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《公孟 - Gong Meng》

English translation: W. P. Mei [?]
Books referencing 《公孟》 Library Resources
1 公孟:
Gong Meng:
Gong Mengzi said to Mozi: "The gentleman should fold his hands on the breast in waiting. He will speak when consulted he will not speak when not consulted. He is like a bell when struck it sounds, when not struck it does not sound." Mozi said: This idea covers three phases of which you know but one; so you do not understand what you are talking about. In the case of the ruler's committing violence in the state, to go and warn him will be called insolence, and to offer warning through those around him will be called meddling with counsel. This is where the gentleman hesitates (to speak). Now, if the ruler, in his administration, meets with some difficulty in the state resembling a machine about to shoot,... the gentleman must give warning. So the benefit to the ruler... In such cases although he is not asked he should give counsel. Again, if the lord should launch out on some unrighteous, extraordinary enterprise; and if in possession of clever military schemes, he should attack innocent states with a view to extending his territory, collecting taxes and gathering wealth; and if in taking such a course he meet with humiliation, as it is beneficial neither to the victor nor to the vanquished -- and hence harmful to both - in such a case the gentleman must respond with counsel though he is not asked. Moreover, according to what you have said, the gentleman is to fold his hands on his breast and wait. He will speak when consulted; he will not speak when not consulted. He is like a bell; when struck it sounds, when not struck it does not sound. Now, none had asked you and yet you spoke. Is this what you call sounding without being struck? Is this what you call ungentlemanly?

2 公孟:
Gong Meng:
Gong Mengzi said to Mozi: "How is it possible for the people to be ignorant of what is really good? For instance, when the able fortune teller remains at home and does not go abroad, he will have grain in abundance; when the beautful maiden remains at home and does not go abroad, people will compete in obtaining her. On the other hand if she should set forth to sell herself, none would take her. Now you go about, trying to persuade everybody, wherefore all this fuss?" Mozi said: In the present world of chaos those who seek the beautiful maidens are many. So, though they remain at home most people would take them. But those who seek goodness are few. Without intelligent persuasion people will not understand. Moreover, suppose here are two people good at fortune telling. One travels about to tell people's fortunes, and the other remains at home and does not go abroad. Which of these two will have more grain? Gong Mengzi said that he who travels about and tells people's fortunes will have more grain. Mozi said: So with magnanimity and righteousness. He who travels about and urges the people has more merit also. Why not, then, let us travel about and urge the people?

3 公孟:
Gong Meng:
Gong Mengzi, wearing a ceremonial hat, carrying the officials' tablet, and in the cloak of the learned, came to see Mozi and asked: "Does the gentleman dress in appropriate attire before acting. Or does he do his business first and then consider his attire?" Mozi said: Action does not depend on attire. Gong Mengzi asked how is it possible to know. Mozi said: Formerly, Lord Huan of Qi (685-643 B.C.), wearing a high hat and a wide girdle, with a gold sword and wooden shield, governed his state. And his state became orderly. Lord Wen of Jin (780-746 B.C.), wearing garments of coarse cloth and sheepskin cloak, with the sword in a leather belt, governed his state. And his state became orderly. Lord Zhuang of Chu (671-626 B.C.), wearing a gaudy hat with a tassel, and a red garment and a big gown, governed his state. And his state became orderly. Lord Gou Jian of Yue (496-465 B.C.), had his hair cut short and his body tattooed and governed his state, and his state became orderly. Now, these four lords differed in attire but agreed in action. I therefore know action does not depend on attire. Gong Mengzi said: "That is fine. I have heard that it is unlucky to keep goodness in darkness. So, let me go and put away the tablet and change the hat and come back to see you. Is this all right?" Mozi said: Please come out with your errand. If you have to put away the tablet and change the hat before you can see me, then, action does depend on attire.

