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08: CHAPTER V. Phenomenal Changes

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CHAPTER V. Phenomenal Changes (Pien t'ung). 

Arguing on calamitous events I have aready expressed my doubts as to Heaven reprimanding man by misfortunes.1 They say, moreover, that the sovereign, as it were, moves Heaven by his government, and that Heaven moves the fluid in response.  Beating a drum and striking a bell with a hammer would be an analogous process. The drum represents Heaven, the hammer the government, and the sound of the drum or the bell is like Heaven's response. When man acts below, the heavenly fluid survenes, and accompanies his actions. I confess that I doubt this also. 

Heaven can move things, but how can things move Heaven? Men and things depend upon Heaven, and Heaven is the master of men and things. Thus one says that, when Wang Ling 2 whips the horses, the carriage and the steeds rush over the plain. It is not said that, when the carriage and the steeds chase over the plain, Wang Liang subsequently whips the horses. The heavenly fluid changes above, and men and things respond to it below.  Consequently, when Heaven is about to rain, the shang-yang 3 begins to dance, and attracts the rain. The " shang-yang" is a creature which knows the rain. As soon as Heaven is about to rain, it bends its single leg, and commences to dance. 

When Heaven is going to rain, the mole-crickets and ants leave their abodes, the earth-worms come forth, the chords of guitars become loose, and chronic diseases more violent. This shows, how Heaven moves things. When Heaven is about to blow, the creatures living in nests become restless, and, when it is going to rain, the insects staying in holes become excited. The fluid of wind and rain has such an effect upon those creatures. Man takes the same position between Heaven and Earth as fleas and bugs between the upper and lower garments, or crickets and ants in crevices. Can fleas and bugs, crickets and ants, in so far as they 

1 In chap. VI, which in the Lun-hêng precedes chap.V. 

2 A famous charioteer (cf. p. 138). 

3 A one-legged bird said to portend rain. 

110 Lun-Hêng: R. Metaphysical. 

are either rebellious or peaceful, wild or quiet, bring about a change of the fluid in the crevices? Fleas and bugs, mole-crickets and ants cannot do this. To pretend that man is able to do so, shows a misconception of the nature of the fluid of things. 

When the wind comes, the boughs of the trees shake, but these boughs cannot produce the wind. In the same manner at the end of summer the field crickets chirrup, and the cicadas cry.  They are affected by the Yin fluid. When the thunder rolls, the pheasants become frightened, and, when the insects awake from their state of torpidity, the snakes come forth. This is the rising of the Yang fluid. When it is near mid-night, the cranes scream, and when at dawn the sun is about to rise, the cocks crow.  Although these be not phenomenal changes, they show at least, how the heavenly fluid moves things, and how those respond to the heavenly fluid. One may say that heat and cold influence the sovereign in such a way, that he emits a fluid by which he rewards or punishes, but are we warranted in saying that rewards and punishments affect high Heaven so, that it causes heat or cold to respond to the government? 

In regard to the Six Passions 1 the expositors of the wind theory maintain that, when the wind blows, robbers and thieves set to work under its influence, but the nature of robbers and thieves cannot move Heaven to send the wind. When the wind blows, it has a strange influence on perverted minds so, that robbers and thieves do their deeds. How can we prove that? Robbers and thieves seeing something, take it away, and beholding an enemy, kill him. This is an off-hand business, and the work of a moment, and not premeditated day and night. When the heavenly afflatus passes, the time of greedy scoundrels and stealthy thieves has come. 

Those who predict dearness and cheapness from the wind, hold that a wind blowing over residences of kings and ministers brings dearness, whereas a wind coming from the dwellings of prisoners, or of the dead, brings cheapness. Dearness and cheapness refer to the amount of pecks and bushels to be got. When the wind arrives, the buyers of grain raise or lower the prices, such is the wonderful influence exercised by the heavenly fluid on men and things. Thus the price of grain rises, or falls, becomes dear, or cheap. 

