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Confucianism -> Liji -> Ai Gong Wen -> 1

哀公孔子:“Duke Ai asked Confucius, saying, 'What do you say about the great rites?
君子How is it that superior men, in speaking about them, ascribe so much honour to them?
孔子:“。”Confucius said, 'I, Qiu, am a small man, and unequal to a knowledge of the rites.'
:“'By no means,' said the ruler.
Tell me what you think, my Master.
孔子:“Then Confucius replied, 'According to what I have heard, of all things by which the people live the rites are the greatest.
君子 Without them they would have no means of regulating the services paid to the spirits of heaven and earth; without them they would have no means of distinguishing the positions proper to father and son, to high and low, to old and young; without them they would have no means of maintaining the separate character of the intimate relations between male and female, father and son, elder brother and younger, and conducting the intercourse between the contracting families in a marriage, and the frequency or infrequency (of the reciprocities between friends). These are the grounds on which superior men have honoured and reverenced (the rites) as they did. Thereafter, (having this view of the rites), they taught them to the people, on the ground of their ability (to practise them), not disregarding their general principles or the limitations (that circumstances impose in particular cases). When their object had been accomplished (so far), they proceeded to give rules for the engraving (of the ceremonial vessels), and the embroidering in various colours (of the robes), in order to secure the transmission (of the rites). Having obtained the concurrence (of the people in these things), they proceeded to tell them the different periods of mourning; to provide the full amount of tripods and stands; to lay down the (offerings of) pork and dried meats; to maintain in good order their ancestral temples; and then at the different seasons of the year reverently to present their sacrifices; and to arrange thereat, in order, the different branches and members of their kindred. Meanwhile (they themselves) were content to live economically, to have nothing fine about their dress; to have their houses low and poor; to eschew much carving about their carriages; to use their vessels without carving or graving; and to have the plainest diet, in order to share all their advantages in common with the people.
君子In this manner did the superior men of antiquity practise the rites.


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