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Mair 13:2

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The virtue of emperors and kings is to take heaven and earth as their ancestor, to take the Way and its virtue as their ruler, and to take nonaction as their constant.  Through nonaction, one may use all under heaven and still have a surplus.  Through action, one will be used by all under heaven but will be insufficient.  Therefore, the ancients valued nonaction.  When superiors and inferiors both subscribe to nonaction, this means that they share the same virtue.  But when inferiors share the same virtue as superiors, this means that there are no subjects.  When inferiors and superiors both subscribe to action, this means that they share the same way.  But when superiors share the same way as inferiors, this means that there is no ruler.  The superior must subscribe to nonaction and use all under heaven; inferiors must subscribe to action and be used by all under heaven.  This is the unchanging Way.  Therefore, those in antiquity who were kings of all under heaven, although their knowledge embraced heaven and earth, did not themselves formulate plans; although their eloquence encompassed the myriad things, they did not themselves propound theories; although their ability reached to the ends of the seas, they did not themselves act.  Heaven produces not, yet the myriad things evolve; earth grows not, but the myriad things are nurtured; emperors and kings act not, but all under heaven is accomplished.  Therefore, it is said, "Nothing is more spiritual than heaven, nothing is richer than earth, and nothing is greater than the emperors and kings."  Thus, it is said, "The virtue of kings and emperors is a match for heaven and earth."  This is the way to mount on heaven and earth, to ride the myriad things, and use the masses of men.

The root lies with superiors; the particulars lie with inferiors.  The essentials lie with the ruler; the details lie with the subjects.  The operations of the three armies {{This is the number of armies permitted to the lords of the large feudal states during the Eastern Chou period.  The Chou ruler himself maintained six armies.}} with their five categories of weapons {{There are various enumerations (e.g., spear, lance, halberd, shield, and bow).  The expression "five [categories of] weapons" signifies all types of weapons.}} are the particulars of virtue; rewards and penalties, profit and loss, the application of the five types of punishment - these are the particulars of instruction.  Ceremonies, laws, regulations, computations, usages, taboos, examinations, investigations - these are the particulars of government.  The sounds of bells and drums, the appearance of plumes and banners - these are the particulars of music.  Weeping, crying, coarse garments, hempen headbands and armbands, the various gradations of funeral services - these are the particulars of mourning.  These five kinds of particulars require the operation of the essential spirit and the exercise of the arts of the mind before they can be put into effect.

The men of old did study particulars, but did not give them precedence.  The lord precedes and his subjects follow; the father precedes and his sons follow; the older brother precedes and his younger brothers follow; the elder precedes and the youths follow; the man precedes and the woman follows; the husband precedes and the wife follows.  The precedence of the honored and the coming behind of the lowly are the course of heaven and earth.  Therefore, the sage adopts them as his symbols.  Heaven is more honored and earth more lowly - such are their positions as gods.  Spring and summer precede, autumn and winter come after - such is the sequence of the four seasons.  The myriad things evolve and develop; even twisted little shoots have their own special shapes - such are the gradations of fullness and decline, the flow of transformation and evolution.

If even heaven and earth, which are of ultimate spirituality, have a sequence of more honored and more lowly, of that which precedes and that which comes behind, how much more so must the ways of men!  In the ancestral temple, we venerate our relatives; at court, we venerate the honored; in the villages, we venerate our seniors; in the conduct of affairs, we venerate those who are worthy.  This is the sequence of the great Way.  If we speak of the Way but negate its sequence, we negate the Way itself.  How can he who speaks of the Way, yet negates the Way, adopt the Way?

For this reason, those in the past who clarified the great Way first clarified heaven, and the Way and its virtue were next.  Having clarified the Way and its virtue, humaneness and righteousness were next.  Having clarified humaneness and righteousness, the observance of duties was next.  Having clarified the observance of duties, forms and names were next.  Having clarified forms and names, appointments according to qualification were next.  Having clarified appointments according to qualification, inquests and interrogations were next.  Having clarified inquests and interrogations, right and wrong were next.  Having clarified right and wrong, rewards and penalties were next.  Having clarified rewards and penalties, folly and knowledge occupied their rightful places, honor and meanness took their proper positions.  The humane and the worthy as well as the unworthy were employed in conformity with their attributes.  It was necessary to distinguish their abilities and accord with their names.  Thus did they serve their superiors and rear their inferiors, govern things and cultivate their persons.  They made no use of knowledge and schemes, turning only to heaven.  This was called the great peace, the ultimate government.

Therefore, the book says:  "There are forms and there are names."  The ancients did have the concept of forms and names, but it is not what they put first.  When the ancients discussed the great Way, it was only after four steps that they mentioned forms and names, and only after eight steps that they spoke of rewards and penalties.  If they had spoken of forms and names right from the start, it would have shown that they did not know what is fundamental.  If they had spoken of rewards and punishments right from the start, it would have shown that they did not know what is primary.  He whose words invert the Way or run counter to it is to be governed by others.  How could he govern others?  To speak of forms and names and of rewards and penalties right from the start shows only that one knows the tools of government, not the Way of government.  Such a person can be used by all under heaven, but is incapable of using all under heaven.  He is what may be called a sophist, a person of one narrow skill.  The ancients did have ceremonies, laws, regulations, computations, and the detailed comparison of form and name, but these are what inferiors use to serve their superiors, not what superiors use to rear inferiors.
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