1 Cheerfulness, anger, grief, joy, love, and hatred. It is more common to speak of Seven Passions. They are the same as those given above, but joy is replaced by fear, and desire is added. 

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In the book on the Celestial Governors 1 it is stated that the wind blowing from the four quarters is determined on the morning of New Year's Day. When the wind blows from the south, there will be droughts; when it blows from the north, inundations.  Coming from the east, it forebodes epidemics, and coming from the west, war. The Great Annalist is right in saying that water, dryness, war, and diseases are predetermined from the wind, for luck and mishap of men and things depend on Heaven. 

It is spring that animates things, and winter that causes them to die. Spring vivifies, winter kills. Should Heaven for any reason wish spring to kill, and winter to vivify, things would not die or live at all, why? Because the life of things is governed by the Yang principle, and their death depends on the Yin.2 

By blowing air upon a person one cannot make him cold, nor can one make him warm by breathing upon him. But if a person who has thus been blown or breathed upon, comes into winter or summer, he will have the unpleasant sensation of chill or heat. The cold and hot fluids depend on heaven and earth, and are governed by the Yin and the Yang. How could human affairs and government have any influence upon them? 

Moreover, Heaven is the root, and man the apex. Climbing up a tree, we wonder that the branches cannot move the trunk, but, if the trunk is cut down, all the twigs wither. Human affairs resemble the branches of a tree, that which gives warmth is like the root and the trunk. 

For those creatures which are born from Heaven and filled with its fluid Heaven is the master in the same manner as the ear, the eye, the hand, and the foot are ruled by the heart. When the heart has that intention, the ear and the eye hear and see, and the hand and the foot move and act. To maintain that Heaven responds to man would be like saying that the heart is under the command of the ear and the eye, the hand and the foot. 

Streamers hanging down from flags are attached to the flagstaff.  The flagstaff moving eastward, those streamers follow, and float westward. If they say that heat and cold follow rewards and punishments, then the heavenly fluid must be like those streamers. 

1 Shi-chi chap. 27 p. 34v. The "Celestial Governers" are the sun, the moon, and the planets. The passage referred to here speaks of 8 winds, however, and their attributes are different from those given by Wang Ch'ung. 

2 Heaven could not purposely act against the laws of nature, by which the vegetation grows in spring, and fades in winter. 

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The fact that the " Hook " star (Mercury) is amidst the "House" constellation forebodes an earth-quake.1 The Great Diviner of Ch'i was cognisant of this, and told Duke Ching 2 that he could shake the earth, which Duke Ching believed.2 To say that a sovereign can cause heat and cold is like Duke Ching's trusting in the ability of the Great Diviner to shake the earth.  Man cannot move the earth, nor can he move Heaven. Heat and cold are heavenly fluids. Heaven is very high, man very small With a small rod one cannot strike a bell, and with a fire-fly one cannot heat a cauldron. Why? Because a bell is large, and a rod short, a cauldron big, and a fire-fly small. If a tiny creature, seven feet high,4 would attempt to influence the mighty fluid of great Heaven, it is evident that it would not have the slightest effect. 

When it has been predetermined that a great general is about to enter a territory, he will be angry, in case the air is cold, and pleased, if it be warm. Now, joy and anger are called forth by actions. Previous to his entering the territory, they are not yet manifest, and do not come forward, before the conduct of the people and the officials has been inquired into. But the hot or the cold fluids have been there previously. If joy and anger evoked heat and cold, those fluids ought to appear later than joy and anger. Therefore only the hot and the cold fluids evoke the sovereign's pleasure or wrath. 

Some will say ' Not so ; the greatest sincerity is required. In one's actions one must be most sincere, as Tsou Yen was, who implored Heaven, when frost began to fall,5 or the wife of Ch'i Liang 6 who by her tears caused the city wall to collapse. How? The heavenly fluid cannot be moved?' 

