1. The Thâi-Shang (Tractate) says, 'There are no special doors for calamity and happiness (in men's
2. 'Accordingly, in heaven and earth 3 there are
|Machinery to secure retribution.|
evil stars send down misfortunes on them 1. When their term of life is exhausted they die.
'There also are the Spirit-rulers in the three pairs of the Thâi stars of the Northern Bushel 2 over men's heads, which record their acts of guilt and wickedness, and take away (from their term of life) periods of twelve years or of a hundred days.
'There also are the three Spirits of the recumbent body which reside within a man's person 3. As each kang-shän 4 day comes round, they forthwith ascend to the court of Heaven, and report men's deeds of guilt and transgression. On the last day of the moon, the spirit of the Hearth does the same 5.
'In the case of every man's transgressions, when they are great, twelve years are taken from his term of life; when they are small, a hundred days.
'Transgressions, great and small, are seen in several hundred things. He who wishes to seek for long life 6 must first avoid these.
3. 'Is his way right, he should go forward in it; is it wrong, he should withdraw from it.
'He will not tread in devious by-ways; he will not impose on himself in any secret apartment. He will
|The way of a good man.|
'He ought to pity the malignant tendencies of others; to rejoice over their excellences; to help them in their straits; to rescue them from their perils; to regard their gains as if they were his own, and their losses in the same way; not to publish their shortcomings; not to vaunt his own superiorities; to put a stop to what is evil, and exalt and display what is good; to yield much, and take little for himself; to receive insult without resenting it, and honour with an appearance of apprehension; to bestow favours without seeking for a return, and give to others without any subsequent regret:--this is what is called a good man. All other men respect him; Heaven in its course protects him; happiness and emolument follow him; all evil things keep far from him; the spiritual Intelligences defend him; what he does is sure to succeed 2
he may hope to become Immaterial and Immortal 1.
|Happy issues of his course.|
4. 'But if the movements (of a man's heart) are contrary to righteousness, and the (actions of his) conduct are in opposition to reason; if he regard his
|The way of a bad man.|
and attack and expose his kindred by consanguinity and affinity; if he is hard, violent, and without humanity; if he is ruthlessly cruel in taking his own way; if his judgments of right and wrong are incorrect; and his likings and aversions are in despite of what is proper; if he oppresses inferiors, and claims merit (for doing so); courts superiors by gratifying their (evil) desires; receives favours without feeling grateful for them; broods over resentments without ceasing; if he slights and makes no account of Heaven's people 1; if he trouble and throw into disorder the government of the state; bestows rewards on the unrighteous and inflicts punishments on the guiltless; kills men in order to get their wealth, and overthrows men to get their offices; slays those who have surrendered, and massacres those who have made their submission; throws censure on the upright, and overthrows the worthy; maltreats the orphan and oppresses the widow; if he casts the laws aside and receives bribes; holds the right to be wrong and the wrong to be right; enters light offences as heavy; and the sight of an execution makes him more enraged (with the criminal); if he knows his faults and does not change them, or knows what is good and does not do it; throws the guilt of his crimes on others; if he tries to hinder the exercise of an art (for a living); reviles and slanders the sage and worthy; and assails and oppresses (the principles of) reason and virtue 2;
if he shoots birds and hunts beasts, unearths the burrowing insects and frightens roosting birds, blocks up the dens of animals and overturns nests, hurts the pregnant womb and breaks eggs; if he wishes others to have misfortunes and losses; and defames the merit achieved by others if he imperils others to secure his own safety; diminishes the property of others to increase his own; exchanges bad things for good 1; and sacrifices the public weal to his private advantage; if he takes credit to himself for the ability of others; conceals the excellences of others; publishes the things discreditable to others; and searches out the private affairs of others; leads others to waste their property and wealth; and causes the separation of near relatives 2; encroaches on what others love; and assists others in doing wrong; gives the reins to his will and puts on airs of majesty; puts others to shame in seeking victory for himself; injures or destroys the growing crops of others; and breaks up projected marriages; if becoming rich by improper means makes him proud; and by a peradventure escaping the consequences of his misconduct, he yet feels no shame; if he owns to favours (which he did not confer), and puts off his errors (on others); marries away (his own) calamity to another, and sells (for gain) his own wickedness; purchases for himself empty praise; and keeps hidden dangerous purposes in his heart; detracts from the excellences
of others, and screens his own shortcomings if he takes advantage of his dignity to practise intimidation, and indulges his cruelty to kill and wound; if without cause he (wastes cloth) in clipping and shaping it; cooks animals for food, when no rites require it; scatters and throws away the five grains; and burdens and vexes all living creatures; if he ruins the families of others, and gets possession of their money and valuables; admits the water or raises fire in order to injure their dwellings; if he throws into confusion the established rules in order to defeat the services of others; and injures the implements of others to deprive them of the things they require to use; if, seeing others in glory and honour, he wishes them to be banished or degraded; or seeing them wealthy and prosperous, he wishes them to be broken and scattered; if he sees a beautiful woman and forms the thought of illicit intercourse with her; is indebted to men for goods or money, and wishes them to die; if, when his requests and applications are not complied with, his anger vents itself in imprecations; if he sees others meeting with misfortune, and begins to speak of their misdeeds; or seeing them with bodily imperfections he laughs at them; or when their abilities are worthy of praise, he endeavours to keep them back; if he buries the image of another to obtain an injurious power over him 1; or employs poison to kill trees; if he is indignant and angry with his instructors; or opposes and thwarts his
