Notes on Mencius

Notes on Mencius - Notes on Mencius -Chapter I. (6A:1) That...

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- Chapter I. (6A:1) That benevolence and righteousness are no unnatural products of human nature. 1. The philosopher Kâo said, 'Man's nature is like the ch'î-willow , and righteousness is like a cup or a bowl. The fashioning benevolence and righteousness out of man's nature is like the making cups and bowls from the ch'î-willow.' 2. Mencius replied, 'Can you, leaving untouched the nature of the willow, make with it cups and bowls? You must do violence and injury to the willow, before you can make cups and bowls with it. If you must do violence and injury to the willow in order to make cups and bowls with it, on your principles you must in the same way do violence and injury to humanity in order to fashion from it benevolence and righteousness! Your words, alas! would certainly lead all men on to reckon benevolence and righteousness to be calamities.'   Chapter II. (6A:2) Man's nature is not indifferent to good and evil. Its proper tendency is to good. 1. The philosopher Kâo said, 'Man's nature is like water whirling round in a corner. Open a passage for it to the east, and it will flow to the east; open a passage for it to the west, and it will flow to the west. Man's nature is indifferent to good and evil, just as the water is indifferent to the east and west.' 2. Mencius replied, 'Water indeed will flow indifferently to the east or west, but will it flow indifferently up or down? The tendency of man's nature to good is like the tendency of water to flow downwards. There are none but have this tendency to good, just as all water flows downwards. 3. 'Now by striking water and causing it to leap up, you may make it go over your forehead, and, by damming and leading it you may force it up a hill;-- but are such movements according to the nature of water? It is the force applied which causes them. When men are made to do what is not good, their nature is dealt with in this way.' Chapter III. (6A:3) The nature is not to be confounded with the phenomena of life. 1. The philosopher Kâo said, 'Life is what we call nature!'
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This note was uploaded on 04/03/2008 for the course EALC 350g taught by Professor Birge during the Fall '07 term at USC.

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Notes on Mencius - Notes on Mencius -Chapter I. (6A:1) That...

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