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From The Great Learning
The ancients who wished to manifest their clear character to the world would first bring order to their states.
Those who wished to bring order to their states would first regulate their families.
Those who wished to regulate their families would first cultivate their personal lives.
Those who wished to cultivate their personal lives would first rectify their minds.
Those who wished to rectify their minds would first make their wills sincere.
Those who wished to make their wills sincere would first extend their knowledge.
The extension of knowledge consists in the investigation of things.
When things are investigated, knowledge is extended.
When knowledge is extended, the will becomes sincere.
When the will is sincere, the mind is rectified.
When the mind is rectified, the personal life is cultivated.
When the personal life is cultivated, the family will be regulated.
When the family is regulated, the state will be in order.
When the state is in order, there will be peace throughout the world.
From the Son of Heaven down to the common people,
all must regard cultivation of the personal life as the root or foundation.
There is never a case when the root is in disorder and yet the branches are in order.
When the ruler treats the elders with respect, then the people will be aroused toward filial piety.
When the ruler treats the aged with respect, then the people will be aroused toward brotherly respect.
When the ruler treats compassionately the young and the helpless, then the common people will not follow the opposite course.
Therefore the ruler has a principle with which, as with a measuring square, he may regulate his conduct.
What a man dislikes in his superiors, let him not show it in dealing with his inferiors.
What he dislikes in those in front of him, let him not show it in preceding those who are behind.
What he dislikes in those behind him, let him not show it in following those in front of him.
What he dislikes in those on the right, let him not apply it to those on the left.
What he dislikes in those on the left, let him not apply it to those on the right.
This is the principle of the measuring square.
From Doctrine of the Mean
The Tao [“way”] cannot be left for an instant.
If it could be left, it would not be the Tao.
The superior man treats people as human beings
and once they have corrected themselves, he lets them be.
Sincerity and reciprocity toward all: though this is different from the Tao, it is not far from it.
This means not doing to others what you don't want done to yourself.
There are four general ways that this can be characterized,
none of which I have been able to fully practice:
Treating my father as I expect my son to treat me.
Treating my ruler as I expect my ministers to treat me.
Treating my older brothers as I expect my younger brothers to treat me.
Treating my friends as I expect my friends to treat me.
How completely King Wu and the Duke of Chou actualized their filial piety!
Through filial piety, they correctly passed down the wills of their forefathers
and correctly transmitted their works.
In spring and autumn, they cleaned the ancestral temple
laid out the sacrificial vessels
dressed up in the ceremonial outfit
and prepared the seasonal foods.
Using the ritual of the ancestral temple, they ordered the ancestral lineages.
By rank, they distinguished high and low classes.
By works, they distinguished goodness.
By having the lower classes offer the toast to the upper classes, they kept the lower classes involved.
By hair color, they distinguished seniority.
Each taking their positions, they carried out the ritual
played the music
respected the venerable
loved their relatives.
They served the dead as if they were alive
and they served those not present as if they were there.
Herein they brought filial piety to its highest level.
The records of the governments of Wen and Wu are on the ancient tablets.
When they had the right people, the government functioned.
When they didn't have the right people, government failed.
When people are right, the government flourishes.
When the ground is right, plants flourish.
The governments of Wen and Wu flourished like fast-growing weeds.
Therefore, the skillful handling of government is contingent upon having the right people.
You attract the right people by your own character.
You cultivate your character through the Tao.
You manifest the Tao by means of humaneness.
Humaneness is what it is to be human
and its most obvious function is in love for relatives.
Justice means setting things right
and its most obvious function is in venerating the good.
The differing levels in loving relatives and venerating the good are expressed through propriety.
Thus, if your rank is low and you do not have the support of those in power
you cannot hope to have an influence on government.
Therefore the superior man cannot but cultivate his character.
Wanting to cultivate his character, he cannot do it without serving his parents.
Wanting to serve his parents, he cannot do it without understanding others.
Wanting to understand others, he cannot do it without understanding Heaven.
Loving study, you approach wisdom.
Loving energetic practice, you approach humaneness.
Understanding shame, you approach courage.
If you understand these three, you know how to polish your character.
Knowing how to polish your character, you know how to handle others.
Knowing how to handle others, you know how to govern a state or clan.
When you polish your character, you set up your own Tao.
When you venerate the good, you are not deluded.
