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The Book of Rites 《禮記》

《曾子問》 The Questions of Zeng-zi

》 The Questions of Zeng-zi

Zeng-zi asked, 'If a ruler dies and a son and heir is born (immediately after), what course should be adopted?'

Confucius said, 'The high nobles, Great officers and (other) officers, following the chief (minister), who takes charge of the government for the time, (should collect) at the south of the western steps, with their faces towards the north. (Then) the Grand officer of prayer, in his court robes and cap, bearing in his hands a bundle of rolls of silk, will go up to the topmost step, and (there), without ascending the hall, will order the wailing to cease. Mournfully clearing his voice three times, he will make announcement (to the spirit of the deceased ruler), saying, "The son of such and such a lady has been born. I venture to announce the fact." He will then go up, and place the silks on a stool on the east of the body in the coffin, wail, and descend. All the relatives of the deceased who are there (at the mourning), the high nobles, the Great and other officers, (with the women) in the apartments, all will wail, but without the leaping. When this burst of sorrow is over, they will return to their (proper) places, and proceed forthwith to set forth the mourning offerings to the dead. The minor minister will ascend, and take away the bundle of silks. On the third day, all the relatives, high nobles, Great and other officers, should take their places as before, with their faces to the north. The Grand minister, the Grand master of the ancestral temple, and the Grand officer of prayer, should all be in their court-robes and caps. The master for the child will carry the child in his arms on a mat of sackcloth. The officer of prayer will precede, followed by the child, and the minister and master of the temple will come after. Thus they will enter the door (of the apartment where the coffin is), when the wailers will cease. The child has been brought up by the western steps, and is held in front of the coffin with his face to the north, while the officer of prayer stands at the south-east corner of it. Mournfully clearing his voice three times, he will say, "So and So, the son of such and such a lady, and we, his servants, who follow him, presume to appear before you." The boy is (then made) to do obeisance, with his forehead on the ground, and to wail. The officer of prayer, the minister, the officer of the temple, all the relatives, the high nobles, with the Great and other officers, will wail and leap, leaping three times with each burst of grief. (Those who had gone up to the hall then) descend, and go back to their proper places on the east; where all bare the left arm and shoulder. The son (in the arms of his bearer is made) to leap, and (the women) in the apartments also leap. Thrice they will do so, leaping three times each time. (The bearer for the son) will cover up his sackcloth, walk with a staff, (ascend and) set forth the offerings by the dead, and then quit the scene. The Grand minister will charge the officer of prayer and the recorder to announce the name all round, at the five altars of the house, and at those (to the spirits) of the hills and streams.'

Zeng-zi asked, 'If the son and heir have been born after the burial (of the) ruler, what course should be followed?'

Confucius said, 'The Grand minister and the Grand master of the ancestral temple will follow the Grand officer of prayer, and announce the fact before the spirit tablet (of the deceased ruler). Three months after they will give the name in the same place, and announce it all round', and also at the altars to (the spirits of) the land and grain, in the ancestral temple, and (at the altars of) the hills and streams.'


Confucius said, 'When princes of states are about to go to the (court of the) son of Heaven, they must announce (their departure) before (the shrine of) their grandfather, and lay their offerings in that of their father. They then put on the court cap, and go forth to hold their own court. (At this) they charge the officer of prayer and the recorder to announce (their departure) to the (spirits of the) land and grain, in the ancestral temple, and at the (altars of the) hills and rivers. They then give (the business of) the state in charge to the five (subordinate) officers, and take their journey, presenting the offerings to the spirits of the road as they set forth. All the announcements should be completed in five days. To go beyond this in making them is contrary to rule. In every one of them they use a victim and silks. On the return (of the princes) there are the same observances. When princes of states are about to visit one another, they must announce (their departure) before the shrine of their father. They will then put on their court robes, and go forth to hold their own court. (At this) they charge the officer of prayer and the recorder to announce (their departure) at the five shrines in the ancestral temple, and at the altars of the hills and rivers which they will pass. They then give (the business of) the state in charge to the five officers, and take their journey, presenting the offerings to the spirits of the road as they set forth. When they return, they will announce (the fact) in person to their grandfather and father, and will charge the officer of prayer and the recorder to make announcement of it at the altars where they announced (their departure). (When this has been done), they enter and give audience in the court.'

