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Mencius (Book) 孟子 – Top 100 Books in China

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One of the four Confucian books

Overview

Chinese Name: 孟子

English Name: Mencius, Meng Zi

Author: Mencius, Mencius’s disciples and their disciples

Originally Published: 250BC-150 BC

Genre: Philosophy

Brief Introduction of Mencius

Mencius is a Confucian classic, written by Mencius and his disciples Wan Zhang and Gong sun Chou in the middle of the Warring States period. Mencius was listed as the “four books” by Zhu Xi of the Southern Song Dynasty (the other three are Da Xue大学, the doctrine of the mean中庸 and the Analects of Confucius论语)

FOUR BOOKS 四书

The book records the political, educational, philosophical, ethical and other ideological views and political activities of Mencius and his disciples.

 

Mencius had more than 35000 words, and it was a compulsory part of the imperial examination until the end of the Qing Dynasty. The theory of Mencius is not only pure and broad, but also the article is very vigorous and beautiful. The writing is majestic, emotional, eloquent and infectious. It has spread to future generations and has a far-reaching impact. It has become one of the Confucian classics.

The language of Mencius is clear, clear, plain, simple and accurate. As prose, “Mencius” is good at argument, more artistic expression, and has the nature of literary prose.

Author of Mozi

The authors of the book “Mencius” were Mencius, Mencius’s disciples and their disciples.

Mencius, also known as Meng Ke (about 372-289 BC), was a philosopher, thinker, politician and educator in the Warring States period. He was a representative figure of Confucianism after Confucius and before Xunzi. He was called “Kong Meng(孔孟Confucius and Mencius)” together with Confucius.

Mencius 孟子
Mencius 孟子

Mencius advocated “Benevolent仁政” and first put forward the thought of “valuing the people and neglecting the monarch民贵君轻”. Han Yu was listed as a figure of Confucianism in the Pre-Qin Dynasty to inherit Confucius’s “orthodoxy”, and was granted the title of “Yasheng亚圣(Secondary to Confucius)” in the Yuan Dynasty.

Mencius’ thought is mainly embodied in the book Mencius. This book is not only an important academic work of Confucianism, but also a special collection of prose in ancient China.

Excerpts of Mencius

天时不如地利,地利不如人和。

Opportunities vouchsafed by Heaven are less important than terrestrial advantages, which in turn are less important than the unity among people.

老吾老,以及人之老;幼吾幼,以及人之幼。

Respect our own elders, so as to extend to respect others’ elders; Love our own children, so as to extend to love other people’s children.

故天将降大任于斯人也,必先苦其心志,劳其筋骨,饿其体肤,空乏其身,行拂乱其所为,所以动心忍性,曾益其所不能。

When God is going to assign a major task to someone, he must first make his mind painful, make his muscles and bones tired, make his body hungry, make his body poor, and make his every behavior unsatisfactory, so as to make his heart tough and increase his talents.

富贵不能淫,贫贱不能移,威武不能屈,此之为大丈夫。

Wealth can’t confuse my mind, poverty can’t change my ambition, and power can’t bend my integrity. Such a person can be called a great MAN.

Video: Mengzi shuo Mencius Book

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