Mencius. Book III: T'ang Wan Kung. Part II. Chapter IV.

Legge's summary: The labourer is worthy of his hire, and there is no labourer so worthy as the scholar who instructs men in virtue.

1. P'ang Kang asked Mencius, saying, 'Is it not an extravagant procedure to go from one prince to another and live upon them, followed by several tens of carriages, and attended by several hundred men?' Mencius replied, 'If there be not a proper ground for taking it, a single bamboo-cup of rice may not be received from a man. If there be such a proper ground, then Shun's receiving the kingdom from Yâo is not to be considered excessive. Do you think it was excessive?'

2. Kang said, 'No. But for a scholar performing no service to receive his support notwithstanding is improper.'

3. Mencius answered, 'If you do not have an intercommunication of the productions of labour, and an interchange of men's services, so that one from his overplus may supply the deficiency of another, then husbandmen will have a superfluity of grain, and women will have a superfluity of cloth. If you have such an interchange, carpenters and carriage-wrights may all get their food from you. Here now is a man, who, at home, is filial, and abroad, respectful to his elders; who watches over the principles of the ancient kings, awaiting the rise of future learners:-- and yet you will refuse to support him. How is it that you give honour to the carpenter and carriage-wright, and slight him who practises benevolence and righteousness?'

4. P'ang Kang said, 'The aim of the carpenter and carriagewright is by their trades to seek for a living. Is it also the aim of the superior man in his practice of principles thereby to seek for a living?' 'What have you to do,' returned Mencius, 'with his purpose? He is of service to you. He deserves to be supported, and should be supported. And let me ask,-- Do you remunerate a man's intention, or do you remunerate his service.' To this Kang replied, 'I remunerate his intention.'

5. Mencius said, 'There is a man here, who breaks your tiles, and draws unsightly figures on your walls;-- his purpose may be thereby to seek for his living, but will you indeed remunerate him?' 'No,' said Kang; and Mencius then concluded, 'That being the case, it is not the purpose which you remunerate, but the work done.'

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Translated by James Legge, published in 1861 and revised for publication in 1895. Prepared as etext by Stephen R. McIntyre. Noded by schist. Please msg schist if you have suggestions for useful hard-links.

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