4. Table of Contents of the Lun-hêng.
1. Chap. I. Fêng-yü 逢遇
This chapter treats of the relation between officers and their sovereign. To be appreciated and successful an official must find the right prince, who understands him and puts him in the right place. One must not make the successful responsible for their success, or the unsuccessful for their failure, because not their talents, but time and circumstances are decisive.
2. Chap. II. Lei-hai 累害.
The difficulties and annoyances which people have to endure come from abroad, and are not the result of their own works. Therefore they must not be blamed. Fear and good conduct have no influence on fortune or misfortune. " Fortune is what we obtain without any effort of our own, and misfortune what happens to us without our co-operation." The chief annoyances of officials at the court and in the provinces are slanderous reports of envious persons. Three kinds of calumnies are distinguished. The wise do not feel troubled about this, and lead the life which most suits them.
*3. Chap. III. M'ing-lu 命祿 (On Destiny and Fortune).
Destiny predetermines the length of man's life, and whether he shall be rich and honourable, or poor and mean. There is no correspondence between human virtue and fate. The wicked and the unintelligent are very often happy, whereas men endowed with the highest faculties and the noblest character perish in misery, as is shown by various examples from history. The knowing, therefore, do not hunt after happiness, but leave everything to Heaven, suffering with equanimity what cannot be avoided, and placidly awaiting their turn. The opinions of several philosophers holding similar views are given.
*4. Chap. IV. Ch'i-shou 氣寿 (Long Life and Vital Fluid).
There are two kinds of fate, the one determining the events of life, the other its length. The length of life depends on the
Note: — The chapters marked with an asterisk have been translated.
quantity of the vital fluid received at birth. Accordingly the body waxes strong- or weak, and a strong body lives longer than a feeble one. The normal length of human life should be a hundred years. The Classics attest that the wise emperors of the Golden Age: — Yao, Shun, Wen Wang, Wu Wang, and others all lived over hundred years.
*5. Chap. I. Hsing-ou 幸偶 (On Chance and Luck).
Happiness and misfortune are not the outcome of man's good or bad actions, but chance and luck. Some have good luck, others bad. Good and bad fortune are not distributed in a just way, according to worth, but are mere chance. This is true of man as well as of other beings. Even Sages are often visited with misfortune.
*6. Chap. II. Ming-yi 命義 (What is meant by Destiny?).
The school of Mê Ti denies the existence of Destiny. Wang Ch'ung follows the authority of Confucius. There are various kinds of destinies. The length of human life is regulated by the fluid of Heaven, their wealth and honour by the effluence of the stars, with which men are imbued at their birth. Wang Ch'ung rejects the distinction of natural, concomitant, and adverse fate, but admits contingencies, chances, and incidents, which may either agree with the original fate and luck, or not. The fate of a State is always stronger than that of individuals.
*7. Chap. III. Wu-hsing 无形 (Unfounded Assertions).
At birth man receives the vital fluid from Heaven. This fluid determines the length of his life. There are no means to prolong its duration, as the Taoists pretend. Some examples from history are shown to be untrustworthy. At death everything ends. The vital force disperses, and the body is dissolved.
*8. Chap. IV. Shuai-hsing 率性 (The Forming of Characters).
There are naturally good, and there are naturally bad char- acters, but this difference between the qualities of low and superior men is not fundamental. The original fluid permeating all is the same, it contains the germs of the Five Virtues. Those who are
endowed with copious fluids, become virtuous, those whose fluid is deficient, wicked. But by external influences, human nature can turn from good into bad, and the reverse. Bad people can be im- proved, and become good by instruction and good example. There- fore the State cannot dispense with instructions and laws.
*9. Chap. V. Chi-yen 吉验 (Auspicious Portents).
Auspicious portents appear, when somebody is destined to something grand by fate, especially, when a new dynasty rises. These manifestations of fate appear either in the person's body, or as lucky signs in nature, or under the form of a halo or a glare. A great variety of instances from ancient times down to the Han dynasty are adduced in proof.
