Translations with Chinese Text

Lunyu w Zhu CommentaryThis page includes all the quotations from our book, with both our English translations and then the Chinese original text. It is organized by text or author in rough chronological order; within each text or author, the passages appear in the same order as in the book. For many uses, the easiest way to navigate this material will be to search for specific English translations or Chinese terms.

Each entry includes a citation to its original context; for the meaning of our abbreviations, see pp. 223-26 of our book.

Classical Texts

Analects 論語 | Mencius 孟子 | Xunzi 荀子 | Book of Changes, Great Commentary 易經 • 繫辭傳 | Book of Odes 詩經 | Greater Learning 大學 | Centrality and Commonality 中庸 | Record of Ritual 禮記

Analects 論語

The Master said: By nature near together, by practice far apart.

子曰:「性相近也,習相遠也。」LY 17:2.

At fifteen, I committed myself to learning; at thirty, I took my place in society; at forty, I became free of doubts; at fifty, I understood the cosmic decree; at sixty, my ear was attuned; at seventy, I could follow my heartmind’s desires without overstepping the bounds of propriety.

吾十有五而志于學,三十而立,四十而不惑,五十而知天命,六十而耳順,七十而從心所欲,不踰矩。 LY 2:4.

Do I possess wisdom? No, I am without wisdom. Recently a common fellow asked a question of me, and I came up completely empty. But I knocked on it from both ends and squeezed something out of it.

子曰:「吾有知乎哉?無知也。有鄙夫問於我,空空如也,我叩其兩端而竭焉。」 LY 9:8.

People of ancient times learned for their own sake. People nowadays learn for the sake of others.

古之學者為己,今之學者為人。 LY 14:24.

I daily examine myself in three ways. In planning on behalf of others, have I lacked devotion? In associating with friends, have I been unfaithful? That which has been passed on to me, have I failed to practice?

吾日三省吾身:為人謀而不忠乎?與朋友交而不信乎?傳不習乎? LY 1:4.

The Master said, If you try to guide the people with coercive regulations and keep them in line with punishments, the common people will be evasive and will have no sense of shame. If, however, you guide them with virtue and keep them in line by means of ritual, the people will have a sense of shame and will rectify themselves.

子曰:「道之以政,齊之以刑,民免而無恥;道之以德,齊之以禮,有恥且格。」 LY 2:3.

Mencius 孟子

The goodness of human nature is like water’s flowing downhill. Every person is good; all water flows downhill.

人性之善也,猶水之就下也;人無有不善,水無有不下。 MC 6A:2.

To fully fathom one’s heartmind is to understand one’s nature. To understand one’s nature is to understand the cosmos. To preserve one’s heartmind and nourish one’s nature is the way to serve the cosmos.

盡其心者,知其性也;知其性,則知天矣。存其心,養其性,所以事天也。MC 7A:1.

The myriad things are complete in me.

萬物皆備於我矣。 MC 7A:4

Suppose someone suddenly saw a child about to fall into a well: anyone in such a situation would have a feeling of alarm and commiseration—not because one sought to get in good with the child’s parents, not because one wanted a good reputation among one’s neighbors and friends, and not because one would dislike the sounds of the child’s cries. From this we can see that if one is without the feeling of alarm and commiseration, one is not human. If one is without the feeling of disdain, one is not human. If one is without the feeling of deference, one is not human. If one is without the feeling of approval and disapproval, one is not human. The feeling of alarm and commiseration is the beginning of humaneness. The feeling of disdain is the beginning of righteousness. The feeling of deference is the beginning of propriety. The feeling of approval and disapproval is the beginning of wisdom. People having these four beginnings is like their having four limbs.

今人乍見孺子將入於井,皆有怵惕惻隱之心;非所以內交於孺子之父母也,非所以要譽於鄉黨朋友也,非惡其聲而然也。由是觀之,無惻隱之心,非人也;無羞惡之心,非人也;無辭讓之心,非人也;無是非之心,非人也。惻隱之心,仁之端也;羞惡之心,義之端也;辭讓之心,禮之端也;是非之心,智之端也。人之有是四端也,猶其有四體也。 MC 2A:6.

The cosmos, in giving birth to the people, directs those who first become wise to awaken those who will later become wise.

天之生此民也,使先知覺後知,使先覺覺後覺也。 MC 5A:7.

Xunzi 荀子

There are people who create order; there are no rules that create order.

有治人,無治法。 XZ 12/263; cf. Xunzi 2014: 117.

With the superior person present, even if the rules and regulations are sketchy, they are enough to be comprehensive. Without the superior person, even if the rules and regulations are complete, one will fail to apply them in the right order and will be unable to respond to changes in affairs, and thus they can serve to create chaos. One who tries to correct the arrangements of the rules and regulations without understanding their meaning, even if he is broadly learned, is sure to create chaos when engaged in affairs.

故有君子,則法雖省,足以遍矣;無君子,則法雖具,失先後之施,不能應事之變,足以亂矣。不知法之義,正法之數者,雖博臨事必亂。 XZ 12/263-264; cf. Xunzi 2014: 117.

Book of Changes, Great Commentary 易經 繫辭傳

The alternation of yin and yang is called “the Way.”

一陰一陽之謂道。 YJXC A.

Life-giving generativity is called “change.”

生生之謂易。 YJXC A.

That which is formless is called “the Way.” That which is within form are called “concrete objects.”

形而上者謂之道,形而下者謂之器。 YJXC A.

Following [the Way] is good.

繼之者善。 YJ 7/147. 

Book of Odes 詩經

The hawk flies up to the heavens; the fish bounce and bob in the deep waters.

鳶飛戾天、魚躍于淵。Mao #192.

Greater Learning 大學

Wanting to light up the bright virtue of all-under-heaven, the ancient first put their states in order. Those who wanted to put their states in order first regulated their families. Those who wanted to regulate their families first cultivated their selves. Those who wanted to cultivate their selves first rectified their heartminds. Those who wanted to rectify their heartminds first made their thoughts sincere. Those who wanted to make their thoughts sincere first reach understanding. Reaching understanding lies in getting a handle on things.

古之欲明明德於天下姐先治其國。欲治其國者先齊其家。欲齊其家者先脩其身。欲脩其身者先正其心。欲正其心者先誠其意。欲誠其意者先致其知。致知在格物。 DX 4.

Centrality and Commonality 中庸

What the cosmos decrees is called “the nature”; complying with nature is called “the Way”; cultivating the Way is called “teaching.”

天命之謂性;率性之謂道;修道之謂教” ZY 1.

What the cosmos decrees is called “the nature”; complying with nature is called “the Way”; cultivating the Way is called “teaching.”… When joy and anger, sorrow and happiness are not yet manifest, call it “the center.” When they are already manifest, and yet all are hitting the proper measure, call it “harmony.” Being in “the center” is the great foundation of the world; being in “harmony” is the all-pervading Way of the world. By reaching “the center” and “harmony,” heaven and earth occupy their positions and the ten thousand things are brought forth.

天命之謂性;率性之謂道;修道之謂教。。。。喜怒哀樂之未發,謂之中。發而皆中節,謂之和。中也者,天下之大本也。和也者,天下之達道也。致中和,天地位焉,萬物育焉。 ZY 1; cf. Johnston & Wang 2012: 407.

Record of Ritual 禮記

What are human emotions? They are seven: joy, anger, sorrow, fear, love, dislike, and desire.

何謂人情?喜怒哀懼愛惡欲七者。 LJ 9/430.

Tang Dynasty Texts

Li Ao 李翱

That whereby a person may be a sage is nature; that whereby a person may be deluded as to this nature is emotion. Joy, anger, sorrow, fear, love, dislike, and desire—these seven are all the workings of emotion. When the emotions are darkened, the nature is hidden, though it is through no shortcoming of the nature: the seven follow one another in constant succession, so that the nature cannot achieve its fullness.

人之所以為聖人者,性也;人之所以惑其性者,情也。喜、怒、哀、懼、愛、惡、欲,七者皆情之所為也,情旣昏,性斯匿矣;非性之過也,七者循環而交來,故性不能充也。FXS 1.1; cf. Barrett 1992: 94.

These emotions are a perversion of the nature. Knowing that they are perverse and that perversion has no inherent existence, the heartmind will be absolutely still and not accept them, perverse thoughts will cease on their own, and the nature will shine brightly.

情者,性之邪也,知其為邪,邪本無有,心寂然不動,邪思自息,惟性明照。FXS 2; cf. Barrett 1992: 114.

Show its brightness through the emotions.

由情以明。FXS 1.3; cf. Barrett 1992: 96.

Although he has emotions, he has never had emotions.

雖有情也,未嘗有情也。FXS 2.2; cf. Barrett 1992: 97.

Neo-Confucian Texts

Shao Yong邵雍 | Zhou Dunyi 周敦頤 | Zhang Zai 張載 | Master Cheng 程子 (Cheng Hao or Cheng Yi) | Cheng Hao 程顥 | Cheng Yi 程頤 | Zhang Jiucheng 張九成 | Hu Hong 胡宏 | Zhu Xi 朱熹 | Lu Xiangshan 陸象山 | Chen Chun 陳淳 | Chen Xianzhang 陳憲章 | Wu Yubi 吳與弼 | Wang Yangming 王陽明 | Luo Qinshun 羅欽順 | Luo Rufang 羅汝芳 | Liu Zongzhou 劉宗周 | Li Zhi 李贄 | Huang Zongxi 黃宗羲 | Feng Menglong 馮夢龍 | Dai Zhen 戴震

Shao Yong 邵雍

Using things to contemplate things is nature. Using the self to contemplate things is emotions. The nature is impartial and clear; emotions are partial and murky.

以物觀物,性也; 以我觀物,情也. 性公而明,情偏而暗。 GW 8; cf. Bol 1992: 279.

Zhou Dunyi 周敦頤

Nondual and yet the supreme pivot! The supreme pivot in activity generates yang; yet at the limit of activity it is still. In stillness it generates yin; yet at the limit of stillness it is also active. Activity and stillness alternate; each is the root of the other. In distinguishing yin and yang, the Two Modes are thereby established. The alternation and combination of yin and yang generate water, fire, wood, metal, and earth. With these five phases of vital stuff harmoniously arranged, the Four Seasons proceed through them. The Five Phases are unified in yin and yang; yin and yang are unified in the Supreme Pivot; the supreme pivot is inherently nondual. Yet in the generation of the Five Phases, each one has its nature. The reality of the nondual and the essence of the Two Modes and the Five phases mysteriously combine and coalesce. “The Way of Qian becomes the male; the Way of Kun becomes the female”; the two types of vital stuff stimulate each other, transforming and generating the myriad things. The myriad things generate and regenerate, alternating and transforming without end.

無極而太極。太極動而生陽,動極而靜,靜而生陰。靜極復動。一動一靜,互為其根;分陰分陽,兩儀立焉。陽變陰合,而生水、火、木、金、土。五氣順布,四時行焉。五行,一陰陽也;陰陽,一太極也;太極,本無極也。五行之生也,各一其性。無極之真,二五之精,妙合而凝。「乾道成男,坤道成女」,二氣交感,化生萬物。萬物生生,而變化無窮焉。TJTS; cf. Adler 2015: 52-3.

