Bibliotherapy

MO Zi-Precursor of modern Chinese Philosophy and Science-03: Sampler-02

MO Zi, the Chinese social and philosophical precursor.

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Today’s sharing from the Blue House of HYGEIA is the fourth of a few posts dedicated to MO Zi and the school of thought that was formed around him, Mohism, we presented in the first post.

Here we start our second sampler from the Mohist corpus with texts excerpted from the core doctrines chapters: ‘Exalting Unity II‘, ‘Exalting Unity III’, Universal Love I’ and ‘Universal Love III’. Source: Ian Johnston’s 2013 Penguin Books English translation: ‘MO Zi, the Book of Master MO’, Penguin Classics. Pages 58, 59, 60, 70, 71, 72,73, 74, 81, 82, 83 and 90.

Let’s keep in mind that this movement flourished around 770–221 B.C.A., during the ‘Spring & Autumn’ and Warring States period in China!

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From ‘Exalting Unity II’

1. Chapter 12- Number 7.

If the world exalts unity with the Son of Heaven, but doesn’t yet exalt unity with Heaven, then Heaven’s calamities will not stop. Therefore, it is right to expect Heaven to send down cold and heat without moderation, to send down snow, frost, rain and dew out of season, causing the five grains not to ripen, the six animals not to flourish, and pestilence and plague to occur, as well as whirlwinds and flooding rains. And these will be unceasing and extreme. These are the punishment Heaven brings down with the intention of punishing the people below who don’t exalt unity with Heaven. Thus it was that in ancient times, the sage kings had a clear understanding of what Heaven and ghosts wished for and avoided what heaven and ghosts abominated.

So, they sought to promote the world’s benefits and eliminate the world’s harms. This is why they led the ten thousand people of the world by fasting and bathing, and purifying the vessels of sweet vine and millet to offer sacrifice to Heaven and to the ghosts. In their serving of ghosts and spirits, they dared not have vessels of sweet wine and millet that were not clean and pure; they dared not have sacrificial animals that were not sleek and fat; they dared not have jade tablets and silk offerings that did not conform to standard measurement. In the ’spring and autumn’ sacrifices, they did not dare miss the proper time. In hearing lawsuits, they did not dare to be unfair. In distributing wealth, they did not dare to be inequitable. In their ordinary dwellings, they did not dare to be disrespectful.

I say that their being government leaders like this was the reason Heaven and the ghosts above were generous towards them in their conduct of government, and the ten thousand people below were of benefit to them in their conduct of government. Since Heaven and ghosts were profoundly generous, they could be resolute in carrying out their business, and so the blessings of Heaven and ghosts could be obtained. Since the ten thousand people were of benefit to them, they could be resolute in carrying out their business, and so the love of ten thousand people could be obtained. Their conducting government like this was why their plan were realized and the business they undertook was successful. In defense, they were secure. In attack, they were victorious. Why was this so? I say it was just that they were able to exalt unity in the conduct of government. Therefore, in ancient times, the sage kings conducted government like this.’

Original Chinese:

尚同中:

夫既尚同乎天子,而未上同乎天者,則天菑將猶未止也。故當若天降寒熱不節,雪霜雨露不時,五穀不孰,六畜不遂,疾菑戾疫、飄風苦雨,荐臻而至者,此天之降罰也,將以罰下人之不尚同乎天者也。故古者聖王,明天鬼之所欲,而避天鬼之所憎,以求興天下之利,除天下之害。是以率天下之萬民,齊戒沐浴,潔為酒醴粢盛,以祭祀天鬼。其事鬼神也,酒醴粢盛不敢不蠲潔,犧牲不敢不腯肥,珪璧幣帛不敢不中度量,春秋祭祀不敢失時幾,聽獄不敢不中,分財不敢不均,居處不敢怠慢。曰其為正長若此,是故天鬼之福可得也。萬民之所便利而能彊從事焉,則萬民之親可得也。其為政若此,是以謀事,舉事成,入守固,1上者天鬼有厚乎其為政長也,下者萬民有便利乎其為政長也。天鬼之所深厚而彊從事焉,則2出誅勝者,何故之以也?曰唯以尚同為政者也。故古者聖王之為政若此。

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2. Chapter 12-Number 9.

