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《修權 - Cultivation of the Right Standard》

English translation: J. J. L. Duyvendak [?] Library Resources
1 修權:
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:
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:
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:
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