Zeng-zi asked, 'If the funerals of both parents take place together, what course is adopted? Which is first and which last?'

Confucius said, 'The rule is that the burying of the less important (mother) should have the precedence, and that of the more important (father) follow, while the offerings to them are set down in the opposite order. From the opening of the apartment and conveying out the coffin (of the mother) till its interment no offerings are put down; when the coffin is on the route to the grave, there is no wailing at the regular place for that ceremony. When they return from this interment, they set down the offerings (to the father), and afterwards announce (to his spirit) when the removal of his coffin will take place, and proceed to arrange for the interment. It is the rule that the sacrifice of repose should first be offered to the more important (father), and afterwards to the less important (mother).

Coufucius said, 'The eldest son, even though seventy, should never be without a wife to take her part in presiding at the funeral rites. If there be no such eldest son, the rites may be performed without a presiding wife.'

Zeng-zi asked, 'It has been proposed to invest a son with the cap, and the investors have arrived, and after exchanging bows and courtesies (with the master of the house), have entered. If then news should come that the death of some relative has occurred, for whom a year's mourning or that of nine months must be worn, what should be done?'

Confucius said, 'If the death has taken place within (the circle of the same surname), the ceremony should be given up; but if without (that circle), it will go on, but the sweet wine will not be presented to the youth. The viands will be removed and the place swept, after which he will go to his proper position and wail. If the investors have not yet arrived, the capping will be given up (for the time). If the arrangements for the capping have been made, but before the day arrives, an occasion for the one year's mourning, or for that of nine months, or five months, have arrived, the youth shall be capped in his mourning dress.'

'When all mourning is over, may a son continue to wear the cap which he has hitherto worn?'

Confucius said, 'When the son of Heaven gives to the (young) prince of a state or a Great officer his robes and the cap proper to each in the grand ancestral temple, the youth on his return home- will set forth his offering (in his own ancestral temple), wearing the robes that have been given to him, and here he will drink the cup of capping (as if) offered by his father, without the cup of wine at the ceremony. When a son is (thus) capped after his father's death, he is considered to be properly capped; he will sweep the ground, and sacrifice at his father's shrine. This being done, he will present himself before his uncles, and then offer the proper courtesies to the investors.'

Zeng-zi asked, 'Under what circumstances is it that at sacrifice they do not carry out the practice of all drinking to one another?'

Confucius said, 'I have heard that at the close of the one year's mourning, the principal concerned in it sacrifices in his inner garment of soft silk, and there is not that drinking all round. The cup is set down beside the guests, but they do not take it up. This is the rule. Formerly duke Zhao of Lu, while in that silken garment, took the cup and sent it all round, but it was against the rule; and duke Xiao, at the end of the second year's mourning, put down the cup presented to him, and did not send it all round, but this also was against the rule.'

Zeng-zi asked, 'In a case (of the) mourning for nine months, can (the principal) take part in contributing to the offerings (to the dead of others)?'

Confucius said, 'Why speak only of (the mourning for) nine months? In all cases from (the mourning for) three years downwards, it may be done. This is the rule.'

Zeng-zi said, 'Would not this be making the mourning of little importance, and attaching (undue) importance to mutual helpfulness?'

Confucius said, 'This is not what I mean. When there is mourning for the son of Heaven or the prince of a state, (all) who wear the sackcloth with the jagged edges (will contribute to) the offerings. At the mourning of a Great officer, (all) who wear the sackcloth with the even edges will do so. At the mourner of an ordinary officer, his associates and friends will do so. If all these be not sufficient, they may receive contributions from all who should mourn for nine months downwards; and if these be still insufficient, they will repeat the process.'

Zeng-zi asked, 'In a case of the mourning for five months, may (the principal) take part in the other sacrifices (of mourning)?'

Confucius said, 'Why speak only of the mourning for five months? In all cases from the mourning for three years downwards, (the principals) take part in those sacrifices.'

