(Passages marked ¶ have been verified against the standard Chinese text.)


Section One. Refuting the Doctrine that the Nature as Found in Materialized Lifebreath is evil. (Bo qi-zhi xing e 駁氣質性惡)

程子云:「論性論氣,二之則不是。」又曰:「有自幼而善,有自幼而惡,是氣稟有然也。」朱子曰:「纔有天命,便有氣質,不能相離。」而又曰:「既是 此理, 如何惡?所謂惡者,氣也。」可惜二先生之高明,隱為佛氏六賊之說浸亂,一口兩舌而不自覺!若謂氣惡,則理亦惡,若謂理善,則氣亦善。蓋氣即理之氣,理即氣 之理,烏得謂理純一善而氣質偏有惡哉!¶

Master Cheng said: "In discussing the Nature (xing ) and lifebreath (qi ) . . . it is wrong to divide them in two." {ECYS, 6:2a/10} He also said: "There are those who were good from their youth and those who were evil from their youth; this condition is the natural [consequence of] their endowments of lifebreath" {ECYS, 1:7b/8} Master Zhu said: "As soon as there is a mandate (ming ) by Heaven, there is also materialized lifebreath (qi-zhi 氣質), and the two cannot be separated." {ZZYL, 4:10a/28} And he also said: "Since it is this li (pattern), how can it be evil? [For] what is called evil is the lifebreath." {4:10b/28 } Unfortunately, the eminent brilliance of these two masters has been covertly influenced and confused by the Buddhist doctrine of the "six thieves." They have two tongues in one mouth and are not even aware of it. For if it be said that lifebreath is evil, then li is also evil; if it be said that li is good, then lifebreath is also good. For lifebreath is the lifebreath of li, and li is the li of lifebreath [i.e., they are aspects of each other]. So how can it be said that li is purely and unadulteratedly good, whereas materialized lifebreath has a persistent bias toward having evil!

PEM Commentary:

The Song dynasty Neo-Confucians explained Mencius's idea of Nature by saying: "Nature is just exactly li." {ECYS, 22A:11a/14} But they did not make it clear whether they meant transcendent Li or immanent li. Cheng Yi 程頤 says that the Nature is a li held in common by all human beings. Zhu Xi seems in one quotation to limit it to this world, but to see it as a pattern that encompasses all beings in the universe. {ZZYL, 117} He probably said that because Mencius said: "All things are complete in me." { 7A:4 }

According to Mencius and the Neo-Confucians, one should come to full awareness of one's Nature in order to become a fully moral human being. But for most of the Neo-Confucians it is not clear whether that awareness was conceived to be a person's having a mystic awareness of the transcendent Li (i.e., the Tai-ji), or having an awareness of the expression of that Li in the immanent Li found in humans and in the other things of the world. Yan Yuan chose the second interpretation, and used it to show inconsistencies in Song dynasty Neo-Confucian thought. Late in life, Zhu Xi also saw that there were problems involved in projecting the human Nature onto the transcendent Tai-ji, and decided to reformulate his position. But Yan Yuan seems to have been unaware of this change.

The Song dynasty Neo-Confucians made their convoluted account of the relationship of li (as equated with the Nature) to lifebreath because they wanted to give deference and respect to the orthodox position of Mencius that says that humans are by nature good, while at the same time accounting for what they saw as the inherent tendencies of most humans to go astray.

Yan Yuan believed that the Song Confucians despised what we would call the physical constitution of human beings and only approved of what we would call the aspect of form or potential of the human body. In other words they thought that what we may for convenience sake loosely call the organizational component of each human being was good, but that what we would call the matter, stuff, or substance of each human being was more or less evil. They seemed to think that there was an intent on the part of Shang Di 上帝 (the Lord on High) to create good human beings, but that this intent was usually thwarted to some extent by contingent factors involved in actualizing this intent. Yan Yuan argues that according to the Song Confucians' own account, organization and what is organized are equally aspects of one real entity. Each entity brought into this world by the manifestation of the creative impulse of the universe is good. Each is good because the Lord on High is good and so intentionally creates good creatures.

The Song Confucians play fast and loose with the word li because they make it seem that since the transcendent li (the li that is the potential for all being and all pattern or form) is perfect then the immanent li (the patterns or organizational aspects of all things) are equally good. This implied view is false in terms of their own theory. Imperfect materialized lifebreath is imperfect precisely because it is the other aspect of an imperfect li or pattern (form). The imperfections of both must be due to contingent factors -- the way that transcendent potential "falls out" (in the words of both Huai Nan Zi and Zhu Xi) as being and form in this universe.

Yan Yuan avoids the language trap the Song Confucians set for themselves by refusing to refer to the transcendent potential for all being and all pattern by the word li. Instead, he insists on simply calling it Shang Di. Although this approach avoids confusions due to imprecisions in language, some will say that he made a step backwards in returning to the belief in an anthropomorphic god. But it is not clear from the evidence how "anthropomorphic" this Lord on High actually was in Yan Yuan's thought. It seems fairest to say that for him the salient features of this Lord on High was that it was manifested in our universe as a generative and normative will and that it was good.

Yan Yuan seems not to have noticed that the word "li" has two meanings for the Song dynasty Neo-Confucians. Since he was irrationally angry with Zhu Xi because of events in his own personal life, he may have had a bias that mitigated against his seeing what Zhu Xi was really trying to say. But to be fair to Yan Yuan, we must also note once again that he did not have full access to all of Zhu Xi's writings, and that he unfortunately depended too much on the Xing Li Da-quan 性 理大全 (Great Compendium on Nature and Pattern), which did not adequately reflect the breadth of Zhu Xi's thought.

In the passage above, Yan Yuan brings together quotations that show the apparently contradictory nature of the formulations given by the Song Confucians. The first quotation suggests that the Nature and lifebreath are mutually aspective. The second and fourth quotations seem to depict Li as being imposed on lifebreath more or less successfully. The third quotation seems to indicate that li and materialized lifebreath are simultaneously brought into being by the mandate of Heaven. In the following passage Yan Yuan gives concrete examples to support his own position. |||||

譬之目矣:眶、皰、睛,氣質也;其中光明能見物者,性也。將謂光明之理專視正色,眶、皰、睛乃視邪色乎?余謂光明之理固是天命,眶、皰、睛皆是天 命,更不 必分何者是天命之性,何者是氣質之性;只宜言天命人以目之性,光明能視即目之性善,其視之也則情之善,其視之詳略遠近則才之強弱,皆不可以惡言。蓋詳且遠 者固善,即略且近亦第善不精耳,惡於何加!惟因有邪色引動,障蔽其明,然後有淫視而惡始名焉。然其為之引動者,性之咎乎,氣質之咎乎?若歸咎於氣質,是必 無此目而後可全目之性矣,非釋氏六賊之說而何!¶
Take the eye, for example: its socket, lid, and ball are materialized lifebreath (qi-zhi). The "brightness" which is comprised therein, and by which it has the potential to see things, is its nature (xing). Are we to say that the bright pattern (li ) only looks at proper things, while the socket, lid, and eyeball look at improper things? I say that while the bright pattern has indeed been endowed by Heaven, the socket, lid, and iris have also been endowed by Heaven. There is no further need to distinguish what constitutes the nature endowed by Heaven from what constitutes the nature found manifest in materialized lifebreath. It is only fitting to say that Heaven has endowed humans with the nature of their eyes. The brightness by which one has the potential for seeing is the goodness of the nature of the eye. [The eye's] act of seeing things constitutes the goodness that pertains to its actual function ("Feeling," qing ). Its seeing things clearly or sketchily or from a distance or only near at hand constitutes the strength or weakness of the Capacity (cai ). None of them can be called evil. Granted that seeing things clearly and from a distance is indeed good, yet seeing them only sketchily and only near at hand is still goodness of a less perfect sort. So to what in all this can [the term] "evil" be applied? It is only because improper things induce and agitate it, thus blocking and obscuring its brightness, that there follows defiled seeing and one may begin to speak of evil. However, is it the fault of this Nature that it is thus induced and agitated, or is it the fault of the materialized lifebreath? If the blame be put on the materialized lifebreath, then necessarily and only after this eye no longer exists [as a physical entity] can its Nature be brought to perfection. If this is not the Buddhist teaching of the six thieves, then what is it?

PEM Commentary:

According to the Song Confucians, Heaven endows humans with a good nature, but contingent factors involved with its actually being manifested in materialized lifebreath usually make it bad. Note that he seems to believe that form (or what he would conceptualize as li ) accounts for function.

The point of the above paragraph is to give an example of some functioning thing, and to point out both the aspect of li and the aspect of materialized lifebreath, so that he can ask how it could be possible that one aspect be good and the other aspect of the same thing be bad. |||||

Since the teachings about the Nature given by Confucius and Mencius have become obscured to this extent, I have hazarded to make seven diagrams to explicate them. It is not that I am argumentative, but that I have no alternative.

Section Two. Burnishing One's Bright Virtue.

朱子原亦識性,但為佛氏所染,為世人惡習所混。若無程、張氣質之論,當必求「性情才」及「引蔽習染」七字之分界,而性情才之皆善,與後日惡之所從來 判然矣。¶
Master Zhu originally had an understanding of the Nature, but he was stained by Buddhism and muddled by the evil practices of the common people of the world. If it were not for the discussions on materialized lifebreath of the Cheng [brothers] and Zhang [Zai], then surely he would have sought the distinctions among the seven terms "Nature (xing )," "Feeling (qing )," "Capacity (cai )," "inducement," "obscuration," "habituation," and "staining." Then indeed the goodness of the Nature, Feeling, and Capacity would have been obvious.

PEM Commentary:

Yan Yuan will argue that Nature, Feeling, and Capacity are innate and Heaven-given aspects of the human body, while inducement, obscuration, habituation, and staining are different stages of detrimental environmental influence on the human body. |||||

惟先儒既開此論,遂以惡歸之氣質而求變化之,豈不思氣質即二氣四德所結聚者,烏得謂之惡!其惡者,引蔽習染也。惟如孔門求仁,孟子存心養性,則明吾 性之善,而耳目口鼻皆奉令而盡職。¶
Only since earlier [Song dynasty] Confucian scholars began this discussion did people attribute evil to the materialized lifebreath and seek to change it. Why could they not realize that inasmuch as materialized lifebreath is the consolidation of the Two Lifebreaths (Yin and Yang 陰陽) and the Four Virtues (si de 四德: Yuan (Origination), Heng (Flourishing Penetration), Li (Benefit), and Zhen (Correct Firmness)), it could hardly be called evil? What is [a source of] evil lies in the inducement, obscuration, habituation, and staining of [materialized lifebreath]. Only by seeking Benevolence (ren ) like Confucius and his followers, and preserving the mind and nurturing the Nature like Mencius, can we burnish bright the goodness of our Natures and have our ears, eyes, mouths, and noses all obey orders and fulfill their duties.

故大學之道曰「明明德」,尚書贊堯,首曰「欽明」,舜曰「浚哲」,文曰「克明」,中庸曰「尊德性」,既尊且明,則無所不照。譬之居高肆望,指揮大 眾,當惻 隱者即惻隱,當羞惡者即羞惡,仁不足以恃者即以義濟之,義不足以恃者即以仁濟之。或用三德並濟一德,或行一德兼成四德,當視即視,當聽即聽,不當即否。使 氣質皆如其天則之正,一切邪色淫聲自不得引蔽,又何習於惡、染於惡之足患乎!是吾性以尊明而得其中正也。¶
Thus the way of the Da Xue 大 學 (The Great Learning) is to "burnish one's bright virtue," the Shang Shu 尚書 (Book of Documents) in praise of [the sage emperor] Yao says at its beginning that he was "reverential and illustrious," says of [the sage emperor] Shun that he was "profound and wise," and says of [the virtuous] King Wen that he was "able and illustrious." The Zhong Yong 中庸 (Doctrine of the Mean) says to "reverently serve [one's own] virtuous nature (de xing)." Since (the Natures of the above sages] were respected and [kept] illustrious, there was nothing which they did not [adequately] illuminate. For instance, in the case of one who occupies a high position from which he looks out in all four directions and directs the masses, such a one is compassionate and sympathetic when he should be, and ashamed or censorious [of evil] when he should be. He uses his Sense of Right and Wrong (yi )to make up for deficiencies in Benevolence when that is not enough for support, and he uses Benevolence to make up for deficiencies in his sense of Right and Wrong when that is not enough for support. Sometimes he uses three virtues to come to the aid of one virtue, or he practices one virtue to bring joint completion to all four virtues. He looks when he ought to look, listens when he ought to listen, and when he ought not to, does not do so, [thereby] causing the materialized lifebreath all to be rectified in accordance with Heaven's correct design. Then all depraved sights and corrupt sounds will naturally be incapable of inducing or obscuring [the Nature]. Can there then be cause for concern that one might become habituated to evil or be stained thereby? This is our Nature's attaining its equilibrium and rectitude through our respecting and [keeping] it bright.

PEM Commentary:

In this paragraph Yan Yuan points to several examples of people who protected themselves from "inducement, obscuration, habituation, and staining."

According to Zhu Xi's ideas that are based on the various Tai-ji diagrams, a person's constitution would seem to be based on one or another of the Four Virtues. It is difficult to see how Zhu Xi might propose to use his theoretical schema to account for the inner awareness of all of the Four Virtues. Of course he affirms that there is indeed this kind of awareness, but he seems to depend on empirical knowledge to make this affirmation rather than giving a theoretical account to show how this awareness comes about.

Yan Yuan, however, proceeds from real-life experience to suggest that when one aspect of one's character, which ought originally to have given one good guidance in a social situation, is weak, then one may use other resources to compensate for one's deficiencies. For instance, one whose ability to empathize with others (ren) is weak and is therefore little inclined to be benevolent may yet act benevolently because his Sense of Right and Wrong demand certain actions of him once his relations with other people are conceived in a broad enough context and examined with great enough thoroughness.

In the second half of this book, Yan Yuan makes a theoretical examination of how all the moral powers or virtues may be manifest in the life of a human being even though that person's constitution is weak in respect of one or another virtue.

In the above passage, Yan Yuan mentions a topic that is very important to his understanding of how to rectify oneself: Strict control of one's behavior can counteract the effects of "habituation and staining." Certainly this dictum has a basis in fact since bad habits can only be changed by determined control of one's behavior. |||||

六行乃吾性設施,六藝乃吾性材具,九容乃吾性發現,九德乃吾性成就;制禮作樂,燮理陰陽,裁成天地,乃吾性舒張,萬物咸若,地平天成,太和宇宙,乃 吾性結 果。故謂變化氣質為養性之效則可,如德潤身,睟面盎背,施於四體之類是也;謂變化氣質之惡以複性則不可,以其問罪於兵而責染於絲也。知此,則宋儒之言性氣 皆不親切。¶
The six ideals of conduct are instituted by my Nature, the six liberal arts are its instruments, the nine demeanors its manifestations, the nine virtues its accomplishments. The instituting of rituals, performing of music, harmonizing of yin and yang, and bringing of Heaven and Earth to fruition are the developmental activities of my Nature. The bringing of all things into equable conformity, tranquilizing Earth, giving completion to Heaven, and bringing great harmony to the entire universe is the fruition of my Nature. So it is possible to speak [correctly] of changing the materialized lifebreath as the effect of nurturing the Nature, as, for example, when "virtue adorns the body," or when "a mild harmony is imparted to the countenance and a rich fullness to the back, which spreads out to the four limbs." It is not permissible to speak of changing the evil of the materialized lifebreath in order to return to the [original] Nature, for this would be to blame the weapon for the crime and the silk cloth for the stain. When we realize this fact, the Song Confucians' words on the Nature and lifebreath are [seen to be] wide of the mark.