The sage settles human affairs using centrality, correctness, humanity, and righteousness…. He regards tranquility as fundamental. Having no desire, he will be tranquil.

聖人定之以中正仁義。。。。而主靜,無欲故靜。ZDYJ 1/6; JSL 1/1; cf. Zhu & Lü 1967: 1.

Unity is the essential way. Unity is having no desire. If one has no desire, then one is tenuous while tranquil, straight while active. Being tenuous while tranquil, one becomes intelligent and hence penetrating; being straight while active, one becomes impartial and hence all-embracing.

一為要。一者無欲也,無欲則靜虛、動直,靜虛則明,明則通;動直則公,公則溥。ZDYJ 2/29-30; JSL 4/140; cf. Zhu & Lü 1967: 140.

It is difficult to govern the family whereas it is easy to govern the world, for the family is near while the world is distant. If members of the family are divided, the cause surely lies with women.

家難而天下易,家親而天下疏也。家人離必起於婦人。JSL 8.1/299, cf. Zhu & Lü 1967: 202. 

Zhang Zai 張載

If we say that the void can produce vital stuff, then the void is infinite while vital stuff is limited, inherent reality and function are split apart, and you fall into Laozi’s doctrine of spontaneity, which says that being is produced from non-being.

若謂虛能生氣,則虛無窮,氣有限,體用殊絕,入老氏「有生於無」自然之論。ZM 1/8; cf. Kasoff 1984: 39.

The supreme void is without form. It is the inherent reality of vital stuff. Its condensation and its dispersal are the temporary forms taken on through change and transformation.

太虛無形,氣之本體,其聚其散,變化之客形爾。ZM 1/7; cf. Kasoff 1984: 37.

The supreme void cannot be without vital stuff; vital stuff cannot but condense and be the myriad things; the myriad things cannot but disperse and be the supreme void.

太虛不能無氣,氣不能不聚而為萬物,萬物不能不散而為太虛。ZM 1/7; cf. Kasoff 1984: 37.

The condensation and dispersal of vital stuff with respect to the supreme void is like the freezing and melting of ice with respect to water, thus we know that the supreme void is vital stuff and there is no nothingness.

氣之聚散於太虛,猶冰凝釋於水,知太虛即氣,則無無。ZM 1/8; cf. Kasoff 1984: 40.

That which has nothing to which it is not receptive is voidness. This receptivity is precisely joining together…. Because all things are inherently a unity, this unity can join together the different; because it can join together the different, it is called receptivity. If there is no difference, there can be no joining together.

無所不感者虛也,感即合也。。。。以萬物本一,故一能合異;以其能合異,故謂之感;若非有異則無合。ZM 17/63; cf. Ziporyn 2015.

Because of these two poles, there can be receptivity; because they are originally a unity, there can be joining.

二端故有感,本一故能合。ZM 17/63; cf. Ziporyn 2015.

The supreme void is clear; when clear, there are no obstructions; without obstructions, there is spirit. The reversal of clarity is muddiness; when muddy, there are obstacles; when there are obstacles, there is form.

太虛為清,清則無礙,無礙故神;反清為濁,濁則礙,礙則形。ZM 1/9.

As the yin and yang vital stuff revolve through their cycle of alternation, they react upon one another through integration and disintegration… They include and determine one another… There being no agent which causes this, what can it be called other than the Pattern of nature and decree?

若陰陽之氣,則循環迭至,聚散相盪,。。。蓋相兼相制,。。。莫或使之,不曰性命之理,謂之何哉?ZM 2/12; cf. Luo 1987: 128-9.

Because the alternation of yin and yang cannot be restricted to formed, concrete objects, it is called the Way.

一隂一陽不可以形器拘故謂之道。HJYS 206; cf. Kasoff 1984: 141.

That which is never absent is called inherent reality.

未嘗無之謂體。ZM 6/21.

The fact that positive human emotions are not firmly established is not the fault of one’s endowment.

人情所以不立,非才之罪也。JXLK 267.

Qizhi is like what people call innate qi. This qi has the varieties of rigid, yielding, slow, fast, pure, and turbid. Zhi is endowment. Qizhi is a single thing, just as the life of plants or trees can also be called qizhi. Only the ability to overcome oneself can be called the ability to change. Transforming the habitual qi-nature and restraining the habitual qi: these are how flood-like qi is to be nurtured through the accumulation of right actions.

氣質猶人言性氣,氣有剛柔、緩速、清濁之氣也,質,才也。氣質是一物,若草木之生亦可言氣質。惟其能克己則為能變,化卻習俗之氣性,制得習俗之氣。所以養浩然之氣是集義所生者。JXLK 281; cf. Moran 1983: 262-3.

The heartmind unites nature and emotion.

心統性情。ZZYL 338-340.

When people say they have knowledge, it comes from the sensations of the sense organs. Human perception comes from the joining of the inner and the outer.

人謂己有知,由耳目有受也;人之有受,由內外之合也。ZM 7/25; cf. Ziporyn 2015; see also Birdwhistell 1985: 38-9.

The sage views all-under-heaven as having no things that are not himself (or herself). 視天下無一物非我。ZM 7/24.

Virtuous nature’s knowing does not sprout from seeing or hearing.

德性所知,不萌於見聞。ZM 7/24.

Hearing and seeing are not sufficient to exhaust things, yet they are also necessary. If we have no ears or eyes, then it would be as wood or stone. If we have ears and eyes, we have the way of joining together the inner and the outer. If one does not hear or see, what experience can there be?

聞見不足以盡物,然又須要他。耳目不得則是木石,要他便合得內外之道,若不聞不見又何驗?ZZYL A/313; cf. (Zhang 1985: 52).

Being “without knowing” lies in there being nothing that you do not know. If you say that you know, then there are things that you do not know. Only because Confucius was “without knowing” was he able to “fully present both sides.” This is what the Change calls “tranquil and unmoving; when stimulated, then it penetrates.

無知者,以其無不知也;若言有知,則有所不知也。惟其無知,故能竭兩端,易所謂「寂然不動,感而遂通」也。HJYS 206 (Commentary on Xici A); cf. Kasoff 1984: 141.

To the combination of nature and zhijue, we give the name “heartmind.”

合性與知覺,有心之名。ZM 1/9.

Ritual is Pattern. You must first learn to exhaustively investigate Pattern; ritual is then the means by which you put into practice what is right [according to Pattern]. … Rituals come after Pattern.

蓋禮者理也, 須是學窮理,禮則所以行其義…然則禮出於理後。ZZYL 3/326-27.

Master Cheng 程子 (Cheng Hao or Cheng Yi)

Students of Chan say: “The life of plants, trees, birds and beasts is all illusion.” I say: “You consider them illusory because they live in the spring and summer and then decay when autumn and winter come, and you similarly conclude that human life is also an illusion. Why not give this answer: things are born and die, are completed and decay, there is this Pattern naturally; how can they be considered an illusion?”

學禪者曰:『草木鳥獸之生,亦皆是幻。』曰:『子以為生息於春夏,及至秋冬便卻變壞,便以為幻,故亦以人生為幻,何不付與他。物生死成壞,自有此理,何者為幻?』YS 1/3; cf. Graham 1992: 89.

Follow emotional dispositions in establishing the rituals.

緣人情以制禮。YS 6/87.

It makes no difference. Whatever is before the eye is a thing, and all things have Pattern. For example, that by which fire is hot, that by which water is cold, and even including the relations between ruler and minister or between father and son: all are Pattern.

問:「格物是外物,是性分中物?」曰:「不拘。凡眼前無非是物,物物皆有理。如火之所以熱,水之所以寒,至於君臣父子閒皆是理。」YS 2A/247; cf. Graham 1992: 75.

Cheng Hao 程顥

“Life is what is meant by ‘nature’”: here, nature is vital stuff and vital stuff is nature; they refer to life. In accord with Pattern, the endowment of vital stuff that one receives at birth has both good and bad, but it is not that within our nature there are originally two contrasting things with which we are then born. Some are good from infancy and some are bad; this is due to the endowment of vital stuff. The good is of course nature, but the bad must also be called nature. Now with respect to what comes before the “life that is what is meant by ‘nature’” and “the tranquility of humans at birth,” we cannot speak; as soon as we have spoken of nature, that already is not the nature. Whenever people speak about the nature, they are only talking about “following the Way, which is good”; Mencius’s statement that nature is good is such a case. “Following the Way, which is good” is like water’s flowing downward. It is all water. Some of it flows all the way to the ocean without ever a touch of pollution; is any human effort needed in such a case? Some of it will inevitably get progressively dirtier before it goes far; and some of it gets dirty only after a long distance. Some has plenty of dirt, and some only a little; cleanliness and dirtiness are different, yet we cannot say that the dirty water is not water. This being so, people must accept the responsibility for cleaning and regulating it. The water will be cleaned quickly if efforts are prompt and bold, more slowly if efforts are careless, but when it is clean, it is still only the original water. It is not that clean water was fetched to replace the dirty, nor that the dirty has been taken away and placed to the side. The cleanliness of the water corresponds to the goodness of nature. Thus it is not that goodness and badness are two contrasting things in the nature which each emerge separately.

「生之謂性」,性即氣,氣即性,生之謂也。人生氣稟,理有善惡,然不是性中元有此兩物相對而生也。有自幼而善,有自幼而惡,后稷之克岐克嶷,子越椒始生,人知其必滅若敖氏之類。是氣稟有然也。善固性也,然惡亦不可不謂之性也。蓋「生之謂性」、「人生而靜」以上不容說,才說性時,便已不是性也。凡人說性,只是說「繼之者善」也,孟子言人性善是也。夫所謂「繼之者善」也者,猶水流而就下也。皆水也。有流而至海,終無所污,此何煩人力之為也?有流而未遠,固已漸濁;有出而甚遠,方有所濁。有濁之多者,有濁之少者。清濁雖不同,然不可以濁者不為水也。如此,則人不可以不加澄治之功。故用力敏勇則疾清,用力緩怠則遲清,及其清也,則卻只是元初水也。亦不是將清來換卻濁,亦不是取出濁來置在一隅也。水之清,則性善之謂也。故不是善與惡在性中為兩物相對。YS 1/10-11; cf. Graham 1992: 131-2.

Heartmind is Pattern, and Pattern is heartmind.

心是理,理是心。ECJ 13/139.

Cheng Yi 程頤

When one’s vital stuff is clear then one’s endowment is good; when one’s vital stuff is muddy then one’s endowment is bad. Those endowed with maximally clear vital stuff are sages, and those endowed with maximally muddy vital stuff are ignorant.

氣清則才善,氣濁則才惡。稟得至清之氣生者為聖人,稟得至濁之氣生者為愚人。YS 22/291-292.

Pattern is one and its particularizations are many.

理一而分殊. CY 1/1202-03.

There is nothing in the world more substantial than Pattern.

天下無實於理者。 YS 3/66.