The greatest sincerity is shown in the likes and dislikes of the heart. When fruits are hanging before a man's face, no more than one foot away from his mouth, he may desire to eat them, and his breath may touch them, yet he does not obtain them 

1 Cf. p. 127 and Shi-chi chap. 27 p. 27v. 

2 546-488 B.C. 

3 We learn from Huai Nan Tse XII, 22 quoted in Lun-hêng IV, 13 (Pien-hsü) that Yen Tse told the Great Diviner that the earth-quake would take place, because the "Hook" star was between the constellations of the "House" and the "Heart," whereupon the Great Diviner confessed to the Duke that the earth would shake, but that it would not be his doing (cf. p. 127). 

4 I. e. man. The ancient Chinese foot was much smaller than the one now in use. 

5 Cf. chap. XXI. 

6 On officer of the Ch'i State, who was slain in a battle against the Chü State (cf. Mencius Book VI, P. II chap. 6). 

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thereby. But, when he takes them in his hand, and conveys them to his mouth, then lie can eat them. Even small fruits which can easily be moved in a basket, and are not far from the mouth, cannot be procured merely by a desire, be it ever so strong. How about Heaven then, which is so high and distant from us, and whose fluid forms the shapeless empyrean without beginning or end? 

During the dog-days, people stand against the wind, and in the depth of winter, they sit turned towards the sun. In summer, they are anxious to obtain coolness, and in winter, they would like to have warmth. These wishes are most sincere. When their desires reach their climax, they will perhaps stand against the wind, and simultaneously fan themselves, or turned towards the sun-shine, light a fire in a stove. Yet Heaven will never change its fluid for summer or winter's sake. Heat and cold have their fixed periods, which are never transmuted for man's sake. With an earnest desire one does not obtain it, how should it be brought about by rewards and punishments, when the thoughts are not longing for heat or cold at all? 

The sighs of ten thousand people cannot move Heaven, how should it be possible that the sobs of Tsou Yen alone could cause the frost to fall? Could the predicament of Tsou Yen be compared to that of Chü Yuan? Was his unjust imprisonment like jumping into the river? Were the lamentations of the Li-sao and the Ch'u- t'se 1 nothing more than a sigh? — When Ch'ü Yuan died, there fell no frost in the State of Ch'u. 

This happened during the reign of the Kings Huai and Hsiang.2 At the time of the Kings Li and Wu, 3 Pien Ho 4 presented them with a jade-stone, and had his two feet cut off. Offering his stone he wept, till his tears ran dry, when he went on weeping blood.  Can the sincerity of Tsou Yen bear a comparison with Pien Ho's sufferings, or his unjust arrest with the amputation of the feet? Can the sighs towards heaven be put on a parallel with tears of blood? Sighs are surely not like tears, nor Tsou Yens imprisonment 

1 The "Elegies of Ch'u" comprising the Li-sao and some other poems of Ch'ü Yuan and his contemporaries, all plaintive pieces referring to Ch'ü Yuan's disgrace. 

2 King Huai of Ch'u 327-294, King Ch'ing Hsiang 294-261. Ch'ü Yuan committed suicide in 294 b.c. 

3 King Wu reigned from 739-688. His predecessor is called Hsiung Hsün (756-739) in the Shi-chi, not Li. 

4 Pien Ho was taken for an impostor, and first sentenced to have his left foot cut off. When he presented the stone, a second time, his right foot was cut off. At last the genuineness of the jade-stone was discovered. 

Lou-hêng. 8 

114 Lun-hêng: B. Metaphysical. 

like the cutting of the feet. Considering their grievances Tsou Yen is not Pien Ho's equal. Yet at that time no frost was seen in the Ch'u country. 

Li Sse 1 and Chao Kao 2 caused the death of the crown-prince Fu Su by their calumnies. Meng T'ien 3 and Meng Ao 4 were involved in his fall. At that time they all gave vent to their pain, which was like sighing. Their misfortune culminated in death, and was not limited to unjust banishment. Albeit yet no cold air was produced, where they died. 