惟吾友張石卿曰:「性即是氣質之性,堯、舜氣質即有堯、舜之性,呆獃氣質即有呆獃之性,而究不可謂性有惡。」其言甚是。但又云「傻人決不能為堯、 舜」,則誣矣。吾未得與之辨明而石卿物故,深可惜也!¶
 It was my friend Zhang Shi-qing who said: "The Nature is precisely the Nature embodied in materialized lifebreath [and not anything other than this]. There being the lifebreath of [the sage emperors] Yao and Shun, there is the Nature of Yao and Shun. There being the lifebreath of the dull-witted and stupid, there is the Nature of the dull-witted and stupid, but in the final analysis it cannot be said that the Nature [of anyone] has evil." His words ring very true. But he also said: "A foolish fellow certainly will be unable to be like Yao and Shun," and in this he was leading people astray. It is very unfortunate that Shi-qing died before I had an opportunity to talk this issue out with him.

PEM Commentary:

Yan Yuan acknowledges what Mencius also taught - that the Nature of human beings is a potential that can be gradually realized through various forms of nurture such as those he has mentioned above. He accuses the Song Confucians of wanting to do more than to bring their Natures to their full fruition. Instead, Yan Yuan thinks, they wanted to do things to their constitutions that would be analogous to cutting off body parts, a most unfilial form of behavior. Later he will substantiate his charges by reference to their attitude of contempt for the various physical functions of the body, their attempts to suppress sexuality, etc. |||||

Section Three. The Cotton Boll as an Analog for the Nature.

諸儒多以水喻性,以土喻氣,以濁喻惡,將天地予人至尊至貴至有用之氣質,反似為性之累者然。不知若無氣質,理將安附?且去此氣質,則性反為兩間無作 用之虛理矣。¶
Various Confucian scholars use water as an analog for [explaining] Nature, soil as an analog for the lifebreath, and the turbidity [of the water] as an analog for evil. They take that most eminent, most honorable, most useful materialized lifebreath that has been endowed upon humans by Heaven and Earth, and make it seem on the contrary to be something that fetters the Nature. They do not know that if there were no materialized lifebreath there would then be no resting place for li. Besides, if the materialized lifebreath were to be expunged, then the Nature would conversely become a functionless empty li within the two realms [of Heaven and Earth, i.e., in the cosmos].

孟子一生苦心,見人即言性善,言性善必取才情故跡一一指示,而直指曰:「形色,天性也,惟聖人然後可以踐形。」明乎人不能作聖,皆負此形也,人至聖 人,乃充滿此形也;此形非他,氣質之謂也。以作聖之具而謂其有惡,人必將賤惡吾氣質,程、朱敬身之訓,又誰肯信而行之乎?¶
Mencius exerted himself his whole life, telling everyone he saw that the Nature [of human beings] is good. In saying that the Nature is good, he necessarily had to take up Capacity (cai ) and Feeling (qing), and point out their traces one by one. In one such direct indication he said: "The body with its sexual desire is Heaven[-conferred] Nature. Only a sage can put his body into [full] operation." {7A:38} It is clear from this statement that people cannot become sages [without deliberate effort], although they all have this body, and that when people do become sages, it is because they fulfill [to the utmost the potentialities of] this body. This body is none other than what is called the materialized lifebreath. If the body that serves as an instrument for becoming a sage is nevertheless called evil, then people will surely come to disdain and despise their materialized lifebreath. And then who will believe and carry out the teachings of the Chengs and Zhu about respecting the [integrity of the] body?

因思一喻曰:天道渾淪,譬之棉桃:殼包棉,陰陽也;四瓣,元、亨、利、貞也;軋、彈、紡、織,二氣四德流行以化生萬物也;成布而裁之為衣,生人也;領、 袖、襟裾,四肢、五官、百骸也,性之氣質也。¶
 I have accordingly thought of an analogy, to wit: The Way of Heaven (tian dao 天道) in its state of confused non-differentiation [at the beginning of the universe] is like a boll of cotton. The husk that confines the cotton is the Yin and Yang. The four sections [into which the boll divides] are [the four cosmic powers:] Origination, Flourishing Penetration, Benefit, and Correct Firmness. The acts of ginning, combing, spinning, and weaving are the flowing activities of the two Qi (cosmic Lifebreaths, i.e., Yin and Yang) and the Four Powers [i.e., Origination, Flourishing Penetration, Benefit, and Correct Firmness] as they produce the myriad creatures. [The process of] completing the cloth and tailoring it to make garments is the generating of mankind. The [garment's] collar, sleeves, and front and rear panels are the four limbs, five sense organs, and hundred bones of human beings; they are the materialized lifebreath [aspect] of the Nature of human beings.

領可護項,袖可藏手,襟裾可蔽前後,即目能視、耳能聽、子能孝、臣能忠之屬也,其情其才,皆此物此事,豈有他哉!不得謂棉桃中四瓣是棉,軋、彈、 紡、織是 棉,而至製成衣衫即非棉也,又不得謂正幅、直縫是棉,斜幅、旁殺即非棉也。如是,則氣質與性,是一是二?而可謂性本善,氣質偏有惡乎?¶ p. 5
The collar can protect the neck, the sleeves can conceal the hands, the panels can cover the chest and back -- these [functions] are in the category of the eye's ability to see, the ear's ability to hear, the son's ability to be filial, and the minister's ability to be loyal. The Feeling and Capacity of human beings both pertain to these objects and these activities; how can there be anything else? It cannot be said that the four sections within the cotton boll are cotton, and that the ginning, combing, spinning, and weaving are [done to] cotton, but that when it has been made into clothing it is then other than cotton. Again, it cannot be said that the straight hem and the straight selvage are cotton, but that the slanted hem and the inlet edge are not cotton. Then are the materialized lifebreath and the Nature one thing or two? And can it be said that the Nature is basically good, but that the materialized lifebreath has a persistent bias toward having evil?

然則惡何以生也?則如衣之著塵觸汙,人見其失本色而厭觀也,命之曰汙衣,其實乃外染所成。有成衣即被汙者,有久而後汙者,有染一二分汙者,有三四分 以至什 百全汙不可知其本色者;僅只須煩撋滌澣以去其染著之塵汙已耳,而乃謂洗去其襟裾也,豈理也哉!是則不特成衣不可謂之汙,雖極垢敝亦不可謂衣本有汙。但外染 有淺深,則撋澣有難易,若百倍其功,縱積穢可以複潔,如莫為之力,即蠅點不能複素。則大學明德之道,日新之功,可不急講歟!¶
Then how is evil produced? That [production] is like a garment's becoming covered with dust or touching soil: people see that it has lost its original color and look on it in disgust, calling it a dirty garment, while in fact this state is brought about by external contamination. Some garments are dirtied as soon as they are completed. Some are dirtied after a long time. Some are stained only one or two tenths, some three or four tenths on up to a complete stain of ten tenths, so that the original color cannot be known. And yet one need only trouble oneself to scrub and wash them in order to remove the dust and dirt that have soiled them; however to speak of this as washing away their front and rear panels is hardly reasonable. Therefore it is not merely a completed garment [in its pristine condition] that cannot be called dirty, but even one that has become extremely filthy cannot on that account be held to have been originally dirty. However, according to whether the external stain is light or heavy, so the [requisite] scrubbing and washing is easy or difficult. If one multiplies one's efforts a hundred times, then accumulated filth can be returned to cleanliness, whereas if no effort is made, not even a fly speck can be made white again. So, then, can we but hurry to expound the way of brightening virtue and the work of the daily renewal of the Da Xue (Great Learning)?"

PEM Commentary:

Rather than discussing the attribution of evil to the body in terms of the yin-yang dichotomy, Yan Yuan implies that conventional thinkers would judge the less highly differentiated lifebreaths that are closer to the metaphysical source of good to be good, and call the more concrete or tangible kinds of lifebreath evil. |||||

Section Four. Taking Water as an Analog for the Nature.

Master Cheng and Master Zhu frequently take water as an analog for the Nature because Mencius once did so. But as their central idea was not the same, they took all the words of Mencius and forced them into agreement with their own teachings. Now I too will explain this matter in terms of water so that those who have eyes will all see it, and those who have minds will all understand it.

程子云:「清濁雖不同,然不可以濁者不為水。」此非正以善惡雖不同,然不可以惡者不為性乎?非正以惡為氣質之性乎?請問,濁是水之氣質否?吾恐澄澈 淵湛 者,水之氣質,其濁之者,乃雜入水性本無之土,正猶吾言性之有引蔽習染也。其濁之有遠近多少,正猶引蔽習染之有輕重淺深也。若謂濁是水之氣質,則濁水有氣 質,清水無氣質矣,如之何其可也!  p. 6  ¶
 Master Cheng said: "Although clarity and turbidity are different, yet what is turbid cannot be regarded as being other than water." {ECYS 1:7b/8} Is this not precisely to say that although good and evil are different, evil cannot be regarded as not being of the nature? Is this not precisely to take evil to be the nature as found embodied in materialized lifebreath? Then, pray ask, does turbidity constitute the materialized lifebreath of water? I am afraid that the materialized lifebreath of water is [inherently] limpid, clear, deep, and placid, and that what makes it turbid is soil that contaminates it and was not originally part of its nature. This is just as I have been saying with regard to the Nature, that there may be inducement, obscuration, habituation, or stain added to it, and that turbidity [of the water] originating near or far [from the pure source] or being much or little, is just like there being lighter or heavier, and shallower or deeper [degrees of] inducement, obscuration, habituation, and stain. If it be said that turbidity constitutes the materialized lifebreath of water, then [this assertion means that] turbid water possesses materialized lifebreath and clear water does not. How can this be?

Section Five. Criticisms of the Xing Li [da quan, 性理大全, Great Compendium on Nature and Pattern].

1. [Master Zhu said:] "When Mencius says that the Nature is good . . . . the word 'Nature' is stressed while the word 'good' is secondary. They are not parallel expressions." {XLDQ, 29:8a/34 from ZZYL, 5:2af/16}

Yan Yuan: This statement is astounding. How can the two words "Nature" and "good" be distinguished as being either stressed or secondary? Who said they were parallel expressions? If a distinction must be made between what is stressed and what is secondary, then we must ask: Did people in Mencius's time compete to talk only about the Nature and yet not know that it is good? The intent of Mencius when he talked about this [doctrine of the goodness of the Nature] would seem to be such that he would have given even more stress to the word "good."

2. Master Zhu has recorded [Cheng] Yi-quan as saying: "The body having been produced, external things impinge upon it, and so movement (i.e., reaction) takes place within. With this movement within, the seven feelings come forth, they being happiness, anger, sorrow, fear, love, hate, and desire. When the Feelings flare up and pour forth [beyond bounds], the Nature is eroded." {XLDQ 29:11b/34; ZZWJ, 42:5a, LJYJ, 14/123, LJLY, 41/78}.

Yan Yuan: The phrase: "the Feelings flare up," puts the blame on the Feelings. That is wrong. Master Wang [Fa-qian?] says: "The words of Master Cheng appear not to be wrong. Being inflamed is bad." But I say: When the Feelings of the filial son are strong and the Feelings of the loyal minister are abundant, what evil is there in being inflamed? Here is a case in which the worthies are once more confused by Zhuang Zhou!

PEM Commentary:

Cheng Yi-chuan appears to be basing his discussion on the Yue-ji (Book of Music) up to the point when he talks about the erosion of the Nature. Yan Yuan seems to think that the four kinds of ethical feelings must be accounted good simply because they are ethical feelings and are the gifts of a good Lord on High. In other contexts he counts drives like those for sexuality and aggression as ethically neutral, and judges the person who uses them as good or bad depending on how he or she gives them expression. Surely it is good, he would say, that humans feel benevolence, a sense of right and wrong, the need for propriety, etc. But in this passage he does not address the damage that may be done, for instance, by one whose strong sense of right and wrong is not balanced by a comparably strong empathy or benevolence, thus causing him or her to be censorious or even punitive in his or her relations with other people. Yan Yuan does, however, address this facet of the situation in the discussion of his last diagram, which is found at the end of his book. |||||

3. He [continued]: "The word 'movement' (dong 動) is no different from the word 'to issue forth' (fa ) in the Zhong-yong [Doctrine of the Mean]. Its rightness or wrongness, genuineness or duplicity, is solely determined by its having measure or not having measure, or by its hitting or missing the mean." {XLDQ 29:12a/34, ZZWJ, 42:5a/36}

Yan Yuan: To hold missing the mean to be a defect is acceptable, but it is not permissible to equate this with [incorrigible] evil (wang ). Among loyal ministers and righteous literati, there are indeed not a few who did not strike the mean.

PEM Commentary:

This passage from the Xing Li Da-quan refers to the same words by Cheng Yi-quan quoted in the previous passage. Here Cheng uses the idea of "the mean" taken from the Zhong Yong (Doctrine of the Mean) to define when the psychological reactions explained in the Yue Ji (Book of Music) are good and when they are not good.

Yan Yuan argues that it is correct to say that there is an intensity of ethical feeling appropriate to each ethical situation encountered, but that a reaction is not positively evil merely because it is too intense or not intense enough. |||||

朱子曰:「‘人生而靜,天之性’,未嘗不善;‘感物而動,性之欲’,此亦未嘗不善。至於‘物至知誘,然後好惡形焉。好惡無節於內,知誘於外,不能反 躬,天理滅矣’,方是惡。故聖賢說得惡字煞遲。」¶
4. Master Zhu said: "'The tranquility of man at birth is his heaven [-endowed] nature' which has never been other than good. 'When he is affected by things and becomes agitated, this is his nature [-produced] desire' which also has never been other than good. But then there is the statement: 'Only after things impinge upon him and his cognitive faculty is seduced do [habitual] likings and dislikings then take form. When there are no internal strictures on likings and dislikings and the [faculty of] knowing is seduced [so that its attention goes] to external [things], so that one is unable to introspect, then the heavenly (i.e., innate) pattern (li ) is destroyed.' {LJYJ, 14/123} At this point there is evil. This is why the sages and worthies speak about the word 'evil' as something late [in the course of a person's development]." {XLDQ, 29:14a/34. ZZYLDQ, 87:27b/43}

此段精確,句句不紊層次。吾之七圖,亦適以發明朱子之意云爾。而乃他處多亂,何也?以此知朱子識詣之高,而未免惑於他人之見耳。按朱子此段,是因樂 記語而釋之。可見漢儒見道,猶勝宋儒。¶
Yan Yuan: This paragraph is subtle and precise, and no phrase is out of sequence. My seven diagrams are also suitable for elucidating Master Zhu's meaning. How, then, is it that elsewhere he is so greatly confused? We may know from this that Master Zhu, with all the height of his perceptivity and accomplishments, nevertheless could not avoid being confounded by the opinions of others.