Someone asked: Are “life is what is meant by ‘nature’” and “the cosmic decree is what is meant by ‘nature’” the same?

Cheng Yi replied: The word ‘nature’ is not to be explained always in the same way. “Life is what is meant by ‘nature’” only refers to that with which one is endowed, while “the cosmic decree is what is meant by ‘nature’” speaks of the Pattern of the nature. When people speak of someone’s cosmic nature as soft and lax, or hard and energetic, it is one’s endowment that is meant, because in common speech any quality that goes back to birth is ascribed to the cosmos. As for the Pattern of nature, it is entirely good. In this latter context, reference to “the cosmos” refers to spontaneous Pattern.


性字不可一概論。「生之謂性」,止訓所稟受也。「天命之謂性」,此言性之理也。今人言天性柔緩,天性剛急,俗言天成,皆生來如此,此訓所稟受也。若性之理也則無不善,曰天者,自然之理也。YS 24/313; cf. Graham 1992: 49.

Sages base themselves on the cosmos, while the Buddhists base themselves on the heartmind.

聖人本天,釋氏本心。 YS 21b/274.

Someone asked: “The human form is limited; is the heartmind similarly limited?” Cheng Yi replied: “If you are speaking of the heartmind’s form, how could it not have limits?” “Is the marvelous functioning of the heartmind also limited?” Cheng Yi replied: “From the perspective of one’s being human, there are limits. Limited form and limited vital stuff mean that functions cannot connect to everything. With respect to the Way, then, how could there not be limits? Mencius said, “To fully fathom one’s heartmind is to understand one’s nature.” Heartmind just is nature. With respect to the cosmos, it is the decree; with respect to humans it is nature; when speaking of its ability to be master, it is heartmind; but these are all a single Way. If one can connect them all as with the Way, then what limits are there?

問:「人之形體有限量,心有限量否?」曰:「論心之形,則安得無限量?」又問:「心之妙用有限量否?」曰:「自是人有限量。以有限之形,有限之氣,茍不通一作用。之以道,安得無限量?孟子曰:『盡其心,知其性。』心即性也。在天為命,在人為性,論其所主為心,其實只是一箇道。茍能通之以道,又豈有限量?YS 18/204.

Pattern and heartmind are one; it is just that people cannot understand that they are one.

理與心一,而人不能會之為一. YS 5/76.

The human heartmind is precarious; the Way heartmind is subtle. Be discriminating and undivided, that you may hold fast to the center.

人心惟危。道心惟微。惟精惟一。允執厥中. Book of Documents 2.2.15; cf. Legge 1985, 61-2.

When one’s emotions become agitated and increasingly numerous, one’s nature is injured. This is why one who is awake restrains his emotions so as to conform to centrality, rectify his heartmind, and nourish his nature. This is called “imposing the nature on the emotions.” One who is foolish does not know to control the emotions and lets them reach the point of depravity and one-sidedness, and so fetters his nature and loses it. This is called “imposing the emotions on the nature.”

情既熾而益蕩,其性鑿矣。是故覺者約其情使合于中,正其心,養其性,故曰「性其情」。愚者則不知制之,縱其情而至于邪僻,牿其性而亡之,故曰「情其性」。Cheng and Cheng 1981: 577; cf. Virag 2007: 69.

Alarm and compassion belong under love, which is an emotion rather than the nature. Sympathetic understanding is a means of entry into humaneness, but not humaneness itself. It is on account of our feeling of alarm and compassion that we know that we have humaneness.

側隱則屬愛,乃情也,非性也。恕者入仁之門,而恕非仁也。因其側隱之心,知其有仁。YS 15/168; cf. Bol 1992, 324 and Graham 1992: 54.

Within human nature there is only the four beginnings.

人性中只有四端。YS 18/204; cf. Graham 1992: 53.

Still and tranquil like a mirror.

平靜如鏡者水之性也。YS 18/204; cf. Graham 1992: 53.

Sensory knowing is not virtuous nature’s knowing. In the former, things interact with things and thus one knows them; it is not internal. Today’s so-called renaissance men have this kind of knowing. Virtuous nature’s knowing does not depend on sensory experience.

聞見之知,非德性之知。物交物則知之,非內也,今之所謂博物多能者是也。德性之知,不假聞見。YS 25/317.

The word ge means “to reach.” … Every single thing has a Pattern, and one must exhaustively investigate it so as to reach its Pattern. There are many ways to do this. One is to read books and elucidate the moral principles in them. Another is to discuss people and events of the past and present and to distinguish which are right and which are wrong. Still another is to encounter things and affairs and deal with them in the proper way. These are all exhaustively investigating Pattern.

格,至也。。。。凡一物上有一理,須是窮致其理。窮理亦多端,或讀書,講明義理,或論古今人物,別其是非,或應接事物而處其當,皆窮理也。YS 18/188; cf. Borrell 1999: 66.

Although knowing is something that I innately have, without ‘reaching’ Pattern it one cannot attain it [actively].

知者吾之所固有,然不致則不能得之。YS 25/316.

Even Yan Hui would not have been able to get a handle on only a single thing and thoroughly grasp the myriad Patterns. One must get a handle on one item today and another tomorrow. When one has practiced this extensively, there will freely and naturally occur an interconnective understanding.

若只格一物便通眾理,雖顏子亦不敢如此道。須是今日格一件,明日又格一件,積習既多,然後脫然自有貫通處。YS 18/189; cf. Borrell 1999: 66.

To get a handle on things in order to exhaustively investigate Pattern’ does not mean that it is necessary to exhaustively investigate all things in the world. One has only to fully investigate the Pattern in one thing or one event, and the Pattern in other things and events can be then be inferred…. The reason why one is able to exhaustively investigate in this way is because all things share the same Pattern.

格物窮理,非是要盡窮天下之物,但於一事上窮盡,其他可以類推。。。。所以能窮者,只為萬物皆是一理。YS 15/156; cf. Borrell 1999: 67.

People of ancient times learned for their own sake, wanting that which they achieve to be within themselves. People nowadays learn for the sake of others, wanting their achievement to be seen by others.

古之學者?己,欲得之於己也。今之學者?人,欲見之於人也。JSL 2.14/75-76; cf. Zhu and Lü 1967: 47.

To learn them from what is outside, and grasp them within, is called “understanding.” To grasp them from what is within, and connect them with outside things, is called “sincerity.” Sincerity and understanding are one.

自其外者學之,而得於內者,謂之明。自其內者得之,而兼於外者,謂之誠。誠與明一也。YS 25/317; cf. Graham 1992: 75.

Knowing is to know this affair; awakening is to awaken to this Pattern.

知者知此事也。覺者覺此理也。CY 1/1180.

Understanding must precede doing. Take an analogy. If one wants to walk, one first needs to have the road brightened.

須是識在所行之先,譬如行路,須得光照。YS 3/67.

There is a difference between genuine knowing and everyday knowing. I once saw a peasant who had been wounded by a tiger. When someone said that a tiger was attacking people, everyone was startled, but the peasant reacted differently from the rest. Even a child knows that tigers are dangerous, but it is not genuine knowing; it is only genuine knowing if it is like the peasant’s. So when people know bad but still do it, this also is not genuine knowing; if it were, decidedly they would not do it.

真知與常知異。常見一田夫,曾被虎傷,有人說虎傷人,眾莫不驚,獨田夫色動異於眾。若虎能傷人,雖三尺童子莫不知之,然未嘗真知。真知須如田夫乃是。故人知不善而猶為不善,是亦未嘗真知。若真知,決不為矣。YS 2A/16; cf. Graham 1992: 80.

[He who had experienced a tiger] has completely sincere fear of it, based on having truly perceived the Pattern. This attainment in one’s heartmind we call ‘having virtue,’ and so has no need to force himself to act.

至誠畏之,是實見得也。得之於心,是謂有德,不待勉強.” YS 15/147.

Impossible. As soon as one has thought about seeking that before the [emotions] have been manifested, that is already thought, which is precisely the already manifest. Thinking and emotions are the same in this respect.

不可。既思於喜怒哀樂未發之前求之,又卻是思也。既思即是已發。思與喜怒哀樂一般。YS 18/200.

Forming one body with the myriad things.

與。。。萬物為一體。YS 2A/15.

Zhang Jiucheng 張九成

The cosmos is just me, and I am just the cosmos.

天即是我,我即是天。Cited in Liu Yumin 2010: 14.

Heartmind is cosmos! People have this heartmind, and the heartmind has this cosmos.

心即天也!人有是心,心有是天。Cited in Liu Yumin 2010: 14.

If a superior person wishes to seek the centeredness common to all, he must get the taste of it through being cautious over what is unseen and apprehensive over what is unheard. This is the basis for knowing centeredness. If one cannot hold to this method…it is as if one were to eat and drink all day yet never know the taste. Oh, the taste of it! You will know it when you have become thoroughly immersed and drenched in what is unseen and unheard.

君子欲求中庸,要當於戒慎不睹恐懼不聞中。得味則識中之本矣。若夫不能守此法。。。,是猶終日飲食而不知味也。味乎當優游涌游於不賭不聞時可也。ZYS 1:6b-7a; cf. Borrell 1999: 70.

Being cautious over what is unseen and apprehensive over what is unheard. If one does not practice this, it will be like duckweed adrift on the water, drifting with the wind to the north or south; where will one anchor oneself?

戒慎不睹恐懼不聞。。。。學者不於此入,則泛然如萍之在水,逢風南北,有何所寄泊乎。ZYS 3:11a-b; cf. Lee 2008: 105.

Hu Hong 胡宏

Nature is a mystery of heaven, earth, ghosts, and spirits. “Good” is not adequate to speak of it. … When Mencius said that the nature was good, he used the word only as an exclamation of praise, not with a meaning opposite to “bad.”

性也者,天地鬼神之奧也,善不足以言之。。。。孟子道性善云者,歎美之辭也不與惡對。HHJ 333; cf. Van Ess 2010: 114 and Chen 2003: 118-20.

Pattern is the great inherent reality of all-under-heaven.

理也者,天下之大體也。ZYHH 11.5/29.

Xunzi said, “There are people who create order; there are no rules that create order.” I humbly submit that we illustrate this by drawing an analogy between wanting to restore order after a period of chaos, and trying to cross a river or lake by boat. The rules are like the boat and the people [i.e. the ruler and his officials] are like the steersman. If the boat is damaged and the rudder is broken, then even if the steersman has seemingly divine technique everyone nevertheless understands that the boat cannot get across. So whenever there is a period of great disorder it is necessary to reform the rules. There has never been a case where one could successfully restore order without reforming the rules.

荀子曰:「有治人,無治法。」竊譬之欲撥亂反之正者如越江湖,法則舟也,人則操舟者也。若舟破楫壞,雖有若神之技,人人知其弗能濟矣。故乘大亂之時必變法。法不變而能成治功者,未之有也。ZYHH 8.18/23-24.

Those who want to restore order should rectify the general guidelines. Only after understanding the general guidelines can the roots be corrected and the branches stabilized. If the general guidelines are not understood then even if some are good at formulating specific clauses and there is the occasional period of good results, in the end there will invariably be places that do not correctly accord with the general guidelines, which in turn will give rise to great chaos..

