
The Eight Observations and Six Tests listed above are the
methods used by the sage-kings to assess the character
of people. In addition, we can observe the way a person
interacts with his Six Close Relatives and Four Relations
to further our assessment. The term “Six Close Relatives”
refers to the father, mother, elder brother, younger brother,
wife and children. The term “Four Relations” refers to
friends, acquaintances, neighbors and trusted aides.
Observe a person’s interactions with his six close relatives
and the four relations from within, and assess a person’s
interactions with the outside world using the Eight Observations and the Six Tests. Whether he is truthful or fake, greedy or lowly, kind or evil, all will be revealed. This was the way the sage-king used to identify capable people.
Scroll 39: Lü Shi Chun Qiu
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224Qunshu Zhiyao 360
184. 景公問求賢。晏子對曰:「通則視其所舉,窮則
(卷三十三 晏子)
184. Duke Jing asked Yanzi about the proper way to acquire
virtuous and able people to serve under his lordship. Yanzi
said: “If that person is prominent and prosperous, look at
the people he employs or recommends. If that person is a
non-achiever who is in despair, look at the things that he
is unwilling to do. If that person is rich, check whether he
would donate his wealth. If that person is destitute, check
whether he would refuse to accept ill-gotten gains. The
most virtuous and able one may be reluctant to take up
a post, but once he does, he is willing to step down when
necessary. Next is the one willing to take up a post but is
equally willing to step down when necessary. The worst type is the one who is willing to take up a post but refuses to quit regardless of circumstances. These considerations
should be enough to identify virtuous and able people.”
Scroll 33: Yan Zi
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185. 居視其所親,富視其所與,達視其所舉,窮視其
(卷十一 史記上)
185. From the following five observations we can determine
whether a person is the right candidate for the post of prime
minister. 1. Observe whom he likes to be with when he is
not in office. 2. Observe whom he befriends, or to whom
he grants offerings, when he is rich. 3. Observe whom he
nominates when he is prominent. 4. Observe the things
that he refuses to do when he is destitute. 5. Observe the
things that he refuses to accept when he is poor.
Scroll 11: Shi Ji, Vol. 1
186. 一曰,微察無微察二字問之以言,觀其辭。二曰,窮之以辭,以觀其變。三曰,與之間諜,以觀其誠。四曰,明白顯問,以觀其德。五曰,使之以財,以觀其貪貪作廉;六曰,試之以色,以觀其貞;七曰,告之以難,觀其勇;八曰,醉之以酒,以觀其態。八徵皆備,則賢不肖別矣。(卷三十一 六韜)
186. The military strategic book of Liu Tao sets out eight ways to investigate a good general, as it deemed the selection of the generals to be very important.
1. Ask him questions and observe whether his answers are clear and precise.
2. Then press him further to observe his response to different situations.
3. Commission somebody to conspire secretly with him to test his loyalty.
4. Ask him in no uncertain terms to find out about his
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228Qunshu Zhiyao 360
virtuous standing.
5. Put him in charge of money and properties to test his
6. Lure him with lust to test his ability to restrain himself.
7. Expose him to danger to test his bravery.
8. Make him drunk and observe his behavior.
The difference between an exemplary man and an unworthy
man will not be hard to tell once all the eight methods have
been deployed and the results are found.
Scroll 31: Liu Tao
187. 故聽言不如觀事,觀事不如觀行。聽言必審其本,觀事必挍其實,觀行必考其跡。參三者而詳之,近少失矣。(卷四十九 傅子)
187. Rather than listening to hearsay, it is better to observe the events. Rather than observing the events, it is better to observe the actors. When listening to hearsay, one must investigate the sources of the hearsay and identify their motives. When observing events, one must verify their authenticity. When observing the actors, one must investigate their stories thoroughly. A careful analysis of the information gathered from these three aspects can help to minimize the occurrence of mistakes.
Scroll 49: Fu Zi
Good Judge of Character
230Qunshu Zhiyao 360
188. 昔人知居上取士之難,故虛心而下聽;知在下相
接之易,故因人以致人。(卷四十九 傅子)
188. The ancients knew that for a leader residing in high
position to recruit ideal candidates was not an easy task,
so the leader would humbly seek the recommendations of
his subordinates to look for the right candidates. Being in
lower positions, the subordinates are able to mingle with
people easily, so it is ideal to use them to recommend the
right candidates for government positions.
Scroll 49: Fu Zi
(卷三十 晉書下)
189. Our personal biases may impede us from recognizing the abilities of another. Hearsay or rumor may influence how people see each other. For those close to us, we may have judged them unfairly because of our personal feelings of love or hatred for them. For those who are strangers to us, personal relations may influence our judgment and may destroy standard procedures for recruiting the best minds to the government.
Scroll 30: Jin Shu, Vol. 2
Good Judge of Character
232Qunshu Zhiyao 360
(卷九 論語)
190. Confucius said: “It is easy to serve a superior person
but difficult to please him. If you do not accord with the
principles of virtue in attempting to please him, he will not
be pleased. But when it comes to employing the services of
others, a superior person only assigns people tasks they are
fit to manage. On the other hand, it is easy to please a petty
person but difficult to serve him. Even if you do not accord
with the principles of virtue in pleasing him, he will still
be pleased. But when it comes to employing the service
of others, a petty person demands others be able to handle
Scroll 9: Lun Yu
(卷九 論語)
191. Confucius said: “Can we allow an offensive person to serve a leader? Before he gets a promotion and the remuneration that goes with it, he worries about not getting it. Once he has it, he worries about losing it. When he worries about losing it, there is nothing which he will not do.”
Scroll 9: Lun Yu
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234Qunshu Zhiyao 360
Appointing Officials
(卷九 論語)
192. Duke Ai asked Confucius: “What should be done so
that people will obey the government?” Confucius said:
“Promote the upright men and set them above the crooked,
and people will submit. Promote the crooked men and set
them above the upright, and people will not submit.”
Scroll 9: Lun Yu
(卷二十二 後漢書二)
193. The most important post in the central government is that of a cabinet minister (shang shu). Therefore, the selection of a cabinet minister should not be taken lightly. The current ministers are often promoted from lower-ranked deputies (lang guan). Even though these deputies are proficient in rhetoric, mastery of such subjects is only considered as minor intelligence. Most of them actually do not possess the ability to handle important tasks. Hence, it is more appropriate to choose reputable former state officials to take on the post of a minister. While their response may be slower, and even inadequate at times, they are loyal to the country and thorough in their undertakings.
Scroll 22: Hou Han Shu, Vol. 2
Appointing Officials
236Qunshu Zhiyao 360
言無庸,竭行有成。(卷八 周書)
194. If oratorical skills become the standard in choosing
qualified people, people will work on their oratorical skills.
If virtuous conducts become the standard in choosing
qualified people, people will work on perfecting their
virtue. Being cunning in talking is of little use, but to exert
all efforts on good causes will guarantee good results.
Scroll 8: Zhou Shu
195.故明王之任人,諂諛不邇乎左右,阿黨不治乎本朝;任人之長,不強其短;任人之工,不強其拙。此任人之大略也。(卷三十三 晏子)
195. A good leader will never put flatterers by his side or allow any clique with a private agenda to serve in the government. He uses people’s strengths and does not pressure them to work beyond their abilities. He uses their expertise and does not force them to undertake tasks with which they are unfamiliar. These are general principles to bear in mind when working with the staffs.
Scroll 33: Yan Zi
Appointing Officials
238Qunshu Zhiyao 360
禮,退之不可以權辱。(卷四十八 典語)
196. Be assured when selecting senior ministers. Once
appointed, trust them to do the job. Appoint them to a post
with full honor and grant them dignity when they have to
be dismissed.
Scroll 48: Dian Yu
(卷四十七 劉廙政論)
197. If a ruler knows he must put forward a policy of austerity but does not know he must increase the remuneration for his staff at the same time, the practice of cheating and bribery will ensue. When he knows he must increase the remuneration for his staffs but does not know he must reduce the number of staffs, the government will soon run out of money. When he knows he must reduce the number of staffs but does not motivate the remaining staffs to optimize their efforts, the increased workload will make the shortage of staffs obvious.
Scroll 47: Liu Yi Zheng Lun
Appointing Officials
240Qunshu Zhiyao 360
(卷二十五 魏志上)
198. Abolish useless posts to reduce and save on unnecessary
official salaries. Stop all expenses paid to nonachievers,
merge departments, and dismiss redundant
officers. There must be a post for every member of the
staff, and for every staff member with job responsibilities a
salary must be paid which will replace their earnings from
farming. This was a principle regularly applied in ancient
times, but the principle should still be applicable to this
day also.
Scroll 25: Wei Zhi, Vol. 1
199.故德厚而位卑者,謂之過;德薄而位尊者,謂之失。寧過於君子,而無失於小人。過於君子,其為怨淺矣;失於小人,其為禍深矣。(卷三十二 管子)
199. A virtuous man placed in an insignificant post is considered to be a mistake made by the ruler. An unvirtuous man placed in a senior post is considered to be a misjudgment made by a ruler. One would rather have wronged a superior person than to have employed a petty person, for a superior person will not harbor strong resentments but a petty person with power will cause far-reaching disasters.
Scroll 32: Guan Zi
Appointing Officials
242Qunshu Zhiyao 360
200. 使賢者為之,則與不肖者規之;使智者慮之,則
成功,得乎哉!(卷三十八 孫卿子)
200. When a leader appoints a good candidate to a
government post, he allows unworthy people to impose
restrictions on this person. When he appoints a wise person
to devise policies, he allows unwise people to appraise
this person. When he lets an ethical person implement
government policies, he allows malicious people to cast
doubts on this person. How can a leader achieve success if
he condones these ironies?
Scroll 38: Sun Qing Zi
Paramount Impartiality
201.大道之行也,天下為公。選賢與能。故人不獨親其親,不獨子其子,使老有所終,幼有所長,鰥寡孤獨廢疾者,皆有所養。是故謀閉而不興,盜竊亂賊而不作。是謂大同。(卷七 禮記)
201. When the perfect order prevails, the world is like a home shared by all. Virtuous and able men are elected to serve the public. All men love and respect their own parents and children, as well as the parents and children of others. There is caring for the old, nourishment and education for the children, and means of support for widows and widowers, orphans, lonely people, as well as for the disabled and sick. Intrigues and conniving for ill gain are unknown, and villains such as thieves and robbers do not exist. These are the characteristics of an ideal world, the commonwealth state.
Scroll 7: Li Ji
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244Qunshu Zhiyao 360
(卷三十一 六韜)
202. The world is not a world for one but for all. He who
shares benefits with the world will earn the support of the
world. He who monopolizes benefits for himself will lose
the world.
Scroll 31: Liu Tao
203.夫能通天下之志者,莫大乎至公。能行至公者,莫要乎無忌心。(卷四十九 傅子)
203. One needs to be impartial to understand the will of the people. And to be totally impartial, one needs to have no jealousy.
Scroll 49: Fu Zi
Paramount Impartiality
246Qunshu Zhiyao 360
(卷三十八 孫卿子)
204. A leader who loves his people will be able to make
them feel safe and at peace. If he enjoys learning from the
sages, he will be able to bring prosperity to the country.
Without these, his own safety as well as that of the country
will be placed in peril. When a ruler clearly understands
the responsibilities of his job and is able to distinguish the
relative degrees of urgency in each of his tasks, and chooses
virtuous and able people to run the government in an
orderly way, righteousness will flourish and private sidedeals
will cease. Subsequently, virtuous and able people will
be given important posts while flatterers will be restrained.
Those who seek personal benefits will be dismissed, and
those who are incorruptible will be entrusted with greater responsibilities.
Scroll 38: Sun Qing Zi
Paramount Impartiality
248Qunshu Zhiyao 360
(卷十七 漢書五)
205. I, (Minister Dong Zhongshu) have heard that when
Emperor Yao was entrusted to be the emperor, he had taken
upon himself all the world’s concerns as his own concerns.
He did not rejoice because he had become the emperor.
Scroll 17: Han Shu, Vol. 5
206.賈曰:「天下安,注意相;天下危,注意將。將相和,則士豫附;士豫附,天下雖有變,則權不分。」(卷十六 漢書四)
206. The notable politician, thinker and Confucian scholar, Lu Jia, who lived during the Han dynasty, commented that: “When the world is at peace, pay attention to the prime minister. When the world is in crisis or at war, pay attention to the general. When the prime minister and the general can work together in harmony, virtuous people will come around and pledge their allegiance. When this happens, power will not be divided even when the world is undergoing change.”
Scroll 16: Han Shu, Vol. 4
Paramount Impartiality
250Qunshu Zhiyao 360
公家之急,而後私讎也。(卷十二 史記下)
207. In my opinion, the powerful state of Qin has not
attacked our state (of Zhao) because both of us are here.
Now if we, the two tigers, have conflicts and fight among
ourselves, we will no longer be able to work side by side.
The reason why I am doing this is because I am putting the
country’s safety before my personal feelings.”13
Scroll 12: Shi Ji, Vol. 2
13Background story:
The “I” refers to Lin Xiangru, a senior minister in the state of Zhao during
the Warring States period. He and General Lian Po served together in the
government, and the metaphor of the “two tigers” refers to Lin and Lian.
Because Minister Lin had been given credit for returning the precious Heshi
jade to the Duke of Zhao, he was promoted to a more senior post than General
Lian. Lian was very upset over this promotion and he encouraged his people to
smear Lin’s reputation. However, Lin had avoided confronting Lian by giving
the excuse that Lin was sick and therefore unable to confront Lian. The quote
was based on Lin’s conversation with Lin’s closest aides when the latter asked
why he would not retaliate. When Lian Po came to know about this later, he
was deeply ashamed. He took off his shirt and tied a bramble branch on his
back and went to Lin’s house to ask for forgiveness. The two finally became
very good friends ready to serve the country and die for each other.
Teach and Transform
208.子曰:「性相近也,習相遠也。」(卷九 論語)
208. Confucius said: “People by nature were born good and pure, but bad habits cause them to lose touch with their natural goodness.”
Scroll 9: Lun Yu
Teach and Transform
252Qunshu Zhiyao 360
所貪,故廉恥存。(卷四十九 傅子)
209. Ancient rulers knew that although people prefer
decency and honor virtue, people are equally prone
to greediness and profiteering. Therefore, they drew
up policies that not only encouraged people to uphold
virtues, but also discouraged them from acting out of
greed. When virtue is honored, propriety and courtesy will
flourish. When greediness is discouraged, integrity will be
Scroll 49: Fu Zi
210.治民之道,務篤於教也。(卷四十二 鹽鐵論)
210. The best way to govern people is to pay undivided attention to education.
Scroll 42: Yan Tie Lun
Teach and Transform
254Qunshu Zhiyao 360
211.上為下效,然後謂之教。(卷四十五 崔寔政論)
211. Education is “Whatever people in higher positions do
will set an example for those beneath to follow.”