Thus, in ancient times, the establishment of government leaders was intended to bring order to the people. It may be compared to silk threads being gathered into a skein or a fishing net having a main rope, in that they were what was used to draw together the depraved and cruel people of the world and cause them to have unity of their principles. This is why the book of the former kings, the ‘Xiang Nian’, has this to say: “In the establishment of states and the setting up of cities, the creation of rulers, kings and dukes was not so that they could be proud. The appointments of ministers and officials was not so they could live in idleness. It was for the appointment of responsibility for the peace of the world.” This says that in ancient times the Supreme Ruler and ghosts and spirits, in setting up states and cities, established leaders of government not for the sake of giving them high rank or large salaries, or to live in a state of wealth, opulence, licentiousness and ease, but so they could act for the ten thousand people, promoting benefit and eliminating harm. It was so they could enrich the poor and make the few many, bring peace where there was danger and order where there was disorder. Thus, the way the ancient sage kings conducted government was like this.

Original Chinese:

尚同中:

故古者之置正長也,將以治民也,譬之若絲縷之有紀,而罔罟之有綱也,將以運役天下淫暴,而一同其義也。是以先王之書,《相年》之道曰:「夫建國設都,乃作后王君公,否用泰也,輕大夫師長,否用佚也,維辯使治天均。」則此語古者上帝鬼神之建設國都,立正長也,非高其爵,厚其祿,富貴佚而錯之也,將以為萬民興利除害,富貴貧寡,安危治亂也。故古者聖王之為若此。

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From ‘Exalting Unity III’

3. Chapter 13-Number 10.

Therefore, in the case of the sage kings of the ancient times who governed the world, those whom they selected to be their aides and assistants were all men of outstanding ability, and there were many to help them see and hear. As a result, when they made plans for people, they realized them before others would have, and when they managed affairs for people, they brought them to completion before others would have. Praise for their fine reputation was heard before that for others, Only, because they put their trust in the people in conducting affairs did they enjoy benefits like this. In ancient times, there was this saying: “Seeing with one eye is not like seeing with two eyes. Hearing with one ear is not like hearing with two ears. Grasping something with one hand is not like the strength of two hands.” And it was only because they were able to put their trust in the people in conducting affairs that they enjoyed benefits like this. This is why, when the ancient sage kings governed the world, if there was a worthy man more than a thousand li away, while the people of his district and village had not yet all heard of him or seen him, the sage kings learned of him and rewarded him. And if there was an evil man more than a thousand li away, while the people of his district and village had not heard of him or seen him, the sage kings learned of him and punished him. Was this because the sage kings were particularly sharp of hearing and keen of sight? How can one person look and see what is more than a thousand li away, or listen and hear what is more than a thousand li away! The sage kings did not go themselves to look; they did not go themselves to listen. Nevertheless, they made it so that the robbers and bandits of the world, although they might travel all over the world, could find no place or refuge. How was it so? It was because they took exalting unity to be the pinnacle of government.

Original Chinese:

尚同下:

故古之聖王治天下也,其所差論,以自左右羽翼者皆良,外為之人,助之視聽者眾。故與人謀事,先人得之;與人舉事,先人成之;光1譽令聞,先人發之。唯信身而從事,故利若此。古者有語焉,曰:「一目之2視也,不若二目之視也。一耳之聽也,不若二耳之聽也。一手之操也,不若二手之3彊也。」夫唯能信身而從事,故利若此。是故古之聖王之治天下也,千里之外有賢人焉,其鄉里之人皆未之均聞見也,聖王得而賞之。千里之內有暴人焉,其鄉里未之均聞4見也,聖王得而罰之。故唯毋以聖王為聰耳明目與?豈能一視而通見千里之外哉!一聽而通聞千里之外哉!聖王不往而視也,不就而聽也。然而使天下之為寇亂盜賊者,周流天下無所重足者,何也?其以尚同為政善也。

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4. Chapter 13-Number 12.

This is why Master MO said: “If, nowadays, the kings, dukes, great officers and noble men of the world sincerely wish to become ren (loving, kind, humane and benevolent) and yi (right acting, righteous and just), and seek to be superior officers, and if above, they wish to be in accord with the Way of the sage kings, and below, they wish to benefit the ordinary people of the state, they must recognize the validity of the concept of exalting unity and must look upon it as the foundation of government and the essential element of bringing order to a state.”