Zeng-zi said, 'Would not this be making the mourning of little importance, and giving (undue) importance to the sacrifices?'

Confucius said, 'In the mourning sacrifices for the son of Heaven and the prince of a state, none but those who wear the sackcloth with the jagged edges take part in them. In those for a Great officer, they who wear the sackcloth with the even edges do so. In those for another officer, if the participants be insufficient, they add to them from their brethren who should wear mourning for nine months downwards.'

Zeng-zi asked, 'When acquaintances are in mourning, may they participate in one another's sacrifices?'

Confucius said, 'When wearing the three months' mourning, one has no occasion to sacrifice (in his own ancestral temple), and how should he assist another man (out of his own line)?'

Zeng-zi asked, 'When one has put off his mourning, may he take part in contributing to the offerings (for the dead of another)?'

Confucius said, 'To take part in the offerings (to another's dead), on putting off one's own sackcloth, is contrary to the rule. Possibly, he may perform the part of assisting him in receiving visitors.'

Zeng-zi asked, 'According to the rules for marriages, the presents have been received and a fortunate day has been fixed; if then the father or mother of the young lady die, what course should be adopted?'

Confucius said, 'The son-in-law will send some one to condole; and if it be his father or mother that has died, the family of the lady will in the same way send some to present their condolences. If the father have died, (the messenger) will name the (other) father (as having sent him); if the mother, he will name the (other) mother. If both parents be dead (on both sides), he will name the oldest uncle and his wife. When the son-in-law has buried (his dead), his oldest uncle will offer a release from the engagement to the lady, saying, "My son, being occupied with the mourning for his father or mother, and not having obtained the right to be reckoned among your brethren, has employed me to offer a release from the engagement." (In this case) it is the rule for the lady to agree to the message and not presume to (insist on) the marriage (taking place immediately). When the son-in-law has concluded his mourning, the parents of the lady will send and request (the fulfilment of the engagement). The son-in-law will not (immediately come to) carry her (to his house), but afterwards she will be married to him; this is the rule. If it be the father or mother of the lady who died, the son-in-law will follow a similar course.'

Zeng-zi asked, 'The son-in-law has met the lady in person, and she is on the way with him:--if (then) his father or mother die, what course should be adopted?'

Confucius said, 'The lady will change her dress; and in the long linen robe, with 'the cincture of white silk round her hair, will hasten to be present at the mourning rites. If, while she is on the way, it be her own father or mother who dies, she will return.'

'If the son-in-law have met the lady in person, and before she has arrived at his house, there occur a death requiring the year's or the nine months' mourning, what course should be adopted?'

Confucius said, 'Before the gentleman enters, he will change his dress in a place outside. The lady will enter and change her dress in a place inside. They will then go to the proper positions and wail.'

Zeng-zi asked, 'When the mourning is ended, will they not resume the marriage ceremonies?'

Confucius said, 'It is the rule, that when the time of sacrifice has been allowed to pass by, it is not then offered. Why in this case should they go back to what must have taken place previously?'

Confucius said, 'The family that has married a daughter away, does not extinguish its candles for three nights, thinking of the separation that has taken place. The family that has received the (new) wife for three days has no music; thinking her bridegroom is now in the place of his parents. After three months she presents herself in the ancestral temple, and is styled "The new wife that has come." A day is chosen for her to sacrifice at the shrine of her father-in-law; expressing the idea of her being (now) the established wife.'

Zeng-zi asked, 'If the lady die before she has presented herself in the ancestral temple, what course should be adopted?'

Confucius said, '(Her coffin) should not be removed to the ancestral temple, nor should (her tablet) be placed next to that of her mother-in-law. The husband should not carry the staff; nor wear the shoes of straw; nor have a (special) place (for wailing). She should be taken back, and buried among her kindred of her own family - showing that she had not become the established wife.'

Zeng-zi asked, 'The fortunate day has been fixed for taking the lady (to her new home), and she dies (in the meantime) - what should be done?'

Confucius said, 'The son-in-law will come to condole, wearing the one year's mourning, which he will lay aside when the interment has taken place. If it be the husband who dies, a similar course will be followed on the other side.'

