Principle for the Application of Rules and Norms
This is a principle for the application of rules and norms, first cited in The Great Learning, a section of The Book of Rites. The book advocates the use of xieju by administrators in governance when dealing with people. Xie (絜) originally meant a string used for measuring the circumference of an object, while ju (矩) was a square used for drawing squares, rectangles or right angles. The combination of the two characters refers to rules and norms which must be upheld. In this case, the rules and norms require an administrator to put himself in others’ position and judge their requests based on what he himself would want or not want, to not force upon others what he would reject, and to make this a norm in his governance and his work.
The words and deeds one abhors in a superior should not be applied to his subordinates; the words and deeds one abhors in a subordinate should not be applied to his superiors; the words and deeds one abhors in those who come before should not be applied to those who come after; the words and deeds one abhors in those who come after should not be applied to those who come before; the words and deeds one abhors in those on the right should not be applied to those on the left; the words and deeds one abhors in those on the left should not be applied to those on the right. This is what is known as the principle for the application of rules and norms. (The Book of Rites)