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Doctrine of the Mean

Subject: Doctrine of the Mean
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A. The Text

   1. What Heaven confers is called "nature."
    Accordance with this nature is called the Tao.
    Cultivating the Tao is called "education."
    That which is called Tao cannot be separated from for an instant.
   What can be separated from is not the Tao. Therefore the Superior Man
   is cautious in the place where he is not seen, and apprehensive in the
   place where he is not heard. Nothing is more visible than the hidden,
   and nothing is more apparent than the subtle. Therefore the Superior
   Man is cautious when he is alone. When joy, anger, sorrow and pleasure
   have not yet arisen, it is called ch'ung (equilibrium, centrality,
   mean). When they arise to their appropriate levels, it is called
   "harmony." Ch'ung is the great root of all-under-heaven. "Harmony" is
   the penetration of the Tao through all-under-heaven. When the mean and
   harmony are actualized, Heaven and Earth are in their proper
   positions, and the myriad things are nourished.
B. The Commentary

   2. Confucius said: "The Superior Man actualizes the mean, the inferior
   man goes against it. The Superior Man actualizes the mean because he
   is always with it; the inferior man's contrarity is do to his
   3. How far-reaching the mean is! That is why those who are able to
   keep it for long are few.
   4. Confucius said: "I know why the Tao is not practiced. The
   intelligent go beyond it and the dull do not reach it. I know why the
   Tao is not manifested. The 'good' go beyond it and the unworthy do not
   reach it. There is no one who does not eat or drink, but there are few
   who really have 'taste.'"
   5. Confucius said: "What a pity! The way is not followed."
   6. Confucius said: "(Emperor) Shun was so wise! He liked to question
   people and delighted in listening to everyday speech. He would cover
   people's bad points and disclose their goodness. He snatched up their
   excesses and facilitated their balanced nature for the benefit of all.
   It was in this way that Shun made himself into what he was."
   7. Confucius said: "Everybody says 'I know,' but they are driven
   forward, becoming ensnared in traps and falling into pits without
   knowing how to avoid them. Everybody says 'I know,' but in intending
   the actualization of the mean, they are not able to stay with it for a
   full month."
   8. Confucius said: "(Yen) Hui was the kind of person who grasped the
   mean in such a way that, attaining to a certain goodness, he would
   clasp it firmly and never lose it."
   9. Confucius said: "You might be able to put in order the whole
   country, kingdoms and clans; decline rank and merit-pay and tread on
   bare swords, yet still be incapable of actualizing the mean."
   [Comment] The performance of phenomenal wonders in incomparable with
   the task of actualizing the mean.
   10. Tzu-lu asked about strength. Confucius said: "Do you mean the
   strength of the South, the strength of the North, or the strength of
   self-mastery? To be broadminded and gentle in teaching and not rashly
   punish wrong-doing is the strength of the South. The Superior Man
   abides in this. To be able to make a bed of weapons and armor and die
   without grief--this is the strength of the North. The forceful are at
   home in this.
    Therefore the Superior Man is harmonious without getting sloppy. How
   correct his strength is! He stands in the center without leaning to
   either side. How correct his strength is! When the Tao is manifest in
   the land, he is changeless in his support of it. How correct his
   strength is! When the Tao is not manifest in the land, he will not
   sell himself out, even until death. How correct his strength is!"
   11. Confucius said: "When you study the occult and perform miracles,
   later generations always tell about it. This I won't do."
    "As a Superior Man, to go according to the Tao and abandon it half
   way--this I certainly cannot do."
    "Then there is the Superior Man, who depends on his actualization of
   the mean, hides himself from the world such that he is unseen and
   unknown, and has no regrets about it. Only the sage can do this."
   12. The Tao of the Superior Man functions everywhere, yet is
   inconspicuous. Average men and women, even if ignorant, know something
   of it; yet even the sage cannot know it completely. Average men and
   women, even though lacking in ability are able to practice to some
   extent; yet even the sage cannot practice it perfectly.
    As vast as the universe is, people still have dissatisfaction. When
   the Superior Man calls it "vast," he means it is too large to be
   grasped. When he speaks of its smallness, he means that it is
   something that cannot be further broken down.
    The Book of Odes says: "The hawk flies high in the sky; the fish
   dances in the deep." This means that its height and its depth are both
   observable. The Tao of the Superior Man starts with the common people,
   but in its absoluteness, it is observed throughout the universe.
