The Ancient Orient - 900 AD
Civilization developed in east Asia even later than in India. Man reached the area very early, however. Homo Erectus, Neanderthalis and Homo Sapiens all have been found in the area. Homo Sapiens crossed a land bridge from Asia into Australia. Homo Sapiens Sapiens reached southeast Asia some time around 40,000 BC. Civilization in China however didn't develop until about 1500 BC.
Australia is a dry, isolated land with grasslands, forests or swamps in the north and east. Its long isolation allowed the development of a unique animal species, marsupials, the largest of which died off about 15000 years ago. Late during the last ice age, Australia was connected to Asia through a land bridge, which connected the islands of Polynesia and the continent. Sometime between 50-30,000 years ago man crossed this bridge and inhabited the continent. When the last ice age ended, Australia was again isolated. When Europeans found Australia, they called the people Aborigines.
The Aborigines were stone age peoples who lived as hunters and gatherers, while some fished. They wandered about in as many as 600 tribes. They knew their environment well and exploited it. Their technology was typically late Paleolithic, but they did develop the boomerang. There was some trade, but this was limited because their transitory lifestyle didn't allow for many possessions. Tribes respected other tribes' territory. Strong bonds of kinship kept domestic conflict at a minimum. They believed in an ancestoral period, "Dreamtime," when man was part animal, part bird. These ancestor spirits were in all things. They believed there was one life force in all things and so all things were considered equal. If a man died, his life force returned to its original source in "Dreamland."
Southeast Asia wasn't inhabited until some time between 40,000 and 13,000 BC. The area has two major river valleys, the Mekong and the Irrawaddy, the source of both of which is in modern Tibet. The climate is hot and humid and given to heavy rains (80 + ") during either of the monsoons. By 3000 BC rice-growers lived in Thailand. By 2500 BC the Nok Nok Tha had bronze. By 500 BC, the Dong Son of northern Vietnam were at the height of their bronze age, creating, among other things, huge decorated bronze drums. Their sea trade thrived because they had better boats and sails than most.
Civilization in China did not arise until circa 1600 BC on the Wei River, a tributary of the Hwang He. This river flows across a plain into the East China Sea. The plain is fertile because of the loess, a wind-blown soil deposited during the last ice age which is easily worked. The farmers lived in small villages and grew millet. Unfortunately the river is also given to unpredictable floods, for which the people called it the "river of sorrows". Crop surplus allowed for trade with the surrounding nomadic peoples and supported a non-agricultural population, which built cities. The first civilization is known as the Shang which appeared in 1500 BC. It was established by a military aristocracy which protected the cities and villages from the nomadic Zhou. The Shang ruler governed his own city and the surrounding lands. He ruled other territories through nobles, often his family, who owed him tribute and military service.
The Shang peasant lived in extended families headed by the eldest male. They paid a portion of their harvest to the king or ruling noble. Sometimes they were drafted for war or building projects. The Shang believed in many gods and spirits of nature. The head deity was Shang Ti, or Lord on High, who was served by dead kings and queens. Between the gods and man were their dead ancestors. The Shang ruler was considered the link between men and gods and as high priest led the prayers and sacrifices to their ancestors to intercede with the gods on their behalf. To consult with the ancestors, questions were written on ox shoulder bones and then thrown into a fire .The resulting cracks were thought to express the ancestors' advice. The Shang developed a writing system which began with pictograms, but later became idiomatic. The Shang script contained about 3000 symbols. Over time, the number increased to 50,000 until a recent reform simplified the system. Writing was usually done on thin bamboo strips which were tied together in bundles (even today Chinese is written in vertical columns). The Shang were excellent bronze workers. Other inventions were the yoke, the harness, the spoked wheel, the three of which eventually led to the chariot, which gave the Shang a military advantage. They also worked with fine white clay for pottery which led later to porcelain. They worked with silk, jade and ivory. They developed a decimal system and a 12 month, 365 1/4 day calendar.
In 1300 the Shang conquered the nomadic Zhou, who then settled into urban life. The Zhou were reunited by their leader Wen. When the Shang were on a military campaign in 1127, the Zhou rebelled and conquered the Shang under Wu Wang (the Martial king) in 1122. They established two capitals: one at Hao in the west near the confluence of the Wei and the Hwang He, and another at Luoyang further east on the Hwang He. A governor was placed over each, who in turn ruled through nobles who were given land grants. These land grants then passed from father to the first son of the first wife (called primogeniture). The Zhou leader visited every noble each year. To gain good relations with the people, the leader also plowed the first furrow each year. Their head deity was T'ien, "Heaven", the god of the sky and dead Zhou rulers. They believed the right to rule was issued by T'ien, who passed it to another if a ruler did not look out for the people (Mandate from Heaven). However weak rulers allowed regional independence to develop and the Mandate passed hands. In 771 BC, the west was invaded so the Zhou moved east. Then the nobles fought which allowed the government officials to gain power, and this created a lasting order: government officials, land owners, peasants and soldiers. Education became important. Iron was introduced. Farmers increased their yield due to new fertilizers, iron tools and the ox-drawn plow. This in turn caused an increase in population and an increase in territory. Trade increased so better roads were built. More towns were established and coined money was introduced. Unfortunately this also caused an increasingly widening gap between the haves and have-nots to develop. Some began to speculate on disasters, which caused others to lose their farms. The Zhou modernized their armies with a cavalry and the crossbow, yet unity still collapsed. Chinese civilization spread to the east coast and south into the Yangtze valley primarily because people were trying to escape the warfare and chaos. Between 500 and 200 BC, three philosophies developed to help settle the increasing confusion in Chinese society: Confucianism, Taoism, and Legalism.
