Mencius said, 'When any one told Tsze-lû that he had a fault, he rejoiced.
'When Yü heard good words, he bowed to the speaker.
'The great Shun had a still greater delight in what was good. He regarded
virtue as the common property of himself and others, giving up his own way to
follow that of others, and delighting to learn from others to practise what was
'From the time when he ploughed and sowed, exercised the potter's art, and
was a fisherman, to the time when he became emperor, he was continually learning
'To take example from others to practise virtue, is to help them in the same
practice. Therefore, there is no attribute of the superior man greater than his
helping men to practise virtue.'
Mencius said, 'Po-î would not serve a prince whom he did not approve, nor
associate with a friend whom he did not esteem. He would not stand in a bad
prince's court, nor speak with a bad man. To stand in a bad prince's court, or
to speak with a bad man, would have been to him the same as to sit with his
court robes and court cap amid mire and ashes. Pursuing the examination of his
dislike to what was evil, we find that he thought it necessary, if he happened
to be standing with a villager whose cap was not rightly adjusted, to leave him
with a high air, as if he were going to be defiled. Therefore, although some of
the princes made application to him with very proper messages, he would not
receive their gifts.-- He would not receive their gifts, counting it
inconsistent with his purity to go to them.
'Hûi of Liû-hsiâ was not ashamed to serve an impure prince, nor did he think
it low to be an inferior officer. When advanced to employment, he did not
conceal his virtue, but made it a point to carry out his principles. When
neglected and left without office, he did not murmur. When straitened by
poverty, he did not grieve. Accordingly, he had a saying,"You are you, and I am
I. Although you stand by my side with breast and aims bare, or with your body
naked, how can you defile me?" Therefore, self-possessed, he companied with men
indifferently, at the same time not losing himself. When he wished to leave, if
pressed to remain in office, he would remain.-- He would remain in office, when
pressed to do so, not counting it required by his purity to go away.'
Mencius said, 'Po-î was narrow-minded, and Hûi of Liû-hsiâ was wanting in
self-respect. The superior man will not manifest either narrow-mindedness, or
the want of self-respect.'
Mencius said, 'Opportunities of time vouchsafed by Heaven are not equal to
advantages of situation afforded by the Earth, and advantages of situation
afforded by the Earth are not equal to the union arising from the accord of Men.
'There is a city, with an inner wall of three lî in circumference, and an
outer wall of seven.-- The enemy surround and attack it, but they are not able
to take it. Now, to surround and attack it, there must have been vouchsafed to
them by Heaven the opportunity of time, and in such case their not taking it is
because opportunities of time vouchsafed by Heaven are not equal to advantages
of situation afforded by the Earth.
'There is a city, whose walls are distinguished for their height, and whose
moats are distinguished for their depth, where the arms of its defenders,
offensive and defensive, are distinguished for their strength and sharpness, and
the stores of rice and other grain are very large. Yet it is obliged to be given
up and abandoned. This is because advantages of situation afforded by the Earth
are not equal to the union arising from the accord of Men.
'In accordance with these principles it is said, "A people is bounded in, not
by the limits of dykes and borders; a State is secured, not by the strengths of
mountains and rivers; the kingdom is overawed, not by the sharpness and strength
of arms." He who finds the proper course has many to assist him. He who loses
the proper course has few to assist him. When this,-- the being assisted by
few,-- reaches its extreme point, his own relations revolt from the prince. When
the being assisted by many reaches its highest point, the whole kingdom becomes
obedient to the prince.
'When one to whom the whole kingdom is prepared to be obedient, attacks those
from whom their own relations revolt, what must be the result? Therefore, the
true ruler will prefer not to fight; but if he do fight, he must overcome.'
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