   13. Confucius said: "The Tao is not something separate from man. If
   you practice a Tao that is apart from man, this cannot the Tao. The
   Book of Odes says:
   Carving axe handles
    One after another
    They differ little from the original sample
    Taking one to carve another.
    When you compare them,
    There are still differences.
   Therefore the Superior Man treats people as human beings, and once
   they have corrected themselves, he lets them be. Being sincere and
   fair to all, though this is different from the Tao, it are not far
   from it. This means "not doing to others what you don't want done to
   yourself." There are four general ways that this can be characterized,
   one of which I[1] have been able to fully practice:
    (1) Treating my father as I expect my son to treat me.
    (2) Treating my ruler as I expect my ministers to treat me.
    (3) Treating my older brothers as I expect my younger brothers to
   treat me.
    (4) Treating my friends as I expect my friends to treat me.
    In the putting into practice of virtue or the taking care of speech,
   if there is somewhere where I am deficient, I certainly endeavor
   further. If there is excess, I do not dare to merely expend it. His
   words reflecting his actions, his actions reflecting his words--how
   can this Superior Man not be sincere through and through?
   14. The Superior Man acts accepting his own situation. He does not
   hope to be somewhere else. When he is in a position of fame and
   fortune, he acts within fame and fortune. When in a position of
   poverty and low status, he acts within poverty and low status. When
   dwelling with uncultured tribes, he acts as if he is with uncultured
   tribes. When he is in stress and difficulty, he acts from within
   stress and difficulty. There is no place where the Superior Man is not
   completely himself.
    When in a high position, he does not step on those below him. When in
   a low position, he does not drag down those above him. Correcting
   yourself and not expecting things from others, you will not create
   resentments. You will not resent Heaven above, nor blame men below.
    The Superior Man abides in change and awaits his destiny. The
   inferior man practices manipulation and prays for luck.
    The Master said: "Practicing archery is like practicing to be a
   Superior Man. When you miss the bulls-eye, you look for the error in
   15. The Tao of the Superior Man can be compared to traveling: To go
   far, you must start from close by. It can be compared to climbing: To
   go high, you must start from down low. The Book of Odes says:
   The Happy union with wife and children
    Is like the music of lutes and harps
    When siblings all get along
    The harmony is entrancing.
    So make your household good
    And enjoy your wife and children.
   The Master said: "Husband and wife should follow each other."
   16. Confucius said: "The overabundance of the power of spiritual
   beings is truly amazing! Looking for them, they cannot be seen.
   Listening for them, they cannot be heard. There is nothing that they
   do not embody. They cause the people of the world to fast for
   purification, and wear beautiful clothes in order to participate at
   the sacrifices. They are overflowing, seeming to be above, seeming to
   be on the left and on the right. The Book of Odes says: 'Trying to
   investigate the spirits, we cannot reach them. How could we possibly
   grasp them with our thoughts?' The manifestation of the subtle and the
   inconcealability of sincerity is like this."
   17. What a good son was Shun (the sage emperor)! His virtue was that
   of a sage, he was venerated as an emperor. His wealth included
   everything within the four seas. He is sacrificed to in the ancestral
   temple, and his sons and grandsons have preserved his name. Therefore
   we can say that the greatly virtuous always attain their appropriate
   position, always receive their proper reward, always get their
   recognition and are always long-lived.
    We can also know that Heaven develops each thing according to its
   preparation. Thus, Heaven nourishes the growing sprout, and throws
   down the leaning tree. The Book of Odes says:
   Joyful is the Prince
    With the power of his own correctness
    He harmonized those far and near
    He received his reward from Heaven
    Who protected him, helped him
    And gave him the mandate
    Which he in turn enhanced.
   Thus, the greatly virtuous always receive the Mandate of Heaven.
   18. Confucius said: "The only one who didn't suffer from grief was
   King Wen, since his father was King Chi and his son was King Wu. His
   father set him up and his son continued his ways. King Wu merely
   extended what had been handed down from Kings T'ai, Chi and Wen. Once
   he put on his armor, he took control of the whole realm and he never
   failed to live up to the great reputation the people accorded to him.
   He was respected as an emperor; his wealth included all within the
   four seas. The ancestral halls make offerings to him, and his sons and
   grandsons have preserved his name."