10. Chap. I. Ou-hui 偶会.
Fate acts spontaneously. There are no other alien forces at work besides fate. Nobody is able to do anything against it. Human activity is of no consequence.
*11. Chap. II. Ku-hsiang 骨相 (On Anthroposcopy).
The heavenly fate becomes visible in the body, and can be foreseen by anthroposcopy. The Classics contain examples. The physiognomists draw their conclusions from the osseous structure and from the lines of the skin. The character can also be seen from the features.
*12. Chap. III. Ch'u-p'ing 初禀 (Heaven's Original Gift).
Destiny comes down upon man already in his embryonic state, not later on during his life. It becomes mind internally and body externally. This law governs all organisms. Heaven never invests virtuous emperors, because it is pleased with them, for this would be in opposition to its principle of spontaneity and inaction. Utter- ances of the Classics that Heaven was pleased and looked round, etc. are to be taken in a figurative sense. Heaven has no human body and no human qualities. Lucky omens are not sent by Heaven, but appear by chance.
*13. Chap. IV. Pen-hsing 本性 (On Original Nature).
The different theories of Chinese moralists on human nature are discussed. Shih Tse holds that human nature is partly good, partly had, Mencius that it is originally good, but can be corrupted. Sun Tse that it is originally bad, Kao Tse that it is neither good nor had, and that it all depends on instruction and development, Lu Chia that it is predisposed for virtue. Tung Chung Shu and Liu Hsiang distinguish between natural disposition and natural feel- ings. Wang Ch'ung holds that nature is sometimes good and some- times bad, but essentially alike, being the fluid of Heaven, and adopts the Confucian distinction of average people, people above, and people below the average. The latter alone can be changed by habit.
*14. Chap. V. Wu-shih 物势 (The Nature of Things).
Heaven and Earth do not create man and the other things on earth intentionally. They all grow of themselves. Had Heaven produced all creatures on purpose, it would have taught them mutual love, whereas now one destroys the other. Some have ex- plained this struggle for existence by the hypothesis that all creatures are filled with the fluid of the Five Elements, which fight together and overcome one another. Wang Ch'ung controverts this view and the symbolism connected therewith.
*15. Chap. VI. Chi-'kuai 奇怪 (Miracles).
Wang Ch'ung proves by analogies that the supernatural births reported of several old legendary rulers, who are said to have l)een procreated by dragons or a special fluid of Heaven, are impossible. The Spirit of Heaven would not consort with a woman, for only beings of the same species pair. Saints and Sages are born like other people from their parents.
IC). Chap. I. Shu-hsü 书虚
The chapter contains a refutation of a series of wrong state- ments in ancient books. The assertion that Shun and Yü died in the South is shown to be erroneous. Wang Ch'ung explodes the idea that the " Bore " at Hang-chou is caused by the angry spirit of Wu Tse Hsü, who was thrown into the Ch'ien-t'ang River, and remarks that the tide follows the phases of the moon. (Bk. IV, p. 5v.)
17. Chap. n. Pien-hsü 变虚.
Wang Ch'ung points out that many reports in ancient literature concerning extraordinary phenomena, not in harmony with the laws of nature, are fictitious and unreliable, e. g. the story that touched by the virtue of Duke Ching of Sung, the planet Mars shifted its place, that Heaven rewarded the Duke with 21 extra years, or that the great Diviner of Ch'i caused an earthquake.
18. Chap. I. Yi-hsü 异虚
The impossibility of some miracles and supernatural events is demonstrated, which have been handed down in ancient works, and are universally believed by the people and the literati, c. g. the birth of Pao Sse from the saliva of dragons.
19. Chap. II. Kan-hsü 感虚
Wang Ch'ung contests that nature can be moved by man and deviate from its course. Various old legends are critically tested: — the alleged appearance of ten suns in Yao's time, the report that the sun went back in his course, the w^onders which happened during the captivity of Tsou Yen and Tan, Prince of Yen.
The tenor of the last four chapters all treating of unfounded assertions or figments "hsü" is very similar.