Yen Yuan's note: In this paragraph Master Zhu has used and explained language taken from the Yue Ji 樂記 (Book of Music), thereby showing how the Han Confucian vision of the Way surpassed that of the Song Confucians.

PEM Commentary:

The first sentence quoted in the Xing Li Da-quan passage is difficult to interpret. I have therefore translated it as directly as possible. I think that what it really was intended to convey is the idea that if we could inspect the mind of an infant in its tranquil state we would see the true nature of a human being. But after it begins to react with the outside world we first see its unconditioned reactions to outside stimuli and later we see primarily its reactions to outside events as conditioned by past learning and experience. |||||

5. [Zhu Xi also records that] Master Han [Yü] said: "There are five components of the Nature, but today those who speak about the Nature all mix Buddhism and Daoism into their discussion." {XLDQ, 29:14b/34. HCQS, ll (Yuan Xing Pian) compare ZZYL, p. 5262f, 5261, 2665}

Yan Yuan: Their [i.e., the Song Confucians'] own circle has also mixed in Buddhism and Daoism [into their own theories]!

6. Zhang Nan-xuan answered someone saying: "Master Cheng said: 'As to what there is prior to the moment when "Man is born and is tranquil," we cannot say. For when we speak about the Nature, it is then already no longer the [original] Nature.' And [Master Cheng] continued, saying: 'What people in general speak of as the Nature is only that referred to [in the phrase], "the continuation of [the sequence of Yin and Yang in human beings] is good."'" {XLDQ, 29:15b/34 NXJ, 25:8b/14 (Answer to Hu Bo-feng) and quotes ECYS, 1:7b/8}

玩程子云「凡人說性,只是說繼之者善也」,蓋以易「繼善」句作已落人身言,謂落人身便不是性耳。夫「性」字從「生心」,正指人生以後而言。若「人生 而靜」以上,則天道矣,何以謂之性哉?¶
Yan Yuan: Mulling over what Master Cheng said, "What people in general speak of as the Nature is only that referred to [in the phrase], 'the continuation of it [in human beings] is good,'" this must be taking the phrase "the continuation of it [in human beings] is good," in the Yi Jing [Book of Changes] {"Xi Ci," ["Great Appendix"], 4}, to refer to [the Nature] when it has already become manifest in the human body, and saying that having become manifest in the human body it is no longer the Nature. Now the word "Nature" (xing ) derives from "to be born" (sheng ) and "heart" (xin, , the compressed form of ), thus referring precisely to what comes after a human being's birth. As for what comes before "a human being is born and is tranquil," {Yue-ji} this is the Way of Heaven, so how can this be equated with the Nature?

PEM Commentary:

Zhu Xi eventually reached the same conclusion, but Yan Yuan apparently did not know about the passage in which Zhu says that it is inappropriate to use "nature" to refer to things in the transcendent realm. {ZZYL, 94:8a/49} |||||

7. Master Zhu said: "[In the case of] human Nature, it is a question of being either bright or dull, whereas in the case of the natures of [other] creatures, it is only a question of being one-sided or limited." {XLDQ, 29:20b/34 ZZYL, 4:1b/28}

Yan Yuan: [But I say in reply to that] people too may be one-sided and limited. For instance, those born deaf or born without testicles. [On the other hand] creatures also may be either bright or dull. For instance, the Macacus monkey can be taught to act, and the parrot can be taught to speak.

程子曰:「韓退之說叔向之母聞揚食我之生,知其必滅宗,此無足怪,其始便稟得惡氣,便有滅宗之理,所以聞其聲而知之也。使其能學以勝其氣,複其性, 可無此患。」¶
8. Master Cheng said: "Han Tui-zhi said the mother of Shu-xiang heard the birth of Yang Shi-wo and knew that he would destroy his clan. There is nothing surprising about this [fact]. From the beginning he was endowed with evil lifebreath and consequently had the li (potential) for destroying his clan. When she heard his voice, she knew this was so. By using his ability to learn to overcome this lifebreath and return to his [original, true] Nature, this disaster could have been avoided." {XLDQ, 30:2b/24 from Yi-shu, 19:4b/23}

噫!楚越椒始生而知其必滅若敖,晉揚食我始生而知其必滅羊舌,是後世言性惡者以為明證者也,亦言氣質之惡者以為定案者也。試問二子方生,其心欲弑父 與君 乎?欲亂倫敗類乎?吾知其不然也。子文、向母不過察聲容之不平而知其氣稟之甚偏,他日易於為惡耳。今即氣稟偏而即命之曰「惡」,是指刀而坐以殺人也,庸知 刀之能利用殺賊乎!程子云:「使其能學以勝其氣,複其性,可無此患。」可為善論,而惜乎不知氣無惡也!¶ p. 8
Yan Yuan: Oh! As soon as Yue-jiao of the Chu state was born, it was known that he must destroy the Ruo-ao [clan]. And as soon as Yang Shi-wo of the Qin state was born it was known that he would certainly destroy the Yang-she [clan]. These [cases] are taken as clear evidence by those of later times who say that the Nature is evil, and speak of the evil of materialized lifebreath as though it were a foregone conclusion. Let me ask, when those two were just born, did their hearts desire to kill fathers and rulers? Did they desire to upset human relationships and destroy their kind? I know that this was not the case. Zi Wen and Xiang Mu just observed that the timbre of their voices was unbalanced, and knew that their endowments of lifebreath were exceedingly one-sided, and that someday it would be easy for them to do evil. Now [Cheng Yi] calls the endowment of lifebreath evil because of its being one-sided. This is to blame the knife for killing people. I know that knives may [also] be used to kill thieves. Master Cheng's statement, "By using his ability to learn to overcome this lifebreath and return to his [original] Nature, this disaster could have been avoided," is a good thesis, but unfortunately he did not know that lifebreath is without evil.

PEM Commentary:

Simply put, one's constitution is not the source of one's misbehavior. Yan Yuan seems to think that the Song dynasty Neo-Confucians took the extreme position that any materialized lifebreath is evil, i.e., that any materialized lifebreath is a source of trouble. He frequently says that for the Song dynasty Neo-Confucians the only way a person can be good is to completely remove his materialized lifebreath from his constitution., But they actually say that unbalanced materialized lifebreath (i.e., a poor constitution) leads one to frequently over-react or under-react and so is a continual source of trouble, and that the materialized lifebreath needs to be changed -- changed to make it more balanced and tractable, not eliminated.

Yan Yuan is probably right in that the Song dynasty Neo-Confucians tend to deny the body and to want to reduce themselves to be passionless and inert beings. Yan Yuan wants people to be full of moral passion and to be dynamic in their attitude toward the world. Nevertheless, Yan Yuan goes too far by denying the desirability of changing one's materialized lifebreath, i.e., (in our terms) changing one's character structure. In his old age he admitted as much to his student Li Gong. |||||

9. Master Zhu said: "At some times lifebreath does not exist, but Li exists unceasingly." He also said: "When there is a certain lifebreath, there is a certain [corresponding] li; when there is no such lifebreath, there is no such li." { XLDQ, 30:6bf/24} {ZZYL, 4:13a/28}

Yan Yuan: Is not the latter phrase one by which he strikes at his shield with his own lance?

PEM Commentary:

This quotation from the Zhu Zi Yu-lei is a good example of how that compendium is inappropriately arranged and therefore confusing to the reader. The first passage quoted equated the word Li to Tai-ji, and so it has a transcendent referent. But the second passage uses li to refer to an ordinary pattern found in immanent beings. So Yan Yuan is incorrect in thinking that the two passages are self-contradictory. |||||

孔、孟言性之異,略而論之,則夫子雜乎氣質而言之,孟子乃專言其性之理。雜乎氣質而言之,故不曰「同」而曰「近」。蓋以為不能無善惡之殊,但未至如 所習之遠耳。¶
10. Master Zhu said: "To speak sketchily about . . . . the difference in treatment of the Nature by Confucius and Mencius -- Confucius brings in some random mention of materialized lifebreath, but Mencius speaks solely of the li of the Nature. [Confucius] brought in some random reference to materialized lifebreath, and so did not say that [human] Natures were 'alike,' but said that they were 'near.' That is, he thought it impossible not to have the differences of goodness and evil [innately present], but not to such an extent as when the differences had been made greater by practice. { XLDQ, 30:14b/24 from ZZWJ, 58:15b, "Answer to Song Shen-zhi" (first letter)}

PEM Commentary:

Zhu Xi appears to mean that Confucius's account involves innate differences among human beings (what we might call their phenotypes) and so must involve the issue of how well constituted they are, but Mencius's account admits to no differences between humans and so must abstract from the contingent factors brought in by the quality of the lifebreath of the individual (thus discussing what we might call their genotype). Master Zhu is trying to explain the presence of evil in human life by saying it does not come from the Mandate of Heaven (li) but does come from contingent factors introduced as that Mandate is actualized in a human life. |||||

愚謂識得孔、孟言性原不異,方可與言性。孟子明言「為不善非才之罪」,「非天之降才爾殊」,「乃若其情則可以為善」,又曰「形色,天性也」,何嘗專 言理? 況曰性善,謂聖凡之性同是善耳,亦未嘗謂全無差等。觀言「人皆可以為堯、舜」,將生安、學利、困勉無不在內,非言當前皆與堯、舜同也。宋儒強命之曰「孟子 專以理言」,冤矣!¶
Yan Yuan: I say that before one can converse about the Nature one must recognize that Confucius's and Mencius's sayings on the Nature originally were not different. Mencius clearly says: "Doing evil is not the fault of the Capacities." {Mencius, 6A:6} "It is not that Heaven makes unequal distribution of Capacities." {Mencius, 6A:7} "As for its Capacities, it can do good" {Mencius, 6A:6} He also says: "The body with its sexual desire is Heaven [-conferred] Nature." {Mencius, 7A:38} How can it be said that he only spoke of li (i.e., the purely formal characteristics of the organism, which the Chinese associated with the active moral constitutions)? When he says that the Nature is good, this is to say that the sages' and ordinary people's Natures are originally good, but he never says that they are completely without differences. Look at the phrase "Everyone can become a Yao or a Shun." {Mencius, 6B:2} This [success or perfection] includes [attaining] tranquility in living, benefit from study, toil, and effort. It is not to say that people are the same as Yao and Shun from the beginning. The Song Confucian thinkers say in a forced way that "Mencius spoke [of it] solely in terms of li," [but] this is a distortion.

PEM Commentary:

Yan Yuan rebuts Master Zhu's position: Evil is not to be attributed to actual constitutions of humans (their phenotypes). Even human lust is not evil. Human good is a potential and must be developed by effort. But humans can also learn to misuse their Heaven-given constitutions. |||||

Yan Yuan: Confucius said: "By Nature [humans are] near; by practice [they become] far." {Analects, 17:2} These two phrases are among his very few incidental mentions of the Nature, and subsequently became the standard by which all of antiquity spoke of the Nature.

The nearness of Natures is like [pieces of] gold, which although having differences of weight and measure, are all alike in being gold. Only because of [the Nature's] having differences of quality did he not say "same;" only because they are of the same goodness did he say "near."

將天下聖賢、豪傑、常人不一之恣性,皆於「性相近」一言包括,故曰「人皆可以為堯、舜」;將世人引蔽習染、好色好貨以至弑君弑父無窮之罪惡,皆於 「習相遠」一句定案,故曰「非才之罪也」,「非天之降材爾殊也」,孔、孟之旨一也。¶
 The phrase "by Nature near" encompasses all the different deportments and characteristics of the sages, worthies, heroes, and common people. It is therefore said: "Everyone can become a Yao or a Shun." The inducements, obscurations, habituations, and stains, the lust, greed, and the endless crimes such as killing one's ruler or father are all judged in the phrases: "It is not the fault of the Capacity," and "It is not that Heaven makes unequal distribution of Capacity." The teachings of Confucius and Mencius are at one.

昔太甲顛覆典刑,如程、朱作阿衡,必將曰「此氣質之惡」。而伊尹則曰「茲乃不義,習與性成」。大約孔、孟而前,責之習,使人去其所本無,程、朱以後,責之 氣,使人憎其所本有,是以人多以氣質自諉,竟有「山河易改,本性難移」之諺矣,其誤世豈淺哉!¶

In the case of Tai Jia, who in ancient times overthrew the rules and regulations, those of the persuasion of Cheng and Zhu, acting as A-heng, would surely say: "This is evil [that originates] from the lifebreath." But Yi-yin said: "This goes contrary to the Sense of Right and Wrong; it is the [joint] product of habituation and the Nature." In general, in the time of Confucius and Mencius and before, blame was put on habituation, thereby causing people to seek to rid themselves of accretions [of bad habits]. After Cheng and Zhu, blame was put on the lifebreath, thereby causing people to hate what was inherently present in them. For this reason people sought to excuse themselves on grounds of their materialized lifebreath, and in the end there arose the saying: "Mountains and rivers are easy to change, but the original Nature is hard to alter." This [change] harmed the world to no small degree.

PEM Commentary:

Others acting as prime minister would have judged the young king Tai Jia to be evil. But the great prime minister Yi-yin saw that a person who had a good nature had become habituated to evil ways. He therefore punished him, secured his rehabilitation, and then restored him to the throne. By this means he provided the country with a good ruler.

Whether the totality of the human constitution is good is the main point of argument between Yan Yuan and Zhu Xi. |||||

<此>理皆聖賢所罕言者,而近世大儒如河南程先生、橫渠張先生嘗發明之,其說甚詳。 p. 9.end ¶
11. Zhu Xi said: "These [things] are all matters of which the sages and worthies seldom speak, but the great Confucian scholars of recent times such as Mr. Cheng of Ho-nan and Mr. Zhang of Heng-qu have explicated them, and their words are very detailed." { XLDQ, 30:15a/24 from ZZWJ,58:15b/xxxx "Answer to Song Shen-zhi," first letter}

以聖賢所罕言而諄諄言之 ,至於何年習數,何年習禮,何年學樂,周、孔日與天下共見者而反後之,便是禪宗。p. 10.01=a ¶
Yan Yuan: Constantly talking about what the sages and worthies seldom mentioned, while discounting what [the Duke of] Zhou and Confucius daily presented to the world, such as at what age to practice arithmetic, at what age to practice the ceremonies (li ), and at what age to study music -- such is the [way of the] Chan sect [of Buddhism].

