Click on any word to see more details.入國而不存其士則亡國矣見賢而不急則緩其君矣非賢無急非士無與慮國緩賢忘士而能以其國存者未曾有也
To enter upon rulership of a country but not preserve its scholars will result in the downfall of the country. To see the worthy but not hasten to them will make the country's ruler less able to perform his duties. To the unworthy is due no attention. The ignorant should remain without inclusion in the state's affairs. To impede the virtuous and neglect the scholarly and still maintain the survival of the state has yet to be, indeed.
In former times, Duke Wen fled his country but still was upright and just in the realm. Duke Huan was ousted yet he became hegemon over his state's princes. King Gou Jian of Yue met humiliation at the hands of the King of Wu and yet became the foremost among the princes and lords of China. These three gentlemen reached repute and success in the world. In the case of each of those men, they faced in their countries oppression and great humiliation.
The highest of people are without loss of those under them. Failure turned into success; this is the efficiently employed people of the nation.
I have heard this said: It is not a home without peace, it is that my heart is without peace. It is not that I am without sufficient wealth, it is that I am without a fulfilled heart. For this reason, the noble person disciplines themselves and yet is obliging with others. When the masses are lenient on themselves but stern with others, the noble person progresses and does not fail in his aspirations or in carefully examining his motivations. Even though lesser peoples mix into the masses, they are without begrudging hearts, as the lesser peoples have much confidence.
For this reason, those who do that which is difficult to them will surely receive that which they desire. But there are just as surely none who pursue their desires yet avoid that which they hate. Therefore, overbearing ministers harm the ruler, and flattering underlings damage their superiors. A lord must most definitely have efficient ministers, and superiors must have most uncompromising underlings.
Separate the advisors who are delayed in their counsel, as well as the realism of those who support the negligent. Through this can a long life and security be had for the state.
When ministers and subordinates give importance to their offices yet do not speak, close ministers fall silent, distant officials mumble under their breaths, unrest binds the heart of the people, sycophantic flattery by those at their sides surrounds superiors, and good counsel is obstructed, the state is endangered. Kings Jie of Xia and Zhou of Shang did not use them; were not their realms devoid of scholars? They destroyed themselves and lost their realms. Thus it is said that to return a national treasure is not as valuable as introducing the worthy as well as presenting the learned.
Currently, there are 5 drilling tools. Among these 5 tools, the sharpest will surely go dull first. Among 5 blades, the one most finely made will surely be the first discarded. Therefore, the sweetest wells are immediately exhausted, the most appealing trees are quickly cut down, the most vigilant tortoises are burned forthwith, and the most extraordinary serpents are exposed and assailed without hesitation. For this reason, Bi Gan's demise resulted from his resistance, Meng Ben's death resulted from his bravery, Xi Shi's drowning resulted from her beauty, and Wu Qi's rending resulted from his achievements.
Hence, among others, few die not when they excel beyond their station. Therefore it is said: Exceeding attainment is difficult to maintain.
Examine these cases: although there is a worthy ruler, they love not incompetent ministers. Although a father may be kind, he will not love profitless offspring. For this reason, the person that is not equal to the responsibilities their position involves and yet enjoys its authority is not the person for this position. The person who does not measure up to their rank and yet retains its benefits is not the proper recipient.
Good bows are difficult to draw; thus, they can fly high and pierce deeply. A good horse is difficult to ride; thus, it can bear heavy burdens and be sent a great distance forth. A genius is difficult to order; thus, they can be be envoys to lords and meet dignitaries. For this reason, rivers from the north to the south do not disdain small ravines for filling themselves. Hence, the affairs of adept sages are done without resignation, and they reject nothing; thus can one become an instrument for all the world.
For this reason, waters of the rivers of the north and the south are not from the waters of a single source; a fur coat worth a thousand yi is not from the white fur of a single fox. So, abhor to have those that have similar motivations and do not choose those who agree with you and only you, as to do so is certainly not the way of a king who loves all. For this reason, the world is not perfectly understood, large rivers do not inundate greatly, great fires do not completely scorch, and the king's character is not impeccable.
But thus is the chief of a thousand people: They are straight like an arrow, level like a whetstone, but that is not enough to overturn the Myriad. For this reason, mountain creeks quickly dry up, the aged and shallow quickly become effete, and those who are stony and unmoving do not raise a king. Genuine benevolence that does not leave the palace cannot flow throughout the realm.
Chinese text: This work was published before January 1, 1923, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.
English translation: This work is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 license, which allows free use, distribution, and creation of derivatives, so long as the license is unchanged and clearly noted, and the original author is attributed. (https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Translation:Mozi)
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