Original Chinese:

尚同下:

是以子墨子曰:「今天下王公大人士君子,中情將欲為仁義,求為上1士,上欲中聖王2之道,下欲中國家百姓之利,故當尚同之說,而不可不3察尚同為政之本,而治要也。

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From ‘Universal Love I’

 

5. Chapter 14. Number 1.

A sage is one who takes the ordering of the world to be his business, so he must know what disorder arises from; then he can bring order to the world. If he doesn’t know what disorder arises from, he is unable to bring about order. It is, for example, like a doctor treating a person’s illness. He must know what the illness arises from; then he is able to treat it. If he doesn’t know what the illness arises from, he is unable to treat it. How can bringing order to disorder be the only thing that isn’t like this? One must know the source of disorder; then one is able to bring about order. If one doesn’t know the source of disorder, one is unable to bring about order.

Original Chinese:

兼愛上:

聖人以治天下為事者也,必知亂之所自起,焉能治之,不知亂之所自起,則不能治。譬之如醫之攻人之疾者然,必知疾之所自起,焉能攻之;不知疾之所自起,則弗能攻。治亂者何獨不然,必知亂之所自起,焉能治之;不知亂之所自起,則弗能治。

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6. Chapter 14-Number 2.

A sage, being someone who takes the ordering of the world to be his business, must examine what disorder arises from. How does he attempt to examine what disorder arises from? It arises because people don’t love each other. Ministers and sons not being filial towards rulers and fathers is what is spoken of as disorder. If a son loves himself but doesn’t love his father, then he disadvantages the father and benefits himself. If a younger brother loves himself but doesn’t love his older brother, then he disadvantages the older brother and benefits himself. If a minister love himself but doesn’t love his prince, then he disadvantages the prince and benefits himself. This is what is spoken of as disorder. If a father doesn’t feel affection for his son, or an older brother doesn’t feel affection for his younger brothers, or a prince doesn’t feel affection for his ministers, this too is spoken of as disorder in the world. When a father loves himself but doesn’t love his sons, then he disadvantages the sons and benefits himself. When an older brother loves himself but doesn’t love his younger brothers, then he disadvantages the younger brothers and benefits himself. When a ruler loves himself but doesn’t love his ministers, then he disadvantages the ministers and benefits himself. How is this? In all cases it arises through the lack of mutual love.

Even if we come to those who are thieves and robbers in the world, the same applies in so far as they love their own households but don’t love the households of others. Therefore, they plunder the households of others in order to benefit their own households. A robber loves himself but not others. Therefore, he robs others in order to benefit himself. How is this? In all cases it arises through the lack of mutual love.

Even if we come to the disorder that great officers bring to teach other’s households and the attacks made by feudal lords on each other’s states, it is the same thing. Great officers each love their own household but don’t love the households of others in order to benefit their own households. Feudal lords each love their own state but don’t love the states of others. Therefore, they attack the states of others in order to benefit their own state. Disorder in the world is entirely this and nothing else. If we examine this, from what source does it arise? In all cases it is due to lack of mutual love.

Original Chinese:

兼愛上:

聖人以治天下為事者也,不可不察亂之所自起。當察亂何自起?起不相愛。臣子之不孝君父,所謂亂也。子自愛不愛父,故虧父而自利;弟自愛不愛兄,故虧兄而自利;臣自愛不愛君,故虧君而自利,此所謂亂也。雖父之不慈子,兄之不慈弟,君之不慈臣,此亦天下之所謂亂也。父自愛也不愛子,故虧子而自利;兄自愛也不愛弟,故虧弟而自利;君自愛也不愛臣,故虧臣而自利。是何也?皆起不相愛。

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7. Chapter 14-Number 3.

If there were universal mutual love in the world, with the love of others being like the love of oneself, would there still be anyone who was not filial? If one were to regard one’s father, older brothers and ruler like oneself, how could one not be filial towards them? Would there still be anyone who did not feel affection? If one were to regard younger brothers, sons of ministers like oneself, how could one not love them? Therefore, there would be no one who was not filial or affectionate. Would there be still thieves and robbers? If there were regard for the households of others like one’s own household, who would steal? If there were regard for the persons of others like one’s own person, who would rob?

