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

《先知卷第九 - Foreknowledge》

English translation: Jeffrey S. Bullock [?] Library Resources
1 先知卷第... :
Foreknowledge of the future is probably similar to shen.
May I ask about foreknowledge?
Yangzi said: I do not know. For one who knows its dao, it is probably just like seeing the obscure, the small, and the remote as being completely illuminated.

2 先知卷第... :
If you issue a decree a day before it becomes necessary, it will be easy to implement. If you wait until a day after it becomes necessary, it will be difficult to implement.

3 先知卷第... :
Someone asked: How does one rule a kingdom?
Yangzi said: By establishing good government.
The other said: How does one establish good government?
Yangzi said: The root of good government lies in the ruler himself. If the ruler is able to cultivate himself properly, then good government will be established.

4 先知卷第... :
Someone asked: Does governing have a key element?
Yangzi said: Being cherished or being despised.
The other asked about being cherished and being despised.
Yangzi said: In the past the Duke of Zhou attacked and rectified the four kingdoms of the east. Shaobo carried out his duties and resided under "the shade of the pear tree." Being thus remembered in verse is being cherished. Huan of Qi wanted to pass through Chen, but Chen would not allow him to enter, so he arrested Yuan Taotu. This is being despised. Alas! One who governs simply has to pay close attention to whether he is cherished or despised.
The other said: What makes one cherished or despised?
Yangzi said: Treat the elderly as elderly, treat orphans as orphans; nourish the sick and bury the dead; let men tend their mou of land and let women tend the mulberry trees —you will be referred to as "cherished." Treat the elderly disrespectfully and neglect orphans; abandon the sick and leave the dead exposed; leave the fields uncultivated and the shuttles for weaving empty—you will be referred to as "despised."

5 先知卷第... :
In governing, [practice] daily renewal.
The other said: Do I dare ask about daily renewal?
Yangzi said: Make the people see their ren as a benefit, their yi as happiness. Encourage them to make a name for themselves, guide them with praise, and make them feel pleased with themselves. This is called daily renewal.

6 先知卷第... :
Someone asked about what troubles the people.
Yangzi said: The people have three troubles.
The other said: What are these three troubles?
Yangzi said: When the rules of government is good but the officials are bad, this is the first trouble. When the officials are good but the rules of government is bad, this is the second trouble. When the rules of government and officials are both bad, this is the third trouble. When the birds and beasts eat people's food, when buildings are adorned with the silk that ought to be used for clothing, when farmers and weavers work day and night and it is still not sufficient—this is called bad government.

7 先知卷第... :
The sage is one who ornaments people's zhi. Carts and robes are used to display it; beautiful colors are used to illuminate it; singing and music are used to praise it; poetry and writings are used to make it glorious. If the ritual vessels are not set out, the jade and silk not properly distributed, the zither and harp not struck, the bells and drums not beaten, then I have no way to recognize the sage.

8 先知卷第... :
Someone said: Using the model of the sages of the past in order to govern the present is like gluing the pegs and trying to tune the zither, is it not?
Yangzi said: It is.
The other said: Sage rulers are rare, but mediocre rulers are many. Sticking only to Confucius's dao—this is like lacquering the pegs.
Yangzi said: Have the sage's ways ever been unrelated to [the kingdom's] flourishing and decline? In the past, when Yao ruled all under Heaven, he grasped the guidelines of government and appointed Shun to be ruler, and Shun appointed Yu to be ruler. The Xia, Yin, and Zhou gave it to their sons— they were not glued to the sages' ways, that much is clear! Yao and Shun employed symbolic punishments to make the laws clear. During the Xia, the types of corporeal punishments grew to three thousand—they were not glued to the sages' ways, that much is clear! Yao considered the nine tribes as his own family, and harmonized the ten thousand kingdoms. Tang and Wu were martial, and attacked all within the four directions. From these examples, we may conclude that they were not glued to the sages' ways, that much is clear! The Lunyu says, "Li, music, and military attacks come from the Son of Heaven." But during the Spring and Autumn period, Qi and Jin instigated them. They were not glued to the sages' ways, that much is clear!

