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Chinese Text Project
Simplified Chinese version
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《渊骞卷第十一 - Yuan and Qian》

English translation: Jeffrey S. Bullock [?] Library Resources
1 渊骞卷第... :
Yuan and Qian:
Someone asked: Who are Yan Hui and Min Ziqian's followers?
Yangzi said: They remain unknown.
The other said: Why did Yan Hui and Min Ziqian not remain unknown?
Yangzi said: It is like holding on to the dragon's scales or hanging on to the wings of the phoenix. They rose on the wind, soaring to heights that cannot be reached. How could they remain unknown! How could they remain unknown!

2 渊骞卷第... :
Yuan and Qian:
When the seventy disciples were with Confucius, every day they heard things that they had never heard before and saw things that they had never seen. Indeed, there was not enough time to produce literary works.

3 渊骞卷第... :
Yuan and Qian:
The junzi strives for incomparable de. The petty person strives for incomparable strength.
Someone asked: What is incomparable de?
Yangzi said: Shun's filial piety, Yu's labors, Gao Yao's planning—are these not examples of incomparable de?
The other said: What about strength?
Yangzi said: To lift cauldrons on one's shoulders or wrestle oxen like King Dao Wu of Qin, Wu Huo or Ren Bi—are these not examples of incomparable strength?

4 渊骞卷第... :
Yuan and Qian:
Someone asked about courage.
Yangzi said: Ke had it.
The other said: Which Ke?
Yangzi said: The Ke I refer to is Meng Ke. As for Jing Ke, a junzi would consider him a bandit.
May I ask about Meng Ke's courage?
Yangzi said: He was courageous in yi and determined in de. Poverty and wealth, honor and lowliness, and life and death did not move his xin. In terms of courage, was he not almost perfect?

5 渊骞卷第... :
Yuan and Qian:
Lu Zhonglian was unsettled and did not serve in office. Lin Xiangru served in office and was settled.

6 渊骞卷第... :
Yuan and Qian:
Someone asked about Zou Yang.
Yangzi said: He was not trusted and raised his share of suspicions, but he defended himself with an emotional plea and escaped the bird catcher's net. He was almost perfect!

7 渊骞卷第... :
Yuan and Qian:
Someone asked: Lords Xinling, Ping Yuan, Meng Chang, and Chun Shen were of benefit to their kingdoms, were they not?
Yangzi said: When rulers lose control of the government and villainous ministers steal the kingdom's mandate, where is the benefit in this?

8 渊骞卷第... :
Yuan and Qian:
As for Shuli Zi's knowledge of the future—If he had known the fate of his kingdom like that of his tomb, then I would take him to be my milfoil sticks and tortoise shells.

9 渊骞卷第... :
Yuan and Qian:
From Cheng Zhou in the East King Shen Jing and King Nan of Zhou looked admiringly at the Qin in the west. From Xishan in the west, King Huiwen and King Zhao Xiang of Qin stood equal to the six kingdoms in the east. Which was better?
Yangzi said: The Zhou were like sheep, the Qin were like wolves.
The other said: This being so, is the wolf not better?
Yangzi said: Sheep, wolves—they are the same.

10 渊骞卷第... :
Yuan and Qian:
Someone asked: Meng Tian was loyal to the Qin and yet he was executed. What good is loyalty?
Yangzi said: In building the Great Wall, he dug trenches through the mountains and dammed up gorges, beginning from Lin Tao and reaching Liao Shui. His accomplishments were not sufficient and the number of corpses was excessive. His loyalty is not worth admiring.

11 渊骞卷第... :
Yuan and Qian:
Someone asked: What about Lü Buwei's wisdom? He traded in people to make his profits.
Yangzi said: Who ever said Lü Buwei was wise? He traded in court politics to become ancestor to the short-lived Qin Dynasty. Was Lü Buwei's thievery not like that of a cunning burglar who breaks in through a hole in the wall? I've seen heists as big as three bushels, but never one as big as Luoyang!

12 渊骞卷第... :
Yuan and Qian:
Someone said: General Bai Qi of the Qin was inhumane. Why was he put to use?
Yangzi said: In the battle at Chang Ping 400,000 men were killed. Even the chaos caused by Chi You did not surpass this. The plains and fields were covered with human flesh, the rivers and hollows flowed with blood. A general so inhumane, how could he be put to use!
The other asked: What about Wang Jian?
Yangzi said: Qin Shi Huang hunted the six kingdoms and Wang Jian was his teeth!