Therefore, thieves and robbers would also disappear. Would there still be great officers who brought disorder to each other’s households or feudal lords who attacked each other’s states? If there were regard for the households of others like one’s won household, who would bring about disorder? If there were regard for the states of others like one’s own state, who would attack?

Therefore, there would be no instances of great officers bringing disorder to each other’s houses or of feudal lords attacking each other’s states. If the world had universal mutual love, then states would not attack each other, households would not bring disorder to each other, there would be no thieves and robbers, and rulers, ministers, fathers and sons could all be filial and loving. In this way, then, there would be order in the world. Therefore, how can sages who make it their business to bring order to the world do otherwise than prohibit hatred and encourage love?

So, if there is universal mutual love in the world, there is order. Whereas if there is exchange of mutual hatred there is disorder. This is why, Master MO said: “One cannot do other than encourage the love of others.”

Original Chinese:

兼愛上:

雖至天下之為盜賊者亦然,盜愛其室不愛其異室,故竊異室以利其室;賊愛其身不愛人,故賊人以利其身。此何也?皆起不相愛。雖至大夫之相亂家,諸侯之相攻國者亦然。大夫各愛其1家,不愛異家,故亂異家以利其2家;諸侯各愛其國,不愛異國,故攻異國以利其國,天下之亂物具此而已矣。察此何自起?皆起不相愛。

若使天下兼相愛,愛1人若愛其身,猶有不孝者乎?視父兄與君若其身,2惡施不孝?猶有不慈者乎?視弟子3與臣若其身,惡施不慈?故4不孝不慈5亡有6,猶有盜賊乎?故視人之室若其室,誰竊?視人身若其身,誰賊?故盜賊亡有。猶有大夫之相亂家、諸侯之相攻國者乎?視人家若其家,誰亂?視人國若其國,誰攻?故大夫之相亂家、諸侯之相攻國者亡有。

若使天下兼相愛,國與國不相攻,家與家不相亂,盜賊無有,君臣父子皆能孝慈,若此則天下治。故聖人以治天下為事者,惡得不禁惡而勸愛?故天下兼相愛則治,交1相惡則亂。故子墨子曰:「不可以不勸愛人者,此也。」

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From ‘Universal Love III’

8.Chapter 16-Number 1.

Master MO spoke, saying: “The business of the man who is ren (loving, kind, humane and benevolent) must be to seek diligently to promote the world’s benefits and eliminate the world’s harms.” This being so, which of the world’s harms are the greatest at the present time? Master MO said: “Great states attacking small states, great households bringing disorder to small households, the strong plundering the weak, the many ill-treating the few, the cunning scheming against the foolish and the noble being arrogant towards the lowly-these are the world’s harms. In addition, rulers not being kind, ministers not being loyal, fathers not being compassionate and sons not being filial are among the world’s harms too. Furthermore, at the present time, base men make use of weapons, poisons, water and fire to injure and harm one another. This too is harmful to the world. Let us for the moment consider the origin of these many harms-what it is they arise from. Do they arise from loving and benefiting people? We must certainly they do not. We must say they arise from hating and harming people. And if we were to distinguish and name those in the world who hate people and harm people, would it be ‘universal’ or would it be ‘partial’? We must undoubtedly say it would be ‘partial’. This being so, is not this partiality (discrimination) among people really the source of the world’s great harm? This is why partiality (discrimination) is to be condemned.

Original Chinese:

兼愛下:

子墨子言曰:「仁人之事者,必務求興天下之利,除天下之害。」然當今之時,天下之害孰為大?曰:「若大國之攻小國也,大家之亂小家也,強之劫弱,眾之暴寡,詐之謀愚,貴之敖賤,此天下之害也。又與為人君者之不惠也,臣者之不忠也,父者之不慈也,子者之不孝也,此又天下之害也。又與今人之賤人,執其兵刃、毒藥、水、火,以交相虧賊,此又天下之害也。」姑嘗本原若眾害之所自生1,此胡自生?此自愛人利人生與?即必曰非然也,必曰從惡人賊人生。分名乎天下惡人而賊人者,兼與?別與?即必曰2別也。然即之交別者,果生天下之大害者與?是故別非也。

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9. Chapter 16-Number 3.

