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Chinese Text Project
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-> -> -> Cultivation of the Right Standard

《修權 - Cultivation of the Right Standard》

English translation: J. J. L. Duyvendak [?] Library Resources
1 修權:
國之所以治者三:一曰法,二曰信,三曰權。法者,君臣之所共操也;信者,君臣之所共立也;權者,君之所獨制也。人主失守,則危;君臣釋法任私,必亂。故立法明分,而不以私害法,則治;權制獨斷於君,則威;民信其賞則事功成,信其刑則姦無端。惟明主愛權重信,而不以私害法。故上多惠言而剋其賞,則下不用;數加嚴令而不致其刑,則民傲罪。凡賞者,文也;利者,武也。文武者,法之約也。故明主慎法。明主不蔽之謂明,不欺之謂察。故賞厚而利,刑重而必,不失疏遠,不私親近。故臣不蔽主,下不欺上。
Cultivation of the Right...:
Orderly government is brought about in a state by three things. The first is law, the second good faith, and the third right standards. Law is exercised in common by the prince and his ministers. Good faith is established in common by the prince and his ministers. The right standard is fixed by the prince alone. If a ruler of men fails to observe it, there is danger; if prince and ministers neglect the law and act according to their own self-interest, disorder is the inevitable result. Therefore if law is established, rights and duties are made clear, and self-interest does not harm the law, then there is orderly government. If the fixing of the right standard is decided by the prince alone, there is prestige. If the people have faith in his rewards, then their activities will achieve results, and if they have faith in his penalties, then wickedness will have no starting point. Only an intelligent ruler loves right standards and values good faith, and will not, for the sake of self-interest, harm the law. For if he speaks many liberal words but cuts down his rewards, then his subjects will not be of service; and if he issues one severe order after another, but does not apply the penalties, people will despise the death-penalty. In general, rewards are a civil measure and penalties a military. Civil and military measures are the summary of the law. Therefore an intelligent ruler places reliance on the law; (an intelligent ruler), if things are not kept hidden from him, is called intelligent, and if he is not deceived, is called perspicacious. Therefore he benefits by giving liberal rewards, and by making penalties severe, he ensures that he is feared. He does not neglect those that are distant, nor does he run counter to those that are near. Thus ministers will not hide things from their ruler, nor will inferiors deceive their superiors.

2 修權:
世之為治者,多釋法而任私議,此國之所以亂也。先王縣權衡,立尺寸,而至今法之,其分明也。夫釋權衡而斷輕重,廢尺寸而意長短,雖察,商賈不用,為其不必也。故法者,國之權衡也,夫倍法度而任私議,皆不知類者也。不以法論知能賢不肖者,惟堯,而世不盡為堯,是故先王知自議譽私之不可任也,故立法明分,中程者賞之,毀公者誅之。賞誅之法,不失其義,故民不爭。授官予爵,不以其勞,則忠臣不進。行賞賦祿,不稱其功,則戰士不用。
Cultivation of the Right...:
Those who are engaged in governing, in the world, chiefly dismiss the law and place reliance on private appraisal, and this is what brings disorder in a state. The early kings hung up scales with standard weights, and fixed the length of feet and inches, and to the present day these are followed as models because their divisions were clear. Now dismissing standard scales and yet deciding weight, or abolishing feet and inches and yet forming an opinion about length - even an intelligent merchant would not apply this system, because it would lack definiteness. Now, if the back is turned on models and measures, and reliance is placed on private appraisal, in all those cases there would be a lack of definiteness. Only a Yao would be able to judge knowledge and ability, worth or unworth without a model. But the world does not consist exclusively of Yaos! Therefore, the ancient kings understood that no reliance should be placed on individual opinions or biassed approval, so they set up models and made the distinctions clear. Those who fulfilled the standard were rewarded, those who harmed the public interest were punished. The standards for rewards and punishments were not wrong in their appraisals, and therefore people did not dispute them. But if the bestowal of office and the granting of rank are not carried out according to the labour borne, then loyal ministers have no advancement; and if in awarding rewards and giving emoluments the respective merits are not weighed, then fighting soldiers will not enter his service.

3 修權:
凡人臣之事君也,多以主所好事君。君好法,則臣以法事君;君好言,則臣以言事君。君好法,則端直之士在前;君好言,則毀譽之臣在側。公私之分明,則小人不疾賢,而不肖者不妒功。故堯舜之位天下也,非私天下之利也,為天下位天下也。論賢舉能而傳焉,非疏父子,親越人也,明於治亂之道也。故三王以義親,五霸以法正諸侯,皆非私天下之利也,為天下治天下。是故擅其名,而有其功,天下樂其政,而莫之能傷也。今亂世之君臣,區區然皆擅一國之利,而管一官之重,以便其私,此國之所以危也。故公私之交,存亡之本也。
Cultivation of the Right...:
Generally, the principle on which ministers serve their prince are dependent, in most cases, on what the ruler likes. If the ruler likes law, then the ministers will make law their principle in serving; if the prince likes words, then the ministers will make words their principle in serving. If the prince likes law, then upright scholars will come to the front, but if he likes words, then ministers full of praise for some and blame for others will be at his side. If public and private interests are clearly distinguished, then even small-minded men do not hate men of worth, nor do worthless men envy those of merit. For when Yao and Shun established their rule over the empire, they did not keep the benefits of the empire for themselves, but it was for the sake of the empire that they established their rule. In making the imperial succession dependent on worth and ability, they did not intend to alienate fathers and sons from one another, and to conciliate distant people, but they did it because they had a true insight into the ways of order and disorder. So, too, the Three Kings conciliated people by righteousness, and the five Lords Protector rectified the feudal lords by law; that is, in all these cases, none took for himself the benefits of the empire. They ruled for the sake of the empire, and thus, when those who held positions had corresponding merit, the empire enjoyed their administration and no one could harm it. But, nowadays, princes and ministers of a disorderly world each, on a small scale, appropriates the profits of his own state, and each exercises the burden of his own office, for his private benefit. This is why the states are in a perilous position. For the relation between public and private interests is what determines existence or ruin.

4 修權:
夫廢法度而好私議,則姦臣鬻權以約祿,秩官之吏隱下而漁民。諺曰:「蠹眾而木折,隙大而牆壞。」故大臣爭於私而不顧其民,則下離上;下離上者,國之隙也。秩官之吏隱下以漁百姓,此民之蠹也。故國有隙蠹而不亡者,天下鮮矣。是故明主任法去私,而國無隙蠹矣。
Cultivation of the Right...:
However, if models and measures are abolished and private appraisal is favoured, then bad ministers will let their standards be influenced by money, in order to obtain emoluments, and officials of the various ranks will, in a stealthy and hidden manner, make extortions from the people. The saying runs: 'Many woodworms and the wood snaps, a large fissure and the wall collapses.' So if ministers of state vie with one another in selfishness and do not heed the people, then inferiors are estranged from superiors. When this happens, there is a fissure in the state. If the officials of the various ranks make extortions from the people, stealthily and in a hidden manner, they are for the people like woodworms. Therefore is it exceptional in the world that where there are fissures and woodworms, ruin does not follow. That is why intelligent kings placed reliance on the law and removed self-interest, so that the state should have no fissures and no woodworms.

URN: ctp:shang-jun-shu/cultivation-of-the-right-standard