Scroll 45: Cui Shi Zheng Lun
212.古之仁人,推所好以訓天下,而民莫不尚德;推所惡以誡天下,而民莫不知恥。(卷四十九 傅子)
212. Benevolent people of the past exemplified virtues to educate the populace and rarely would the populace not be moved by their deeds and learned to esteem the same virtues. They also let the populace know about the behaviors that they detested and so rarely would the populace be ignorant of what shamefulness is about.
Scroll 49: Fu Zi
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眾,而親仁。行有餘力則以學文。」(卷九 論語)
213. Confucius said: “A good student is dutiful to the
parents at home, and respects elders and superiors
while away from home. He is cautious in doing things,
trustworthy, loving all equally, and close to wise and
virtuous people. In addition, he needs to further study
the literatures passed down from the ancient sages and
learned scholars.”
Scroll 9: Lun Yu
214.先王見教之可以化民也,是故先之以博愛,而民莫遺其親;陳之以德義,而民興行;先之以敬讓,而民不爭;道之以禮樂,而民和睦;示之以好惡,而民知禁。(卷九 孝經)
214. The ancient sage-kings on seeing how education
could transform the people, would lead by example to implement universal love. When a king’s conduct made an impact on the public, no one would abandon their relatives. Furthermore, the kings promoted benevolent, righteous and moral values. When the people were inspired by these principles, they began carrying them out and turning them into common practice. When the kings led the way in showing respect and courtesy, the public would learn not to fight with one another. When propriety and music were designed to guide and educate the lay people, people would learn to live together harmoniously. These kings made it
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known to the public what they revered and detested, and
so the masses would not defy their prohibitions.
Scroll 9: Xiao Jing
215.子曰:「教民親愛,莫善於孝。教民禮順,莫善於悌。移風易俗,莫善於樂。安上治民,莫善於禮。禮者,敬而已矣。故敬其父則子悅;敬其兄則弟悅;敬其君則臣悅;敬一人而千萬人悅。所敬者寡,悅者眾,此之謂要道也。」(卷九 孝經)
215. Confucius said: “For teaching the people to be affectionate and loving, there is nothing better than filial piety. For teaching them propriety and obedience to their elders, there is nothing better than fraternal duty. For changing their manners and altering their customs, there is nothing better than music. For securing the repose of superiors and the good order of the people, there is nothing better than the rules of propriety. The rules of propriety are simply the principle of reverence. Therefore the reverence paid to a father makes all sons pleased. The reverence paid to an elder brother makes all younger brothers pleased.
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The reverence paid to a ruler makes all subjects pleased.
The reverence paid to one man makes thousands of men
pleased. The reverence is paid to a few but the benefit
extends to many. This is what is meant by an ‘All-embracing
Rule of Conduct.’”
Scroll 9: Xiao Jing
216.孔子曰:「導之以政,齊之以刑,民免而無恥。導之以德,齊之以禮,有恥且格。」老氏稱:「法令滋章,盜賊多有。」(卷十二 史記下)
216. Confucius said: “Guide the people with policies and align them with punishment, and people will evade capture and gain no personal sense of shame. Guide them with virtues and align them with propriety, and they will gain their own sense of shame and thus correct themselves.” Laozi said: “As law and orders are increasingly written, loopholes and thievery will become increasingly common.”
Scroll 12: Shi Ji, Vol. 2
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治者當能別之。(卷十二 史記下)
217. When Zichan governed the state of Zheng, the
populace was not able to deceive him. When Zijian
governed the county of Shan Fu, the populace did not have
the heart to deceive him. When Xi Menbao governed the
county of Ye, the populace did not dare to deceive him.
Who among these three governors had the highest ability
and wisdom? A wise and perceptive leader should be able
to tell the difference and come up with the answer.
Scroll 12: Shi Ji, Vol. 2
218.不知禮義,不可以行法。法能殺不孝者,而不能使人為孔墨墨作曾之行;法能刑竊盜者,而不能使人為伯夷之廉。孔子養徒三千人,皆入孝出悌,言為文章,行為儀表,教之所成也。(卷四十一 淮南子)
218. If people do not understand propriety and righteousness, the law will not be effective. For the law can sentence an unfilial son to death but it cannot make people behave like Confucius or Zengzi (the exemplar filial son). The law can also sentence thieves and robbers to prison but it cannot make people behave honestly like Boyi. Confucius had 3,000 disciples who could fulfill filial duties at home, and respect elders and seniors when away from home. Their words became guidelines for people to follow, and their deeds were sufficient to make them into role models. All these are due to transformation through education.
Scroll 41: Huai Nan Zi
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(卷三十五 文子)
219. Wenzi asked about morality, benevolence,
righteousness and propriety. Laozi said: “Virtue is what
people treasure. Benevolence is what people admire.
Righteousness is what people venerate, and Propriety is
what people respect. These are the four implements used
by sages to lead and command the world.”
Scroll 35: Wen Zi
(卷二十六 魏志下)
220. Honoring the virtuous and able as well as giving recognition to moral excellence is something to which a sage-king would attach great importance. Promoting benevolence and transformation through education is what Confucius would speak of most approvingly.
Scroll 26: Wei Zhi, Vol. 2
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身之計,莫如樹人。(卷三十二 管子)
221. If you are planning for one year, grow the five cereals.
If you are planning for ten years, grow trees. If you are
planning for a lifetime, educate people.
Scroll 32: Guan Zi
222.孔子曰:「君子有三畏:畏天命,畏大人,畏聖人之言。小人不知天命而不畏,狎大人,侮聖人之言。」(卷九 論語)
222. Confucius said: “There are three things that a superior person venerates. He venerates the law of cause and effect. He venerates virtuous people or people with superior status. He venerates the teachings given by saints and sages. A petty person on the other hand, is ignorant of the law of cause and effect and therefore does not venerate it. He also treats his superior frivolously and ridicules the teachings of saints and sages.”
Scroll 9: Lun Yu
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高。(卷十四  漢書二)
223. The Confucian school of thought most probably
originated from Si Tu, the government minister in charge
of education. Their career goals are to assist the sovereign,
follow the law of Yin and Yang, and promote the idea of
transformation through education. They are dedicated
students of the Six Classics focused on practicing
benevolence and righteousness. They trace and reiterate
the governing principles of Emperor Yao and Emperor
Shun, adopt and explain the decrees and regulations issued
by King Wen and King Wu, and regard Confucius as their
master teacher. They venerate wisdom passed down from
ancient sage-kings and consider Dao (laws of nature) as
the highest form of knowledge.
Scroll 14: Han Shu, Vol. 2
224.道家者流,蓋出於史官。歷紀成敗存亡禍福古今之道,秉要執本,清虛以自守,卑弱以自持,此君人南面者之術也。合於堯之克讓,《易》之嗛嗛。一謙而四益,此其所長也。(卷十四 漢書二)
224. The Daoist school of thought most probably originated from the official historians. Daoist writings recorded the reasons that contributed to the success, failure, survival, demise, fortune and disasters of different dynasties. Their works were succinct and cut straight to the core. They advocate “tranquil nothingness” to maintain their integrity, and humility to achieve self-control. These were the implements used by ancient rulers to govern a country in accord with the self-controlling and thoughtful way of Emperor Yao, in addition to the principles of Humility stated in the book of Yi Jing. Humility alone will enable a person to receive blessings from heaven, earth, spirits and human beings. Such is what the Daoists most venerate.
Scroll 14: Han Shu, Vol. 2
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Propriety and Music
(卷三十三 晏子)
225. The difference between human beings and animals is
that human beings follow propriety.
Scroll 33: Yan Zi
(卷七 禮記)
226. The influence of propriety works very subtly. It prevents immoral conducts from developing and enables people to automatically stay away from malice and move toward virtuousness day by day without being aware of it. Hence, the kings from ancient times venerated the transforming influence that propriety can bring. The book of Yi Jing said: “A superior person always pays attention to the beginning of any development. If there is a slight deviation or error in the beginning, the end result will differ greatly.” Such is the implication of the influence of propriety.
Scroll 7: Li Ji
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(卷七 禮記)
227. Without propriety, acts of benevolence, righteousness,
and virtues cannot be realized. Using teachings that
contain no propriety to impart sagely values to the society
will inevitably create discrepancies. Without propriety,
quarrels and debates about what is right or wrong cannot
be resolved fairly. Further, the roles and relationship
played by leaders and subordinates, parents and children,
as well as among siblings cannot be determined without
the stipulation of propriety. In learning how to run a good
administration or other areas of study, failing to observe
propriety will make teachers slack in their teachings and
students inattentive toward their studies. It will be difficult to foster a close bond between teachers and students. Be it the drawing of tables of government ranks or the
organization of the army, the appointment of officials to task or the execution of laws: if they are not done according to the proper protocol, they will lose their dignity and the confidence of the people. Whether it is a regular or special memorial service for the deceased, or a ceremony for making offerings to the gods and spirits, if these were not done in accordance to proper rites and rituals, the results will only reveal our insincerity as the ceremony will fail to be solemn and respectful.
Scroll 7: Li Ji
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也。(卷七 禮記)
228. The functions of propriety include: Defining close
and distant relationships, clarifying doubts, categorizing
subject-matters, and vindicating right and wrong.
Scroll 7: Li Ji
229.君子有禮,則外諧而內無怨。(卷七 禮記)
229. A superior person whose daily life conforms to the standards of propriety will be able to coexist harmoniously with all people and matters. His mind and heart is always serene without resentment.
Scroll 7: Li Ji
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志不懾。(卷七 禮記)
230. A rich and noble man who understands propriety is
neither arrogant nor licentious. A poor and lowly person
who understands propriety is neither fearful nor skeptical
about his aspirations.
Scroll 7: Li Ji
231.昏禮者,將合二姓之好,上以事宗廟,而下以繼後世也。故君子重之。男女有別,而後夫婦有義;夫婦有義,而後父子有親;父子有親,而後君臣有正。故曰:婚禮者,禮之本也。(卷七 禮記)
231. The propriety of marriage unites two families with different surnames, to commemorate the ancestors with respects and offerings, and produce offspring to carry on the family name and the teachings of the forefathers. Therefore, a superior person would value marriage as an important event. With a man and a woman playing different roles comes a righteous commitment between a husband and a wife. With a righteous commitment between a husband and a wife comes a filial closeness between parents and children. With parents and children displaying a filial closeness comes a rightful relationship
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between a superior and his subordinates. Hence, the propriety of marriage is the foundation of all proprieties.
Scroll 7: Li Ji
232.故朝覲之禮,所以明君臣之義也;聘問之禮,所以使諸侯相尊敬也;喪祭之禮,所以明臣子之恩也;鄉飲酒之禮,所以明長幼之序也;婚姻之禮,所以明男女之別也。夫禮禁亂之所由生,猶防止水之所自來也。故以舊防為無所用而壞之者,必有水敗;以舊禮為無所用而去之者,必有亂患。故婚姻之禮廢,則夫婦之道苦,而淫僻之罪多矣;鄉飲酒之禮廢,則長幼之序失,而鬥爭之獄繁矣;喪祭之禮廢,則臣子之恩薄,而背死忘生者眾矣;聘覲之禮廢,則君臣之位失,而背叛侵陵之敗起矣。(卷七 禮記)
232. The protocol of a court audience before the ruler serves to exemplify the rightful relationship between the ruler and his subordinates. The protocol of diplomatic envoys serves to foster mutual respect among the dukes of neighboring states. The rites and rituals of funeral and memorial services serve to convey gratitude toward one’s superior or parents.
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The propriety of wine-drinking serves as a folk custom to
let one understand the order between the older and the
younger generations. The propriety of marriage serves
to show the different roles played by husband and wife.
Propriety, thus, prevent chaos just as embankments prevent
floods. If we destroy an old embankment that we deemed
useless, the inevitable outcome will be a flood. Similarly, if
we abolish traditional propriety that we deemed outdated,
disasters and chaos will eventually follow. Likewise, if we
abolish the propriety of marriage, people will stop taking
marital duties seriously and marital life will suffer as a result.
This will lead to an increase in crimes related to sexual
perversions. If we abolish the propriety of wine-drinking
as a folk custom, the order and status of the young and old
will be lost. This will lead to an increase in crimes related
to disputes and fightings. If we abolish the rites and rituals
of funeral and memorial services, government officials and
children will become ungrateful toward their superiors
and parents. This will lead to more people to rebel against the teachings of their ancestors and a lack of gratefulness and loyalty toward the living. If we abolish the protocol of diplomatic envoys, or the protocol of court audiences before the ruler, the orderly relationship between the ruler and his officials will be lost. This will lead to chaos in the
wake of treason, and the invasion of neighboring states.
Scroll 7: Li Ji
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怠,怠則忘。(卷七 禮記)
233. Paying respect and making offerings to our ancestors
cannot be done too frequently since we will get tired of the
rituals and end up becoming disrespectful toward them.
However, it should not be performed too infrequently
either since this will cause us to become too slack and we
may gradually forget our ancestors.
Scroll 7: Li Ji
234.凡音者,生人心者也。情動於中,故形於聲。聲成文,謂之音。是故治世之音,安以樂,其政和;亂世之音,怨以怒,其政乖;亡國之音,哀以思,其民困。(卷七 禮記)
234. Music originates from the heart. When the inner emotion is stirred and then displayed, a sound is produced. Sounds combine to form melodies and this is what we call “music”. During times of peace and prosperity, the music played is serene and joyful because the political situation has been tolerant and harmonious. On the other hand, music played in tumultuous times is filled with anger because the government has violated the law of nature and the common aspiration of the people. When a country perishes, the music played is sorrowful and melancholic because people have been left in desolation.
Scroll 7: Li Ji
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日矣。(卷七 禮記)
235. The inner spirit of music is interconnected with
politics. In the Chinese pentatonic scale, gong (宮)
symbolizes the ruler; shang (商) symbolizes government
officials; jue (角) symbolizes the people, zhi (徵) symbolizes
incidents; yu (羽) symbolizes material things. If the five
modes are harmonious, discordant sounds will not be
heard. However, if the gong mode is disorderly, the music
will appear scattered without any central theme. This
reflects the arrogance of the ruler and the departure of
wise government officials. If the shang mode is disorderly,
music will sound askew. This reflects the moral decadence of government officials. If the jue mode is disorderly, the music will be filled with worries reflecting a tyrannical
government and the resentment of the people. If the zhi mode is disorderly, music will sound extremely sad. This reflects the never-ending exploitation of farm labor and the suffering of the people. If the yu mode is disorderly, music will sound of danger and oppression reflecting poverty and the lack of material wealth among the people. If all five musical modes are disorderly, crashing onto each other, this music is termed as “conceited music”—music without any regularity. Once music has reached this point, a country will be destroyed in no time.