邵浩問曰:「趙書記嘗問浩:‘如何是性?’浩對以伊川云:‘孟子言性善是極本窮原之性;孔子言性相近是氣質之性。’趙云:‘安得有兩樣?只有中庸說 天命之謂性自分明。’」曰:「公當初不曾問他,‘既謂之善,固無兩般;纔說相近,須有兩樣。’」 p. 10.03=b  ¶
12. Shao Hao said: "Secretary Zhao once asked me: 'What is the Nature like? ' I answered using the words of [Cheng] Yi-quan: 'When Mencius says that the Nature is good, he speaks of the most basic, most completely original Nature; when Confucius says that the Natures [of human beings] are near, he speaks of the Natures as found embodies in materialized lifebreath.' [Secretary] Zhao said: 'How can there be two kinds? There only exists what the Zhong-yong (Doctrine of the Mean) speaks of [when it says] "what is conferred by Heaven is called Nature." This is quite clear-cut.'" Master Zhu said: "Sir, why did you not question him in the beginning, saying: 'Since it is spoken of as good, there certainly cannot be two sorts; only when it is said that they are close together must there be two kinds.'" { XLDQ, 30:15af/24 from ZZYL, 4:14b/28 which quotes ECYS, 3:3b/7 }

善哉書記!認性真確,朱子不如大舜舍己從人矣。殊不思夫子言相近,正謂善相近也;若有惡,則如黑白、冰炭,何近之有? p. 10.06=c ¶
Yan Yuan: Oh! How excellent is this Secretary [Zhao]! He perceives the Nature truly and accurately, whereas Master Zhu does not live up to the great Shun in discarding self (i.e., his own opinions) and following others. In particular, he does not realize that when Confucius speaks of [the Nature of human beings] being close together, he specifically means that in being good they are close together. If they [also] had evil, the situation would then be like black and white, [or] ice and charcoal. What closeness could there then be?

孟子言性只說得本然底,論才亦然。荀、揚、韓諸人雖是論性,其實只說得氣。p. 10.08 = d  ¶
13. [Master Zhu said:] "When Mencius spoke of the Nature, he only spoke in terms of what was original. The same was true when he discussed the Talent. Although Xun Zi, Yang [Xiong], and Han [Yu] discussed the Nature, they in fact only spoke of lifebreath. { XLDQ, 30:15b/24 from ZZYL, 4:12b/22}

不本然,便不是性。p. 10.09 = e ¶
Yan Yuan: What is not originally so is not Nature.

PEM Commentary:

Zhu Xi seems to mean that Mencius only discussed the perfect potential of human beings while Xun Zi, Yang Xiong, and Han Yu spoke only of the immanent and therefore imperfect natures of human beings. while disregarding the perfection of the potential from which the imperfect immanent nature came. So when Zhu Xi says "original," he refers to the substance (ben ti 本體). But when Yan Yuan rebuts this position he interprets "original" to mean "there at birth, i.e., innate." Unless transmutation of the actual nature is possible, then one ought to accept the position of Xun Zi and his followers because what is is all that matters, and it is bad. |||||

問:「氣質之說起自何人?」曰:「此起於程、張。某以為極有功於聖門,有補於後學。」p. 10.10 = f ¶
14. [Someone] asked: "Who started the theory of materialized lifebreath?" [Master Zhu] replied: "This [theory] began with the Chengs and Zhang [Zai]. I believe it was of extreme benefit to the school of the sages, and has done great service to the scholars of later days. {XLDQ, 30:16a/24 from ZZYL, 4:16b/28}

程、張隱為佛氏所惑,又不解惡人所從來之故,遂杜撰氣質一說,誣吾心性。而乃謂有功聖門,有補來學,誤甚!  p.10.11 = g  ¶
Yan Yuan: The Chengs and Zhang were covertly confounded by Buddhism, and they also did not understand the causes from which evil men come! Subsequently they fabricated the theory of materialized lifebreath, with which they have misled our minds and Natures. And now to say that they benefit the students of the sages, that they will bring the future studies to completion! This is a great error!

PEM Commentary:

Yan Yuan himself uses the term materialized lifebreath. As a word to use to discuss the tangible aspects of a human being he seems to find nothing wrong with it. What he really objects to is the use of this concept to throw blame on the flesh and blood aspect of human beings when they do wrong, rather than on lapses in their will to do right and to act as a steward of their own character structures. |||||

程子曰:「善惡皆天理。謂之惡者,本非惡,但或過或不及便如此。蓋天下無性外之物,本皆善而流於惡耳!」p. 10  = h  ¶
15. Master Cheng said: "Good and evil are both heavenly (i.e., innate, natural) li. What is called evil was not originally evil, but becomes so because it either goes too far or falls short. For in the world there is nothing external to Nature. Originally all were good, but then they drifted into evil. {XLDQ, 30:18af/24 Sentences 1 and 2 ECYS, 2A:2b/26 3, Cui-yan 2:21b and 4, ECYS 18:20a with minor changes. }

玩「本非惡,但或過或不及便如此」語,則程子本意亦未嘗謂氣質之性有惡,凡其所謂善惡者,猶言偏全、純駁、清濁、厚薄焉耳。但不宜輕出一惡字,馴至 有「氣 質惡為吾性害」之說,立言可不慎乎! p. 10 = i ¶
Yan Yuan: If we mull over the words "was not originally evil, but becomes so because it either goes too far or falls short," [we find that] Master Cheng's basic intention was never to say that the materialized lifebreath has evil. Every time he spoke of something as good or evil, it was like saying of it that it was either "complete" or "one-sided," "pure" or "mixed," "clear" or "turbid," "rich" or "poor." Only he should not have lightly spoken the word "evil," thereby gradually leading to the teaching that "the materialized lifebreath is evil and does injury to my Nature." How careful one must be when making pronouncements!

「流於惡」,「流」字有病,是將謂源善而流惡,或上流善而下流惡矣。不知源善者流亦善,上流無惡者下流亦無惡,其所為 惡者,乃是他途岐路別有點染。譬如水出泉,若皆行石路,雖自西海達於東海,毫不加濁,其有濁者,乃虧土染之,不可謂水本清而流濁也。知濁者為土所染,非水 之氣質,則知惡者是外物染乎性,非人之氣質矣。 p. 11 = j ¶
In the expression "drifted into evil," the word "drifted" is unsatisfactory. [Continuing the analogy of the stream,] it leads in to saying that the source is good, but the stream below is bad, or that as one goes up the stream [the water] is good, but as one goes down it becomes bad. He does not know that when the source is good, the stream is also good. [Nor does he know that] if as one goes upstream there is no bad [water], then going downstream there is no bad [water] either. What he calls badness lies in the fact that at branchings and partings of the stream there are spottings and stainings (i.e., sources of contamination). For instance, when water comes out of a spring, if it always travels over a stone bed, even if it should go from the Western Sea to the Eastern Sea, it would not be muddied in the slightest. Its becoming turbid is because of its contamination by a dirty bed. It cannot be said that the water [itself] was originally clear and by flowing became turbid. Knowing that turbidity is the contaminating (lit., staining) [of water] by soil, and is not the materialized lifebreath (i.e., the original substance) of water, we then know that evil is the contaminating (i.e., staining) of the Nature by external things and is not the materialized lifebreath (i.e., the original constitutions) of human beings.

PEM Commentary: 

Master Cheng's words are not easy to interpret. The kernel of his argument seems to be that the only sense we can make of the idea of evil -- in a world in which everything is comprehended in the human Nature and in which the human Nature is necessarily good -- is to say that evil is privative. That is, that due to contingent factors things can only work themselves out in certain ways, and that because of this fact there are bound to be circumstances that are less than ideal. Imperfections are not good, but they are not positively evil either. So I think that the first sentence in the quotation from the Xing Li Da-quan above must mean that good things (situations, events) and evil things both derive from natural li, natural potentials. Then when he says, "for in the world there is nothing external to Nature," he must mean to equate this word "nature" with the word "li" above. He then means that all things and events, good or bad, derive from the transcendent Nature, from Li. His way of accounting for evil by the mere mention of things "drifting into evil" is of course inadequate, and Yan Yuan rightly attacks him on this point. |||||

問:「‘善固性也’固是,若云‘惡亦不可不謂之性’,則此理本善,因氣而鶻突;雖是鶻突,然亦是性也。」p. 11 = k
? 16. [Someone] asked: "Since it is indeed true that 'goodness certainly pertains to the Nature,' then if we say: 'So too, evil must be said to pertain to the Nature,' this [by analogy means that] li is originally good, but because of the lifebreath it becomes impure; yet although impure, it yet pertains to the Nature."

曰:「他原頭處都是善,因氣偏,這性便偏了;然此處亦是性。如人渾身都是惻隱而無羞惡,都羞惡而無惻隱,這個便是惡的。這個喚做性耶不是?如墨子之 心本是惻隱,孟子推其弊到得無父處,這個便是‘惡亦不可不謂之性’也。」 p. 11 = l ¶
Master Zhu said: "It was originally completely good, but because the lifebreath was one-sided, the Nature thereupon became one-sided; yet at this juncture it is still the Nature. If a person is completely compassionate and sympathetic, yet lacks a sense of shame and dislike; or has a sense of shame and dislike in everything, yet lacks compassion and sympathy -- this is then evil. Is it wrong to call this Nature? For instance, Master Mo's heart was basically one of compassion and sympathy. Mencius derived from this [fact] the conclusions that [Master Mo] did not duly venerate his father. This is then [what is meant by] 'Evil too may not be said not to pertain to the Nature.'" { XLDQ, 30:19b/24 from ZZYL, 4:18a/28 and ECYS, 1:7b/8}

PEM Commentary:

In this passage Zhu Xi seems to have in mind the old dualistic theory of li and materialized lifebreath (pattern, order, or organization and lifebreath). First there is the primal Li, which is perfect and therefore good. But when it is expressed or made manifest in this world through the medium of lifebreath (which is almost by definition limited and imperfect), the pattern aspect or order aspect of the real things cannot fully reflect what is available on the level of the transcendent Li.

Zhu Xi argues that an unbalanced constitution is evil. If by "evil" we mean "tending to produce undesirable results," then Zhu Xi would seem to have a good point. He is speaking of privative evil. |||||

此段朱子極力刻畫氣質之惡,明乎此則氣質之有惡昭然矣,大明乎此則氣質之無惡昭然矣。夫「氣偏性便偏」一言,是程、朱氣質性惡本旨也。吾意偏於何 物?下文 乃曰:「如人渾身都是惻隱而無羞惡,都羞惡而無惻隱,這便是惡。」嗚呼!世豈有皆惻隱而無羞惡,皆羞惡而無惻隱之人耶?豈有皆惻隱而無羞惡,皆羞惡而無惻 隱之性耶?不過偏勝者偏用事耳  p. 11 = m ¶
Yan Yuan: In this paragraph Master Zhu strongly delineates the evil of materialized lifebreath. Once this passage is clearly understood, the evil of materialized lifebreath becomes obvious. But when still more clearly understood, the fact that materialized lifebreath is not evil becomes obvious. The statement, "because the lifebreath was one-sided, the Nature thereupon became one-sided," is the basic teaching of Cheng and Zhu regarding the evil of materialized lifebreath. Toward what it is that our thoughts are one-sided, the following text explains: "If a person is completely compassionate and sympathetic, yet lacks a sense of shame and dislike; or has a sense of shame and dislike in everything, yet lacks compassion and sympathy -- this is then evil." Oh! How can there be anyone in the world who is all compassion and sympathy and without [the slightest feeling of] shame and dislike, or all shame and dislike without [the slightest] compassion and sympathy? It is only that the one-sided and predominating one tends to function one-sidedly.

今即有人偏勝之甚,一身皆是惻隱,非偏於仁之人乎?其人上焉而學以至之,則為聖也,當如伊尹;次焉而學不至,亦不失為屈原一流人;其下頑不知學,則 輕者成 一姑息好人,重者成一貪溺昧罔之人。然其貪溺昧罔,亦必有外物引之,遂為所蔽而僻焉,久之相習而成,遂莫辨其為後起、為本來,此好色好貨,大率偏於仁者為 之也。若當其未有引蔽,未有習染,而指其一身之惻隱曰,此是好色,此是好貨,豈不誣乎? ¶
Now if there were one whose constitution was exceedingly one-sided, so that his [being was filled with] compassion and sympathy, would he not be one who is one-sided in the direction of Benevolence? Among such people, the highest, who reaches what he studies, becomes a sage like Yi Yin. The next, even though he falls short of what he studies, still will not fail to become a man of the caliber of Qu Yuan. On the lower side, those who are dull-witted and know nothing of study will, in less extreme cases, become easy-going good fellows, or, in more extreme cases, will become greedy and benighted fellows. Even this greed and delusion must have been induced by external things by which [the Nature of the person in question] has been obscured and led astray, thus making him depraved. [These faults] being consolidated through a long process of habituation, it ultimately becomes impossible to distinguish whether they are innate or of later origin. In this way lust and greed commonly occur in those who are one-sided in the direction of Benevolence. If, before there had been any inducement and obscuration or habituation and staining, one were to point to the compassion and sympathy that filled such a person's entire being and say: "This is lust, this is greed," how misleading it would be!

即有人一身皆是羞惡,非偏於義之人乎?其人上焉而學以至之,則為聖也,當如伯夷;次焉而學不至,亦不失為海瑞一流人;其下頑不知學,則輕者成一傲岸 絕物, 重者成很毒殘暴之惡人。然其很毒殘暴,亦必有外物引之,遂為所蔽而僻焉,久之相習而成,遂莫辨其為後起、為本來,大率殺人戕物,皆偏於義者為之也。若當其 未有引蔽,未有習染,而指其一身之羞惡者曰,此是殺人,此是戕物,豈不誣乎? ¶
If there were one whose whole [being was filled with the senses of] shame and dislike, would he not be one who is one-sided in the direction of the Sense of Right and Wrong? Among such people, the highest, who attains his study goals then becomes a sage like Bo Yi. The next, even though he falls short of his goals of study, still will not fail to become a man of the caliber of Hai Rui. On the lower side, those who are dull-witted and know nothing of study will, in less extreme cases, become haughty and aloof, or, in more extreme cases, will become evil people who are very vindictive and cruel. Even this vindictive and cruel [disposition] must have been induced by external things, by which [the person in question] has been obscured and led astray, thus making him depraved. Being consolidated through a long process of habituation, it ultimately becomes impossible to distinguish whether these characteristics are innate or of later origin. In this way the killing of people and the destruction of things commonly occur at the hand of those who are one-sided in the direction of the Sense of Right and Wrong. If before there had been any inducement and obscuration, or habituation and staining, one were to point to the shame and dislike that filled such a person's entire being and say: "This is a killer! This is a destroyer!" what a false accusation it would be!

墨子之心原偏於惻隱,遂指其偏於惻隱者謂之無父,可乎?但彼不明其德,無晰義之功,見此物亦引愛而出,見彼物亦引愛而出,久之相習,即成一兼愛之 性,其弊 至視父母如路人,則惡矣;然亦習之至此,非其孩提即如此也。即朱子亦不得不云「孟子推其弊至於無父」,則下句不宜承之曰「惡亦不可不謂之性」也。 ends mid p. 12 ¶
Mo Zi's heart was originally one-sided in the direction of compassion and sympathy. Is it then permissible to point to his one-sidedness in the direction of compassion and sympathy and [therefore] say of him that he lacked [the sense of particular regard toward] a father? It is only that [Mo Zi] did not make his virtue [[bright]], and did not carry out the task of [[burnishing his Sense of Right and Wrong]]. When he saw a certain thing, he would be motivated to express his love; when he saw something else he would also be motivated to express his love. Being consolidated through a long process of habituation, [his] became a nature that loved all [equally]. This defect of character went to the point that he regarded his own father and mother like strangers on the road. This [result], then, was certainly evil. But it was habituation that brought him to this point. He was not that way in his infancy. Even Master Zhu had to say: "Mencius derived from this [fact] the conclusion that [Mo Zi] did not duly venerate his father," but he ought not to have continued to say in the next phrase: "This is then [what is meant by] 'Evil too may not be said not to pertain to the Nature.'"

