This Confucian Dao Page is written by James Booth
The Confucian Dao
Knowing the roots and branches of things
Wu Tianming-- Standing in awe of the Mandate of Heaven
Suggestions for Further Reading
The Confucian Dao
'The Master said, "There are sprouting crops which never
come into ear and
others, which, having come into ear, never ripen.' Lunyu (Analects) 9:21
'The trees of Ox Mountain once were beautiful.However because
it is located
on the outskirts of a large city it was attacked with axes and bills--could
it retain its beauty? With the periods of rest it was granted each day and
with the moisture provided by rain and dew it was not without growing
sprouts, but then sheep and cattle came to graze upon these. This is why it
now appears so barren. People see its barrenness and think that it never had
any trees upon it but is this the nature of a mountain?
So too is this the case with what is within human beings--can
human beings be
without the heart/mind of Ren-benevolence and Yi-righteousness? The way one
loses one's innate heart/mind is like the way the trees were attacked with
axes and bills. Day by day one's heart/mind is attacked--can it retain its
beauty? With the periods of rest it is granted each day and with the
salubrious effects of the morning qi a persons heart/mind comes close to
having those likes and dislikes which all people share in common.
However these feelings are arrested and destroyed by one's
the day. When their growth is arrested repeatedly then the evenings qi cannot
preserve them. And when the evenings qi cannot preserve them, then one becomes
not much different from a beast. People see one behaving like a beast and
think he never had any other capacity but is this the basic disposition of a
Truly if it recieves its proper care there is nothing which
will not grow
and if it loses its proper care there is nothing which will not
perish. Kongzi [Confucius] said, "Hold it fast and it will be preserved;let it
go and it will be destroyed.Its coming and going has no set time and no one
knows its place." Was he not speaking of the heart/mind?' Mengzi (Mencius)
Confucianism maintains that human nature-Renxing is essentially
good-Xingshan and because of this we all carry within us the potential to
cultivate ourselves into Sagehood-Sheng. We all possess within ourselves
rudimentary moral sprouts-Duan that if nurtured and developed will allow us
to become the fulfilment of human nature and culture, the Sage.
'From this we see that the heart/mind of compassion,the heart/mind
shame, the heart/mind of complaisance,the heart/mind of judging right and
wrong are essential to human beings. The heart mind of compassion is the
sprout of benevolence-Ren, the heart/mind of shame is the sprout of
righteousness-Yi, the heart/mind of complaisance is the sprout of
propriety-Li and the heart/mind of judging right and wrong is the sprout of
knowledge-Zhi.Human beings have these four sprouts just as they have four
limbs.' Mengzi 2A:6
These four Duan; Ren, Yi,
Li and Zhi form with Xin-faithfulness
the Wu Chang or
Five Constants that are the five-fold blossoming of human nature. Not all
people will have the capability or the opportunity to develop these sprouts
to their fullest,but they can be felt and observed in human nature on both
an individual and group level in varying degrees.
This inherent goodness if allowed to thrive will find its fullest
in the Confucian principle of Xiao, or Filial Piety, which is an understanding
and appreciation for the love and concern felt for one's immediate
family. From this epicentre of familial devotion, the effects and influence of
our benevolence radiates outward toward our community, our society,our
'global village' and of course our enviroment.
The degrees of our relationship to others around us have been quantified
into the Wu Lun, the Five Relations. They are; Parent to Child, Leader to
Follower, Partners, Siblings, and Friends.
'Only when thoughts are sincere are hearts rectified; only
when hearts are
rectified are our persons cultivated; only when our persons are cultivated
are our families regulated; only when our families are regulated are states
well governed;only when states are well governed can the world be at peace.'