In 551 BC Confucius was born. He became a scholar with a minor government position, and then a teacher. But he was troubled by the decay he saw in society, and suggested a code of conduct with high ethical standards. He tried to teach the warring nobles, but they rejected him. Not until after he died in 479 BC were his ideas accepted. His ideas were collected in the Analects. He taught that the harmony of society would be maintained by preserving peace and order between people and between people and their government. His teachings stressed a code of conduct for social and political relationships. These five relationships were between ruler and subject, parent and child, husband and wife, between siblings, and between friends. These relationships carried both responsibilities and duties which would help maintain a balanced society. A leader owed good government, a subject loyalty. Since he considered the family the most basic unit, he stressed filial piety (child respect for and obedience to the parents). His ideas helped shape later laws and family values. Confucius scholars would memorize two collections of his thoughts, the Four Books and the Five Classics. Many would then become government officials.
Another philosophy was Taoism, founded during the fifth century by Lao-tse, who is otherwise largely unknown. He did, however, write the Tao Te Ching, or The Way and Its Power. It this work, he expressed the idea that to attain a good society, the society must reach attunement to the Tao, a universal force, or feeling. This required contemplation. Social harmony was achieved by doing nothing. A good government would do little: "the more laws and edicts are imposed, the more thieves and bandits there will be." For the individual, spirits needed to be appeased through charms and magic: this made Taoism popular with the commoners. Many individuals withdrew from society to study nature. They developed the study of astronomy, chemistry and botany. It is possible Taoist scholars discovered gunpowder (to scare away evil spirits) and the magnetic compass (which helped the Europeans explore the world).
Finally there was Legalism, a philosophy developed by Han Fei Tzu, who died in 233 BC. He thought that a stable society could be achieved through a strict, efficient government with an absolute ruler. He thought that authority could not be questioned. His idea was that people were influenced by greed and fear, that government knew the best interests of the people, that obedience should be rewarded and disobedience punished. He had a low opinion of human nature which could be influenced only by threats.
In 234 BC Zheng battled for China and won. His empire covered all of modern China and more west to the Tien Shen Mts. He renamed himself Shi Huang Ti or First Emperor and established the Qin or Chin Dynasty. To control his nobles, he brought some 100,000 - 120,000 families to his capital of Xian-yang and forced them to destroy their fortresses and arsenals. He divided the empire into 36 provinces with a civil and a military leader for each. Opposition was silenced by executions; discipline of the people was kept by a strict enforcement of legalism. He burned all books which contained ideas other than those of which he approved. 460 Confucian scholars were buried alive. He built an efficient road system, dug canals, and standardized the weights and measures and coinage and writing system. To protect against the Mongol invaders, he connected many small walls and added new walls to build the Great Wall of China. This wall stretched 14-1500 miles, was 15-30 feet thick, had 25,000 watchtowers and 15,000 outposts, each with provisions for 4 months. Zheng ruled until 210 BC. To secure his afterlife, he constructed a tomb through the labors of some 700,000. In this tomb he had placed an army of terra cotta figures. The entrance was guarded by a crossbow.
The following adaptation is from an essay by the Han poet Chia I about the Qin:
The Ch’in cherished a desire to roll up the empire like a mat, to bind into one the whole world and to take all the law within the four seas. They were aided by a legalistic noble named Lord Shang who encouraged agriculture and weaving, built up the instruments of war, contracted military alliances and attacked the other feudal lords. Thus the men of Ch’in were able with ease to acquire territory east of the upper reaches of the Hwang He.
The other feudal lords in alarm came together to weaken the Ch’in. They organized an army, but the Ch’in defeated them. With its superior strength the Ch’in pressed the crumbling forces of its rivals, pursued those who fled in defeat, and overwhelmed the army of a million until their shields floated upon a river of blood. Following the advantages of its victory, the Ch’in gained mastery over the empire and divided up the land as it saw fit.
The First Emperor discarded the ways of the former kings and burned many books in order to make the people ignorant. He destroyed the major fortifications of the feudal states, assassinated their powerful leaders, collected all the arms of the empire, and had them brought to his capital where the spears and arrowheads were melted down to make twelve human statues. He garrisoned strategic points with skilled generals and expert bowmen and stationed trusted ministers and well-trained soldiers to guard the land and question all who passed back and forth.
After the death of the First Emperor an ordinary soldier named Ch’en She overthrew the Ch’in. A single commoner made the Ch’in a laughing stock of the world. Why? Because the Ch’in failed to rule with humanity and righteousness and to realize that the power to attack and the power to retain what one has thereby won are not the same.
