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Daoism -> Zhuangzi -> Outer Chapters -> The Revolution of Heaven -> 6.4

老聃Lao Dan said,
'Come a little more forward, my son,
天下 and I will tell you how the Three Huangs and the Five Dis ruled the world.
黄帝天下 Huang-Di ruled it,
使 so as to make the minds of the people all conformed to the One (simplicity).
If the parents of one of them died, and he did not wail, no one blamed him.
天下Yao ruled it
使 so as to cause the hearts of the people to cherish relative affection.
If any, however, made the observances on the death of other members of their kindred less than those for their parents, no one blamed them.
天下 Shun ruled it,
使 so as to produce a feeling of rivalry in the minds of the people.
Their wives gave birth to their children in the tenth month of their pregnancy,
but those children could speak at five months;
and before they were three years old, they began to call people by their surnames and names.
Then it was that men began to die prematurely.
天下Yu ruled it,
使 so as to cause the minds of the people to become changed.
Men's minds became scheming, and they used their weapons as if they might legitimately do so,
(saying that they were) killing thieves and not killing other men.
天下The people formed themselves into different combinations - so it was throughout the kingdom.
天下 Everywhere there was great consternation,
and then arose the Literati and (the followers of) Mo (Di).
From them came first the doctrine of the relationships (of society);
and what can be said of the now prevailing customs (in the marrying of) wives and daughters?
天下I tell you that the rule of the Three Kings and Five Dis may be called by that name, but nothing can be greater than the disorder which it produced.
The wisdom of the Three Kings
was opposed to the brightness of the sun and moon above,
contrary to the exquisite purity of the hills and streams below,
and subversive of the beneficent gifts of the four seasons between.
Their wisdom has been more fatal than the sting of a scorpion
or the bite of a dangerous beast.
Unable to rest in the true attributes of their nature and constitution,
圣人 they still regarded themselves as sages:
was it not a thing to be ashamed of?
But they were shameless.
子贡Zi-gong stood quite disconcerted and ill at ease.


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