Mencius. Book VII: Tsin Sin. Part I. Chapter XLVI.
Legge's summary: Against the princes of his time who occupied themselves with the knowledge of, and regard for, what was of little importance.
1. Mencius said, 'The wise embrace all knowledge, but they are most earnest about what is of the greatest importance. The benevolent embrace all in their love, but what they consider of the greatest importance is to cultivate an earnest affection for the virtuous. Even the wisdom of Yâo and Shun did not extend to everything, but they attended earnestly to what was important. Their benevolence did not show itself in acts of kindness to every man, but they earnestly cultivated an affection for the virtuous.
2. 'Not to be able to keep the three years' mourning, and to be very particular about that of three months, or that of five months; to eat immoderately and swill down the soup, and at the same time to inquire about the precept not to tear the meat with the teeth;-- such things show what I call an ignorance of what is most important.
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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
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