Scroll 7: Li Ji
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(卷三十九 呂氏春秋)
236. During tumultuous times, music played on
wooden and leather instruments produces sounds that
are like roaring thunder; music played on copper and
stone instruments produces sounds that are furious
and shocking; light dance music played on bamboo or
silk instruments produces sounds that are like cawing
outcries. These types of loud music can trouble people’s
mind, deafen ears and sway people to become licentious
but they cannot bring happiness to people. Therefore, as
music becomes more and more insolent, it will precipitate
a greater incidence of depression, more chaos, and more
disrespect for the ruler. Subsequently, music loses its original meaning and purpose.
Scroll 39: Lü Shi Chun Qiu
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(卷七 禮記)
237. Music comes from the heart, and propriety set a
standard for a person’s outward behavior. Grand music
must be amiable and grand ceremonies must be simple
and modest.
Scroll 7: Li Ji
Caring about People
238.利天下者,天下亦利;害天下者,天下亦害之。……仁人在位,常為天下所歸者,無他也,善為天下興利而已矣。(卷四十九 傅子)
238. For those who bring benefits to the world, the world will also bring benefits to them. For those who bring harm to the world, the world will also bring harm to them. ...A benevolent ruler will attract the populace to follow him because he is good at bringing benefits to the world.
Scroll 49: Fu Zi
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(卷三十一 六韜)
239. When a ruler loves his people as if they are his children,
and all the people love him as if he is their father, the ruler
can then be deemed as the Son of Heaven in its truest sense.
Scroll 31: Liu Tao
(卷一 周易)
240. The heaven and the earth nourish all things and enable them to prosper and flourish. The sages take good care of the virtuous so that the latter can serve the society and bring happiness to all people.
Scroll 1: Zhou Yi
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(卷三十一 六韜)
241. Good leaders will love the people as if they were
their children, and care for them as if they were their own
kindred. They grieve for people who are starving and
mourn for people who are toiling in hardship.
Scroll 31: Liu Tao
242.臣聞國之興也,視民如傷,是其福也;其亡也,以民為土芥,是其禍也。(卷六 春秋左氏傳下)
242. I have heard that a country is prosperous and strong because it treats its people tenderly as if they were injured. This is indeed the country’s good fortune. On the other hand, a country is in ruin because it tramples on its people as if they were mud or grass under its feet. This is indeed disastrous for the country.
Scroll 6: Chun Qiu Zuo Shi Zhuan, Vol. 2
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治。先恕而後教,是堯道也。(卷四十三 說苑)
243. Emperor Yao cared about all the people in the world,
especially for the poor. He felt pain for the crimes and
punishments suffered by his subjects, and he worried that
people could not lead a good life. If there was one person
starving, Yao would say: “It was me who had caused him
to suffer from hunger.” If there was one person freezing in
the cold, Yao would say: “It was me who had caused him to
suffer from the freezing weather.” If there was one criminal,
Yao would say: “It was me who had provoked him to commit
the crime.” As Yao’s kindness and benevolence became
apparent he also set the trend in upholding righteousness.
His virtues were so far-reaching and extensive that people encouraged each other to do good things without expecting any reward, and the government was able to govern without using penalties to punish the people. As Emperor Yao demonstrated, a good leader will first forgive people’s mistakes and then seek to guide them to correct their mistakes through education. That was the statesmanship of Emperor Yao.
Scroll 43: Shuo Yuan
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244. 子張問仁於孔子。孔子曰:「能行五者於天下,為
(卷九 論語)
244. Zizhang asked Confucius about the principle of
benevolence. Confucius said: “If you can practice five types
of moral conduct in the world, then you can be considered
a benevolent person.” Zizhang then asked: “Please tell me
which five?” Confucius replied: “Be respectful, tolerant,
trustworthy, perceptive, and kind. Respect others and you
will not be insulted. Treat people with tolerance and you
will gain their support. Be trustworthy and people will have
faith in you. Do things perceptively and you will achieve
success. Offer kindness to others and they will serve you
with gratitude.”
Scroll 9: Lun Yu
245.丘也聞有國有家者,不患寡,而患不均,不患貧,而患不安。蓋均無貧,和無寡,安無傾。夫如是,故遠人不服,則修文德以來之;既來之,則安之。(卷九 論語)
245. Confucius said: “I have heard that the feudal lords who preside over states, or the high officials who own family estates do not worry about poverty but they worry that the distribution of wealth may be uneven. They do not worry that they will have too few people but they worry that they may not be able to live in peace. For when distribution of wealth is even, there will be no poverty. And when harmony prevails, there will be no scarcity of people. When there is such a contented repose, there will be no rebellion. In this spirit, if people from afar do not submit, civil culture and virtues are to be cultivated to attract them. Once they have been so attracted, they will be made contented and be able to settle down at ease.”
Scroll 9: Lun Yu
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(卷四十二 鹽鐵論)
246. The so-called good officials nowadays set strict laws
to harass the people. They abuse their power and mistreat
their subordinates. These officials have no intention of
following the laws except to follow their cruel impulses to
carry out their actions.
Scroll 42: Yan Tie Lun
247.凡民有七亡:陰陽不和,水旱為災,一亡也;縣官重責,更賦租稅,二亡也;貪吏並公,受取不已,三亡也;豪強大姓姓下舊有家字,刪之蠶食無厭,四亡也;苛吏繇役,失農桑時,五亡也;部落鼓鳴,男女遮列,六亡也;盜賊劫略,取民財物,七亡也。七亡尚可,又有七死:酷吏敺殺,一死也;治獄深刻,二死也;冤陷無辜,三死也;盜賊橫發,四死也;怨讎相殘,五死也;歲惡飢餓,六死也;時氣疾疫,七死也。民有七亡,而無一得,欲望國安誠難。民有七死,而無一生,欲望刑措誠難。(卷十九 漢書七)
247. Seven Losses that can make people destitute:
1. Flood and drought caused by an imbalance between the Yin and Yang energies.
2. Heavy taxes imposed on farmers.
3. Briberies and the misuse of public funds.
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4. The rich gentry exploiting the farmers endlessly.
5. Oppressive officials prolonging the duration of
compulsory free labor supplied by farmers, and so
hindering normal working hours for the farmers.
6. The countryside is drowned in the sound of drums
alarming the inhabitants about robberies, and men and
women have to rush out in all directions to make arrests.
7. Robbers and thugs stealing money, food and tools.
Worse than the Seven Losses are the Seven Deaths—the
seven situations that can take away people’s lives:
1. The beating and killing of people by cruel officials.
2. Harsh prosecution of criminal cases.
3. False accusations of innocent people.
4. Widespread robberies and thefts.
5. Vengeance among the enemies.
6. A year of poor harvest causing famine.
7. Rampant epidemics and diseases.
With the Seven Losses making people destitute, it will be difficult for a country to attain stability. With the Seven Deaths taking away people’s lives, it will be extremely difficult to get rid of corporal punishment.
Scroll 19: Han Shu, Vol. 7
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The Livelihood of People
塞朋黨之門。(卷五十 袁子正書)
248. There are Eight Policies that can make a country
1. Exercise fiscal austerity to set aside more than adequate
financial reserves.
2. Master the agricultural cycles to help farmers produce
an abundance of commodities.
3. Attach more importance to agriculture than to trading.
4. Ensure the people have stable employment.
5. Control government expenses—live within your means.
6. Exercise monetary policy to equalize wealth.
7. Check the influence of lobbyists.
8. Put an end to cliques that band together for selfish purposes.
Scroll 50: Yuan Zi Zheng Shu
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,故大賈蓄家不得豪奪吾民矣。(卷十四 漢書二)
249. Prices of goods will decline when there is a surplus.
The government can take this opportunity to buy the goods
and stockpile them. When the demand is greater than the
supply, the price will go up and the government can sell
off the goods. If the buying and selling is timely, demand
and supply will be balanced and the prices of goods will
be stabilized. Thus, big merchants and rich families that
became rich by cornering the market will not be able to
wrest benefits from the common people.
Scroll 14: Han Shu, Vol. 2
Learn from the Past
(卷二 尚書)
250. Study the lessons passed down from the ancients and take heed of what makes a good government minister. Ill-conceived government actions are less likely to happen if a government can base its decision-making on ancient wisdom and advice.
Scroll 2: Shang Shu
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矣。(卷十一 史記上)
251. Do not forget the experiences and lessons learned
from the past for they shall serve as a reference for future
undertakings. A ruler will study history and verify the
lessons in human affairs within a contemporary context to
understand the rise and decline of a nation. They will also
contemplate the balance of power and its corresponding
scenarios, orderly weighing which ones to reject and
which ones to adopt. Based on these considerations they
will develop appropriate policies that over time will bring
lasting peace to the nation.
Scroll 11: Shi Ji, Vol. 1
252.武王問尚父曰:「五帝之戒可聞乎?」尚父曰:「黃帝之時戒曰,吾之居民上也,搖搖恐夕不至朝;堯之居民上,振振如臨深川;舜之居民上,兢兢如履薄冰;禹之居民上,慄慄恐不滿日;湯之居民上,戰戰恐不見旦。」王曰:「寡人今新并殷居民上,翼翼懼不敢怠。」(卷三十一 陰謀)
252. King Wu asked his strategist, Shang-fu: “Can you tell me how the five ancient emperors kept vigilant of themselves?” Shang-fu said: “Emperor Huang warned himself with this saying: ‘When I lead the people, I am worried and fearful as if night will not turn to morning.’ When Emperor Yao was leading his people, he was extremely apprehensive as if he was standing on the brink of a deep abyss. When Emperor Shun was leading his people, he was extremely cautious as if he was treading on thin ice. King Yu was extremely watchful as if he would not live through the
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308Qunshu Zhiyao 360
day. King Tang would stay on guard as if he would not live
to see tomorrow.” King Wu said: “Now that I am leading
the newly conquered subjects of the Yin nation, I must
rule cautiously and remain vigilant without the slightest
Scroll 31: Yin Mou
The Basis of Principles
253.天下之達道有五,其所以行之者三。曰君臣也,父子也,夫婦也,昆弟也,朋友之交也,五者,天下之達道也;智仁勇三者,天下之達德也。所以行之者一也。或生而知之,或學而知之,或困而知之,及其知之一也。或安而行之,或利而行之,或勉強而行之,及其成功一也。(卷十 孔子家語)
253.There are five types of relations that constitute the moral standards of mankind, and three elements of virtues that are conducive to the fulfillment of these relations. These five types of moral relations include those between the leader and subordinates, parents and children, husband and wife, among siblings, and among friends. The three elements of virtues are wisdom, benevolence and courage, forming the virtuous conduct of mankind. From start to finish, “Sincerity” must be present to enable the five moral relations and the three types of virtuous conduct
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to work out successfully. Some people are conscious of
these moral relations and virtues from birth. Some people
become conscious of them after learning about them, and
some people become conscious of them only after they
have put in tremendous efforts in understanding them.
However, the end result is the same. As for actualizing
these moral relations and virtues, some people will do it
naturally, some people will do it for the sake of acquiring
personal benefits, and some people will do it reluctantly. In
the end, the results will all be the same.
Scroll 10: Kong Zi Jia Yu
254.仁義禮樂、名法刑賞,凡此八者,五帝三王,治世之術也。故仁以導之,義以宜之,禮以行之,樂以和之,名以正之,法以齊之,刑以威之,賞以勸之。(卷三十七 尹文子)
254. The five emperors and the three sage-kings of ancient times used eight elements—benevolence, righteousness, propriety, music, status, law, punishment and reward—to govern their states. Benevolence was used in order to provide guidance for their people. Righteousness was used in order to guide the people to do the right thing. Propriety was used in order to regulate people’s behavior. Music was used in order to mediate human relations. Status was used in order to define people’s social roles. Law was used in order to align the people. Punishment was used in order to deter people from committing crimes. Reward was used in order to encourage people to do good deeds.
Scroll 37: Yin Wen Zi
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而已矣。(卷十 孔子家語)
255. Therefore, it was said that being benevolent is nothing
more than loving and protecting the people. Being wise is
nothing more than knowing who are the virtuous; being
an able government leader is nothing more than knowing
whom to hire for the right job. If the leader of a state can
fulfill these three conditions, people from all over the
world will submit to him.
Scroll 10: Kong Zi Jia Yu
256.天子聽男教,后聽女順;天子理陽道,后治陰德;天子聽外治,后聽內治。教順成俗,外內和順,國家理治,此之謂盛德也。(卷七 禮記)
256. The king (Son of Heaven) was responsible for teaching the men, and the queen was responsible for teaching the ladies to be gentle. The king handled the tough masculine matters, and the queen handled the gentler feminine issues. The king managed the external affairs, and the queen managed the internal affairs. When the education of men and the gentleness of women became customary, and when external and internal affairs were harmonized, such that family and official affairs were managed equally well, this could be considered as the glorious exemplification of virtuous conduct.
Scroll 7: Li Ji
The Basis of Principles
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(卷三十六 尸子)
257. There are four skills that enable a good government:
First, be trustworthy and loving toward the people. Second,
be fair and selfless. Third, appoint virtuous and able
people to run the government. Fourth, manage financial
resources carefully. Prudent financial management will
ensure sufficient wealth for the nation. Employing virtuous
and able persons to run the government will enable the
government to make more contributions. Selfless devotion
provides the source of wisdom, and loving the people
trustingly embodies the conduct of parents loving their
Scroll 36: Shi Zi
(卷三十二 管子)
258. When the granary is replete with staple foods, people will comprehend the meanings of propriety. When they have sufficient food to eat and clothes to keep them warm, they will comprehend the meanings of honor and disgrace. When a leader obeys the legal standards of propriety, his close relatives will live in unity and harmony. When the four anchors in building a nation are upheld, the ruler’s directives will be carried out without impediment. Dispensing with these four anchors will lead to the
The Basis of Principles
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downfall of a nation. If one of these four anchors was
broken, the country would become unstable. If two of these
anchors were broken, the country would be in danger.
If three of these anchors were broken, the government
would be toppled. If all four anchors were broken, the
state would be in ruin. A state that is unstable can still be
restored to its equilibrium. A state that is in danger can still
be restored to its peaceful state. Even when the government
is overthrown, it is still possible to save the country. But
resurrecting a ruined country would become impossible.
So what are these four anchors? They are: propriety,
righteousness, integrity, and moral shame. A government
is effective because it responds to the common aspirations
of the people. A government that runs against people’s
aspirations will be abandoned by the people.
Scroll 32: Guan Zi
259.是故古之聖王未有不尊師也,尊師則不論貴賤貧富矣。(卷三十九 呂氏春秋)
259. According to ancient customs, the social status of teachers was highly revered. Thus no sage-king would show disrespect toward his teachers, irrespective of whether the teachers were nobles, low-ranking, wealthy or impoverished.