4 公孟:
Gong Meng:
Gong Mengzi said: "The gentleman has to be ancient in attire and in speech before he can be magnanimous." Mozi said: In ancient times, minister Fei Zhong of Emperor Zhou of Shang was the terror of the world. While Baron Ji and Baron Wei were the sages of the world. Now these spoke the same dialect, but the latter were magnanimous and the former was wicked. (Later), Duke Dan of Zhou was the sage of the world and Uncle Guan was the villain of the world. Now these wore the same attire but the former was magnanimous and the latter wicked. Then, virtue evidently does not depend on the antiquity of attire and speech. Moreover, you are following only Zhou and not Xia. Your antiquity does not go back far enough.

5 公孟:
Gong Meng:
Gong Mengzi said to Mozi: "In ancient times, in assigning ranks the sage-kings crowned the most sagacious as emperor, and appointed the others as ministers and secretaries. Now Confucius had an extensive knowledge of poetry and history, a clear understanding of ceremonial and music, and an intimate insight into many things. If it fell upon Confucius to be the sage-king, why should he not make himself emperor?" Mozi said: The wise man should reverence Heaven and worship the spirits, love the people and economize in expenditures. Combining these we get wisdom. Now, you say, Confucius had an extensive knowledge of poetry and history, a clear understanding of ceremonials and music, and an intimate insight into many things. Therefore, you think, he should be made emperor. This is like estimating one's wealth by counting the number of notches.

6 公孟:
Gong Meng:
Gong Mengzi said: "Poverty or wealth, old age or untimely death, all are determined by Heaven and they cannot be altered." Again, he said: "The superior man must learn." Mozi said: To hold fatalism and teach people to learn is like telling him to cover his hair and yet remove his hat.

7 公孟:
Gong Meng:
Gong Mengzi said to Mozi: "There is only righteousness and unrighteousness, but no such thing as propitiousness or unpropitiousness." Mozi said: The ancient sage-kings all regarded the ghosts and spirits as intelligent and in control of calamity and blessing. They held there was propitiousness and unpropitiousness and thereby the government was well administered and the country was secure. From Jie and Zhou down they all regarded the ghosts and spirits as unintelligent and not in control of calamity and blessing. They held there was no propitiousness and unpropitiousness, and thereby the government became disorderly and the country in danger. So, the book of the ancient kings "Jizi" says, "Pride brings calamity." That is to say, the evil act will be punished and the good act will be rewarded.

8 公孟:
Gong Meng:
Mozi said to Gong Mengzi: According to the ceremonial for the death of the ruler, the parents, the wife, and the first-born son, there shall be mourning for three years. For the elder uncle, younger uncle, elder brother, younger brother, one year; and for cousins within the family, five months. And for the aunt, the sister, the uncle on mother's side, and the nephew on sister's side, there will be mourning of several months for each. Many also use the intervals between periods of mourning to read the Three Hundred Poems according to rhymes, to play them on the string instruments, to sing them, and to dance to them. If your counsel should be followed when can the gentleman attend to government, and when can the common man attend to work? Gong Mengzi said: "When the country is in chaos it should be put in order; when it is in order, ceremonials and music may be pursued. When the country is poor work should be attended to; when it is rich, ceremonials and music may be pursued." Mozi said: A country may be orderly. But it is because it is being well governed that it is orderly. As soon as good administration is abandoned, order disappears also. A country may be rich. But it is because work is being attended to that it is rich. As soon as work is abandoned, wealth disappears also. Therefore although a country is orderly it is necessary to encourage unceasing attention to administration. Now, you say, when the country is in order, ceremonials and music may be pursued. But put it in order when it becomes disorderly. This is similar to digging a well when some one is choked and to seeking a physician when some one is dead. In ancient times, the wicked kings of the Three Dynasties, Jie, Zhou, You, and Li, revelled in music, and did not remember their people. Therefore they suffered capital punishment and brought calamity to their empire. And it was all from following this idea.

9 公孟:
Gong Meng:
Gong Mengzi said that there were no ghosts and spirits; again, he said that the superior man must learn sacrifice and worship. Mozi said: To hold there are no spirits and learn sacrificial ceremonials is comparable to learning the ceremonials of hospitality while there is no guest or to making fishing nets while there are no fish.

