Follow us on Facebook to receive important updates - thanks for your support! Follow us on Twitter to receive important updates - thanks for your support! Follow us on sina.com's microblogging site to receive important updates - thanks for your support! Follow us on Douban to receive important updates - thanks for your support!
Chinese Text Project
Show translation:[None] [English]

《大學 - Da Xue》

English translation: James Legge [?]
Books referencing 《大學》 Library Resources
[Also known as: "The great learning"]

1 大學:
大學之道,在明明德,在親民,在止於至善。知止而後有定,定而後能靜,靜而後能安,安而後能慮,慮而後能得。物有本末,事有終始,知所先後,則近道矣。
Da Xue:
What the Great Learning teaches, is to illustrate illustrious virtue; to renovate the people; and to rest in the highest excellence. The point where to rest being known, the object of pursuit is then determined; and, that being determined, a calm unperturbedness may be attained to. To that calmness there will succeed a tranquil repose. In that repose there may be careful deliberation, and that deliberation will be followed by the attainment of the desired end. Things have their root and their branches. Affairs have their end and their beginning. To know what is first and what is last will lead near to what is taught in the Great Learning.

2 大學:
古之欲明明德於天下者,先治其國;欲治其國者,先齊其家;欲齊其家者,先修其身;欲修其身者,先正其心;欲正其心者,先誠其意;欲誠其意者,先致其知,致知在格物。物格而後知至,知至而後意誠,意誠而後心正,心正而後身修,身修而後家齊,家齊而後國治,國治而後天下平。自天子以至於庶人,壹是皆以修身為本。其本亂而末治者否矣,其所厚者薄,而其所薄者厚,未之有也!此謂知本,此謂知之至也。
Da Xue:
The ancients who wished to illustrate illustrious virtue throughout the kingdom, first ordered well their own states. Wishing to order well their states, they first regulated their families. Wishing to regulate their families, they first cultivated their persons. Wishing to cultivate their persons, they first rectified their hearts. Wishing to rectify their hearts, they first sought to be sincere in their thoughts. Wishing to be sincere in their thoughts, they first extended to the utmost their knowledge. Such extension of knowledge lay in the investigation of things. Things being investigated, knowledge became complete. Their knowledge being complete, their thoughts were sincere. Their thoughts being sincere, their hearts were then rectified. Their hearts being rectified, their persons were cultivated. Their persons being cultivated, their families were regulated. Their families being regulated, their states were rightly governed. Their states being rightly governed, the whole kingdom was made tranquil and happy. From the Son of Heaven down to the mass of the people, all must consider the cultivation of the person the root of everything besides. It cannot be, when the root is neglected, that what should spring from it will be well ordered. It never has been the case that what was of great importance has been slightly cared for, and, at the same time, that what was of slight importance has been greatly cared for.

3 大學:
所謂誠其意者,毋自欺也,如惡惡臭,如好好色,此之謂自謙,故君子必慎其獨也!小人閑居為不善,無所不至,見君子而後厭然,掩其不善,而著其善。人之視己,如見其肺肝然,則何益矣!此謂誠於中,形於外,故君子必慎其獨也。曾子曰:「十目所視,十手所指,其嚴乎!」富潤屋,德潤身,心廣體胖,故君子必誠其意。
Da Xue:
What is meant by "making the thoughts sincere." is the allowing no self-deception, as when we hate a bad smell, and as when we love what is beautiful. This is called self-enjoyment. Therefore, the superior man must be watchful over himself when he is alone. There is no evil to which the mean man, dwelling retired, will not proceed, but when he sees a superior man, he instantly tries to disguise himself, concealing his evil, and displaying what is good. The other beholds him, as if he saw his heart and reins;-of what use is his disguise? This is an instance of the saying -"What truly is within will be manifested without." Therefore, the superior man must be watchful over himself when he is alone. The disciple Zeng said, "What ten eyes behold, what ten hands point to, is to be regarded with reverence!" Riches adorn a house, and virtue adorns the person. The mind is expanded, and the body is at ease. Therefore, the superior man must make his thoughts sincere.