Scroll 39: Lü Shi Chun Qiu
The Basis of Principles
318Qunshu Zhiyao 360
(卷四十三 說苑)
260. King Tang asked: “When can a minister not be
addressed as a minister by the king?” Yi Yin replied: “There
are four scenarios where this can happen. Your majesty’s
uncles are senior ministers whom you cannot address as
ministers. Your majesty’s elder brothers are senior ministers
whom you cannot address as ministers; ministers who had
served under the late kings are senior ministers whom you
cannot address as ministers. Furthermore, people who are
most virtuous can become senior ministers but they cannot
be addressed as ministers. This protocol is appropriate
within the principles of moral law.”
Scroll 43: Shuo Yuan
(卷九 論語)
261. Confucius said: “He who is not in any particular office has nothing to do with plans for the administration of its duties.”
Scroll 9: Lun Yu
The Basis of Principles
320Qunshu Zhiyao 360
(卷三十七 慎子)
262. If a leader were to take charge of everything, his
subordinates would not take the initiative to perform their
duties. This would mean that the role of the leader and the
subordinates is reversed, a situation which will bring forth
disorder. If a leader does the opposite, the subordinate
will perform the duties that are appropriate to them and
complete their appropriate tasks. Such is the orderly leadersubordinate
relationship, which is the key to distinguishing
peace and order from chaos and turbulence. This should
be very well understood.
Scroll 37: Shen Zi
263.政不可多門,多門則民擾。(卷二十九 晉書上)
263. Government regulations should not be issued by too many departments. Different instructions given on the same regulations will confuse people.
Scroll 29: Jin Shu, Vol. 1
The Basis of Principles
322Qunshu Zhiyao 360
Reward and Punishment
其私。(卷二十三 後漢書三)
264. Wise kings of the past would reward or punish an
individual based upon his merits or misdeeds. The despots
of tottering dynasties would punish or reward an individual
based on their personal preferences.
Scroll 23: Hou Han Shu, Vol. 3
265.夫當賞者不賞,則為善者失其本望,而疑其所行;當罰者不罰,則為惡者輕其國法,而怙其所守。(卷四十六 中論)
265. If rewards are not given to the deserving individual, good people will lose their confidence and begin to doubt if their efforts are worthwhile. If punishments are not given to the perpetrators, evil people will disregard the laws and continue with their wrongdoings without any shame or fear.
Scroll 46: Zhong Lun
Reward and Punishment
324Qunshu Zhiyao 360
(卷四十九 傅子)
266. Hence the ancient sage-kings have passed down this
lesson to us: Those who recommend the virtuous to take
on official posts will be rewarded handsomely; those who
stifle the appointment of the virtuous will be punished
Scroll 49: Fu Zi
267.爵祿者,國柄之本,而貴富之所由,不可以不重也。然則爵非德不授,祿非功不與。二教既立,則良士不敢以賤德受貴爵,勞臣不敢以微功受重祿,況無德無功,而敢虛干爵祿之制乎!(卷四十九 傅子)
267. Official titles and stipends are the basis of a nation’s authority, and they pave the way to wealth. Hence, the conferring of titles and stipends cannot be deemed unimportant. If this is the case, anyone who is not virtuous should not be conferred any official titles; anyone who is not meritorious should not be given stipends. Once the rules and regulations regarding the conferring of titles and stipends are established, good officials will not dare to accept noble titles if their moral standing is unsatisfactory; dedicated ministers will not dare to accept handsome stipends if their contributions are meager. Under such circumstances, will men of small virtue
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and meager contributions dare to use deceptive maneuvers
to meddle with the system of titles and stipends?
Scroll 49: Fu Zi
(卷四十三 說苑)
268. The Marquis Wen of Wei (state) asked Li Ke: “What factors contributed to the emergence of punishment?” Li Ke said: “Punishment was born as a means to subdue treacherous and promiscuous behaviors. Just as hunger and cold will compel people to commit treacherous acts, the consumption of overly decorative garments by high society will bring about dissolute behavior. When farm workers are forced to build lavish mansions with intricate carvings,
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328Qunshu Zhiyao 360
this will hinder their agricultural production. When
the female needleworkers are forced to make excessive
ornamented garments this will hinder their normal textile
production. Delayed agricultural production is the source
of hunger, and delayed textile production is the source of
not having enough warm clothing for the cold weather.
Rare indeed were treacherous crimes that occurred where
the ordinary people had not first been reduced to hunger
and poverty. Rare indeed were promiscuities that had
not been preceded by men and women showing off to
each other in their excessive make-up and ornamented
wardrobes. …If the ruler does not rectify the root cause of
punishment but to seek only to punish the people, surely
this will be detrimental to the well-being of the country.”
Scroll 43: Shuo Yuan
Law and Statute
(卷五十 袁子正書)
269. Try using benevolent means first before enforcing the law. Try using education to transform people first before using penalties to punish them. This is the order of importance in the governing of a country.
Scroll 50: Yuan Zi Zheng Shu
Law and Statute
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勝於身,即令行於民矣。(卷三十五 文子)
270. The legal system is neither bestowed by heaven nor
born out of the earth. It is created by human beings to
regulate and restrict their behavior. If we can get to the
root of the problems, we will not make petty mistakes. If
we can master the principles, we will not be trapped in
doubts. If a ruler is able to handle a task competently, he
will not reproach or criticize others for their inability to do
the same. If the ruler is unable to accomplish a task, he will
not demand others to accomplish the task for him. What
he does not want others to do, he must first forbid himself
to do the same. Therefore, a ruler must lead by example,
and when legislators are able to follow and abide by the
prohibitions that they have established, the populace will certainly become law-abiding.
Scroll 35: Wen Zi
Law and Statute
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行,弗惟反。以公滅私,民其允懷。(卷二 尚書)
271. King Cheng of Zhou dynasty said: “To my officials at
all levels: You are expected to manage your work dutifully.
You should be careful with any orders that you issue, and
once an order has been issued, it must be carried out and
cannot be changed at will. Be fair-minded and let go of
personal interests or grievances. If you can do so, people
will definitely trust and follow you.”
Scroll 2: Shang Shu
(卷十七 漢書五)
272. Shang Shu said: “It is better to be faulted for not following the usual investigation procedures than to make a mistake and putting innocent people to death.”
Scroll 17: Han Shu, Vol. 5
Law and Statute
334Qunshu Zhiyao 360
(卷九 論語)
273. Confucius said: “In hearing lawsuits, I am no better
than anyone else. What is imperative is to make it so that
there are no lawsuits.”
Scroll 9: Lun Yu
Be Careful with Military Actions
274.聖人之用兵也,將以利物,不以害物也;將以救亡,非以危存也。……故曰:好戰者亡,忘戰者危。(卷四十七 政要論)
274. A good leader deploys military forces to save and not to harm, to salvage and not to create crisis. …Thus it is said: “Warmongers will be annihilated, but he who fails to prepare for war will face danger.”
Scroll 47: Zheng Yao Lun
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336Qunshu Zhiyao 360
事在於兵。(卷五十 袁子正書)
275. The art of war is a matter of life and death. No amount
of effort can restore life to men killed in action. Thus, the
deployment of war as an option is never an easy decision.
Scroll 50: Yuan Zi Zheng Shu
(卷三十四 老子)
276. Weapons are instruments of evil omen; they are not the instruments of a superior person. A superior person uses them only out of necessity. Calmness and repose are what he prizes; victory by force of arms is, to him, undesirable. To consider the latter desirable would be to delight in the slaughter of men. He who delights in the slaughter of men cannot instil his will in the world. On occasions of festivity, seats on the left are more prestigious. On occasions of mourning, seats on the right are more prestigious. In the army, the commander-in-chief has his place on the right,
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and the second in command has his place on the left. This
signifies that the army adopts the same principle as that of
the funeral rites when they go to war. He who has killed
multitudes of men should weep for them with the bitterest
grief. The victor in battle has his place according to the
funeral rites.
Scroll 34: Lao Zi
(卷三十四 老子)
277. Barren land with thorn bushes and people living in privation are remnants of an army’s presence. After a war, bad years will follow.
Scroll 34: Lao Zi
Be Careful with Military Actions
340Qunshu Zhiyao 360
(卷三十七 尉繚子)
278. Maneuvering an army of a hundred thousand soldiers
will cost millions of dollars per day. Winning all battles is
not necessarily the best strategy. Winning without waging
a battle is the best strategy of all.
Scroll 37: Wei Liao Zi
279.救亂誅暴,謂之義兵,兵義者王;敵加於己,不得已而起者,謂之應兵,兵應者勝;爭恨小故,不勝憤怒者,謂之忿兵,兵忿者敗;利人土地貨寶者,謂之貪兵,兵貪者破;恃國家之大,矜民人之眾,欲見威於敵者,謂之驕兵,兵驕者滅。此五者,非但人事,乃天道也。(卷十九 漢書七)
279. An army raised to rescue people from tyranny is a righteous army. It will win the support of the people. An army raised to defend the territory against invasion is a counteracting army. It will win in the end. An army raised to fight bitterly at the slightest provocation is a wrathful army. It will lose the war. An army raised without discipline will steal and rob people’s belongings. It is a greedy army that will be dislodged. An army raised to believe that it is an army of a superpower state is an arrogant army. It will be annihilated. These five principles are not the doing of any human. They are the way of natural law.
Scroll 19: Han Shu, Vol. 7
Be Careful with Military Actions
342Qunshu Zhiyao 360
280. 故兵者國之大器,存亡之事,命在於將也。先王
之所重,故置將不可不審察也。(卷三十一 六韜)
280. The deployment of military forces is of vital importance
to a state as it is a matter that will decide life or death. The
fate of a state lies in the hands of the generals, and so kings
in the past placed utmost importance on the selection of
generals and commanders.
Scroll 31: Liu Tao
Generals and Soldiers
281.視卒如嬰兒,故可與之赴深谿;視卒如愛子,故可與之俱死。(卷三十三 孫子)
281. Regard your soldiers as your children, and they will follow you into the deepest valleys; look upon them as your own beloved sons, and they will stand by you even unto death.14
Scroll 33: Sun Zi
14 Lionel Giles. transl.
Generals and Soldiers
Qunshu Zhiyao 360

346Qunshu Zhiyao 360
Taking Precautions
(卷一 周易)
282. A family that accumulates many good deeds will
bring wealth and blessings to its descendants. A family that
accumulates many bad deeds will bring calamities to its
Scroll 1: Zhou Yi
283.善不積不足以成名,惡不積不足以滅身。小人以小善為無益而弗為也,以小惡為無傷而弗去也,故惡積而不可掩,罪大而不可解也。(卷一 周易)
283. If acts of goodness were not accumulated, one’s name could not be established. If acts of evil were not accumulated, one’s life could not be destroyed. To a petty person, a minor good deed that cannot bring him any recognition is not worthy of his effort; a minor bad deed that cannot bring him much harm is not worthy of correction. Hence, his wickedness grows until it cannot be concealed, and his guilt grows until it cannot be pardoned.
Scroll 1: Zhou Yi
Taking Precautions
348Qunshu Zhiyao 360
惡,有時而亡。(卷十七 漢書五)
284. A gigantic tree that ten people can wrap their arms
around started as a young shoot. When the shoot was not
well formed, it could be easily snapped with one step of
our foot or uprooted by a simple pull. When we sharpen
a knife on a whetstone, we may not see that it is wearing
away the whetstone, but after a certain period the attrition
will break the stone into half. When we plant trees and
raise domesticated animals, we may not notice their
growth, but after a certain time we can see that they have
become mature. Likewise, when we accumulate virtue and
benevolence, we may not see their benefits immediately,
but after a certain period the effects that they produce will become visible. If we abandon benevolence and righteousness and go against the law of nature, we may not
feel anything wrong now, but there will come a time when disasters will befall us.
Scroll 17: Han Shu, Vol. 5
Taking Precautions
350Qunshu Zhiyao 360
(卷七 禮記)
285. Do not let arrogance grow; do not let desire fly loose;
do not let ambition become excessive; do not let pleasure
flow unchecked.
Scroll 7: Li Ji
286.蓋明者遠見於未萌,知者避危於無形,禍固多臧於隱微,而發於人之所忽者也。(卷十八 漢書六)
286. Insightful people can anticipate troubles ahead of time. Wise people can anticipate danger before danger takes shape. Catastrophes always lurk in hidden places and appear at the moment least expected.
Scroll 18: Han Shu, Vol. 6
Taking Precautions
352Qunshu Zhiyao 360
(卷九 論語)
287. Confucius said: “If a man takes no thought about what
is distant, he will find sorrow near at hand.”
Scroll 9: Lun Yu
288.子曰:「危者安其位者也,亡者保其存者也,亂者有其治者也。是故君子,安不忘危,存不忘亡,治不忘亂,是以身安而國家可保也。《易》曰:『其亡其亡!繫于苞桑。』」(卷一 周易)
288. Confucius said: “He who rests safe in his seat will bring danger upon himself. He who presumes order is secured will face ruin. A nation that presumes its political environment is stable will face chaos. Therefore, a superior person, when resting in safety, does not overlook that danger may arise; when all seems stable he does not overlook that ruin may happen; when all is in a state of order he does not overlook that chaos may erupt. In this way his person is kept safe, and his states can be preserved for a very long time. The book of Yi Jing says: ‘(Always alert yourself) The end is near! The end is near! And the security of the state will be firm as if bound to a clump of bushy mulberry trees.’”
Scroll 1: Zhou Yi
Taking Precautions
354Qunshu Zhiyao 360
(卷三十四 老子)
289. Misery—happiness is to be found by its side!
Happiness—misery lurks beneath it! Who can tell what
either will come to in the end?
Scroll 34: Lao Zi
290.「教人曲突遠薪,固無恩澤;燋頭爛額,反為上客。」蓋傷其賤本而貴末,豈夫獨突薪可以除害哉?……後世多損於杜塞未萌,而勤於攻擊已成,謀臣稀賞,而鬥士常榮。(卷四十四 桓子新論)
290. “People who advised others to curve the chimney and move the firewood away were not thanked with gratitude. In contrast, those who saved fire victims and got badly burnt and injured were treated as guests of honor.” This description laments the fire victims’ mistake of inverting priorities. So it is not just a story about curving the chimney and removing firewood to avoid a disaster. …People often do not take adequate precautions. Instead, they do their best to control the damage after the fact. Rare indeed are strategists rewarded, while fighters are frequently honored.
Scroll 44: Huan Zi Xin Lun
Taking Precautions
356Qunshu Zhiyao 360
291.玩人喪德,玩物喪志。(卷二 尚書)
291. Being disrespectful and playing pranks on others will
ruin our virtues. Over-indulgence in things that give us
pleasure will ruin our ambitions.
Scroll 2: Shang Shu
(卷十一 史記上)
292. Jizi was the uncle of the despot King Zhou. When King Zhou began using ivory chopsticks, Jizi lamented: “Since his majesty is using ivory chopsticks, he will start drinking from a jade goblet. After drinking from a jade goblet, he will start craving for exotic things to satisfy his appetites. And so the chase after luxurious horse-drawn chariots and palace chambers will begin. By then, our country will have no hope of reversing its misfortune.”