10 公孟:
Gong Meng:
Gong Mengzi said to Mozi: "You think mourning for three years is wrong. Your mourning for three days is also wrong." Mozi replied: You hold mourning for three years and condemn mourning for three days. This is similar to the naked person condemning the person who lifted up his garments for indecency.

11 公孟:
Gong Meng:
Gong Mengzi asked Mozi whether it is wisdom when one knows something better than some other person. Mozi answered: A fool may know something better than some other person. Yet can the fool be said to be wise?

12 公孟:
Gong Meng:
Gong Mengzi said: "I mourn for three years in imitation of the affection that my son shows to his parents." Mozi said: But does the baby have an intelligence to love only its parents? Why, then, should it keep on crying when the parents are not to be had? It is really the extreme degree of foolishness. Thus, is the intelligence of the Confucianists any higher than that of the baby?

13 公孟:
Gong Meng:
Mozi asked a Confucianist why the Confucianists pursued music. He replied, music is pursued for music's sake. Mozi said: You have not yet answered me. Suppose I asked, why build houses. And you answered, it is to keep off the cold in winter, and the heat in summer, and to separate men from women. Then you would have told me the reason for building houses. Now I am asking why pursue music. And you answer music is pursued for music's sake. This is comparable to: "Why build houses?" "Houses are built for houses' sakes."

14 公孟:
Gong Meng:
Mozi said to Chengzi: In the teaching of the Confucianists there are four principles sufficient to ruin the empire: The Confucianists hold Heaven is unintelligent, and the ghosts are inanimate. Heaven and spirits are displeased. This is sufficient to ruin the world. Again they (practise) elaborate funerals and extended mourning. They use several inner and outer coffins, and many pieces of shrouds. The funeral procession looks like house-moving. Crying and weeping last three years. They cannot stand up without support and cannot walk without a cane. Their ears cannot hear and their eyes cannot see. This is sufficient to ruin the world. And they play the string instruments and dance and sing and practise songs and music. This is sufficient to ruin the empire. And, finally, they suppose there is fate and that poverty or wealth, old age or untimely death, order or chaos, security or danger, are all predetermined and cannot be altered. Applying this belief, those in authority, of course, will not attend to government and those below will not attend to work. Again, this is sufficient to ruin the world. Chengzi said: "Sir, you are accusing the Confucianists of too much." Mozi said: If the Confucianists hold nothing like these four principles and yet I say they do then it is false accusation. Now that the Confucianists do hold these four principles and I say so, then it is not accusation, but information. Chengzi had nothing more to say and went out. Mozi called him back. After being seated he continued: "What you, sir, have just said is not without fault. For according to what you have said, there will be no praise of Yu or blame of Jie and Zhou." Mozi replied: Not at all. You are only cleverly criticizing me according to traditional notions. When attack is heavy defence must be strong. When attack is light defence must be light. To criticize according to traditional notions is similar to trying to kill a moth with a thill.

15 公孟:
Gong Meng:
In a discussion with Chengzi, Mozi cited Confucius. Chengzi said, "You condemn Confucianism - why is it that you cite Confucius?" Mozi said: This has reference to what is right and cannot be altered. When the bird becomes aware of the danger of heat and of drought, it flies high. When the fish becomes aware of the danger of heat and of drought, it swims low. In such circumstances even the deliberations of Yu and Tang cannot differ from this. The bird and the fish may be said to be unintelligent. Yet, in some instances, even Yu and Tang would follow them. Should I never cite Confucius?