4 大學:
》云:「瞻彼淇澳,菉竹猗猗。有斐君子,如切如磋,如琢如磨。瑟兮僩兮,赫兮喧兮。有斐君子,終不可諠兮!」「如切如磋」者,道學也;「如琢如磨」者,自修也;「瑟兮僩兮」者,恂慄也;「赫兮喧兮」者,威儀也;「有斐君子,終不可諠兮」者,道盛德至善,民之不能忘也。《》云:「於戲前王不忘!」君子賢其賢而親其親,小人樂其樂而利其利,此以沒世不忘也。
Da Xue:
In the Book of Poetry, it is said, "Look at that winding course of the Qi, with the green bamboos so luxuriant! Here is our elegant and accomplished prince! As we cut and then file; as we chisel and then grind: so has he cultivated himself. How grave is he and dignified! How majestic and distinguished! Our elegant and accomplished prince never can be forgotten." That expression-"As we cut and then file," the work of learning. "As we chisel and then grind," indicates that of self-culture. "How grave is he and dignified!" indicates the feeling of cautious reverence. "How commanding and distinguished! indicates an awe-inspiring deportment. "Our elegant and accomplished prince never can be forgotten," indicates how, when virtue is complete and excellence extreme, the people cannot forget them. In the Book of Poetry, it is said, "Ah! the former kings are not forgotten." Future princes deem worthy what they deemed worthy, and love what they loved. The common people delight in what delighted them, and are benefited by their beneficial arrangements. It is on this account that the former kings, after they have quitted the world, are not forgotten.

5 大學:
康誥》曰:「克明德。」《太甲》曰:「顧諟天之明命。」《帝典》曰:「克明峻德。」皆自明也。
Da Xue:
In the Announcement to Kang, it is said, "He was able to make his virtue illustrious." In the Tai Jia, it is said, "He contemplated and studied the illustrious decrees of Heaven." In the Canon of the emperor (Yao), it is said, "He was able to make illustrious his lofty virtue." These passages all show how those sovereigns made themselves illustrious.

6 大學:
湯之盤銘曰:「茍日新,日日新,又日新。」《康誥》曰:「作新民。」《》曰:「周雖舊邦,其命惟新。」是故君子無所不用其極。
Da Xue:
On the bathing tub of Tang, the following words were engraved: "If you can one day renovate yourself, do so from day to day. Yea, let there be daily renovation." In the Announcement to Kang, it is said, "To stir up the new people." In the Book of Poetry, it is said, "Although Zhou was an ancient state the ordinance which lighted on it was new." Therefore, the superior man in everything uses his utmost endeavors.

7 大學:
》云:「邦畿千里,惟民所止。」《》云:「緡蠻黃鳥,止于丘隅。」子曰:「於止,知其所止,可以人而不如鳥乎?」《》云:「穆穆文王,於緝熙敬止!」為人君,止於仁;為人臣,止於敬;為人子,止於孝;為人父,止於慈;與國人交,止於信。
Da Xue:
In the Book of Poetry, it is said, "The royal domain of a thousand li is where the people rest." In the Book of Poetry, it is said, "The twittering yellow bird rests on a corner of the mound." The Master said, "When it rests, it knows where to rest. Is it possible that a man should not be equal to this bird?" In the Book of Poetry, it is said, "Profound was King Wen. With how bright and unceasing a feeling of reverence did he regard his resting places!" As a sovereign, he rested in benevolence. As a minister, he rested in reverence. As a son, he rested in filial piety. As a father, he rested in kindness. In communication with his subjects, he rested in good faith.

8 大學:
子曰:「聽訟,吾猶人也,必也使無訟乎!」無情者不得盡其辭,大畏民志。此謂知本。
Da Xue:
The Master said, "In hearing litigations, I am like any other body. What is necessary is to cause the people to have no litigations." So, those who are devoid of principle find it impossible to carry out their speeches, and a great awe would be struck into men's minds;-this is called knowing the root.

9 大學:
所謂修身在正其心者:身有所忿懥,則不得其正;有所恐懼,則不得其正;有所好樂,則不得其正;有所憂患,則不得其正。心不在焉,視而不見,聽而不聞,食而不知其味。此謂修身在正其心。
Da Xue:
What is meant by, "The cultivation of the person depends on rectifying the mind may be thus illustrated:-If a man be under the influence of passion he will be incorrect in his conduct. He will be the same, if he is under the influence of terror, or under the influence of fond regard, or under that of sorrow and distress. When the mind is not present, we look and do not see; we hear and do not understand; we eat and do not know the taste of what we eat. This is what is meant by saying that the cultivation of the person depends on the rectifying of the mind.

