Mencius. Book VI: Kâo Tsze. Part II. Chapter II.

Legge's summary: All may become Yâos and Shuns, and to become so, they have only sincerely, and in themselves, to cultivate Yâo and Shun's principles and ways.

1. Chiâo of Tsâo asked Mencius, saying, 'It is said, "All men may be Yâos and Shuns;"-- is it so?' Mencius replied, It is.'

2. Chiâo went on, 'I have heard that king Wan was ten cubits high, and T'ang nine. Now I am nine cubits four inches in height. But I can do nothing but eat my millet. What am I to do to realize that saying?'

3. Mencius answered him, 'What has this-- the question of size--- to do with the matter? It all lies simply in acting as such. Here is a man, whose strength was not equal to lift a duckling:-- he was then a man of no strength. But to-day he says, "I can lift 3,000 catties' weight," and he is a man of strength. And so, he who can lift the weight which Wû Hwo lifted is just another Wû Hwo. Why should a man make a want of ability the subject of his grief? It is only that he will not do the thing.

4. 'To walk slowly, keeping behind his elders, is to perform the part of a younger. To walk quickly and precede his elders, is to violate the duty of a younger brother. Now, is it what a man cannot do-- to walk slowly? It is what he does not do. The course of Yâo and Shun was simply that of filial piety and fraternal duty.

5. 'Wear the clothes of Yâo, repeat the words of Yâo, and do the actions of Yâo, and you will just be a Yâo. And, if you wear the clothes of Chieh, repeat the words of Chieh, and do the actions of Chieh, you will just be a Chieh.'

6. Chiâo said, 'I shall be having an interview with the prince of Tsâu, and can ask him to let me have a house to lodge in. I wish to remain here, and receive instruction at your gate.'

7. Mencius replied, 'The way of truth is like a great road. It is not difficult to know it. The evil is only that men will not seek it. Do you go home and search for it, and you will have abundance of teachers.'

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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.