    King Wu received the Mandate of Heaven late in life. The Duke of Chou
   consummated the virtue of Wen and Wu. Following in the ways of Kings
   T'ai and Chi, he sacrificed to the former princes with the ceremony
   proper to an emperor, and spread this ceremony to all the nobles,
   ministers, officers and the common people. If the father was a
   minister and the son an officer, then the funeral ceremony would be
   for a minister, and the sacrifices for an officer. If the father was
   an officer and the son was a minister, he would be buried as an
   officer and sacrificed to as a minister. The one year's mourning
   applied up to the ministers, but the three-year mourning applied up
   the emperor. In the mourning for parents, there was no distinction
   according to class.
   19. Confucius said: "How completely King Wu and the Duke of Chou
   actualized their filial piety! Through filial piety, they correctly
   passed down the wills of their forefathers and correctly transmitted
   their works. In spring and autumn, they cleaned the ancestral temple,
   laid out the sacrificial vessels, dressed up in the ceremonial outfit
   and prepared the seasonal foods."
    Using the ritual of the ancestral temple, they ordered the ancestral
    By rank, they distinguished high and low classes; by works, they
   distinguished goodness.
    By having the lower classes offer the toast to the upper classes,
   they kept the lower classes involved.
    By hair color, they distinguished seniority. Each taking their
   positions, they carried out the ritual, played the music, respected
   the venerable, loved their relatives. They served the dead as if they
   were alive, and they served those not present as if they were there.
   Herein they brought filial piety to its highest level.
    They used the Winter and Summer festival to make offerings to the
   Lord-on-High, and used the rituals on the ancestral temple to make
   offerings to the ancestors. He who could completely disclose the
   meaning of the Winter and Summer sacrifices, and the great Imperial
   sacrifice, could govern the country as easily as if he were pointing
   to the palm of his hand."
   20. The Duke of Ai asked about government. Confucius said: "The
   records of the governments of Wen and Wu are on the ancient tablets.
   When they had the right people, the government functioned, and when
   they didn't have the right people, government failed. When people are
   right, the government flourishes; when the ground is right, plants
   flourish; the governments of Wen and Wu flourished like fast-growing
    Therefore, the skillful handling of government is contingent upon
   having the right people. You attract the right people by your own
   character. You cultivate your character through the Tao and you
   manifest the Tao by means of jen. Jen is "humanity"[2] and its most
   obvious function is in love for relatives. "Justice" means "setting
   things right" and its most obvious function is in venerating the Good.
   The differing levels in loving relatives and venerating the good are
   expressed through propriety.
    Thus, if your rank is low, and you do not have the support of those
   in power, you cannot hope to have an influence on government.
   Therefore the Superior man cannot but cultivate his character.
   Wanting to cultivate his character, he cannot do it without serving
   his parents. Wanting to serve his parents, he cannot do it without
   understanding others. Wanting to understand others, he cannot do it
   without understanding Heaven.
    There are five pervasive (ta) relationships in this world, which are
   carried out in 3 ways. The relationships are those between ruler and
   minister, father and son, husband and wife, older brother and younger
   brother, and between friends. The three ways of practice are wisdom,
   jen and courage, but they are practiced in unison.
    Some are born knowing it; some know it by learning and some have to
   struggle to know it. Nonetheless, the knowledge is the same.
    Some practice it by being comfortable within it; some practice it by
   benefitting from it; and some have to struggle to practice it. But
   when the practice is perfected, it is the same."
    Confucius said: "Loving study, you approach wisdom; loving energetic
   practice, you approach jen. Understanding shame, you approach courage.
   If you understand these three, you know how to polish your character;
   knowing how to polish your character, you know how to handle others;
   knowing how to handle others, you know how to govern a state or clan."
    In general, in the handling of the realm, a state or a clan, there
   are nine basic patterns of treatment. These are: polishing your own
   character; venerating the Good; caring for your relatives; respecting
   the high ministers; making the lower ministers feel like they have a
   significant role; treating the common people as your children; making
   the artisans feel welcome; treating foreign guests gently and
   embracing the nobles.
    Polishing your character, you set up your own Tao. Venerating the
   Good, you are not deluded. Caring for your relatives, then your
   fathers, elder and younger brothers will not resent you. Respecting
   the high ministers, you will not make foolish mistakes. Making the
   lower ministers feel like they are part of it, they will regard
   propriety with seriousness. Treating the common people as your
   children, they will work hard. Making the artisans feel welcome, there
   will be plenty of commerce. Being gentle to guests from afar, people
   will flock to you from all directions. If you embrace the nobility,
   the people will have a healthy fear of them.
