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Chinese Text Project
Simplified Chinese version
Show translation:[None] [English]

《大学 - Da Xue》

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

1 大学:
大学之道,在明明德,在亲民,在止于至善。知止而后有定,定而后能静,静而后能安,安而后能虑,虑而后能得。物有本末,事有终始,知所先后,则近道矣。
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 大学:
古之欲明明德于天下者,先治其国;欲治其国者,先齐其家;欲齐其家者,先修其身;欲修其身者,先正其心;欲正其心者,先诚其意;欲诚其意者,先致其知,致知在格物。物格而后知至,知至而后意诚,意诚而后心正,心正而后身修,身修而后家齐,家齐而后国治,国治而后天下平。自天子以至于庶人,壹是皆以修身为本。其本乱而末治者否矣,其所厚者薄,而其所薄者厚,未之有也!此谓知本,此谓知之至也。
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 大学:
所谓诚其意者,毋自欺也,如恶恶臭,如好好色,此之谓自谦,故君子必慎其独也!小人闲居为不善,无所不至,见君子而后厌然,掩其不善,而著其善。人之视己,如见其肺肝然,则何益矣!此谓诚于中,形于外,故君子必慎其独也。曾子曰:“十目所视,十手所指,其严乎!”富润屋,德润身,心广体胖,故君子必诚其意。
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 大学:
》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,终不可喧兮!”“如切如磋”者,道学也;“如琢如磨”者,自修也;“瑟兮僩兮”者,恂栗也;“赫兮喧兮”者,威仪也;“有斐君子,终不可喧兮”者,道盛德至善,民之不能忘也。《》云:“于戏前王不忘!”君子贤其贤而亲其亲,小人乐其乐而利其利,此以没世不忘也。
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 大学:
康诰》曰:“克明德。”《太甲》曰:“顾諟天之明命。”《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 大学:
汤之盘铭曰:“茍日新,日日新,又日新。”《康诰》曰:“作新民。”《》曰:“周虽旧邦,其命惟新。”是故君子无所不用其极。
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 大学:
》云:“邦畿千里,惟民所止。”《》云:“缗蛮黄鸟,止于丘隅。”子曰:“于止,知其所止,可以人而不如鸟乎?”《》云:“穆穆文王,于缉熙敬止!”为人君,止于仁;为人臣,止于敬;为人子,止于孝;为人父,止于慈;与国人交,止于信。
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 大学:
子曰:“听讼,吾犹人也,必也使无讼乎!”无情者不得尽其辞,大畏民志。此谓知本。
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 大学:
所谓修身在正其心者:身有所忿懥,则不得其正;有所恐惧,则不得其正;有所好乐,则不得其正;有所忧患,则不得其正。心不在焉,视而不见,听而不闻,食而不知其味。此谓修身在正其心。
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 大学:
所谓齐其家在修其身者:人之其所亲爱而辟焉,之其所贱恶而辟焉,之其所畏敬而辟焉,之其所哀矜而辟焉,之其所敖惰而辟焉。故好而知其恶,恶而知其美者,天下鲜矣!故谚有之曰:“人莫知其子之恶,莫知其苗之硕。”此谓身不修不可以齐其家。
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 大学:
所谓治国必先齐其家者,其家不可教而能教人者,无之。故君子不出家而成教于国:孝者,所以事君也;弟者,所以事长也;慈者,所以使众也。《康诰》曰:“如保赤子”,心诚求之,虽不中不远矣。未有学养子而后嫁者也!一家仁,一国兴仁;一家让,一国兴让;一人贪戾,一国作乱。其机如此。此谓一言偾事,一人定国。尧、舜率天下以仁,而民从之;桀、纣率天下以暴,而民从之。其所令反其所好,而民不从。是故君子有诸己而后求诸人,无诸己而后非诸人。所藏乎身不恕,而能喻诸人者,未之有也。故治国在齐其家。《》云:“桃之夭夭,其叶蓁蓁;之子于归,宜其家人。”宜其家人,而后可以教国人。《》云:“宜兄宜弟。”宜兄宜弟,而后可以教国人。《》云:“其仪不忒,正是四国。”其为父子兄弟足法,而后民法之也。此谓治国在齐其家。
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 大学:
所谓平天下在治其国者:上老老而民兴孝,上长长而民兴弟,上恤孤而民不倍,是以君子有洁矩之道也。所恶于上,毋以使下;所恶于下,毋以事上;所恶于前,毋以先后;所恶于后,毋以从前;所恶于右,毋以交于左;所恶于左,毋以交于右。此之谓洁矩之道。《》云:“乐只君子,民之父母。”民之所好好之,民之所恶恶之,此之谓民之父母。《》云:“节彼南山,维石岩岩。赫赫师尹,民具尔瞻。”有国者不可以不慎,辟则为天下戮矣。
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 大学:
》云:“殷之未丧师,克配上帝。仪监于殷,峻命不易。”道得众则得国,失众则失国。是故君子先慎乎德。有德此有人,有人此有土,有土此有财,有财此有用。德者本也,财者末也,外本内末,争民施夺。是故财聚则民散,财散则民聚。是故言悖而出者,亦悖而入;货悖而入者,亦悖而出。《康诰》曰:“惟命不于常!”道善则得之,不善则失之矣。楚书曰:“楚国无以为宝,惟善以为宝。”舅犯曰:“亡人无以为宝,仁亲以为宝。”
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 大学:
秦誓》曰:“若有一个臣,断断兮无他技,其心休休焉,其如有容焉。人之有技,若己有之;人之彦圣,其心好之,不啻若自其口出。实能容之,以能保我子孙黎民,尚亦有利哉!人之有技,媢嫉以恶之;人之彦圣,而违之俾不通。实不能容,以不能保我子孙黎民,亦曰殆哉!”唯仁人放流之,迸诸四夷,不与同中国,此谓唯仁人为能爱人,能恶人。见贤而不能举,举而不能先,命也;见不善而不能退,退而不能远,过也。好人之所恶,恶人之所好,是谓拂人之性,灾必逮夫身。是故君子有大道,必忠信以得之,骄泰以失之。
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 大学:
生财有大道。生之者众,食之者寡,为之者疾,用之者舒,则财恒足矣。仁者以财发身,不仁者以身发财。未有上好仁而下不好义者也,未有好义其事不终者也,未有府库财非其财者也。
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 大学:
孟献子曰:“畜马乘,不察于鸡豚;伐冰之家,不畜牛羊;百乘之家,不畜聚敛之臣。与其有聚敛之臣,宁有盗臣。”此谓国不以利为利,以义为利也。长国家而务财用者,必自小人矣。彼为善之,小人之使为国家,灾害并至。虽有善者,亦无如之何矣!此谓国不以利为利,以义为利也。
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."

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