Although Zheng was dead, his bureaucracy remained. But in 206 BC a farmer named Zhe Sheng (the soldier Ch’en She above) started a rebellion. The rebellion lasted for eight years until a commoner named Liu Bang gained control. He renamed himself Han and established the Han dynasty which lasted until 220 AD. He rule was less severe than that of the Qin. He lessened the punishment for crimes and lowered the taxes of farmers to 1/15 their produce yearly and required of them 1 month's labor. He divided the empire into 108 provinces each ruled by a governor. The provinces were further divided into regions with administrations answerable to the king's ministers. Taxes were collected from the villages based on the census lists of the village leaders. To become an official under the Han, one had to prove ability through a civil service test. One might then be nominated by a governor to go to the capital to take the test, or by local leaders to attend the Grand College. Literature slowly revived under the Han. Many works were rewritten from memory.
In 140 BC Wu Di, the Warrior Emperor, came to the throne. He drove off the Xiong Nu (Huns) and extended Chinese rule into Korea (108) and Vietnam (100). He died in 87 BC leaving a peaceful, thriving China. Because of Confucius' ruler/subject relationship, Wu Di made Confucianism the state philosophy. To become a state official, one was required to memorize Confucian texts, Chinese history and laws (some 960 scrolls). Testing occurred on a local, regional (when one was locked in a room for 3 days) and national (before the emperor) level. Culturally, by 100 AD the writing system included 10,000+ symbols. Paper was invented. An historian, Ssu-Ma Chi'en wrote Memories of an Historian. Wang Chung said "Eclipses are regular occurrences". Accurate records were kept of sunspots. An accurate calendar was developed which was used until 1912. They also developed a seismograph. Other inventions were the wheelbarrow, windmill, and better looms.
Trade flourished. They traded silks, porcelains, bronze and spices with Rome for horses, rugs and glass. So much silk was carried overland to the west that the route came to be called the Silk Road. Trade was also conducted by sea with Japan, Korea and India. They traded with Bactria for alfalfa, grapes and bigger horses. This east-west trade passed through many hands: The eastern Roman empire became quite rich. The Parthians protected this route and collected fees, although the goods could only be transported by Parthian merchants. Sometimes disease and plagues followed the Route, as occurred under the Roman emperor Aurelius.
Missionaries, especially Buddhist missionaries also used these routes to reach China, Japan and Korea. At first they were well-received because of their respect for life, like the Taoists. But the expectation of withdrawal was in conflict with the Chinese devotion to family. Intellectuals liked its ideas and peasants liked its recognition of their pain and suffering. By the 2nd century AD, there was a Buddhist (Mahayanan) temple in the capital. Chinese scholars, like Fan Xian (399 - 414) traveled to India to study.
The Han dynasty collapsed in 220 AD because of weak leaders and a bad economy. Contact with Rome ended but trade with India continued. The economy went bad in part because of the increasing costs of the defense of long borders. By 100 AD huge estates were owned by families, the members of which became government officials who then took their family names off the tax lists. This caused the taxes on the poor to increase. To pay, they had to sell their land and then became tenant farmers. Some simply gave up and became criminals or fled to undeveloped areas on the southern border. In some instances, rather than fight, the rulers allowed barbarians to settle inside the borders. In 160 AD, the rich landed families began to fight and the peasants rebelled. Han rulers tried to suppress the fighting with their armies, but the soldiers were loyal to their generals who fought for their share of the empire. By 200 AD the empire was split into three parts: in the north, Wei; in the west, Han; in the south, Wu. Although there was constant fighting, it was romanticized in the epic Tale of the Three Kingdoms. By 220 AD, the western Han kingdom collapsed.
In 304 AD, barbarians invaded Wei. They were pastoralists on horseback who easily defeated the farmers. But then they settled into Chinese ways. The period 304 - 439 AD was known as the Era of the 16 Kingdoms, a period when rule was shared by barbarians and Chinese. Intermarriage and new military techniques created a new aristocracy. Then in 385 AD a barbarian, Toba, conquered Wei. The barbarians became the soldiers while the Chinese served as the government officials. The land was redistributed: 20 acres per nuclear family (when the male died, the land returned to the state). Collective responsibility was established: 5 families became a neighborhood; 5 neighborhoods became a village; 5 villages became an association with a leader of each unit to maintain discipline ( a unit was responsible for the behavior of all its members) and collect the taxes. Eventually the barbarians were ordered to give up their native tongue which caused a rebellion and the collapse of Wei.
Between 220 and 589 AD, Wu was ruled by 6 dynasties, the rulers of which traced their ancestors to the Han rulers. When the north was invaded by barbarians, the wealthy families fled south. The area was warmer and wetter, good for rice (2-3 crops per year, which caused a higher population). The south was richer and better educated. They continued trade with India. In 589, the Sui dynasty came to power and began the reunification of China. They ruled until 618.
In 618, the Tang came to power and ruled the largest extent of Chinese territory and cultural influence until 907 AD. Because the south had been developed and it produced much extra rice, the population increased (doubled between 720 – 1250 AD). Cities arose on the coast and in the major river valleys. During the 8th and 9th centuries, the Tang capital of Changan was the largest city in the world. The city was laid out in a rectangular pattern with 2-storied houses with gardens, a park, a zoo and a large marketplace. To help with the transportation of rice from the south and wheat from the north, the Sui had built the Grand Canal between the Hwang He and the Yangtze, complete with weigh stations. By 750, the canal system was extensive. There was much excess produce: the wealthy used the excess to purchase luxury goods. Trade revived with the Middle East, and increased with India and Africa, primarily through the Arabs. A merchant middle class slowly developed, but they were considered parasites by the wealthy. This trade however introduced new goods and better farming techniques which increased produce, the population and wealth.