*20. Chap. I. Fu-hsü 福虚 (Wrong Notions about Happiness).
Happiness is not given by Heaven as a reward for good actions, as the general belief is. The Mêhist theory that the spirits pro- tect and help the virtuous is controverted by facts. Wang Ch'ung shows how several cases, adduced as instances of how Heaven re- compensed the virtuous are illusive, and that fate is capricious and unjust.
*21. Chap. II. Huo-hsü 祸虚 (Wrong Notions on Unhappiness).
The common belief that Heaven and Earth and the spirits punish the wicked and visit them with misfortune, is erroneous, as shown by examples of virtuous men, who were unlucky, and of wicked, who flourished. All this is the result of chance and luck, fate and time.
*22. Chap. III. Lung-hsü 龙虚 (On Dragons).
The dragon is not a spirit, but has a body and lives in pools. It is not fetched by Heaven during a thunderstorm, as people believe. The different views about its shape are given: — It is represented as a snake with a horse's head, as a flying creature, as a reptile that can be mounted, and like earthworms and ants. In ancient times dragons were reared and eaten. The dragon rides on the clouds during the tempest, there being a certain sympathy between the dragon and clouds. It can expand and contract its body, and make itself invisible.
*23. Chap. IV. Lei-hsü 雷虚 (On Thunder and Lightning).
Thunder is not the expression of Heaven's anger. As a spirit it could not give a sound, nor could it kill a man with its breath. It does not laugh either. Very often the innocent are struck by lightning, and monsters like the Empress Lü Hou are spared. The pictorial representations of thunder as united drums, or as the thunderer Lei Kung, are misleading. Thunder is fire or hot air, the solar fluid Yang exploding in its conflict with the Yin fluid, lightning being the shooting forth of the air. Five arguments are given, why thunder must be fire.
*24. Chap. I. Tao-hsü 道虚 (Taoist Untruths).
Man dies and can become immortal. The Taoist stories of Huang Ti and Huai Nan Tse's ascension to heaven, of the flying genius met by Lu Ao, and of Hsiang Man Tse's travel to the moon are inventions. The magicians do not possess the powers ascribed to them. The Taoist theory of prolonging life by quietism and dispassionateness, by regulating one's breath, and using medicines is untenable.
*25. Chap. II. Yü-tseng 语增 (Exaggerations).
Wang Ch'ung points out a number of historical exaggerations e. g. that the embonpoint of Chieh and Chou was over a foot, that Chou had a wine-lake, from which 3,000 persons sucked like cattle, that Wen Wang could drink 3,000 bumpers of wine, and Confucius 100 gallons, and some mis-statements concerning the simplicity of Yao and Shun, and the cruelty of Shi Huang Ti, and tries to reduce them to the proper limits.
*26. Chap. I. Ju-tsêng 儒增 (Exaggerations of the Literati).
Wang Ch'ung goes on to criticise some old traditions: — on the abolition of punishments under Yao and Shun, on the wonderful shooting of Yang Yu Chi and Hsiung Ch'ü Tse, on the skill of Lu Pan, on Ching K'o's attempt upon Shi Huang Ti's life, on the miracles connected with the Nine Tripods of the Chou dynasty, etc.
27. Chap. II. Yi-tsêng 艺增.
People are fond of the marvellous and of exaggerations, in witness whereof passages are quoted from the Shuking, the Shiking, the Yiking, the Lun-yü, and the Ch'un-ch'iu.
*28. Chap. I. Wen K'ung 问孔 (Criticisms on Confucius).
The Confucianists do not dare to criticise the Sages, although the words of the Sages are not always true and often contra- dictory. It is also, because they do not understand the difficult passages, and only repeat what the commentators have said. Wang Ch'ung vindicates the right to criticise even Confucius. Such crit- icisms are neither immoral nor irrational. They help to bring out the meaning, and lead to greater clearness. Wang Ch'ung then takes up a number of passages from the Analects for discussion, in which he discovers contradictions or other flaws, but does not criticise the system of Confucius or his theories in general.
