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

《吾子卷第二 - My Master》

English translation: Jeffrey S. Bullock [?] Library Resources
1 吾子卷第... :
My Master:
Someone asked: When my Master was young, were you good at fu?
Yangzi said: Yes. As a youngster I practiced cutting bronze, seal, and tally scripts.
After a moment he said: Adults do not do this.
The other said: Can fu not be used for remonstration through satire?
Yangzi said: Satire! Once it satirizes, then it should stop. When it does not end, I am afraid that it does not avoid becoming encouragement.
The other said: Like the silken beauty of misty gauze?
Yangzi said: It is the worm in women's work.
The other said: The Swordsman's Treatise says: "The sword can be used to protect the body."
Yangzi said: But can the skills of a swordsman make men more skilled in li?

2 吾子卷第... :
My Master:
Someone asked: Were the fu of Jing Cha, Tang Le, Song Yu, and Mei Cheng not of value?
Yangzi said: They were excessive by necessity.
The other said: What do you mean by "excessive?"
Yangzi said: The fu of those who wrote shi style verse achieved beauty by means of standards. The fu of those who wrote ci style verse achieved beauty by means of going to excess. If the Confucian school had used fu, Jia Yi [would have] ascended the hall and Sima Xiangru [would have] entered the inner chambers. How could they have, if not for having used [fu]!

3 吾子卷第... :
My Master:
Someone asked about those who can reverse black and white and dazzle the eyes with unorthodox colors.
Yangzi said: Look clearly.
The other said: What if I hear music like that of Zheng and Wei?
Yangzi said: Listen clearly.
The other said: Li Zhu and Music Master Kuang are already dead. What can be done?
Yangzi said: Single-mindedly concentrate on seeing and hearing and that's all.

4 吾子卷第... :
My Master:
Someone asked: All music is based on the five tones and the twelve note scale, yet some music is ceremonial, and some is [like that of] Zheng and Wei. Why?
Yangzi said: If it is proper and correct, then it is ceremonial. If it is excessive and unrestrained, then it is like that of Zheng and Wei.
May I ask about the fundamentals of making music?
Yangzi said: If the huangzhong is used as the root for producing the twelve note scale, and if one uses moderation and a correct attitude to make the notes of properly equal pitch, then one can insure that the music of Zheng and Wei will not be able to enter into and defile one's music.

5 吾子卷第... :
My Master:
Someone said: Women have beauty, but do books not also have beauty?
Yangzi said: They do. With women, one hates cosmetics that ruin their beauty. With books, one hates excessive words that create chaos in laws and institutions.

6 吾子卷第... :
My Master:
Someone asked: Was Qu Yuan wise or not?
Yangzi said: Like jade, like chiseled jade—transformed into reds and greens! But such was his wisdom, such was his wisdom!

7 吾子卷第... :
My Master:
Someone asked: Does the junzi esteem words?
Yangzi said: The junzi esteems reality. When the reality goes beyond the words, it is unrefined. When the words go beyond the reality, then it is exaggerated like fu. When the reality and the words are in balance, then it is a standard. Both words and comportment fully adequate, that is how to embellish de.

8 吾子卷第... :
My Master:
Someone asked: Gongsun Long took his ten thousand clever words to be a model. Can they be used as a model?
Yangzi said: Cutting wood to make chess pieces and scraping hides to make a ball, these kinds of activities all have a model. But as for those things that do not accord with the model of the former kings, the junzi does not take them as a model.

9 吾子卷第... :
My Master:
Looking at the the Confucian Books is comparable to looking at mountains and water: Ascending Mt. Tai, one knows the small and winding landscape of the other mountains of the range, how much more that of the little hills. Floating on the blue-green ocean, one knows the muddiness of the rivers, how much more that of the dried up marshes. Throwing away the boat and yet crossing a great river, there has never been anyone who could do this]. Thowing away the Five Classics and yet reaching the Dao, there has never been anyone who could do this either! As for one who rejects the regular delicacies and is fond of strange dishes, how do you know that he can recognize tastes? As for one who abandons the great sage and loves the various philosophers, how do you know that he can recognize the Dao?