PEM Commentary:

If one holds a privative theory of evil, then it is inappropriate to take a condemnatory attitude toward things that are evil, for an "evil thing" can only be accounted to be a lesser form of good. |||||

朱子曰:「濂溪說:‘性者,剛、柔、善、惡、中而已矣。’濂溪說性,只是此五者。他又自有說仁、義、禮、智底性時,若論氣質之性則不出此五者。然氣 稟底性便是那四端底性,非別有一種性也。」¶
17. Master Zhu said: "Lian-xi (i.e., Zhou Dun-yi) said: 'The nature is just hardness, softness, goodness, evil, and equilibrium.' Lian-xi says that the Nature is only these five. He himself also at times speaks of the Nature of Compassion, Sense of Right and Wrong, Sense of Ritual, and Wisdom, but says that as far as the Nature embodied in materialized lifebreath is concerned, it does not go beyond [the above-mentioned hardness, softness, goodness, evil, and equilibrium]. And yet the Nature bestowed by the lifebreath is precisely the Nature having those Four Beginnings [the above- mentioned Benevolence, Sense of Right and Wrong, Sense of Ritual, and Wisdom]. There is no second kind of Nature." { XLDQ, 30:20b/24 from ZZYL, 95:14b/37 and the seventh section of Zhou Dun-yi's Zhou Yi Tong-shu (Penetrating the Book of Changes, p.2a/8}

既云「氣稟之性即是四端之性,別無二性」,則惡字從何加之?可云「惡之性即善之性」乎?蓋周子之言善惡,或亦如言偏全耳。然偏不可謂為惡也;偏亦命 於天者也,雜亦命於天者也,惡乃成於習耳。¶
Yan Yuan: Since he said: "The Nature bestowed by the lifebreath is precisely the Nature having those Four Beginnings," then where does the word "evil" come in? Can it be said: "The evil Nature is the good Nature?" Perhaps Master Zhu's speaking about good and evil is like [Cheng's] speaking about one-sidedness (i.e., asymmetry) and completeness (symmetry). But the one-sided cannot be said to be evil, for what is one-sided is also mandated by Heaven, whereas evil is brought to fruition through habituation.

如官然:正印固君命也,副貳獨非君命乎?惟山寨僭偽非君命耳。如生物之本色然:五色兼全,且均勻而有條理者,固本色也;獨黃獨白非本色乎?即色有錯 雜獨非本色乎?惟灰塵污泥薰漬點染非本色耳。 ¶
It is as with officials: a personal seal indeed [signifies] the order of the ruler, but does not the assistant's seal also [thus signify] the order of the ruler? It is only the usurpers in mountain fortresses who forge illegitimate orders. [This situation may also be compared to] the original colors of living creatures. When the five colors are all present, and in equal amounts properly arranged, [one might think that some creature has its] original coloration. But then is yellow by itself or white by itself [necessarily] not the original coloration [of such a being]? Even if there is a random mixture of colors, is this [color scheme then necessarily] not the original coloration [of that creature]? It is simply the smokings, steepings, spottings, and stainings [wrought by] ashes, dust, filth, and mud that are not the original coloration [of the creature].

今乃舉副貳雜職與僭偽同誅,以偏色錯彩與污染并厭,是惟正印為君命,純美為本色,惟堯、舜、孔、孟為性善也,烏乎可?周子太極圖,原本之道士陳希 夷、禪僧壽涯,豈其論性亦從此誤,而諸儒遂皆宗之歟?

 Now if assisting officials or those with miscellaneous duties are condemned equally with usurpers, or if one-sided [concentrations of some] colors or mixed hues are deplored jointly with filth and staining, then this [attitude] is the same as taking only the personal seal to represent the ruler's order, unadulterated beauty to be the original color [of some creature], and [to regard] only Yao, Shun, Confucius, and Mencius as having a good Nature. How can this be? The Tai-ji Tu (Diagram of the Great Ultimate) by master Zhou [Dun-yi] was based originally on the work of the Daoist monk Chen [Tuan] (Chen Xi-yi, ca. 906-989) and the Chan monk Shou Yai. How can it be that his theory of the Nature likewise follows the errors [of those heterodox thinkers], and yet the various Confucian scholars all base themselves on it?

言若水之就下處,當時只是滾說了。蓋水之就下,便是喻性之善,如孟子所謂「過顙」「在山」,雖不是順水之性,然不謂之水不得。這便是前面「惡亦不可 不謂之性」之說。¶
18. Master Zhu said: "When [Mencius spoke of the tendency of the human Nature to do good being] like the [tendency of] water to flow downward..., it was just a free manner of speaking. That is to say, the downward-moving tendency of water is an analogy for the goodness of Nature, but when, for instance, Mencius speaks of [the water] as 'going over one's forehead,' or 'being [high] on the mountain,' although these are instances when water's Nature is not being followed, it will not do not to speak of it as water. [The later case] is that of which it was said: 'Evil too cannot be said not to pertain to the Nature.'" {XLDQ, 30:21bf/24 from ZZYL, 4:18b/28}

Yan Yuan: For what reason must he exhaust the energies of his mind to insist that the Nature has evil? To assassinate one's father or ruler is [the act of] a human being, but it is not the Nature of a human being. "Going over one's forehead," and "being [high] on the hillside," {6A:2} are [possible states of] water, but they are not the Nature of water.

PEM Commentary:

In this passage Yan Yuan gives another indication of why he objects to the statement that nature has evil. Yan Yuan distinguishes between the moral worth of a human being and the axiological status of an action that such a person may perform -- particularly under duress or under the influence of environmental factors. It is not in the nature of water to flow uphill, but water can be forced to go uphill by the imposition of some exterior force. If someone were to look at water being pumped uphill and conclude that the mass attraction of water was negative, and that therefore it was being repelled from the mass of the earth, that view would be seriously in error.

19. 水流至海而不汙者,氣稟清明,自幼而善,聖人性之而全其天者也。流未遠而已濁者,氣稟偏駁之甚,自幼而惡者也。流既遠而方濁者,長而見異物而遷焉,失其赤 子之心者也。濁有多少,氣之昏明純駁有淺深也。不可以濁者不為水,惡亦不可不謂之性也。  ¶

19.y.水流未遠而濁,是水出泉即遇易虧之土,水全無與也,水亦無如何 也。人之自幼而惡,是本身氣質偏駁,易於引蔽習染,人與有責也,人可自力也。如何可倫!人家牆卑,易於招盜,牆誠有咎也,但責牆曰「汝即盜也」,受乎哉? ¶

19. Master Zhu said: "[Water] flows to the sea without becoming dirty. This is like [a human being's] endowment of lifebreath being clear and bright, [so that] since childhood there has been [only] goodness [in his makeup]. It is the case of one who, having a sage's Nature, gives completeness to what is his from Heaven. When [water] already becomes turbid before it has flowed far, this is like the endowment's being extremely one- sided and impure, [so that] since childhood there has been evil. Whereas water that becomes turbid after flowing a long distance is like one who changes after growing up and seeing heterodox things; this is one who has lost his "infant's heart." Just as the turbidity [of the water] is of great or minor degree, so the dullness or brightness, purity or impurity of the lifebreath is slight or profound. Just as what is turbid may not be denied to be water, so what is evil may not be denied to pertain to the Nature. {XLDQ, 30:22b/24 from ZZYL, 4:14a/22, ZZWJ 67:17b/26}

Yan Yuan: When [water] already becomes turbid before it has flowed far, this is because just as soon as the water leaves the source it encounters soil that is easily eroded [from the channel]. The [individual characteristics of the] water makes no contribution at all to this [erosion], and nothing happens to the water [itself]. Those people, evil from childhood, are the ones whose own bodies had materialized lifebreath that was one-sided and impure, and were thus susceptible to inducement, obscuration, habituation, and staining. That people are [nevertheless] held responsible for certain things is due to the fact that they can [actually] exert themselves [to determine the outcome of their development]. How can this be compared [with innate characteristics for which one would bear no responsibility]? When people's walls are low, they are invitations to thieves. The wall is indeed at fault, but can the wall accept the complaint: "You are a thief?" [I.e., the builder of the wall is responsible to the extent that he could have built the wall higher, but he does not have responsibility for initiating the thief's actions. Similarly, someone's biased constitution may indeed create a tendency for him to get out of control in some way, but that does not relieve the person's mind of the responsibility to maintain control even if to do so requires special efforts.]

PEM Commentary:

Yan Yuan argues that Zhu Xi gives filial piety and parental compassion as instances of the Nature or design of human beings, and gives seeing and hearing as instances of the nature or design of eyes and ears. Zhu Xi make no strong distinction between nature and design. Nor does Zhu speak of two unrelated natures, a transcendental, moral nature and an immanent, bodily, lustful nature. Rather he sees one nature that is more or less perfectly actualized in individual human beings. But Chen makes absolute distinctions among the categories of design, moral nature, and nature of materialized lifebreath. At this point Yan Yuan throws up his hands without detailing the questions pertaining to how things believed to be so absolutely different could be expected to come into interaction.

The older theory of Zhu Xi at least asserted that there was a strong connection between li and lifebreath, nature and materialized lifebreath. His mature theory gave a sophisticated theory to explain how all of these factors were bound together in an organic system. |||||

PEM Commentary:

Zhu Xi contrasts a case in which the materialized lifebreath of a person is pure with a case in which it is turbid. In the first case the person's behavior will start good and remain so from then on. In the second case the person's behavior starts out bad and continues to be so. But he also mentions a person whose behavior remains good up into adulthood and then changes in response to environmental factors -- a case for which Zhu Xi's theory cannot easily account, but which Yan Yuan can easily explain. |||||

20. 因言:「舊時人嘗裝惠山泉去京師,或時臭了。京師人會洗水,將沙石在筧中,上面傾水,從筧中下去。如此十數番,便漸如故。」¶
20. Master Zhu thereupon said: "In olden times people once transported the water of the springs of Mt. Hui to the capital. Occasionally it would develop a bad odor. There were people in the capital who could wash water. They put sand in a bamboo tube and poured the water in at the top, letting it go down through the tube. Doing this ten or more times, it gradually became as before. { XLDQ, 30:23b/24 from ZZYL, 95:14b/46}

20.y. 此正洗水之習染,非洗水之氣質也。¶

Yan Yuan: This is precisely washing habit and stains from the water; it is not washing away the materialized lifebreath of the water itself.

PEM Commentary:

Zhu Xi discusses how water is spoiled by various contaminants at ZZYL, 4:19a/28. It is fairly clear from this passage and the one quoted above that he understood that water is spoiled by contamination with materials that can be removed to restore the water's original purity. |||||

21. 而今講學用心著力,都是用這氣去尋個道理。?  ¶
21. Master Zhu said: "Now we engage ourselves in study, exercise our minds, and exert our bodies, all of which is using this lifebreath to seek an understanding of the li of the Way." { XLDQ, 30:24a/24, from ZZYLDQ, 4:18b/28}

Yan Yuan: Now if lifebreath has this kind of utility, can it be said to have evil?

22.或問:「‘形而後有氣質之性’,其所以有善惡之不同,何也?」勉齋黃氏曰:「氣有偏正,則所受之理隨而偏正;氣有昏明,則所受之理隨而昏明。木之氣 盛則金之氣衰,故仁常多而義常少;金之氣盛則木之氣衰,故義常多而仁常少。若此者,氣質之性有善惡也。」¶
22. Someone asked: "Since 'the Nature embodied in materialized lifebreath comes after there is physical form,' why is it that there are distinctions within it between good and evil?" Mr. Huang Mian-zhai said: "The lifebreath being one-sided or balanced, the li that it receives then follows it in being one-sided or balanced. The lifebreath being dark or bright, the li that it receives follows it in being dark or bright. If there is an abundance of the lifebreath of [the metaphysical element] wood, the lifebreath of [the element] metal will be deficient. Then there will usually be more Benevolence than Sense of Right and Wrong. If there is an abundance of the lifebreath of [the element] metal, then [the element] wood will be deficient. Then there will usually be more Sense of Right and Wrong than Benevolence. In such cases as these, there is both good and evil in the Nature of the materialized lifebreath. { XLDQ, 31: 3a/32. The entire passage is present in a commentary in the Zhang Zi Quan-shu, 2:19a/27}

22.y.是以偏為惡矣。則伯夷之偏清,柳下惠之偏和,亦謂之惡乎? ¶
Yan Yuan: This [passage] takes one-sidedness to be evil. Then is Bo Yi's one-sidedness in the direction of purity, or Hui of Liu-xia's one-sidedness in the direction of affability also to be called evil?

PEM Commentary:

Huang correlates the Four Virtues with four of the five "elements" or phases. He says that the lifebreaths that are these four elements receive li and that depending on how much lifebreath there is to receive a certain li, there will be greater or lesser strength of the corresponding virtue. This theory of the nature found in materialized lifebreath depends on a crude equation between virtue and quantity of lifebreath. The idea that lifebreath can be quantified, and that the amount of lifebreath present in a human determines something significant about that person, is an old one. |||||

23.愚嘗質之先師。答曰:「未發之前,氣不用事,所以有善而無惡。」至哉此言也! ¶
23. Huang Mian-zhai said: "I once asked my teacher about this. He answered: 'Before it has issued forth, the lifebreath plays no role in human activities; therefore it is good and lacks evil.' How excellent is this pronouncement!" { XLDQ, 31:3b/32 . See also, Zhang Zi Quan Shu, 2:19af }

23.y.未發之前可羨如此,則已發可憎矣,宜乎佛氏之打坐入定,空卻一切也!黃氏之言,不愈背誕乎! ¶
Yan Yuan: If it can be admired this much before it issues forth, then after it issues forth is it indeed to be hated? Then how appropriate [in Huang's view] becomes the Buddhist sitting in meditation and concentration, in which all is made empty. Are not the words of Mr. Huang pernicious?