Tang government continued under Confucius ideas, although the tests became harder (99 out of 100 failed). Government positions were open to all, but few could afford the education required for the tests. But a position gave the holder a high social position, so that the holders tended to be loyal. In 618, Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism were equally important. By the 9th century, Buddhism, always resented by Confucius scholars, became superstitious and declined in importance. Buddhist monasteries had gained much land, but the Tang rulers took most of the land and required they pay taxes on the remainder. One Tang ruler destroyed 40,000 shrines and 4,000 monasteries. Buddhism never fully recovered.
The wealthy moved to the cities under the Tang and bought books, paintings and art for their homes. Porcelain was perfected for pottery and figurines. Poetry was written about human emotions, nature, etc. The Taoist poet Li Po wrote:
"My friend is lodging in the eastern range, Dearly loving the beauty of the valleys and hills ..., A pine-tree wind dusts his sleeves and coat, A pebbly stream cleans his heart and ears. I envy you who far from strife and talk, Are high-propped on a pillow of gray mist."
The increased population and wealth encouraged the growth of cities and created more jobs to feed the demands of the wealthy. Many moved to them to become artisans, shopkeepers, servants, actors, etc.
The Tang invaded and temporarily held Korea, but they were culturally and linguistically different. The Koreans learned Chinese to study Confucian texts and learned Chinese governmental systems to rule their lands, but maintained their identity.
Han Fei. A Legalist Writer: Selections from The Writings of Han Fei
(c. 230 BCE)
[ Andrea introduction] Daoism offered no active political program, whereas Confucius and his disciples preached a doctrine of benevolent reform based on virtuous imitation of the past. A third school of thought that emerged in the chaos of the late Zhou era was Legalism, which rejected both the Way of Nature, as embraced by Daoists, and Confucianism’s emphasis on the primacy of the moral way of antiquity. Legalist writers, to the contrary, emphasized law as government’s formulative force and advocated a radical restructuring of society in ways that were totally rational and up-to-date.
Legalism reached its apogee in the late third century B. C. in the writings of Han Fei Zu (Master Han Fei) and the policies of Emperor Qin She Huang Di. Han Fei was a prince of the state of Han who defected to its chief rival, the state of Qin, but eventually he ran afoul of Qin’s Chief Minister, Li Si (d 208 BC) and was forced to commit suicide in 233 BC. Before he died, he composed a number of essays on how to construct a stable and peaceful state. The following selections present Han Fei’s major principles of political philosophy.
No country is permanently strong. Nor is any country permanently weak. If conformers to law are strong, the country is strong; if conformners to law are weak, the counrry is weak.
Any ruler able to expel private crookedness and uphold public law, finds the people safe and the state in order; and any ruler able to expunge private action and act on public law, finds his army strong and his enemy weak. So, find out men following the discipline of laws and regulations, and place them above the body of officials. Then the sovereign cannot be deceived by anybody with fraud and falsehood....
Therefore, the intelligent sovereign makes the law select men and makes no arbitrary promotion himself. He makes the law measure mezlb and makes no arbitrary regulation himself. In consequence, able men cannot be obscured, bad characters cannot be disguised; falsely praised fellows cannot be advanced, wrongly defamed people cannot be degraded.
To govern the state by law is to praise the right and blame the wrong.
The law does not fawn on the noble... .Whatever the law applies to, the wise cannot reject nor can the brave defy. Punishment for fault never skips ministers, reward for good never misses commoners. Therefore, to correct the faults of the high, do rebuke the vices of the low, to suppress disorders, to decide against mistakes, to subdue the arrogant, to straighten the crooked, and to unify the folkways of the masses, nothing could match the law. To warn the officials and overawe the people, to rebuke obscenity and danger, and to forbid falsehood and deceit, nothing could match penalty. If penalty is severe, the noble cannot discriminate against the humble. If law is definite, the superiors are esteemed and not violated. If the superiors are not violated, the sovereign will become strong and able to maintain the proper course of government. Such was the reason why the early kings esteemed Legalism and handed it down to posterity. Should the lord of men discard law and practice selfishness, high and law would have no distinction.
THE TWO HANDLES
The means whereby the intelligent ruler controls his ministers are two handles only. The two handles are chastisement and commendation. What are meant by chastisement and commendation? To inflict death or torture upon culprits, is called chastisement; to bestow encouragements or rewards on men of merit, is called commendation.
