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-> -> -> The Priority of Filial Devotion

《孝至卷第十三 - The Priority of Filial Devotion》

English translation: Jeffrey S. Bullock [?] Library Resources
1 孝至卷第... :
The Priority of Filial...:
Filial devotion is the highest priority! In this one word all is complete, [even] the sage [cannot] add to it!

2 孝至卷第... :
The Priority of Filial...:
The father and mother are the child's Heaven and Earth. Without Heaven, how is one born? Without Earth, how is one formed? Are Heaven and Earth generous to the ten thousand things, or are the ten thousand things generous to Heaven and Earth? The "generosity" of being generous to ones father and mother is not "generosity!" One who served his father and mother and yet knew in himself that it was not enough—wasn't this Shun?

3 孝至卷第... :
The Priority of Filial...:
That which cannot be prolonged enough—this is called serving one's parents. A filial son values each day he has with them.

4 孝至卷第... :
The Priority of Filial...:
Does a filial son not make offerings to his ancestors? Does he not fast? Now, only through the fast is one able to make the deceased's image survive and feel connected to those who are gone. Thus, in fasting a filial son preserves a vision of his father and mother. Because of this, during the fast, one does not take guests. Men who do not make offerings to their ancestors, are they even as good as jackals and otters?

5 孝至卷第... :
The Priority of Filial...:
Someone asked about being a son.
Yangzi said: If one exhausts li both during his parents life and after their death, then may he not be referred to as a capable son?

6 孝至卷第... :
The Priority of Filial...:
Yangzi said: Shi Fen and Shi Jian were the perfect father and son. Without this father, there would not have been such a son. Without this son, there would not have been such a father.
Someone said: Must there be both?
Yangzi said: Rather than Yao not having a son and Shun not having a father, it would have been better had Yao been the father and Shun the son.

7 孝至卷第... :
The Priority of Filial...:
A son eats coarse food and wears tattered clothing while he gives the good food and beautiful clothing to his parents, because he seeks to be filial. If some say he is a phony, what can be done about it?
Yangzi said: Suppose he wore a ru's robes and read the Confucian books for three months without any lapse. Who would say he was not a ru?
The other said: How can you tell if he is a phony?
Yangzi said: If he does it when others are around, but stops when others are not around, then he can be called phony. In observing people, simply examine when they act and when they stop, and that's all.

8 孝至卷第... :
The Priority of Filial...:
The good reputation that one makes without seeking is best. The reputation one makes by seeking after it is merely second best.

9 孝至卷第... :
The Priority of Filial...:
Someone asked: What are loyal words and excellent plans?
Yangzi said: Words that accord with those of Hou Ji and Zi Xie's are referred to as loya1. Plans that accord with those of Gao Yao are referred to as excellent.
The other said: What if this standard is too lofty?
Yangzi said: Indeed, one must simply be diligent and that's all. If the standard were lower, then Su Qin, Zhang Yi, Shang Yang, and Li Si would also be considered loyal and excellent.

10 孝至卷第... :
The Priority of Filial...:
The dao of Yao and Shun was august!
The dao of the Xia, Yin, and Zhou was magnificent!
Thus their glory lives on!
The other said: What do you mean?
Yangzi said: Yao and Shun were glorious by means of abdicating the throne. The Xia were glorious because of their meritorious deeds, and the Yin and Zhou because of their righteous military campaigns.

11 孝至卷第... :
The Priority of Filial...:
Someone said: Food as delicate and finely prepared as little ants, robes as beautiful as paintings, a vermilion wheeled four-horse chariot, and a glittering gold seal with the vermilion silk ribbons—is this not excessive?
Yangzi said: Because of their de, Shun and Yu's inheritance of all under Heaven was not excessive; but if it is not because of one's de, then even five strands of silk and the copper seal of the lowest office is still too excessive.

12 孝至卷第... :
The Priority of Filial...:
The world is penetrated by five daos, but there is only one means by which to walk on them—it is called diligence.

13 孝至卷第... :
The Priority of Filial...:
Someone said: As for physical strength, there are those who can carry a massive ritual cauldron or raise military flags. In terms of wisdom and de, are there not also those who compare in this way?
Yangzi said: These are merely cases of one man being like a hundred. De that allows one to harmonize with the stupid and foolish, and to abdicate the ten thousand kingdoms; wisdom that clearly perceives Heaven and Earth, and can give form to unfathomable profundity—are these merely equal to the de and wisdom of a hundred men?

14 孝至卷第... :
The Priority of Filial...:
Someone asked about the ruler.
Yangzi said: He should be bright and illuminating.
The other asked about the minister.
Yangzi said: He should be dutiful and have a settling influence.
The other said: May I ask to what you refer?
Yangzi said: When a junzi is in a high position, then he is bright and illuminates those below. When he is in a low position, then he is dutiful and has a settling influence on those above.

15 孝至卷第... :
The Priority of Filial...:
Someone asked: Does the sage give attention to strange phenomena?
Yangzi said: The sage attends to de; strange phenomena are secondary. Thus, constantly cultivating de—this is to grasp the root. Waiting to see strange phenomena and only then cultivating de—this is to grasp the tip of the branch. To cultivate neither the root nor the tip of the branch and yet survive—there has yet to be a case of this.

16 孝至卷第... :
The Priority of Filial...:
Heaven and Earth's accomplishments are due to the people. The people's accomplishments are due to the One Man. The One Man's accomplishments are due to his xin.

