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

Legge's summary: How Mencius regulated himself in differently acknowledging favours which he received.

1. When Mencius was residing in Tsâu, the younger brother of the chief of Zan, who was guardian of Zan at the time, paid his respects to him by a present of silks, which Mencius received, not going to acknowledge it. When he was sojourning in P'ing-lû, Ch'û, who was prime minister of the State, sent him a similar present, which he received in the same way.

2. Subsequently, going from Tsâu to Zan, he visited the guardian; but when he went from Ping-lû to the capital of Ch'î, he did not visit the minister Ch'û. The disciple Wû-lû was glad, and said, 'I have got an opportunity to obtain some instruction.'

3. He asked accordingly, 'Master, when you went to Zan, you visited the chief's brother; and when you went to Ch'î, you did not visit Ch'û. Was it not because he is only the minister?'

4. Mencius replied, 'No. It is said in the Book of History, "In presenting an offering to a superior, most depends on the demonstrations of respect. If those demonstrations are not equal to the things offeredred, we say there is no offering, that is, there is no act of the will presenting the offering."

5. 'This is because the things so offered do not constitute an offering to a superior.'

6. Wû-lû was pleased, and when some one asked him what Mencius meant, he said, 'The younger of Zan could not go to Tsâu, but the minister Ch'û might have gone to P'ing-lû.'

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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.