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09: CHAPTER VI. On Reprimands

On Reprimands. 119 

CHAPTER VI. On Reprimands (Ch'ien-kao). 

In regard to extraordinary calamities they say that, when of old a sovereign in his administration departed from the right way, Heaven reprimanded him by visiting him with calamities. Those calamities are manifold. Heat and cold are put forward as proof.  When a prince punishes at a wrong time, it becomes cold, and when he grants rewards, but not at the right moment, it becomes warm. The Spirit of Heaven reprimands a sovereign in the same manner, as a sovereign shows his displeasure to his subjects. Therefore King Yen of Ch'u 1 said, "Heaven does not send down misfortunes. Has Heaven forgotten me?" Those calamities are a reproof, therefore King Yen thought of them with fear. 

I say that this seems very doubtful to me. The calamities of a State are like the misfortunes of an individual. If they say that Heaven reprimands a sovereign through calamities, does it also reprove an individual through his misfortunes? Since the individual is known to us, we may make use of the human body for comparison. A sickness of the body is like a calamity from Heaven.  When the circulation of the blood is not in order, a man contracts a disease, and when the wind and the air do not agree, the year develops calamities. Provided that Heaven blames the administration of a State by calamities, does it blame an individual by his sickness? 

By fermenting wine in jars, and cooking meat in cauldrons, one wishes to make their tastes palatable. Sometimes they are too salty, bitter, sour, or insipid, and not to our taste, just as a spoonful of medicine does not taste well. The calamities of Heaven are like the bad taste of cooked meat or fermented wine. If calamities are believed to be expressive of Heaven's displeasure, we ought to see such manifestations also in case of a mistake in cooking or fermenting. One measures big things by small ones, and learns to know Heaven, if one understands analogies. 

1 836-826 B.C. 

120 Lun-hêng: B. Metaphysical. 

Were King Yens knowledge like that of Confucius, his utter- ance could be believed, but as a leading prince during a time of decay, he did not possess more ability than the phenomenalists,1 and his words are not to be trusted. Hence my doubts. 

Heaven's principle, spontaneity, consists in inaction. If it did reprimand people, that would be action, and not spontaneous. The school of Huang Ti and Lao Tse arguing on Heaven's principle have found the truth. 

If Heaven could really reprimand the sovereign, it should change the fluid to call his attention. In case the prince punished at the wrong time, the fluid of punishment would be cold, and Heaven ought to make it warm, and should the prince reward unseasonably, the fluid of reward would be warm, and it would be incumbent upon Heaven to make it cold. A transmutation of the fluid in case of the perversion of government would call the attention of the sovereign to his fault. Now Heaven lets the cold and the heat go on, and again causes cold and heat with a view^ to reprove the sovereign, and to induce him to change. 

The illustrious prince Tan Fu 2 thinking that he might elevate the later king Chi, on purpose changed his name of Chi into Li, which is synonymous with ti ='heir.' T'ai Po took the hint, and went to collect medicines in Wu and Yüeh in order to get out of King Chi's way. 3 Had the illustrious prince not changed the name of Chi, and again styled him Li, how could the eldest son have taken the hint, and got himself out of the way? Now, if rewards and punishments are not given in the proper way, and Heaven wishes a change of administration, it ought to use a different fluid, just as the illustrious prince changed the name of Chi. Instead of that it again produces the same fluid to show its displeasure to the sovereign, but, when will the latter become aware of it, and see the mistake he has made in rewarding and punishing? 

When a guitar-player makes a mistake in tightening the cords and placing the bridges, " kung " and "shang" 4 change their tunes.  When the music-master hears it, he changes the strings, and shifts the bridges. Heaven sees mistakes in rewarding and punishing, as the music-master takes notice of the wrong handling of the cords and bridges. If Heaven did not change the fluid to rouse the 

1 Who explain natural phenomena by transcendent causes. 

2 The grandfather of Wên Wang, the founder of the Chou dynasty. 

3 Cf. p. 1.31. 

4 The first and the second of the five ancient notes of the Chinese gamut. 

On Reprimands. 121 

sovereign, on the contrary, still increased it, and made the wrong worse, it would be unprincipled, and blindly commit the same mistake as the sovereign, which cannot be. 