Zeng-zi asked, 'Is it according to rule "that at the mourning rites there should be two (performing the part of) the orphan son (and heir, receiving visitors), or that at a temple-shrine there should be two spirit-tablets?'

Confucius said, 'In heaven there are not two suns; in a country there are not two kings; in the seasonal sacrifices, and those to Heaven and Earth, there are not two who occupy the highest place of honour. I do not know that what you ask about is according to rule. Formerly duke Huan of Qi, going frequently to war, made fictitious tablets and took them with him on his expeditions, depositing them on his return in the ancestral temple. The practice of having two tablets in a temple-shrine originated from duke Huan. As to two (playing the part of the) orphan son, it may be thus explained: Formerly, on occasion of a visit to Lu by duke Ling of Wei, the mourning rites of Ji Huan-zi were in progress. The ruler of Wei requested leave to offer his condolences. Duke Ai (of Lu), declined (the ceremony), but could not enforce his refusal. He therefore acted as the principal (mourner), and the visitor came in to condole with him. Kang-zi stood on the right of the gate with his face to the north. The duke, after the usual bows and courtesies, ascended by the steps on the east with his face towards the west. The visitor ascended by those on the west, and paid his condolences. The duke bowed ceremoniously to him, and then rose up and wailed, while Kang-zi bowed with his forehead to the ground, in the position where he was. The superintending officers made no attempt to put the thing to rights. The having two now acting as the orphan son arose from the error of Ji Kang-zi.'

Zeng-zi asked, 'Anciently when an army went on an expedition, was it not first necessary to carry with it the spirit-tablets that had been removed from their shrines?'

Confucius said, 'When the son of Heaven went on his tours of Inspection, he took (one of) those tablets along with him, conveying it in the carriage of Reverence, thus intimating how it was felt necessary to have with him that object of honour. The practice now-a-days of taking the tablets of the seven temple-shrines along with them on an expedition is an error. No shrine in all the seven (of the king), or in the five of the prince of a state, ought to be (left) empty. A shrine can only be so left without its tablet, when the son of Heaven has died, or the prince of a state deceased, or left his state, or when all the tablets are brought together at the united sacrifice, in the shrine-temple of the highest ancestor. I heard the following statement from Lao Dan: "On the death of the son of Heaven, or of the prince of a state, it is the rule that the officer of prayer should take the tablets from all the other shrines and deposit them in that of the high ancestor, When the wailing was over, and the business (of placing the tablet of the deceased in its shrine) was completed, then every other tablet was restored to its shrine. When a ruler abandoned his state, it was the rule that the Grand minister should take the tablets from all the shrines and follow him. When there was the united sacrifice in the shrine of the high ancestor, the officer of prayer met (and received) the tablets from the four shrines. When they were taken from their shrines or carried back to them all were required to keep out of the way." So said Lao Dan.'

Zeng-zi asked, 'Anciently, when they marched on an expedition, and carried no displaced tablets with them, what did they make their chief consideration?'

Confucius said, 'They made the instructions from the tablet their chief consideration.'

'What does that mean?' asked the other.

Confucius said, 'When the son of Heaven or the prince of a state was about to go forth, he would, with gifts of silk, skins, and jade-tokens, announce his purpose at the shrines of his grandfather and father. He then took those gifts with him, conveying them on the march in the carriage of Reverence. At every stage (of the march), he would place offerings of food by them, and afterwards occupy the station. On returning, they would make announcement (at the same shrines), and when they had set forth (again) their offerings, they would collect the silk and jade, and bury them between the steps (leading) up to the fane of the high ancestor; after which they left the temple. This was how they made the instructions they received their chief consideration.'

Zi-you asked, 'Is it the rule to mourn for a foster-mother as for a mother?'