Ministers are afraid of censure and punishment but fond of encouragement and reward. Therefore, if the lord of men uses the handles of chastisement and commendation, all ministers will dread his severity and turn to his liberality. The villainous ministers of the age are different. To men they hate they would by securing the handle of chastisement from the sovereign ascribe crimes; on men they love they would by securing the handle of commendation From the sovereign bestow rewards. Now supposing the lord of men placed the authority of punishment and the profit of reward not in his hands but let the ministers administer the affairs of reward and punishment instead, then everybody in the country would fear the ministers and slight the ruler, and turn to the ministers and away from the ruler. This is the calamity of the ruler’s loss of the handles of chastisement and commendation.
from W.L. Liano, trans. The Complete Works of Han Fei Tzu, (London: Arthur Probsthain, 1939), pp. 40,45-47 repr. in Alfred J. Andrea and James H. Overfield, The Human Record: Sources of Global History, Vol 1, 2d. ed., (Boston: Houghton Muffin, 1994), pp. 95-97
1. Why is law necessary to the state?
2. How does it help the state?
3. How does it help the ruler?
4. How is it fair to all?
5. What are the Two Handles (explain each)?
6. How will they help the ruler control the Nobles?
Han Fei-tzu (d. 233 BCE): Legalist Views on Good Government
The Confucian ideal of “government through virtue” and the tendency of Confucianists to seek guidance in the rule of former kings was strongly criticized by another school of thought: the Legalists or School of Law. According to the Legal ists, neither the wisdom of ancient kings nor an ethical code would make a state strong. Instead “good” and “bad” were defined by whatever the self-interest of the ruler demanded. A system of harsh punishments and rewards, regulated through laws and enforced without exceptions, should guarantee good behavior within the state. The Legalists considered military service and agriculture as the only occupations beneficial to the welfare of the state and discouraged all scholarship.
The state of Qin in Western China was the first to adopt Legalist doctrines. The Qin were so successful that by 221 BCE they had conquered the other Chinese states and unified the empire after centuries of war. The following paragraph was taken from Han Fei-tzu, The “[book of] Master Han Fei,” chapter 50. Han Fei-tzu had studied under the Confucian scholar Hsun-tzu and became the major theorist of the Legalist school. Confucian scholars vigorously denounced his teachings in a/l subsequent generations; yet his harsh pragmatism, often compared to that of Machiavelli and Kautilya, more accurately explains the actions of many rulers than does the idealistic Confucian model.
When a sage governs a state, he does not rely on the people to do good out of their own will. Instead, he sees to it that they are not allowed to do what is not good. If he relies on people to do good out of their own will, within the borders of the state not even ten persons can be counted on [to do good]. Yet, if one sees to it that they are not allowed to do what is not good, the whole state can be brought to uniform order. Whoever rules should consider the majority and set the few aside: He should not devote his attention to virtue, but to law.
If it were necessary to rely on a shaft that had grown perfectly straight, within a hundred generations there would be no arrow. If it were necessary to rely on wood that had grown perfectly round, within a thousand generations there would be no cart wheel If a naturally straight shaft or naturally round wood cannot be found within a hundred generations, how is it that in all generations carriages are used and birds shot? Because tools are used to straighten and bend. But even if one did not rely on tools and still got a naturally straight shaft or a piece of naturally round wood, a skillful craftsman would not value this. Why? Because it is not just one person that needs to ride and not just one arrow that needs to be shot. Even if without relying on rewards and punishments there would be someone doing good out of his own will, an enlightened ruler would not value this. Why? Because a state’s law must not be neglected, and not just one person needs to be governed. Therefore, the skilled ruler does not go after such unpredictable goodness, but walks the path of certain success....
Praising the beauty of Ma Ch’iang or Hsi shih (1) does not improve your own face. But using oil to moisten it, and powder and paint will make it twice as attractive.
Praising the benevolence and righteousness of former kings does not improve your own rule. But making laws and regulations clear and rewards and punishments certain, is like applying oil, powder and paint to a state.
An enlightened ruler holds up facts and discards all that is without practical value. Therefore he does not pursue righteousness and benevolence, and he does not listen to the words of scholars. These days, whoever does not understand how to govern will invariably say: “Win the hearts of the people.” If winning the hearts of the people is all that one needs in order to govern, a Yi Yin or a Kuan Ch~g (2) would be useless. Listening to the people would be enough. But the wisdom of the people is useless:
They have the minds of little infants! If an infant’s head is not shaved, its sores will spread, and if its boil is not opened, it will become sicker. Yet while its head is being shaved and its boil opened, one person has to hold it tight so that the caring mother can perform the operation, and it screams and wails without end. Infants and children don’t understand that the small pain they have to suffer now will bring great benefit later.
Likewise, if the people are forced to till their land and open pastures in order to increase their future supplies, they consider their ruler harsh. If the penal code is being revised and punishments are made heavier in order to wipe out evil deeds, they consider their ruler stern. If light taxes in cash and grain are levied in order to fill granaries and the treasury so that there will be food in times of starvation and sufficient funds for the army, they consider their ruler greedy. If it is required that within the borders everybody is familiar with warfare, that no one is exempted from military service, and that the state is united in strength in order to take all enemies captive, the people consider their ruler violent. These four types of measures would all serve to guarantee order and peace, yet the people do not have the sense to welcome them. Therefore one has to seek for an enlightened [ruler] to enforce them.
(1) The beauty of these women is proverbially famous.
(2) Ancient Chinese statesmen famous for their wisdom.
Translated by Lydia Gerber
This is an excerpt from Reading About the World, Volume 1, edited by Paul Brians, Mary Galiwey, Douglas Hughes, Azfar Hussain, Richard Law, Michael Myers, Michael Neville, Roger Schlesinger, Alice Spitzer, and Susan Swan and published by Harcourt Brace Custom Books.