When you care for your relatives, your fathers, elder and younger brothers will not resent you.
When you respect the high ministers, you will not make foolish mistakes.
When you make the lower ministers feel like participants, they regard propriety with seriousness.
When you treat the common people as your children, they will work hard.
When you make the artisans feel welcome, there will be plenty of commerce.
When you are gentle to guests from afar, people will flock to you from all directions.
When you embrace the nobility, the people will have a healthy fear of them.
Fasting in ceremonial dress, not acting against the norms of propriety:
this is how you polish your character.
Letting go of slander, freeing yourself from lust, disregarding wealth and prizing virtue:
this is how you promote goodness.
Respecting their rank, paying them well, going along with their likes and dislikes:
this is the way to take care of your relatives.
Giving them enough officers to dole out their responsibilities:
this is the way to encourage the high ministers.
To reward well trustworthiness and loyalty:
this is the way to encourage the lower officers.
Employing the people around their own farming schedules and taxing them lightly:
this is the way to encourage the people.
Daily and monthly examining their works and giving merit where due:
this is the way to encourage the artisans.
Sending out envoys to meet foreign visitors and bestowing kindness and pity on the handicapped:
this is the way to be gentle to visitors from afar.
To renew their broken lineages, restore their vanquished states, quell their rebellions and protect them from danger; giving them rich presents and expecting little in return:
this is how you embrace the nobles.
Again, if you are in a position of low rank, and you have no influence above,
you will have no way of governing people.
Even though there is a way of influencing superiors, if your friends don't trust you,
you won't be able to influence superiors.
Even though there is a way of gaining the trust of your friends, if you have discord with your relatives,
you will not be trusted by your friends.
Even though there is a way of having harmony with your relatives, if your character is not sincere,
you will have discord with your relatives.
Even though there is a way to make your character sincere, if you have not awakened to your goodness,
you will not be able to make your character sincere.
Sincerity is the Tao of Heaven.
Making oneself sincere is the Tao of Man.
If you can be perfectly sincere without effort
without a mindfulness to its attainment
and walk embracing the Middle Way [tao]
you are a sage.
If you are working at making yourself sincere, you must find your goodness and hold fast to it.
You must study it broadly
investigate it in detail
deliberate on it carefully
discern it clearly
and practice it universally.
Where there is a lack in your understanding
or your study has not yet reached the point where it is effective
don't just leave it.
When there is something you have not investigated
or have investigated but not understood
don't just leave it.
When there is something that you have not yet discerned
or have discerned but not yet clarified
don't just leave it.
When there is something you have not yet practiced
or have practiced, but not yet universally
don't just leave it.
If someone else gets it in one try, I will try one hundred times.
If someone else gets it in ten tries, I will try one thousand times.
If you are able to follow this Tao, then even if you are stupid, you will become enlightened.
Even if you are weak, you will become strong.
How great is the Tao of the sage!
Superabundant, it develops all things, extending up to Heaven.
How excellent it is!
It embraces the three hundred rules of ceremony, and the three thousand rules of conduct.
It waits for the right person and then functions.
Hence it is said: If you do not perfect your virtue, the perfect Tao cannot be actualized.
Therefore the superior man esteems his virtuous natureand follows the path of inquiry
extending himself in breadth and greatness
penetrating all subtleties
penetrating its height and brilliance
following the course of the actualization of the Mean.
He reviews the old and learns the new
thickening his character through the valorization of propriety.
If you are not the emperor
you cannot determine the rules of propriety
set weights and measures
or create ideographs.
In the present realm, carriages have the same axle-widths
documents are written with the same characters
and people follow the same norms of conduct.
But even if you are emperor, if you lack virtue
you cannot presume to create ritual or music.
And even if you possess sufficient virtue, but you are not in the position of emperor,
you cannot presume to create ritual or music.
There are few who have developed themselves filially and fraternally who enjoy offending their superiors.
Those who do not enjoy offending superiors are never troublemakers.
The superior man concerns himself with the fundamentals.
Once the fundamentals are established, the proper Tao appears.
Are not filial piety and obedience to elders fundamental to the enactment of humaneness?
Tzu Kung asked: What do you think of a poor man who doesn't grovel or a rich man who isn't proud?
Confucius said: They are good, but not as good as a poor man who is satisfied and a rich man who loves propriety.
Tzu Kung said: The Book of Odes says:
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