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Chinese Text Project
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《率性 - Shuaixing》

English translation: Albert Forke [?] Library Resources
1 率性:
論人之性,定有善有惡。其善者,固自善矣;其惡者,故可教告率勉,使之為善。凡人君父,審觀臣子之性,善則養育勸率,無令近惡;近惡則輔保禁防,令漸於善。善漸於惡,惡化於善,成為性行。
Shuaixing:
Speaking of human nature one must distinguish good and bad characters. The good ones are so of themselves, the wicked can be instructed and urged on to do good. A sovereign or a father seeing that his subjects or sons have good characters, provides for them, exhorts them, and keeps them out of the reach of evil. If the latter come into contact with it, they assist and shield them, and try to win them back to the cause of virtue. It is by the transition of virtue into wickedness and of wickedness into virtue that the characters are formed.

2 率性:
召公戒成曰:「今王初服厥命,於戲!若生子,罔不在厥初生。」「生子」謂十五子,初生意於善,終以善;初生意於惡,終以惡。《詩》曰:「彼姝者子,何以與之?」《傳》言:「譬猶練絲,染之藍則青,染之丹則赤。」十五之子,其猶絲也。其有所漸化為善惡,猶藍丹之染練絲,使之為青赤也。青赤一成,真色無異。是故楊子哭岐道,墨子哭練絲也,蓋傷離本,不可復變也。人之性,善可變為惡,惡可變為善,猶此類也。蓬生生麻間,不扶自直;白紗入緇,不練自黑。彼蓬之性不直,紗之質不黑,麻扶緇染,使之直黑。夫人之性猶蓬紗也,在所漸染而善惡變矣。
Shuaixing:
The duke of Shao admonished King Cheng saying: "Now you for the first time carry out Heaven's decree. Oh! you are like a youth with whom all depends on his first years of life." By youth is meant the age up to fifteen. If a youth's thoughts are directed towards virtue, he will be virtuous to the last, but if his propensities tend to badness, he will end badly. The Shijing says "What can that admirable man be compared to?" The Zuozhuan answers, "He is like boiled silk; dyed with indigo, it becomes blue; coloured with vermilion, it turns crimson." A youth of fifteen is like silk, his gradual changes into good or bad resembling the dying of boiled silk with indigo and vermilion, which gives it a blue or a red colour. When these colours have once set, they cannot be altered again. It is for this reason that Yangzi wept over the by-roads and Mozi over boiled silk. They were sorrowful, because men having gone astray from the right path cannot be transformed any more. Human nature turns from good into bad, and from bad into good only in this manner. Creepers growing amidst hemp, stand upright without support by themselves. White silk yarn placed amongst dark, becomes black without boiling. Creepers are not straight by nature, nor is the black colour an attribute of silk yarn. The hemp affording support, and the dark silk lending the colour, creepers and white silk become straight and black. Human nature bears a resemblance to creepers and silk yarn. In a milieu favourable to transformation or colouring, it turns good or bad.

3 率性:
王良、造父稱為善御,不能使不良為良也。如徒能御良,其不良者不能馴服,此則駔工庸師服馴技能,何奇而世稱之?故曰:「王良登車,馬不罷駑;堯、舜為政,民無狂愚。」《傳》曰:「堯、舜之民,可比屋而封;桀、紂之民,可比屋而誅。」「斯民也,三代所以直道而行也。」聖主之民如彼,惡主之民如此,竟在化不在性也。聞伯夷之風者,貪夫廉而懦夫有立志;聞柳下惠之風者,薄夫敦而鄙夫寬。徒聞風名,猶或變節,況親接形面相敦告乎?
Shuaixing:
Wang Liang and Zao Fu were famous as charioteers: out of unruly and vicious animals they made good ones. Had they only been able to drive good horses, but incapable of breaking bad ones, they would have been nothing more than jockeys and ordinary equerries. Their horsemanship would not have been remarkable nor deserving of world-wide fame. Of Wang Liang the saying goes that, when he stepped into a chariot, the steeds knew no exhaustion. Under the rule of Yao and Shun people were neither seditious nor ignorant. Tradition says that the people of Yao and Shun might have been invested with fiefs house by house, whereas those of Jie and Zhou were worthy of death door by door. The people followed the way prescribed by the three dynasties. That the people of the holy emperors were like this, those of the wicked emperors otherwise, was merely the result of the influence of their rulers, not of the people's original nature. The covetous hearing of Bo Yi's fame became disinterested, and the weak resolute. The news of Liu Xia Hui's reputation made the niggardly generous and the mean liberal. If the spread of fame alone could bring about such changes, what then must be the effect of personal intercourse and tuition?