PEM Commentary:

I do not follow the logic in the statement attributed to Huang's teacher. The "before it issues forth" part seems to be an idea taken from the Doctrine of the Mean. |||||

24. 氣有清濁,譬如著些物蔽了,發不出。如柔弱之人見義不為,為義之意卻在堶情A只是發不出。如燈火使紙罩了,光依舊在堶情A只是發不出來,拆去了紙, 便自是光。¶
24. [Huang Mian-zhai said:] "The lifebreath being either pure or turbid is like [the Nature's] being covered over by something so that [in varying degrees it] is is prevented from issuing forth. For instance, weak men see what is just and yet do nothing. The idea of doing what is just is indeed within, but it cannot issue forth. This [situation] is like the light of a lamp being covered by a paper shade. The light is still inside, but it cannot issue forth. However, when the paper is removed, it is then naturally bright." { XLDQ, 31:3bf/32}

24.y.此紙原是罩燈火者,欲燈火明必拆去紙。氣質則不然。氣質拘此性,即從此氣質明此性,還用此氣質發用此性。何為拆去?且何以拆去?拆而去之,又不止孟 子之所謂戕賊人矣! ¶
Yan Yuan: The paper was originally intended to shade the light of the lamp, so that if you desire the lamp's light it is evident that you must remove the paper. But it is not the same with the materialized lifebreath. [According to Zhu Xi et al] the materialized lifebreath's limiting this Nature is just precisely [what makes] the Nature perceptible. (I.e., li or Nature as an organizational principle is not visible in itself. It is only when it appears as the organizational aspect of some materialized lifebreath that we have any way of actually knowing the li or Nature.) And in addition, we use this materialized lifebreath to give expression in action to this Nature. What would it mean to remove [this materialized lifebreath]? And how could it be removed? To remove it would not stop at what [in the analogy of making cups from willow wood] Mencius referred to as "damaging people."

PEM Commentary:

Huang apparently meant to suggest the idea of an inner light, li, being ensconced by a mantle of materialized lifebreath. His argument ought to have been that if the mantle happened not to be clear enough to permit the light within to shine forth, then it would need to be changed in regard to that one attribute so that it became more transparent. If he had so argued, then he would have been in accord with Zhu Xi's mature theory by which the materialized lifebreath could be changed by "interior alchemical" means. Instead, he argues that at least in the case of someone with materialized lifebreath that is not clear, the materialized lifebreath should simply be removed. Yan Yuan rightly ridicules the idea of removing the materialized lifebreath. He probably would have been equally unhappy with the idea of changing it alchemically. But Zhu Xi could argue that Yan Yuan accepts the idea of nurturing to fulfill the Nature and that this change is no different in kind from the one Zhu himself proposes. |||||

25.以人心言之,未發則無不善,已發則善惡形焉。然原其所以為惡者,亦自此理而發,非是別有個惡,與理不相干也。若別有個惡與理不相干,卻是有性外之物 也 。   ¶
25. [Huang Mian-zhai said:] "Speaking in terms of the human mind, before anything issues forth, there is nothing that is not good; when something issues forth, then good and evil are formed. If, however, we seek to discover why it is that this evil occurs, it too issues forth from this li; it is not that there is some other evil unrelated to li. For if there were such an evil, it would mean the existence of an object external to the Nature." {XLDQ, 31:4af/32}

25.y.以未發為無不善,已發則善惡形,是謂未出土時純是麥,既成苗時即成麻與麥,有是理乎?至謂所以為惡亦自此理而發,是誣吾人氣質,並誣吾人性理,其初 尚近韓子「三品」之論,至此竟同荀氏「性惡」,揚氏「善惡混」矣。¶
Yan Yuan: To say "Before anything issues forth, there is nothing that is not good; when something has issued forth then good and evil are formed" {Yue-ji} is to say that before emerging from the ground there is only pure wheat, whereas by the time there are sprouts, hemp and wheat [both] are formed. Is there such a li (i.e., possibility)? The statement that the reason "why it is that this evil occurs, [is that] it too issues forth from this li" maligns my materialized lifebreath and maligns the li [that is] our human Nature. In the beginning he is still near to Han [Yu]'s doctrine of the three categories [of human beings: good, neutral, and evil], but at this juncture he finally agrees with Xun Zi's [doctrine of the] evilness of human Nature, or Yang Xiong's [teaching that human Nature is a] mixture of good and evil.

PEM Commentary:

Huang seems to indicate that potentials are entirely good, but that actualities can be either good or evil. Although Huang used the dualistic account of the creation of the world that Zhu Xi abandoned in favor of his monistic theory, both Huang and Zhu account only the potential to be entirely good. [[Is there some idea in Zhu's philosophy that the mind, when not engaged, is like a little Tai-ji?}}

The argument seems to be that originally there is no evil, and that evil always comes about due to contingent factors. Huang specifically states that there is no other, positive, source of evil. He implicitly uses Mencius's words, "wu xing wai zhi wu," to argue that there cannot be another source of evil. Since evil comes not from the potential and not from an external source, it can only come from random or contingent features of the working out of the potential into an actuality.

It seems to me that Yan Yuan may misunderstand Huang's words. Yan Yuan wants to argue that evil-producing external factors accrete to the nature without altering it in its essence. But Yan Yuan himself will admit that there are variations in the excellence of created beings, and that is all that Huang Mian-zhai really wants to assert. |||||

26.北溪陳氏曰:「自孟子不說到氣稟,所以荀子便以性為惡,揚子便以性為善惡混,韓文公又以為性有三品,都只是說得氣。近世東坡蘇氏又以為性未有善惡, 五峰胡 氏又以為性無善惡,都只含糊云云。至程子,於本性之外又發出氣質一段,方見得善惡所從來。」又曰:「萬世而下,學者只得按他說,更不可改易。」¶
26. Mr. Zhen Bei-xi said: "Since Mencius did not mention the endowment of lifebreath, Xun Zi thereupon took the Nature to be evil, and Han Yu maintained that the Nature has three categories; [in so doing] all were speaking solely of the lifebreath. In more recent generations Mr. Su Dong-po (Su Shi) reverted to the position that there is neither good nor evil in the Nature. Mr. Hu Wu-feng further held that the Nature has neither good nor evil, and that it was only a confused jumble. . . . But later Master Cheng, brought out another part, the endowment of lifebreath, in addition to the basic Nature. Only then was the source of good and evil seen." He also said: "For more than a myriad generations [on into the future], scholars may only follow his teachings; they may not change anything." {XLDQ, 31:7aff/32}

26.y.程、張於眾論無統之時,獨出「氣質之性」一論,使荀、揚以來諸家所言皆有所依歸,而世人無窮之惡皆有所歸咎,是以其徒如空谷聞音,欣然著論垂世。而 天下之 為善者愈阻,曰,「我非無志也,但氣質原不如聖賢耳。」天下之為惡者愈不懲,曰,「我非樂為惡也,但氣質無如何耳。」且從其說者,至出辭悖戾而不之覺,如 陳氏稱「程子於本性之外發出氣稟」一段。噫!氣稟乃非本來者乎?本來之外乃別有性乎?又曰「方見得善惡所從來」,惡既從氣稟來,則指漁色者氣稟之性也,黷 貨者氣稟之性也,弑父弑君者氣稟之性也,將所謂引蔽、習染,反置之不問。是不但縱賊殺良,幾於釋盜寇而囚吾兄弟子之姪矣,異哉!¶
Yan Yuan: At a time when the many theories were without any system, the Chengs and Zhang alone produced the theory of the nature of the materialized lifebreath and so supplied a unifying explanation for the views of the several schools from Xun Zi and Yang Xiong on down, and at the same time provided a common source on which to blame all the inexhaustible evils of the people of the world. So their disciples became like voices echoing back and forth in an empty valley, and delightedly they wrote essays that flooded the world. Yet the would-be doers of good in the world cramped themselves all the more, saying: "It is not that we lack [good] intentions, but that our materialized lifebreath was from the beginning unequal to that of the sages and worthies." And would-be doers of evil became all the more unrestrained, saying: "It is not that we take joy in doing evil, but because of our materialized lifebreath there is nothing we can do about it." On top of the foregoing, those who followed the teachings [of Cheng, Zhang, et al.] came to express things that were perverse and contrary, without themselves realizing it. For instance, [there is] the statement by Mr. Chen that Master Cheng brought out [the theory of] the endowment of lifebreath being external to the basic Nature. Oh! Is not the endowment of lifebreath something that it there in the beginning? Is there a Nature apart from what is there in the beginning? He also says: "Only then was the source of good and evil seen." Since [by his interpretation] evil comes from the endowment of lifebreath, this statement points to acts of lechery as pertaining to the allotment of lifebreath, shady business dealings as pertaining to the endowment of lifebreath, and patricide and regicide as pertaining to the endowment of lifebreath. That [approach] removes [the processes of] inducement, obscuration, habituation, and staining from any inquiry. It not only allows the violent to kill the good, but comes close to freeing the bandit while imprisoning our brothers, sons and daughters. How strange!

PEM Commentary:

Zhen maintains that Mencius spoke only of the good human potential, the human Nature, and failed to express how when actualized as or in materialized lifebreath the concrete instances of the Nature would generally fall short of perfection. Xun Zi, Han Yu, et al., saw the imperfections and disregarded the possibility that there might be a perfect potential behind them. So they advanced various theories that tried only to deal with the fact of imperfection, and in effect denied the goodness (and perfectibility) of human Nature.

Zhen also says that the Chengs and Zhang Zai gave an account that explains both the potentially perfect goodness of human beings and their actual imperfections. But Yan Yuan maintains that concrete human Natures are in fact always adequate to permit them to do good, and that the Song dynasty Neo-Confucian theories provide a strong rationalization for those who do not will to do good. |||||

27. 潛室陳氏曰:「識氣質之性,善惡方各有著落。不然,則惡從何處生?孟子專言義理之性,則惡無所歸,是‘論性不論氣不備’。孟子之說為未備。」¶
27. Mr. Chen Qian-shi said: "Once we recognize the Nature of the materialized lifebreath, good and evil then each have their resting places. Otherwise, from where would evil be produced? Mencius spoke only of the moral Nature (yi-li zhi xing 義理之性), thus leaving no place for evil -- an instance of [the truth of the statement]: 'To discuss the Nature without discussing lifebreath is not to be comprehensive.' The teaching of Mencius was indeed not comprehensive." {XLDQ, 31:11af/32}

27.y.觀告子或人三說,是孟子時已有荀、揚、韓、張、程、朱諸說矣,但未明言「氣質」二字耳。其未明言者,非其心思不及,乃去聖人之世未遠,見習禮,習 樂,習 射,習書、數,非禮勿視聽言動皆以氣質用力,即此為存心,即此為養性,故曰「志至焉,氣次焉」,故曰「持其志無暴其氣」,故曰「養吾浩然之氣」,故曰「惟 聖人然後可以踐形」。當時儒者視氣質甚重,故雖異說紛紛,已有隱壞吾氣質以誣吾性之意,然終不敢直誣氣質以有惡也。魏、晉以來,佛老肆行,乃於形體之外別 狀一空虛幻覺之性靈,禮樂之外別作一閉目靜坐之存養。佛者曰「入定」,儒者曰吾道亦有「入定」也。老者曰「內丹」,儒者曰吾道亦有「內丹」也。借四子、五 經之文,行楞嚴、參同之事,以躬習其事為粗跡,則自以氣骨血肉為分外,於是始以性命為精,形體為累,乃敢以有惡加之氣質,相衍而莫覺其非矣。賢如朱子,而 有「氣質為吾性害」之語,他何說乎!噫!孟子於百說紛紛之中,明性善及才情之善,有功萬世。今乃以大賢諄諄然罷口敝舌,從諸妄說辯出者,複以一言而誣之 曰,孟子之說原不明不備,原不曾折倒告子。噫!孟子果不明乎,果未備乎?何其自是所見,妄議聖賢而不知其非也!¶
Yan Yuan: If we look at the theories of Master Gao and the other [unidentified speakers, it is evident that] at the time of Mencius the several theories of Xun Zi, Yang Xiong, Han Yu, Zhang Zai, Cheng Yi, and Zhu Xi certainly already existed. The only thing is that the two words "materialized lifebreath" were not yet explicitly mentioned. But their failure to mention them explicitly does not mean that they did not think of them. Rather, at this time not far distant from the era of the sages, the practices of ritual, music, archery, writing, and arithmetic, "not looking, listening, speaking, or moving if not in accord with ritual [requirements]," were all effectuated by means of materialized lifebreath [i.e., the aforementioned activities were carried out in the real world by means of the body and its energies]. It is precisely these things that are referred to when mention is made of preserving the mind and cultivating the Nature. This is why [Mencius] said: "Maintain the will without doing violence to the lifebreath." {Mencius, 2A:2} It is why he said: "[I ably] nourish my floodlike lifebreath," {ibid.} and again, "Only a sage can put this body into [full] operation." {7A:38} At that time Confucian scholars greatly valued the materialized lifebreath. Therefore, although diverse teachings went in all directions, there already were those who secretly held the idea of harming our materialized lifebreath in order to malign our Nature. Nevertheless, they did not dare to malign the materialized lifebreath directly by saying it was evil.

Ever since the Wei-Jin period, Buddhism and Daoism have moved unrestrainedly, and outside the [physical] body they have separately established an empty and illusory spirit Nature, while outside of ritual and music they separately practice a [regimen of] preserving and cultivating [themselves] by closing their eyes and sitting quietly [in meditation]. The Buddhists talk about "entering into trance (ru ding 入定), so the Confucians also say: "Our way also has its 'entering into trance.'" The Daoists speak of the inner elixir, so the Confucians also say: "Our way also has its 'inner elixir.' They take the writings such as the Four Books and Five Classics to do the work of the Lankavatarasutra and the Zhou Yi Can-tong Qi (well-known Chan Buddhist and religious Daoist books). Because for them the personal practice of their [subject] matter (i.e., that of the Confucian Four Books and Five Classics ) is a coarse accomplishment, they assume the breath, bones, blood, and flesh to be outside their proper sphere, and from this assumption they go on to take the Nature and the Mandate [of Heaven] to be pure while they take the body to be an encumbrance, so that they dare to apply the words "having evil" to the materialized lifebreath. They multiply each other's mistakes without perceiving [their errors]. When those who are worthy and talented like Master Zhu say that the materialized lifebreath is a detriment to our Nature, then what can be expected of others? Oh! In the midst of numerous varied discourses, Mencius clarified the goodness of the Nature, the Capacity, and the Feelings. He has brought benefit to a myriad generations. They issued a single defamatory statement to attack what the great worthies had by incessant labor sifted out from various heresies: "The teaching of Mencius was from the beginning neither clear nor comprehensive, and from the beginning it never overcame [the position advocated by] Master Gao." Oh! Was Mencius really unclear? Was [his philosophy] truly incomprehensive? How can these people affirm their own opinions and falsely criticize the sages and worthies without seeing their own errors?