Confucius said, 'It is not the rule. Anciently, outside the palace, a boy had his master, and at home his foster-mother; they were those whom the ruler employed to teach his son;-what ground should these be for wearing mourning for them? Formerly duke Zhao of Lu having lost his mother when he was little, had a foster-mother, who was good; and when she died, he could not bear (not) to mourn for her, and wished to do so. The proper officer on hearing of it, said, "According to the ancient rule, there is no mourning for a foster-mother. If you wear this mourning, you will act contrary to that ancient rule, and introduce confusion into the laws of the state. If you will after all do it, then we will put it on record, and transmit the act to the future; will not that be undesirable?" The duke said, "Anciently the son of Heaven, when unoccupied and at ease, wore the soft inner garment, assumed after the year's mourning, and the cap." The duke could not bear not to wear mourning, and on this he mourned for his foster-mother in this garb. The mourning for a foster-mother originated with duke Zhao of Lu.'

Zeng-zi asked, 'The princes are assembled in a body to appear before the son of Heaven; they have entered the gate, but are not able to go through with the rites (of audience); how many occurrences will make these be discontinued?'

Confucius said, 'Four.' 'May I ask what they are?' said the other. The reply was:--'The grand ancestral temple taking fire; an eclipse of the sun; funeral rites of the queen; their robes all unsightly through soaking rain. If, when the princes are all there, an eclipse of the sun take place, they follow the son of Heaven to save it; each one dressed in the colour of his quarter, and with the weapon proper to it. If there be a fire in the grand ancestral temple, they follow him to extinguish it without those robes and weapons.

Zeng-zi said, 'Princes are visiting one another. (The strangers) have entered the gate after the customary bowings and courtesies, but they are not able to go through with the rites (of audience);how many occurrences will make these be discontinued?'

Confucius said, 'Six;' and, in answer to the question as to what they were, replied: 'The death of the son of Heaven; the grand ancestral temple taking fire; an eclipse of the sun; the funeral rites of the queen or of the princess of the state; and their robes all unsightly through soaking rain.'

Zeng-zi said, 'At the seasonal sacrifices of the son of Heaven, at those to Heaven and Earth, and at (any of) the five sacrifices of the house, after the vessels, round and square, with their contents have been set forth, if there occur the death of the son of Heaven or mourning rites for the queen, what should be done?'

Confucius, said, 'The sacrifice should be stopped.' The other asked, 'If, during the sacrifice, there occur an eclipse of the sun, or the grand ancestral temple take fire ' what should be done?' The reply was, 'The steps of the sacrifice should be hurried on. If the victim have arrived, but has not yet been slain, the sacrifice should be discontinued. When the son of Heaven has died and is not yet coffined, the sacrifices of the house are not offered. When he is coffined, they are resumed; but at any one of them the representative of the dead takes (only) three mouthfuls (of the food), and is not urged (to take more). He is then presented with a cup, but does not respond by presenting another, and there is an end (of the ceremony). From the removal of the coffin to the return (from the burial) and the subsequent wailing, those sacrifices (again) cease. After the burial they are offered, but when the officer of prayer has finished the cup presented to him, they stop.'

Zeng-zi asked, 'At the sacrifices to the spirits of the land and grain proper to the feudal princes, if, after the stands and vessels, with their contents, have been arranged, news arrive of the death of the son of Heaven or of the mourning rites for his queen, or if the ruler die or there be mourning rites for his consort, what should be done?'

Confucius said, 'The sacrifice should be discontinued. From the ruler's death to the coffining, and from the removal of the coffin to the return (from the burial) and the (subsequent) wailing, they will follow the example set by the son of Heaven.'

Zeng-zi asked, 'At the sacrifices of a Great officer, when the tripods and stands have been arranged, and the dishes of bamboo and wood, with their contents, have been set forth, but they are not able to go through with the rites, how many occurrences will cause them to be discontinued?'

