Thursday, December 27, 2012

Mencius - Book 7, Part 2, Chapter 37B

'Why were they styled "ambitious?"'

The reply was, 'Their aim led them to talk magniloquently, saying, "The ancients!" "The ancients!" But their actions, where we fairly compare them with their words, did not correspond with them.

'When he found also that he could not get such as were thus ambitious, he wanted to get scholars who would consider anything impure as beneath them. Those were the cautiously-decided, a class next to the former.'

Chang pursued his questioning, 'Confucius said, "They are only your good careful people of the villages at whom I feel no indignation, when they pass my door without entering my house. Your good careful people of the villages are the thieves of virtue." What sort of people were they who could be styled "Your good careful people of the villages?"'

Mencius replied, 'They are those who say, "Why are they so magniloquent? Their words have not respect to their actions and their actions have not respect to their words, but they say, "The ancients! The ancients! Why do they act so peculiarly, and are so cold and distant? Born in this age, we should be of this age, to be good is all that is needed." Eunuch-like, flattering their generation; such are your good careful men of the villages.'
~ James Legge translation via nothingistic.org ~
 Go here to read the introductory post to this serialized version of the Works of Mencius.

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