欲撥亂興治者,當正大綱。知大綱,然後本可正而末可定。大綱不知,雖或善於條目,有一時之功,終必於大網不正之處而生大亂。ZYHH 8.19/24 

By making commanderies in the empire one can maintain a sustained period of peace under normal circumstances but cannot hold up in the face of extraordinary circumstances. By enfeoffing regional governors one can maintain a sustained period of peace under normal circumstances and can also hold up in the face of extraordinary circumstances.

郡縣天下,可以持承平而不可支變故,封建諸侯,可以持承平,可以支變故。ZYHH 4.16/12.

The feudal lords are the mainstay of benevolent government. The Qin people were obsessed with profit; they abolished the enfeoffment system and set up the commandery system for all in the world. After the way of the sages was abandoned, sovereigns all nurtured the idea of conquering all in the world. Therefore, they repeatedly used the commandery system, and could not reform it. Alas! The moment one develops the idea to take over all in the world, the basis of the Kingly Way has already been destroyed. Under these institutions, they might cultivate virtue and employ the wise, and practice benevolent government, but it would not prevent great chaos.

封建諸侯,仁政之大者也,秦人專利,削除封建,郡縣天下。天運方否,自是而後,聖人之道,不行。人君莫不蓄獨擅天下之心,故襲用郡縣之制,而不能革也。吁!一蓄獨擅天下之心,已亡王道之本。修徳用贒,力行善政,差可不大亂而已。 HWDJ 1141; cf. Song 2011: 317.

Zhu Xi 朱熹

The Buddhists say, ‘The one moon is commonly reflected in all pools of water; in all pools the moon is the same moon.’ Herein the Buddhists have glimpsed the Pattern of the Way.

釋氏云:「一月普現一切水,一切水月一月攝。」這是那釋氏也窺見得這些道理。YL 18/607.

Someone asked, “There is the single Pattern, yet also the Five Norms; how is this?” Master Zhu replied, “You can call it the single Pattern and you can also call it five Patterns. When covering everything, we speak of one; when distinguishing, we speak of five.”

問:「既是一理,又謂五常,何也?」曰:「謂之一理亦可,五理亦可。以一包之則一,分之則五。」YL 6/237.

There is only this Pattern; we can distinguish it in four sections, or into eight sections, or even make still finer distinctions.

只是這箇理,分做四段,又分做八段,又細碎分將去。YL 6/237.

There is just one Pattern of the Way. Divided up, one can speak of it in terms of seasons, in which case there are spring, summer, fall, and winter; . . . or one can speak of it in terms of a day, in which case there are dawn, daylight, twilight, and night.

是一箇道理,界破看,以一歲言之,有春夏秋冬;。。。以一日言之,有旦晝暮夜。YL 18/619.

Basically one cannot speak of Pattern and vital stuff in terms of which is first and which is after. But when we proceed in making inferences, it seems as if Pattern comes first and vital stuff comes after.

理與氣本無先後之可言, 但推上去時,卻如理在先,氣在後相似。 YL 1/115-116; cf. Zhu 1990: 92.

But if one needs to draw inferences about where they come from, it must be said that this Pattern comes first.

然必欲推其所從來,則須說先有是理。YL 1/115.

This Pattern exists, and so this heaven-and-earth exists; if it were not for this Pattern, there would be no heaven-and-earth, no people, no things.

有此理,便有此天地;若無此理,便亦無天地。無人無物。YL 1/114.

Although Pattern produces vital stuff, once it has been produced Pattern is no longer able to control it. Once a Pattern comes to reside in some vital stuff, then how it is deployed in daily affairs depends on this vital stuff: vital stuff is strong while Pattern is weak. … It is like the relationship between fathers and sons. If the sons are worthless characters then their fathers are not able to control them. The reason that the sages established their teachings is precisely because they wanted to save these sorts of sons.

氣雖是理之所生,然既生出,則理管他不得。如這理寓於氣了,日用間運用都由這箇氣,只是氣強理弱。。。。又如父子,若子不肖,父亦管他不得。聖人所以立教,正是要救這些子。YL 4/200.

The not-yet-manifest joy and anger, sorrow and happiness can be compared to being in the center of a room, not yet having determined on setting out to the north, south, east, or west; this is what is called “being centered.” With respect to their manifesting, this is like having left through a door – if to the east, then there is no need to also exit west. … When each exiting is in accord with the circumstance without contrariness, that is called “harmony.”

喜怒哀樂未發,如處室中,東西南北未有定向,所謂中也。及其既發,如已出門,東者不復能西,南者不復能北。然各因其事,無所乖逆,所謂和也。YL 62/2037; cf. Fuji 2011: 76.

When the Four Beginnings [i.e., the moral emotions of alarm and commiseration, disdain, deference, and approval and disapproval] are not yet manifest, although [one’s heartmind is] silent and unmoving, yet its center, on its own, has ramifying Pattern (tiaoli 條理); on its own, has structure [literally, rooms and house-frame]; it is not homogenous with nothing in it at all.

蓋四端之未發也,雖寂然不動,而其中自有條理,自有間架,不是儱侗都無一物。WJ 58/2779; cf. Graham 1986: 432.

[Without a distinction between the everyday flow of desires and the Way, one] falls into the Buddhists’ mistake of seeing all functioning whatsoever as the nature.

。。。而墮於釋氏作用是性之失。ZYHW A/557; cf. Araki 2008: 284.

If we did not have this Pattern within us inherently, how could there be this ‘beginning’ on the outside? Since we have this beginning on the outside of us, we know for sure that we have this Pattern within us, without possibility of deception.

使其本無是理於内,則何以有是端於外?由其有是端於外所以必知有是理於内,而不可誣也。WJ 58/2779; cf. Graham 1986: 433.

When there is a stimulus from outside, the inside then responds, as when, upon encountering the stimulus of a baby about to fall into a well, the Pattern of humaneness responds, and the emotion of alarm-and-commiseration takes form; or when, upon encountering the stimulus of passing a temple, the Pattern of propriety responds, and the emotion of respect takes form. From within, where the myriad Patterns are all integrally and indivisibly possessed, individual Patterns become distinctly manifest. WJ 58/2779; cf. Graham 1986: 432.


That through which Pattern is realized in practice necessarily follows vital stuff that has been made into substrate (zhi).

理之所以行,又必因氣以為質也。MZHW 3/934.

The contingent constitution is the result of yin and yang and the five phases; nature is the complete inherent reality of the supreme pivot. When speaking specifically of the nature of the contingent constitution, this is simply the complete inherent reality descended into the midst of contingent constitution, and not another, distinct nature.

氣質是陰陽五行所爲,性即太極之全體。但論氣質之性,則此全體墮在氣質之中耳,非別有一性也。WJ 61.

Nature is just Pattern. Without the heavenly vital stuff and earthly substrate, though, this Pattern would have nowhere to reside. … Thus when speaking of nature, it is necessary to simultaneously speak of contingent constitution (qizhi) in order to be complete.

性只是理。然無那天氣地質,則此理沒安頓處。。。。故說性,須兼氣質說方備。YL 4/195.

Discussing ‘the nature of heaven and earth’ is only to refer to Pattern, but discussing ‘the embodied nature’ is to speak of Pattern and vital stuff mixed together.

論天地之性,則專指理言;論氣質之性,則以理與氣雜而言之。 YL 4/196.

What the Buddhists call ‘nature’ is what the [Confucian] sages call ‘heartmind’; what the Buddhists call ‘heartmind’ is what the sages call ‘intention.’

佛氏所謂性,正聖人所謂心;佛氏所謂心,正聖人所謂意。YL 126/3939.

Preserve the correctness of the inherent heartmind and never depart from it.

守其本心之正而不離也。ZYZJ Preface; cf. Johnston and Wang 2012: 400.

Heaven and earth are inherently existing things; they are not created by our heartminds.

且天地乃本有之物,非心所能生也。WJ 70/3403.

Heartmind is not placed between the already manifest and the not yet manifest; it is both, through-and-through.

心無間於已發未發。徹頭徹尾都是,那處截做已發未發。YL 5/220; cf. Fuji 2011: 163-4.

The one heartmind possesses the myriad Patterns.

一心具萬理。YL 9.

Heartmind includes nature.

心包性。 YL 98/3305; cf. Fuji 2011: 156.

Pattern is just in the midst of heartmind.

理便在心之中。YL 5.

The heartmind is mastered by the nature and put into effect by the emotions.

心者,主乎性而行乎情。YL 5/230.

The heartmind is one. When we speak of it from the perspective of its containing cosmic Pattern and its spontaneous manifestation in each circumstance, we call it “Way heartmind.” From the perspective of having goals and conscious motives, we call it “human heartmind.” Now having goals and conscious motives is not always bad. We still call it “selfish desire” since it is not completely spontaneously manifesting from cosmic Pattern.

蓋心一也。自其天理備具,隨處發現而言,則謂之「道心」。自其有所營為謀慮而言,則謂之「人心」。夫營為謀慮非皆不善也。便謂之私欲者,蓋只一毫髮不從天理上自然發出。WJ 32/1396; cf. Fuji 2011: 60.

Human heartmind with the consciousness of the Way heartmind.

即人心而識道心也。WJ 32/1396; cf. Fuji 2011: 60.

[Someone asked]: ‘How is the idea that “the intentions are the manifestations of the heartmind” related to emotions and the nature?’ [Zhu] replied: Intentions are very close to emotions.”

問:「意者心之所發,與情性如何?」曰:「意也與情相近。」YL 98/3305.

Intentions are the manifestation of the heartmind, emotions are the movement of the heartmind, and commitment is the direction of the heartmind. Commitment is more important than intention or emotion.

意者,心之所發;情者,心之所動;志者,心之所之,比於情、意尤重。 YL 5/232.

Eating and drinking are the cosmic Pattern, but demanding delicious flavors is human desire.

飲食者,天理也;要求美味,人欲也。YL 13/389; cf Chan 1989: 200.

Alarm and commiseration, disdain, deference, approval and disapproval: these are emotions. Humaneness, righteousness, propriety, wisdom: these are nature. The heartmind unites nature and emotion. ‘Beginning’ refers to a clue: because of the emotion’s manifestation, the inherent reality of the nature is observable, like when there is an externally visible clue to something hidden inside.

惻隱、羞惡、辭讓、是非,情也。仁、義、禮、智,性也。心,統性情者也。端,緒也。因其情之發,而性之本然可得而見,猶有物在中而緒見於外也。MZJZ 2A:6.

The four beginnings are the manifestation of Pattern; the seven emotions are the manifestation of vital stuff.

四端是理之發,七情是氣之發。 YL 53/1776.

The emotion emerges from the nature and is good.

此情之出於性而善者也。YL 5/228.

As for alarm and commiseration and shame and dislike, there are cases when they hit the proper measure and cases when they do not hit the proper measure. If one feels alarm and commiseration when it is inappropriate…then it is not hitting the proper measure.