Confucius said, 'Nine;' and when asked what they were, he added: 'The death of the son of Heaven; funeral rites for his queen; the death of the ruler (of the state); funeral rites for his consort; the ruler's grand ancestral temple taking fire; an eclipse of the sun; (a call to) the three years' mourning; to that of one year; or to that of nine months. In all these cases the sacrifice should be given up. If the mourning be merely for relatives by affinity, from all degrees of it up to the twelve months, the sacrifice will go on. At one where the mourning is worn for twelve months, the representative of the dead, after entering, will take (only) three mouthfuls (of the food), and not be urged to take (any more). He will be presented with a cup, but will not respond by presenting one in return, and there will be an end (of the ceremony). Where the mourning is for nine months, after he has presented the responsive cup, the thing will end. Where it is for five or for three months, it will not end till all the observances in the apartment are gone through. What distinguishes the proceedings of an ordinary officer is, that he does not sacrifice when wearing the three months' mourning. He sacrifices, however, if the dead to whom he does so had no relationship with him requiring him to wear mourning.'

Zeng-zi asked, 'May one, wearing the three years' mourning for a parent, go to condole with others?'

Confucius said, 'On the completion of the first of the three years, one should not be seen standing with others, or going along in a crowd. With a superior man the use of ceremonies is to give proper and elegant expression to the feelings. Would it not be an empty form to go and condole and wail with others, while wearing the three years' mourning?'

Zeng-zi asked, 'If a Great officer or ordinary officer be in mourning for a parent he may put it off; and if he be in mourning for his ruler, under what conditions will he put that off?'

Confucius said, 'If he have the mourning for his ruler on his person, he will not venture to wear any private mourning; what putting off can there be? In this case, even if the time be passed (for any observances which the private mourning would require), he will not put it off. When the mourning for the ruler is put off, he will then perform the great sacrifices (of his private mourning). This is the rule.'

Zeng-zi asked, 'But is it allowable thus to give up all the mourning rites for a parent through this keeping on of the mourning (for a ruler)?'

Confucius said, 'According to the ceremonies as determined by the ancient kings, it is the rule that, when the time has passed (for the observance of any ceremony), there should be no attempt to perform it. It is not that one could not keep from not putting off the mourning; but the evil would be in his going beyond the definite statute. Therefore it is that a superior man does not offer a sacrifice, when the proper time for doing so has passed.'

Zeng-zi said, 'If, when the ruler has died, and is now lying in his coffin, the minister be called to the funeral rites for his father or mother, what course will he pursue?'

Confucius said, 'He should go home and remain there; going indeed to the ruler's for the great services (to the departed), but not for those of every morning and evening.'

(Zeng-zi asked), 'If, when they have begun to remove the coffin, the minister be called to the funeral rites for his father or mother, how should he do?'

Confucius said, 'He should go home and wail, and then return and accompany the funeral of the ruler.'

'If,' said (Zeng-zi), 'before the ruler has been coffined, a minister be called to the funeral rites for his father or mother, what should be his course?'

Confucius said, 'He should go home, and have the deceased put into the coffin, returning (then) to the ruler's. On occasion of the great services, he will go home, but not for those of every morning and evening. In the case of a Great officer, the chief servant of the household will attend to matters'; in the case of an ordinary officer, a son or grandson. When there are the great services at the ruler's, the wife of the Great officer will also go there, but not for those of every morning and evening.'

One in a low position should not pronounce the eulogy of another in a high, nor a younger man that of one older than himself. In the case of the son of Heaven, they refer to Heaven as giving his eulogy. It is not the rule for princes of states to deliver the eulogy of one another.


Zeng-zi asked, 'When a ruler goes across the boundary of his own state, he takes with him his inner coffin as a precaution for the preparations against the three years'(mourning rites) for him. If he die (abroad), what are the proceedings on his being brought back?'

Confucius said, 'The clothes to be put on him after the coffining having been provided, the son in the linen cap, with the sackcloth band round it, wearing coarse sackcloth and the shoes of straw, and carrying a staff, will enter by the opening made in the wall of the apartment for the coffin, having ascended by the western steps. If the slighter dressing (preparatory to the coffining) have still (to be made), the son will follow the bier without a cap, enter by the gate, and ascend by the steps on the east. There is one and the same rule for a ruler, a Great officer, and an ordinary officer.'

Zeng-zi asked, 'If one is occupied in drawing (the carriage with the bier on it) at the funeral rites of his ruler, and is then called to the funeral rites of his father or mother, what should he do?'