Scroll 11: Shi Ji, Vol. 1
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成其大。(卷三十四  老子)
293. Anticipates things that are difficult while they are
easy, and does things that would become great while they
are small. All difficult things in the world are sure to arise
from a previous state in which they were easy, and all great
things from one in which they were small. Therefore the
sage, while he never does what is great, is able on that
account to accomplish the greatest things.15
Scroll 34: Lao Zi
15James Legge, transl.
(卷三十四 鶡冠子)
294. Pang Nuan said: “My lord, haven’t you heard that Marquis Wen once asked Doctor Bian Que this question: ‘In your family of three brothers, whose medical skill is the best?’ Bian Que answered: ‘My eldest brother’s medical skill is the best, my second brother’s comes second, and mine is considered the last of the three.’
Marquis Wen asked: ‘Why do you say so? Can you explain it to me?’
Bian Que said: ‘When my eldest brother diagnoses a patient,
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360Qunshu Zhiyao 360
he examines his appearance and complexion. Before the
pathogen could cause a disease, he has already cured the
patient. This is why he is not a well-known doctor; his
reputation only stays within the house. My second brother
is able to cure his patient immediately when the symptoms
of an illness begin to manifest themselves, so he is better
known. But his reputation does not go beyond our
neighborhood. As for me, I use acupuncture to improve
blood circulation. I also prescribe medicinal soups that
are potent, and I perform surgeries on my patients. That is
why my good reputation is well known among the feudal
Scroll 34: He Guan Zi
Social Customs
295.眾賢和於朝,則萬物和於野。故四海之內,靡不和寧。(卷十五 漢書三)
295. When all the wise ministers can work with one another harmoniously in the government, then all things outside the government will also exist harmoniously with one another. So there is no reason why peace cannot prevail in the world.
Scroll 15: Han Shu, Vol. 3
Social Customs
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矣,是謂正俗。(卷四十六 申鑒)
296. When everybody establishes a composed and
respectful nature, and discreetly cultivates a virtuous
conduct, no criminals can hope to escape from punishment
and no innocent people will have to live in worry and fear.
People stop trying to curry favor, and bribery no longer
works. Thus, people become calm with few grievances.
This state of affairs is known as the “correct social custom.”
Scroll 46: Shen Jian
(卷四十六 申鑒)
297. The leader and his ministers are close to each other within the boundary of proper protocol. Officials remain cordial toward each other albeit they hold different points of view. They give way to one another and do not clamor for credit. They work hard with no complaints. In times of stability, they keep firmly to their respective duties. These are signs of a country that is enjoying stability and peace.
Scroll 46: Shen Jian
Social Customs
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(卷二十三 後漢書三)
298. In ancient times, people were appointed to government
posts because they were virtuous and gifted. Today, people
are appointed because they have money and powerful
Scroll 23: Hou Han Shu, Vol. 3
299.上慢下暴,盜思伐之矣。慢藏誨盜,冶容誨淫。(卷一 周易)
299. When higher ranking officials are arrogant and lower ranking officials are harsh and brutal, they will cause thieves and bandits to band and plot mischief. Valuable belongings that are not properly kept and hidden become targets for thieves and robbers. When attires and dispositions are overtly sensuous, they have the effect of seducing others to commit sexual misconduct.
Scroll 1: Zhou Yi
Social Customs
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旬,如斯以及於老。(卷四十六 中論)
300. The problem with most people is that they would
rather mourn for the dead than to love the living, and to
regret the past than to plan for the future. They love to talk
about the past, and argue over things that have already
been done. They waste their time and refuse to face the
future until the day they die.
Scroll 46: Zhong Lun
Conquering Chaos
301.《黃石公記》曰:「柔能制剛,弱能制強。」柔者德也,剛者賊也。弱者仁之助也,強者怨之歸也。舍近謀遠者,勞而無功;舍遠謀近者,逸而有終。逸政多忠臣,勞政多亂民。故曰,務廣地者荒,務廣德者強。有其有者安,貪人有者殘。殘滅之政,雖成必敗。(卷二十一 後漢書一)
301. It is written in the Memoirs of the Elder Huang Shi: “The gentle could overcome the tough, and the weak could overcome the ruthless.” Being gentle is virtuous, and being tough is harmful. Naturally, the weak receive help from benevolent people, but ruthless people will only arouse enmity. Individuals who give up what is near at hand and seek what is far away will achieve little success despite their efforts. Individuals who give up what is far and seek what is near will achieve success easily. This will help more loyal officials to serve the state better, but the futile efforts of the
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former will only cause more people to revolt against the
government. Therefore, it is said that a lord who craves
to conquer more lands will eventually find his own lands
turning barren. A lord who works on inculcating good
morals among the people will lead his state to become
stronger. Cherishing possessions already owned results in
peace, but craving for others’ possessions would make one
become ruthless. Even when ruthless politics might bring
success in the short run, in the long run it inevitably brings
Scroll 21: Hou Han Shu, Vol. 1
302.子曰:「五刑之屬三千,而罪莫大於不孝。要君者無上,非聖人者無法,非孝者無親。此大亂之道也。」(卷九 孝經)
302. Confucius said: “There are three thousand offenses against which the five punishments of the ancient times are directed, and not one of them is greater than being unfilial. Those who threaten the ruler are repudiating his superiority. Those who undermine the authority of the sages are repudiating the validity of all laws and propriety. Those who malign filial piety are disowning the affection toward their parents. These three kinds of people will pave the way for anarchy.”
Scroll 9: Xiao Jing
Conquering Chaos
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303.上下交征利而國危矣。(卷三十七 孟子)
303. If everyone in the country is fighting for their own
interest, the country will be placed in danger.
Scroll 37: Meng Zi
304.哀公問於孔子曰:「寡人聞之,東益不祥,信有之乎?」孔子曰:「不祥有五,而東益不與焉。夫損人而自益,身之不祥也;棄老而取幼,家之不祥也;釋賢而用不肖,國之不祥也;老者不教,幼者不學,俗之不祥也;聖人伏匿,愚者擅權,天下不祥也。故不祥有五,而東益不與焉。」(卷十 孔子家語)
304. Duke Ai asked Confucius: “I have heard that building an extension on the east side of a house is inauspicious. Is this true?” Confucius said: “There are five inauspicious matters but building an extension on the east side of a house is not one of them. Damaging others to benefit oneself is inauspicious for oneself. Abandoning the old in favor of the young is inauspicious for the family. Dismissing the able and virtuous in favor of the unworthy is inauspicious for the country. When elders refuse to teach and the young refuse to learn, this is inauspicious for the society. When
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the sages are in hiding and the ignorant hold power, this
is inauspicious for the world. All in all, these are the five
inauspicious matters but building an extension on the east
side of the house is not one of them.”
Scroll 10: Kong Zi Jia Yu
Heedful of Troubling Signs
305.夫君者舟也,民者水也;水所以載舟,亦所以覆舟。君以此思危,則危可知矣。(卷十 孔子家語)
305. A leader is analogous to a boat, while the people are analogous to water. Water can carry a boat, it can also capsize a boat. A leader should take heed of the danger told in this analogy and understand what could be dangerous.
Scroll 10: Kong Zi Jia Yu
Heedful of Troubling Signs
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名六畜,可不勉哉!(卷二十九 晉書上)
306. A crown prince need not worry about his wealth,
or whether people will regard him with awe. He should
instead worry about his insolence and expensive tastes, his
isolation from criticisms of his faults, as well as not knowing
how hard farmers have to work to make a living. What is
worse is that he cannot even name the six domesticated
animals. If this is the case, is it not time to study harder?
Scroll 29: Jin Shu, Vol. 1
(卷三十七 孟子)
307. Mencius said: “Even with the powerful eyesight of Lilou and the skillful hands of Gongshu, no perfect squares and circles could be drawn without the use of a compass and a carpenter’s square. Even with the acute ear of the music-master Shikuang, musical notes cannot be calibrated accurately without the use of the pitch-tubes. Even with a virtuous character as good as that of emperors Yao and Shun, no government can secure order for the country without the benevolent laws laid down by the ancient sage-kings. ...Hence it is said: Virtue by itself is insufficient in forming a good government, and laws cannot run effectively on its own.”
Scroll 37: Meng Zi
Heedful of Troubling Signs
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(卷三十一 六韜)
308. King Wen asked Tai Gong: “How does the ruler of the
state, the leader of his people, come to lose his position?”
Tai Gong answered: “He loses his position because he is
not cautious about whom he associates with. He should have used the Six Characteristics to select capable men and safeguard the Three Treasures. The Six Characteristics
being: benevolence, righteousness, loyalty, trustworthiness, courage, and the ability to strategize. These are the Six Characteristics to look out for when selecting capable men.”
King Wen asked: “How does one go about using these criteria to select good men?”
Tai Gong said: “Make them rich and observe whether they commit offenses. Put them in high positions and see if they become arrogant. Entrust them with office and see if they stay. Make them solve a problem and see if they will conceal anything. Put them in the way of danger and see if they are afraid. Task them to manage an emergency and see if they are able to handle it well. If they are rich but do not commit offenses, then they are benevolent. If they are in high position but do not
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become arrogant, then they are righteous. If you entrust
them with an office and they stay, then they are loyal.
If they solve a problem without concealing anything,
then they are trustworthy. If they are in danger and
are not afraid, then they are courageous. If you task
them to manage an emergency and they handle well,
then they are capable of making plans and strategizing.
My lord can use these Six Characteristics to recruit
capable men. In addition, the ruler cannot entrust the
Three Treasures to other people, otherwise he will lose his
authority. The Three Treasures are Agriculture, Industry and
Commerce. When the Six Characteristics are conserved,
the country will flourish. When the Three Treasures are
flawless, the state is secure.”
Scroll 31: Liu Tao
309.景公問晏子曰:「臨國蒞民,所患何也?」對曰:「所患者三:忠臣不信,一患也;信臣不忠,二患也;君臣異心,三患也。是以明君居上,無忠而不信,無信而不忠者,是故君臣無獄無獄作同欲,而百姓無恐恐作怨也。」(卷三十三 晏子)
309. Duke Jing asked Yanzi: “What should a ruler worry about the most in the matter of governing a state and its people?” Yanzi replied: “There are three things that my lord should be most worried about:
1. A minister who is loyal to the ruler is not being treated as trustworthy.
2. A minister who is trusted by the ruler is unfaithful to the ruler.
3. A ruler and his ministers have different agendas in their mind.
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With a wise ruler sitting in a position of authority, the
incidents of a ruler distrusting his ministers will not happen,
and the possibility of his trusted ministers betraying his
trust will be eliminated. The ruler and his ministers share
the same aspirations, and the populace will have no
Scroll 33: Yan Zi
310.子墨子曰:「國有七患。七患者何?城郭溝池不可守,而治宮室,一患也;邊國至境,四鄰莫救,二患也;先盡民力無用之功,賞賜無能之人,三患也;仕者持祿,遊者憂佼佼作反,君脩法討臣,臣懾而不敢咈,四患也;君自以為聖智,而不問事,自以為安強而無守備,五患也;所信者不忠,所忠者不信,六患也;蓄種菽粟,不足以食之,大臣不足以事之,賞賜不能喜,誅罰不能威,七患也。以七患居國,必無社稷;以七患守城,敵至國傾。七患之所當,國必有殃。」(卷三十四 墨子)
310. Mozi said: “A state may face the onslaught of the Seven Perils. What are these Seven Perils? They are:
1. The palace and its chambers undergo renovations while the four walls of a fortress and its surrounding defensive trenches can hardly withstand the attack of enemies.
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2. None of your neighbors comes to the rescue while
enemies invade your territory.
3. Valuable human resources are used on useless projects
and unworthy people are rewarded.
4. The officials are only concerned about protecting their
jobs and income; scholars without posts are only concerned
about establishing circles of influences. Meanwhile, a ruler
amends laws to deter his ministers from voicing their
5. The ruler overestimates his own cleverness and fails to
question the progress of administrative affairs. He takes no
precautions because he assumes everything is in order.
6. Trusted ministers betray his trust while loyal ministers
are cast aside.
7. Reserves and food crops are insufficient to feed the
people, and ministers are incapable of shouldering
government responsibilities. Rewards cannot make the
people happy and punishments cannot keep them in awe.
If a government runs into these Seven Perils, the state will
certainly meet its demise. If a fortress runs into these Seven Perils, the city within the four walls will certainly fall into the hands of the enemy. Wherever these Seven Perils dwell there will be disasters.”
Scroll 34: Mo Zi
Heedful of Troubling Signs
384Qunshu Zhiyao 360
(卷四十 韓子)
311. The Legalist, Han Feizi, summarized the faults of a
ruler into the following Ten Faults:
1. To practice loyalty in small ways, which betrays loyalty
in big ways.
2. To esteem small advantages, which hampers big
3. To force personal biases, assert oneself, and behave discourteously before feudal lords, which leads to self-destruction.
4. To neglect government responsibilities and indulge too much in songs and music, which plunges one into distress.
5. To be greedy, self-opinionated and rejoice in nothing but gain, which sows the root of destruction for the state and oneself.
6. To become infatuated with women singers, dancers and musicians, and neglect state affairs, which forecasts the demise of the state.
7. To leave home for distant travels and ignore remonstrations from the ministers, which is the surest way to endanger one’s august position at home.
8. To commit faults, refuse to listen to loyal ministers, and enforce one’s own opinions, which destroys one’s high reputation and causes people to laugh at one’s demise.
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9. To take no account of internal strength but rely solely
upon foreign allies, which places the state in grave danger
of dismemberment.
10. To insult big powers despite the smallness of one’s own
country and take no advice from advisors, which paves the
way to the extermination of one’s posterity.
Scroll 40: Han Zi
(卷三十九 呂氏春秋)
312. The leader who has caused the downfall of his state must have been a man of self-importance, arrogant and disrespectful of able and virtuous people. He must have perceived himself to be clever, indomitable, and too important to waste his time on matters of administration.
Scroll 39: Lü Shi Chun Qiu
Heedful of Troubling Signs
388Qunshu Zhiyao 360
則不行。(卷三十九 呂氏春秋)
313. Tedious rites and rituals will make propriety appear
less solemn. Taking up too many tasks will make
achievements less evident. Harsh laws will stir the populace
to defiance, and when there are too many prohibitions, they
will become ineffective.
Scroll 39: Lü Shi Chun Qiu
(卷十 孔子家語)
314. Birds will peck when they are desperate. Animals will bite when they are desperate. Humans will cheat when they are desperate, and horses will run away when they are desperate. To this day, no ruler could stay safe and free from danger if his officials and people were driven to desperation.