1. How does a wise ruler ensure order in the state?
2. Explain the metaphor.
3. How would an unskilled ruler try to rule? Explain the metaphor used to correct this belief.
4. Why would the people consider the ruler harsh? Because of this, what type ruler is needed? And what will he accomplish?
Kungfusi - @ 500 BC
The Analects, excerpts
Themes in Confucian Teaching
Jen - Humaneness; Junzi (chUn-tzu)- the Superior Man, or Gentleman, or Scholar; Li - Rites; Yueh -Music; Learning and Teaching; Government; Rectifying The Names
XII22: Fan-ch’ih asked about jen. The Master said, “It is to love all men.” He asked about knowledge. “It is to know all men.” Fan ch’ih did not immediately understand these answers. The Master said, “Employ the upright and put aside all the crooked; in this way, the crooked can be made to be upright.”
VII.29: The Master said, “Is humaneness a thing remote? I wish to be humane, and behold! humaneness is at hand.”
VI28: Tzu-kung said, “Suppose I put the case of a man who extensively confers benefits on the people, and is able to assist everyone, what would you say about him? Might he be called perfectly humane?” The Master said, “Why speak only of humaneness in connection with him? Must he not have the qualities of a sage?. . . Now the man of perfect humaneness, wishing to be established himself, seeks also to establish others; wishing to be enlarged himself, he seeks also to enlarge others. To be able to judge of others by what is nearby in ourselves, that is what we might call the art of humaneness.”
XV.23: Tzu-kung asked, saying, “Is there one world which may serve as a rule of practice for all one’s life?” The Master said, “Is not reciprocity such a word? What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others.
XIV36: Someone said, “What do you say concerning the principle that injury should be recompensed with kindness?” The Master said, “With what then will you recompense kindness? Recompense injury with justice, and recompense kindness with kindness.”
VII.15: The Master said, “With coarse rice to eat, with water to drink, and my bended arm for a pillow; I still have joy in the midst of these things. Riches and honors acquired by inhumanity are to me as a floating cloud.”
IV.25: The Master said, “Virtue is not left to stand alone. He who practices it will have neighbors.”
XV.8: The Master said, “The determined scholar and the man of virtue will not seek to live at the expense of humanity. They will even sacrifice their lives to preserve their humanity.”
VII.6: The Master said, “Let the will be set on the path of duty. Let every attainment in what is good be firmly grasped. Let perfect virtue be accorded with. Let relaxation and enjoyment be found in the polite arts.”
The Superior Man (chun-tzu)2
XX.3: The Master said, “Without recognizing the ordinances of Heaven, it is impossible to be a superior man (chun tzu).”
XV.17: The Master said, “The superior man in everything considers righteousness to be essential. He performs it according to the rules of propriety (11). He brings it forth in humility. He completes it with sincerity. This is indeed a superior man.”
XV.31: The Master said, “The object of the superior man is truth, not food. . . . The superior man is anxious lest he should not get truth; he is not anxious lest poverty should come upon him.”
IV.16: The Master said, “The mind of the superior man is conversant with virtue; the mind of the base man is conversant with gain.”
IV.5: The Master said, “Riches and honors are what men desire. If they cannot be obtained in the proper way, they should not be held. Poverty and baseness are what men dislike. If they cannot be avoided in the proper way, they should not be avoided.. . . The superior man does not, even for the space of a single meal, act contrary to virtue. In moments of haste, he cleaves to it. In seasons of danger, he cleaves to it.”
XV.20: The Master said, “What the superior man seeks, is in himself What the mean man seeks, is in others.”
XII.4: Ssu-ma Niu asked about the superior man. The Master said, “The superior man has neither anxiety nor fear.” “Being without anxiety or fear!” said Ssu-ma, “does this constitute what we call the superior man?” The Master said, “When internal examination discovers nothing wrong, what is there to be anxious about, what is there to fear?”
XIV.24: The Master said, “The progress of the superior man is upwards; the progress of the mean man is downwards.”
XVI.8: Confucius said, “There are three things of which the superior man stand in awe. He stands in awe of the ordinances of Heaven. He stands in awe of great men. He stands in awe of the words of the sages. The mean man does not know the ordinances of Heaven, and consequently does not stand in awe of them. He is disrespectful to great men. He makes sport of the words of the sages.”
X1V.29: The Master said, “The superior man is modest in his speech, but exceeds in his actions.”
XV.18: The Master said, “The superior man is distressed by his want of ability. He is not distressed by men not knowing of him.”
XVII1: The Master said, “The superior man is dignified, but does not wrangle. He is sociable, but not partisan.”
XVII.24: Tzu-kung asked, “Has the superior man his hatreds also?” The Master said, “He has his hatreds. He hates those who proclaim the evil of others. He hates the man who, being in a low station, slanders his superiors. He hates those who have valor merely, and are unobservant of propriety (11). He hates those who are forward and determined, and, at the same time, of contracted understanding.”