惻隱羞惡,也有中節、不中節。若不當惻隱而惻隱,不當羞惡而羞惡,便是不中節。YL 53/1762.

When one has this nature, one will express these emotions. Via the emotions, one sees the nature. Today there are these emotions, we can then see that inherently there is this nature.

有這性,便發出這情;因這情,便見得這性。因今日有這情,便見得本來有這性。YL 5/224; cf. Virag 2007: 81.

The sage’s joy and anger are supremely impartial and smoothly responsive, the extremity of cosmic Pattern.

聖人之喜怒,大公而順應,天理之極也。WJ 67/3277.

Nature is like the heartmind’s field, filling all the emptiness, all is simply Pattern.

性如心之田地,充此中虛,莫非是理而已。YL 98/3305.

Having seen the ox, this heartmind was already manifest and could not be suppressed, while not yet having seen the sheep, its Pattern had not yet taken form and there were no [emotions] to hinder him.

然見牛則此心已發而不可遏,未見羊則其理未形而無所妨。MZJZ 1A.7/254.

There is only one kind of knowing! The only issue is whether it is genuine or not. This is the only difference at issue; it is definitely not the case that after we have sensory knowing we later have another instance of knowing.

知,只是一樣知,但有真不真,爭這些子,不是後來又別有一項知。YL 34/1255, cf. Zhu 1986: 242.

In order to be able to learn, we must possess senses of seeing and hearing. How can we possibly do without them? We work hard with our senses until we freely arrive at an interconnected understanding. Ordinarily, when we study something by relying on senses, a single affair only leads us to know a single principle. However, when we reach the stage of an interconnected understanding, all Pattern becomes one.

如今人理會學,須是有見聞,豈能舍此?先是於見聞上做工夫到,然後脫然貫通。蓋尋常見聞,一事只知得一箇道理,若到貫通,便都是一理。YL 98/3311, cf. Zhu 1986: 242.

In the midst of daily affairs, there is nothing that is not the pervasive circulation of cosmic Pattern.

日用之間,莫非天理之流行矣。 LYZJ 12:1/167.

Rules to which [a thing or affair] should confirm.

其所當然之則。DXHW A/512.

Seeing an instance of how things should be and being unable not to do it.

見其所當然而不容已。YL 18/625.

If someone does not see “how things should be and be unable not to do it,” then all he or she can do is rely on some past model as a guide to how to respond. When someone genuinely sees that it is something that “I ought to do,” then there will naturally be that which he or she cannot stop doing. For example, a minister must be devoted: so long as one sees this and is not just mouthing the words, then in acting as a minister one cannot avoid being devoted.

今人未嘗看見「當然而不容已」者,只是就上較量一箇好惡爾。如真見得這底是我合當為,則自有所不可已者矣。如為臣而必忠,非是謾說如此,蓋為臣不可以不忠。YL 18/625.

Someone asked: “How is it that Pattern is ‘unable to stop’?” Master Zhu replied: “The normative force of Pattern is naturally unable to stop. Mencius understood this most clearly, and thus said, ‘Among babes in arms, there are none who do not know to love their parents. When they grow older, there are none who do not know to revere their elder brothers.’ Naturally these are places at which one cannot stop.”

或問:「理之不容已者如何?」曰:「理之所當為者,自不容已。孟子最發明此處。如曰:『孩提之童,無不知愛其親;及其長也,無不知敬其兄。』自是有住不得處。」YL 18/625; Zhu is quoting MC 7A:15.

“Someone asked: ‘When you wrote that “The changes of heaven, earth, ghosts, and spirits; the apt responses of birds, beasts, flowers and trees – none can avoid seeing an instance of how things should be and being unable not to do it,” what did you mean by “be unable not to do it”?’ Zhu replied: ‘Spring gives life and autumn kills: this is unavoidable. At the acme of yin, yang is born. Even if behind your back someone tried to interfere, how could it be avoided!

問:「或問云:『天地鬼神之變,鳥獸草木之宜,莫不有以見其所當然而不容已。』所謂『不容已』,是如何?」曰:「春生了便秋殺,他住不得。陰極了,陽便生。如人在背後,只管來相趲,如何住得!」淳。寓錄云:「春生秋殺,陽開陰閉,趲來趲去,自住不得。」YL 18/625.

At first one is simply devoted or filial, and then later one comes to know that by which one is filial and that by which one is devoted, and one cannot be budged.

初時也只忠孝,後來便知所以孝,所以忠,移動不得。YL 23/813.

As far as things in the cosmos go, we can be certain that each has a reason by which it is as it is, and a rule to which it should conform. This is what is meant by Pattern.

至於天下之物、則必各有所以然之故、與其所當然之則。所謂理也。DXHW A/512; cf. Zhu 1990: 90.

[Compared with the rule to which it should conform,] the “reason by which it is as it is” takes it up one level. For example, that by which a lord is humane: the lord is the ruler while the people and territory are his concern. He naturally employs humane love. If we think about this relationship without humane love, it just does not work. This is not to say that a lord cannot help but use humane love; it is rather that to do so matches with Pattern.

所以然之故,即是更上面一層。如君之所以仁,蓋君是箇主腦,人民土地皆屬它管,它自是用仁愛。試不仁愛看,便行不得。非是說為君了,不得已用仁愛,自是理合如此。YL 17/585.

Knowing is our heartmind being stimulated by something.

知之者,心之感也。WJ 67/3263.

The heartmind’s discerning is that whereby we possess this Pattern and activate this emotion.

心之知覺,即所以具此理而行此情者也。WJ 55/2590; cf. Fuji 2011: 172.

That which has zhijue we call the heartmind.

有知覺謂之心。YL 140/4340.

Our heartmind is our zhijue, that which is the master of our body and which responds to things and affairs.

心者人之知覺,主於身而應事物者也。WJ 65/3180.

As for a child falling into a well, this is something that all people can perceive; when one is able to analogically extend to clarity this ‘beginning’ that has manifested to one, then that is [genuine] clarity.

蓋赤子入井,人所共見,能於此發端處推明,便是明。YL 14/436.

For cosmic Pattern is never in all the ages extinguished in any human being; no matter how it is covered over or confined, cosmic Pattern is always constantly there just as ever, emerging from within selfish desire at every moment without cease – it is just that human beings are not aware of it.   It is exactly like a bright pearl or a large shell partly covered in sand and gravel, successively flashing forth here and there.   Just recognize and gather these successive flashes of the Way and its principles [daoli] right where they appear, joining them together until they gradually become an integral whole.

蓋天理在人,恆萬古而不泯;任其如何蔽錮,而天理常自若,無時不自私意中發出,但人不自覺。正如明珠大貝,混雜沙礫中,零零星星逐時出來 。但只於這箇道理發見處,當下認取,簇合零星,漸成片段。YL 117/3677.

Analogically extend to that by which [something is as it is].

推其所以然處。YL 23/811.

Explicate that by which [it is as it is].

論其所以然矣。YL 18/625.

In matters of life and death, preservation and destruction, there were times when they couldn’t act directly on their [good] impulses but had to weigh things carefully, then act.

一般國家大事, 係死生存亡之際 ,有不可直情徑行處,便要權其輕重而行。 YL 13/404; cf. Zhu 1990: 188.

The ‘awaken’ in ‘The first awakened awaken the later awakened’ is the awakening of self-enlightenment, much like when the Greater Learning speaks of ‘getting a handle on things and reaching understanding [leading to] unimpeded interpenetration.’

「先覺」「後覺」之「覺」,是自悟之覺,似大學說格物、致知豁然貫通處。YL 58/1859.

As for their order, knowing comes first; as for their significance, action comes first.

論先後,知為先;論輕重,行為重。YL 9/298.

Exhaustively investigating Pattern comes first, but it is not that they are strictly divided into stages of before and after.

窮理為先。然亦不是截然有先後。YL 9/303.

The state when the emotions are not yet manifest cannot be sought, and the state after they are manifest permits no manipulation.

然未發之前不可尋覔,已覺之後不容安排。WJ 64/3130-3131.

“Go out as if you were seeing an important guest”; … “preserve your heartmind and nourish your nature”; …there is only a single Pattern in all of these, and we need only put forth our effort in one place and the rest will be included. The way of sages and worthies is like a room: although all the doors are different, you can enter through any one of them.

出門如見大賓,。。。存心養性。。。其實只一理,只就一處下工夫,則餘者皆兼攝在裏許。聖賢之道如一室,雖門戶不同,從一處行來都入得。XJSL 11.19/204−5; cf. Zhu 1991b: 154.

The chores of cleaning and sweeping, in the formalities of polite conversation and good manners, and in the refinements of ritual, music, archery, charioteering, calligraphy, and mathematics.

灑掃、應對、進退之節,禮、樂、射、御、書、數之文。WJ 36/3672.

[Students who entered the school of greater learning were taught to] exhaustively investigate Pattern, set their heartminds in the right, cultivate themselves, and govern others.

窮理正心、修己治人之道。WJ 36/3672.

Lesser learning is the study of affairs – such as serving one’s ruler, serving one’s father, serving one’s brother, and dealing with one’s friends. It teaches one to behave according to certain rules. Greater learning illuminates the Pattern behind these affairs.
小學是事,如事君,事父,事兄,處友等事,只是教他依此規矩做去。大學是發明此事之理YL 7/269; cf. Zhu 1990: 93.

Only if students are taught to regard reverential attention as central and to discipline their bodies and minds will they be capable of making the proper effort.

只得教人且把敬為主,收斂身心,却方可下工夫。YL 7/269; cf. Zhu 1990: 93.

“Sit as though you were impersonating an ancestor. Stand as though you were performing a sacrifice.” The head should be upright, the eyes looking straight ahead, the feet steady, the hands respectful, the mouth quiet and composed, the bearing solemn – these are all aspects of reverential attention.

「坐如尸,立如齊」,「頭容直,目容端,足容重,手容恭,口容止,氣容肅」,皆敬之目也。YL 12/373.

As for reverential attention, don’t think of it as some matter outside yourself. It is simply to collect your own mental energy and focus it here and now. Now it seems to me the reason none of you are making progress is that you only know how to talk about “getting a handle on things” but are lacking in the fundamentals. Unconcentrated as your mental energy and your intentions are, your effort is unpenetrating. It is not that certain matters in particular distract your thinking; just enjoying the scenery leads your heartmind far astray. How can this compare to maintaining it within at all times? To have absolutely no interest in the inconsequential matters of the world may seem unfeeling at first, but in fact, it is best if this is the case.

敬,莫把做一件事看,只是收拾自家精神,專一在此。今看來諸公所以不進,緣是但知說道格物,邞於自家根骨上煞欠闕,精神意思都恁地不專一,所以工夫都恁地不精銳。未說道有甚底事分自家志慮,只是觀山玩水,也煞引出了心,那得仙教他常在裹面好。如世上一等閑物事,一切都絕意,雖似不近人情,要之,加此方好。YL 12/378; cf. Zhu 1990: 174.

Concentrate fully, without thought of gain.

賣頭理會,不要求效。YL 10/318.

Make a truly fierce effort.

猛施工夫。YL 10/318; cf. Zhu 1990: 132.