10 大學:
所謂齊其家在修其身者:人之其所親愛而辟焉,之其所賤惡而辟焉,之其所畏敬而辟焉,之其所哀矜而辟焉,之其所敖惰而辟焉。故好而知其惡,惡而知其美者,天下鮮矣!故諺有之曰:「人莫知其子之惡,莫知其苗之碩。」此謂身不修不可以齊其家。
Da Xue:
What is meant by "The regulation of one's family depends on the cultivation of his person is this:-men are partial where they feel affection and love; partial where they despise and dislike; partial where they stand in awe and reverence; partial where they feel sorrow and compassion; partial where they are arrogant and rude. Thus it is that there are few men in the world who love and at the same time know the bad qualities of the object of their love, or who hate and yet know the excellences of the object of their hatred. Hence it is said, in the common adage,"A man does not know the wickedness of his son; he does not know the richness of his growing corn." This is what is meant by saying that if the person be not cultivated, a man cannot regulate his family.

11 大學:
所謂治國必先齊其家者,其家不可教而能教人者,無之。故君子不出家而成教於國:孝者,所以事君也;弟者,所以事長也;慈者,所以使眾也。《康誥》曰:「如保赤子」,心誠求之,雖不中不遠矣。未有學養子而後嫁者也!一家仁,一國興仁;一家讓,一國興讓;一人貪戾,一國作亂。其機如此。此謂一言僨事,一人定國。堯、舜率天下以仁,而民從之;桀、紂率天下以暴,而民從之。其所令反其所好,而民不從。是故君子有諸己而後求諸人,無諸己而後非諸人。所藏乎身不恕,而能喻諸人者,未之有也。故治國在齊其家。《》云:「桃之夭夭,其葉蓁蓁;之子于歸,宜其家人。」宜其家人,而後可以教國人。《》云:「宜兄宜弟。」宜兄宜弟,而後可以教國人。《》云:「其儀不忒,正是四國。」其為父子兄弟足法,而後民法之也。此謂治國在齊其家。
Da Xue:
What is meant by "In order rightly to govern the state, it is necessary first to regulate the family," is this: It is not possible for one to teach others, while he cannot teach his own family. Therefore, the ruler, without going beyond his family, completes the lessons for the state. There is filial piety - therewith the sovereign should be served. There is fraternal submission - therewith elders and superiors should be served. There is kindness - therewith the multitude should be treated. In the Announcement to Kang, it is said, "Act as if you were watching over an infant." If a mother is really anxious about it, though she may not hit exactly the wants of her infant, she will not be far from doing so. There never has been a girl who learned to bring up a child, that she might afterwards marry. From the loving example of one family a whole state becomes loving, and from its courtesies the whole state becomes courteous while, from the ambition and perverseness of the One man, the whole state may be led to rebellious disorder;-such is the nature of the influence. This verifies the saying, "Affairs may be ruined by a single sentence; a kingdom may be settled by its One man." Yao and Shun led on the kingdom with benevolence and the people followed them. Chieh and Chau led on the kingdom with violence, and people followed them. The orders which these issued were contrary to the practices which they loved, and so the people did not follow them. On this account, the ruler must himself be possessed of the good qualities, and then he may require them in the people. He must not have the bad qualities in himself, and then he may require that they shall not be in the people. Never has there been a man, who, not having reference to his own character and wishes in dealing with others, was able effectually to instruct them. Thus we see how the government of the state depends on the regulation of the family.
In the Book of Poetry, it is said, "That peach tree, so delicate and elegant! How luxuriant is its foliage! This girl is going to her husband's house. She will rightly order her household." Let the household be rightly ordered, and then the people of the state may be taught. In the Book of Poetry, it is said, "They can discharge their duties to their elder brothers. They can discharge their duties to their younger brothers." Let the ruler discharge his duties to his elder and younger brothers, and then he may teach the people of the state. In the Book of Poetry, it is said, "In his deportment there is nothing wrong; he rectifies all the people of the state." Yes; when the ruler, as a father, a son, and a brother, is a model, then the people imitate him. This is what is meant by saying, "The government of his kingdom depends on his regulation of the family."

