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-> -> -> Asking About Seeing Clearly

《问明卷第六 - Asking About Seeing Clearly》

English translation: Jeffrey S. Bullock [?] Library Resources
1 问明卷第... :
Asking About Seeing Clearly:...:
Someone asked about seeing clearly.
Yangzi said: Focus on what is subtle.
The other said: How can focusing on what is subtle be seeing clearly?
Yangzi said: If it is subtle and yet you can perceive it, then can you not see wayward action clearly?

2 问明卷第... :
Asking About Seeing Clearly:...:
Having keen hearing and eyesight is the best. Not being able to hear clearly is truly like not having ears. Not being able to see clearly is truly like not having eyes.
Dare I ask about superior clarity of sight and hearing?
Yangzi said: Dazzlingly bright, only Tian sees and hears perfectly. The one who is able to raise up its eyes to see far and wide and lower its ears to the ground, is it not Tian?

3 问明卷第... :
Asking About Seeing Clearly:...:
Someone asked: Can someone who understands even the most trivial affairs be called a teacher?
Yangzi said: What kind of teacher is this? What kind of teacher is this? The trivial affairs of the world are not few. Understanding them all, is this called being a teacher? The value of a teacher is knowing great knowledge. A teacher who only understands the trivial is indeed worthless.

4 问明卷第... :
Asking About Seeing Clearly:...:
Mengzi detested "those who passed my gate but did not enter my inner chambers."
Someone said: Are there others you detest as well?
Yangzi said: Those who pick my flowers but do not eat my fruit.

5 问明卷第六:
Asking About Seeing Clearly:...:
Someone said: Confucius's affairs kept him busy all his life. Tian must have become weary belaboring him!
Yangzi said: Tian did not only belabor Confucius, it also belabored itself. But does Tian become weary? Tian delights in being Tian, the sage delights in being the sage.

6 问明卷第... :
Asking About Seeing Clearly:...:
Someone asked: Among birds there is the phoenix, among beasts there is the unicorn. Can all birds and beasts really become a phoenix or unicorn?
Yangzi said: The difference between other birds and the phoenix, and other beasts and the unicorn, are of form and nature. How can this be so with the other people's relationship to the sage?

7 问明卷第... :
Asking About Seeing Clearly:...:
Someone said: Indeed, the sage's dao is of no benefit in common practice. To read the sage's writings but continue in ordinary behaviors—why not just get rid of the sage's writings?
Yangzi said: How much you fail to understand! If one reads the sage's writings but continues in ordinary behaviors, he still has knowledge of the sage's teachings. To get rid of the writings is foolishness. Was Li Si not the one who made fools of the Qin? He threw the writings into the fire!

8 问明卷第... :
Asking About Seeing Clearly:...:
Someone asked: What do people honor?
Yangzi said: They honor wisdom.
The other said: Many people are killed because of their wisdom. Why do they honor it?
Yangzi said: In the past, Gao Yao used his wisdom to remonstrate with the emperor Shun. He was far from getting himself killed. Jizi used his wisdom to layout the Hongfan for King Wu. He too was far from getting himself killed.

9 问明卷第... :
Asking About Seeing Clearly:...:
Confucius was a sage, but some said that he was inferior to Zigong. Zigong's own words cleared up the issue, so that afterwards, such an idea was dropped. Indeed! If those who read the the sage's writings oppose Zigong on this issue, then although they may have read much, what good has it done them?

10 问明卷第... :
Asking About Seeing Clearly:...:
How magnificent! Cheng Tang was glorious and inherited the Mandate. King Wen was profound and virtuous.
Someone said: What do you mean by "Cheng Tang was glorious and inherited the Mandate?"
Yangzi said: He made the Shang to transform from a small kingdom into a great dynasty. Is this not glorious? He revolted against the Xia using Heaven's Mandate, is this not to inherit the Mandate itself?
What do you mean by "King Wen was profound and virtuous?"
Yangzi said: Doubling the Yijing's trigrams to make hexagrams, was this not profound? Making the Zhou gradually become honorable and great, is this not exemplary?

11 问明卷第... :
Asking About Seeing Clearly:...:
Someone asked about fate.
Yangzi said: Fate is Tian's decree, it is not man's doing. What is effected by man is not fate.
May I ask what you mean by "effected by man?"
Yangzi said: Situations in which one may either survive or perish, live or die, are not matters of fate. Fate is what cannot be avoided.
The other said: What about Yan Yuan and Ran Geng?
Yangzi said: Because of fate, they could not avoid an early death. But if you choose to stand under a wall that is about to collapse, where moving will summon disaster and any action will result in death, is that fate?