    Fasting in ceremonial dress, not acting against the norms of
   propriety; this is how you polish your character. Letting go of
   slander, freeing yourself from lust, disregarding wealth and prizing
   virtue: This is how you promote goodness. Respecting their rank,
   paying them well, going along with their likes and dislikes: this is
   the way to take care of your relatives. Giving them enough officers to
   dole out their responsibilities: this is the way to encourage the high
   ministers. To reward well trustworthiness and loyalty: this is the way
   to encourage the lower officers. Employing the people around their own
   farming schedules and taxing them lightly: this is the way to
   encourage the people. Daily and monthly examining their works and
   giving merit where due: this is the way to encourage the artisans.
   Sending out envoys to meet foreign visitors and bestowing kindness and
   pity on the handicapped: this is the way to be gentle to visitors from
   afar. To renew their broken lineages, restore their vanquished states,
   quell their rebellions and protect them from danger; giving them rich
   presents and expecting little in return: this is how you embrace the
    While altogether there are this nine patterns of treatment, there is
   a single way to carry out all of them. In all affairs, if you plan
   ahead you can be successful, and if you don't plan ahead, you will
   fail. If you are prepared before you speak, you won't be tongue-tied.
   If you are prepared before you begin a job, you won't have
   complications. If you are prepared before you act, you won't have to
   be sorry. If you are prepared before teaching, you won't run out of
    Again, if you are in a position of low rank, and you have no
   influence above, you will have no way of governing people. Even though
   there is a way of influencing superiors, if your friends don't trust
   you, you won't be able to influence superiors. Even though there is a
   way of gaining the trust of your friends, if you have discord with
   your relatives, you will not be trusted by your friends. Even though
   there is a way of having harmony with your relatives, if your
   character is not sincere, you will have discord with your relatives.
   Even though there is a way to make your character sincere, if you have
   not awakened to your goodness, you will not be able to make your
   character sincere.
    Sincerity is the Way of Heaven. Making oneself sincere is the Way of
   Man. If you can be perfectly sincere without effort, without a
   mindfulness to its attainment, and walk embracing the Middle Way, you
   are a sage.
    If you are working at making yourself sincere, you must find your
   goodness and hold fast to it. You must study it broadly, investigate
   it in detail, deliberate on it carefully, discern it clearly and
   practice it universally. Where there is a lack in your understanding,
   or your study has not yet reached the point where it is effective,
   don't just leave it. When there is something you have investigated, or
   investigated but not understood, don't just leave it. When there is
   something that you have not yet discerned, or discerned but not yet
   clarified, don't just leave it. When there is something you have not
   yet practiced, or have practiced, but not yet universally, don't just
   leave it.
    If someone else gets it in one try, I will try one hundred times. If
   someone else gets it in ten tries, I will try one thousand times. If
   you are able to follow this Way, then even if you are stupid, you will
   become enlightened. Even if you are weak, you will become strong.
   21. The enlightenment that comes from sincerity is our own nature. The
   sincerity that comes from enlightenment is called "education." If you
   are sincere you will be enlightened. If you are enlightened, you will
   be sincere.
   22. Only the perfectly sincere person can actualize his own essence.
   Actualizing his own essence, he can fully actualize the essence of
   others. Fully actualizing the essence of others, he can fully
   actualize the essence of all things. Being able to fully actualize the
   essence of all things, he can assist Heaven and Earth in their
   transformation and sustenance. Able to assist in Heaven and Earth's
   transformation and sustenance, he forms a trinity with Heaven and
   23. Those of the next level straighten out their own twistedness.
   Being straightened they can possess sincerity. Having sincerity, they
   can give form to their character. Their character having form, their
   sincerity becomes manifest. Being manifest it is luminous, being
   luminous it can function. Functioning, it changes; changing, it
   transforms. Only the most fully actualized sincerity is able to
   transform people and things.
   24. Once you are in the Path of fully actualized sincerity, you have
   foreknowledge of things. When a nation or clan is about to rise up,
   there are always omens of their fortune. When a nation or clan is
   about to fall, there are always omens of their misfortune. It can be
   seen in the milfoil stalks,[3] tortoise shells[4] and in the movements
   of the body. When good or evil fortune is imminent, the perfectly
   sincere person will know without obstruction. With fully actualized
   sincerity, you are like a god.