XVI1O: Confucius said, “The superior man has nine things which are subjects with him of thoughtful consideration. In regard to the use of his eyes, he is anxious to see clearly. In regard to the use of his ears, he is anxious to hear distinctly. In regard to his countenance, he is anxious that it should be benign. In regard to his speech, he is anxious that it should be sincere. In regard to his doing of business, he is anxious that it should be reverently careful. In regard to what he doubts about, he is anxious to question others. When he is angry, he thinks of the difficulties his anger may involve him in. When he sees gain to be got, he thinks of righteousness.”
XJX.9: Tw-hsia3 said, “The superior man undergoes three changes. Looked at from a distance, he appears stern; when approached, he is mild; when he is heard to speak, his language is firm and decided.”
XV36: The superior man is correctly firm, and not merely firm.
Li (Rites )4
III.3: The Master said, “If a man be without the virtues proper to humanity,5 what has he to do with the rites of propriety6? If a man be without the virtues of humanity, what has he to do with music?”
VIII.2: The Master said, “Respectfulness, without the rules of propriety,7 becomes laborious bustle; carefulness, without the rules of propriety, becomes timidity; boldness, without the rules of propriety, becomes insubordination; straightforwardness, without the rules of propriety, becomes rudeness.”
III.4: Lin Fang asked what was the first thing to be attended to in ceremonies. The Master said, “A great question, indeed! In festive ceremonies, it is better to be sparing than extravagant. In the ceremonies of mourning, it is better that there be deep sorrow than a minute attention to the observances.”
III.26: The Master said, “High station filled without indulgent generosity; ceremonies performed without reverence; mourning conducted without sorrow, wherewith should I contemplate such ways?”
XL1: The Master said, “The men of former times, in the matters of ceremonies and music,8 were rustics, it is said, while the men of these latter times, in ceremonies and music, are accomplished gentlemen. If I have occasion to use those things, I follow the men of former times.”
III.17: Tzu Kung wished to do away with the offering of a sheep connected with the inauguration of the first day of each month. The Master said, “Tzu Kung, you love the sheep; I love the ceremony.”
III.23: The Master instructing the Grand music master of Lu said, “How to play music may be known. At the commencement of the piece, all the parts should sound together. As it proceeds, they should be in harmony, severally distinct and flowing without a break, and thus on to the conclusion.”
IX.14: The Master said, “I returned from Wei to Lu, and then the music was reformed, and the pieces in the Imperial songs and Praise songs found all their proper place.”
Learning and Teaching
IX.4: There were four things from which the Master was entirely free. He had no foregone conclusions, no arbitrary predeterminations, no obstinacy, and no egotism.
XVLL.2: The Master said, “By nature, men are nearly alike; by practice, they get to be wide apart.”
XVI.9: Confucius said, “Those who are born with the possession of knowledge are the highest class of men. Those who learn, and so readily get possession of knowledge, are the next. Those who are dull and stupid, and yet compass the learning are another class next to these. As to those who are dull and stupid and yet do not learn--they are the lowest of the people.”
VII.8: The Master said, “I do not open up the truth to one who is not eager to get knowledge, nor help out any one who is not anxious to explain himself. When I have presented one corner of a subject to any one, and he cannot from it learn the other three, I do not repeat my lesson.”
IV.9: The Master said, “A scholar, whose mind is set on truth, and who is ashamed of bad clothes and bad food, is not fit to be discoursed with.”
VIII12: The Master said, “It is not easy to find a man who has learned for three years without coming to be good.”
X11.15: The Master said, “By extensively studying all learning, and keeping himself under the restraint of the rules of propriety, one may thus likewise not err from what is right.”
IX8: The Master said, “The course of learning may be compared to what may happen in raising a mound. If there want but one basket of earth to complete the work, and I stop, the stopping is my own work. It may be compared to throwing down the earth on the level ground. Though but one basketful is thrown at a time, the advancing with it is my own going forward.”
X1V.47: A youth of the village of Ch’ueh was employed by Kung to early the messages between him and his visitors. Someone asked about him, saying, “I suppose he has made great progress.” The Master said, “I observe that he is fond of occupying the seat of a full-grown man; I observe that he walks shoulder to shoulder with his elders. He is not one who is seeking to make progress in learning. He wishes quickly to become a man.”
XIV.25: The Master said, “In ancient times, men learned with a view to their own improvement. Nowadays, men learn with a view to the approbation of others.”
XV.29: The Master said, “To have faults and not to reform them--this, indeed, should be pronounced having faults.”
IX.28: The Master said, “The wise are free from perplexities; the virtuous from anxiety; and the bold from fear.”
II.7: Tzu-kung asked about government. The Master said, “The requisites of government are that there be sufficiency of food, sufficiency of military equipment, and the confidence of the people in their ruler.” Tzu Kung said, “If it cannot be helped, and one of these must be dispensed with, which of the three should be foregone first?” “The military equipment,” said the Master. Tzu Kung again asked, “If it cannot be helped and one of the remaining two must be dispensed with, which of them should be foregone?” The Master answered, “Part with the food. From of old, death has been the lot of humanity; but if the people have no faith in their rulers, there is no standing for the state.”
XII14: Tzu-chang asked about government. The Master said, “The art of governing is to keep its affairs before the mind without weariness, and to practice these affairs with undeviating consistency.”