12 大學:
所謂平天下在治其國者:上老老而民興孝,上長長而民興弟,上恤孤而民不倍,是以君子有絜矩之道也。所惡於上,毋以使下;所惡於下,毋以事上;所惡於前,毋以先後;所惡於後,毋以從前;所惡於右,毋以交於左;所惡於左,毋以交於右。此之謂絜矩之道。《》云:「樂只君子,民之父母。」民之所好好之,民之所惡惡之,此之謂民之父母。《》云:「節彼南山,維石巖巖。赫赫師尹,民具爾瞻。」有國者不可以不慎,辟則為天下戮矣。
Da Xue:
What is meant by "The making the whole kingdom peaceful and happy depends on the government of his state," this: When the sovereign behaves to his aged, as the aged should be behaved to, the people become filial; when the sovereign behaves to his elders, as the elders should be behaved to, the people learn brotherly submission; when the sovereign treats compassionately the young and helpless, the people do the same. Thus the ruler has a principle with which, as with a measuring square, he may regulate his conduct. What a man dislikes in his superiors, let him not display in the treatment of his inferiors; what he dislikes in inferiors, let him not display in the service of his superiors; what he hates in those who are before him, let him not therewith precede those who are behind him; what he hates in those who are behind him, let him not bestow on the left; what he hates to receive on the left, let him not bestow on the right:-this is what is called "The principle with which, as with a measuring square, to regulate one's conduct." In the Book of Poetry, it is said, "How much to be rejoiced in are these princes, the parents of the people!" When a prince loves what the people love, and hates what the people hate, then is he what is called the parent of the people. In the Book of Poetry, it is said, "Lofty is that southern hill, with its rugged masses of rocks! Greatly distinguished are you, O grand-teacher Yin, the people all look up to you. "Rulers of states may not neglect to be careful. If they deviate to a mean selfishness, they will be a disgrace in the kingdom.

13 大學:
》云:「殷之未喪師,克配上帝。儀監于殷,峻命不易。」道得眾則得國,失眾則失國。是故君子先慎乎德。有德此有人,有人此有土,有土此有財,有財此有用。德者本也,財者末也,外本內末,爭民施奪。是故財聚則民散,財散則民聚。是故言悖而出者,亦悖而入;貨悖而入者,亦悖而出。《康誥》曰:「惟命不于常!」道善則得之,不善則失之矣。楚書曰:「楚國無以為寶,惟善以為寶。」舅犯曰:「亡人無以為寶,仁親以為寶。」
Da Xue:
In the Book of Poetry, it is said, "Before the sovereigns of the Yin dynasty had lost the hearts of the people, they could appear before God. Take warning from the house of Yin. The great decree is not easily preserved." This shows that, by gaining the people, the kingdom is gained, and, by losing the people, the kingdom is lost. On this account, the ruler will first take pains about his own virtue. Possessing virtue will give him the people. Possessing the people will give the territory. Possessing the territory will give him its wealth. Possessing the wealth, he will have resources for expenditure. Virtue is the root; wealth is the result. If he make the root his secondary object, and the result his primary, he will only wrangle with his people, and teach them rapine. Hence, the accumulation of wealth is the way to scatter the people; and the letting it be scattered among them is the way to collect the people. And hence, the ruler's words going forth contrary to right, will come back to him in the same way, and wealth, gotten by improper ways, will take its departure by the same. In the Announcement to Kang, it is said, "The decree indeed may not always rest on us"; that is, goodness obtains the decree, and the want of goodness loses it. In the Book of Chu, it is said, "The kingdom of Chu does not consider that to be valuable. It values, instead, its good men." Duke Wen's uncle, Fan, said, "Our fugitive does not account that to be precious. What he considers precious is the affection due to his parent."