Da Xue (The Great Learning)
'The Master said, "Filial piety is the basic principle
of Heaven-Tian, the
ultimate standard of Earth-Di and the norm of conduct for
Humanity-Ren. People ought to abide by the guiding principle of Heaven and
Earth as the pattern of their lives,so that by the brightness of Heaven and
the benefits of the Earth they would be able to keep all the world in
harmony and unison.'" Xiaojing (Classic of Filial Piety)
'The Master said, 'Virtue dwells not alone but will always
Goodness and harmony,and therefore Confucian ethics are not
standards to be imposed upon us individually and collectively. They are the
natural and universal pivotal point of equilibrium-Zhong that human nature
is. As Humanity, Ren, we form and complement the cosmic triad between
Heaven-Tian, the Creative and Di-Earth,the Responsive. When balanced, stable
and aware of our place in this energetic exchange,we have become as nature
intended, Sheng-the Sage; the conductor of the current of Illumination that
passes from Heaven to Earth and through us, Humanity back toward Heaven to
complete the circuit.
'That which Heaven confers is called Human Nature; the development
nature is called the Dao; the cultivation of the Dao is called culture-Jiao.'
'Sincerity-Cheng is the Dao of
Heaven and its attainment is the Dao of
'Illumination-Ming which comes out of Sincerity
is to be ascribed to Human
Nature. Sincerity which comes out of Illumination, is to be ascribed to
culture. Where there is Sincerity there is Illumination; where there is
Illumination there is Sincerity.'
'Able to assist the transforming and nurturing processes of
Earth, the Sage may form a triad with Heaven and Earth.'
'The Dao of Heaven and Earth may be summed up
in one sentence: "It exists of
itself without duality and it produces things inexhaustively.'
Zhongyong (The Doctrine of the Mean)
"Zizhang asked about the Dao
of a good man and the Master said, 'Not treading
in the track,a man cannot find his way into the chamber.'" Lunyu 11:19
Knowing the roots and branches of things
'There was a man of Song who pulled at his shoots of grain,
because he was anxious for them to grow. After pulling on the
shoots he went home,not realising what he had done. He said to
his family, "I am worn out today; I have been helping the
crops to grow."
His son rushed from the house to look at their crops and saw that they had all withered.' MENGZI 2A:2
Ren-Humanity occupies the middle point between Tian-Heaven and Di-Earth. As such we are the point of balance between the two, which we percieve of as a duality due to our relativistic position in the triadic scheme.The equilibrium-Zhong that we in effect embody, is our true, natural state which Confucianism percieves of as being good and moral in that it allows and promotes health in both our individual and collective Humanity, as well as in the enviroment we inhabit. This is simply because it regulates, or balances out if you will, the excesses of strain and imbalance seeking always to return to the midpoint of balance through the harmonisation of percieved opposition.
Through Zhi zhi - the extension of knowledge and Gewu - the investigation of things, we can arrive at a position of expanded wisdom and heightened awareness in which we are informed as to what generates and sustains healthy growth and development in both ourselves and society, and the enviroment we inhabit. The farmer of Song's actions in MENGZI's parable indicate that it is a lack of knowledge, or perhaps misinformation, that is detrimental to internal and external health and sustainability. This misinformation we regard as E - bad or evil in that it leads to an upset of the Shan - good, or the natural state of equilibrium;the Mean. In effect then good is that which promotes healthy growth and development, and bad is that which actually hinders or attacks the natural order.
'Everything has its roots and branches.Matters have their end and beginning. To know what comes first and what comes last is to be near to the Dao....Only when things are investigated is knowledge extended; only when knowledge is extended are thoughts sincere; only when thoughts are sincere are heart/minds rectified; only when heart/minds are rectified are our persons cultivated; only when our persons are cultivated are our families regulated; only when are families are regulated are states well governed; only when states are well governed can the world be at peace. From the Son of Heaven down to the masses, all must consider the cultivation of the person as the root. When the root is in disorder then the branches cannot grow in order. To treat the important as unimportant and to treat the unimportant as important, this should never be. This is called knowing the root; this is called the perfection of knowledge.' DAXUE (The Great Learning)
'Chung-Ni (Kongfuzi) ascribed his teachings to Yao and Shun and patterned the after the laws and institutions of Wen and Wu. His teachings conformed to the laws of nature and were in harmony with the physical enviroment. His teachings were like Heaven and Earth, which embrace and support all things. His teachings were like the successions of the Seasons and the alternations of the Sun and Moon. All things are nourished together without injuring one another; all courses are pursued without collision. In minor matters De - Virtue evolves like river currents; in major matters Virtue manifests itself in mighty transformation. It is this which makes Heaven and Earth so great.' ZHONGYONG (The Doctrine of the Mean).