*29. Chap. I. Fei Han 非韩 (Strictures on Han Fei Tse).
Han Fei Tse solely relies on rewards and punishments to govern a State. In his system there is no room for the cultivation of virtue. He despises the literati as useless, and thinks the world to be so depraved and mean, that nothing but penal law can keep it in check. Wang Ch'ung shows by some examples taken from Han Fei Tse's work that this theory is wrong. Men of letters are as useful to the State as agriculturists, warriors, and officials, for they cultivate virtue, preserve the true principles, and benefit the State by the good example they set to the other classes.
*30. Chap. II. T'se Meng 刺孟 (Censures on Mencius).
Wang Ch'ung singles out such utterances of Mencius in which according to his view his reasoning is defective, or which are con- flicting with other dicta of the philosopher.
*31. Chap. I. T'an-t'ian 谈天 (On Heaven).
The old legend of the collapse of Heaven, which was repaired by Nü Wa when Kung Kung had knocked with his head against the " Pillar of Heaven," is controverted, as is Tsou Yen's theory of the existence of Nine Continents. Heaven is not merely air, but has a body, and the earth is a square measuring 100,000 Li in either direction.
*32. Chap. II. Shuo-jih 说日 (On the Sun).
A variety of astronomical questions are touched. Wang Ch'ung opposes the view that the sun disappears in darkness during the night, that the length or shortness of the days is caused by the Yin and the Yang, that the sun rises from Fu-sang and sets in Hsi-liu, that at Yao's time ten suns appeared, that there is a raven in the sun, and a hare and a toad in the moon. Heaven is not high in the south and depressed in the north, nor like a reclining umbrella, nor does it enter into or revolve in the earth. Heaven is level like earth, and the world lying in the south-east. The sun at noon is nearer than in the morning or in the evening. Wang Ch'ung further speaks on the rotation of the sky, the sun, and the moon, on the substance of the sun and the moon, on their shape, the cause of the eclipses, meteors, and meteorological phenomena.
3H. Chap. III. Ta-ning 答佞.
On the cunning and artful.
34. Chap. I. Ch'eng-t'sai 程材.
The difference between scholars and officials is pointed out. Wang Ch'ung stands up for the former, and places them higher than the officials, because they are of greater importance to the State. The people however think more of the officials.
35. Chap. II. Liang-chih 量知.
The same subject as treated in the preceding chapter.
36. Chap. in. Hsieh-tuan 谢短.
Men of letters as well as officials have their shortcomings. The former are interested in antiquity only, and neglect the present, the Ch'in and Han time. They only know the Classics, but even many questions concerning the age and the origin of the Classics they cannot answer. The officials know their business, but often cannot say, why they do a thing, since they do not possess the necessary historical knowledge.
37. Chap. I. Hsiao-li 效力.
The chapter treats of the faculties of the scholars and the officials, and of their energy and perseverance displayed in different departments.
38. Chap. n. Pieh-t'ung 别通.
There is the same difference between the learned and the uncultivated as between the rich and the poor. Learning is a power and more important than wealth.
39. Chap. III. Ch'ao-chi 超奇.
There are various degrees of learning. Some remarks are made on the works of several scholars, e. g. the philosopher Yang Tse Yün and the two historians Pan.
40. Chap. I. Chuang-liu 状留.
Scholars do not strive for office. As for practical success they are outrivalled by the officials, who are men of business.
*41. Chap. II. Han-wen 寒温 (On Heat and Cold).
Wang Ch'ung contests the assertion of the phenomenalists that there is a correspondence between heat and cold and the joy and anger of the sovereign. He points out that the South is the seat of heat, and the North of cold. Moreover the temperature de- pends on the four seasons and the 24 time-periods.
*42. Chap. 111. Ch'ien-kao 遣告 (On Reprimands).