Keep your heartmind glued on the text.

將心貼在書上。YL 11/332; cf. Zhu 1990: 145.

Keep your heartmind focused on the text.

將心在那個上面。YL 11/333; cf. Zhu 1990: 146.

Never stop thinking, turning over and over in our heartminds what has already become clear to us.

這工夫須用行思坐想,或將已曉得者再三思省。YL 10/319-320; cf. Zhu 1990: 133.

Once our intimate reading of it and careful reflection on it have led to a clear understanding of it, we must continue to raise doubts. Then there might be additional progress. If we cease questioning, in the end there will be no additional progress.

然熟讀精思既曉得後,又須疑不止如此, 庶幾有進。若以為止如此矣,則終不復有進也。YL 10/322; cf. Zhu 1990: 135.

Book learning is a secondary matter.

讀書乃學者第二事。YL 10/313; cf. Zhu 1990: 128.

When we read the Six Classics, it should be as if there were no Six Classics. We are simply seeking the Pattern of the Way within ourselves.

讀《六經》時,只如未有《六經》,只就自家身上討道理,其理便易曉。YL 11/345; cf. Zhu 1990: 152.

Because we have commentaries to the Classics, we understand the Classics. Once we have understood the Classics, there is no need
for the commentaries. We rely on the Classics simply to understand Pattern. Once we have grasped Pattern, there is no need for the Classics.

經之有解,所以通經。經既通,自無事於解,借經以通乎理耳。理得,則無俟乎經。YL 11/350; cf. Zhu 1990: 157.

If one is dutiful today, but not tomorrow, then one has not attained dutifulness in oneself, and this cannot be called virtue (de 德).

今日忠,明日又不忠,是未有得於我,不可謂之德。YL 34/1218.

Virtue is attaining this Way in one’s self.

德,便是得此道於身。YL 13/397.

The extremity of humaneness and the utmost of righteousness.

仁之至,義之盡。YL 58/1853.

The extremity of cosmic Pattern and human emotion.

天理人情之至也。LYJZ 13.19.

It is like the four seasons. One must see the divisions between the four seasons but also see how the spring embraces the other three seasons. The vital stuff of the four seasons varies from warm, to cool, to hot, to cold. When the vital stuff is cool or cold then life is not produced. When the vital stuff is hot in the summer, this too is not a time for producing life. The vital stuff is warm and rich only in the spring, and only then can one witness the life-producing heartmind of Heaven and Earth. … If the spring did not have the intention to produce living things then the subsequent three seasons would not exist. This is the sense in which humaneness can embrace righteousness, ritual propriety and wisdom.

如春夏秋冬,須看他四時界限,又卻看春如何包得三時。四時之氣,溫涼寒熱,涼與寒既不能生物,夏氣又熱,亦非生物之時。惟春氣溫厚,乃見天 地生物之心。。。。若春無生物之意,後面三時都無了。此仁所以包得義禮智也。YL 20/694.

‘The utmost sincerity in the world’ refers to the genuineness (shi) of a sage’s virtue. Nothing in the world can add to it. For those who completely develop their nature, their virtue is entirely genuine. Thus they have none of the selfishness of human desires; they follow the cosmic decree that is within us all, in both the great and the small, the refined and the crude, never falling even a hair’s breadth short of fully developing it. … ‘Forming a triad with Heaven and Earth’ means to join together with Heaven and Earth in establishing a triad. This is what is done by someone who reaches enlightenment through sincerity.

天下至誠,謂聖人之德之實,天下莫能加也。盡其性者德無不實,故無人欲之私,而天命之在我者,察之由之,巨細精粗,無毫髮之不盡也。。。。與天地參,謂與天地並立為三也。此自誠而明者之事也。ZYZJ 22; cf. Johnston and Wang 2012: 465 and Tiwald and Van Norden 2014: 229.

To live as a man and woman is the most intimate affair, and the exercise of the Way is found therein. This is why the Way of the gentleman is so widespread, and yet secret. It lies within darkness and obscurity, where it cannot be seen atop the sleeping mat, and people may look on it with contempt. But this is not the way of our natural endowment. The Way of the gentleman begins its rise in the confidential moments between husband and wife.

男女居室,人事之至近,而道行乎其间。此君子之道所以费而隐也然幽闇之中衽席之上。人或褻而慢之则天命有所不行矣。此君子之道所以造端乎夫妇之防宻。。。XJSL 6.14/119-120; cf. Tiwald and Van Norden 2014: 295.

The relationship between husbands and wives is the most intimate and the most private of all human relations. We may not want to tell something to a father or brother, but it can all be told one’s wife. These are the most intimate of human affairs and the Way is exercised therein.

夫婦,人倫之至親至密者也。人之所爲,皆有不可以告其父兄,而悉以告其妻者。人事之至近,而道行乎其間。XJSL 6.15/120; cf. Tiwald and Van Norden 2014: 295.

If there are those who are wicked and evil, then you ought to expel them completely.

其果姦且邪耶,則顯然黜之。WJ 28/1244.

[Penal statutes] are, after all, of some help in teaching and transforming people. But fundamentally they are deficient to some extent.

律所以明法禁,非亦有助於教化,但於根本上少有欠闕耳。JSL 9.20/431; cf. Zhu & Lü 1967: 234.

[Zhu’s] students were discussing the defects of the commandery and enfeoffment systems. The Master said, “In general established laws (fa) invariably have defects and no laws are without them. What is really important is to get the right person for the job. If the person is right then even if the laws are not good he will still amply make up the difference in score. If the person is not right and yet the laws are good, how could this improve anything?”

諸生論郡縣封建之弊。曰:「大抵立法必有弊,未有無弊之法,其要只在得人。若是箇人,則法雖不善,亦占分數多了;若非其人,則有善法,亦何益於事!YL 108/3513.

Lu Xiangshan 陸象山

To claim that tranquility alone is cosmic nature—does this imply that movement is not an expression of cosmic nature? The Book of Documents says, “The human heartmind is precarious. The Way heartmind is subtle.” Many commentators understand the ‘human heartmind’ to mean human desires and the ‘Way heartmind’ to mean cosmic Pattern. But this is wrong. There is only one heartmind. How could humans have two heartminds?

且如專言靜是天性,則動獨不是天性耶?《書》雲:「人心惟危,道心惟微。」解者多指人心為人欲,道心為天理,此說非是。心一也,人安有二心?Lu 1980, 395-6; cf. Ivanhoe 2010: 78.

Earlier insights expressed Pattern in response to particular times and so what they recommended does not always agree.

然往哲之言,因時乘理,其指不一。 Lu 1980, 263; cf. Ivanhoe 2009: 81.

The Six Classics are all my footnotes.

六經皆我註腳。XSYL A/395.

The universe is my heartmind; my heartmind is the universe.

宇宙便是吾心,吾心即是宇宙. Lu 1980: 273; cf. Ivanhoe 2010: 253n16; and Araki 2008: 295.

Chen Chun 陳淳

As soon as we hear that the guests will be coming, naturally there is a feeling of cordiality calmly aroused in our heartminds. That is humaneness. This feeling having been calmly aroused in the heartmind, we solemnly go to receive them with respect. That is ritual propriety. Having received them, we then must discuss together what to provide for them, perhaps tea or perhaps wine. When the matter of how much to offer and how far to go has been settled in the right way, this is righteousness. To understand definitely how much to offer and how far to go is wisdom. Trustworthiness is being genuine from the beginning to the end.

初才聞之,便自有個懇惻之心,怛然動於中,是仁。此心既怛然動於中,便肅然起敬去接他,是禮。既接見畢,便須商量合作如何待,或吃茶,或飲酒,輕重厚薄,處之得宜,是義。或輕或重,或厚或薄, 明白一定,是智。從首至末皆真實,是信。BXZY A/21; cf. Chen 1986: 74.

Chen Xianzhang 陳憲章

What I mean by “did not acquire anything” is that this heartmind of mine and this Pattern of world outside me did not coincide with and match one another. Then I forsook all the complexities of other methods and pursued, through quiet sitting alone, what was essential within myself. In time I was able to see the inherent reality of my own heartmind manifested inscrutably.

所謂未得,謂吾此心與此理未有湊泊脗合處也。於是舍彼之繁,求吾之約,惟在靜坐,久之,然後見吾此心之體隱然呈露。Chen 1987, 145; cf. Kim 2001: 20.

Those who learn should seek the Way not only in books but in the heartmind. They should take note of the incipience (ji) of movement and tranquility and of being and non-being. They should extend and nourish what they have within themselves. They must not be confused by what they see and hear. They must get rid of the fragmented functioning of the senses.

學者苟不但求之書而求諸吾心,察於動靜有無之機,致養其在我者,而勿以聞見亂之,去耳目支離之用。Chen 1987, 20; cf. Kim 2001: 23.

Wu Yubi 吳與弼


固守清貧!RL 17/10.

How lovely it is today to behold the vital impulse of all the various plants!

觀百卉,生意可愛。RL 145/41.

Now where can I find a good friend to help me realize this ambition of mine to reach sagehood?

安得良朋輔我此心?RL 101/31.

This evening, slowly walking through the fields, I was silently chanting passages from Centrality and Commonality. I took my time, going over each word and phrase, chanting them with great feeling. Realized in my heartmind, verified by my experiences, this book has given me a great deal of insight.

夜徐行田間,默誦《中庸》字字句句,從容泳歎,體於心,驗於事,所得頗多。 RL 49/18.

Wang Yangming 王陽明

In the inherent reality of heartmind, there is no distinction between good and bad;

When intentions are activated, there is distinction between good and bad;

Good knowing is that which knows good and bad;

Getting a handle on things does good and removes bad.





CXL 315/102; cf. Wang 1963: 243 and Shun 2011: 105.

When the seven emotions follow their spontaneous courses of operation, they are all the function of good knowing, and cannot be separated into good and bad.

七情順其自然之流行,皆是良知之目,不可分別善惡。CXL 290/97.

There is but one good knowing, and good and bad are thereby distinguished; what other good and bad is there to think about?

良知只是一箇良知,而善惡自瓣,更有何善何惡可思? CXL 162/58.

Was there someone before him who did the same thing and served as an example for him, which he could find out by looking into certain records and asking certain people, after which he did as he did? Or did he seek the genuine knowing in an instant of his heartmind’s thinking, thereby weighing all factors as to what was proper, after which he could not help doing what he did?


In the matter of serving one’s parents, it will not do to seek a Pattern of filial piety in one’s parents, and in the matter of serving one’s ruler, it will not do to seek a Pattern of devotion in one’s ruler. … They are all in this heartmind; heartmind is Pattern. When the heartmind is free from all obscuration by selfish desires, it just is cosmic Pattern, which requires not an iota added from the outside.

且如事父,不成去父上求箇孝的理。事君,不成去君上求箇忠的理。。。。都只在此心。心即理也。此心無私欲之蔽,即是天理。不須外面添一分。CXL 3/2; cf. Wang 1963: 7.

