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PRINCETON, N. J.
BL 1010 .S3 V.3
The Sacred books of China
SACRED BOOKS OF THE EAST
MACMILLAN AND CO.
PUBLISHERS TO THE UNIVERSITY OF
SACRED BOOKS OF THE EAST
BY VARIOUS ORIENTAL SCHOLARS
AND EDITED BV
F. MAX MULLER
AT THE CLARENDON PRESS
\_All rights reservecf^
SACRED BOOKS OF CHINA
THE TEXTS OF CONFUCIANISM
THE SHU KING
THE RELIGIOUS PORTIONS OF THE SHIH KING
THE HSIAO KING
AT THE CLARENDON PRESS
[All rights reserved']
Preface " xiii
I. The Nature and History of the ShCt , . . . i
Meaning of the name Shu King. The Shu existed as a
collection of documents before Confucius. Number of
documents in it in his time. The Preface ascribed to him.
The sources of the Shu. Destruction of the classical litera-
ture by the emperor of K'Mn. Recovery of the Shu.
II. The Credibility of the Records in the ShC . . 12
Are the records reliable or not .'' The Books of A'au ; of
Shang ; of Hsia. The Books of Thang and Yii are professedly
later compilations ; legendary ; based on ancient documents.
The Tribute of Yii. Yao, Shun, and Yii are all historical
III. On the Chronology of China, and the Principal
Eras in the Shx) 20
No detailed chronological system can be made out from
the Shu. Attempts at systematic chronology began in the
Han period. Ancient method of determining the length of
Chinese history. The period of the A'au dynasty ; of the
Shang ; of the Hsia ; of Yio and Shun.
A Chart by the Rev. Professor Pritchard, representing
the principal zodiacal stars above the horizon of any place in
central China, about the year B. c. 2300 ; with note, and table
of the apparent positions of the principal stars in B. C. 2300,
B.C. 1500, a.d. I, A. d. iooo, and a. d. 1878 . . . 27-30
Part I. The Book of Thang.
The Canon of Yao 3'
Part II. The Books of Yii.
1. The Canon of Shun â€¢ -37
2. The Counsels of the Great Yii 46
3. The Counsels of Kao-yao 53
4. The Yi and A"! 56
I, The Tribute of Yii.
The Books of Hsia.
Section i .
2. The Speech at Kan
3. The Songs of the Five Sons
4. The Punitive Expedition of Yin
Part IV. The Books of Shang.
1. The Speech of Thang , . .
2. The Announcement of isTung-hui .
3. The Announcement of Thang
4. The Instructions of i .
5. The Thai KiL Section i
,, â€ž ii
â€ž â€ž iii . .
6. The Common Possession of Pure Virtue
7. The Pan-kang. Section i
Â» ii â€¢ â€¢
8. The Charge to Yiieh. Section i
9. The Day of the Supplementary Sacrifice
10. The Chief of the West's Conquest of Li
11. The Count of Wei ....
to Kao 3ung
Part V. The Books of Kav.
I. The Great Declaration. Section i
The Speech at Mu .
The Successful Completion of the War
The Great Plan
The Hounds of Lii .
The Metal-bound Coffer
7. The Great Announcement .
8. The Charge to the Count of Wei
9. The Announcement to the Prince of Khang
10. The Announcement about Drunkenness
11. The Timber of the Rottlera
12. The Announcement of the Duke of Shao
13. The Announcement concerning Lo
14. The Numerous Officers
15. Against Luxurious Ease
16. The Prince Shih ....
17. The Charge to A'ung of 3hai
18. The Numerous Regions
19. The EstabHshment of Government
20. The Officers of A'au .
21. The A^iin-zt/ian ....
22. The Testamentary Charge .
23. The Announcement of King Khang
24. The Charge to the Duke of Pi .
25. The A'iin-ya ....
26. The Charge to A'y^iung
27. The Marquis of Lii on Punishments
28. The Charge to the Marquis Wan
29. The Speech at Pi
30. The Speech of the Marquis of KK\x\
I. The Name and Contents of the Shih
The meaning of the character Shih. The contents. Only
the pieces of the fourth Part have professedly a religious
character. Classification of the pieces from their form and
II. The Shih before Confucius, and what, if any, were
his Labours upon it 280
Statement of Sze-ma A7/ien ; in the Records of the Sui
Dynasty; of A'u Hsi. View of the author. Groundlessness
of AVnen's statement. What Confucius did for the Shih.