4 率性:
孔門弟子七十之徒,皆任卿相之用,被服聖教,文才雕琢,知能十倍,教訓之功而漸漬之力也。未入孔子之門時,閭巷常庸無奇。其尤甚不率者,唯子路也。世稱子路無恆之庸人,未入孔門時,戴雞佩豚,勇猛無禮;聞誦讀之聲,搖雞奮豚,揚脣吻之音,聒賢聖之耳,惡至甚矣。孔子引而教之,漸漬磨礪,闔導牖進,猛氣消損,驕節屈折,卒能政事,序在四科。斯蓋變性使惡為善之明效也。
Shuaixing:
The seventy disciples of the school of Confucius were each of them able to creditably fill the post of a minister of state. Conforming to the holy doctrines, they became accomplished scholars, and their knowledge and skill grew tenfold. This was the result of teaching; thus latent faculties were gradually developed. Before they joined Confucius' school, they sauntered about in the streets as quite ordinary and in no wise exceptional people. The most ungovernable of all was Zilu, who is generally reported to have been a common and unsteady individual. Before he became Confucius' pupil, he wore a feather hat and a pig skin belt. He was brutal and unmannerly. Whenever he heard some reading, he tossed up his feather hat, pulled his belt, and uttered such a yell, that he deafened the ears of the worthies and sages. Such was his wickedness. Confucius took him under his guidance. By degrees he polished and instructed him. The more he advanced in knowledge, the more he lost his fierceness, and his arrogance was broken. At last he was able to govern a state, and ranked in the four classes. This is a shining example of how a man's character was changed from bad into good.

5 率性:
夫肥沃墝埆,土地之本性也。肥而沃者性美,樹稼豐茂;墝而埆者性惡,深耕細鋤,厚加糞壤,勉致人功,以助地力,其樹稼與彼肥沃者相似類也。地之高下,亦如此焉。以钁鍤鑿地,以埤增下,則其下與高者齊。如復增钁鍤,則夫下者不徒齊者也,反更為高,而其高者反為下。使人之性有善有惡,彼地有高有下,勉致其教令,之善則將善者同之矣。善以化渥,釀其教令,變更為善,善則且更宜反過於往善。猶下地增加钁鍤,更崇於高地也。
Shuaixing:
Fertility and sterility are the original nature of the soil. If it be rich and moist, the nature is good, and the crops will be exuberant, whereas, if it be barren and stony, the nature is bad. However, human efforts: deep ploughing, thorough tilling, and a copious use of manure may help the land, so that the harvest will become like that of the rich and well watered fields. Such is the case with the elevation of the land also. Fill up the low ground with earth, dug out by means of hoes and spades, and the low land will be on a level with the high one. If these works are still continued, not only will the low land be on a level, but even higher than the high land. The high ground will then become the low one. Let us suppose that the human natures are partly good, partly bad; as the land may be either high or low. By making use of the good effects of education goodness can be spread and generalized. Reformation being pushed on and instruction persevered in, people will change and become still better. Goodness will increase and reach a still higher standard than it had before, just as low ground, filled up with hoes and spades, rises higher than the originally elevated ground.