[Concerning Cheng Yi’s statement that “What is in a thing is Pattern,”] the word “heartmind” should be added, so that it reads: “When heartmind is engaged in a thing, there is Pattern.” For example, when this heartmind is engaged in serving one’s parent, there is filial piety.

在字上當添一心字:此心在物則為理,如此心在事父則為孝。CXL 321/106: cf. Wang 1963: 251.

What emanates from the heartmind is the intention. The inherent reality of intention is knowing, and wherever the intention is directed is a thing. For example, when one’s intention is directed toward serving one’s parents, then serving one’s parents is a ‘thing.’ When one’s intention is directed toward serving one’s ruler, then serving one’s ruler is a ‘thing.’ … Therefore I say that there are neither things nor Patterns outside of the heartmind.

心之所發便是意。意之本體便是知。意之所在便是物。如意在於事親,即事親便是一物。意在於事君,即事君便是一物。。。。所以某說無心外之理,無心外之物。CXL 6/4-5; cf. Wang 1963, 14.

The master was strolling in the mountains of Nan Zhen when a friend pointed to the flowering tress on a nearby cliff and said, “If in all the world, there is no Pattern outside the heartmind, what do you say about these flowering trees, which blossom and drop their flowers on their own, deep in the mountains? What have they to do with my heartmind?”

The master said, “Before you looked at these flowers they along with your heartmind had reverted to a state of silence and solitude. When you came and looked upon these flowers, their colors became clear. This shows that these flowers are not outside your heartmind.”

先 生 遊 南 鎮 , 一 友 指 巖 中 花 樹 問 曰 : 「 天 下 無 心 , 外 之 物 : 如 此 花 樹 , 在 深 山 中 自 開 自 落 , 於 我 心 亦 何 相 關 ? 」 先 生 曰 : 「 你 未 看 此 花 時 , 此 花 與 汝 心 同 歸 於 寂 : 你 來 看 此 花 時 , 則 此 花 顏 色 一 時 明 白 起 來 : 便 知 此 花 不 在 你 的 心 外 。 」CXL 275/94; cf. Wang 1963: 222 and Ivanhoe 2009: 109.

When the seven emotions follow their spontaneous (ziran) courses of operation, they are all the functioning of good knowing.

七情順其自然之流行,皆是良知之用。CXL 290/97; cf. Wang 1963: 229.

Good knowing is simply a place in which one’s clear consciousness of cosmic Pattern is spontaneously revealed; its inherent reality is simply a true sincerity and commiseration.

蓋良知只是一箇天理自然明覺發見處,只是一箇真誠惻怛,便是他本體。CXL189/73-74; cf. Wang 1963: 176.

A father’s love for his son is of course the noblest feeling. Nevertheless, cosmic Pattern naturally has a point of centeredness and harmony. To be excessive means to have selfish intentions. On such an occasion most people think that according to cosmic Pattern they should be sorrowful. They do not realize that they are already affected by worries and anxieties and their heartminds will not be correct. Generally speaking, the influence of the seven emotions is in the majority of cases excessive, and only in the minority of cases insufficient. As soon as it is excessive, it is not in accord with the inherent reality of the heartmind. It must be adjusted to reach the center before it will be correct.

父之愛子,自是至情。然天理亦自有箇中和處。過即是私意。人於此處多認做天理當憂,則一向憂苦,不知己,是『有所憂患,不得其正』。大抵七情所感,多只是過,少不及者。才過便非心之本體。必須調停適中始得。CXL 44/15-16.

You spoke about following one’s emotions and intentions (yi), and acting according to these as though they were good knowing, rather than according to the real good knowing. This shows that you have already located the danger. Intentions and good knowing should be clearly distinguished from one another. Intention arises out of response to an object, and can be either good or bad. Good knowing is that which can distinguish between the good and bad in the intention. When one follows one’s good knowing, all that one does cannot be wrong.

所云任情任意,認作良知,及作意為之,不依本來良知,而自謂良知者,既已察識其病矣。意與良知當分別明白。凡應物起念處,皆謂之意。意則有是有非,能知得意之是與非者,則謂之良知。依得良知,即無有不是矣。WL 6/183, emphasis added; cf. Wang 1972: 114.

Our inherent heartmind is as bright and clear as the sun in daytime. No one who has faults does not know them himself.

本心之明,皎如白日,無有有過而不自知者。WL 4/147; cf. Wang 1972: 49.

Whenever [one is attached to an instance of the seven emotions], the emotion becomes selfish desire and an obscuration to good knowing. Nevertheless, as soon as there is any attachment, good knowing is naturally aware of it. As it is aware of it, the obscuration will be gone and its structure will be restored.

七情有著,俱謂之欲,俱為良知之蔽。然纔有著時,良知亦自會覺,覺即蔽去,復其體矣。CXL 290/97; cf. Wang 1963: 229.

Good knowing (liangzhi) does not come from the senses (jianwen), and yet all the senses are functions of good knowing. Therefore good knowing is not impeded by the senses. Nor is it separated from the senses. … So outside of good knowing, there is no other knowing. Therefore reaching good knowing is the great basis of learning and the first principle of the teaching of the sage. Now solely to seek in the subsidiary sources of the senses is to lose that basis, thus clearly falling to the secondary level.

良知不由見聞而有,而見聞莫非良知之用。故良知不滯於見聞,而亦不離於見聞。。。。良知之外,別無知矣。故致良知是學問大頭腦,是聖人教人第一義。今云專求之見聞之末,則是失卻頭腦,而已落在第二義矣。CXL 168/62; cf. Wang 1963: 150.

To know the specifics of caring for the comfort of parents … is a type of knowing but cannot be called reaching understanding. It is necessary to reach the type of knowing that understands the specifics of how to care for one’s parents and realizes this by means of caring; … only then can this be called reaching understanding. Caring for the comfort of parents must be carried out entirely according to what the good knowing knows to be the specifics of caring for them, without the least bit undone. … Only then can things be said to have been handled.

知如何而為溫清之節。。。所謂知也。而未可謂之致知。必致其知如何為溫清之節者之知,而實之以溫清。。。然後謂之致知。必其於溫清之事也,一如其良知之所知當如何為溫清之節者而為之,無一毫之不盡。。。。然後謂之格物。CXL 138/42-43: cf. Wang 1963: 106.

[People of old were all able to learn about virtue because in those days,] there was no pursuit after the knowing of hearing and seeing to confuse them, no memorization and recitation to hinder them, no writing of flowery compositions to indulge in, and no chasing after success and profit.

無有聞見之雜,記誦之煩,辭章之靡濫,功利之馳逐。CXL 142/47; cf. Wang 1963: 119.

What later scholars called understanding and examination are, after all, narrowly constrained to hearing and seeing and obscured by wrong habits of thought. They follow, grope after, and imitate what is apparent or illusory.

但後儒之所謂著、察者,亦是狃於聞見之俠,蔽於沿習之非,而依擬倣像於影響形跡之間。CXL 165/60 cf. Wang 1963: 147.

But people today instead separate knowing and acting into two distinct tasks to perform and think that one must first know and only then can one act. They say, “Now I will perform the task of knowing by studying and learning. Once I have attained real knowledge, I then will pursue the tasks of acting.” And so, till the end of their days, they never act, and till the end of their days, they never know. This is not a minor malady, nor did arrive just yesterday. My current teaching regarding the unity of knowing and acting is a medicine directed precisely at this disease.

今人卻就將知行分作兩件去做。以為必先知了,然後能行。我如今且去講習討論做知的工夫。待知得真了,方去做行的工夫。故遂終身不行,亦遂終身不知。此不是小病痛,其來已非一日矣。 某今說箇知行合一,正是對病的藥。CXL 5/4; cf. Ivanhoe 2009: 142.

Knowing is the intent of acting, and acting is the effort of knowing.

知是行的主意。行是知的功。 CXL 5/3−4; cf. Ivanhoe 2009: 142.

Knowing is the beginning of acting, and acting is the completion of knowing.

知是行之始。行是知之成。CXL 5/3−4; cf. Ivanhoe 2009: 142.

Where the knowing is honest and genuine, it is acting; where acting is discerning and finely observing, it is knowing.

知之真切篤實處,即是行。行之明覺精察處,即是知。CXL 133/37; cf. Wang 1963: 93.

Knowing is like water; that our heartmind is never without good knowing is like the fact that water is never without an impulse to go down.

知猶水也,人心之無不知,猶水之無不就下也;決而行之,無有不就下者。WL 5/277.

The ways to raise and cultivate young boys are to lure them to singing so their intentions (zhiyi) will be roused, to direct them to practice ritual so their demeanor will be dignified, and to urge them to read and recite in order to open their perception. … Singing is also to release through singing their energy as expressed in jumping around and shouting, and to free them through rhythm from depression and repression.

今教童子。。。其栽培涵養之方,則宜誘之歌詩以發其志意,導之習禮以肅其威儀,諷之讀書以開其知覺。。。[誘之歌詩者] 。。。亦所以洩其跳號呼嘯於詠歌,宣其幽抑結滯於音節也。CXL 195/76-7.

In trying to subdue the self, every selfish thought must be thoroughly and completely wiped out without leaving even an iota.

克己須要掃除廓清,一毫不存方是。CXL 60/18.

Embody the inherent reality of your own heartmind at all times and see to it that it is as clear as a mirror and as even as a balance. Then you will find the not-yet-manifest centeredness.

體當自家心體,常要鑑空衡平,這便是未發之中。CXL 119/30.

Genuine knowing is the not-yet-manifest centeredness.

真知即是未發之中。CXL 155/54-55.

In the task of learning, wherever there is singleness, sincerity will prevail, but wherever there is doubleness, there will be falsehood.

凡學問之功,一則誠,二則偽。CXL 170/154.

Activity and tranquility may refer to the heartmind’s engaging in something or nothing, but good knowing makes no distinction between doing something and doing nothing.

有事、無事可以言動、靜,而良知無分於有事、無事也。CXL 157/62; cf. Wang 1963: 136.

Steeps one in centeredness and harmony without knowing why.

人於中和而不知其故。CXL 195/77.

In reading, the value does not lie in the amount but in learning the material well.

凡授書不在徒多,但貴精熟。CXL 199/78.

Sages and worthies teach in the same way that physicians prescribe medicine. They always match the treatment to the ailment, taking into consideration the various symptoms and, whenever appropriate, adjusting the dosage. Their sole aim is to eliminate the ailment. They have no predetermined course of action.

聖賢教人如醫用藥,皆因病立方,酌其虛實溫涼陰陽內外而時時加減之,要在去病,初無定說。WL 41/1567; cf. Tiwald and Van Norden 2014: 263−4.

One calls the cosmic mandate within me my nature; when I attain this nature, one calls it virtue.

天命於我謂之性,我得此性謂之德。Wang 1992: 1168.

[The magistrate] has to see why the party in the wrong might have done something because he could not help it, while the party in the right may also have shown some faults. In this way, [the magistrate] would allow the persecuted party to state his situation, while the party receiving redress also must not escape responsibility. This would be to exhaust to the utmost the impartiality (gong) of Pattern.