16 公孟:
Gong Meng:
A man visited Mozi's school. He was physically well built and mentally brilliant. Desiring to have him in his school, Mozi told him to come and study and that he would make him an official. Persuaded by such an attractive promise, he came to study. In a year, he demanded a position of Mozi. Mozi said: I have not made you an official. But have you not heard the story of Lu? There were five brothers in Lu whose father passed away. The eldest son loved wine and would not conduct the funeral. The four younger brothers said to him, "You conduct the funeral for us, and we shall buy wine for you." He was persuaded by such an attractive promise and buried (his father). After the burial he demanded wine of the four brothers. The four brothers told him, "We will not give you any wine. You are to bury your father and we, ours. Is your father only ours? If you don't bury him people will laugh at you, therefore we urged you to bury him." Now, you have done right and I have done right, is it only my righteousness? If you don't learn, people will laugh at you. Therefore I urged you to learn.

17 公孟:
Gong Meng:
A man visited Mozi's school. Mozi said: Why not come and study? Came the reply, "None of my family is learned." Mozi said: No matter. Does he who loves beauty say, none of my family loves it, therefore I will not? And does he who desires wealth and honour say, none of my family desires them, therefore I will not? Now, in the love of beauty and desire for wealth and honour, one goes ahead regardless of others. And righteousness is the greatest thing in the world. Why should one follow others in doing it?

18 公孟:
Gong Meng:
A man visited Mozi's school and said to Mozi: "Sir, you teach that the ghosts and spirits are intelligent and can bring calamity or blessing to man. They will enrich the good and harm the evil. Now, I have served you for a long time. Yet no blessing has come. Can it be that your teaching is not entirely correct, and that the ghosts and spirits are not intelligent? Else why don't I obtain any blessing?" Mozi said: Though you have not obtained any blessing, how does that invalidate my teaching and how does that make the ghosts and spirits unintelligent? He replied that he did not know. Mozi continued: Suppose there is a man ten times as virtuous as you are, can you praise him ten times while you praise yourself but once? He answered that he could not. Now suppose there is a man a hundred times as virtuous as you are, can you during your whole life praise him and not praise yourself even once? He answered that he could not. Mozi said: He who obscured the virtues of one person is guilty. Now, you have obscured the virtues of so many. You must be guilty of very much. Wherewith can you expect blessing?

19 公孟:
Gong Meng:
Mozi was sick. Die Bi came and inquired: "Sir, you have taught the ghosts and spirits are intelligent and are in control of calamity and blessing. They will reward the good and punish the evil. Now you are a sage. How can you become sick? Can it be that your teaching was not entirely correct, that the ghosts and spirits are after all unintelligent? Mozi said: Though I am sick how (does it follow that the ghosts and spirits) should be unintelligent? There are many ways by which a man can contract diseases. Some are affected by climate, some by fatigue. If there are a hundred gates and only one of them is closed, how is it that the burglar should not be able to get in?

20 公孟:
Gong Meng:
Some of the pupils asked to learn archery with Mozi. Mozi said: Impossible. The wise should measure how far his energy can go and plan his career accordingly. Even a soldier cannot fight and help somebody at the same time. Now you are no soldiers. How can you be both accomplished scholars and accomplished archers?

21 公孟:
Gong Meng:
Some of the pupils reported to Mozi that Gaozi proclaimed Mozi to be teaching righteousness but doing wickedness, and urged him to denounce Gaozi. Mozi said: That would not do. To praise my teaching and blame my conduct is yet better than indifference. Suppose there is some one who declares that Di is quite unmagnanimous, that he reverences Heaven, worships spirits, and loves men - this is yet better than indifference. Now, Gaozi was quite discriminating in his statements. He does not blame me for teaching magnanimity and righteousness. So, blame from Gaozi is yet better than indifference.

22 公孟:
Gong Meng:
Some of the pupils reported to Mozi that Gaozi was zealous in practising magnanimity. Mozi remarked: It may not really be so at all. Gaozi practises magnanimity in the same way as the man who stands on his tip toe to appear tall and spreads himself to appear broad. It cannot last long.

23 公孟:
Gong Meng:
Gaozi said to Mozi that he can administer the country and the government. Mozi said: To govern is to carry out what one teaches. Now you don't behave according to what you teach, this means that you yourself are in revolt. Being unable to govern one's self, how can one govern the country? Your self will set it in chaos.

URN: ctp:mozi/gong-meng