13 渊骞卷第... :
Yuan and Qian:
Someone asked: Was Yao Li not one who was righteous (yi)? He did not even use his family as an excuse to refuse the commands of his kingdom.
Yangzi said: He allowed his wife and children to be burned to ashes in order to get close enough to Qing Ji to assassinate him. Though he might be outstanding among spiders and insects, what in his actions can be considered to be righteous?
The other asked about Nie Zheng.
Yangzi said: He rebelled against the Han for Yan Sui, killed head minister Han Xialei, and disfigured himself to protect his sister. Though he might be outstanding among brave men, what in his actions can be considered to be righteous?
The other asked about: Jing Ke.
Yangzi said: At the request of Prince Dan of Yan, he offered the King of Qin the head of Fan Yuqi and a map of Dukang in Yan, and entered into Qin with being suspected. Though he might be outstanding among assassins, what in his actions can be considered to be righteous?

14 渊骞卷第... :
Yuan and Qian:
Someone asked: Zhang Yi and Su Qin studied the arts of Gui Gu and were practiced in the doctrines of the horizontal and vertical alliances among the states. They brought peace to the central kingdoms for more than ten years. What about them?
Yangzi said: They were tacticians. The sage detests them.
The other said: What about reading the teachings of Confucius but implementing the teachings of Zhang Yi and Su Qin?
Yangzi said: What nonsense! That's like having the cry of a phoenix and the feathers of a hawk.
The other said: Isn't that what Zigong wanted to do?
Yangzi said: Zigong was ashamed of not being able to bring order to troubled times. Zhang Yi and Su Qin were ashamed of engaging in disputations and not obtaining wealth and honor.

15 渊骞卷第... :
Yuan and Qian:
Someone asked: Were Zhang Yi and Su Qin not talented? They did not follow the paths of others.
Yangzi said: In the past, the emperors regarded artful men uneasily, even though they had talent. But talented or not, this is not our followers' kind of talent.

16 渊骞卷第... :
Yuan and Qian:
Excellent conduct: Yuan Gong, Qi Liji, Xia Huang, and Jiao Li.
Words and expression: Lou Jing and Lu Jia.
Upholding correct principles: Wang Ling and Shentu Jia.
Frank remonstration: Zhou Chang and Ji An.
Protecting the Ru: Yuan Gu and Shen Gong.
Disasters and strange phenomena: Dong Zhongshu, Xiahou Sheng, and Jing Feng.

17 渊骞卷第... :
Yuan and Qian:
Someone asked: What about Xiao He and Cao Shen?
Yangzi said: Xiao He made the rules, Cao Shen followed them.
What about Teng Houying, Guan Ying, Fan Kuai and Li Shang?
Yangzi said: They were chivalrous and honorable.
The other said: Shu Suntong?
Yangzi said: He was a fake copy.
The other said: Yuan Ang?
Yangzi said: His loyalty was insufficient and his talk was excessive.
The other said: Zhao Cuo?
Yangzi said: He was stupid.
The other said: Ruthless officials?
Yangzi said: Tigers! Tigers—with horns and wings!
The other said: The profiteers?
Yangzi said: Mosquitoes! They've always sucked the kingdom's blood dry, making people have to pick wild grasses to eat, drink [only] water and wear coarse clothing. How can they live until their teeth fall out with nothing to worry about?
The other asked about compliant officials.
Yangzi said: They were officials indeed.
The other asked about wandering swordsmen.
Yangzi said: They stole the kingdom's authority.
The other said: Flatters who curried favor?
Yangzi said: They are not even worth consideration.

18 渊骞卷第... :
Yuan and Qian:
Someone asked about recent generations' ministers to the alters of the gods of earth and grain.
Yangzi said: If you took Zhang Liang's wisdom, Chen Ping's infallibility, Marquis Bo of Jiang's decisiveness, and Huo Guang's courage, then finished them off with li and music—that could indeed be called a minister of the altars to the gods of earth and grain.
The other said: Between Gongsun Hong and Dong Zhongshu, who was closer to this ideal?
Yangzi said: Dong Zhongshu had the desire but couldn't attain it. Gongsun Hong had the right appearance and that's all.

19 渊骞卷第... :
Yuan and Qian:
Someone asked about reputable high-ranking officers of recent generations.
Yangzi said: Zhang Shizhi's fairness, Juan Buyi's perceptiveness, Yin Wengui's purity, and Wang Zun's self-reliance —these were the qualities of the recent generation's reputable high-ranking officials.
The other asked about military generals.
Yangzi said: Zhou Yafu's (the Marquis of Tiao) defense strategy, Wei Qing (Marquis of Chang Ping) and Huo Qubing's (Marquis Zhongli) attack strategy, and Huo Guang's (Marquis of Bo Liu) grasp of honor—these were the qualities of reputable military generals of the recent generation.
The other asked about the ancients.
Yangzi said: They urged people on with the Dao and de, and tamed them with ren and yi. Cartloads of corpses and bloodstained knives—these were not of their doing.