Chou had banquets lasting the whole night; Wen Wang said every morning and evening, "Pour out this wine in libation." 1 Ch'i 2 was very extravagant in sacrifices; Yen Tse 3 offered a sucking pig in the temple, which did not fill the dish.4 Such disapprobation was necessary to bring about a change. 

When sons and younger brothers are impudent, their fathers and older brothers instruct them in politeness. When officials behave rudely, their elders teach them good manners. K'ang Shu 5 and Po Ch'in 6 disregarded the duties of sons and younger brothers. They called upon Chou Kung, prostrated themselves, and rose in a haughty manner. Thrice they called, and thrice they were bambooed. They went to see Shang Tse.7 Shang Tse bade them look at the pine and the Rottlera. Both looked at the pine and the Rottlera. Their hearts were moved, they caught the meaning, and understood the rules of etiquette to be observed between father and son.8 

Chou Kung might have followed the two princes in their haughtiness, and Shang Tse might have imitated their arrogance, but it was necessary to resort to blows and parables to make them see the difference, and awaken their conscience by this strange procedure. The wrong government of a sovereign is like the bad behaviour of the two princes. If Heaven did not make any announcement about the style of government in order to rouse the conscience, just as the two princes were roused, when looking at the pine and Rottlera, but on the contrary made the mistake in rewarding and punishing his own by requiting the sovereign with heat and cold. Heaven's fault would not be less than that of the sovereign. 

It cannot be the intention of high Heaven that people's conscience should not be roused, and that one fluid should be exactly like the other. It would not love its subjects, nor reprimand them in this way. All things which can destroy one another, must 

1 Shuking Part V, Bk. X, 2 (Legge, Vol. Ill, Pt. II, p. 3.99) cf. chap. XXXIX. 

2 The Ch'i State in Shantung. 

3 Yen Ting, an official of Ch'i, noted for his thrifty habits, died 493 b.c. 

4 So small was the offering. 

5 A younger brother of Chou Kung, the first Duke of Wei. 

6 A son of Chou Kung and his successor in the Dukedom of Lu. 

7 A minister of Wu Wang. 

8 The lofty pine and the low Rottlera tree are emblems of father and son. 

122 Lun-hêng: B. Metaphysical. 

have a different nature, whereas those which further and complete each other, are of the same fluid. Li 1 below and Tui 2 above are called transformation,3 which is equivalent to change. Fire and metal are different fluids, therefore they can change one another.  If they were both fire, or both metal, how could they complete each other? 

Ch'ü Yüan was sick of the stench and filthy of Ch'u, therefore he composed the stanzas on perfumes and purity. The fisherman remonstrated with him for not following the common habits, thereupon he spoke the words on bathing. Whenever a man feels unclean, some will advise him to put on fragrant flowers, others to carry a pig. Both advices aim at removing stench and filth. Which is right, and which wrong ? 5 At all events, there must be a change, but no increase by any means. If heat and cold are produced as a protest against rewarding or punishing, could they be changed thereby then? 

Hsi Men Pao 6 used to tighten his leather belt to soothe himself, and Tung An Yü 7 would loosen the strings of his girdle to stimulate himself. These two wise men knew that the belt and the girdle will help us to change countenance, consequently they made use of them for the purpose of repressing their bodily weakness, which was very intelligent indeed. If in case of bad government of a sovereign high Heaven did not reprimand him with another fluid, that he might change, on the contrary, followed his error, emitting the same fluid, Heaven's wisdom would be inferior to that of the two men. 

King Chuang of Chu 8 had a passion for hunting, therefore Lady Fan did not eat any game, or poultry. Duke Mu of Chin 9 was very fond of voluptious music, for this reason the Princess of Hua Yang declined to listen to the tunes of Ch'êng and Wei. 10 The 

1 The 3rd diagram. 

2 The 58th diagram. 

3 In the terminology of the Yi-king. 

4 Filth in a metaphorical sense. 

5 The first advice of course. Bad odour can be removed by its contrary, perfumes, but not by more stench. 

6 A worthy of the 5th century B. C. (Giles, Biogr. Dit. N. G78). 

7 Another famous character of old (Giles, Biogr. Dict. N. 2088). Giles gives another version of the peculiarities of the two gentlemen regarding their belts. Cf.  chap. XXXI. 