其事之曲者,既有以辨其情之不得已;而辭之直者,復有以察其處之或未當。使受罪者得以伸其情,而獲伸者亦有所不得辭其責,則有以盡夫事理之公。WJ 3/665; cf. Wang 1972: 70.

When you interrogate a litigant, do not become angry because his replies are impolite or glad because his words are smooth; do not punish him because you hate his effort to solicit help from your superiors; … do not decide the case carelessly on the spur of the moment because you are busy with your own affairs. … To do any of these is selfish. You need only to follow what you know in yourself. You must carefully examine and control yourself, lest your heartmind become in the least prejudiced and distort who is right and who is wrong.

「如問一詞訟 , 不可因 其應對無狀 , 起箇怒心:不可因他言語圓轉 生箇喜心:不可惡其囑託, 加意治之:不可因其請求,屈意從之:不可因自己事務煩冗,隨意苟且斷之;不可因旁人譖毀羅織,隨人意思處之:這許多意思皆私,只爾自知,須精細省察克治,惟恐此心有一毫偏倚,杜人是非。 」 CXL 218/83; cf. Wang 1963: 197-8.

Luo Qinshun 羅欽順

Pattern is only the pattern of vital stuff … [it is not that there is] a single entity that acts as a controlling power.

理只是氣之理。。。一物主宰乎其間者。KZJ C 68; KJZ A 5; cf. Luo 1987: 173, 59.

Knowing … is a marvelous function of the heartmind, and love … is the cosmic Pattern of the human heartmind. On the basis of the fact that without need for reflection one spontaneously knows to love one’s parents, we thus call this ‘good knowing.’ But recently there are those who take good knowing to be cosmic Pattern. But then what role is played by love?

盖知能乃人心之妙用。愛敬乃人心之天理也。以其不待思慮而自知此。故謂之良。近時有以良知為天理者。然則愛敬果何物乎?KZJ 3A.

If one’s learning is not extensive and one’s discussion is not detailed, one’s vision will be limited by the confines of one’s own heartmind, and however one may wish to be free from error, it will be impossible.

茍學之不博說之不詳而蔽其見於方寸之間雖欲不差弗可得已。KZJ A/22-23; cf. Luo 1987: 106.

[Many students in the Northern Song] no longer directed their thoughts to the Pattern of heaven and earth and the myriad things. … [Thus they were] reduced to onesidedness and solely preoccupied with the self. […The Cheng brothers taught the concept of “getting a handle on things” with the intent that the student would] achieve corresponding illumination of things and the self, perfect interfusion of inner and outer, and complete integration of subject and object.

其於天地萬物之理不復置思。。。。䧟於一偏蔽於一已。。。。物我兼照内外俱融彼此交盡。KZJ A/3; cf. Luo 1987: 55.

The way that this Pattern operates in the world is such that out of unity there proceed the myriad things without the intervention of any artificial contrivance. And when the many reconverge into the one, what possibility could there be for selfish manipulation? Thus to “seek within oneself” one must begin with one’s own nature and emotions. One then goes on to extend to other things what one has perceived in oneself, and if it is found to be inconsistent, then it is not ultimate Pattern.

夫此理之在天下,由一以之萬,初匪安排之力,㑹萬而歸一,豈容牽合之私?是故,察之於身,宜莫先於性情,即有見焉推之於物,而不通,非至理也。KZJ A/3; cf. Luo 1987: 56.

Luo Rufang 羅汝芳

Reading about the maternal affection and lifelong chastity of his mother as recorded on the tablet, the son is easily moved within his heartmind; reading the tablet inscribed in her memory, he also easily expresses his heartmind outwardly. And is this not just as it should be, when filial piety responds to maternal affection…and love is aroused spontaneously, without restraint?

固宜我世為懷孺人所卹之苦且難者以激之於中,覩諸額之慈與節者以觸之於外。則余前所謂孝以答慈。。。寧不勃然以興而莫之或遏也邪?Luo 2007: 564; cf. Luo 2001: 115.

Our heartminds and our love are innately endowed by the cosmos. What we sense and what we touch stimulate them and arouse them spontaneously. How could this happen in the absence of sincerity?

吾心吾情,根諸天常,而復激於感觸,至於勃然以興而莫之遏焉,不誠而能之也哉!Luo 2007: 564; cf. Luo 2001: 115.

Liu Zongzhou 劉宗周

Emotions are just nature; it is not that the already manifest is emotion, standing in contrast to the word “nature.”

即情即性也,並未嘗以已發為情,與性字對也。MRXA 62/33.

Joy, anger, sorrow, and happiness are used to speak particularly of the four virtues.

喜怒哀樂,專指四德而言,非以七情言也。MRXA 62/11.

Li Zhi 李贄

From the beginning, aural and visual impressions enter in through the ears and eyes. When one allows them to dominate what is within oneself, then the child’s heartmind is lost. As one grows older, one hears and sees what society regards as “moral principles” (daoli). When one allows these to dominate what is within oneself, then the child’s heartmind is lost. As one grows older, the moral principles that one hears and sees grow more numerous with each day, thus extending the breadth of what one “knows” and “feels.” Thereupon, one realizes that one should covet a good reputation, and endeavor to enhance it. One then loses one’s child’s heartmind. One realizes that a bad reputation is to be disdained, and endeavors to conceal it. One then loses one’s child’s heartmind.

蓋方其始也,有聞見從耳目而入,而以為主於其內,而童心失。其長也 ,有道理從聞見而入,而以為主於其內,而童心失。其久也,道理聞見,日以益多 ,則所知所覺,日以益廣,於是焉又知美名之可好也,而務欲以揚之,而童心失。知不美之名之可醜也,而務欲以掩之,而童心失。FSLZ 98; cf. Van Norden and Tiwald 2014: 305.

It is fine to say that there are male and female people, but how could one say that there is male and female vision? It is fine to say that there is shortsightedness and farsightedness, but how could one say that men’s vision is wholly farsighted and women’s vision wholly shortsighted?

故謂人有男女則可,謂見有男女豈可乎?謂見有長短則可,謂男子之見盡長女人之見盡短又豈可乎?FSLZ 59; cf. Tiwald and Van Norden 2014: 301.

Huang Zongxi 黃宗羲

When [the authorities] employ a person they suspect him of selfishness and hire yet another person to keep his selfishness in check. When they implement a policy they worry that it will be easy for people to cheat and establish another policy to guard against cheating. … Consequently, the laws have to be made tight. The tighter the laws, the more disorder that springs up in their midst. These could be called “unruly rules”. … Some pundits say, “There are people who create order; there are no rules that create order.” To this I say, “Only if there are rules that create order can there be people that create order.”

用一人焉則疑其自私,而又用一人以制其私;行一事焉則慮其可欺,而又設一事以防其欺。。。。法愈密而天下之亂即生於法之中,所謂非法之法也。。。。即論者謂有治人無治法,吾以謂有治法而後有治人。MYDFL 23-5; cf. Tiwald and Van Norden 2014: 317.

They should be informed of real conditions among the people and be given some experience of difficult labor and hardship. They must not be shut off in the palace, where everything they learn comes from the eunuchs [who serve them] and palace women alone, so that they get false notions of their own greatness.

天子之子年至十五,則與大臣之子就學於太學,使知民之情偽,且使之稍習於勞苦,毋得閉置宮中,其所聞見不出宦官宮妾之外,妄自崇大也。MYDFL 46; cf. Huang 1993: 107.

Feng Menglong 馮夢龍

When it comes to being loyal, filial, and well-regulated, if one does them by following moral principles (daoli) then they will necessarily be forced, whereas if one does them by following one’s fully realized emotions, then they will necessarily be genuine.

自來忠孝節列之事,從道理上做者必勉強,從至情上出者必真切。Ye 2012: 57.

Conventional Confucians only understand Pattern as a criterion for emotions, not realizing that emotions are the cords that hold Pattern together.

世儒但知理為情之范,孰知情為理之維乎?Ye 2012: 57.

Dai Zhen 戴震

Whatever comes from desire is always for the sake of life and nurture.

凡出於欲,無非以生以養之事 。MZZYSZ A.10/274; cf. Dai 1990: 149.

There can be no greater affliction in a human life than to lack the means to fulfill one’s own life. If, desiring to fulfill one’s own life, one also fulfills the lives of others, this is humaneness. If, desiring to fulfill one’s own life, one reaches the point even of slaying others and paying no heed, this is inhumaneness. Inhumaneness does indeed begin with the desire to fulfill one’s life, and if there were no such desire, necessarily there would be no inhumaneness. But if there were no such desire, then one would also regard the affliction and distress of others in the world with indifference. It is impossible for one to feel that one’s own life need not be fulfilled and yet fulfill the life of another.

人之生也,莫病於無以遂其生。欲遂其生,亦遂人之生,仁也;欲遂其生,至於戕人之生而不顧者,不仁也。不仁,實始於欲遂其生之心;使其無此欲,必無不仁矣。然使其無此欲,則於天下之人,生道窮促,亦將漠然視之。己不必遂其生,而遂人之生,無是情也。MZZYSZ A.10/273; cf. Dai 1990: 146–7.

The Song masters said: “If it does not come from Pattern then it comes from desire, and if it does not come from desire, then it comes from Pattern.” When they see others crying out from hunger and cold, or experiencing the sorrow and resentment of an unfulfilled love, or hoping for life despite being close to death, it is all just “human desire”; they abstractly designate a sentiment devoid of emotion or desire as the “inherent state of cosmic Pattern,” and preserve it in their hearts.

「不出於理則出於欲,不出於欲則出於理」,雖視人之饑寒號呼,男女哀怨,以至垂死冀生,無非人欲,空指一絕情欲之感者為天理之本然,存之於心。MZZYSZ C.40/323; cf. Dai 1990: 387.

Buddhist Texts

Li Tongxuan 李通玄 | Miscellaneous Buddhists | Mingjiao Qisong 明教契嵩 | Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch 六祖壇經

Li Tongxuan 李通玄

Only the arising of emotions obstructs the wisdom of sentient beings.

只為情生智隔。T36.1739.721a6-8; cf. Sunghak Koh 2011: 23.

Miscellaneous Buddhists

The moment one produces emotions, one will be bound [to the world of suffering] for ten thousand kalpas.

瞥爾生情,萬劫羈鎖去。Cited in Anderl 2004: 153.

Mingjiao Qisong 明教契嵩

Good and bad are feelings, not the nature. Why is it that emotions have good and bad but the nature does not? Because the nature is tranquil while the feelings are active. The manifest shape of good and bad becomes apparent in activity.

善惡情也,非性也。情有善惡,而性無善惡者何也?性靜也,情動也。善惡之形,見於動者也。Quoted in Araki 2008: 317n105.

The heartmind alone is called ‘the Way’; clarification of the Way is called “teaching.”

惟心之謂道。闡道之謂教。T 52n2115_002.0654b24; and see the discussion in Xiang 2011: 179.

Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch 六祖壇經

[When there are] no objects that one knows [conceptually; i.e., as a thing distinct from other things], that is called “genuine knowing.”

無一物可知,是名真知。T 48n2008.0356b23.