Ch'in buried alive 400,000 soldiers of Chao below Ch'ang p'ing, 5 where they were all thrown into pits at the same time. Their wails and cries then were more than sighs. Even if their sincerity was less than that of Tsou Yen, yet the sufferings of 400,000 people must have been commensurate to the pain of one wise man, and the cries they uttered, while falling into the pits, must have been worse than the moans of one fettered prisoner. 

In spite of this no hoar-frost was seen falling down below Ch'ang-p'ing, when the above related event took place. 

We read in the " Fu-hsing'' chapter: — 6 " The people maltreated universally complained that they had not failed against the Ruler of Heaven."7 This means that Ch'ih Yu's subjects suffering under his vexations universally complained that they had not sinned against high Heaven. Since the complaints of a whole populace could not cause a fall of frost, the story about Tsou Yen is most likely fictitious also. 

In the south it is extremely hot: — the sand burns, stones crumble into dust, and father and son bathe in the same water.  In the north it is bitterly cold: — water turns into ice, the earth cracks, and father and son huddle together in the same den. Yen is situated in the north. Tsou Yen was there in the 5th month of Chou, 8 which corresponds to the 3d month of the corrected year. 

1 Cf. p. 171. 

2 A eunuch, who together with Li Sse caused the death of Fu Su, eldest son of Ch'in Shih Huang Ti, and under Hu Hai usurped all power. In 207 b.c. he was assassinated by order of Tse Ying, son of Fu Su. 

3 Cf. p. 167. 

4 The grand father of Mêng T'ien, also a general of Shih Huang Ti. 

5 Cf. p. 136 and p. 166. 

6 The chapter on Punishments in the Shu-king, now entitled Lü-Hsing. 

7 Shu-king, Lü-hsing, Pt. V, Bk. XXVU, 4 (Legge, Vol. UI, Pt. U, p. 592). 

8 The Chou epoch. The Chou calendar began with the 11th month, the Ch'in calendar with the 10th. In 104 B.C. Han Wu Ti corrected the calendar, and made the year commence with the 1st month, so the Chou were 2 months ahead with their months. 

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In the central provinces frost, and snow-falls are of frequent occurrence during the first and the second months. In the northern region, where it is very cold, frost may fall even during the third month, and that would not be an extraordinary phenomenon. Perhaps it was still cold in the north in the third month, and frost happened to fall, when by chance Tsou Yen gave vent to his feelings, which just coincided with the frost. 

It has been recorded that in Yen there was the " Cold Valley,'' where the five grains did not grow. Tsou Yen blew the flute, and the "Cold Valley" became warm. Consequently Tsou Yen was able to make the air warm, and also to make it cold. How do we know that Tsou Yen did not communicate his grievances to his contemporaries, and instead manifested his sincerity through the heavenly fluid? Did he secretly blow the flute in the valley of Yen, and make the air of the prison cold, imploring Heaven for that purpose? For otherwise, why did the frost fall? 

Fan Sui 1 calumniated by Hsü Chia was most disgracefully treat- ed by Wei Ch'i, had his back broken, and his ribs doubled up.  Chang Yi 2 while travelling in Ch'u, was arrested by the prime minister of Ch'u, and beaten, until the blood ran out. The way in which these two gentlemen were maltreated has been narrated by the Great Annalist.3 The imprisonment of Tsou Yen resembles the adventures of Fan Sui and Chang Yi. Why does Sse Ma Ch'ien omit to mention this? Since it is not mentioned in Tsou Yens biography that during his imprisonment he caused the frost to fall, it must be an invention, and a random statement like the story of Prince Tan,4 who is believed to have ordered the sun to return to the 

1 A native of Wei of humble origin, who first served under Hsü C'hia, and accompanied him on a mission to the court of King Hsiang of Ch'i (696-683). This prince appreciating Fan Sui for his great dialectical skill, sent him some presents.  Hsü Chia presuming that Fan Sui had betrayed some State secrets of Wei, denounced his servant to the premier of Wei, Wei Ch'i, who had him beaten almost to death.  Fan Sui was then wrapped in a mat, and thrown into a privy, where the drunken guests urinated upon him. Still he managed to escape, and later on became minister in Ch'in. 