8 612-589 b.c. 

9 658-619. 

10 The music of these two States was considered licentious, and most objectionable. 

On Reprimands. 123 

two ladies found fault with the two princes. They opposed their wislies, and did not agree to what they did. Heaven, on the other hand, shows its disapproval of the sovereign's rewarding and punishing by letting him act as he pleases, and still increasing the fluid. Thus the virtue of high Heaven would not be equal to that of the two wise ladies. 

To remonstrate means to reject by words. To keep the good, and reject the bad must certainly be regarded as a mistake. King Mu of Chou relied on punishments. In the Chapter on Punishments he says that violence is requited with force.1 Force and violence are both bad. To requite evil with evil is the most serious misrule.  Now, in criminal law not to give mercy, when it should be given, is wicked. Heaven, however, adds wrong to wrong to correspond to it. Thus Heaven would act like King Mu. 

With goodness one combats badness, and with badness good people are frightened. This is the way to admonish people, and to induce them to do good. Shun exhorted Yü saying: — "Be not as overbearing as Tan Chu." 2 Chou Kung called King Ch'êng and said to him, "Be not like King Chou of Yin." 3 ' Not ' is preventive. Tan Chu and Chou of Yin were the greatest scoundrels, therefore the word ' not ' was used to prevent them (from following their example): Shun and Chou Kung said "Be not like, ' who would say "Be like?" The Sages discriminated between the positive and the negative, would they have reproved the wrong doing by doing wrong themselves, or would they by continuing the faults of others have even increased the evil? Heaven and man obey the same law, and great men equal Heaven in virtue. Sages and worthies reform bad people by goodness. If Heaven added wrong to evil, would that be a manifestation of the same law, or show the similarity of virtue? 

The emperor Hsiao Wu 4 took a great interest in immortals.  Sse Ma Hsiang Ju 5 presented to him a poem on the Great Man, by which the emperor became so excited, that he felt like flying up to the clouds," The emperor Hsiao Ch'êng" 7 was very fond of building 

1 In the Shu-king, lü-hsing Pt. V, Bk. XXVU, 5 (Legge Vol. lU, Pt. II, p. 593) King Mu uses these words with reference to Huang Ti, who in this manner repressed the lawlessness of the Miao-tse. 

2 Shu-king, Yih-chi Pt. II, Bk. IV, 1. 

3 Shu-king, Wu-yi Pt. V, Bk. XV, 13 (Legge Vol. Ill, Pt. II, p. 471). 

4 Hsiao Wu = Han Wu Ti, 140-86 b.c. 

5 A distinguished scholar and poet. 

6 The emperor Han Wu Ti was infatuated with alchemy, and the magical arts taught by the Taoists. 

7 Hsiao Ch'êng = Han Ch'eng Ti, 32-6 B.C. 

124 Lun-Hêng: B. Metaphysical. 

big palaces. Yang Tse Yün 1 offered him a hymn on the Kan-ch'üan palace,2 which he extolled as something supernatural, as if he were saying that human force could not achieve such a work, and that spirits must have lent their aid. Hsiao Ch'êng, without knowing it, was induced thereby to go on building. If Sse Ma Hsiang Ju in his poem spoke of immortals, he had no proof for it, and, if Yang Tse Yün wrote a panegyric on extravagance, he did the emperor a bad service. How could Hsiao Wu have the feeling of flying, and how could Hsiao Ch'êng be under a delusion without knowing it? If Heaven does not use another fluid to reprimand the sovereign, on the contrary meets his wishes, and responds to him with evil, he acts like the two scholars, who imposed upon the two emperors by their poetry so, that their conscience was not roused. 