Confucius said, 'He should complete what he is engaged in; and when the coffin has been let down into the grave, return home, without waiting for the departure of the (ruler's) son.'

Zeng-zi asked, 'If one, occupied with the, funeral rites of a parent, has (assisted in) drawing the bier to the path (to the grave), and there hear of the death of his ruler, what should he do?'

Confucius said, 'He should complete the burial; and, when the coffin has been let down, he should change his dress, and go to (the ruler's).'

Zeng-zi asked, 'If the eldest son by the proper wife be (only) an officer, and a son by a secondary wife be a Great officer, how will the latter proceed in his sacrificing?'

Confucius said, 'He will sacrifice, with the victims belonging to his higher rank, in the house of the eldest son., The officer of prayer will say, "So and So, the filial son, in behalf of So and So, the attendant son, presents his regular offering." If the eldest son, now the head of the family, be residing, in consequence of some charge of guilt, in another state, and a son by a secondary wife be a Great officer, when (the latter) is offering a sacrifice (for the other), the officer of prayer will say, "So and So, the filial son, employs the attendant son, So and So, to perform for him the regular service." (In this case, however), the principal in this vicarious service will not conduct the sacrifice so as to see that the spirit of the deceased is satisfied to the full; nor send the cup round among all who are present, nor receive the blessing (at the close); nor lay on the ground the portions of the sacrifice as thank-offerings; nor have with him (the wife of the elder brother) who should appear before the spirit-tablet of her mother-in-law, the wife of the deceased. He will put down the cup before the (principal) guests, but they will put it down (in another place), and not send it round. He will not send to them portions of the flesh. In his address to the guests (at the beginning of the service), he will say, "My honoured brother, the honoured son (of our father), being in another state, has employed me, So and So, to make announcement to you."'

Zeng-zi asked, 'If the eldest son have gone and is in another state, while a son by a secondary wife, and without rank, remains at home, may the latter offer the sacrifice?'

Confucius said, 'Yes, certainly.' 'And how will he sacrifice?' 'He will rear an altar in front of the (family-)grave, and there he will sacrifice at the different seasons. If the oldest son die, he will announce the event at the grave, and afterwards sacrifice in the house, calling himself, however, only by his name, and abstaining from the epithet "filial." This abstinence will cease after his death.' The disciples of Zi-you, in the case of sons by inferior wives sacrificing, held that this practice was in accordance with what was right. Those of them who sacrifice now-a-days do not ground their practice on this principle of right;--they have no truthful ground for their sacrifices.

Zeng-zi asked, 'Is it necessary that there should be a representative of the dead in sacrifice? or may he be dispensed with as when the satisfying offerings are made to the dead?'

Confucius said, 'In sacrificing to a full-grown man for whom there have been the funeral rites, there must be such a representative, who should be a grandson; and if the grandson be too young, some one, must be employed to carry him in his arms. If there be no grandson, some one of the same surname should be selected for the occasion. In sacrificing to one who has died prematurely, there are (only) the satisfying offerings, for he was not full-grown. To sacrifice to a full-grown man, for whom there have been the funeral rites without a representative, would be to treat him as if he had died prematurely.'

Confucius said, 'There is the offering of satisfaction made in the dark chamber, and that made in the brighter place.'

Zeng-zi answered with a question, 'But to one who has died prematurely there is not made a complete sacrifice; what do you mean by speaking of two satisfying offerings, the dark and the bright?'

Confucius said, 'When the oldest son, who would take the father's place, dies prematurely, no brother by an inferior wife can be his successor. At the auspicious sacrifice to him', there is a single bullock; but the service being to one who died prematurely, there is no presentation (of the lungs), no stand with the heart and tongue, no dark-coloured spirits, no announcement of the nourishment being completed. This is what is called the dark satisfying offering. In regard to all others who have died prematurely and have left no offspring, the sacrifice is offered to them in the house of the oldest son, where the apartment is most light, with the vases in the chamber on the east. This is what is called the bright satisfying offering.'

Zeng-zi asked, 'At a burial, when the bier has been drawn to the path (leading to the place), if there happen an eclipse of the sun, is any change made or not?'