This was why Master MO said:” Universal is right. Moreover, as I originally said, the business of the ren man must be to seek diligently to promote the world’s benefits and eliminate the world’s harms. Now, I have established what universal gives rise to-it it the world’s greatest benefits. And I have established what partial gives rise to-it is the world’s great harms.” It is for this reason that Master MO saying ‘partial is wrong and universal is right’ comes from this principle.

Original Chinese:

兼愛下:

今吾將正求與天下之利而取之,以兼為正,是以聰耳明目相與視聽乎,是以股肱畢強相為動1宰乎,而有道肆相教誨。是以老而無妻子者,有所侍養以終其壽;幼弱孤童之無父母者,有所放依以長其身。今唯毋以兼為正,即若其利也,不識天下之士,所以皆聞兼而非者,其故何也?

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10. Chapter 16-Number 4.

Now if we are seeking to promote the world’s benefits and eliminate the world’s harms, we shall choose universal as being right. As a result, people will use their sharp hearing and keen sight to help each other in seeing and hearing; they will use their strong and powerful limbs to help each other in acting; and they will use their words to further teaching and instruction. As a result, those without wives and children will have the means of support and nourishment throughout their old age, and those who are young and weak, or alone without a father or mother, will have the means of help and support while they grow into adulthood. Now if universal is taken as being right, these are the benefits. I do not know what possible reason officers of the world could have for opposing universal when they all hear about it.

Original Chinese:

兼愛下:

然而天下之士非兼者之言,猶未止也。曰:「即善矣。雖然,豈可用哉?」子墨子曰:「用而不可,雖我亦將非之。且焉有善而不可用者?姑嘗兩而進之。誰以為二士,使其一士者執別,使其一士者執兼。是故別士之言曰:『吾豈能為吾友之身,若為吾身,為吾友之親,若為吾親。』是故退睹其友,飢即不食,寒即不衣,疾病不侍養,死喪不葬埋。別士之言若此,行若此。兼士之言不然,行亦不然,曰:『吾聞為高士於天下者,必為其友之身,若為其身,為其友之親,若為其親,然後可以為高士於1天下。』是故退睹其友,飢則食之,寒則衣之,疾病侍養之,死喪葬埋之。兼士之言若此,行若此。若之二士2者,言相非而行相反與?當使若二士者,言必信,行必果,使言行之合猶合符節也,無言而不行也。然即敢問,今有平原廣野於此,被甲嬰冑將往戰3,死生之權未可識也;又有君大夫之遠使於巴、越、齊、荊,往來及否未4可識也,然即敢問,不識將惡也家室,奉承親戚,提挈妻子,而寄託之?不識於兼之有是乎?於別之有是乎?我以為當其於此也,天下無愚夫愚婦,雖非兼之人,必寄託之於兼之有是也。此言而非兼,擇即取兼,即此言行費也。不識天下之士,所以皆聞兼而非之者,其故何也?

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11. Chapter 16-Number 15.

Therefore, universal was the Way of the sage Kings. It was the means whereby kings, dukes and great officers brought peace, and the ten thousand people had enough clothing and food. So, for the noble man, there is nothing equal to carefully examining universal and assiduously practicing it. It inevitably makes rulers kind, it inevitably makes ministers loyal, it inevitably makes fathers compassionate, it inevitably makes sons filial, it inevitably makes older brothers well disposed and it inevitably makes younger brothers respectful. And for a noble man, there is nothing equal to wishing to be a kind ruler, or a loyal minister, or a compassionate father, or a filial son, or a well-disposed older brother, or a respectful younger brother, so it is right that universal cannot but be put into practice. This was the Way of the sage kings; it was of great benefit to the ten thousand people.

Original Chinese:

兼愛下:

故兼者聖王之道也,王公大人之所以安也,萬民衣食之所以足也。故君子莫若審兼而務行之,為人君必惠,為人臣必忠,為人父必慈,為人子必孝,為人兄必友,為人弟必悌。故君子莫若欲為惠君、忠臣、慈父、孝子、友兄、悌弟,當若兼之不可不行也,此聖王之道而萬民之大利也。

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Chinese text source: https://ctext.org/mozi 🌿 About MO Zi : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mozi 🌿 About Mohism: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mohism
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