Tou Ying and Kuan Fu 3 were so disgusted with the wickedness of the time, that every day they mutually pulled a string to fasten their hearts. Their disgust was such, that they would, on no account, have yielded to their desires. T'ai Po 4 taught the Wu 5 to wear a cap and a girdle, how would he have followed their customs, and been naked, as they were? Thus the Wu learnt propriety and righteousness, and it was T'ai Po who changed their customs. Su Wu 6 went to live among the Hsiungnu, but he never buttoned his coat on the left side.7 Chao T'o 8 lived among the southern Yüeh.9 He would sit down, spreading out his legs, and wear his hair in a tuft upon a frame. At the court of the Han, Su Wu was praised, and Chao T'o blamed, because he had taken to the uncivilised fashions of the Yüeh, abandoning the cap and the girdle. Lu Chia 10 spoke to him about the costume of the Chinese, and their polished 

1 The philosopher Yang Hsiung, a philosopher of note of the Confucian school, 53 B.C.-18 A.D. 

2 A celebrated palace near Hsi-an-fu (Ch'ang-an) originally founded by Chin Shift Huang Ti. 

3 Two high officers of the 2nd cent. b.c. Cf. chap. XVIII. 

4 Cf. p. 131. 

5 Aborigines in modern Kiangsu. 

6 In 100 B.C. Su Wu was sent as envoy to the Hsiungnu, who kept him prisoner for about nineteen years. Though the Hsiungnu made every endeavour to win him over to their cause, he never threw off his allegiance to the Han, wherefore he is praised as a paragon of loyalty. 

7 Only a barbarian would button his coat on the left side, a Chinaman will button it on the right. 

8 A famous general of the 2nd cent, b.c, who subjugated the southern barbarians, and subsequently became their king. (Cf. chap. XXXI.) 

9 Aborigines in Canton province. 

10 Cf. chap. XXXI. 

On Reprimands. 125 

manners, and held up their morality to him. Chao T'o felt remorse, and turned his heart back to his native land. Had Lu Chia again used the dress of the Yüeh, and their barbarian language, and followed their wild customs, how could he have caused Chao T'o to feel remorse, to reform, and to adopt again the rules of Han. A divergence of government, and culture necessitates the use of different language, and different arguments. If a bad government be not transformed, it goes on as before. 

In case that a sovereign be reprimanded for a mistake, but that his bad government be not changed, and his wrong continued, why is the advice given him as a reproof not heeded? — When Kuan Shu Hsien and T'sai Shu Tu 1 were revolting, Chou Kung remonstrated with them several times. Did he tell them that they should revolt, when he admonished them? 

It is human law to like good, and hate evil, to do good as reward, and to inflict evil as punishment. The law of Heaven must be the same. Now, if rewards and punishments be not meted out in the proper way, there is evil. Should the fluid of evil respond to it, the principle of hating the evil would not be preserved. 

The Han improved the punishments for the hiding of criminals.- and fixed penalties for the assistance given to accomplices to make their escape. They were indignant that the criminals found helpers, and that bands were organised. By restraining the prisoners, when they were taken before the magistrates, and separating them from bad characters, keeping them in different places, the law concerning the hiding of criminals, and the absconding of the accomplices might have been dispensed with. 

Ti Ya knew how to give the right flavour to what he was cooking. When it was too sour, he poured water in, and, when it was tasteless, he added salt. Water and fire mixing and transforming one another, the food became neither too salty, nor too tasteless. Now, if in case of improper rewarding or punishing the 

1 Two brothers of Chou Kung and of Wu Wang, who attempted to deprive their nephew Ch'êng Wang of the throne, but their rebellion was put down by Chou Kung. 

2 A new law was enacted in the 4th year of the Emperor Hsüan Ti (70 a.d.), by which descendants concealing their ascendants, and wives hiding their husbands guilty of a crime, were to be acquitted, whereas ascendants and husbands doing the same for their sons and wives, had to suffer capital punishment. Descendants were no doubt under a moral obligation to help their ascendants under any circumstances, but the same moral law did not exist for ascendants towards their sons. (Cf. Ch'ien Han-shu chap. 8 p. 11.) 

