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A NEW ACCOUNT OF THE TALES OF THE WORLD: LITERATURE (EXCERPT)

Edited by Liu Yiqing (403 - 444, Liu-Song Dynasty)
English translation: Hsin-Yu Huang

Emperor Wen commanded the Prince of Dong’e to write a poem while he took seven steps. Failure to do so would mean execution. Upon hearing this, the Prince composed the following poem:

        Boiling the beans to make soup,
        Filtering its pulp for pure juice.
        Under the cauldron, its stalks are burnt,
        While the beans weep from the cauldron.
        Originally grown from the same root,
        Why in such a hurry for mutual harm?

The Emperor then felt deeply ashamed.

── from Shishuo Xinyu (A New Account of the Tales of the World)


SELECTIONS FROM DOCTRINE OF THE MEAN

by Kong Ji (483 BCE - 402 BCE, Spring and Autumn Period)

Edited by Zhu Xi (1130 - 1200, Song Dynasty)

English translation: James Legge

To be fond of learning is to be near to knowledge. To practice with vigor is to be near to magnanimity. To possess the feeling of shame is to be near to energy.

The attainment of the Way requires the extensive study of what is good, accurate inquiry about it, careful reflection on it, the clear discrimination of it, and the earnest practice of it.

The path may not be left for an instant. If it could be left, it would not be the path. On this account, the superior man does not wait till he sees things, to be cautious, nor till he hears things, to be apprehensive. There is nothing more visible than what is secret, and nothing more manifest than what is minute. Therefore the superior man is watchful over himself, when he is alone. While there are no stirrings of pleasure, anger, sorrow, or joy, the mind may be said to be in the state of Equilibrium. When those feelings have been stirred, and they act in their due degree, there ensues what may be called the state of Harmony. This Equilibrium is the great root from which grow all the human actings in the world, and this Harmony is the universal path which they all should pursue. Let the states of equilibrium and harmony exist in perfection, and a happy order will prevail throughout heaven and earth, and all things will be nourished and flourish.

── from Zhongyong (Doctrine of the Mean)