2 Also a native of the Wei State from a poor family, who played a very important political role in Ch'in and Wei. In his youth, he was suspected in Ch'u of having stolen a valuable gem, and severely beaten. Died 310 b.c. 

3 Shi-chi chap. 79 and 70. 

4 Prince Tan of Yen was detained as a hostage in the Ch'in State. Its sovereign promised with an oath to set him free, when the sun returned to the meridian, and Heaven rained grain, when the crows got white heads, and the horses, horns, and when the wooden elephants, decorating the kitchen door, got legs of flesh. Heaven helped the Prince, and brought about these wonders, when Tan was released, or, as others say, he made his escape in 230 b.c. The story is narrated in Lun-hêng V, 7 (Kan-hsü).  8* 

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meridian,1 and Heaven to rain grain. Thus we may assume that the story about the frost falling down upon Tsou Yen imploring Heaven is untrue, and that the report of the wife of Ch'i Liang causing the city wall to collapse is false. 

When Tun-mao 2 rebelled, the Viscount Hsiang of Chao 3 led an army against it to invest it. When his soldiers had arrived at the foot of the city wall, more than one hundred feet of this wall of Tun-mao crumbled down. Viscount Hsiang thereupon sheathed his sword, and went back. If the wife of Ch'i Liang caused the collapse of the city wall by her tears, was there anybody crying among Hsiang Tse's men? When Ch'in was about to be extinguished, a city gate collapsed inside, and when the house of Ho Kuang 4 was going to ruin, a wall of the palace was demolished of itself.  Who was weeping in the Ch'in palace, or crying in the house of Ho Kuang? The collapse of the gate, and the demolition of the wall were signs of the catastrophe awaiting Ch'in and Ho. 

Perhaps at the time, when the Ch'i State 5 was about to be subverted, the wife of Chi Liang happened to cry at the foot of the wall, just as Tsou Yen chanced to cry to Heaven, when it was still very cold in the Yen State. There was a correspondence of events and a concordance of time. Eye-witnesses and people who heard about it, most likely were of this opinion. Moreover, provided that the city wall was old, and the house-wall, rotten, there must have been a collapse, and a destruction. If the tears of one woman could make 50 feet of the wall tumble down, the wall must have been such, that one might have pushed a beam of 30 feet into it with one finger. 

During the Spring and Autumn period several mountains were transformed in an extraordinary way. Mountains and walls belong to the same class. If tears subvert a city wall, can they demolish a mountain also? If somebody in white mourning like a woman 

1 The same is said of Hsin Yuan Ping (Shi-chi chap. 28 p. 19v). 

2 A city in Honan. 

3 4.56-424 B.C. 

4 A faithful servant of the Emperer Han Wu Ti, who appointed him Regent for his minor son, Chao Ti. He died in 68 b.c. His family was mixed up in a palace intrigue aiming at the deposition of the reigning emperor, which was discovered, when all the members of his family were exterminated. 

5 Instead of Ch'i 杞 , an old feudal State in Honan, we ought probably to read 齊 , the name of the Ch'i State in Shantung, of which Ch'i Liang was a native. 