12 问明卷第... :
Asking About Seeing Clearly:...:
Fortunate people treat their good fortune as bad fortune.
Unfortunate people treat their bad fortune as good fortune.

13 问明卷第... :
Asking About Seeing Clearly:...:
Time! Time! How slowly it comes and how quickly it goes. The junzi races with it.

14 问明卷第... :
Asking About Seeing Clearly:...:
Recklessly exaggerated speech destroys societal norms. Unrestrained desires destroy the law. Self-indulgence destroys de. The junzi is careful in speech, cautious in desire, and pressed by time.

15 问明卷第... :
Asking About Seeing Clearly:...:
I have not seen a thundering storm that was able to stir a deaf person.

16 问明卷第... :
Asking About Seeing Clearly:...:
Someone asked: What is the junzi like in times of just government?
Yangzi said: He is like the phoenix.
What is he like in chaotic times?
Yangzi said: He is like the phoenix.
The other did not understand.
Yangzi said: You have yet to think it through. If it is a time of just government, he appears. If it is a time of chaos, he hides. When the wild goose flies high and far, how can the archer hope to shoot him? The jiao ming carefully chooses a place to gather and eats only pure things. When the phoenix takes off, he flies to the hall of Yao.

17 问明卷第... :
Asking About Seeing Clearly:...:
A successful dragon lays low or rises to view in accordance with his integrity and advantage.
The other said: How does the dragon use his integrity and advantage and thereby succeed?
Yangzi said: If the time is not right, he hides. Is this not integrity? If the time is right, he rises. Is this not seizing an advantage? If one is able both to hide and to rise, and act according to the times, is this not indeed success?

18 问明卷第... :
Asking About Seeing Clearly:...:
Someone asked about preserving one's life.
Yangzi said: It is a matter of illuminated wisdom.
The other said: If the young and unenlightened can preserve themselves, then how is it only a matter of illuminated wisdom?
Yangzi said: The junzi only values using his wisdom to preserve his life. If it means blundering in panic down a darkened road like a fool and somehow preserving his life, the junzi would not value it.

19 问明卷第... :
Asking About Seeing Clearly:...:
The purity of Gong Sheng and Gong She from Chu were lofty indeed! Zhuang Zun of Shu lived in deep seclusion, and his talents were truly valuable. He neither acted for attention and respect, nor did he serve in government in order to obtain wealth and honor. He hid himself for a long time and did not deviate from his principles. Even if one had the pearls of the Sui or the He Shi Bi, how could these surpass the value of Zhuang's integrity. I raise him up as a banner—is he not indeed precious? I greatly admire Zhuang, his position was difficult to maintain. If he did not aspire to equal Xu You, then he aspired to equal Bo Yi. What greedy desires could he have had?

20 问明卷第... :
Asking About Seeing Clearly:...:
Someone asked: Yao was about to cede all under Heaven to Xu You, but Xu You was ashamed. Did this really happen?
Yangzi said: That is how those who like to exaggerate would tell it. In fact, Xu You had no worldly desires at all. If one truly understood the seriousness with which Yao abdicated to Shun, then one would know that he would not have rashly abdicated to Xu You. Those who like to exaggerate have built up the story and gone beyond the truth of the matter. The story of Chaofu washing out his ears, isn't this also the same sort of exaggeration? To frighten people the way haunted places do, don't you need the dark of night?

21 问明卷第... :
Asking About Seeing Clearly:...:
The swallow flits around, coming and going without restraint.
Someone said: What do you admire about the swallow?
Yangzi said: When it is time to come, he comes. When it is time to go, he goes. One who is able to come and go—that describes a swallow, does it not?

22 问明卷第... :
Asking About Seeing Clearly:...:
Someone said: Han Feizi wrote the Difficulty of Persuaders and ended up dying because of the difficulties of persuasion. Dare I ask why the situation turned back on him?
Yangzi said: The Difficulty of Persuaders is probably what killed him.
The other said: Why?
Yangzi said: A junzi acts in accord with li and stops in accord with yi. If he conforms to the ruler's opinion he serves in government, otherwise he retires. He stands firm and does not worry that he does not conform. Now, if he is a persuader and worries about not conforming, then he will stop at nothing.
The other said: Is it not worth worrying whether one's persuasion will fail to conform?
Yangzi said: If one's persuasion does not follow the Dao, that is worth worrying about! But following the Dao and not conforming—this is nothing to worry about!

23 问明卷第... :
Asking About Seeing Clearly:...:
Someone asked about wisdom.
Yangzi said: Make your thoughts completely clear.
He asked about action.
Yangzi said: Let your de pervade everywhere.

URN: ctp:yangzi-fayan/juan-liu