Hsun Yueh and the Mind of Late Han China

Hsun Yueh and the Mind of Late Han China: A Translation of the SHEN-CHIEN

Copyright Date: 1980
Pages: 236
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  • Book Info
    Hsun Yueh and the Mind of Late Han China
    Book Description:

    Hsiin Yiieh's Shen-chien (Extended Reflections) is one of the four major philosophical works that have survived from the later Han dynasty (A.D. 25- 220). Presented here for Western readers is an English translation by Ch'i-ytin Ch'en of the entire work, supplemented with selections of Hsiin Yiieh's other essays

    Originally published in 1980.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-5348-9
    Subjects: Philosophy

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Introduction
    • I. Hsün Yüeh and the Mind of Late Han China
      (pp. 3-53)

      Between A.D. 196 and 205, Hsün Yüeh 荀悅 (A.D. 148-209), Custodian of Secret Archives (Mi-shu chien) at the court of the last Han ruler, produced two important works, theHan-chiand theShen-chien.TheHan-chiis a chronicle of the Former Han dynasty (206 B.C. to A.D. 9), employing both implicitly and explicitly the “praise and blame” (pao-pien) historiographical principle to present some solemn lessons (chien鑑) on the rise and fall of the regime. TheShen-chienis a philosophical work (tzu) in the traditional Chinese sense, in which Hsün Yüeh extended (Shen申) his reflections (chien) on the issues...

    • II. Textual Problems of Hsün Yüeh’s Works: The Han-chi and the Shen-chien
      (pp. 54-79)

      Important as they are, neither theHan-chinor theShen-chienhas been the subject of critical detailed study by traditional or modern scholars.¹ With regard to theShen-chien,the work had once been considered of such significance that it received special mention in both Yuan Hung’s (328-376)Hou Han-chi(Chronicles of the Later Han) and Ssu-ma Kuang’s (1010–1086)Tzu-chih t’ung-chien(Comprehensive Mirror for Aid in Government)—histories which seldom included the titles of scholarly or literary works.² But theShen-chienwas on the whole neglected by Chinese scholars after the middle of the Sung dynasty; some even suspected it...

    • III. Selections from Hsün Yüeh’s Lun (Discourses) in the Han-chi
      (pp. 80-100)

      TheHan-chiand theShen-chien,written in A.D. 198–200 and 200–205 respectively, record the reflections of Hsün Yüeh on history and on the issues of his time. Because the versions of theHan-chithat have been transmitted to us may contain passages that were originally part of theShen-chien,as suggested by the discussion above, it is imperative to study the two works side by side so as to fully understand Hsün Yüeh’s thought.¹

      An English translation of the entireHan-chiwould fill several volumes, and the discourses (Iun) alone would constitute a book nearly double the size...

  5. Translation of the Shen-chien (Extended Reflections)
    • Shen-chien 1 Essence of Government (Cheng-t’i)
      (pp. 103-125)

      1.1 (la4) Humanity (jen) and Righteousness (i) are the foundation of the Way. The Five Classics are its warp, and all other writings its woof.¹ It manifests in poetic recitation, singing, stringed music, and dance.² The reflection of history (chien) is already clear.³ [Its meaning], however, needs to be extended and restated in later times.⁴ Therefore the ancient Sage-kings devoted themselves to extending and stressing Humanity and Righteousness. Faithfully following this through time everlasting is what I callShen-chien(Extended Reflections).⁵

      1.2 (la7) The sacred Han [dynasty] receives the Mandate of Heaven.⁶ Verily it reveres and assists in this timely...

    • Shen-chien 2 Current Affairs (Shih-shih)
      (pp. 126-149)

      2.1 (la4) The most important [affairs of the day can be divided into] twenty-one categories. The first two categories are exalting knowledge and prizing honesty. The remainder,¹ altogether nineteen items, are also crucial and ought to be dealt with [by the sovereign]. Of these, the first concerns [the establishment of] enlightened merit examinations [for officials];² the second, that the senior and junior ministers (kungandch’ing) should not feel reluctant³ to receive appointments in the commandery offices, and officials of the rank of two thousand piculs⁴. should not feel reluctant to accept appointments in the district governments; the third, establishment...

    • Shen-chien 3 Common Superstitions (Su-hsien)
      (pp. 150-162)

      3.1 (la4) Someone inquired about [divination using] tortoise shells and yarrow sticks.¹

      I said: “A virtuous [person] would benefit by it; others would only be injured.”

      He said: “What is the meaning of this?”

      I answered: “When an omen signifies good fortune and one can take advantage of it [because of one’s virtue], or when it signifies bad luck and one can be saved [from disaster because of one’s virtue], this is called benefit. When an omen signifies good fortune and one becomes complacent, or when it signifies bad luck and one becomes discouraged and negligent, this is called injury.”²...

    • Shen-chien 4 Miscellaneous Dialogues (Tsa-yen), I
      (pp. 163-178)

      4.1 (la4) Someone asked: “Why should a superior man earnestly encourage learning?”

      I said: “Those who are born with knowledge are few; those who know by learning are many.¹ [The difference between] the multitude of commoners and the gentlemen of leisure,² or between enlightened government and dark anarchy³ depends upon the success or failure of learning. Is it not appropriate that one should earnestly encourage learning?”

      4.2 (la8) A superior man should reflect upon three things: the past, [other people], and [what he sees in] the mirror.⁴ [Looking at] the past, he observes the lessons [of history];⁵ [looking at other]...

    • Shen-chien 5 Miscellaneous Dialogues (Tsa-yen), II
      (pp. 179-198)

      5.1 (la4) He who wears [fine] clothes does not wallow in the dirt¹ because he cares about [his attire]. But how superficial is he who cares for his clothes but not his manners, how much worse is he who cares for his manner but not his speech and actions, and how shallow is he who cares for his speech and actions but not the enlightenment of his spirit!² Therefore, a superior man fundamentally [considers] spirit (shen) to be that which is most precious. [To attain] harmony of spirit and balance in one's deportment in order to gain access to the...

    (pp. 199-208)
    (pp. 209-225)
  8. Back Matter
    (pp. 226-226)