Bibliotherapy

MO Zi-Precursor of modern Chinese Philosophy and Science-05: Sampler-04

MO Zi, the Chinese social and philosophical precursor.

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Today’s sharing from the Blue House of HYGEIA is the sixth of 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 fourth sampler from the Mohist corpus with texts excerpted from the core doctrines chapters: ‘Condemning Offensive Warfare I’, ‘Condemning Offensive Warfare II’, ‘Condemning Offensive Warfare III’. Source: Ian Johnston’s 2013 Penguin Books English translation: ‘MO Zi, the Book of Master MO’, Penguin Classics. Pages 90, 91, 97, 98, 99, 100,105 and 106 .

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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Condemning Offensive Warfare I

1. Chapter 17- Number 2.

The killing of one person is spoken of as not yi (不義, bu yi, wrong and unjust, unrighteous) and certainly constitutes one capital offence. Reasoning on this basis, killing ten people is ten times as not yi, so certainly constitutes ten capital offences. Killing a hundred people is a hundred times not yi, so certainly constitutes a hundred capital offences. If this is valid, the noble men of the world should all know and condemn it, and call it not yi. But when it comes to what is a great lack of yi, that is attacking states, they don’t recognize and condemn it. On the contrary, they praise it and call it yi (義, right and just). They really didn’t know this was not yi and therefore recorded their words to hand on to later generations. If they knew it was not yi, how do we explain their recording what was not yi in order to hand it on to later generations?

Original Chinese

非攻上:

殺一人謂之不義,必有一死罪矣,若以此說往,殺十人十重不義,必有十死罪矣;殺百人百重不義,必有百死罪矣。當此,天下之君子皆知而非之,謂之不義。今至大為不義攻國,則弗知1非,從而譽之,謂之義,情不知其不義也,故書其言以遺後世。若知其不義也,夫奚說書其不義以遺後世哉?

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2. Chapter 17- Number 3.

Now suppose there was someone, who when he saw a little bit of black, called it black, but when he saw a lot of black, called it white. We would certainly take this person to be someone who did not know the difference between white and black. Likewise, suppose there was someone, who when he tasted a little bitterness, called it bitter, but when he tasted a lot of bitterness, called it sweet. We would certainly take this person to be someone who did not know the difference between sweet and bitter. Now when there is a small wrongdoing, people recognize and condemn it. When there is a great wrongdoing, like attacking states, they don’t recognize and condemn it; instead, they go along with it and praise it, calling it yi (義, right and just). Can this be spoken of as knowing the difference between what is yi and what is not yi (不義, wrong and unjust)? This is how we know that the noble men of the world are confused about distinction between what is yi and what is not yi.

Original Chinese

非攻上:

今有人於此,少見黑曰黑,多見黑曰白,則以此人不知白黑之辯矣;少嘗苦曰苦,多嘗苦曰甘,則必以此人為不知甘苦之辯矣。今小為非,則知而非之。大為非攻國,則不知2非,從而譽之,謂之義。此可謂知義與不義之辯乎?是以知天下之君子也,辯義與不義之亂

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Condemning Offensive Warfare II

3. Chapter 18. Number 6.

In former times, Jin had six generals, none whom was as strong as Zhi Bo. Reckoning on the great extent of his land and the large number of his people, he wished to oppose the feudal lords in order to glorify his name. So, he elected his bravest soldiers and organized all his boats and chariots in great numbers to attack Zhonghang and possess his lands. Thinking his plans were sufficient, he also attacked the Fan House and completely defeated it. Thus, he combined the three Houses into one. Still, he did not stop, but surrounded Zhao Xiangzi at Jinyang. When this happened, Han and Wei got together to plan, saying: “There is an old adage which says, ‘when the lips are lost the teeth become cold.’ If the House of Zhao is destroyed in the morning, we will follow it in the evening. If the Zhao family is killed in the evening, we will follow it in the morning. The ‘Odes’ says: ‘If a fish cannot move swiftly in water, how will it manage on dry land?’ ” Therefore, the three rulers worked together with singleness of purpose, opening gates and clearing roads, donning armour and raising officers. So, with Han and Wei acting from without and the Zhao House acting from within, they struck at Zhi Bo and completely defeated him.

Original Chinese

非攻中:

昔者晉有六將軍,而智伯莫為強焉。計其土地之博,人徒之眾,欲以抗諸侯,以為英名。攻戰之速,故差論其爪牙之士,皆列其1舟車之眾,以攻中行氏而有之。以其謀為既已足矣,又攻茲范氏而大敗之,并三家以為一家,而不止,又圍趙襄子於晉陽。及若此,則韓、魏亦相從而謀曰:『古者有語,脣亡則齒寒』。趙氏朝亡,我夕從之,趙氏夕;亡,我朝從之。《詩》曰『魚水不務,陸將何及乎!』」是以三主之君,一心戮力辟門除道,奉甲興士,韓、魏自外,趙氏自內,擊智伯大敗之。」

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4. Chapter 18. Number 7.

