Mencius (Part 3)

0
116
Mencius (Public Domain)

Being Fond of Good People is Good Enough to Rule the World

The State of Lu planned to let Le Zhengzi govern the state. Mencius was very glad to hear the news. His disciple Gongsun Chou asked, “Is Le Zhengzi very experienced?” Mencius said, “No.” Gongsun Chou asked, “Then why are you pleased?” Mencius said, “He likes to listen to well-intended advice and he has always fulfilled his responsibilities dutifully.” Gongsun Chou asked again, “Are these sufficient?” Mencius said, “With these qualities, one can rule the world, not to mention govern the State of Lu. If one likes to listen to truth, he will only be willing to meet with good people and the sly people would have no market. If one does not like to listen to righteous words, then those with breadth of vision will kept far away and those sycophants that offer flattering words will come. If one is surrounded by people of vile character, how can one govern a country well? Officials must dare to uphold justice and fairness. If one cannot be diligent and responsible, why then would one want to be an official?” This illustrates how a person of noble character always maintains righteousness, understands the big picture and is clear about morality while fulfilling the duty to promote the good.

A Benevolent Monarch Is Invincible

Mencius said, “Only benevolent people can be invincible in the world and only with benevolent governance can a country be prosperous and can people live in peace. If people higher up do not follow reason and good sense to restrain themselves and people below do not use laws to bind themselves, if governments do not believe in morality and justice, officials do not abide by the law, gentlemen violate justice, villains violate the criminal law – then a country will be lucky to even survive. City walls that are not thick enough or a lack of a strong military are not risks to a country; a state that does not have vast lands or great wealth is not the curse. Not revering morality is the calamity for a state. Consequently, remonstrating with a monarch to cultivate virtue and carry out benevolent governance is to respect one’s monarch. Expounding to a monarch with reason to clear up his wicked ideas is being respectful to a monarch. Flattering and currying favor with a monarch is to entrap him. When a monarch himself is upright, the world will come to be in allegiance with him. The Book of Songs stated, ‘Align with the mandate of heaven and one will have joy.’ Living in the world’s widest residence – benevolence; standing in the most correct position – etiquette; walking on the broadest road in the world – righteousness; wealth cannot confuse one’s thoughts, rank cannot change one’s conduct, and force will not make one yield. This is what a benevolent person does.”

Mencius lived in the middle of the Warring States Period, during which time etiquette collapsed and society was in turmoil. Nevertheless, he did not hesitate to push forward in promoting morality and justice. He believed that the difference between people was not whether one is rich or poor, but rather, having the ability to maintain noble morality and have a clear conscience. Enlightening to the good side of people’s minds and helping them follow heaven’s way is the true reason for exhorting people.

浩然之氣 至大至剛 (三)

好善足以治天下

魯國打算讓樂正子治理國政,孟子聽說這一消息很高興,他的學生公孫醜問:「樂正子很有經驗嗎?」孟子說:「不。」公孫醜問:「那您為甚麼高興呢?」孟子說:「他為人喜歡聽取善言且做事盡職盡責。」公孫醜問:「這些就夠了嗎?」孟子說:「憑這些可以治理天下,更何況魯國呢?如果喜歡聽取善言,就願意與善人結交,小人就沒有市場;如果不喜歡聽取善言,那真正的有識之士就會被拒之於千里之外,而那些進讒言的阿諛奉承之徒就會來到,他身邊要都是這些小人,要想治理好國家,怎麼可能呢?為官就要敢於維護正義和公道。不能盡職,不能盡責,當甚麼官呢?」闡述了君子在任何時候都要保持正氣,識大體、明大義,以從善揚善為己任。

仁者無敵於天下

孟子說:「唯有仁人才能夠無敵於天下,唯有仁政才能使國泰民安。如果在上的不依照義理度量事物,在下的不用法度約束自己,朝廷不信仰道義,官吏不遵守法度,君子觸犯理義,小人觸犯刑律,國家還能生存的,只是由於僥倖罷了。所以說,城牆不夠厚,軍隊不夠多,不是國家的災難;土地沒有擴大,財富沒有積聚,不是國家的禍害。不尊崇道德,才是國家的禍患。因此,進諫君王修德行仁,這才是恭敬;向君王陳述正理,使其消除邪念,這才是尊重;阿諛逢迎,這叫坑害君王。自身端正,天下的人就會來歸附他。《詩經》上說:‘永遠配合天命,將擁有眾多的幸福’。居住在天下最寬廣的住宅‘仁’裏,站立在天下最正確的位置‘禮’上,行走在天下最寬廣的道路‘義’上;富貴不能迷亂他的思想,貧賤不能改變他的操守,威武不能使其意志屈服,此為仁人之所為。」
            
孟子生活的戰國中期禮崩樂壞,社會動盪不安。然而他義無反顧地堅持弘揚道義,認為人們的差別不在於富貴貧賤,而在於能否保持高尚的道德,能否做到「仰不愧於天,俯不怍於人」。認為君子應啟迪人們心中的善念而使其歸於天理正道,這也正是勸善的真正意義和價值所在。

Facebook Comments