Mencius

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The way of learning is none other than finding the lost mind.

Mencius [孟子; Mèng Zǐ; Meng Tzu; Zhuyin Fuhao: ㄇㄥˋ ㄗˇ] ( 372 – 289 BC, or perhaps 385 – 303/302 BC) is one of the most famous Confucian philosophers.

Quotes[edit]

  • If the king loves music, there is little wrong in the land.
    • Discourses, as quoted in Presser Etude, Vol. 63 (1945), ed. 9, p. 496

The Mencius[edit]

He who exerts his mind to the utmost knows his nature.
  • He who outrages benevolence is called a ruffian: he who outrages righteousness is called a villain. I have heard of the cutting off of the villain Chow, but I have not heard of the putting of a ruler to death.
    • 1B:8, In relation to righteousness and the overthrow of the tyrannous King Zhou of Shang, as translated in China (1904) by Sir Robert Kennaway Douglas, p. 8
    • Variant translations:
    • The ruffian and the villain we call a mere fellow. I have heard of killing the fellow Chou; I have not heard of killing a king.
      • As translated in Free China Review, Vol. 5 (1955)
    • I have merely heard of killing a villain Zhou, but I have not heard of murdering the ruler.
      • 1B:8 as translated by Wing-tsit Chan A Source Book in Chinese Philosophy (1963), p. 78
  • The feeling of commiseration is the beginning of humanity; the feeling of shame and dislike is the beginning of righteousness; the feeling of deference and compliance is the beginning of propriety; and the feeling of right or wrong is the beginning of wisdom.
    Men have these Four Beginnings just as they have their four limbs. Having these Four Beginnings, but saying that they cannot develop them is to destroy themselves.
    • 2A:6, as translated by Wing-tsit Chan A Source Book in Chinese Philosophy (1963), p. 65
  • The great man is the one who does not lose his child’s heart.
    • Book 4, pt. 2, v. 12
  • If you let people follow their feelings, they will be able to do good. This is what is meant by saying that human nature is good.
    • Book 6, pt. 1, v. 6
  • The way of learning is none other than finding the lost mind.
    • 6:A11, as translated by Wing-tsit Chan A Source Book in Chinese Philosophy (1963), p. 58
  • He who exerts his mind to the utmost knows his nature.
    • 7:A, as translated by Wing-tsit Chan A Source Book in Chinese Philosophy (1963), p. 62

Quotes about Mencius[edit]

  • It is too easy to see Crowley as an overgrown juvenile delinquent with a passion for self-advertisement. But there was another Crowley, the Crowley recognized and admired by Frank Bennett. Unless we understand this, we totally fail to grasp the extraordinary influence that Crowley could exert on women like Rose and Leah, and on men like Neuberg, Sullivan and Bennett. They came to believe that Crowley was exactly what he claimed to be: a great teacher, the messiah of a new age. And this was not the gullibility of born dupes; Sullivan, at least, was one of the most intelligent men of his age (as his book on Beethoven reveals). Crowley was, in part, a great teacher, a man of profound insights. Mencius says: 'Those who follow the part of themselves that is great become great men; those who follow the part of themselves that is small will become small men.' But Crowley was a strange mixture who devoted about equal time to following both parts of himself, and so became a curious combination of greatness and smallness. A summary of his life, and his extraordinary goings-on, makes us aware of the smallness; but it would be sheer short-sightedness to overlook the element of greatness that so impressed Bennett.

External links[edit]

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