126 Lun-Hêng: R. Metaphysical. 

fault is not made good by another fluid, cold being still added to cold, and beat to beat, this would be like finding a food too sour, and adding salt, or thinking it too insipid, and pouring water in.  Hence, are there not serious doubts about the alleged reprimands of Heaven, or must we believe in them? 

When by burning fuel one beats a cauldron, the water in it boils, if the fire is strong, but it remains cool, if the fire is weak.  Government is like the fire, beat and cold like boiling and coolness.  Speaking of the government of a sovereign, we may say that he does not keep the right medium in rewarding and punishing, but in case the Yin and the Yang are in disorder, and the fluids not in harmony, are we justified in saying that Heaven produces heat or cold for the sovereign's sake with the object of reproving him? 

The savants also maintain that, when the administration of a sovereign is bad. Heaven sends extraordinary events. If he does not change, Heaven visits his people with misfortunes, and if he does not reform even then, it visits his own person. That is to say: — first extraordinary events, afterwards calamities, first exhortations, then punishments. I doubt this likewise. If one plants something in summer, it withers, and does not grow, and if one reaps corn in autumn,1 it lies about and cannot be harvested. Administration and instruction may be compared to planting and reaping. We may say that in governing the right time has been missed, but can we pretend that, in case of disasters caused by fluids or other things, Heaven has sent extraordinary events to reprimand the sovereign, and that, because the latter did not reform, Heaven sent down misfortune upon him in order to slay him? These opinions of the literati are those of illiterate people. 

In mid-summer the Yang fluid is broiling hot. The Yin fluid rushes against it, and there is a hissing, shooting forth, and crashing.  When a human being is hit by it, and killed, they hold that Heaven has punished him for his hidden sins. To a superficial observer this may seem quite likely, but in reality it is not so. First they pretend that calamitous events serve to reprimand, and punish a sovereign, and then again they say that a man killed by a thunder- stroke is punished for bis hidden crimes, — a wrong statement, and an untenable assertion! 

Some say that Ku Tse Yün in a memorial to the emperor explained that extraordinary phenomena were visible signs of Heaven's 

1 Which begins in November. 

On Reprimands. 127 

reprimands, which would be repeated, unless a change took place. 1 He was prepared to await that time in fetters. Subsequently they were repeated in fact. Wherefore were they repeated, provided that they were not meant as reprimands? For these reasons the words of Ku Tse Yün were later on used as an incentive to reforms. 

My reply is that in case of extraordinary phenomena the Yin and the Yang can be determined beforehand. The fluids of all things, of course, have their beginning and their end. Walking upon frost, one knows that hard ice will necessarily follow. That is Heaven's law. Ku Tse Yün possessed this subtle knowledge, and was aware of what subsequently was bound to happen. Therefore he borrowed the theory of the phenominalists to corroborate his own view. Thus he was resolved to await the time in fetters.  Just like Yen Tse of Ch'i, 2 who saw the 'Hook' star 3 between the constellations of the ' House ' 4 and the ' Heart ', 5 he knew that there would be an earth-quake. Had Ku Tse Yün seen the 'Hook' star, he would again have said that through this star Heaven expressed its displeasure, and that, unless the government was changed, an earth-quake would happen. Ku Tse Yün was looking out for the time to come as Tse Wei 6 did, who fell down on the steps of the throne to await that the planet Mars should shift its position, an event which was sure to take place. Hence the theory of reprimands was believed. If we admit it, would it be contrary to justice, or injure high Heaven's virtue? Spontaneity and inaction would be humanised thereby, therefore we cannot listen to it. 

By crediting Heaven with the power of reprimanding, one extols its wisdom in investigating the truth. However, this wisdom would conflict with Heaven's excellence. " How do we know that any one is deaf? — If he hears distinctly. — How do we know that he is blind? — If he sees clearly. — How do we know that he is mad?— If he talks properly."7 Proper talking, and clear and distinct hearing: and seeing is what the Taoist school calls madness, 

1 1n 34 B.C. Ku Tse Yün = Ku Yang attributed an eclipse and an earth-quake to the excessive favour shown by the emperor to the ladies of his seraglio. He wrote many memorials against the abuses of the palace. 