Scroll 10: Kong Zi Jia Yu
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390Qunshu Zhiyao 360
也,血氣既衰,戒之在得。」(卷九 論語)
315. Confucius said: “A superior person is on guard against
three things: When he is a young man and his physical
energies are not yet settled, he is on guard against lust.
When he is in his prime and his energy is solid, he is on
guard against combativeness. When he is old, and his
physical power is weakened, he is on guard against greed.”
Scroll 9: Lun Yu
316.古人闔棺之日,然後誄行,不以前善沒後惡也。(卷二十九 晉書上)
316. In ancient times, on the day when a man is laid to rest, eulogy will be written to attest to his virtues and contributions, as well as latter vices that cannot be concealed with the good deeds done earlier.
Scroll 29: Jin Shu, Vol. 1
Heedful of Troubling Signs
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訓,人惟賢,鏡惟明。(卷四十六 申鑒)
317. A superior person uses three object lessons to guide
himself: Taking lessons from history, taking lessons from
people, and taking lessons from the mirror. From history
he learns how to avoid repeating the same mistakes. From
people he learns how to identify good officials. From the
mirror, he can reflect upon himself clearly.
Scroll 46: Shen Jian
Making Correct Response
318.位也者,立德之機也;勢也者,行義之杼也。聖人蹈機握杼,織成天地之化,使萬物順焉,人倫正焉。(卷四十六 中論)
318. An official position is comparable to a loom used to weave benevolence; the authority is comparable to a shuttle facilitating righteousness. The sage steps on the loom and holds the shuttle, weaving educational lessons for the world, enabling all things to grow in harmony, and
making the moral relations of human beings upright and proper.
Scroll 46: Zhong Lun
Making Correct Response
394Qunshu Zhiyao 360
身。(卷三十五 文子)
319. Sages live in seclusion in order to avoid danger, but
quietly they make observations and wait for the next
opportunity to arise. But petty persons, who do not know
why good or bad fortune happens, would stumble into
catastrophe every time they acted rashly, irrespective of
how many precautions they might have taken to protect
Scroll 35: Wen Zi
(卷一 周易)
320. Confucius said: “A superior person must calm himself before he takes any actions; be at ease before he speaks; earn the trust of others before he asks any favor from them. If a superior person can exemplify these three traits, he will be able to exist harmoniously with others without misgivings.”
Scroll 1: Zhou Yi
Making Correct Response
396Qunshu Zhiyao 360
得思義。」(卷九 論語)
321. Confucius said: “For a superior person, there are nine
things he needs to take notice of: In seeing, he must seek to
understand correctly. In hearing, he must listen with clarity.
His demeanor must be one of cordiality. His countenance
must be one of respectfulness. He must be conscientious
when he speaks, and serious in his tasks. When in doubt,
he must seek advice. When in anger, he must seek to realize
its negative impact. He must also think of what is right at
the sight of gain.”
Scroll 9: Lun Yu
(卷三十五 曾子)
322. A superior person is knowledgeable but he is humble. He says little but he puts principles into practice. He takes actions but allows others do the talking. When he sees personal gains he contemplates whether these gains will bring forth humiliations. When he wants to back off from a problem he contemplates whether this action will bring forth insults. As soon as greed arises, he can sense shamefulness. As soon as his anger arises, he can sense pending disasters. A superior person will hold on to this prudent attitude all his life.
Scroll 35: Zeng Zi
Making Correct Response
398Qunshu Zhiyao 360
(卷九 論語)
323. Confucius said: “A superior person strives to be discreet
in speech but quick in action.”
Scroll 9: Lun Yu
(卷十 孔子家語)
324. Success depends upon preparation in advance. Without such preparation there will be failure. Know what to say in advance and you will not be stuck for words. Know what to do in advance and you will not be trapped in difficulties. Take actions after a plan has been carefully laid out and you will not make regrettable mistakes. Once the principles of moral standards have been set in one’s mind, it will not be difficult to put the principles into practice.
Scroll 10: Kong Zi Jia Yu
Making Correct Response
400Qunshu Zhiyao 360
(卷九 論語)
325. Zixia was appointed as the magistrate of county Ju Fu.
He asked Confucius about governance. Confucius said:
“Do not expect to achieve results quickly. Do not look at
small advantages only. The desire to achieve quick results
will lead to the opposite. The narrow view on gaining
small advantages will impede us from achieving bigger
Scroll 9: Lun Yu
(卷三十三 晏子)
326. Yan Ying said: “I have heard that one can serve one hundred kings with all his heart, but he cannot serve one king well with divided loyalties. While the wishes of the three lords are not the same, I, for one, am not a servant with divided loyalty.”
Scroll 33: Yan Zi
Making Correct Response
402Qunshu Zhiyao 360
民無菜色,然後天子食,日舉以樂。(卷七 禮記)
327. A country that does not have nine years of food in
reserve is said to be deficient in its financial standing. If it
does not have six years of food in reserve, it is said to be
in a state of fiscal crisis. If it does not have three years of
food in reserve, it is said to be a country that has lost its
sovereignty. In every three years of farming, one year of
surplus food must be reserved for emergency use; in every
nine years of farming, three years of surplus food must be
reserved. If we use thirty years as the base, the country will
be able to have enough reserved food to withstand periods
of drought and flood, and thus no famine will occur. The
Son of Heaven can then be worry-free and be able to dine
in fine music.
Scroll 7: Li Ji
Exercise Caution from the Beginning to the End
328.慎終如始,則無敗事。(卷三十四 老子)
328. If people were as careful at the end as they should be at the beginning, they would not ruin their success.
Scroll 34: Lao Zi
Exercise Caution from the Beginning to the End
404Qunshu Zhiyao 360
不遂其國國作君。(卷三十三 晏子)
329. The Book of Shi Jing states that: “In the beginning, all
are good. But few prove themselves to be so in the end.” If a
leader cannot maintain his virtuous actions until the very
end, he cannot be a good leader.
Scroll 33: Yan Zi
330.蒙以養正,聖功也。(卷一 周易)
330. Nurturing children at an early age to let them learn to become righteous people is the most sacred form of contribution to mankind.
Scroll 1: Zhou Yi
Exercise Caution from the Beginning to the End
406Qunshu Zhiyao 360
Maintaining Good Health
生之末也。(卷三十五 文子)
331. In order to stay healthy, rest to attain mental
tranquility first and maintain physical fitness next. When
the mind is tranquil, the whole body will become healthy.
This is the major part of a fitness plan. Plumping up the
skin and satisfying the appetites constitute the minor part
of a fitness plan.
Scroll 35: Wen Zi
332.和神氣,懲思慮,避風濕,節飲食,適嗜欲,此壽考之方也。(卷四十五 昌言)
332. Maintaining a tranquil spirit; overcoming negative thoughts; staying away from factors that can cause rheumatism; controlling eating and drinking habits discreetly; keeping indulgences in check. All these are tips for longevity.
Scroll 45: Chang Yan
Maintaining Good Health
Qunshu Zhiyao 360

410Qunshu Zhiyao 360
Good or Evil
(卷九 論語)
333. Confucius said: “A superior person may hold different opinions from others but he can live in harmony with others. A petty person may seem agreeable with others but he cannot live in harmony with others.”
Scroll 9: Lun Yu
334.子曰:「君子成人之美,不成人之惡。小人反是。」(卷九 論語)
334. Confucius said: “A superior person perfects what is good in people. He does not perfect what is bad. A petty person does the opposite.”
Scroll 9: Lun Yu
Good or Evil
412Qunshu Zhiyao 360
(卷四十八 體論)
335. A superior person conceals the faults of others as
a means to cultivate his own kindness. A petty person
destroys the kind deeds of others as a means to show off
his own greatness.
Scroll 48: Ti Lun
336.子貢曰:「君子亦有惡乎?」子曰:「有惡。惡稱人惡者,惡居下流而訕上者,惡勇而無禮者,惡果敢而窒者。」(卷九 論語)
336. Zigong asked Confucius: “Will superior persons despise anyone?” Confucius said: “Superior persons despise people who expose the faults of others. They despise subordinates who slander their superiors. They despise brave people who are discourteous, and they despise resolute people who are unreasonable.”16
Scroll 9: Lun Yu
16We should avoid exposing the wrongdoings of others but propagate as many kind deeds as we can. When a subordinate sees faults in his superior he should propose some alternatives that can help his superior to change. If the superior insists on his own ways, the subordinate can choose to submit his resignation. But slandering one’s superior behind his back is not an honorable thing to do. Bravery that is not in accord with protocols will easily compel one to rebel against one’s superior; resoluteness that is not in accord with reasons will not only ruin a course but also hurt other people.
Good or Evil
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知所執。(卷四十八 體論)
337. Superior persons possess solid principles and goals,
and every plan that they make is firmly grounded in these
principles. They do not need to know too many principles,
but whatever they know is applied in their daily life. They
do not need to do too many things, but whatever they
do is done with good reasons. Their minds are calm and
rest in good faith as if it is second nature to them. When
they do good deeds, they are always apprehensive about
not being able to put in their best efforts. Petty persons
do the opposite. They do not care about moral principles,
they cannot speak of remonstrations that are meaningful,
they refuse to take lessons from the virtuous to improve
themselves, and they cannot ground themselves in good deeds. They simply go with the flow, oblivious to their deeds.
Scroll 48: Ti Lun
Good or Evil
416Qunshu Zhiyao 360
Human Sentiments
速。(卷八 韓詩外傳)
338. Human beings have six types of emotions: Joy, anger,
sadness, happiness, fondness, and hatred. If a sage king
contravenes these emotions, chaos will arise. If he appeases
these emotions, harmony will be achieved. While a sageking
instructs his people in accordance with human
sentiments, he also imposes propriety to control these
sentiments. While he yields to people’s longings, he also
establishes righteous principles to control these longings.
If righteous principles are concise and complete, and
propriety is orderly and humane, people will easily accept
and follow the law and order.
Scroll 8: Han Shi Wai Zhuan
(卷四十七 劉廙政論)
339. Why is it that a leader cannot see the wrongdoings of the unscrupulous people around him and spoil those who are unrighteous? This is because he is not wise enough to recognize the wrongdoings of unscrupulous people. Also, his determination to uphold morality and justice is not strong enough to enable him to break free from personal bias and preference.
Scroll 47: Liu Yi Zheng Lun
Human Sentiments
418Qunshu Zhiyao 360
可以致遠,否者以失近。(卷四十 新語)
340. A ruler imposing virtuous principles to govern his
state is appreciated by the people. A wicked ruler, on the
contrary, is blamed and hated even by his own descendants.
Therefore, a virtuous ruler can attract people from afar
to submit to him, while a wicked ruler can even lose his
closest relatives.
Scroll 40: Xin Yu
(卷五 春秋左氏傳 中)
341. I have heard that loyalty, sincerity and kindness could reduce enmity and hatred, but I have never heard that wielding power and authority over others could prevent enmity and hatred from happening.
Scroll 5: Chun Qiu Zuo Shi Zhuan, Vol. 2
Human Sentiments
420Qunshu Zhiyao 360
(卷九 論語)
342. The Duke of Zhou told his son Boqin, the Duke of Lu:
“A superior person does not distance himself from his family
and relatives, and he will never cause government officials
to complain about not being assigned important duties. If
an old friend has not erred terribly, do not abandon him.
Do not demand perfection from a person.”
Scroll 9: Lun Yu
343.君子所惡乎異者三:好生事也,好生奇也,好變常也。好生事則多端而動眾,好生奇則離道而惑俗,好變常則輕法而亂度。故名不貴苟傳,行不貴苟難。純德無慝,其上也;伏而不動,其次也;動而不行,行而不遠,遠而能復,又其次也;其下遠而已矣已矣作不近也三字。(卷四十六 申鑒)
343. A superior person dislikes three types of behavior that diverge from the norm:
1. A fondness for stirring up controversies.
2. A fondness for creating bizarre mysteries.
3. A fondness for changing rules and regulations.
The fondness for stirring up controversies will create commotions. The fondness for creating bizarre mysteries will defy virtues and upset social customs and practices.
Human Sentiments
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The fondness for changing rules and regulations will
undermine laws and confuse the standards of behavior.
Thus, there is nothing noble about gaining temporary fame,
or overcoming a difficult task resigned to circumstances.
The highest form of deed is one that is pure without any
trace of wickedness. Next to it, is being able to subdue the
rising of improper thoughts. Next to that, is being able to
stop improper thoughts from turning into actions. If when
the improper thoughts are turned into actions, at least
keeping the actions from becoming too outrageous, and
steering these actions back to the right path without delay.
The worst deed would be deviating too far from the right
path without any awareness of this happening.
Scroll 46: Shen Jian
Talents and Virtues
(卷三十五 文子)
344. Rather than hoping that everything we say is a suitable piece of advice that should be accepted, why not deliberate whether what we say is pertinent to benevolence and righteousness?
Scroll 35: Wen Zi
Talents and Virtues
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慧,而惡其傷義也。(卷四十七 政要論)
345. A piece of writing should not be esteemed for
its grandiose writing style. Instead, writing should be
esteemed because it can preserve the tradition of virtue.
The rhetorics need not be clever and decorative, but it
should be careful not to injure morality.
Scroll 47: Zheng Yao Lun
Formation of Cliques
(卷三十九 呂氏春秋)
346. The book of Hong Fan said: “No favor to anyone, no cronies in the government. The righteous path taken by the former sage-kings was fair and mighty.”
Scroll 39: Lü Shi Chun Qiu
Formation of Cliques
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故其國不免於危亡。(卷三十一 六韜)
347. When a leader mistakes a person accepted by
marketable social standard as a wise person, and mistakes
another defamed by society as an unworthy person, this
will cause people with the support of a faction to be
appointed while those who are not part of a faction cannot
get any promotion. As a result, the malicious factions
will band together to oust the virtuous and the able;
loyal ministers who are innocent will be condemned to
death, while ministers with undeserved reputation will be
knighted. So the days will become more tumultuous and
the survivability of the country will be numbered.
Scroll 31: Liu Tao
Differences that Matter
348.賢者狎而敬之,畏而愛之。愛而知其惡,憎而知其善。(卷七 禮記)
348. Stay close to the virtuous but accord them with due respect. See them as formidable but regard them with admiration. Be aware of the shortcomings in those we love and recognize the goodness in those we detest.
Scroll 7: Li Ji
Differences that Matter
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(卷九 論語)
349. Confucius said: “A superior person is self-confident
without being arrogant. A petty person is arrogant yet lacks
Scroll 9: Lun Yu
(卷九 論語)
350. Confucius said: “A superior person does not recommend a person on account of what he says. Neither does he dismiss what is said on account of the speaker.”
Scroll 9: Lun Yu
Differences that Matter
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(卷四十四 桓子新論)
351. It is better to acquire one remarkable horse expert like
Bo Le than to own ten superb horses. It is better to acquire
one exemplary swordsmith like Ou Yezi than to own ten
sharp swords. Acquiring many possessions is not as useful
as acquiring a few experts who can identify exquisite items
for you. The experts can help you to source and collect
more valuable items, and the total number of possessions
you own could be more than tenfold greater in the end.