The savants hold that Heaven reprimands a sovereign whose administration is bad, visiting him with calamities. First he causes extraordinary events. If the sovereign does not change then, he sends down misfortunes upon his people, and at last he punishes his own person. Heaven is represented like a prince governing his people. These heavenly punishments would be at variance with Heaven's virtue, which consists in spontaneity and inaction. Heaven does not act itself, it acts through man, and speaks through the mouths of the Sages, in whose hearts is ingrafted its virtue. The utterances of the Classics ascribing human qualities to Heaven are only intended to give more weight to those teach- ings, and to frighten the wicked and the unintelligent.
*43. Chap, I. Pien-tung 变动 (Phenomenal Changes).
Heaven influences things, but is not affected by them. All creatures being filled with the heavenly fluid. Heaven is the master, and not the servant. The Yang and the Yin move things, but are not moved. The deeds and the prayers of a tiny creature like man cannot impress the mighty fluid of Heaven, and the sobs of thousands of people cannot touch it. Heaven is too far, and its fluid shapeless without beginning or end. It never sets the laws
of nature aside for man's sake.
44. Chap. n. Chao-chih 招致.
(This chapter has been lost.)
45. Chap. m. Ming-iju 明雩.
The rain sacrifice, which during the Ch'un-ch'iu period was performed at times of drought, forms the subject of this essay. People use to pray for rain and happiness, as they implore the spirits to avert sickness and other evils. Some believe that rain is caused by the stars, others that it depends on the government of a State, others again that it comes from the mountains. The last opinion is shared by Wang Ch'ung.
46. Chap. IV. Shun-ku 顺鼓.
The chapter treats of the religious ceremonies performed to avert inundations, in which the beating of drums is very important.
47. Chap. I. Luan-lung 乱龙.
As a means to attract the rain by the sympathetic action of similar fluids Tung Chung Shu had put up a clay dragon. Wang Ch'ung attempts to demonstrate the efficacy of this procedure by 15 arguments and 4 analogies.
48. Chap. II. Tsao-hu 遭虎
Wang Ch'ung controverts the popular belief that, when men are devoured by tigers, it is the wickedness of secretaries and minor officials which causes these disasters.
49. Chap. III. Shang-ch'ung 商虫.
The common belief that the eating of the grain by insects is a consequence of the covetousness of the yamen underlings is shown to be futile.
*50. Chap. IV. Ch'iang-jui 讲瑞 (Arguments on Ominous Creatures).
Wang Ch'ung denies that the literati would be able to re- cognise a phoenix or a unicorn, should they appear, nor would they know a sage either. The phoenix and the unicorn are regarded as holy animals and as lucky auguries. The old traditions about their appearance at various times and their shape, which are very conflicting, are discussed. Wang Ch'ung holds that these animals do not only appear at the time of universal peace, that as ominous creatures they are born of a propitious fluid, and do not belong to a certain species, but may grow from dissimilar parents of a common species of animals.
51. Chap. I. Chih-jui 指瑞.
The discussion on the phoenix and the unicorn is continued. Wang Ch'ung impugns the opinion that these animals are not born in China, but come from abroad, when there is a wise emperor. They grow in China, even, when there is no sage.
52. Chap. II. Shih-ying 是应.
This chapter treats of the various lucky omens of the Golden Age: — the purple boletus, the wine springs, the sweet dew, the Ching star, the monthly plant, the phoenix, the unicorn, and of some other fabulous animals.
58. Chap. III. Ckih-cKi 治期.
The praise of antiquity, its high virtue and happiness is un- founded. There is nothing but fate. Human activity is powerless.
*54. Chap. I. Tse-jan 自然 (Spontaneity).
Heaven emits its generating fluid spontaneously, not on pur- pose. It has no desires, no knowledge, and does not act. These qualities require organs: — a mouth, eyes, hands, etc., which it does not possess. Its body must be either like that of Earth, or air. Heaven's fluid is placid, desireless, and unbusied. This spon- taneity is a Taoist theory, but they did not sufficiently substantiate it. Only Sages resembling Heaven can be quite spontaneous and inactive, others must act, and can be instructed. Originally men lived in a happy state of ignorance. Customs, laws, in short culture is already a decline of virtue.