XI1.19: Chi K’ang-tzu asked Confucius about government, saying, “What do you say to killing unprincipled people for the sake of principled people?” Confucius replied, “Sir, in carrying on your government, why should you use killing at all? Let your evinced desires be for what is good, and the people will be good. The relation between superiors (chuntzu) and inferiors is like that between the wind and the grass. The grass must bend, when the wind blows across it.”
XIII.6: The Master said, “When a prince’s personal conduct is correct, his government is effective without the issuing of orders. If his personal conduct is not correct, he may issue orders, but they will not be followed.”
VII.lO: The Master said to Yen Yuen, “When called to office, undertake its duties; when not so called, then lie retired.. . Tzu-lu said, “If you had the conduct of the armies of a great state, whom would you have to act with you?” The Master said, “I would not have him to act with me, who will unarmed attack a tiger, or cross a river without a boat, dying without any regret. My associate must be the man who proceeds to action full of caution, who is fond of adjusting his plans, and then carries them into execution.”
XIV.23: Tzu-lu asked how a sovereign should be served. The Master said, “Do not impose on him, and, moreover, withstand him to his face.”
III.18: The Master said, “The full observance of the rules of propriety9 in serving one’s prince is accounted by people to be flattery.”
XI23: “What is called a great minister10, is one who serves his prince according to what is right, and when he finds he cannot do so, retires.”
XIV.l: Hsien asked what was shameful. The Master said, “When good government prevails in a state, to be thinking only of one’s salary. When bad government prevails, to be thinking, in the same way, only of one’s salary. That is what is shameful.”
IX.13: “When a country is well governed, poverty and mean condition are things to be ashamed of. When a country is poorly governed, riches and honor are things to be ashamed of.”
XIV.20: The Master was speaking about the unprincipled actions of the duke Ling of Wei, when K’ang Tzu said, “Since he is of such a character, how is it he does not lose his throne?” Kung Fu-Tzu said, “Chung-shu Yu has the superintendence of his guests and strangers; the litanist, T’uo, has the management of his ancestral temple; and Wang-sun Chia has the direction of the army and forces: with such officers as these, how should he lose his throne?”
Rectifying the Names
XI1.17: Chi Kang-tzu asked Confucius about government. Confucius replied, “To govern (cheng) means to rectify (cheng).11 If you lead on the people with correctness, who will dare not to be correct?”
XIII.3: Tzu-lu said, “The prince of Wei has been waiting for you, in order that you administer (cheng) the government. What will you consider the first thing to be done?” The Master replied, “What is necessary is to rectify (cheng) names.” “So, indeed!” said Tzu-lu. “You are wide of the mark. Why must their be such rectification?” The Master said, “How uncultivated you are, Yu! A superior man, in regard to what he does not know, shows a cautious reserve. If names be not correct, language is not in accordance with the truth of things. If language be not in accordance with the truth of things, affairs cannot be carried on to success. When affairs cannot be carried on to success, proprieties (li ) and music (yueh) will not flourish. When proprieties and music do not flourish, punishments will not be properly awarded. When punishments are not properly awarded, the people do not know how to move hand or foot. Therefore a superior man considers it necessary that the names he uses may be spoken appropriately, and also that what he speaks may be carried out appropriately. What the superior man requires, is just that in his words there may be nothing incorrect.”
1 See the introduction above for the meaning of this word. From this point on, I will use “humaneness” or “humanity” or “virtue” to translate this word rather than Legge’s
2. Or the “gentleman.”
3 This is Pu Shang, a disciple of Confucius and the man primarily responsible for the transmission of the Confucian Classics. He figures prominently in Analects XIX.
4 Li refers to more than just “rites,” but also means something like “decorum,” “propriety,” or “manners,” that is, all those traditional, stable and ritualized forms of
behavior which govern our day to day conduct. The word does, however, sometimes
refer specifically to religious or political rituals.
5. “The virtues proper to humanity” is another way of translating jen.
6 “Rites of propriety” is a translation of ii.
7. The “rules of propriety” is another way of translating ii.
8. Li and Yüeh.
10 That is, a minister or servant to a prince.
11. Or “correct.” The meaning of this sentence derives, of course, from the similarities between the word “to govern” and “to correct.”
XII.22: How do jen and knowledge work together?
VI.28: What is the art of humaneness?
XV.23: Does the west have its equal? What?
XIV.36: What is he saying here? Does it conflict with XV.23? How (not)?
XV.31: What is truth to the superior man?
IV.5: What role does the proper way play in our lives? How and to what end?
XV.20: What is the difference between the mean man and the superior man?
XII.4: How do we escape anxiety and fear?
XVI.8: What is the difference between the superior man and the mean man?
XVII.24: What does the superior man hate?
XVI.10: What are the nine considerations of the superior man?
XVI.9: What are the classes of men? What divides each from the other?
VII.8: What is the limit on teaching?
VIII.12: What is gained from learning?
II.7: What is required of government? Rank them. Which is on top and why?
XII.19: What does he say about capital punishment? What is his alternative?
XIII.6: How does the effective ruler rule?
VII.10: Who is the best general?
XIV.23: What is the relationship of the ruled to the ruler?
-XIV.23 -III.8 XI.23
XIV.1: What is shameful in a government employee?
XIV.20: What supports the mean leader? How does this idea fit into Confucius’ overall belief?