17 孝至卷第... :
The Priority of Filial...:
I have heard this from the Lunyu: "In old age, the junzi guards against covetousness." Those whose de increases in excellence as they grow older—are they not the followers of Confucius?

18 孝至卷第... :
The Priority of Filial...:
Someone asked: De that has a beginning but no end, or de that has an end but no beginning—which would you prefer?
Yangzi said: Would you rather first become ill and then be cured, or first be cured and then become ill?

19 孝至卷第... :
The Priority of Filial...:
Someone asked about the great.
Yangzi said: It is small.
He asked about the far away.
Yangzi said: It is near.
He failed to understand.
Yangzi said: The world is great, but controlling it lies in the Dao. Is this not small indeed? The four seas are far away, but governing the kingdoms within them lies in the xin. Is this not near indeed?

20 孝至卷第... :
The Priority of Filial...:
Someone asked about exceptional wisdom and great flourishing.
Yangzi said: Wisdom that enables one to know the sage is called "exceptional." When putting de into action flourishes bearing abundant fruit, this is called "great."

21 孝至卷第... :
The Priority of Filial...:
The junzi's actions are determined according to the situation, and the situation is understood according to li.

22 孝至卷第... :
The Priority of Filial...:
Someone asked: What is the guiding principle of all speech? What is the source of all conduct?
Yangzi said: The guiding principle of all speech is virtuous (de) speech. The source of all conduct is virtuous (de) conduct.

23 孝至卷第... :
The Priority of Filial...:
Someone asked about times of great harmony?
Yangzi said: Were they not the times of Yao, Shun, King Cheng and the Duke of Zhou? Read the Book of Documents and the Book of Poetry's warmth and gentleness, and you can learn of their harmony.

24 孝至卷第... :
The Priority of Filial...:
In King Kang of the Zhou's time, hymns of praise were sung from below, while the "Guan Ju (The Ospreys)" was written above. This is because the people were accustomed to order.
Duke Huan of Qi's time was chaotic, and the Spring and Autumn Annals praised the peace reached by Qi and Chu at Shaoling, because the people were accustomed to chaos. Thus, if one is accustomed to order, then he worries at the first appearance of chaos. If one is accustomed to chaos, one delights in the first appearance of order.

25 孝至卷第... :
The Priority of Filial...:
One may say the de of the Han is sincerely missed! From the south of Huangzhi, the west of Daxia, Dongdi, and Beinu, the barbarians came to offer their treasures in tribute. One may say the de of the Han truly is missed! It is rare in this generation!

26 孝至卷第... :
The Priority of Filial...:
Great and sagely de which people from far away all long for—this is the best. Grave and bold military rites with soldiers attacking the four directions—this is next. The Man and Yi barbarians causing trouble for the empire, causing rulers to squirm in agitation while kingdoms submit and armies are defeated—this is the worst.

27 孝至卷第... :
The Priority of Filial...:
The grave deportment of the unicorn, the eminence of the phoenix—these are the ultimate. The warlike nature of the dragon and tiger, the cruelty of the hawk and falcon—these have never been the ultimate.

28 孝至卷第... :
The Priority of Filial...:
Someone said: The quarrelsome Xiongnu wear our painted silk robes, don our golden belt buckles, and eat our delicacies and finest oils. Is this not like the generosity of sacrificial offerings?
Yangzi said: In the past, in the time of Gaozu, Emperor Wen, and Emperor Wu, the Xiongnu were indeed the military's top priority. Now their ministers come and kotow, and they are called "the northern frontier." This is for the spirits of our ancestors and the spirits of Earth and grain. Can it not but be like sacrificial offerings?

29 孝至卷第... :
The Priority of Filial...:
West of Longdui, North of Damo, in the lands of the Bird and Beast Yi barbarians, the prefectures incessantly put the king's armies to work. This is not something the house of Han would do.

30 孝至卷第... :
The Priority of Filial...:
Cutting off relations with Zhuyai was due to the strength of Jia Juanzhi's advice. Had it not been for this, we would have traded our robes and skirts for their clothes of shell and fish scales.

31 孝至卷第... :
The Priority of Filial...:
The ruler's duty lies in making his people's wealth abundant, making the Dao clear, and upholding righteousness. As for the emperor's role, he completes the transformations of Heaven and Earth, makes the rice-eating people happy and peaceful. When he makes offering to the ghosts and spirits, do the spirits not indeed accept and enjoy the feast?

32 孝至卷第... :
The Priority of Filial...:
Tian's Dao labors and its work is completed.
Someone asked about "laboring" and "being completed."
Yangzi said: Moving one degree each day is called "laboring." Completing the yearly cycle is called "being completed."
The other said: The ruler is at ease but the minister labors. Why does Tian labor?
Yangzi said: With regard to concrete affairs, they are both at ease. But they unceasingly labor in the Dao.

33 孝至卷第... :
The Priority of Filial...:
Since the time of the Duke of Zhou, there has been no one as exemplary as the Duke of Han (Wang Mang). When he acts and labors for the kingdom, he even surpasses A Heng.

34 孝至卷第... :
The Priority of Filial...:
The Han rose up two hundred ten years ago and revived Tian's Dao—hasn't it almost got it right? The imperial university is the means to establish it; schools and study are the means to teach it; li and music are the means to express it; carriages and robes are the means to display it. To return to the well-field system and corporeal punishment, and to release people from slavery —now that is greatness!

URN: ctp:yangzi-fayan/juan-shi-san