III. The Shih from the Time of Confucius till the
General Acknowledgment of the Present Text 285
From Confucius to the rise of the KKm. dynasty. The Shih
was all recovered after the fires of Khm. Three different
texts :â€” of Lu ; of Kh\ ; of Han Ying. The text of Mao.
IV. The Formation of the Collection of the Shih;
HOW IT came to be SO SMALL AND INCOMPLETE; THE
Interpretation and Authors of the Pieces ; one
Point of Time certainly indicated in it ; and
THE Confucian Preface 290
The theory of the Chinese scholars about a collection of
poems for governmental purposes. The music-master of the
king got the odes of each state from its music-master ; and
the collected poems were disseminated throughout the states.
How the Shih is so small and incomplete. The authors of the
pieces. The year B. c. 776 clearly indicated. The Preface
to the Shih.
Odes of the Temple and the Altar.
1, The Sacrificial Odes of Shang
2. The Sacrificial Odes of A'au. Decade i
3. The Praise Odes of Lu
The Minor Odes of the Kingdom.
Decade i. Odes 5, 6, 9 347
iv. Odes 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 349
V. Odes I, 2, 3, 4, 6, 9 358
vi. Odes 3, 5, 6, 7, 8 3^4
vii. Odes i, 6 373
viii. Ode 5 V^
The Major Odes of the Kingdom.
Decade i. Odes i, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10
â€ž ii. Odes i, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 9, 10 .
â€ž iii. Odes i, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 1 1 .
Lessons from the States.
Book 2. Odes 2, 4 . 43Â°
â€ž 3. Odes 4, 15 433
â€ž 4. Odes I, 3, 6 434
Book 5. Ode 4 437
â€ž 6. Odes I, 9 438
â€ž 10. Odes 8, II 440
â€ž II. Ode 6 442
â€ž 15. Ode I 444
I. The Name of the Classic ; its Existence before the
Han Dynasty ; its Contents, and by whom it was
Meaning of the character Hsiao. Was the treatise called
the Hsiao King by Confucius? It existed before the Han
dynasty during the time of the A'au. It came, probably, from
the school of 3ang-5ze.
II. The Recovery of the Hsiao under the Han
Dynasty, and its Preservation down to the
Publication of the Commentary of the Thang
Emperor Hsuan Bung 45^
Recovery of the Hsiao. The shorter or modern text. The
old or longer text. Was another copy in the old text dis-
covered ? Can we fully rely on the copies catalogued by Liu
Hin? From Khung An-kwo to the emperor Hsuan 3ung.
The emperor's work. Hsing Ping's work.
III. Criticism of the Hsiao since the Thang Dynasty 458
Works on the old text by Sze-mÂ£ Kwang and Fan 3u-yu.
Sceptical criticism ;â€” views oi Kn Hsi and Wu A7;ang. Con-
clusion regarding the genuineness and integrity of the Hsiao.
Note on the translation.
1. The Scope and Meaning of the Treatise .
2. Filial Piety in the Son of Heaven
3. Filial Piety in the Princes of States .
4. Filial Piety in High Ministers and Great Officers
5. Filial Piety in Inferior Officers ....
6. Filial Piety in the Common People .
7. Filial Piety in Relation to the Three Powers .
Filial Piety in Government
The Government of the Sages
An Orderly Description of the Acts of Filial Piety .
Filial Piety in Relation to the Five Punishments
Amplification of ' the All-embracing Rule of Conduct ' in
Amplification of 'the Perfect Virtue' in Chapter I
Amplification of 'Making our Name Famous' in Chapter I
Filial Piety in Relation to Reproof and Remonstrance
The Influence of Filial Piety and the Response to it
The Service of the Ruler ......
Filial Piety in Mourning for Parents ....
Transliteration of Oriental Alphabets adopted for the Trans-
lations of the Sacred Books of the East .... 489
While submitting here some prefatory observations on
the version of the Shu King presented in this volume,
I think it well to prefix also a brief account of what are
regarded as the Sacred Books of the Religions of China.