28.問:「目視耳聽,此氣質之性也。然視之所以明,聽之所以聰,抑氣質之性耶,抑義理之性耶?」曰:「目視耳聽,物也;視明聽聰,物之則也。來問可施於 物則,不可施於言性。若言性,當云好色好聲,氣質之性;正色正聲,義理之性。」¶
28. [Someone] asked: "The eyes see and the ears hear. This is the Nature of the materialized lifebreath. But is then that by means of which [the faculty of] vision sees, and [the faculty of] hearing hears the [[physical]] Nature or the ethical (yi-li 義理) Nature? [Chen Qian-shi] replied: "The eye that sees and the ear that hears are things. But [the faculty of] vision's seeing and [the faculty of] hearing's hearing are the designs (ze 則) of these things. The [items in question] here are properly applicable to the designs of things, but not to statements about Nature. If we speak of the Nature, we ought to say that the love of colors and sounds (i.e., the passions of the body) pertain to the Nature of materialized lifebreath, and the rectification of colors and sounds pertains to the ethical Nature." { XLDQ, 31:11b/32.UPS}

28.y.詩云:「天生烝民,有物有則;民之秉彝,好是懿德。」孔子曰:「為此詩者,其知道乎!有物必有則;民之秉彝也,故好是彝德。」詳詩與子言,物則非性 而何? 況朱子解物則,亦云「如有父子則有孝慈,有耳目則有聰明之類」,非謂孝慈即父子之性,聰明即耳目之性乎?今陳氏乃云「來問可施於物則,不可施於言性」,是 謂物則非性矣。又云「若言性,當云好色好聲,氣質之性;正色正聲,義理之性」,是物則非義理之性,並非氣質之性矣。則何者為物之則乎?大約宋儒認性,大端 既差,不惟證之以孔、孟之旨不合,即以其說互參之,亦自相矛盾、各相抵牾者多矣。如此之類,當時皆能欺人,且以自欺。蓋空談易於藏醜,是以舍古人六府、六 藝之學而高談性命也。予與友人法乾王子初為程、朱之學,談性天似無齟齬。一旦從事於歸除法,已多艱誤,況禮樂之精繁乎!昔人云:「畫鬼容易畫馬難。」正可 喻此。¶
Yan Yuan: The Shi Jing (Book of Poetry ) says:

Heaven produced the multitudes of people.

There being things, there were designs (ze 則).

[Behold] the people holding to a constant --

Liking this beautiful virtue.

Confucius said: "Did the person who made this poem know the Way? If there is a thing, there must be its design. Because the people hold to a constant, therefore they like the beautiful virtue."

Examine the Shi Jing and the words of Confucius. If the designs of things mentioned are not their Natures, what are they? Moreover, in explaining "the designs of things," Master Zhu also says: "If there are father and son, then there are also filial piety and parental compassion, and if there are ears and eyes, then there are the [functions] of seeing and hearing." Is this not to say that filial piety and parental love are of the Nature of fathers and sons? And that hearing and seeing are of the Nature of ears and eyes? Now Mr. Cheng says: "The [items in question] here are properly applicable to the designs of things, but not to statements about Nature." By this he means that the designs of things are other than their Natures. He also says: "If we speak of the Nature, we ought to say that the love of colors and sounds (i.e., the passions of the body) pertain to the Nature of materialized lifebreath, and the rectification of colors and sounds pertains to the ethical Nature." This is [to say that] the designs of things are other than the ethical (yi-li ) Nature, and other than the Nature of the materialized lifebreath. Then what are these designs of things?

Generally speaking, what the Song Confucian scholars held to be the Nature was in good part in error. Therefore, it is hopeless to [attempt to] prove their doctrines by the teachings of Confucius and Mencius. Moreover, their doctrines when compared with each other are found to be mutually contradictory and their incongruities are many. [Inconsistent doctrines of this sort] were sufficient to fool other people of the time, and they were also sufficient to fool [the Song scholars] themselves.

It would seem easy to hide ugliness with empty talk. Therefore they abandoned the study of the Six Repositories (liu fu 六府) and Six Arts (liu yi 六藝) of the ancients, and loftily talked [instead] about Nature and the Mandate of Heaven. When my friend Wang Fa-qian and I first made a study of the Cheng-Zhu school, it seemed that there were no incongruities [to be discovered] in talking about Nature and Heaven, but as soon as we applied ourselves to long division there were already many difficulties and mistakes. How much more so with regard to the subtleties and profusions of points concerning ritual and music. This is well illustrated by the saying of the ancients: "It is easy to paint ghosts but hard to paint horses."

29.臨川吳氏曰:「孟子道性善,是就氣質中挑出其本然之理而言。然不曾分別性之所以有不善者,因氣質之有濁惡而汙壞其性也。故雖與告子言而終不足以解告子之 惑,至今人讀孟子,亦見其未有以折倒告子而使之心服也。¶
29.y.孟子時雖無氣質之說,必有言才不善、情不善者,故孟子曰:「若夫為不善,非才之罪也。」「非天 之降才爾殊也。」「人見其禽獸也,以為未嘗有才焉者,是豈人之情也哉!」凡孟子言才情之善,即所以言氣質之善也。歸惡於才、情、氣質,是孟子所深惡,是孟 子所亟辯也。宋儒所自恃以為備於孟子、密於孟子,發前聖所未發者,不知其蹈告子二或人之故智,為孟子所詞而闢之者也,顧反謂孟子有未備,無分曉。然猶時有 回護語,未敢遽處孟子上。至於元儒,則公然肆口以為程、朱言「未備」,指孟子之言性而言也,言「不明」,指荀、揚世俗之論性者言也,是夷孟子於荀、揚、世 俗矣。明言氣質濁惡,汙吾性,壞吾性。不知耳目、口鼻、手足、五臟、六腑、筋骨、血肉、毛髮俱秀且備者,人之質也,雖惷,猶異於物也;呼吸充周榮潤,運用 乎五官百骸粹且靈者,人之氣也,雖惷,猶異於物也;故曰「人為萬物之靈」,故曰「人皆可以為堯、舜」。其靈而能為者,即氣質也。非氣質無以為性,非氣質無 以見性也。今乃以本來之氣質而惡之,其勢不並本來之性而惡之不已也。以作聖之氣質而視為汙性、壞性、害性之物,明是禪家六賊之說,其勢不混儒、釋而一之不 已也。能不為此懼乎!是以當此普地狂瀾氾濫東奔之時,不度勢,不量力,駕一葉之舟而欲挽其流,多見其危也,然而不容已也。觀至「雖與告子言,終不足以解告 子之惑。至今讀孟子,亦見其未有以折倒告子而使之心服」,歎曰,吳臨川何其似吾童時之見也!吾十餘歲讀孟子至義內章,見敬叔敬弟之說,猶之敬兄酌鄉人也, 公都子何據而遽燎然不復問乎?飲湯飲水之喻,猶之敬叔敬弟也,孟季子何見而遂憮然不復辯乎?至後從「長之者義乎」句悟出,則見句句是義內矣。今觀孟子辯性 諸章,皆據人情物理指示,何其痛快明白!告子性甚執,不服必更辯,今既無言,是已折倒也。吳氏乃見為不足解惑,見為未折倒告子,是其見即告子之見,而識又 出告子下矣。¶
29. Mr. Wu Lin-chuan said: "When Mencius said that the Nature is good, he was speaking with regard to the original li that he had abstracted from [its concrete presence in] materialized lifebreath. Yet he never discerned that the reason for the Nature having what is not good is that the materialized lifebreath possesses turbid evil with which it dirties and spoils the Nature. Thus, although he talked with him, he was unto the end unable to dispel Master Gao's doubts. And even today, when people read Mencius, they see that he had nothing by which he could overcome Master Gao and cause his mind to submit. {XLDQ, 31:13b/32}

Yan Yuan: Although there was no theory of materialized lifebreath during the time of Mencius, there must have been those who said that the Capacity and the Feelings were not good. Thus Mencius said: "If people do what is not good, it is not the fault of their Capacity." {Mencius, 6A:6} "It is not that Heaven has provided Capacity unequally." {6A:7} "People see them [acting like] wild birds and beasts, and take it that they never had Capacity, but how can this represent the unsullied state (qing 情情) of human beings?" {6A:8} Whenever Mencius speaks of the goodness of Capacity and the Feelings, he is thereby speaking of the goodness of materialized lifebreath. To attribute evil to the Capacity, Feelings, or materialized lifebreath is something that Mencius would heartily detest and strongly argue against. That wherein the Song Confucians prided themselves on being more comprehensive and more thorough than Mencius and having expressed what the earlier sages had failed to express was, unbeknownst to them, a retracing of the old opinions of Master Gao and the two unidentified speakers that had been attacked and controverted by Mencius. And yet they contrarily maintained that it was Mencius who was incomprehensive and lacked understanding. Nevertheless, at times they still talked so as to screen themselves, not daring to attack Mencius directly.

Later, the Yuan [dynasty] Confucians openly and blatantly maintained that when Cheng and Zhu said "not comprehensive" they were speaking of Mencius's teachings about the Nature, and when they said "not clear," they were talking about the discussions of Xun Zi, Yang Xiong, and ordinary people about the Nature. This is to put Mencius on a level with Xun Zi, Yang Xiong, and ordinary people. They clearly state that evil lies in the turbidity of the materialized lifebreath that defiles and damages our Nature. They do not know that the eyes, ears, mouths, noses, hands, feet, internal organs, bones and sinews, flesh and blood, hair and down, are all things that are beautiful and complete; they are the basic stuff of human beings. Even if a person be stupid, that person is different from the animals. That person's inhalations and exhalations are full, well-rounded, glorious, and enriching. When put in operation among the five sense organs and the hundred bones of the body, they are both pure and sensitive. [The inhalations] are the lifebreath of human beings. Even if a person be stupid, that person is different from the animals. Therefore [the Shu Jing , "Tai-shi"] says: Humans are the most spiritually responsive (ling 靈) of the myriad creatures." That is why [Mencius, 6B:2] says: "All humans can become a Yao or a Shun." The responsiveness and ability to act of human beings [comes from] the materialized lifebreath. If there were no materialized lifebreath, then there would be nothing to constitute the Nature. If there were no materialized lifebreath, then there would be nothing by which the Nature would be apparent.

Now when they detest their original materialized lifebreath, is not the [final result] of this that they will unceasingly detest their original Nature as well? To regard the materialized lifebreath from which a sage is constituted as being something that dirties, spoils, and injures the Nature is obviously the Chan [Buddhist] theory of the six thieves. Do they not in effect ceaselessly lump Confucianism and Buddhism into one? Should we not be frightened on this account? So at this time, when the whole earth is engulfed in the wild floods that pour into the East, to take no heed of [the limitations of] one's own strength, to make no estimate of [the limitations of] one's own power, but piloting a frail vessel, to attempt [to go forth] to stem the flow -- the dangers to be encountered are great, yet [the circumstances] do not permit one to stop!

When I reached the point where [Wu] says: "Thus, although he talked with him, he was unto the end unable to dispel Master Gao's doubts. And even today, when people read Mencius, they see that he had nothing by which he could overcome Master Gao and cause his mind to submit," I sighed, saying: "How similar Wu Lin-quan's opinions are to those of my youth! When in my teens I came to the "Sense of Right and Wrong is internal" section of the Mencius (i.e., to the first part of Mencius, 6A, beginning with section ), and read the comparison between respecting one's uncle more than one's younger brother one the one hand and respecting a villager with whom one shares a libation more than one's elder brother on the other hand, [I thought]: Why did Gong-du Zi [[Check name]] suddenly stop asking questions? The example about eating soup and drinking water was like the one about respecting one's uncle and respecting one's younger brother. Why did Meng Ji Zi [[Check name]] disconcertedly cease debating? When later I came to comprehend the meaning of the sentence "what causes me to regard him as elder is yi ½q (Sense of Right and Wrong, Sense of Duty), then I saw that every instance was talking about the internality (i.e., the subjective status) of the [motivating force called] the Sense of Right and Wrong.

And now when I read the several chapters in the Mencius that contain disputations about the Nature, [I see that] they all make their point in terms of the Feeling of human beings and the li of things. How clear it all is! Master Gao was very unyielding by nature, and since he would not yield it was necessary to have more disputations. Now when he [reached the point of] having nothing further to say, he had by then been overcome. When Mr. Wu sees this as meaning that [Mencius's arguments] were insufficient to dispel his doubts and that Master Gao was not overcome, this is where his opinions are the same as Master Gao's, but his understanding is inferior.

PEM Commentary:

Wu's position is different from Chen's and the other positions we have seen. He seems to mean that Mencius observed many instances of human behavior and from them determined how people act when they are not being swayed by their passions. According to Mencius, one may originally be motivated by one's Nature to do a certain good act, but second thoughts caused to spring up by base passions may overwhelm the original good motivation. So one must study human behavior carefully to discover the core of ethical motivations that are sufficient to coordinate all of one's behavior. But having learned of this core, it is also important to study the limiting factors in one's own constitution, the base passions, etc., so that one can learn how to compensate for one's own limitations.

Once again, Yan Yuan argues that the constitution of one who tends to go astray is not evil in an absolute sense, but only in the sense that it is less than perfectly good and so is conducive to error. |||||

30. Master Zhu said: "Mencius was, in the final analysis, not comprehensive, so he could not silence Xun Zi and Yang Xiong." {This passage is not found in series in the present-day XLDQ . ZZYLDQ, 59:14b/47}

Yan Yuan: Cheng and Zhu were set on being scholars. Their view being different from those of Mencius, they ought also to have cleared their minds of preconceptions and to have pondered why the views of Mencius are such, [asking themselves]: "Could it be that I have not yet comprehended [those teachings]?" Then, searching for the reasons why Master Gao, Xun Zi, and Yang [Xiong] were wrong and Mencius was right, they would naturally have found [those reasons]. But in the end they chose [the theory of] the nature of the materialized lifebreath as one through which various other theories could be brought together, distinguishing [the nature of the materialized lifebreath] from what Mencius took to be the original Nature. They themselves regarded this as a newly-discovered secret, an all-embracing insight, while they contrarily regarded Mencius as one-sided and incomplete. Why is this? It is because of being far removed from the sages, and thus not understanding the study of the Six Arts. Mencius, like the bright moon that appears at dusk when the sun's light is not far away (i.e., the full moon that appears on the eastern horizon as the sun sets on the western horizon), steadily faced toward Confucius. He did not use the opinions [of others], nor did he take twisted dogmas or corrupt teachings to adulterate [the truths taught by Confucius]. Then Cheng and Zhu are comparable to the dim stars during the midnight of the moon's last quarter; the stars of this dark period are not only not to be compared in brightness [to the sun and moon of the former period], but since they are so far separated from the sun and the moon, they do not [even] know enough to respect the awe-inspiring sun, much less the bright moon. Also, the study of the ancients began with the Six Arts, was supplemented with [studies of] the Nature and the Feelings, included practical experience of economics, [and all] without losing proper sequence. When they saw the limits of their powers, they stopped at that point. Therefore, even one as intelligent as Master Duan-mu considered Confucius to be more learned and perceptive, and it was not until he was old and his learning was deep that he comprehended the teachings about the Nature. When he heard Confucius compare him to Master Yan [Hui] he immediately lost his composure; this must be because [study of the Nature] is so great, untrammeled and unattainable. The learning of later times involved chanting and writing commentaries. It emphasized stillness (i.e., meditative practices), and "extending the innate knowledge." This made it very easy to stay at home while covering the world with the [mind's] eyes, and after a long period of imagining to take the empty for the real and thus immoderately create the doctrine of some school [of one's own] without realizing its errors.