2 Cf. p. 121. 

3 The planet Mercury. 

4 The stars Beta, Delta, Pi, and Nun, in the head of Scorpio. 

5 The stars Antares, Sigma, and Tau, in the heart of Scorpio. 

6 Cf. p. 158. 

7 A Taoist rhyme; quoted from the Lü-shih-chun-ch'iu. See also Huai Nan Tse XVII, 1v: — "He who hears the sounding sound is deaf, but he who hears the soundless sound is quick at hearing.' 

128 Lun-Hêng: B. Metaphysical. 

blindness, and deafness.1 Now to speak of Heaven's reprimanding would therefore be tantamount to calling it mad, blind, and deaf. 

The Yi-king says that the great man equals Heaven and Earth in virtue. 2 Therefore T'ai Po 3 holds that Heaven does not speak, but that its law is ingrafted in the hearts of the wise. Consequently, the virtue of the great man is the virtue of Heaven, and the words of the wise are the words of Heaven. When the great man reproves, and the wise rebuke, it is Heaven which reprimands, and yet people see its reprimands in calamitous events, which I cannot believe. 

In the text of the Six Classics 4 and in the discourses of the Sages every now and then Heaven is referred to, because they intend to reform the lawless, and to frighten the ignorant. They wish to make it understood that what they say is not only their private opinion, but that it is Heaven's thought also. They speak of Heaven, as if they were dealing with a human heart, for it is not the blue empyrean which they have in view. The phenomena- lists hearing the unfounded assertion that the calamitous events of Heaven always happen at a fixed time, have therefrom derived the theory of reprimands. 

The past affords us a key for the present. Heaven acts through man " (Shun) received (Yao's) abdication from the Accomplished Ancestor."5 It is not said that he received the abdication from Heaven. From Yao's heart we learn to know Heaven's sentiments. Yao made an appointment, and Heaven did the same, and all the officials, and subjects became inclined towards Shun. Shun appointed Yu, and Yi'i transmitted the sway to Ch'i. In all these cases we learn from the human heart, what Heaven's feelings were like. As regards the "affectionate looks" of the Shi-king 6 and the "mighty anger" in the Hung-fan,"^ the human body serves to exemplify Heaven's feelings. 

1 The Taoists despise the natural organs: — the eye, the ear, the month, and pretend to see with a spiritual eye, to hear with a spiritual ear, etc. 

2 Yi-king, 1st diagram (Ch'ien). 

3 The son of Tan-fu (cf. p. 120). 

4 We now speak of the Five Classics: — Yi-king, Shu-king, Shi-king, Liki, and Ch'un-ch'iu. During the I Ian period the " Book of Music ' was added, ranking as the fifth Classic before the ch'un-ch'iu. 

5 Shu-king, Shun-tien Pt. II, Bk. I, 2 (Legge, Vol. Ill, Pt. I, p. 32) According to the commentators this passage means that Shan received the empire from Yao before the shrine of the latter's ancestor, who thus might he regarded as the donor. 

6 Vid.p. 134. 

7 We read in the Shu-king, Hung-fan Pt. V, Bk. IV, 3 (Legge, Vol. lU, Pt. U, p. 323) "K'un dammed up the inundating waters, and thereby threw into disorder the arrangement of the five elements. God was thereby roused to anger." 

On Reprimands. 129 

When King Wen and King Wu had died, King Ch'êng was still an infant, and the institutions of the Chou dynasty were not yet completed. The duke of Chou acted as ford protector, but there was no special instruction from Heaven. The duke of Chou asked his own heart, and conformed to the intentions of Heaven. 

The heart of high Heaven is in the bosom of the Sages.  When Heaven reprimands, it is done through the mouths of the Sages. Yet people do not believe the words of the Sages. They trust in the fluid of calamitous events, and strive to make out Heaven's meaning therefrom. Why go so far? But, should there be no sages during a generation, where are their words to come from? — Wise men, whose talents are almost up to the mark, rank closely after the Sages. 

Lun - Hêng.