6 率性:
「賜不受命,而貨殖焉。」賜本不受天之富命,所加貨財積聚,為世富人者,得貨殖之術也。夫得其術,雖不受命,猶自益饒富。性惡之人,亦不稟天善性,得聖人之教,志行變化。世稱利劍有千金之價,棠谿、魚腸之屬,龍泉、太阿之輩,其本鋌,山中之恆鐵也,冶工鍜鍊,成為銛利。豈利劍之鍜與鍊,乃異質哉?工良師巧,鍊一數至也。試取東下直一金之劍,更熟鍜鍊,足其火,齊其銛,猶千金之劍也。夫鐵石天然,尚為鍜鍊者變易故質,況人含五常之性,賢聖未之熟鍜鍊耳,奚患性之不善哉?古貴良醫者,能知篤劇之病所從生起,而以針藥治而已之。如徒知病之名而坐觀之,何以為奇?夫人有不善,則乃性命之疾也,無其教治,而欲令變更,豈不難哉?
Shuaixing:
Ci though not predestinated thereto, made a fortune. His capital increased without a decree from Heaven which would have him rich. The accumulation of wealth is due to the cleverness of the rich men of the time in making a fortune. Through this ability of theirs they are themselves the authors of their growing wealth without a special decree from Heaven. Similarly, he who has a wicked nature changes his will and his doings, if he happens to be taught by a Sage, although he was not endowed with a good character by Heaven. One speaks of good swords for which a thousand jin are paid, such as the Yuchang sword of Tangqi and the Tai'a sword of Longquan. Their blade is originally nothing more than a common piece of iron from a mountain. By the forger's smelting and hammering they become sharp-edged. But notwithstanding this smelting and hammering the material of good swords is not different from others. All depends on excellent workmanship and on the blade-smith's ability in working the iron. Take a sword worth only one jin from Dongxia, heat it again, and forge it, giving it sufficient fire, and smoothing and sharpening its edge, and it will be like a sword of a thousand jin. Iron and stones are made by Heaven, still being worked, they undergo a modification of their substance. Why then should man, whose nature is imbued with the five virtues, despair of the badness of his character, before he has been thoroughly worked upon by Worthies and Sages? The skillful physicians that in olden days were held in high esteem, knew the sources where virulent diseases sprang from, and treated and cured them with acupuncture and medicines. Had they merely known the names of the complaints, but done nothing besides, looking quietly on, would there have been anything wonderful in them? Men who are not good have a disease of their nature. To expect them to change without proper treatment and instruction would be hopeless indeed.

7 率性:
天道有真偽,真者固自與天相應,偽者人加知巧,亦與真者無以異也。何以驗之?《禹貢》曰:「璆琳琅玕」者,此則土地所生真玉珠也。然而道人消爍五石,作五色之玉,比之真玉,光不殊別。兼魚蚌之珠,與《禹貢》「璆琳」,皆真玉珠也。然而隨侯以藥作珠,精耀如真,道士之教至,知巧之意加也。陽遂取火於天,五月丙午日中之時,消鍊五石,鑄以為器,磨礪生光,仰以嚮日,則火來至,比真取火之道也。今妄以刀劍之鉤月,摩拭朗白,仰以嚮日,亦得火焉。夫鉤月,非陽遂也,所以耐取火者,摩拭之所致也。今夫性惡之人,使與性善者同類乎?可率勉之,令其為善;使之異類乎?亦可令與道人之所鑄玉、隨侯之所作珠、人之所摩刀劍鉤月焉,教導以學,漸漬以德,亦將日有仁義之操。
Shuaixing:
The laws of Heaven can be applied in a right and in a wrong way. The right way is in harmony with Heaven, the wrong one owes its results to human astuteness, but cannot in its effects be distinguished from the right one. This will be shown by the following. Among the "Tribute of Yu" are mentioned jade and white corals. These were the produce of earth and genuine precious stones and pearls. But the Daoists melt five kinds of stones, and make five-coloured gems out of them. Their lustre, if compared with real gems, does not differ. Pearls in fishes and shells are as genuine as the jade-stones in the Tribute of Yu. Yet the Marquis of Sui made pearls from chemicals, which were as brilliant as genuine ones. This is the climax of Daoist learning and a triumph of their skill. By means of a burning-glass one catches fire from heaven. Of five stones liquefied on the Bingwu day of the 5th moon an instrument is cast, which, when polished bright, held up against the sun, brings down fire too, in precisely the same manner as, when fire is caught in the proper way. Now, one goes even so far as to furbish the crooked blades of swords, till they shine, when, held up against the sun, they attract fire also. Crooked blades are not burning-glasses; that they can catch fire is the effect of rubbing. Now, provided the bad-natured men are of the same kind as good-natured ones, then they can be influenced, and induced to do good. Should they be of a different kind, they can also be coerced in the same manner as the Daoists cast gems, Sui Hou made pearls, and people furbish the crooked blades of swords. Enlightened with learning and familiarized with virtue, they too begin by and by to practise benevolence and equity.