father and elder brother; if he takes things by violence or vehemently demands them; if he loves secretly to pilfer, and openly to snatch; makes himself rich by plunder and rapine; or by artifice and deceit seeks for promotion; if he rewards and punishes unfairly; if he indulges in idleness and pleasure to excess; is exacting and oppressive to his inferiors; and tries to frighten other men; if he murmurs against Heaven and finds fault with men; reproaches the wind and reviles the rain; if he fights and joins in quarrels; strives and raises litigations; recklessly hurries to join associate fraternities; is led by the words of his wife or concubine to disobey the instructions of his parents; if, on getting what is new, he forgets the old; and agrees with his mouth, while he dissents in his heart; if he is covetous and greedy after wealth, and deceives and befools his superiors (to get it); if he invents wicked speeches to calumniate and overthrow the innocent; defames others and calls it being straightforward; reviles the Spirits and styles himself correct; if he casts aside what is according to right, and imitates what is against it; turns his back on his near relatives, and his face to those who are distant; if he appeals to Heaven and Earth to witness to the mean thoughts of his mind; or calls in the spiritual Intelligences to mark the filthy affairs of his life; if he gives and afterwards repents that he has done so; or borrows and does not return; if he plans and seeks for what is beyond his lot; or lays tasks (on people) beyond their strength; if he indulges his lustful desires without measure; if there be poison in his heart and mildness in his face; if he gives others filthy food to eat; or by corrupt doctrines
deludes the multitude; if he uses a short cubit, a narrow measure, light weights, and a small pint; mixes spurious articles with the genuine; and (thus) amasses illicit gain; if he degrades (children or others of) decent condition to mean positions; or deceives and ensnares simple people; if he is insatiably covetous and greedy; tries by oaths and imprecations to prove himself correct; and in his liking for drink is rude and disorderly; if he quarrels angrily with his nearest relatives; and as a man he is not loyal and honourable; if a woman is not gentle and obedient; if (the husband) is not harmonious with his wife; if the wife does not reverence her husband; if he is always fond of boasting and bragging; if she is constantly jealous and envious; if he is guilty of improper conduct to his wife or sons; if she fails to behave properly to her parents-in-law; if he treats with slight and disrespect the spirits of his ancestors; if he opposes and rebels against the charge of his sovereign; if he occupies himself in doing what is of no use; and cherishes and keeps concealed a purpose other than what appears; if he utter imprecations against himself and against others (in the assertion of his innocence) 1; or is partial in his likes and dislikes; if he strides over the well or the hearth; leaps over the food, or over a man 2; kills newly-born children or brings about abortions 2; if he does many actions of secret depravity; if he sings and dances on the
last day of the moon or of the year; bawls out or gets angry on the first day of the moon or in the early dawn; weeps, spits, or urinates, when fronting the north sighs, sings, or wails, when fronting the fire-place and moreover, if he takes fire from the hearth to burn incense; or uses dirty firewood to cook with; if he rises at night and shows his person naked; if at the eight terms of the year 1 he inflicts punishments; if he spits at a shooting star; points at a rainbow; suddenly points to the three luminaries; looks long at the sun and moon; in the months of spring burns the thickets in hunting; with his face to the north angrily reviles others; and without reason kills tortoises and smites snakes 2:--
'In the case of crimes such as these, (the Spirits) presiding over the Life, according to their lightness or gravity, take away the culprit's periods of twelve years or of one hundred days. When his term of life is exhausted, death ensues. If at death there remains guilt unpunished, judgment extends to his posterity 3.
5. 'Moreover, when parties by wrong and violence take the money of others, an account is taken, and set
|Conclusion of the whole matter.|
'To take to one's self unrighteous wealth is like satisfying one's hunger with putrid food 3, or one's thirst with poisoned wine. It gives a temporary relief, indeed, but death also follows it.
'Now when the thought of doing good has arisen in a man's mind, though the good be not yet done, the good Spirits are in attendance on him. Or, if the thought of doing evil has arisen, though the evil be not yet done, the bad Spirits are in attendance on him.
'If one have, indeed, done deeds of wickedness, but afterwards alters his way and repents, resolved not to do anything wicked, but to practise reverently
all that is good, he is sure in the long-run to obtain good fortune:--this is called changing calamity into blessing. Therefore the good man speaks what is good, contemplates what is good, and does what is good; every day he has these three virtues:--at the end of three years Heaven is sure to send down blessing on him 1. The bad man speaks what is wicked, contemplates what is wicked, and does what is wicked; every day he has these three vices:--at the end of three years, Heaven is sure to send down misery on him 1.--How is it that men will not exert themselves to do what is good?'
235:1 See vol. xxxix, pp. 38-40.