55. Chap. II. Kan-lei 感类.
Natural calamities and unlucky events are not the upshot of human guilt, as a thunderstorm is not a manifestation of Heaven's anger.
*56. Chap. III. Ch'i-shih 齐世" (The Equality of the Ages).
People of old were not better, nor stronger, taller or longer lived than at present. Heaven and Earth have remained the same, and their creatures likewise. There is a periodical alternation of prosperity and decline in all the ages. The present time is not inferior to antiquity, but the literati extol the past and disparage the present. Even sages like Confucius would not find favour with them, if they happened to live now. And yet the Han dynasty is quite equal to the famous old dynasties.
57. Chap. I. Hsüan Han 宣汉.
The scholars hold that in olden days there has been a Golden Age, which is passed and does not come back owing to the bad- ness of the times. Wang Ch'ung stands up for his own time, the Han epoch. He enumerates the lucky portents observed under the Han emperors, and refers to the great achievements of the Han dynasty in the way of colonising and civilising savage countries.
58. Chap. II. Hui-kuo 恢国
Wang Ch'ung gives to the Han dynasty the preference over all the others, and again discourses on the lucky auguries marking its reign.
59. Chap. III. Yen-fu 验符.
The discovery of gold under the Han dynasty, and of purple boletus, the sweet-dew-fall in several districts, and the arrival of dragons and phoenixes are put forward as so many proofs of the excellence of the Han dynasty.
60. Chap. I. Hsü-sung 须颂
This chapter is a variation of the two preceding.
61. Chap. II. Yi-wên 佚文.
The subject of this treatise is purely literary. It discusses the discovery of the Classics in the house of Confucius, the Burning of the Books under Chin Shih Huang Ti, and the literature of the Han epoch, of which several authors are mentioned.
*62. Chap. III. Lun-sse 论死 (On Death).
Man is a creature. Since other creatures do not become ghosts after death, man cannot become a ghost either. If all the millions that have lived, became spirits, there would not be suffi- cient room for all the spirits in the world. The dead never give any sign of there existence, therefore they cannot exist any more. The vital fluid forming the soul disperses at death, how could it
become a ghost. A spirit is diffuse and formless. Before its birth the soul forms part of the primogenial fluid, which is unconscious. When at death it reverts thereto, it becomes unconscious again. The soul requires the body to become conscious and to act. If sleep causes unconsciousness, and if a disease disorganises the mind, death must do the same in a still higher degree.
*63. Chap. I. Sse-wei 死伪 (False Reports about the Dead),
A number of ghost stories are quoted from the Tso-chuan and other ancient works, where discontented spirits are reported to have taken their revenge upon, and killed their enemies. Wang Ch'ung either rejects these stories as inventions, or tries to explain them in a natural way.
*64. Chap. I. Chi-yao 纪妖 (Spook Stories).
Several spook and ghost stories recorded in the Shi-chi and the Tso-chuan are analysed. Wang-Ch'ung explains them in accord- ance with his theory on the spontaneity of Heaven, and on the nature of apparitions and portents.
*65. Chap. II. Ting-kuei 订鬼 (All about Ghosts).
Wang Ch'ung sets forth the different opinions on the nature of ghosts, propounded at his time. Some hold that ghosts are visions of sick people, or the fluid of sickness. Others regard them as the stellar fluid, or as the essence of old creatures, or as the spirits of cyclical signs. After an excursion on the demons, devils, and goblins mentioned in ancient books, Wang Ch'ung gives his own views, according to which ghosts are apparitions and phantoms foreboding evil, which have assumed human form, but are only semblances and disembodied. They consist of the solar fluid, the Yang, are therefore red, burning, and to a certain extent poisonous.
*66. Chap. I. Yen-tu 言毒 (On Poison).