8 率性:
黃帝與炎帝爭為天子,教熊羆貔虎以戰于阪泉之野,三戰得志,炎帝敗績。堯以天下讓舜,鯀為諸侯,欲得三公而堯不聽,怒其猛獸,欲以為亂,比獸之角可以為城,舉尾以為旌,奮心盛氣,阻戰為彊。夫禽獸與人殊形,猶可命戰,況人同類乎?推此以論,「百獸率舞」,「潭魚出聽」,「六馬仰秣」,不復疑矣。異類以殊為同,同類以鈞為異,所由不在於物,在於人也。
Shuaixing:
When Huang Di fought with Yan Di for the empire, he taught bears, leopards, and tigers to combat for him in the wilds of Banquan. After three battles he gained his end, and Yan Di was routed. Yao yielded the empire to Shun. Gun, one of his vassals, desired to become one of the three chief ministers, but Yao did not listen to this request. Thereupon Gun became more infuriated than even ferocious animals are, and wished to rebel. The horns of animals, all in a line, served him as a rampart, and their lifted tails were his banners. They opposed and tackled their foe with the utmost determination and energy.---If birds and beasts, which are shaped otherwise than man, can nevertheless be caused to fight, how much more so man's own kindred? Proceeding on this line of argument we have no reason to doubt that (by music) the multitudinous animals were made to dance, the fish in the ponds to come out and listen, and the six kinds of horses to look up from their fodder. The equalization of what varies in different categories as well as the differentiation of what is the same in similar classes, does not depend on the thing itself, but is man's doing.

9 率性:
凡含血氣者,教之所以異化也。三苗之民,或賢或不肖,堯、舜齊之,恩教加也。楚、越之人,處莊、嶽之間,經歷歲月,變為舒緩,風俗侈也。故曰:「齊舒緩,秦慢易,楚促急,燕戇投。」以莊、嶽言之,四國之民,更相出入,久居單處,性必變易。夫性惡者,心比木石,木石猶為人用,況非木石!在君子之迹,庶幾可見。
Shuaixing:
It is by instruction that living beings are transformed. Among the Three Miao tribes some were honest, some disreputable. Yao and Shun made them all alike by conferring the boon of instruction upon them. Suppose the men of Chu and Yue to settle down in Zhuang or Yue. Having passed there months and years, they would become pliant and yielding, and their customs changed. They say that the people of Qi are soft and supple, those of Qin unsteady and versatile, of Chu lively and passionate, of Yan dull and simple. Now let us suppose that people of the four States alternately went to live in Zhuang and Yue for a certain time, the prolonged stay in a place remote from their country would undubitably bring about a change of their character. A bad natured man's heart is like wood or stone, but even wood and stone can be used by men, why not what really is neither wood nor stone? We may hope that it will still be able to understand the precepts of superior men.