Those religions are three: â€” Confucianism, Taoism, and
I. I begin with a few words about the last. To translate
any of its books does not belong to my province, and more
than a few words from me are unnecessary. It has been
said that Buddhism was introduced into China in the third
century B. C. ; but it certainly did not obtain an authorita-
tive recognition in the empire till the third quarter of our
first century ^. Its Texts were translated into Chinese, one
portion after another, as they were gradually obtained from
India ; but it was not till very long afterwards that the
Chinese possessed, in their own language, a complete copy
of the Buddhist canon ^. Translations from the Sanskrit
constitute the principal part of the Buddhistic literature
of China, though there are also many original works in
Chinese belonging to it.
* I put the introduction of Buddhism into China before our Christian era thus
uncertainly, because of what is said in the article on the history of Buddhism in
China, in the Records of the Sui Dynasty (a.d. 5S9-61S), the compilers of which
say that before the Han dynasty (began b. c. 202) Buddhism was not heard of
in China. They refer to contrary statements as what 'some say,' and proceed
to relate circumstances inconsistent with them. It is acknowledged on all sides
that Buddhist books were first brought to China between a. d. 60 and 70.
^ Mr. Beal (Catena of Buddhist Scriptures from the Chinese, pp. i, 2) says
that ' the first complete edition of the Buddhist Canon in China dates from the
seventh century ; that a second and much enlarged edition cf it, called the
Southern Collection, was prepared in a. d. 1410 ; that a third edition, called the
Northern Collection, appeared about a.d. 1590; which again was renewed and
enlarged in the year 1723.'
11. Confucianism is the religion of China par excel-
lence, and is named from the great sage who lived in the
fifth and sixth centuries B. C. Confucius indeed did not
originate the system, nor was he the first to inculcate its
principles or enjoin its forms of worship. He said of him-
self (Analects, VII, i) that he was a transmitter and not
a maker, one who believed in and loved the ancients ; and
hence it is said in the thirtieth chapter of the Doctrine of
the Mean, ascribed to his grandson, that ' he handed down
( the doctrines of Yao and Shun, as if they had been his
) ancestors, and elegantly displayed the regulations of Wan
and Wu, taking them as his models.'
In fulfilling what he considered to be his mission, Con-
fucius did little towards committing to writing the views of
antiquity according to his own conception of them. He
discoursed about them freely with the disciples of his
school, from whom we have received a good deal of what
he said ; and it is possible that his accounts of the ancient
views and practices took, unconsciously to himself, some
colour from the peculiar character of his mind. But his
favourite method was to direct the attention of his disciples
to the ancient literature of the nation. He would neither
afiirm nor relate anything for which he could not adduce
some document of acknowledged authority. He said on
one occasion (Analects, III, ix) that he could describe the
ceremonies of the dynasties of Hsia (B.C. 2205-17^7) ^"^d
Yin (B.C. 1766-1123), but did not do so, because the
records and scholars in the two states of iTau, that had
been assigned to the descendants of their sovereigns, could
not sufficiently attest his words. It is an error even to
/suppose that he compiled the historical documents, poems,
and other ancient books from various works existing in his
time. Portions of the oldest works had already perished.
His study of those that remained, and his exhortations to
his disciples also to study them, contributed to their preser-
vation. What he wrote or said about their meaning should
be received by us with reverence ; but if all the works
which he handled had come down to us entire, we should
have been, so far as it is possible for foreigners to be, in
the same position as he was for learning the ancient reli-
gion of his country. Our text-books would be the same
as his. Unfortunately most of the ancient books suffered
loss and injury after Confucius had passed from the stage
of life. We have reason, however, to be thankful that we
possess so many and so much of them. No other litera-
tjire, comparable to them for antiquity, has come down to
us in such a state of preservation.
But the reader must bear in mind that the ancient books
of China do not profess to have been inspired, or to con-
tain what we should call a Revelation. Historians, poets,
and others wrote them as they were moved in their own
minds. An old poem may occasionally contain what it
says was spoken by God, but we can only understand that
language as calling attention emphatically to the state-
ments to which it is prefixed. We also read of Heaven's
raising up the great ancient sovereigns and teachers, and
variously assisting them to accomplish their undertakings ;
but all this need not be more than what a religious man of
any country might affirm at the present day of direction,
help, and guidance given to himself and others from above.