Confucius said, 'Formerly, along with Lao Dan, I was assisting at a burial in the village of Xiang, and when we had got to the path, the sun was eclipsed. Lao Dan said to me, "Qiu, let the bier be stopped on the left of the road; and then let us wail and wait till the eclipse pass away. When it is light again, we will proceed." He said that this was the rule. When we had returned and completed the burial, I said to him, "In the progress of a bier there should be no returning. When there is an eclipse of the sun, we do not know whether it will pass away quickly or not, would it not have been better to go on?" Lao Dan said, "When the prince of a state is going to the court of the son of Heaven, he travels while he can see the sun. At sun-down he halts, and presents his offerings (to the spirit of the way). When a Great officer is on a mission, he travels while he can see the sun, and at sun-down he halts. Now a bier does not set forth in the early morning, nor does it rest anywhere at night; but those who travel by star-light are only criminals and those who are hastening to the funeral rites of a parent. When there is an eclipse of the sun, how do we know that we shall not see the stars? And moreover, a superior man, in his performance of rites, will not expose his relatives to the risk of distress or evil." This is what I heard from Lao Dan.'

Zeng-zi asked, 'In the case of one dying where he is stopping, when discharging a mission for his ruler, the rules say that, (if he die) in a government hotel his spirit shall be recalled; but not, (if he die) in a private one. But to whatever state a commissioner may be sent, the lodging which may be assigned to him by the proper officer becomes a public hotel;--what is the meaning of his spirit not being recalled, (if he die) in a private one?'

Confucius said, 'You have asked well. The houses of a high minister, a Great officer, or an ordinary officer, may be called private hotels. The government hotel, and any other which the government may appoint, may be called a public hotel. In this you have the meaning of that saying that the spirit is recalled at a public hotel.'

Zeng-zi asked, 'Children dying prematurely, between eight and eleven, should be buried in the garden in a brick grave, and carried thither on a contrivance serving the purpose of a carriage, the place being near; but now if the grave is chosen at a distance, what do you say about their being buried there?'

Confucius said, 'I have heard this account from Lao Dan: "Formerly," he said, "the recorder Yi had a son who died thus prematurely, and the grave was distant. The duke of Shao said to him, 'Why not shroud and coffin him in your palace?' The recorder said, 'Dare I do so?' The duke of Shao spoke about it to the duke of Zhou, who said, 'Why may it not be done?' and the recorder did it. The practice of coffins for boys who have died so prematurely, and shrouding them, began with the recorder Yi."

Zeng-zi asked, 'A minister or a Great officer is about to act the part of a personator of the dead for his ruler; If, when he has received (orders) to pass the night in solemn vigil, there occur in his own family an occasion for him to wear the robe of hemmed sackcloth, what should he do?'

Confucius said, 'The rule is for him to leave (his house) and lodge in a state hotel, and wait till (the ruler's) business is accomplished.'

Confucius said, 'When one who has represented the dead comes forth in the (officer's) leathern cap, or the (Great officer's) tasseled cap (which he has worn), ministers, Great officers, and other officers, all will descend from their carriages (when his passes). He will bow forward to them, and he will also have a forerunner (to notify his approach).'

Zi-xia asked, 'There is such a thing as no longer declining military service, after the wailing in the three years I mourning has come to an end. Is this the rule? or was it at first required by the officers (of the state)?'

Confucius said, 'Under the sovereigns of Xia, as soon as the coffining in the three year's mourning was completed, they resigned all their public duties. Under Yin they did so as soon as the interment was over. Is not this the meaning of what we find in the record, that "the ruler does not take from men their affection to their parents, nor do men take from their parents their filial duty?"'

Zi-xia asked, 'Is then not declining military service (during mourning) to be condemned?'

'Confucius said, 'I heard from Lao Dan that duke Bo-Qin engaged once in such service, when there was occasion for it; but I do, not know if I should allow it in those who seek (by it) their own advantage during the period of the three years' mourning.'

Source: Chinese Text Project English translation "Sacred Books of the East, volume 28, part 4: The Li Ki", James Legge, 1885

Vocabulary Analysis

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