Animal and vegetable poison is the hot air of the sun. All beings filled with the solar fluid contain some poison. Snakes, scorpions, and some plants have plenty of it. Ghosts, which consist
of the pure solar fluid, are burning poison, which eventually kills. There is poison in some diseases, in a sun-stroke for instance and in lumbago. Wang Ch'ung discovers real poison in speech, in beauty, and in several tastes, which only metaphorically might be called poisonous, and mixes up the subject still more by improper symbolism.
67. Chap. II. Po-tsang 薄葬.
This chapter is directed against the extravagance in funerals, on the score that the dead have no benefit from it.
68. Chap. III. Sse-wei 四讳.
There is a popular belief that four things are dangerous and bring misfortune viz. to enlarge a house at the west side, to allow a banished man to ascend a tumulus, the intercourse with women, during the first month after they have given birth to a child, and the rearing of children born in the 1st and the 5th months, who will cause the deaths of their parents. Wang Ch'ung combats these superstitions.
69. Chap. IV. Lan-shih 讕时
Wang Ch'ung discourses on the common belief that in building one must pay attention to an unpropitious time, which may be warded off by amulets. He further speaks of the spirits of the year, the months, etc.
70. Chap. I. Chi-jih 讥日.
Some more superstitions concerning unlucky years, months, and days, which must be shunned to avoid misfortunes, are in- vestigated. For many actions the election of a proper time is deemed to be of great importance, e. g. for a funeral, or for com- mencing a building. Bathing on certain days, women become beau- tiful: bathing on others makes their hair turn white. On the day of T'sang Hsieh's death, who invented writing, one must not study calligraphy, and on the day of the downfall of the Yin and Hsia dynasties one does not make music.
*71. Chap. II. Pu-shih 卜筮 (On Divination).
People often neglect virtue and only rely on divination. They imagine that by means of tortoise shells and milfoil they
can interrogate Heaven and Earth about the future, and that they reply by the signs of the shells and the straws. Wang Ch'ung shows that such an opinion is erroneous, but, whereas Han Fei Tse condemns divination altogether, he upholds this science. In his idea visions, signs, and omens are true by all means, only they are very often misunderstood or misinterpreted by the diviners. The lucky will meet with good omens, which, however, are not the response of Heaven, but happen by chance.
*72. Chap. III. Plen-sui 辨祟 (Criticisms on Noxious Influences).
Most people are under the delusion that by disregarding an unpropitious time viz. years, months, and days of dread, they will have to suffer from noxious influences, falling in with evil spirits, which work disaster. This is an error, as shown by experience, but horoscopists and seers are silent on all cases contradicting their theory. A vast literature has sprung up on this subject, and the princes dare not take any important step in life, any more than their people, without reference to it.
73. Chap. IV. Nan-sui 难岁.
Wang Ch'ung impugns the view that by moving one's residence one may come into collision with the Spirit of the North Point, Nan Sui, which would be disastrous.
74. Chap. I. Ch'i-shu 诘术.
The chapter treats of the precautions which used to be taken in building houses, special attention being paid to the family name, the number of the house, the situation, etc.
*75. Chap. II. Chieh-cKu 解除 (On Exorcism).
By exorcism malignant spirits are expelled after having been feasted. Exorcism and conjurations are of no use, for either would the ghosts not yield to the force employed against them, and resent the affront, or, if they are like mist and clouds, their expulsion would be useless. In ancient times, sickness was expelled in this way. The propitiation of the Spirit of Earth, after having dug up the ground, is also useless, for Earth does not hear man nor understand his speech. All depends upon man, not on ghosts.
*76. Chap. III. Sse-yi 祀义 (Sacrifices to the Departed).
Sacrifices are merely manifestations of the feelings of love and gratitude, which the living cherish towards ghosts and spirits. The latter cannot enjoy the sacrifices, which are presented to them, because having no body, they are devoid of knowledge and can- not eat or drink. If Heaven and Earth could eat or drink, they would require such enormous quantities of food, that man could never appease their hunger. Wang Ch'ung treats of the nature of ghosts, and refers to the sacrifices to Heaven and Earth, to the House, to the Gods of Wind, Rain, and Thunder, to the Sun, the Moon, and the Stars, and to the Ancestors.