'The Master said," I wish I could do without speaking." Zikong said, "If my Master did not speak, what could we disciples transmit?"
The Master said, "Does Heaven speak? The four Seasons run their course, and all things live and grow. Yet, tell me, does Heaven speak?" ' LUNYU (Analects) 17:19
Wu Tianming-- Standing in awe of the Mandate of Heaven
'Our physical shapes and faculties are given to us by
Heaven. Only the Sage brings himself to completion.' MENGZI
It is now commonly accepted that human beings have evolved from primates. This evolutionary pattern rather than undermining Confucian Learning serves to enhance and contribute to the Confucian understanding of ourselves and our place in the cosmos. We share a common genetic heritage that is inherent in the D.N.A. of all living things. From the simplest unicelluar organism up to our closest simian relatives, we can observe the evolutionary drive towards intelligence and social behaviour that has peaked in the human 'animal'.
'Master Meng said, "That which makes humans diferent from the birds and the beasts is but slight. The mass of people discard it, whereas the Junzi - Noble Person preserves it. Shun clearly understood the nature of all things, and carefully studied the principles of human relationships. He conducted himself with Ren - Benevolence and Yi - Righteousness; he did not need to pursue them. "' MENGZI 6B:19
The evolutionary impetus itself forms an intelligent, or coherent pattern if not an intelligence in and of itself. This pattern or principle lends itself to the Confucian understanding of Tianli - the Heavenly Principle that informs and directs all energetic forms, or life - Qi. This Tianli is that by which the Tianming- the Mandate of Heaven is manifested in the phenomenal realm, or Di - Earth and by which we as Ren - Humanity can percieve of, connect to and in turn transmit the current of informing intelligence.
'So large and substantial, the individual possessing CHENG - Sincerity is the equal of Earth. So high and brilliant, it [Sincerity] makes him the equal of Heaven. So far-reaching and long-continuing, it makes him infinite. Such being its nature, without any display, it becomes manifested; without any movement, it produces YI - Changes; and without any effort it accomplishes its ends.'
'The Dao of Heaven is Sincerity; the attainment of Sincerity is the Dao of Humanity. He who possess Sincerity is he who, without any effort, achieves what is right and apprehends without the exercise of thought; he is the Sage - Sheng who naturally and easily embodies the Dao. He who attains to Sincerity is he who chooses the good and holds fast to it.'
ZHONGYONG (The Doctrine of the Mean).
In order to find and establish our place and purpose in the cosmos then we as individuals can only become defined as such within the context of the wider collective. Whereas Daoism and Zhan Buddhism place the individual human into a seemingly direct experience of the cosmos,Confucianism requires us to appreciate the individual in terms of the intricate network that ultimately creates him/her and also leads back towards, and expresses the cosmos as macrocosm. It is at the centre of this network that we as microcosm, and in self-realisation find ourselves and become responsive to the energetic exchange of influence between the centre and the outer edges, and all that comprises the in-between.
In Confucian thought, E - bad or evil is more properly defined as ignorance or even uncultivation, a barbarism of sorts that reduces the human being to an inhumane,bestial level, in that the wrong-doer has become to some degree insensitive or unsympathetic to the effects and implications of his/her behaviour. He/she is too caught up within the heat of the moment.
On the other hand Shan - good behaviour, rather than being simply a relativistic 'alternative' to bad or wrong behaviour represents the true, innate state of a human being. By nurturing and allowing this natural state to develop then we are becoming that which we simply are; aware and open to the understanding and appreciation of the unique position and responsibility that we human beings have in the cosmic web, and in its conservation.