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cries so, that his tears flow like rivers, people generally believe that a city wall can collapse through these tears, and regard it as quite the proper thing. But Ch'i Liang died during the campaign, and did not return. His wife went to meet him. The Prince of Lu offered his condolence on the road, which his wife did not accept. When the coffin had arrived in her house, the Prince of Lu condoled with her again. 1 She did not say a word, and cried at the foot of the wall. As a matter of fact, her husband had died in the campaign, therefore he was not in the wall, and, if his wife cried turned towards the city wall, this was not the right place. In short, it is again an unfounded assertion that the wife of Ch'i Liang caused the city wall to tumble down by her tears. 2 On this principle of sympathetic actions a white halo encircled the sun, when Ching Ko stabbed the king of Ch'in, 3 and Venus eclipsed the Pleiades, when the scholar from Wei drew up the stratagem of Ch'ang-ping for Ch'in. 4 This again is an absurdity. When Yü Tse 5 was planning the murder of Viscount Hsiang, and was lying under a bridge, Hsiang Tse's heart throbbed, as he approached the bridge. Kuan Kao 6 intended to murder Kao Tsu, and had concealed a man in the wall. When Kao Tsu arrived at Po-Jen, 7 his heart also beat high. 7 Those two individuals being about to stab the two princes, the hearts of the latter palpitated. If we reason in a proper way. we cannot admit that the princes were affected by the souls of the two assassins, and should we do so in the case of the king of Ch'in? When Ching K'o was preparing to stab him, the king's heart was not moved, but a white halo encircled 

1 We learn from the Tso-chuan, Duke Hsiang 23rd year (550 b.c.) (Legge, Classics Vol. V, Pt. II, p. 504) and from the Liki, T'an Kung Pt. Ill, 1 (Legge, Sacred Books Vol. XXVII, p. 188) that, when the bier of Ch'i Liang was brought home to Ch'i, the Marquis of Ch'i, Chuang, sent an officer to present his condolences, but the widow declined them, because the road was not the proper place to accept condolences. The Marquis then sent them to her house. The " Prince of Lu " of our text is probably a misprint, for why should the prince of Lu condole in Ch'i? 

2 The Lieh-nu-chuan relates that Ch'i Liang's wife cried seven days over her husband's corpse under the city wall, until it collapsed, and then died by jumping into a river. 

3 Cf. chap. XXXIX and XL. 

4 Cf. p. 114. 

5 Yü Jang, a native of the Chin State, who made an unsuccessful attempt on the life of Viscount Hsiang of Chao, who had killed his master. Earl Chih. Vid.  chap. XXIX. 

6 A minister of Chao. 

'7 A place in the prefecture of Shun-tê-fu (Chili). 

8 This attempt on the life of Han Kao Tsu in 199 b.c. was frustrated. 

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the sun. This celestial phenomenon of a white halo encircling the sun happened of its own accord, and it was not the mind of Ching K'o which produced it. 

Mercury between the constellations of the House and the Heart denotes an impending earth-quake. When an earth-quake is going to take place, Mercury corresponds to the House and the Heart. The offuscation of the Pleiades by Venus is like the position of Mercury between the House and the Heart. Therefore the assertion that the design of Ch'ang-p'ing, devised by the scholar from Wei, caused Venus to eclipse the Pleiades, is very doubtful. 

When Jupiter injured the Bird 1 and the Tail stars, 2 Chou and Ch'u were visited with disasters, and when a feather-like fluid appeared, Sung, Wei, Chên, and Chêng suffered misfortunes. At that time, Chou and Ch'u had not done any wrong, nor had Sung, Wei, Chên, or Chêng committed any wickedness. However, Jupiter first occupied the place of the Tail star, and the fluid of misfortune, for a while, descended from heaven, whereupon Chou and Ch'u had their disasters, and Sung, Wei, Chên, and Chêng suffered likewise at the same time. Jupiter caused injury to Chou and Ch'u, as the heavenly fluid did to the four States. Who knows but that the white halo encircling the sun, caused the attempt on the life of the king of Ch'in, and that Venus eclipsing the Pleiades, brought about the stratagem of Ch'ang-p'ing? 

1 The star Cor Hydra, mentioned in the Shi-king (cf. Legge Vol. Ill, Pt. I, p. 19.) 

2 The "Tail" is a constellation consisting of nine stars in the tail of Scorpio, the 6th of the 28 Solar Mansions.