But while the old Chinese books do not profess to contain
any divine revelation, the references in them to religious
views and practices are numerous ; and it is from these
that the student has to fashion for himself an outline of
the early religion of the people. I will now state what the
First, and of greatest importance, there is the Book of
Historical Documents, called the Shu and, since the
period of the Han dynasty (began B.C. 202), the Shu
King. Its documents commence with the reign of Yao in
the twenty-fourth century B. C, and come down to that of
king Hsiang of the A'au dynasty, B.C. 651-619. The earliest
chapters were not contemporaneous with the events which
they describe, but the others begin to be so in the twenty-
second century B. C. The reader will find a translation of
the whole of this work without abridgment.
Second, and nearly as important as the Shu, there is
the Shih, or the Book of Poetry. It contains in all 305
pieces, five of which are of the time of the Shang dynasty
(called also the Yin), B.C. 1 766-1 123. The others belong
to the dynasty of Ka.u, from the time of its founder, king
Wan, born B.C. 1231, to the reign of king Ting, B.C. 606-
586. The whole is divided into four Parts, the last of
which is occupied with ' Odes of the Temple and the
Altar.' Many pieces in the other Parts also partake of
a religious character, but the greater number are simply
descriptive of the manners, customs, and events of the
times to which they belong, and have no claim to be in-
cluded in the roll of Sacred Texts. In this volume will be
found all the pieces that illustrate the religious views of
their authors, and the religious practices of their times.
The third work is the Yi, commonly called the Book of
Changes. Confucius himself set a high value on it, as
being fitted to correct and perfect the character of the
learner (Analects, VII, xvi) ; and it is often spoken of by
foreigners as the most ancient of all the Chinese classics.
But it is not so. As it existed in the time of the sage, and
as it exists now, no portion of the text is older than the
time of king Wan, mentioned above. There were and are,
indeed, in it eight trigrams ascribed to Fu-hsi, who is gene-
rally considered as the founder of the Chinese nation, and
whose place in chronology should, probably, be assigned in
the thirty-fourth century B.C. The eight trigrams are again
increased to sixty-four hexagrams. To form these figures,
two lines, one of them whole ( ) and the other divided
( ), are assumed as bases. Those lines are then placed,
each over itself, and each over the other ; and four bino-
grams are formed. From these, by the same process with
the base lines, are obtained eight figures, â€” the famous tri-
grams. Three other repetitions of the same process give
us successively sixteen, thirty-two, and sixty-four figures.
The lines in the figures thus increase in an arithmetical
progression, whose common difference is one, and the num-
ber of the figures increases in a geometrical progression,
whose common ratio is two. But what ideas Fu-hsi at-
tached to his primary lines, â€” the whole and the divided ;
what significance he gave to his trigrams ; what to the
sixty-four hexagrams, â€” if indeed he himself formed so
many figures ; and why the multiphcation of the figures
was stayed at sixty-four : â€” of none of these points have we
any knowledge from him. There is some reason to believe
that there were texts to the hexagrams under the dynasties
of Hsia and Shang, but none of them have been preserved.
It may be that king Wan and his equally famous son, the
duke of Kku, adopted much of what they found already
existing, and incorporated it with their own interpretations
of the figures ; but they, and they alone, are accepted as
the authors of the text of the Yi. King Wan, we are told,
at a time when he was imprisoned by the tyrannical sove-
reign with whom the dynasty of Shang or Yin ended, took
in hand the ever-changing hexagrams, and appended to
each a brief explanation of the meaning which the trigrams
composing it suggested by their union to his mind ; and in
some cases the practical course in affairs to which that
meaning should direct. His son did for the separate lines
of each hexagram what Wan had done for the whole figure.
Confucius is said to have entered into their labours about
600 years afterwards. Several appendixes are ascribed to
him, in which there is an attempt to explain the origin
of the Fu-hsi figures, and many of the interpretations of
Wan and his son. The early linear figures ; the notes
of Wan and the duke of Ka.u ; and the Confucian appen-
dixes : â€” these constitute the Yi.
The work was from the first intimately connected with
the practice of divination, which, we know from the Shu,
entered largely into the religion of the ancient Chinese.
This goes far to account for its obscure and enigmatical
character ; but at the same time there occur in it, though
in a fragmentary manner, so many metaphysical, physical,
moral, and religious utterances, that the student of it is
gradually brought under a powerful fascination. In conse-
quence, moreover, of its use in divination, it was exempted
by the superstitious tyrant of K/iin from the flames to
which he condemned all the other Confucian literature in
B.C. 213. It has thus come down to us entire, and a trans-
lation of the whole of it will be given.