10 率性:
有癡狂之疾,歌啼於路,不曉東西,不睹燥濕,不覺疾病,不知飢飽,性已毀傷,不可如何,前無所觀,郤無所畏也。是故王法不廢學校之官,不除獄理之吏,欲令凡眾見禮義之教。學校勉其前,法禁防其後,使丹朱之志,亦將可勉。何以驗之?三軍之士,非能制也,勇將率勉,視死如歸。且闔廬嘗試其士於五湖之側,皆加刃於肩,血流至地。句踐亦試其士於寢宮之庭,赴火死者,不可勝數。夫刃、火,非人性之所貪也,二主激率,念不顧生。是故軍之法輕刺血,孟賁勇也,聞軍令懼。是故叔孫通制定禮儀,拔劍爭功之臣,奉禮拜伏,初驕倨而後遜順,教威德,變易性也。不患性惡,患其不服聖教,自遇而以生禍也。
Shuaixing:
Only in the case of insanity, when a person sings and weeps in the streets, knowing neither east nor west, taking no heed of scorching heat or humidity, unaware of his own madness and unconscious of hunger and satiety, nature is deranged and upset, and there is no help. As such a man sees nothing before him, he is afraid of nothing. Therefore the government does not abolish the officers of public instruction or dispense with criminal judges, wishing thereby to inculcate the observance of the moral laws. The schools guide people at first, the laws control and restrain them later on. Even the will of a Dan Zhu might be curbed; the proof is that the soldiers of a big army are kept in order by reproofs. Men and officers are held in check to such an extent, that they look at death as a return. He Lu put his soldiers to the test by the "Five Lakes." They all cut their arms with swords, that the blood trickled down to the ground. Gou Jian also gave his men a trial in the hall of his inner palace. Those who jumped into the fire and perished, were innumerable. Human nature is not particularly fond of swords and fire, but the two rulers had such a power over their men, that they did not care for their lives. It is the effect of military discipline to make light of cuts and blood. Meng Ben was bold, but on hearing the order for the army he became afraid. In the same way the officers who were wont to draw their swords to fight out, whose merits were first, went through all the ceremonial, and prostrated themselves (before the emperor), when Shusun Tong had fixed the rites. Imperious and overbearing first, they became obedient and submissive. The power of instruction and the influence of virtue transform the character. One need not sorrow that a character is bad, but it is to be regretted, if it does not submit to the teachings of the sages. Such an individual owes his misfortune to himself.