This is why Master MO spoke, saying: “In ancient times, there was the saying: ‘The noble man doesn’t seek his reflection in water but in the people. From a reflection in water, he sees only his face; from a reflection on the people, he can know good fortune and bad fortune.’ Nowadays, if there are those who take offensive war to be beneficial, should they not examine this in the mirror fo Zhi Bo’s affairs? It can easily be recognized that this is not auspicious but unauspicious.

Original Chinese

非攻中:

是故子墨子言曰:「古者有語曰:『君子不鏡於水而鏡於人,鏡於水,見面之容,鏡於人,則知吉與凶。今以攻戰為利,則蓋嘗鑒之於智伯之事乎?此其為不吉而凶,既可得而知矣。』」

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Condemning Offensive Warfare III

5. Chapter 19. Number 2.

This is why, in ancient times, those who were wise, when planning for the world, necessarily gave careful consideration to yi (義)and afterwards put it into practice. In this way, their actions were without doubt and quickly came to completion. They attained their desire, and yet, still complied with that which benefited Heaven, ghosts and ordinary people. This, then, was the Way of those who were wise. Therefore, those men who were ren (仁, loving, kind, humane and benevolent), and who ruled the world in ancient times, certainly opposed the great states’ policy of aggressive war. They unified the world as a harmonious whole, and brought together all within the four seas. Thus, they led the ordinary people of the world to pursue their affairs and, in doing so, to serve the Supreme Lord, the ghosts and spirits of the mountains and rivers. The people they benefited were many and their achievements was, as a consequence, great. This was why Heaven rewarded them, ghosts enriched them and people praised them. So they were honored as sons of Heaven, they were enriched with all under Heaven and their fame was established in Heaven and on earth and has continued undimmed to the present day. This, then, was the Way of the wise men and the means by which the former kings came to possess the world.

Original Chinese

非攻下:

今天下之所同義者,聖王之法也。今天下之諸侯將猶多皆免攻伐并兼,則是有譽義之名,而不察其實也。此譬猶盲者之與人,同命白黑之名,而不能分其物也,則豈謂有別哉?是故古之知者之為天下度也,必順慮其義,而後為之行,是以動則不疑,速通成得其所欲,而順天鬼百姓之利,則知者之道也。是故古之仁人有天下者,必反大國之說,一天下之和,總四海之內,焉率天下之百姓,以農臣事上帝山川鬼神。利人多,功故又大,是以天賞之,鬼富之,人譽之,使貴為天子,富有天下,名參乎天地,至今不廢。此則知者之道也,先王之所以有天下者也。

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6. Chapter 19. Number 3.

Nowadays, kings, dukes, great officers and feudal lords of the world are not like this. They will all, without exception, choose their bravest and fiercest soldiers, arrange and deploy their boats and chariots, and prepare their strongest armour and sharpest weapons to attack and reduce states that are without faults. When they enter the border regions of a state, they cut down its grain crops, fell its trees and forests, break down its inner and outer city walls, fill in its ditches and pools, seize and kill its sacrificial animals, burn down its ancestral temples, slaughter its people, destroy the old and weak and take away its valuable utensils. Advancing rapidly, and fighting to the limit, they say: ‘The highest honor is to die in battle; the next highest is to kill many of the enemy; the least is to suffer injury oneself. Further, to break ranks and scatter in defeat is a crime punishable by death without possible pardon.’ These are words to instill fear into the masses. To annex a state and overthrow its army, and to plunder and oppress its people, is a way of bringing disorder to the work of the sages. How can this be construed as benefiting Heaven? In fact, to take the people of Heaven and use them to attack the cities of Heaven is to kill the people of Heaven, destroy the standing of the spirits, overturn the altars of soil and grain, and seize and slaughter the sacrificial animals. This then, does not accord with Heaven’s benefit in the upper realms. How can this be construed as benefiting ghosts? To kill the people of Heaven, exterminate those who honor ghosts and spirits, cast aside the former kings, plunder and oppress the ten thousand people, and scatter and disperse the general populace does not accord with ghosts’ benefit in the middle realm. How can this be construed as benefiting the people? If you kill the people of Heaven to benefit people, the benefit is meagre indeed. Moreover, if you consider the resources wasted in military activity, this harms the very foundation of people’s lives. The depletion of the resources of the world and the ordinary people is incalculable, so this does not achieve benefit for the people below.