We are by nature moral simply because our morality is the inherent quality of our humaneness, therefore we cannot ultimately discard our morality. We can however neglect, obscure and devastate it through our ignorance and narrow-mindedness. When this is done we are also placing stress and imbalance upon the cosmic structure. The cosmic structure vitalised with the circuit of intelligent energy that passes from Heaven to Earth and back through Humanity, is perceptive to this threat to its equilibrium - Zhong and attempts to redress the balance. Because we as Humanity have become ignorant of the nature of the cosmic structure by becoming ignorant of our own intrinsic nature, then we have become a threat to the cosmic equilibrium, which we are endowed with the potential to embody. In forsaking our own innate understanding - Liang Zhi in order to placate our short-term sensual demands then we are neglecting our real lives.
'He who conforms to Heaven preserves the world, while he who
stands in awe of Heaven preserves his own state.It is said in
Shi - Classic of Songs;
"As he fears Heaven's might,
He preserves its Mandate-Ming." ' MENGZI 1B:3
'Mengzi said, "Those things which people do not study yet are able to do are innate abilities - Liang neng.Those things which they do not ponder yet know are innnate knowledge - Liang Zhi. Young infants all know to love their parents.When thry are older they all know to respect their elder brothers. Loving ones parents is Ren - benevolence. Respecting ones elder brother is Yi - Righteousness. All that remains is to extend this to the world." ' MENGZI 7A:15
"Ziyu asked about Filial Piety, and the Master said, 'These days Filial Piety means the support of one's parents.But even dogs and horses are cared for by people.Without the feelings of respect, what is there to distinguish people from beasts? ' "
"Mengzi said,'The great man is he who has
not lost his child' heart' " MENGZI 4B:12
"Zengzi said, 'How great is Xiao - Filial Piety!'
The Master said, 'Filial Piety is the essential quality of Heaven - Tian Jing, the ultimate standard of Earth - Di Yi, and the normative conduct for Humanity - Ren Xing. People ought to abide by the guiding principle - LI of Heaven and Earth,so that by the illumination of Heaven and the benefits of the Earth they would be able to keep all the world in harmony - He and unison - Tong.
On this account, their teachings - Jiao, though not stringent, are well followed, and their government, though not rigorous, is well ordered. The early kings - Wamg knowing that their teachings could transform the people, made themselves an example of practicing Benevolence - Ren; thereby the people did not neglect their parents. They expounded the virtuous and righteous conduct, and the people willingly obliged. They made of themselves an example of respectful and prudent behaviour, and the people were not contentious. They guided themselves with ritual - Li and music - Yue, and the people lived in harmony. They verified the distinction between good - Shan and evil - E, and the people knew restraint.
In the SHI - Classic of Songs it is said:
'Oh the majestic Master Yin,
The people all look up to thee.' "
XIAOJING (The Classic of Filial Piety)
"When one family practices Benevolence,the whole state will abide by Benevolence. When one family is courteous,the whole state will become courteous.On the other hand, when one man is avaricious and perverse, the whole state will be thrown into confusion. Such is the contagion of our moral character. This is what is meant by the saying, ' A single word may ruin an enterprise, and a single man may pacify the state.' "
DAXUE (The Great Learning)
" The Master said, ' The Filiality of Shun, how great it was! His virtue came up to be that of the Sage; his dignity entitled him to be the Emperor; his riches embraced all within the four seas. He was revered at the Imperial Temple and his descendants preserved this reverence. Therefore having such great virtue, he would certainly win the throne, those riches, the fame and longevity. Thus Heaven, in production of all creatures, is sure to be bountiful in its blessings to them, according to their merits. For example the tree that flourishes, Heaven will foster and sustain, while that which decays Heaven will overthrow and destroy.
In the SHI it is said:
Admirable and amiable is our Prince;
Illustrious is his good virtue.
He orders well all the people,
From Heaven he recieves blessings.
Heaven protects and decrees him the throne
Whose grant Heaven often renews.
Therefore one who possesses great virtue will certainly recieve the Mandate of Heaven - Tianming. ' "
ZHONGYONG (The Doctrine of the Mean).