235:2 This paragraph, after the first three characters, is found in the Zo Khwan, under the tenth and eleventh notices in the twenty-third year of duke Hsiang (B.C. 549),--part of an address to a young nobleman by the officer Min Dze-mâ. The only difference in the two texts is in one character which does not affect the meaning. Thus the text of this Tâoist treatise is taken from a source which cannot be regarded as Tâoistic.
235:3 This seems equivalent to 'all through space.'
235:4 The swan in the text here seems to mean 'the whole of the allotted term of life.' Further on, the same character has the special meaning of 'a period of a hundred days.'
236:1 This and other passages show how Tâoism pressed astrology into its service.
236:2 The Northern Peck or Bushel is the Chinese name of our constellation of the Great Bear, the Chariot of the Supreme Ruler.' The three pairs of stars, ι, κ λ, μ ν, ξ, are called the upper, middle, and lower Thâi, or 'their three Eminences:' see Reeves's Names of Stars and Constellations, appended to Morrison's Dictionary, part ii, vol. i.
236:3 The Khang-hsî Dictionary simply explains san shih as 'the name of a spirit;' but the phrase is evidently plural. The names and places of the three spirits are given, and given differently. Why should we look for anything definite and satisfactory in a notion which is merely an absurd superstition?
236:4 Käng-shän is the name of the fifty-seventh term of the cycle, indicating every fifty-seventh day, or year. Here it indicates the day.
236:5 The name of this spirit of the fire-place is given by commentators with many absurd details which need not be touched on.
236:6 Long life is still the great quest of the Tâoist.
237:1 In its widest meaning:--Men, creatures, and all living things.
237:2 Here are the happy issues of doing good in addition to long life;--compare the Tâo Teh King, ch. 50, et al.
238:1 Here there appears: the influence of Buddhism on the doctrine of the Tâo. The Rishis of Buddhism are denoted in Chinese by Hsien Zän ( ), which, for want of a better term, we translate by 'Immortals.' The famous Nâgârguna, the fourteenth Buddhist patriarch, counts ten classes of these Rishis, and ascribes to them only a temporary exemption for a million years from transmigration, but Chinese Buddhists and Tâoists view them as absolutely immortal, and distinguish five classes:--first, Deva Rishis, or Heavenly Hsien, residing on the seven concentric rocks round Meru; second, Purusha, or Spirit-like Hsien, roaming through the air; third, Nara, or Human Hsien, dwelling among men; fourth, Bhûmi, or Earth Hsien, residing on earth in caves; and fifth, Preta, or Demon Hsien, roving demons. See Eitel's Handbook to Chinese Buddhism, second edition, p. 130. In this place three out of the five classes are specified, each having its own price in good deeds.
238:2 Literally, 'those born before himself,' but generally used as a designation of teachers.
239:1 A Confucian phrase. See the Lî Kî, III, v, 13.
239:2 One is sorry not to see his way to translate here--'Assails and oppresses those who pursue the Tâo and its characteristics.' Julien gives for it--'Insulter et traiter avec cruauté ceux qui se livrent à l'étude de la Raison et de la Vertu.' Watters p. 240 has--'Insults and oppresses (those who have attained to the practice of) Truth and Virtue.'
240:1 It is a serious mistranslation of this which Mr. Balfour gives:--'returns evil for good,' as if it were the golden rule in its highest expression.
240:2 Literally, 'separates men's bones and flesh.'
241:1 The crimes indicated here are said to have become rife under the Han dynasty, when the arts of sorcery and witchcraft were largely employed to the injury of men.
243:1 The one illustrative story given by Julien under this clause shows clearly that I have rightly supplemented it. He translates it:--'Faire des imprécations contre soi-même et contre les autres.'
243:2 Trifling acts and villainous crimes are here mixed together.
244:1 The commencements of the four seasons, the equinoxes and solstices.
244:2 Many of the deeds condemned in this long paragraph have a ground of reason for their condemnation; others are merely offences against prevailing superstitions.
244:3 The principle enunciated here is very ancient in the history of the ethical teaching of China. It appears in one of the Appendixes to the Yî King (Sacred Books of the East, vol. xvi, p. 419), 'The family that accumulates goodness is sure to have superabundant happiness; the family that accumulates evil is sure to have superabundant misery.' We know also that the same view prevailed in the time of Confucius, though the sage himself does not expressly sanction it. This Tractate does not go for the issues of Retribution beyond the present life.
245:1 These sentences are rather weak. Nothing is said of any recompense to the parties who have been robbed. The thief is punished by the death of others, or the loss of property.
245:2 A somewhat perplexing sentence. Julien gives for it:--'Ceux qui font périr des hommes innocens ressemblent à des ennemis qui échangent leurs armes et se tuent les uns les autres;' and Watters:--'Those who put others to death wrongly are like men who exchange arms and slay each other.'
245:3 Literally, 'soaked food that has been spoiled by dripping water.'
246:1 The effect of repentance and reformation is well set forth; but the specification of three years, as the period within which the recompense or retribution will occur, is again an indication of the weakness in this concluding paragraph.