An additional interest belongs to the Yi as the fountain-
head from which the comparatively modern philosophers
of the Sung dynasty (began A. D. 960) professed to draw
what has been called their ' atlieo-political ' system. As
an appendix to the translation of the Yi, there will be given
an outline of that system, and an attempt will be made to
test the correctness of the interpretation of this classic by
The fourth of the great classics is the Li K\, or the
Record of Rites ; but it is only one of a class that we may
denominate the Constitutional and Ritual Books of ancient
China, especially under the ATau dynasty. They are often
mentioned together as 'the Three Rituals.' The first of
them is called ATau Li, the Rites of ATau, and also Kk\x
Kwan, the Officers of iTau, which latter is the better name
for it. It is the official book of the iTau dynasty. The
prevailing opinion is that it was the production of the duke
of /f au; and if it were not composed in its present form by
him, it contains, no doubt, the substance of the regulations
which he made for the administration of the government,
after the dynasty of Shang had passed, through the achieve-
ments of his father and brother, into that of iTau. Under
the various departments in which that administration was
arranged, it enumerates the principal and subordinate
officers belonging to each, and describes their duties. After
the fires of AVnn, the work was recovered nearly complete
in the first century B. c. A good translation of the whole
work was published in 1851, at Paris, by M. Edouard Biot.
The second Ritual Collection bears the name of I Li,
which has been translated ' the Decorum Ritual,' and ' the
Rules of Demeanour.' It was recovered earlier than the
former, and is as voluminous. It consists of the rules by
which a scholar or officer should regulate his behaviour on
social and state occasions. It has not yet, so far as I
know, been translated into any European language.
The third Collection, more voluminous than either of
the others, was made also under the Han dynasty. In the
first century B.C., it was an immense compilation of 214
books arranged in five divisions. The 214 were reduced
to eighty-five by Tai Teh, a scholar of the time, and his
eighty-five again to forty-six by a cousin, called Tai Kk^ng.
Three other books were added to these towards the end of
the Han period, forming forty-nine in all, which have come
down to us under the title of Li K\, or 'the Record of
Rites,' and have long constituted by imperial authority one
of the five King. An abridgment of this work was trans-
lated by M. J. M. Gallery, at Turin, in 1853, with the
title, â€” 'Li K% ou Memorial des Rites, traduit pour la
premiere fois du Chinois, et accompagne de notes, de
commentaires, et du texte original.' Gallery's work, how-
ever, contains only thirty-six of the forty-nine books of
the Li K\, and most of those thirty-six in a condensed
form. Whether it will be possible to give in these Sacred
Books of the East translations of the whole of these Rituals ;
and if that be not possible, by what principles to be guided
in the selection of portions of them : â€” these are questions
to be determined after further deliberation. Many passages
contain more of the mind of Gonfucius himself on the
sacrificial worship of his country, and the ideas underlying
it, than we find elsewhere.
But it must not be forgotten that these ritual books do
not throw so valuable a light on the ancient religion of
Ghina as the older Shii and Shih. They belong to the
period of the A"au dynasty, and do not go back as contem-
poraneous records to the dynasties beyond it and the still
remoter age of Yao and Shun. The views of Gonfucius,
moreover, as given in them, do not come to us at first hand.
They were gathered up by the Han scholars five and six
centuries after his death, nor can we be sure that these
did not sometimes put ideas of their own into the mouth of
the sage, and make additions to the writings which were
supposed, correctly or incorrectly, to have come from his
We owe the fifth and last of the Kings of Ghina to
Confucius himself. It is what he called K/mn AV/iQ, or
' the Spring and Autumn,' a very brief chronicle compiled
by him of the annals of his native state of Lu for 242
years, from B.C. 723 to 481. But there is not much to be
gleaned from it for the Sacred Texts ; and if we were to
launch out into the three supplements to it of 3o Kh'\yx-
ming, Kung-yang, and Ku-liang, the result would not repay
the labour. A translation of the whole of 3o's supplement,
much the most important, is given in my work on the
Kh\m Kkm, published at Hong Kong in 1872.
There is another short treatise attributed to Confucius, â€”
the Hsiao Kingj or 'Classic of Filial Piety.' Though not
like one of the five great works that have been described,