" Treat as befits old age the elders in your own family,
so as to extend this treatment to the elders of others;treat as
befits youth the young in your own family so as to extend this
treatment to the young of others. If you follow this, the world
can be made to revolve in your palm.
It is said in the SHI:
His example first affected his spouse,
And then reached his brothers.
Thereby he governed his home and state.' " MENGZI 1A:7
"The Master said...People serve the spirits by the ceremonies of sacrifices to Heaven and Earth, and they serve their forefathers by ceremonies of the ancestral temple. He who understands the ceremonies of sacrifices to Heaven and Earth and the significance of the various sacrifices to ancestors will find the government of the state as easy as looking into his own palm! "
"The Master said, ' Formerly the enlightened kings were
filial in the service of their fathers and thereby became enlightened
in the service of Heaven. They were filial in the service of their
mothers and thereby became discreet in the service of Earth.When
the young deferred to the elders, superiors governed inferiors
well. When they were enlightened and discreet in the service of
Heaven and Earth,the blessings of the Shan- Spirits
Hence even the Son of Heaven - Tianzi has someone to honour - his father. He has someone to respect - his elder brothers. He sacrifices at the ancestral temple, lest he forget his parents. He cultivates his person and acts with courtesy, lest he disgrace his elders. He pays reverence at the ancestral temples, to the spirits and ghosts, so as to enjoy their blessings. When his Filial Piety and Ti - brotherly deference reach completion, he is endowed with divine enlightenment. His virtuous influence illuminates the four seas and penetrates far and wide.
In the SHI it is said:
From the west to the east,
From the south to the north,
None thought of not submitting.' "
The transmission of Confucian Learning - Xue
extends back from our present time to a point some 2,500 years
ago to a culture that appears to our perception to be wholly different
from our own. Whilst this may be partly correct, the underlying
teachings remain as vital and important to us today no matter
how much the outer forms and examples have transformed.
Filial Piety - Xiao is a primary component of the Confucian model and as neccessary to its expression as the concept of Karma is to Hinduism and Buddhism, and gravity and the theory of relativity is to modern physics.In fact it could be said that Filial Piety itself presents a theory of 'Relative-ity' applied to the conduct and manifestation of healthy human affairs.
A child, not only of our own species, is produced from the
harmonious sexual and ideally ,in human terms, loving union of
two parents. In effect this re-production can only occur from
the harmonious interaction of a couple's individual bio-genetic
make-up which they have in turn inherited from their parents who
in turn recieved this from their parents and so on.This is a basic
fact applicable to all human beings and indeed other similarly
complex life-forms on this planet. In the scientific manipulation
of this re-productive act it still remains neccessary to have
the halves to combine in order to re-produce. Whatever the case,
the re-production of new life remains dependant upon a convergance
of variables that must become compatible in order to harmonise
and re-produce. When a child is ultimately produced at the end
of its gestation period, a natural inclination for the parents
is to nurture and care for the re-produced result of their union,
which remains at first wholly dependant upon its parents devoted
Most of us to some extent are aware of parental devotion.Of course there are exceptions to this rule as to any but by and large we can say that we are naturally aware of love,to whatever degree between a child and its parents.This is essentially the first stirrings of love that we feel in the world, that being within the context of a familial enviroment.As we grow older and develop we are able to reciprocate that love back towards our parents and also towards our siblings as and if we have them.As the familial structure develops there in turn starts to emerge a natural hierarchy in which the parents as initiators of the structure are in effect the rulers and the child/children those that are governed. In order for this structure to develop and preserve itself than this natural hierarchy relies upon recipricocity and defined harmonious behaviour within its boundaries. Behaviour that goes against or undermines the natural state of affairs within the familial unit is punished or regulated by the family's 'rulers' in order that the structure continues to remain a cohesive unit.
From this we can see how a family forms the basic and essential building-block of any society.Again it has to be said that not everybody has grown up or belongs to this 'ideal' familial structure but to whatever degree we share to some extent the feelings of devotion and love to parents, partners, siblings or even to friends whom one may have come to consider as close family. Whatever the case the feelings of devotion and love towards a familial enviroment present for us the first step towards our social relationship with others outside of its immediate influence. Like ripples upon a pond our humanity radiates outward.