Original Chinese

非攻下:

今王公大人天下之諸侯則不然,將必皆差論其爪牙之士,皆列其舟車之卒伍,於此為堅甲利兵,以往攻伐無罪之國。入其國家邊境,芟刈其禾稼,斬其樹木,墮其城郭,以湮其溝池,攘殺其牲牷,燔潰其祖廟,勁殺其萬民,覆其老弱,遷其重器,卒進而柱乎鬥,曰『死命為上,多殺次之,身傷者為下,又況失列北橈乎哉,罪死無赦』,以譂其眾。夫無兼國覆軍,賊虐萬民,以亂聖人之緒。意將以為利天乎?夫取天之人,以攻天之邑,此刺殺天民,剝振神之位,傾覆社稷,攘殺其犧牲,則此上不中天之利矣。意將以為利鬼乎?夫殺之人,滅鬼神之主,廢滅先王,賊虐萬民,百姓離散,則此中不中鬼之利矣。意將以為利人乎?夫殺之人,為利人也博矣。又計其費此,為周生之本,竭天下百姓之財用,不可勝數也,則此下不中人之利矣。

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7. Chapter 19. Number 9.

Then those rulers who favour attacking and reducing other states further elaborates their arguments, saying: ‘It is not that we consider our gold and jade, our sons and daughters and our fertile land to be insufficient. We wish to be established on the world through yi and find fame and we wish to attract the feudal lords through virtue.’ Master MO said: ‘Now, if there was someone who was able to establish himself in the world through yi and find fame and attract the feudal lords through virtue, the world’s submission would be immediate and expected. The world is as tired of the prolonged period of attacking and reducing as a young boy who has played at being a horse. Nowadays, if there were feudal lords in the world who were able to establish good faith in their dealings and gave primacy to benefiting their people, then when a great state was without yi, they would join in grieving for it. When a great state attacked a small state, they would join rescuing it. When the inner and outer city walls of a small state were incomplete, they would join in repairing them. Id cloth and grain were deficient, they would supply them. If money was insufficient, they would provide it. If there was this kind of association with a great state, the ruler of the great state would be pleased. If there was this kind of association with a small state, the ruler of the small state would be pleased. If the other’s forces were weary and our forces were rested, our army would be stronger. If they were treated liberally and with kindness, and if what was not urgent replaced what was pressing, the people would certainly be compliant. If attack and reduction were replaced by good order in our state, the efficacy would certainly be multiplied. If we calculated the cost involved in raising an army to protect against evils of the feudal lords, we could see that we would certainly be able to obtain substantial benefit from avoidance of warfare. If we led the people along the right path, establishing a reputation for yi and invariably acted towards our populace as well as training our forces in a trustworthy way, and supported the feudal lords like this, it would be possible to have no enemies in the world. This would be of incalculable benefit to the world/ And since it would be of such benefit to the world, if kings, dukes and great officers don’t know and employ it, they may be spoken of as not knowing a fundamental component of benefiting the world.

Original Chinese

非攻下:

則夫好攻伐之君又飾其說曰:「我非以金玉、子女、壤地為不足也,我欲以義名立於天下,以德求諸侯也。」子墨子曰:「今若有能以義名立於天下,以德求諸侯者,天下之服可立而待也。夫天下處攻伐久矣,譬若傅子之為馬然。今若有能信效先利天下諸侯者,大國之不義也,則同憂之;大國之攻小國也,則同救之;小國城郭之不全也,必使修之;布粟之絕,則委之;幣帛不足,則共之。以此效大國,則小國之君說,人勞我逸,則我甲兵強。寬以惠,緩易急,民必移。易攻伐以治我國,攻必倍。量我師舉之費,以爭諸侯之斃,則必可得而序利焉。督以正,義其名,必務寬吾眾,信吾師,以此授諸侯之師,則天下無敵矣。其為下不可勝數也。此天下之利,而王公大人不知而用,則此可謂不知利天下之巨務矣。」

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8. Chapter 19. Number 10.

This is why Master MO said: ‘At the present time, kings, dukes, great officers, officers and noble men of the world genuinely seek to further the world’s benefit and eliminate its harms, but still, they frequently engage in offensive warfare. This is truly a great misfortune for the world. Now, if they wish to be ren, 仁  and yi, 義  and seek to be superior officers who accord with the Way of the sage kings above and with the benefit of the ordinary people below, then the theory of condemnation of offensive warfare is something they cannot avoid considering.

Original Chinese

非攻下:

是故子墨子曰:「今且天下之王公大人士居子,中情將欲求興天下之利,除天下之害,當若繁為攻伐,此實天下之巨害也。今欲為仁義,求為上士,尚欲中聖王之道,下欲中國家百姓之利,故當若非攻之為說,而將不可不察者此也。」

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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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