   25. Sincerity is just 'perfecting' and the Tao is just 'following.'
   Sincerity is the beginning and end of all things. Without sincerity
   there is nothing. Thus the Superior Man values the process of
   "becoming-sincere." But sincerity is not "just-perfecting"; it also
   means "perfecting all things." To perfect yourself, you need jen. To
   perfect others, you need wisdom. The virtue of our nature is that it
   is none other than the Tao by which inner and outer are merged. Thus
   we can always use it to set things right.
   26. Therefore, fully actualized sincerity is ceaseless. Ceaseless, it
   is eternal. Eternal, it is apparent. Apparent, it is far-reaching.
   Far-reaching, it is vast and deep. Vast and deep, it is high and
   bright. Since it is vast and deep, it can support all things. Since it
   is high and bright, it can cover all things. Since it is far-reaching
   and long-lasting, it can accomplish all things. Vastness and depth
   refer to the Earth. Highness and brightness refer to Heaven.
   Far-reaching and long-lasting refer to limitlessness. In this way, it
   is manifest without being seen, it changes without moving, and
   accomplishes without effort. The Tao of Heaven and Earth can be
   perfectly expressed in a single phrase: "Its appearance as things is
   not repeated; therefore its production of things is unfathomable (or
   'bottomless')." The Tao of Heaven and Earth is vast and deep, high and
   bright, far-reaching and long-lasting.
    Now, Heaven is made of many single lights. But they are infinite; the
   sun, moon and stars are all suspended in it, and it covers the myriad
    The Earth is but a collection of numerous handfuls of dirt. But it is
   vast and deep. It supports Mt. Hua and Mt. Yueh without feeling their
   weight; it contains the seas and rivers without spilling a drop. It
   supports all things.
    The mountains are made of many small stones. But they become high and
   broad. Plants and trees grow on them, the birds and beasts live on
   them, and rare gems are stored within them.
    The waters are mere collections of many teaspoons. But their depth is
   unfathomable. Tortoises, alligators, dragons, fish and turtles live
   there, and all sorts of gems grow there.
    The Book of Odes says:
   The Mandate of the Heavenly Principle
    Has no end to its depth.
   This is why we call Heaven, "Heaven."
    It also says:
   Was it not apparent,
    The purity of King Wen's virtue?
   This is how Wen made his own character--unceasing in purity.
   27. How great is the Tao of the sage! Superabundant, it develops all
   things, extending up to Heaven. How excellent it is! It embraces the
   three hundred rules of ceremony, and the three thousand rules of
   conduct; it waits for the right person and then functions. Hence it is
   said: "If you do not perfect your virtue, the perfect Tao cannot be
   actualized." Therefore the Superior Man esteems his virtuous nature
   and follows the path of inquiry, extending himself in breadth and
   greatness, penetrating all subtleties, penetrating its height and
   brilliance, following the course of the actualization of the Mean. He
   reviews the old and learns the new, thickening his character through
   the valorization of propriety.
    Therefore he abides in a position of power without arrogance, and
   abides in a low position without being rebellious. When the government
   is just, he can speak and be praised. When the government is wicked,
   he can conceal himself by silence. The Book of Odes says:
   His intelligence and wit
    Were his protection.
   Does this not reflect the same meaning?
   28. Confucius said: "To be ignorant and like to act as you will; to be
   of low rank and ignore all the rules; to be living in the present and
   be following the norms of the past: all these will bring you trouble."
    If you are not the emperor, you cannot determine the rules of
   propriety, set weights and measures, or create ideographs. In the
   present realm, carriages have the same axle-widths, documents are
   written with the same characters and people follow the same norms of
    But even if you are emperor, if you lack virtue, you cannot presume
   to create ritual or music. And even if you possess sufficient virtue,
   but you are not in the position of emperor, you cannot presume to
   create ritual or music.
    Confucius said: "I can describe the Hsia rituals, but the documents
   from Ch'i cannot verify it. I have learned the Yin rituals, and they
   are still preserved in the Sung. I have learned the Chou rituals,
   which are still in use. I follow the Chou."
   29. In ruling the realm there are three essentials through which one
   can lessen his mistakes.[5]
    If you are in a position of rank, even if you are good, if your
   goodness is not evident, you will not be trusted. Not being trusted,
   the people will not follow you. If you lack rank, then you will not be
   respected. Lacking respect, you will not be trusted. Without trust the
   people will not follow you.[6]
    Therefore in the Superior Man's practice of his Way, he starts with
   himself and then manifests his character to all the people, such that
   when he contemplates the ways of the three former sage-kings, he
   cannot feel any shame. He is established between Heaven and Earth
   without any discord. He presents himself before the spirits of his
   ancestors without doubting. He waits for a hundred generations for a
   sage to appear without confusion.