"Someone asked the Master,saying ' Why sir are you not in governemnt?' ' It is said in the SHU,' replied the Master ,' Filial piety! Let there be Filial Piety. There will be friendliness towards brothers, and this in turn will display in government.' This also constitutes the exercise of governement. Why must one be in office to serve in the government? ' " LUNYU 2:21
The Sheng, the Confucian ideal human being presents an individual who has become capable of extending his/her natural feelings of Ren or humanity outward from his/her Zhong, the centre or point of balance that he/she has developed and achieved through self-cultivation to include all of Yong; the normative or that with which he/she shares universal and common feelings and nature with. In self-cultivation one learns about ones own nature; through one's family one learns about social nature in normative and respectful behaviour which is gradually extended to include one's community and society and the world at large, and then ultimately all of the enviroment that comprises Heaven and Earth.
"The Dao of the Junzi- Superior Person begins with the relationship of common men and women, but in its ultimate development it pervades Heaven and Earth." ZHONGYONG
"He who really serves his parents will not be proud in
a high position; he will not be rebellious in an inferior position;
among the masses he will not be contentious. To be proud in a
high position is to be ruined; to be rebellious in an inferior
position is to incur punishment; to be contentious among the masses
is to bring about violence. As long as these three evils are not
discarded, a son cannot be called filial, even though he treats
his parents daily with the three kinds of meat [beef, lamb and
'Therefore there is in the YI - Changes, the
TAIJI - the Great Primal Beginning. This generates the
LIANG I - the two primary forces.
The two primary forces generate the SI XIANG - the four images. The four images generate the BA GUA - the eight forms.'
DA ZHUAN - The Great Treatise [Wilhelm/Baynes]
Kongfuzi espounded his commentary upon the YI, in the DA ZHUAN, adding to the corpus of initiated knowledge transmitted down to us. But it was the archetypal Confucian paragon of sagely rule and wisdom, FU XI appearing at the very dawn of human history, who first observed and tapped into the rich seam of natural design and order that is presented in the essence of the YI JING - the Classic of Changes.
Fu Xi himself is depicted as only partly human, still bearing the horns, serpentine body and fur of our evolutionary heritage. With his consort NUE GAU, they represent the first humans evolving from the animalistic realm and establishing universal order in its civilising humane element. Up until the appearance of Fu Xi, the primal emperor, human beings had lived like beasts, clad in animal fur and eating raw flesh but it was Fu Xi who introduced building, hunting, clothes and cooking as well as composing music and instituting marriage.
Fu Xi, his top half distinctly human, presents the function of the XIN - the human heart/mind consciousness, that is able to measure, facilitate and understand the universe and its patterns and principles. In turn this expresses itself in harmonious intelligent participation resulting in music, fellowship and language.
___ TAI YANG Ripe Yang Summer
___ SHAO YIN Young Yin Spring
_ _ SHAO YANG Young Yang Autumn
_ _ TAI YIN Ripe Yin Winter
The most profound expression of our understanding of the universe occurs through symbols, which present in effect a common, universal language that are able to communicate across time, space and culture our collective knowledge. Language is of course like a map, it is not the actuality it describes so symbols remain the most direct and effective means of conveying the meaning it implies.
Fu Xi and Nue Gua in themselves embody the dual primary forces that on a cosmic level are known as Heaven and Earth and in a purely abstract level ------- and --- ---, which became known laterly as YANG and YIN. The dual primary forces as exemplified in these various meanings present to us the process of the universe both as microcosm and macrocosm, in its acting, moving or creative stage complimented by its passive, resting or receptive stage. These active and passive states, forming the entire basis of percieved duality, can also be further sub - divided into the Si Xiang. Ripe Yang being pure motion, ripe Yin being pure inertia and young Yang being motion phasing into inertia, young Yin being inertia passing into motion.