14 大學:
秦誓》曰:「若有一个臣,斷斷兮無他技,其心休休焉,其如有容焉。人之有技,若己有之;人之彥聖,其心好之,不啻若自其口出。實能容之,以能保我子孫黎民,尚亦有利哉!人之有技,媢嫉以惡之;人之彥聖,而違之俾不通。實不能容,以不能保我子孫黎民,亦曰殆哉!」唯仁人放流之,迸諸四夷,不與同中國,此謂唯仁人為能愛人,能惡人。見賢而不能舉,舉而不能先,命也;見不善而不能退,退而不能遠,過也。好人之所惡,惡人之所好,是謂拂人之性,災必逮夫身。是故君子有大道,必忠信以得之,驕泰以失之。
Da Xue:
In the Declaration of the Duke of Qin, it is said, "Let me have but one minister, plain and sincere, not pretending to other abilities, but with a simple, upright, mind; and possessed of generosity, regarding the talents of others as though he himself possessed them, and, where he finds accomplished and perspicacious men, loving them in his heart more than his mouth expresses, and really showing himself able to bear them and employ them:-such a minister will be able to preserve my sons and grandsons and black-haired people, and benefits likewise to the kingdom may well be looked for from him. But if it be his character, when he finds men of ability, to be jealous and hate them; and, when he finds accomplished and perspicacious men, to oppose them and not allow their advancement, showing himself really not able to bear them: such a minister will not be able to protect my sons and grandsons and people; and may he not also be pronounced dangerous to the state?" It is only the truly virtuous man who can send away such a man and banish him, driving him out among the barbarous tribes around, determined not to dwell along with him in the Middle Kingdom. This is in accordance with the saying, "It is only the truly virtuous man who can love or who can hate others." To see men of worth and not be able to raise them to office; to raise them to office, but not to do so quickly:-this is disrespectful. To see bad men and not be able to remove them; to remove them, but not to do so to a distance:-this is weakness. To love those whom men hate, and to hate those whom men love;-this is to outrage the natural feeling of men. Calamities cannot fail to come down on him who does so. Thus we see that the sovereign has a great course to pursue. He must show entire self-devotion and sincerity to attain it, and by pride and extravagance he will fail of it.

15 大學:
生財有大道。生之者眾,食之者寡,為之者疾,用之者舒,則財恒足矣。仁者以財發身,不仁者以身發財。未有上好仁而下不好義者也,未有好義其事不終者也,未有府庫財非其財者也。
Da Xue:
There is a great course also for the production of wealth. Let the producers be many and the consumers few. Let there be activity in the production, and economy in the expenditure. Then the wealth will always be sufficient. The virtuous ruler, by means of his wealth, makes himself more distinguished. The vicious ruler accumulates wealth, at the expense of his life. Never has there been a case of the sovereign loving benevolence, and the people not loving righteousness. Never has there been a case where the people have loved righteousness, and the affairs of the sovereign have not been carried to completion. And never has there been a case where the wealth in such a state, collected in the treasuries and arsenals, did not continue in the sovereign's possession.

16 大學:
孟獻子曰:「畜馬乘,不察於雞豚;伐冰之家,不畜牛羊;百乘之家,不畜聚斂之臣。與其有聚斂之臣,寧有盜臣。」此謂國不以利為利,以義為利也。長國家而務財用者,必自小人矣。彼為善之,小人之使為國家,災害并至。雖有善者,亦無如之何矣!此謂國不以利為利,以義為利也。
Da Xue:
The officer Meng Xian said, "He who keeps horses and a carriage does not look after fowls and pigs. The family which keeps its stores of ice does not rear cattle or sheep. So, the house which possesses a hundred chariots should not keep a minister to look out for imposts that he may lay them on the people. Than to have such a minister, it were better for that house to have one who should rob it of its revenues." This is in accordance with the saying:-"In a state, pecuniary gain is not to be considered to be prosperity, but its prosperity will be found in righteousness." When he who presides over a state or a family makes his revenues his chief business, he must be under the influence of some small, mean man. He may consider this man to be good; but when such a person is employed in the administration of a state or family, calamities from Heaven, and injuries from men, will befall it together, and, though a good man may take his place, he will not be able to remedy the evil. This illustrates again the saying, "In a state, gain is not to be considered prosperity, but its prosperity will be found in righteousness."

Advertise on this site or log in for reduced advertising.