20 渊骞卷第... :
Yuan and Qian:
Zhang Qian and Su Wu were admirable envoys. They maintained their integrity, were unconcerned with death and never abandoned their ruler's commands. Even the praiseworthy envoys of the ancients were inferior to them.

21 渊骞卷第... :
Yuan and Qian:
The world lauds the exuberance of Dong Fangshuo's life. But in speaking, he was not sincere enough to be a teacher, and in action, he was not a sincere enough to be a role model. The remnants of his writings that are still floating around should be discarded.
Someone said: He was a hermit.
Yangzi said: The hermits of ancient times—I've heard of their sayings and their deeds.
The other said: The path (dao) of the hermit has many beginnings.
Yangzi said: Indeed! If the words and actions of the sage do not meet with their proper time, then the sage becomes a hermit. If the words and actions of the worthy do not meet with their proper time, then the worthy become hermits. If the words and actions of the jester do not meet with his times, then the jester becomes a hermit. In the ancient past, Ji Zi covered himself in lacquer and Jie Yu unbound his hair and feigned madness. Both feared meeting with harm and desired to flee. Ji Zi wrote the Hongfan (The Great Plan), and Jie Yu sang "Phoenix!" to Confucius.
The other asked: Why was Dong Fangshuo's reputation so exaggerated then?
Yangzi said: He answered with jokes, was never at a loss for words, made straightforward remonstrations, and had a dirty character (de). Answering with jokes, he seemed like an actor. Never at a loss for words, he appeared to be philosophical. With his straightforward remonstrations he appeared genuine. And with a dirty character, he seemed like a hermit.
The other said: May I ask, then, what would be a more appropriate name for him.
Yangzi said: He was a jester.
The other said: How does he compare to hermits of the past?
Yangzi said: He rejected Bo Yi and Shuqi's suffering as stupid and esteemed comfort, staying in the shade and making fun of the world. But wasn't he really the height of ridiculousness?
The other asked: Was Liu Xiahui not a hermit at court?
Yangzi said: A junzi would say that he was undignified. Among the ancients, one who was hungry yet prominent was highly esteemed; one who was prosperous and yet reclusive was considered lowly.

22 渊骞卷第... :
Yuan and Qian:
Flattery is the thief of ren, and slander is the thief of yi. The thief of ren is close to the village worthy. The thief of yi is close to the village detractor.

23 渊骞卷第... :
Yuan and Qian:
Someone asked: You are from Shu. May I ask about men from Shu.
Yangzi said: There was Li Zhongyuan.
The other said: As a man, what was he like?
Yangzi said: He is will was unbending in purpose and did not implicate himself in any wrongdoing.
The other said: Was he a follower of Bo Yi or Liuxia Hui?
Yangzi said: Neither like Bo Yi or Liuxia Hui, he was one who had no preconceptions the permissible and impermissible.
The other said: If this is so, then why was his reputation not well-known?
Without Confucius, how would anyone ever heard of the men who starved in the western mountains or the minister who was dismissed in the eastern kingdom.
[The other] said: What if Wang Yang and Gong Yu had met Confucius?
Yangzi said: Does the morning star shine so brightly only because of it position high in the sky?
The other said: This being so, why did he not obtain a high position himself?
Yangzi said: What shines brightly is oneself. It is Tian that leads one to attain a high position. Do you desire to put yourself in a high position? Li Zhongyuan was the teacher of a generation. His demeanor was solemn, his words aroused emotion, and his conduct was majestic. I had heard of using de to make others yield, but I had yet to hear of using de to yield oneself to others. Li Zhongyuan was an awesome man.
The other said: What about Xia Yu and Meng Ben?
Yangzi said: People were in awe of Xia Yu and Meng Ben's physical strength, but ridiculed their de.
The other said: Could you please explain in detail?
Yangzi said: Don't look at what is improper, don't listen to what is improper, don't say what is improper, and don't do what is improper. The teachers of the ancient past stood in awe of those who could see, hear, speak and act [according to] what was proper. If you look at what should not be looked at, listen to what should not be heard, say what should not be said, and do what should not be done, then even if you had Xia Yu or Meng Ben's [strength] you will still only be ridiculed.

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