11 率性:
豆麥之種,與稻梁殊,然食能去飢。小人君子,稟性異類乎?譬諸五穀皆為用,實不異而效殊者,稟氣有厚泊,故性有善惡也。殘則授不仁之氣泊,而怒則稟勇渥也。仁泊則戾而少愈,勇渥則猛而無義,而又和氣不足,喜怒失時,計慮輕愚。妄行之人,罪故為惡。人受五常,含五臟,皆具於身。稟之泊少,故其操行不及善人,猶或厚或泊也,非厚與泊殊其釀也,麴孽多少使之然也。是故酒之泊厚,同一麴孽;人之善惡,共一元氣。氣有少多,故性有賢愚。西門豹急,佩韋以自緩;董安于緩,帶弦以自促。急之與緩,俱失中和,然而韋弦附身,成為完具之人。能納韋弦之教,補接不足,則豹、安于之名可得參也。貧劣宅屋,不具墻壁宇達,人指訾之。如財貨富愈,起屋築墻,以自蔽鄣,為之具宅,人弗復非。
Shuaixing:
Beans and wheat are different from rice and millet, yet their consumption satisfies the appetite. Are the natures of low and superior men then of a different kind? They resemble the Five Grains, all have their use. There is no fundamental difference between them, only their manifestations are unlike. The fluid men are endowed with, is either copious or deficient, and their character correspondingly good or bad. The wicked have received but a small dose of kindness, the irascible, plenty of temper. If kindness be unsufficient, people do wrong, and there is not much hope for an improvement. With plenty of temper, people become violent, and have no sense of justice. Moreover, their feeling of sympathy is defective, joy and anger do not happen at the proper time, and they have baseless and irreasonable fears. Reckless men like that commit outrages, therefore they are considered bad. Man has in his body the Five Qualities and the Five Organs. If he got too little of them, or if they are too small, his actions do not attain to goodness. Man himself is either accomplished or deficient, but accomplishment and deficiency do not mean a difference of organisation. Use leaven in big, or in small quantities, and the result will be similar. In rich as well as in poor wine there is the same leaven. Good men as well as bad ones are permeated by the same original fluid. According to its greater or smaller volumen the mind of the individual is bright or dull. Ximen Bao would tighten his leathern belt, whenever he wanted to relax himself. Dongan Yu loosened his girdle strings, when he was going to rouse himself. Yet neither passion nor indolence is the right medium. However, he who wears a belt or a girdle on his body is properly dressed. When the question arises, how deficiencies can be made good by means of belts and strings, the names of Ximen Bao and Dongan Yu must be mentioned together. Houses of poor, wretched people are not in a proper state. They have holes in the walls under the roof, to which others take objection. When rich and well-to-do people build houses, they have the walls made in a way, that they find there real shelter. The whole house is in good repair, and nobody could say anything against it.

12 率性:
魏之行田百畝,鄴獨二百,西門豹灌以漳水,成為膏腴,則畝收一鍾。夫人之質猶鄴田,道教猶漳水也,患不能化,不患人性之難率也。雒陽城中之道無水,水工激上洛中之水,日夜馳流,水工之功也。由此言之,迫近君子,而仁義之道數加於身,孟母之徙宅,蓋得其驗。
Shuaixing:
In Wei the land was divided in lots of a hundred mu, in Ye alone the lots measured two hundred mu. Ximen Bao irrigated his land with water from the Zhang and made it so fertile, that it yielded one bushel per mu. Man's natural parts are like the fields of Ye, tuition and education, like the water from the Zhang. One must be sorry for him that cannot be transformed, but not for a man whose character it is difficult to govern. In the streets of the city of Luoyang there was no water. It was therefore pulled up from the Luo by watermen. If it was streaming quickly day and night, it was their doing. From this point of view kindness and justice must increase manifold in him who comes into close contact with an excellent man. Mencius' mother changed her domicile, for she had ascertained this truth.

13 率性:
人間之水污濁,在野外者清潔。俱為一水,源從天涯,或濁或清,所在之勢使之然也。南越王趙他,本漢賢人也,化南夷之俗,背畔王制,椎髻箕坐,好之若性。陸賈說以漢德,懼以聖威,蹶然起坐,心覺改悔,奉制稱蕃,其於椎髻箕坐也,惡之若性。前則若彼,後則若此。由此言之,亦在於教,不獨在性也。
Shuaixing:
Water amongst men is dirty and muddy, in the open country it is clear and limpid. It is all the same water, and it flows from the confines of heaven; its dirtiness and limpidity are the effects of its environments. Zhao Ta, king of the southern Yue, was originally an honourable man of the Han State, but he took to the habits of the southern barbarians, disregarded the imperial commands, dressed his hair in a tuft, and used to squat down. He was so fond of this, as if it had been his nature. Lu Jia spoke to him of the virtues of the Han, and impressed him with their holy power, so that he suddenly rose up, and felt remorse. He received the commands of his sovereign, and communicated them to the savages. Against his hair-dress and to his squatting he felt something like a natural repugnancy. First he acted in the aforesaid manner, afterwards thus. It shows what force instruction also has, and that nature is not the only factor.

URN: ctp:lunheng/lv-xing