*11. Chap. IV. Chi-yi 祭意 (Sacrifices).
The various old sacrifices are described, those to Heaven and Earth, to the Mountains and Rivers, to the Spirits of the Land and Grain, to the Six Superior Powers, to the Seasons, Heat and Cold, Water and Drought, the Rain Sacrifice, those to the Four Cardinal Points, to the Sun, the Moon, and the Stars, the Five Genii of the House, and to the Ancestors. All these sacrifices saving the last were State sacrifices and reserved for the emperor, the feudal princes, and their officials. They are thank-offerings for kindness received. There are no spirits present to enjoy them, nor can they bestow happiness on the sacrificers. or visit with mis- fortune those who neglect them. Therefore sacrifices are a beau- tiful custom, but of no great consequence.
78. Chap. I. Shih-chih 实知.
Saints and Sages are credited with an extraordinary know- ledge. They need not learn or study, for they are cognisant of everything intuitively, and know the past as well as the future. This is a fallacy. There are no supernatural faculties, and even those of the Sages follow the natural laws.
79. Chap. H. Chih-shih 知实.
Confucius was not prescient and not a prophet, as has been asserted. 16 examples are given, all showing his inability to fore-know the future.
80. Chap. I. Ting-hsien 定贤.
The nature of the Worthies is defined. Examples are ad- duced of what they are not. No exceptional talents are required, but a certain amount of intelligence and honesty. Worthies belong to the same class as Saints or Sages, but are somewhat inferior.
*81. Chap. I. Chêng-shuo 正说 (Statements Corrected).
This chapter contains critical remarks on the composition and the history of the Shuking, the Shiking, the Ch'un-ch'iu, the Yiking, the Liki, and the Analects. The meaning of the dynastic names of Tang, Yü, the Hsia, Yin, and Chou dynasties is explained, and some hints as to how the Canons are to be interpreted are added.
82. Chap. II. Shu-chieh 书解.
The chapter deals with learning and erudition, with literary composition, and with the various kinds of men of letters.
*83. Chap. I. An-shu 案书 (Critical Remarks on Various Books).
Wang Ch'ung criticises the famous authors of his time and their works, beginning with some writers of the Chou epoch. He finds fault with Mê Ti, the sophist Kung Sun Lung, and the specu- lative philosopher Tsou Yen and commends Tso Ch'iu Ming, the author of the Tso-chuan and the Kuo-yü. He speaks with great respect of the historians Sse Ma Ch'ien and Pan Ku, the philosopher Yang Tse Yün, and Liu Hsiang, and in the highest terms of Lu Chia, who published the Ch'un-ch'iu-fan-lu, and of Huan Chün Shan and Huan Kuan, the authors of the Hsin-lun and the Yen-t'ieh-lun.
*84. Chap. II. Tui-tso 对作 (Replies in Self-Defence).
Wang Ch'ung gives the reasons, why he wrote his principal works, the Lun-lêng and the Chêng-wu, a treatise on government. In the Lun-lêng he wishes to explain common errors, to point out
the exaggerations and inventions in literature, and thus deliver mankind of its prejudices. The Lun-hêng weighs the words and holds up a balance for truth and falsehood. Wang Ch'ung shows the advantage which might be derived from different chapters, and meets the objections which his opponents would perhaps raise.
*85. Chap. I. Tse-chi 自纪 (Autobiography).
Wang Ch'ung is a native of Shang-yü-hsien in Chekiang. His family originally lived in Chihli. He was born in a.d. 27, and already as a boy was very fond of study. In his official career he was not very successful. The highest post which he held about a.d. 86 was that of a sub-prefect. The equanimity of a philosopher helped him over many disappointments. His ideal was to possess an ex- tensive knowledge, a keen intellect, and a noble mind. Besides his chief work the Lun-hêng, he wrote 12 chapters on common morals in a plain and easy style, and a treatise "Macrobiotics" in A.D. 91.
He defends the style, the voluminousness, and the contents of the
Lun-hêng against the attacks directed against it.