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The collection of texts known as the was composedby followers of Confucius and became an important compendium ofConfucian teachings by the first century BC when it was compiledby Dai De and his nephew Dai Sheng. The rules of propriety arediscussed in detail for funeral rites and mourning, sacrifices,archery and chariot-driving contests, capping ceremonies for theinitiation into adulthood, marriage ceremonies, audiences, drinkingand banquet festivities, and friendly missions. The begins with the following summary of the rules of propriety:
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Nevertheless the necessity for constant self-inspection was held before his disciples, as in this parable (Great Learning, c. ii.): "On the bathtub of Tang the following words were engraved: 'If you can purify yourself a single day, do so every day. Let no day pass without purification!'"; and the same he said, even more vigorously, thus: "To assail one's own wickedness and not assail that of others, is this not the way to correct cherished evil?" (Analects, bk. xii., c. xxi., v. 3.)
Rhetorical Issues | The means of persuasion
Mencius held that a good person would not even take from oneperson to give to another, let alone seek territory at the costof human lives. To enrich a ruler, who is neither attracted tothe way nor good to the people, is like enriching a tyrant. Whenabout to place a great responsibility on a person, heaven maytest one with hardship and frustrated efforts in order to toughenone's nature and shore up deficiencies. People usually only mendtheir ways after making mistakes. Those whose minds are frustratedlearn how to innovate.
The Big Fisherman - Project Gutenberg Australia
Mencius declared that the appearance of a true king was nevermore overdue than in his time when the people suffered under suchtyrannical governments. He did not just admire the ancients; hebelieved that twice as much could be done in his time with halfthe effort. For Mencius ethical good was at the center of thevital force in the human body called . The will directsthis energy and when it nourishes it with integrity, the unites what is right and the way. He recommended a middle pathbetween too much meddling and negligence. He told of a man whourged his rice plants to grow by pulling them out too soon. Theother extreme is not even bothering to weed. Mencius could readcharacter from one's words. He could see the blind in their biasedwords, the ensnared in their immoderate words, those who havestrayed in their heretical words, and those at their wits' endin their evasive words.