The subtleties of the various degrees of inertia and motion are able to be discerned by the objective human intellect and it was the 'first' human mind, that of Fu Xi, that was able to recognise the fundamental eight forms of the Ba Gua as they traditionally 'revealed' themselves to him on the back of a fantastic dragon - horse that emerged from the HO - Yellow river.
___ QIAN Creative Father
_ _ KUN Receptive Mother
___ ZHEN Thunder Eldest Son
_ _ SUN Wood and Wind Eldest Daughter
_ _ KAN Water and Moon Second Son
___ LI Fire Second Daughter
_ _ GEN Mountain Youngest Son
___ DUI Marsh Youngest Daughter
The inclusion of a third line that constitutes the eight forms from the four images implies another intelligent perspective at work in the universe other than Heaven and Earth, that of Humanity. The creative energetic intelligence of Heaven and the receptive energetic intelligence of Earth becomes complete with the responsive energetic intelligence of Humanity. The four images being the various degrees of harmonious exchange between Heaven and Earth create a point of balance from their energetic intercourse that emerges as a result of their union to compliment the dual primary forces and initiate evolutionary growth. The triad that results from this interaction is known to us cosmically as Heaven, Earth and Humanity and individually as our spiritual, mental and physical faculties.
The Ba Gua offers us a different perspective of this triad in its various forms which multiplies again to present the fullness of human potential and natural evolutionary growth in the 64 hexagrams discovered by the sage WANG WEN, that constitute the foundation of the Classic of Changes. In essence the Yi Jing is a presentation of the principles and patterns that inform motion and subsequent change on a universal level and how that change has been observed and can be observed across the entire spectrum of the natural and human world.
'The Master said, ' Writing cannot express words completely.
Words cannot express thoughts completely. Are we then unable to
see the thoughts of the sages?
The Master said,' The holy sages set up the images in order to express their thoughts completely; they devised the hexagrams in order to express the true and false completely. Then they amended judgements and so could express the words completely.'
'The eight trigrams point the way by means of their images; the words accompanying the lines, and the decisions, speak according to the circumstances. In that the firm and yielding are interspersed. good fortune and misfortune can be discerned.'
"Since in this way man comes to resemble Heaven and Earth,
he is not in conflict with them. His wisdom embraces all things,
and his Dao brings order into the whole world; therefore he does
not err. He is active everywhere but does not let himself be carried
away. He rejoices in Heaven and has knowledge of MING - Fate,
therefore he is free of care. He is content with his circumstances
and genuine in his kindness, therefore he can practice love."
"Standing by a stream, the Master said, 'Ah, that which is passing is just like this, never ceasing day or night' ". LUNYU 9:16
"The Master said, 'I transmit but I do not create; I have faith in, and a passion for, ancient studies. In this respect, I venture to compare myself to Lao Peng." LUNYU 7:1
"Gongsunjao of Wei asked Zigong: 'From where did Zhongni [Kongfuzi] get all his learning?
'The Dao of WANG - Kings Wen and Wu has not been lost to the world.' said Zigong, 'but is still to be found among men. The men of worth have recorded the major teachings of the Dao, while those of less worth recorded its minor teachings. They however all share in varying degrees the Dao of Wen and Wu [ founders of the ZHOU dynasty and compilers of the ZHOUYI, the forerunner to the YIJING ]. From whom indeed did our Master not learn. But what need had he of a regular teacher? ' ". LUNYU 19:22
"The Master said: 'Were I to be given a few more years, I would give fifty to the study of the YI - Changes; only then might I be free from grave faults.' " LUNYU 7:16
Suggestions for Further Reading:
The Analects, The Great Learning, Doctrine of the Mean - James Legge (Dover, N.Y. re-print 1970)
The Works of Mencius - James Legge (Dover, N.Y. re-print 1970)
The Sacred Books of Confucius - Ch'u & Winberg Chai (University Books, N.Y. 1965)
The Confucian Way - Li Fu Chen (KPI Press, London 1987)
An Introduction to Confucianism - Xinzhong Yao (Cambridge University Press, U.K. 2001)
I Ching or Book of Changes - Richard Wilhelm / Cary F. Baynes (Penguin Arkana 1989)