10 吾子卷第... :
My Master:
A trail down a mountain ravine cannot be followed to the end; a door facing a wall cannot be entered.
The other said: From where can one enter?
Yangzi said: Confucius. Confucius is the door.
The other said: Have you passed through Confucius's door?
Yangzi said: The door! The door! How could I be the only one who has not entered through the door?

11 吾子卷第... :
My Master:
Someone wanted to study the Cangjie and the Shipian.
Yangzi said: The Shi! The Shi! It is better than forgetting about and losing it!

12 吾子卷第... :
My Master:
Someone said: Suppose there is a man who says that his surname is Kong, and his name Zhongni. If he enters Confucius's gate, ascends his hall, sits in his chair, and wears his clothes, then may he be called Confucius?
Yangzi said: His outer appearance (wen), yes. His zhi, no.
The other said: May I dare ask about zhi?
Yangzi said: One who has a sheep's zhi and a tiger's skin sees grass and is happy, sees a jackal and shivers. He forgets he is wearing a tiger's skin.

13 吾子卷第... :
My Master:
The sage is in the tiger class, his stripes (wen) are bright and distinct. The junzi is in the leopard class, his spots (wen) are colorful and abundant. The sophists are in the wildcat class, their markings (wen) are collected together thickly. If the wildcat transforms, then he is a leopard. If the leopard transforms, then he is a tiger.

14 吾子卷第... :
My Master:
People who love books but do not seek instruction from Confucius are like a bookshop. Those who love to engage in persuasion but do not seek instruction from Confucius talk like jingling bells. What the junzi says does not corrupt others. What he listens to is without exaggeration. Corruption results in disorder. Exaggeration results in the unorthodox. There have been those who transmitted the straight dao but gradually went crooked; but there has never been anyone who transmitted the crooked dao and gradually went straight.

15 吾子卷第... :
My Master:
Confucius's dao—how clear and easy it is!
Someone said: Starting from his youth and practicing it, one studies until his hair turns white, and he is still confused. How can you say it is so clear and easy?
Yangzi said: I am referring to its not being crooked in order to deal with the crooked, and not being crafty in order to deal with the crafty. If it were crooked and crafty, even though you had ears and eyes, how would you be able to correct them.

16 吾子卷第... :
My Master:
If you hear much, then hold onto the essential. If you see much, then hold onto the profound. If you do not hear much, then nothing is essential. If you do not see much, then nothing is profound.

17 吾子卷第... :
My Master:
Three hundred green robes—but what about the color? Three thousand scraps of hemp—but what about the cold?

18 吾子卷第... :
My Master:
The dao of the junzi is easy in four ways: being simple, it is easy to use; being essential, it is easy to grasp; being bright, it is easy to see; being the model, it is easy to explain.

19 吾子卷第... :
My Master:
After thunderous winds and heavy rains, one knows that a big house is a shelter. After harsh government and a chaotic age, one knows the sage is a bastion wall.

20 吾子卷第... :
My Master:
Among the ancients, Yang Zhu and Mo Di blocked the road, Mengzi spoke and burst it open, making the road broad. There were others after him who blocked the road. I humbly compare myself to Mengzi.

21 吾子卷第... :
My Master:
Someone asked: Each person affirms what he affirms and denies what he denies—who will set them right?
Yangzi said: If the ten thousand things are confused and disorderly, they are corrected by Tian; if the multitude of words are confused and chaotic, then they are judged by the sage.
Someone said: Whence can one look to a sage to render judgment?
Yangzi said: When he is alive, there is the man; when he is gone, there are the Books. Their guiding principle is the same.

URN: ctp:yangzi-fayan/juan-er