31.吳氏曰:「程子‘性即理也’云云,張子云:‘形而後有氣質之性’云云,此言最分曉。而觀者不能解其言,反為所惑,將謂性有兩種。蓋天命之性,氣質之 性,兩性字只是一般,非有兩等性也。」¶
31. Mr. Wu [Lin Quan?] said: "Both the statement of Master Cheng that 'The Nature is li,' and the statement of Master Zhang that 'Only after the physical form [comes into existence] is there the nature of the materialized lifebreath' . . . are exceedingly perceptive. Yet those who see these words are unable to understand them, and are to the contrary confused. They will say that there are two kinds of nature. Now [in the terms] 'the nature endowed by Heaven,' and 'the nature of the materialized lifebreath,' the two words 'nature' are in the same category. There are not two classes of nature." {XLDQ, 31:14af/32 UPS ECQS, 22A:11a/14; Zheng Meng, Cheng Ming, 2:18bf/27)

31.y.程、張原知二之則不是,但為諸子、釋氏、世俗所亂,遂至言性有二矣。既云「天地之性渾是一善,氣質之性有善有惡」,非兩種性而何可云惡即理乎」 ¶
Yan Yuan: Cheng and Zhang originally know that "it is wrong to divide them in two." {ECYS, 6:2a/10} But being confused by the various masters, the Buddhists, and popular notions, they thus came to the point of saying that there are two Natures. Since they say: "The Nature of Heaven and Earth is a homogeneous and unitary good, whereas the nature immanent in materialized lifebreath has good and evil," then if this is not two Natures, what is it? Can they say: "Evil is li?"

PEM Commentary:

Wu notes that confusion is occasioned by reading two statements together:

Nature is li.

Only after the physical form [comes into existence] is there the nature of the materialized lifebreath.

If "li" means "pattern", then the Nature is a pattern or regularity found in the things of this world. So there could only be regularity to be found after there are real things to be found that have regular, orderly structures that exist in discernible patterns. But then the question would be how to account for the fact that creatures are not created or constituted as chaotic conglomerations of raw stuff. Yan Yuan accepts the foregoing interpretation of li and Nature, and answers that the world is an orderly place with creatures and events displaying much regularity of structure and behavior simply because the Lord on High has so willed.

The problem with Yan Yuan's interpretation, from the standpoint of the Cheng-Zhu school, is that it neither gives a theoretical account to explain the presence of order in the world nor gives a theoretical explanation for the presence of evil. It is not enough, they would perhaps argue, to say that the Lord on High has caused them to exist. In addition, we should like to know as much as possible about how they are produced. Yan Yuan attempts to answer this problem in the second section of his book.

For the Cheng-Zhu school, if "li" means "transcendent potential for being and pattern," then Nature, as a subset of the transcendent potential that accounts for the moral Natures of human beings, is projected into the transcendent realm. It is hypostatized as a transcendent being. Then the expression "the nature of the materialized lifebreath" has to be interpreted as a phrase with multiple referents that names the various more-or-less perfect actualizations of that transcendent potential as the ethical characteristics of real individuals.

While the second interpretation accounts for the presence of order or regularity in the world, and also accounts for good and evil, it is a doctrine that confuses many people. Wu rejects this interpretation without stating a rationale.

Yan Yuan quotes this passage by Wu as supporting his own point of view and as implicitly attacking the Cheng-Zhu school's position. |||||

32.問:「子罕言命,若仁、義、禮、智、信五常,皆是天所命。如貴賤、死生、壽夭之命有不同,如何?」曰:「都是天所命。稟得精英之氣,便為聖、為賢, 便是得 理之全,得理之正。稟得清明者曰英爽;稟得敦厚者曰溫和。稟得清高者便貴,稟得豐厚者便富,稟得長久者便壽;稟得衰頹、薄汙(天命無汙,當作「濁」)者便 為愚、不肖,為貧,為賤,為夭。天有那氣生一個人出來,便有許多物隨他來。天之所命固是均一,而氣稟便有不齊,只看其稟得來如何耳。」¶
32. [Someone] asked: "'The Master (i.e., Confucius) rarely spoke about the Mandate [of Heaven].' [While] the five constants of Benevolence, Justice, Propriety, Wisdom, and good faith have all been mandated by Heaven, how about the differences in the mandates for noble or mean position, death or life, long life or early death?" [Master Zhu] answered: "All these are mandated by Heaven. If one is endowed with fine and pure lifebreath, one becomes a sage or worthy. This then is to receive li in all its completeness and correctness. Those who are endowed with what is pure and clear are the heroes. Those who are endowed with what is clear and eminent are the noble ones. Those who are endowed with what is sumptuous are the rich. Those who are endowed with what is enduring are the long-lived. Those who are endowed with what is depleted, shabby, and unclean

Yan Yuan's interlinear note: There is nothing "unclean" in the Mandate of Heaven, the word should be "turbid." are thus the stupid, unworthy, poor, lowly, and short-lived.

When Heaven has a certain lifebreath for the production of a human being, there are many things that go along with it." He also said: "What Heaven mandates is the endowment of lifebreath. [The qualities of a person] depend solely on what is endowed."10 {XLDQ, 31:21a/32 ZZYL, 4:18b/22. or 4:23bf/28}

Yan Yuan: This paragraph is most excellent. The essence of my third diagram follows it exactly.

PEM Commentary:

In his remarks on passage 32, Yan Yuan has already accepted most of what Cheng says in this passage. What Yan Yuan really objects to is the idea of a nature that is better than the lifebreath in which it is found. But defects in constitution imply imperfections of character structure. All people are good enough to be moral human beings, but they are not necessarily going to behave well as effortlessly as did the ancient sage emperors. Instead, they must constantly use their wills to supervise their own activities and thereby to compensate for their innate weaknesses. |||||

33. Master Zhu said: "During and before the [first] three dynasties, the endowments of lifebreath were pure and rich. The lifebreath, being pure, was necessarily abundant and long-lasting, so that the sages and worthies [of those times] were all noble, rich, and long-lived. Afterwards it was otherwise." {XLDQ, 31:23a/32}

Yan Yuan: I say that there is a method for reversing the cycle of lifebreath. Only by carrying out the institution of the [civil service] examinations will the pure naturally become eminent and abundant.

PEM Commentary:

Yan Yuan's remarks strike me as somewhat cynical or hard-bitten. He does not accept Zhu Xi's idea of the spontaneous decline of the moral estate of human beings. Instead, he blames the people whose government and social policies have led people away from being good stewards of their own moral conditions. If the government were to give incentives to people to look to their own moral cultivation through its examination system, then people would take responsibility for their own lives, the good would be rewarded, and the people's moral estate would in due course be improved. |||||

34. Master Cheng said: "There is no Nature that is not good. The reason for evil is [in] the Capacity. What is received from lifebreath is called the Capacity. The goodness or lack of goodness of the Capacity is due to the lifebreath's being balanced or one-sided." { XLDQ, 31:25b/32 CSWS, 7:2a/4 }

Yan Yuan: He blames the Capacity and accordingly he blames materialized lifebreath. Thus he says that when, at the time of Mencius, people said that the Feeling and the Capacity were not good, this was [in fact] the theory of materialized lifebreath [accounting for variations of good and evil in human beings]. [Zhang and Cheng's theory of the] nature embodied in materialized lifebreath is the same as the view expressed by Master Gao and the two other speakers.

PEM Commentary:

When Mencius says: "It is not the fault of the Talent," he means for us to blame the will for lapses from good behavior.

The position of the will of the Lord on High in the universe is similar to the position of the will of the individual in the mind. The will of the Lord on High mandates the existences of Yin and Yang, the Four Powers, and through them beings of al degrees of perfection. The will of the individual mediates the various influences that impinge upon it from Yin and Yang and the Four Virtues (i.e., the moral drives, the drives that humans share with animals), and all other environmental inputs. It may then act of its own volition as based on all the inputs it has received to perform its own creative acts in the world. An example of this kind of thing would be for one to act on the basis of Wisdom to rectify some else's behavior.

Although he does not mention it here, Yan Yuan's position restores the importance of questions of will and decision to the discussion of ethical life in the Confucian tradition. |||||

35. Master Cheng said: "What Master Gao said was indeed right, but on being questioned by Mencius, what he said was then not right." {XLDQ, 31:27a/32 from ECYS, 18:19b/47}

35.y.愚謂程、朱即告子之說,猶屬遙度之語。茲程子竟明許告子所言是,且曰「為孟子問他,他說便不是」,似憾告子辭不達意者。不知諸先生正不幸不遇孟子問,故不自知其不是也 。¶
Yan Yuan: I say that the theories of Cheng and Zhu are just those of Master Gao, and would seem to consist of sayings that make morés unstable. Here Master Cheng finally clearly evaluates what Master Gao said as being right, and also says: "On being questioned by Mencius, what he said was then not right." He seems to regret that Master Gao did not communicate his [true] meaning. He does not understand that it is precisely because certain masters unfortunately did not encounter Mencius's interrogation that they therefore did not realize their own mistakes.

36.朱子曰:「性者心之理,情者心之動,才便是那情之會恁地者。情與才絕相近,但情是遇物而發,路陌曲折,恁的去底;才是有氣力去做底。要之,千頭萬 緒,皆是從心上來。」¶
36. Master Zhu said: "Nature is the li of the mind. The Feeling is the activity of the mind. The Capacity is the Feeling's being able to do things that way. The Feeling and the Capacity are extremely close together, but the Feeling issues forth on contact with things. Wherever the highways and byways twist and turn, it proceeds accordingly. The Capacity is the power by which one's lifebreath acts. In sum, the thousand starting points and myriad threads [of action] all come from the mind." {XLDQ, 31:28af/32 from XLDQ, 5:16a/16}

Yan Yuan: This paragraph is quite correct. So why does he say: "With regard to the evil of the Feeling and Capacity, and the evil of the materialized lifebreath Master Cheng was more thorough [in his analysis] than Mencius?"

37. Master Zhu said: "What [Cheng] Yi-chuan calls the Capacity . . . and what Mencius calls the Capacity are slightly different, and the argument [of Master Cheng] is more clearly stated. This cannot be left unconsidered." {XLDQ, 31:29b/32 from ZZYL, 59:8a/38}

Yan Yuan: [Cheng] Yi-chuan says clearly: "What is evil is the Capacity." The difference between this and the position of Mencius is like the difference in nature between ice and [glowing] charcoal [embers], or the difference in the chariot shafts of Yan and Yue. How can [Master Zhu] still say there is only a small difference?

38.氣質之性,古人雖不曾與人說,考之經典,卻有此意。如書云「人惟萬物之靈」,「亶聰明作元后」,與夫「天乃錫王智勇」之說,皆此意也。孔子說「性相 近也,習相遠也」,孟子辯告子「生之謂性」,亦是說氣質之性。¶
38. Master Zhu said: "Although the ancients did not talk to people about the nature of the materialized lifebreath, by investigating the classics we see that they did indeed have this idea. As, for instance, when the Shu Jing [Book of Documents ] says: 'Humans are the most spiritually responsive (ling, F) of the myriad creatures.' { ZZYLDQ, 59:12a/47 near end.}  'True, intelligent, arising as the founder.' {Shu Jing, Tai} and 'Heaven gave the king wisdom and bravery.' These passages all have that meaning. Or when Confucius says: 'By Nature near, by practice far,'or when Mencius debates Master Gao, who says: 'What at birth is so is called the Nature,' they are also speaking of the Nature of the materialized lifebreath." {XLDQ, 31:31a/32, ZZYL, 59:12a/47 }

38.y.「氣質之性」四字,未為不是,所差者,謂性無惡,氣質偏有惡耳。茲所引經傳乃正言氣質之性善者,何嘗如程、張之說哉!朱子既惑於其說,遂視經傳皆是 彼意 矣。若僕 曲為援引,較此更似:「道心惟微」,義理之性也;「人心惟危」,氣質之性也;「命也,有性焉」,義理之性也;「性也,有命焉」,氣質之性也;然究 不可謂之有惡。¶
 Yan Yuan: There is nothing wrong with the words "the nature of the materialized lifebreath." What is deficient is saying that the nature has no evil, while the materialized lifebreath is persistently inclined to have evil. The classics and commentaries just quoted say precisely that the nature of the materialized lifebreath is good. When did they ever say anything like that said by Cheng and Zhang? Master Zhu, being confused by the ideas [of Cheng and Zhang] consequently sees the classics and commentaries as all having the meanings [given them by Cheng and Zhang]. If I were to quote evidence, I would take [the following quotations] as rather more similar [to their] meanings: "It is the dao-mind that is minute," would refer to the Nature of moral li, and "It is the human heart that is dangerous," {Shu Jing, Da-ga0) would refer to the nature of the materialized lifebreath. "Ming ye you xing yan" would refer to the moral li, and "Xing ye you ming yan" would refer to the nature of the materialized lifebreath. However, in the end neither can be said to have evil.

39.問:「天理人欲同體異用之說如何?」曰:「當然之理,人合恁地底便是體,故仁、義、禮、知為體。如五峰之說,則仁與不仁,禮與不禮,智與不智,皆是 性。如此,則性乃一個大人欲窠子,其說乃與東坡、子由相似,是大鑿脫,非小失也。」 ¶
39. Someone asked: "What of the position that says that the heavenly li and the human passions are different functions of the same basis-for-function (ti 體)? Master Zhu replied: "The proper li, if a human accords with them, constitute that basis-for-function. Therefore Benevolence, Justice, Propriety, and Wisdom are such a basis-for-function. But according to Wu-feng Benevolence and non-Benevolence, [Justice and non-Justice,] Propriety and non-Propriety, Wisdom and non-Wisdom all constitute that Nature. In this way the Nature would be a great den of human passions. His position is like that of Dong-po (i.e., Su Dong-po, Su Shi) and Zi Yu. It is a great rent [in the fabric of the Way], not a minor lapse." {ZZYL, 37b/42}

Yan Yuan: Is not maintaining the materialized lifebreath to have both good and evil the same as saying that Benevolence and its opposite, Propriety and its opposite, [etc.] all constitute the Nature? And is this not to say that the Nature is a great den of human passions? These words of Master Zhu are his own self-refutation.

PEM Commentary:

The suggested position would have the Nature be composed of four ti (bases for function). Depending on how these ti function (yong 用), they would either produce ethical motivations or else passions. The problem for Confucius, originally, was that humans were observed to exhibit both kinds of impulses. Mencius's solution was to say that humans and animals shared the non-ethical impulses, but that the moral drives that are the unique powers of human beings occupy a strategic position in the human psyche by virtue of which they can, when properly nurtured and integrated, dominate and give proper direction to the lower impulses. If the entire human body were viewed as one basis-for-function, without regard for its inner structure, then it could indeed be said that one basis-for-function produces both moral drives and drives that are not moral. But the latter, according to Yan Yuan, are not bad. Indeed, they are necessary for the continuation of the human organism. The word "evil," says Yan, applies properly to the behavior that flows from all of these drives or impulses. But Zhu Xi sees the misuse or unintegrated use of these impulses and the resulting evil, and attributes the evil so done directly to the nature of the materialized lifebreath. |||||

[End of the first juan ]

Passages marked ¶ have been checked and corrected.

Since it was created, this page has received [an error occurred while processing this directive] visits.