Scroll 44: Huan Zi Xin Lun
352.傳曰:「不知其子,視其友;不知其君,視其左右。」靡而已矣!(卷三十八 孫卿子)
352. An ancient text said: “If you do not understand the son, just look at his friends and you will find the answer. If you do not understand the leader, just look at the ministers by his side and you will find the answer.” Like-minded people will seek each other’s company.
Scroll 38: Sun Qing Zi
Differences that Matter
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(卷三十七 孟子)
353. Mencius said: “Benevolence subdues its opposite
just as water subdues fire. Nowadays, those who claim
to implement a benevolent government do it as if with
one cup of water they could save a whole wagonload of
burning fuel, and when the flames are not extinguished,
then say that water cannot subdue fire. This is worse than
a government that is not benevolent because in the end,
even the small amount of benevolence will be lost.”
Scroll 37: Meng Zi
354.將叛者其辭慚;中心疑者其辭枝;吉人之辭寡;躁人之辭多;誣善之人,其辭游;失其守者,其辭屈。(卷一 周易)
354. Potential rebels would reveal shades of guilt on their faces when they speak. People who have doubt in their mind would speak incoherently like branches spreading out in a disorderly fashion. Kind people would speak little while impetuous people talk volubly. Those who malign the kind-hearted would speak without focus. As for those who have lost their personal integrity, their words would reflect the crookedness of their minds.
Scroll 1: Zhou Yi
Differences that Matter
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亂也。(卷十七 漢書五)
355. When a nation is about to fall because of the prevalence
of moral decadence, natural disasters will happen as a
warning to the leader of the state. If the leader is still
oblivious to this and does not know how to reflect upon
himself, abnormal and strange events will occur to
frighten him. If he still does not try to correct things,
harm and defeat will set in. Thus, it can be seen that Tian
(heaven) is kind to the leader and hopes to stop him from
making disastrous decisions.
Scroll 17: Han Shu, Vol. 5
Cause and Effect
(卷二 尚書)
356. The Divine being will not bestow blessings or cast curses on one family alone. Those who do good deeds will be blessed with luck and fortune, while those who do bad deeds will be plagued with misfortune. Even small virtuous deeds can cause the whole nation to rejoice; while bad deeds, even if they are just minor offenses, may cause the whole nation to crumble.
Scroll 2: Shang Shu
Cause and Effect
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(卷十 孔子家語)
357. Life or death, fortune or misfortune, are all but the
result of our own doings. When people accumulate a
multitude of meritorious deeds, no natural catastrophe
will befall them.
Scroll 10: Kong Zi Jia Yu
358.故見祥而為不可,祥必為禍!(卷四十 賈子)
358. When people behave badly upon the learning of good omens, the good omens will change to become disasters.
Scroll 40: Jia Zi
Cause and Effect
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359.天作孽猶可違,自作孽弗可逭。(卷二 尚書)
359. Natural disasters can be averted as long as people are
willing to abandon their devious ways and do more good
instead. But if they continue to commit bad deeds without
remorse, they will never be able to escape the onslaught of
Scroll 2: Shang Shu
360.聖人執左契,而不責於人。有德司契,無德司徹。天道無親,常與善人。(卷三十四 老子)
360. The sages are like creditors who hold on to the left side of a contract, but who do not use it to pressure debtor to return the borrowed goods. The virtuous, just like the sages, are always giving but not collecting. On the other hand, unscrupulous people are like tax collectors who are always collecting but not giving. In the way of heaven, there is no partiality of love; it is always on the side of the good man.17
Scroll 34: Lao Zi
17In ancient China, the “contract” was a bamboo piece divided into half, with the list of borrowed items engraved on each half—the left half with the debtor’s name is retained by the creditor, the right half with the creditor’s name is retained by the debtor. When goods are returned, both halves are matched to authenticate the contract.
Cause and Effect
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Bao Pu Zi
Bao Pu Zi 抱朴子 was written in the Eastern Jin dynasty (317–420)
by Ge Hong 葛洪. He was a believer of Daoism and a medical
specialist, and practiced the skill of making pills for immortality.
Chang Yan
Chang Yan 昌言 contains the frank and open advice given
by Zhongchangzi 仲長子. Zhongchangzi promotes propriety,
righteousness, integrity and moral shame. He advises rulers to
deploy able and virtuous people and advocates the adherence to
strict laws. The book, which is also known as 仲長子昌言 (The
Frank Advice of Zhong Chang Zi), mainly discusses how a ruler
can rule a country properly. This entire book was still preserved
during the Song dynasty (960–1279), but now it no longer exists in
its entirety.
Chun Qiu Zuo Shi Zhuan
Chun Qiu Zuo Shi Zhuan 春秋左氏傳 (Commentary of Zuo on
the Spring and Autumn Annals) or Zuo Zhuan 左傳 is sometimes
known as the Chronicle of Zuo. It is among the earliest Chinese
works of narrative history and covers the period from 770-476
BC. It is one of the three commentaries to the Spring and Autumn
Annals. Zuo Zhuan was traditionally attributed to Zuo Qiu Ming 左
丘明 from Lu (state) at the end of the Spring and Autumn period**
(770-476 BC), but the actual compiling time was the mid-Warring
States period (475–221 BC).
Cui Shi Zheng Lun
崔寔, or sometimes known as Cui Shi 崔氏, was a political theorist
from the Eastern Han dynasty (25–220). He was known for his
filial piety. Cui Shi was a government official who was thrifty and
morally upright. Cui Shi Zheng Lun 崔寔政論 (Political Treatise by
Cui Shi), discusses many contemporary issues. The characteristic
feature of this work is its directness.
*The references are primarily from wikipedia.org, chinaculture.org, and chinaknowledge.
org websites, and Lü et al., Qunshu Zhiyao Kaoyi.
**The Spring and Autumn Period starts from 770 BC when King Ping of Zhou moved
the capital of Zhou dynasty east from Haojing to Luoyi and ends at 476 BC when the
States of Han, Wei and Zhao divided the Jin territory between themselves (known as
the “Three Jin Territories” or “The Partition of the Jin State”, the watershed between the
Spring and Autumn and Warring States period.)
Dian Lun
Dian Lun 典論 (Critique of Literature) was written by Cao Pi 曹丕 (187–226). Cao Pi was formally known as Emperor Wen 文帝 of the kingdom of Wei 魏國. He was the first emperor of the state of Cao Wei 曹魏 during the Three Kingdoms period (220–265) and the second son of the late Han dynasty (25–220) warlord Cao Cao 曹操.
Dian Yu
The author of Dian Yu 典語 (Political Discourse) is Lu Jing 陸景 (250–281). Lu Jing lived for only 31 years but he wrote many books, all of which were lost except Dian Yu. This book discusses politics and stresses on paying high salaries to government officials to eradicate corruption.
Fu Zi
Fu Zi 傅子 was written by Fu Xuan 傅玄, who was from the Western Jin dynasty (265–317). His book mentions that nature goes according to the flow of Qi 氣. Generally, Fu Xuan criticizes the existence of gods and mysteries. He proposes that the majority of the people should become farmers rather than scholars, businessmen, and laborers.
Guan Zi
Guan Zi 管子 discusses Legalism, Confucianism, Daoism, as well as military and agricultural aspects. Its abundance of historical information brings about great research value. It is said that the book was produced by Guan Zhong 管仲 , who lived in the Spring and Autumn period (770-476 BC). However, the existing Guan Zi, which was compiled by Liu Xiang 劉向 of the Western Han dynasty (206 BC–9 AD), only has 76 remaining chapters. Its contents are classified into 8 categories.
Guo Yu
Guo Yu 國語 (Discourses of the States) is regarded as a more detailed version of the Spring and Autumn Annals. It is a historical miscellanea about persons, events, and sayings of eight states, including Zhou, Lu, Qi, Jin, Zheng, Chu, Wu, and Yue during the Western
Zhou dynasty (1046–771 BC) and the Spring and Autumn period (770-476 BC). The records of Guo Yu are invaluable original historical materials; hence Sima Qian 司馬遷 absorbed many historical materials from it when he wrote Shi Ji 史記.
442Qunshu Zhiyao 360
Han Shi Wai Zhuan
Han Shi Wai Zhuan 韓詩外傳 is sometimes translated as
Illustrations of the Didactic Application of the Classic of Songs by
Han Ying 韓嬰. It is a commentary and complement to the Shi Jing
詩經 (Book of Odes) by Han Ying.
Han Shu
Han Shu 漢書 is sometimes translated as the History of the [Former]
Han Dynasty or Book of Han. It offers a detailed history of the Western
Han dynasty (206 BC–9 AD), and biographies of many individual
figures help to supplement the historical facts. Han Shu has 100
chapters. The author, Ban Gu 班固, started to write Han Shu based
on Hou Zhuan 後傳 (Later Traditions) written by his father Ban Biao
班彪 , but Ban Gu died and left the book unfinished in 92 AD. Ban
Gu’s sister Ban Zhao 班昭 continued working on it. It is regarded as
one of the Four Histories 四史 of the Twenty-Four Histories canon.
Han Zi
Han Zi 韓子 is also known as Han Fei Zi 韓非子. It is the work of
Han Fei 韓非 (280–233 BC), who was a great master of the Legalist
school during the Warring States period (475–221 BC), and was the
disciple of Xunzi 荀子. Han Fei inherited the theory from his teacher
Xunzi, which says human nature is evil, and proposed to govern a
country with punishment and reward.
He Guan Zi
He Guanzi 鶡冠子 was from the state of Chu in the Spring and
Autumn period (770-476 BC). He used a fighting bird’s feathers to
make his headwear (guan 冠); hence he got the name He Guanzi.
His book has 19 chapters and centers around Daoism.
Hou Han Shu
Hou Han Shu 後漢書, which is also translated as History of the
Later Han Dynasty or Book of the Later Han, is a second work after
Han Shu. The book covers the history of the Eastern Han period
(25–220), and was compiled in the 5th century by Fan Ye 范曄
(398–445). Like the Han Shu, Hou Han Shu is part of the early four
historiographies of the Twenty-Four Histories canon.
Huai Nan Zi
Huai Nan Zi 淮南子 was compiled by Western Han dynasty’s (206
BC–9 AD) Liu An 劉安 and some of the people who visited and
stayed with him. It is also known as Huai Nan Hong Lie 淮南鸿烈.
The writings exemplify Daoist thinking of the highest level, although
it should be noted that the book also combines Confucianism, Legalist thinking, ideas of Yin and Yang, as well as the Five Elements. It also records many legends and fairytales.
Huan Zi Xin Lun
Huan Zi Xin Lun 桓子新論 was written by Huan Tan 桓譚 (20 –56), a philosopher from the Eastern Han dynasty (25–220). He was widely read and good at music. The writings of Huan Tan had influenced the development of atheist thinking.
Jia Zi
Jia Zi 賈子 was written by Jia Yi 賈誼 (200–168 BC) from Luoyang. Jia Yi was a famous politician and writer. Jia Zi is also known as Xin Shu 新書. Jia Yi commented on contemporary politics numerous times and suggested the combination of power between the different states (as opposed to an individual ruler’s power) and the concentration on agriculture more than business.
Jiang Zi Wan Ji Lun
Jiang Zi Wan Ji Lun 蔣子萬機論 can be translated as Memorials to the Emperor by Jiang Zi. It was written by Jiang Ji 蔣濟 to King Wen 魏文帝 from the kingdom of Wei during the Three Kingdoms period (220–265).
Jin Shu
Jin Shu 晉書 is one of the official Chinese historical works. It covers the history of the Jin dynasty from 265 to 420. It was written by a number of officials who were commissioned by the court of the Tang dynasty (618–907). The lead editor was the prime minister Fang Xuan Ling 房玄齡. Jin Shu draws mostly from the official documents in earlier archives. The book also includes the history of the Sixteen Kingdoms which were contemporaneous with Eastern Jin (317–420). Several essays in the biographical volume were composed by Emperor Taizong of the Tang dynasty.
Kong Zi Jia Yu
Kong Zi Jia Yu 孔子家語 is sometimes known as the Familiar Discourses of Confucius. It is a book of famous sayings by Confucius compiled by Wang Su 王肅.
Lao Zi
Lao Zi 老子 (also known as Dao De Jing 道德經) is a Daoist philosophical work written in verse. The book has 81 chapters and is divided into two parts, namely dao (the Way) and de (virtues). It
444Qunshu Zhiyao 360
is regarded as the greatest classic of Daoism.
Li Ji
Li Ji 禮記 is variously translated as the Record of Rites, Classic of
Rites, Book of Rites, or Book of Customs. It was one of the Wu Jing
五經 (Five Classics). It describes the social forms, governmental
system, and ancient/ceremonial rites of the Zhou dynasty (1046–
256 BC). The original text is believed to have been compiled by
Confucius himself, but sadly, many Confucian classics (including
this book) were destroyed during the rule of Qin Shi Huang 秦始
皇, the "First Emperor of Qin dynasty" (221–206 BC). Hence, the
edition usually referred to today was edited and reworked by various
scholars during the Han dynasty (206 BC–220 AD), including Dai
De 戴德 (also called Senior Dai), who reworked the text in the 1st
Century BC, and his younger brother Dai Sheng 戴聖 (Junior Dai).
The Record of Rites known today is attributed to Dai Sheng.
Lie Zi
Lie Zi 列子 is an eight-volume book based on the compilation
of ideas from many books. Lie Zi discusses politics, economics,
military matters, philosophy, customs, and the natural sciences.
Liu Tao
Liu Tao 六韜, or the Six Strategies, is a famous book on the art of
war in ancient China. It consists of 6 chapters and 60 articles in
total, and it is the longest work on military strategies during the
pre-Qin days (before 221 BC). After the Western Han dynasty (206
BC–9 AD), Liu Tao began to spread widely. After the Tang dynasty
(618–907), militarists often quoted from Liu Tao. It was regarded
as the indispensable book for militarists in the Song dynasty (960–
Liu Yi Zheng Lun
Liu Yi Zheng Lun 劉廙政論 can be translated as Political Treatise
by Liu Yi. This 5-scroll book only has eight chapters left at present.
Lü Shi Chun Qiu
Lü Shi Chun Qiu 呂氏春秋, also known as Spring and Autumn
Annals of Premier Lü Bu Wei, is an encyclopedic Chinese classic
compiled around 239 BC under the patronage of Chancellor Lü Bu
Wei 吕不韋 of the Qin dynasty (221–206 BC). Its content is wideranging
and includes Confucianism, Daoism, as well as musical,
military and agricultural aspects. It is an important reference for
the research on the history of the early state of Qin. It is known for
its collection of anecdotes.