9 先知卷第... :
Someone said: The people's ruler cannot but study laws and ordinances.
Yangzi said: When governing the kingdom, a junzi establishes its mainstays and guidelines, and pays close attention to education and culture. If he leads them by means of ren, then those below will not harm one another. If he appears before them modestly, then those below will not steal from one another. If he approaches them honestly, then those below will not be deceitful with one another. If he cultivates them using li and yi, then those below will be more yielding and increase their de. This is what the junzi should study. If there are those who break the law, then there are officers and jails to deal with them.

10 先知卷第... :
Someone expressed worry about [the world's] chaos.
Yangzi said: It's in the mainstays and guidelines.
The other said: How does it lie in the mainstays and its guidelines?
Yangzi said: In great affairs employ the mainstays, in small affairs use the guidelines. If the main lines are no good, and neither are the connecting lines, how could a hunting net have even one eyelet aligned.

11 先知卷第... :
Someone asked: Duke Huan of Qi employed Guan Zhong and became hegemon. Confucius said, "He was a small vessel." May I ask about a great vessel?
Yangzi said: A great vessel is like compass and square, level and marking line! First you govern yourself, and only then do you govern others—this is referred to as being a great vessel.

12 先知卷第... :
Someone asked: In rectifying a kingdom, what comes first?
Yangzi said: Align yourself and others will line up.

13 先知卷第... :
Someone said: In governing, do you not put execution first and education next?
Yangzi said: Indeed! Does Tian begin with autumn and follow with spring? Or does it first begin with spring and follow with autumn?

14 先知卷第... :
I see the black ants marching out of their nest and hear the morning call of the pheasant—how can change be stopped?
Han Jing explains that the ancients understood black ants coming out of their nest as a symbol of seasonal and climatic change.

15 先知卷第... :
The people can be allowed to see the ruler implementing de, but should not be allowed to see punishment being carried out. If they see de, they will be pure and simple, but if they see punishment, there will be chaos.

16 先知卷第... :
Using images of the dragon to bring rain is difficult!
Yangzi said: Dragons? Dragons?

17 先知卷第... :
Someone asked about the core of governing.
Yangzi said: Discriminating the true and the false. If you can discriminate the true and the false, then you have grasped the core of governance. But if the true is not considered true, and the false not considered false, then governing will have no core.

18 先知卷第... :
Thunder and wind are what spur the myriad things to action. Orders and decrees are what spur the myriad people to action. Thunder does not sound only once, and wind does not blow in two directions at the same time.

19 先知卷第... :
The sage loves to mold and perfect the culture of the world, endowing people with the talents of a shi and junzi. Thus, he does not conceal himself from the world, and he does not separate himself from the common people. One who conceals himself from the world and separates himself from the common people, is he really a sage?

20 先知卷第... :
A hen's lack of skill is revealed in the eggs that do not hatch. A ruler's lack of skill is revealed in people who are uncultivated.

21 先知卷第... :
Someone said: Suppose you were made to draft the laws.
Yangzi said: I am not as good as Hong Gong.
The other said: What about writing memorials to the emperor?
Yangzi said: I am not as good as Chen Tang.
The other said: But what would you do?
Yangzi said: What is needed is for the laws not to be broken and memorials not to be sharp.

22 先知卷第... :
For the potter who molds the world, skill lies in achieving balanced harmony. If you fire things too hard, they break. If too soft, they are unfinished.

23 先知卷第... :
When a dragon is laying low or flying high it does not grasp the center. Therefore, those who go beyond the center, but are cautious, and those who do not reach the center, but leap, are close to the center.

24 先知卷第... :
The sage's dao can be compared to the sun at high noon. But if the sun has not reached its apex, then it is not yet at its brightest. And if it has gone beyond the apex, then it is setting.

25 先知卷第... :
The one-tenth tax is the correct amount of tax for all under Heaven. If it is more, then you will have a tax policy as cruel as that of the emperor Jie. If it is less, then you will have a kingdom as backward as the Mo barbarians of the north.

26 先知卷第... :
Cultivating a well-field—now that's cultivation! Punishing with corporeal punishment—now that's punishment! Give the fields to the common people to farm. Give those who are to be punished to the common people to castigate.

27 先知卷第... :
If the law had no restrictions, then the multitudes would farm the noble's fields, live in the noble's dwelling, eat the noble's food, and wear the noble's robes. Indeed, there would not be enough for most people.

28 先知卷第... :
For a kingdom not to implement its laws and yet hope to be effective—compare it to calculating not using rules and hoping for the right totals.

URN: ctp:yangzi-fayan/juan-jiu