Lun Yu
Lun Yu 論語 (Analects of Confucius) was written by the disciples of Confucius during the Spring and Autumn period through to the Warring States period (475–221 BC). The Analects records the words and acts of Confucius and his disciples as well as the discussions they held. It offers the essential material for studying Confucianism. The chapters in the Analects are grouped by individual themes.
Mao Shi
Mao Shi 毛詩 (Classic of Poetry – Mao’s Edition), is also called Shi Jing 詩經 or the Classic of Poetry, Book of Songs, Book of Odes, or sometimes known simply by its original name, The Odes. It is the earliest existing collection of Chinese poems and songs. It comprises 305 poems and songs, with many ranging from 10–7 BC. As with all great literary works of ancient China, Shi Jing has been annotated and commented on numerous times throughout history. The annotations by the Han dynasty (206 BC–220 AD) scholar Mao Heng 毛亨 and his nephew Mao Chang 毛萇 are most well known and are considered authoritative.
Meng Zi
The main content of Meng Zi 孟子 (Book of Mencius) is the sayings of Mengzi or Mencius 孟子 and his disciples. Mencius proposed a theory of virtuous benevolence. He believes that humans are born with four moral characters: benevolence, righteousness, propriety, and wisdom. Humans would lose these moral characters if they did not maintain or develop them through practice. Hence, he insists that people pay attention to inner cultivation. Mencius proposed to engage benevolence to gain the allegiance of other countries instead of war.
Mo Zi
Mozi 墨子 was the founder of the Mohist School. He lived in the state of Lu 魯國, between the late Spring and Autumn period (770-476 BC) and the Warring States period (475–221 BC). Mozi thinks that Confucianism centers too much on proprieties. He believes in serving the interests of others by greatly sacrificing oneself. Further, he opposes invasion and war. The book Mo Zi is a philosophical text compiled by Mohists based on Mozi’s thoughts.
Qian Fu Lun
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Qian Fu Lun 潛夫論 (Comments of a Recluse) was written by Wang
Fu 王符 during the Eastern Han dynasty (25–220). The work
was named as such to hide his identity from the public. Wang
Fu criticized the contemporary government and revealed the
misconduct of government officials, including their extravagance
and oppression of the people.
San Lüe
San Lüe 三略 (Three Strategies) is divided into three parts: Shang
Lüe 上略, Zhong Lüe 中略, and Xia Lüe 下略. The first two parts
quote from military writings of the past, Jun Chen 軍讖 (Military
Prophecies) and Jun Shi 軍勢 (Military Power) and elaborates them,
while the third part is the author’s own discussion. Some attribute
the work to Huang Shi Gong 黃石公, but in recent research, it is
said that this book was written by an anonymous person between
the Qin dynasty (221–206 BC) and Han dynasty (206 BC–220 AD).
Shang Jun Zi
Shang Jun Zi 商君子 was written by Shang Yang 商鞅 and his students.
Shang Yang was an outstanding politician during the Warring States
period (475–221 BC). He believes in innovation. His theory has helped
Qin Shi Huang 秦始皇 (259–210 BC) unify China.
Shang Shu
Shang Shu 尚書 (Classic of History) or Shu Jing 書經 is a compilation
of documentary records related to events in ancient Chinese history.
Other translated titles of the book include Classic of Documents, Book
of History, or Book of Documents.
Shen Jian
Shen Jian 申鑒 (Mirrors of the Past, Lessons for the Future) was written
by Xun Yue 荀悦. Xun Yue was a politician and historian from the
late Eastern Han dynasty (25–220) who advocated Confucianism.
The book Shen Jian, which is divided into five chapters, uses historical
examples as advice on how to rule a country. It emphasizes benevolence
and righteousness as the moral foundation of human beings.
Shen Zi
Shen Zi 慎子 is a Legalist text by Shen Dao 慎到 (395–315 BC) from
the Warring States period (475–221 BC). Shen Dao believes in the use
of law to govern a country.
Shi Ji
Shi Ji 史記 (Records of History or Records of the Grand Historian),
written from 109–91 BC, was the Magnum opus of Sima Qian 司馬遷. Sima Qian recounted Chinese history from the time of the Emperor Huang (2600 BC) until Sima Qian’s own time, the Western Han dynasty (206 BC–9 AD) under the reign of Emperor Han Wu Di 漢武帝. It covers more than 3,000 years of Chinese history, and is divided into 130 scrolls. When compiling this book, Sima Qian consulted a wealth of literatures as well as archives and ancient books written by ordinary people. Interviews and field investigations were also employed to ensure the accuracy of the content. As the first systematic text on the history of ancient China, Shi Ji profoundly influenced Chinese historiography and prose.
Shi Zi
The book Shi Zi 尸子 was authored by Shi Jiao 尸佼 (390–330 BC) who lived in the state of Jin during the Warring States period (475–221 BC). Legend says that he was the teacher of Shang Yang 商鞅.
Shu Zhi
San Guo Zhi 三國志 (Records of the Three Kingdoms) is a 65-volume historical record on the three kingdoms of Wei, Shu and Wu (220–265). San Guo Zhi is divided into three books, and Shu Zhi 蜀志 (Book of Shu or Collected Biographies of the Kingdom of Shu) is one of them. Shu Zhi contains 15 volumes. San Guo Zhi records the important figures of that period. The histories of the ethnic minorities in China and those of the neighboring countries are also included. It was written mainly as a series of biographies by Chen Shou 陳壽 during the Jin dynasty, (265–420) and was annotated by Pei Song Zhi 裴松之 in Song (state) of the Southern dynasty (420–589).
Shuo Yuan
Shuo Yuan 說苑 (The Garden of Stories) was written by Liu Xiang 劉向 during the Western Han dynasty (206 BC–9 AD). It contains anecdotes from the ancient Qin dynasty (221–206 BC) to the Han dynasty (206 BC–220 AD), with arguments to publicize political thoughts, ethics, and morality propounded by Confucianism.
Si Ma Fa
Si Ma Fa 司馬法 (The Methods of Sima) is a book of military systems from ancient times. It summarizes the use of proprieties to manage the army during the Shang (1600–1046 BC) and Zhou dynasties (1046–256 BC).
Sun Qing Zi
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Sun Qing Zi 孫卿子 was also known as Xun Kuang 荀况 or Xunzi
荀子. He was a famous philosopher and educator from the state of
Zhao during the late Warring States period (475–221 BC). The work
Sun Qing Zi revolves around nature, understanding knowledge,
logical thoughts, ethical management, and how to rule a country.
Sun Zi
Sun Zi 孫子 or Sun Zi Bing Fa 孫子兵法 (Sun Zi’s Art of War) is
the world’s earliest military book extant in China. After the Song
dynasty (960–1279), it was listed as the first book of the Seven
Military Classics. This book was written by Sun Wu 孫武 at the end
of the Spring and Autumn period (770-476 BC). It has 13 articles
in total.
Ti Lun
Ti Lun 體論 (A Discourse on the Nature of Being) was written by
Du Shu 杜恕. There are altogether 8 chapters in this book. In Ti
Lun, Du Shu describes how to use proprieties in the five moral
relationships and in politics.
Wei Liao Zi
The book Wei Liao Zi 尉繚子, authored by Wei Liao 尉繚, is about
the management of army and power.
Wei Zhi
Wei Zhi 魏志 (Book of Wei or Collected Biographies of the Kingdom of
Wei) is from San Guo Zhi 三國志 (Records of the Three Kingdoms).
Wei Zhi consists of 30 volumes.
Wen Zi
Wen Zi 文子 has 12 volumes and elucidates the doctrine of Daoism.
This book is believed to be written around the middle to late
Warring States period (475–221 BC).
Wu Yue Chun Qiu
Wu Yue Chun Qiu 吴越春秋 (Spring and Autumn Annals of Wu and
Yue) is a historical record of the states of Wu and Yue during the
Spring and Autumn period (770-476 BC), and is attributed to Zhao
Ye 趙曄.
Wu Zhi
Wu Zhi 吴志 (Book of Wu or Collected Biographies of the Kingdom
of Wu), is also from San Guo Zhi 三國志 (Records of the Three
Kingdoms). It consists of 20 volumes.
Wu Zi
Wu Zi 吴子 records the discussion of war strategies between the Senior General, Wu Qi 吴起, and the Marquess Wen of Wei 魏文侯 and the Marquess Wu of Wei 魏武侯.
Xiao Jing
Xiao Jing 孝經 (Doctrine of Filial Piety), is also known as the Classic of Filial Piety. It is a Confucian classic giving advice on filial piety. This document probably dates back to 400 BC. Its true authorship is unknown, although the work is often attributed to one of Confucius’s disciple named Zengzi 曾子, who recorded the conversations between his teacher Confucius and himself.
Xin Xu
Xin Xu 新序 (The New Order) was written by Liu Xiang 劉向. Its main theme revolves around a benevolent government, as propounded by Confucianists. Liu Xiang saw the Han dynasty (206 BC–220 AD) weakening, so he wrote Xin Xu to criticize the ruler and to offer advice to government officials. He mocked feudalism and voiced men’s dissatisfaction with a feudal lord. As the focus is on pre-Qin (before 221 BC) experiences, the historical facts were not carefully verified. However, given the frequent use of fables, Xin Xu is of great literary value.
Xin Yu
The book Xin Yu 新語 (New Commentaries) was written by Lu Jia 陸賈 in the early Han dynasty. However, the title Xin Yu was not given by Lu Jia himself. This book shows Lu Jia’s attempt to help the first emperor of the Han dynasty (206 BC–220 AD), Han Gao Zu 漢高祖, summarize the lessons learned from the Qin (221–206 BC) and Han dynasties. The book promotes the use of Dao to govern a country.
Yan Tie Lun
Yan Tie Lun 鹽鐵論 (Discourse on Salt and Iron) was written by Huan Kuan 桓寛 during the Western Han dynasty (206 BC–9 AD). This 10-volume, 60-chapter book records the debates between the Han government and more than 60 virtuous scholars and intellectuals in Chang’an. The main debate was on the state monopole over salt and iron production and distribution in 81 BC, but issues of politics, economy, culture, and military matters were also brought up.
Yan Zi
The book Yan Zi 晏子 was written by Yan Ying 晏婴 from the
450Qunshu Zhiyao 360
Spring and Autumn period (770-476 BC). Yan Ying served as
a government official for Duke Ling of the state of Qi 齊靈公,
Duke Zhuang of Qi 齊莊公 and Duke Jing of Qi 齊景公. Yan Ying
encourages the thrifty management of the government. He also
believes in reducing punishment and taxes.
Yin Mou
Yin Mou 陰謀 (Secret Strategies) is a record of the questions and
answers between Jiang Tai Gong 姜太公 and King Wu 周武王 of
Zhou dynasty (1046–256 BC) with respect to the ways of ruling a
country and educating its people.
Yin Wen Zi
Yin Wen Zi 尹文子 was written by Yin Wen 尹文 during the
Warring States period (475–221 BC) is divided into two parts.
This philosophical treatise mainly describes the principles of good
politics. Yin Wen said: “If one cannot rule by the principles of Dao,
then use the law. If laws do not work, use tactics. If tactics fail, use
authority. Finally, if authority has no effect, use force/influence.”
Yu Zi
The author of the book Yu Zi 鬻子 is uncertain. The book offers
thorough knowledge of kind and compassionate governing of a
country. The welfare of the people is considered as the priority.
Also, Dao is promoted in Yu Zi.
Yuan Zi Zheng Shu
Yuan Zi Zheng Shu 袁子正書 was written by Yuan Zhun 袁准. Yuan
Zhun believes that one has to strike a balance between virtues and
laws when ruling a country.
Zeng Zi
Zengzi 曾子, also known as Zengsen 曾参 (505–436 BC) was a
student of Confucius from the state of Lu (1042–249 BC). He was
famous for his filial piety. The book expounds Zengzi’s thoughts
and has 18 chapters.
Zheng Yao Lun
Zheng Yao Lun 政要論 (A Discourse on the Importance of Politics)
was written by Huan Fan 桓范 from the Three Kingdoms (220–
265). This book discusses ways to deploy government officials.
Huan Fan believes that a country’s prosperity is dependent on a
leader’s humility and receptiveness of the advice given to him.
Zhong Lun
Zhong Lun 中論 (A Discourse on the Middle Way) was written by Xu Gan 徐干, a philosopher and poet. He was among the Jian-an-qi-zi 建安七子 or the seven famous poets in the late Eastern Han dynasty (25–220) who upheld Confucianism. Xu Gan was against exegetical studies. He believes that righteousness is of primary importance.
Zhou Li
Zhou Li 周禮 (Rites of Zhou) is one of three ancient ritual texts listed among the classics of Confucianism. It was later renamed Zhou Li by Liu Xin 劉歆. For many centuries this book was joined with the Li Ji 禮記 (Record of Rites) and the Yi Li 儀禮 (Etiquette and Rites) as the Three Rites of Chinese literature.
Zhou Shu
Zhou Shu 周書 (Book of Zhou or Documents of Zhou) records the official history of the Northern Zhou dynasty (557–581) and ranks among the official Twenty-Four Histories 二十四史 of imperial China. It was compiled by the Tang dynasty (618–907) historian Linghu Defen 令狐德棻 and was completed in 636 AD. It consists of 50 scrolls. Some chapters have been lost and were replaced by other sources.
Zhou Yi
Zhou Yi 周易 (Book of Changes) or Yi Jing 易經 dates back to 2800–2737 BC, the divinity system developed over time to become the most influential philosophy in the literature and government administration of the Zhou dynasty (1046–256 BC). Later, during the time of Spring and Autumn period (770-476 BC), Confucius is traditionally said to have written the Shi Yi 十翼, Ten Wings, a group of commentaries on Yi Jing. By the time of Emperor Han Wu Di 漢武帝 of the Western Han dynasty (206 BC–9 AD), Shi Yi was often called Yi Zhuan 易傳 (Commentary on the Yi Jing).
Zhuang Zi
Zhuang Zi 莊子, sometimes called the Book of Zhuang Zi, is a collection of the sayings of the Daoists written by Zhuang Zhou 莊周 and his students. Zhuang Zhou was a thinker from the Warring States period (475–221 BC). The book originally had 52 sections, but only 33 sections remain now. Being an important classic of Daoism, the content of Zhuang Zi is very close to that of Lao Zi. Zhuang Zi expresses the Daoist philosophy with many fables, leaving many vivid stories to later generations.
452Qunshu Zhiyao 360
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18, 2011, http://www.egreenway.com/taoism/ttclz63.htm.
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“Empress Zhangsun,” Wikipedia, last modified September 21, 2012,
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“Liu Tao,” ChinaCulture.Org, http://www1.chinaculture.org/created
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26, 2011, http://blog.sina.com.cn/s/blog_6f58baf001017j4l.html.
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Explained, SkyLight Paths, 2006, http://www.taoism.net/ttc/complete
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