    If you can present yourself to the ancestral spirits without
   doubting, you know Heaven. If you can wait a hundred generations for
   the appearance of a sage, you know human beings. Therefore, the people
   regard the movement of the Superior Man as the Way of the world. They
   regard his actions as the norm of the world. They regard his words as
   the pattern for the world. When they are away from him, they long for
   him. When they are near him, they never get tired of him. The Book of
   Odes says:
   When he is away, he is not hated.
    When he is here, he is not disliked.
    In every situation, from morning to night,
    Their praise of him is unceasing.
   There has never been a Superior Man who gained rapid recognition from
   the world and who was not like this.
   30. Confucius transmitted the legacy of (sage-emperors) Yao and Shun
   and modeled his character on that of (sage-kings) Wen and Wu. He was
   ruled by the Heavenly seasons from above, and combined the Earth and
   Waters below. He was like Heaven and Earth, which have nothing they do
   not support, and nothing they do not cover. His function was like the
   revolution of the four seasons, the alternation of sun and moon. He
   nourishes the myriad things and they grow up together without harming
   each other, and they follow their courses simultaneously without
   interfering with each other. His smaller power is like the rivers and
   streams. His great power is seen in deep transformations. This is why
   Heaven and Earth are called "great."
   31. Only the perfect sage of the realm possesses the acumen, sharpness
   and insight necessary for overseeing things, and at the same time has
   enough generosity, open-mindedness, warmth and flexibility to accept
   everything. He also has enough energy, strength, firmness and gumption
   to maintain what he has and enough self-awareness, gravity,
   centeredness and correctness to be respected and enough refinement,
   principle, depth and analytical ability to discriminate.
    Extremely vast, unfathomably deep--he uses his abilities according to
   the situation. As vast as Heaven, as deep as an abyss, when he shows
   himself, there are none who do not respect him. When he speaks, there
   are none who do not believe him. When he acts, there are not who do
   not appreciate him. Therefore you can hear his name overflowing from
   the central kingdoms out to the uncivilized regions. Wherever boats
   and wagons go, wherever human power can reach to; in every place
   supported by the Earth; those places illuminated by the sun and moon;
   wherever dew and frost fall; wherever there are breathing beings,
   there are none who do not respect him and cherish him. Therefore he is
   associated with "Heaven."
   32. Only that person who has fully actualized sincerity is able to
   adjust the strings of the Great Net of the World; is able to establish
   himself in the Great Root of the World; is able to understand the
   transformations and the nurturing of Heaven and Earth. So sincere is
   his jen; so unfathomable is his depth; so vast is his spaciousness.
    Who is able to understand this, but one who has the firm, acute,
   luminous sagely intelligence--who is permeated with Heavenly Virtue?
   33. The Book of Odes says:
   She covered her brocade gown
    With a plain robe.
   She did not want to show off her finery. Therefore the Superior Man
   acts in a way such that he conceals himself, yet every day gains in
   luminosity. The inferior man shows himself and every day loses
   luminosity. The Way of the Superior Man is tasteless, yet you never
   get sick of it. Simple, yet refined, warm-hearted yet principled. He
   knows the closeness of the distant, knows the origin of customs. He
   knows the manifestation of the subtle and can enter into virtue. The
   Book of Odes says:
   Though the fish dive to the bottom
    They can be seen.
   Hence the Superior Man, finding no perversity within himself, has no
   evil in his intentions. Those things that the Superior Man is unable
   to attain to are exactly the things that others cannot perceive. The
   Book of Odes says:
   While in your own room,
    You should not be ashamed if it were
    Opened to the world.
   Therefore the Superior Man does not move, and yet is respected. He
   does not speak, and yet is believed. The Book of Odes says:
    Make your offerings without words,
    And there will never be any disagreement.
   Therefore the Superior Man receives no awards, yet the people promote
   him. He is not angry, yet they are more in awe of him than they are of
   lethal weapons. The Book of Odes says:
   Only if you don't show it
    Can you develop virtue.
    All the princes are constrained by this.
   Therefore the Superior Man, through his generosity and courtesy,
   pacifies the realm. The Book of Odes says:
   I cherish shining virtue
    Not big noises and flashy colors.
   Confucius said: "In terms of transforming people, sounds and
   appearances don't amount to much." The Book of Odes says:
    Virtue is as light as a hair.
    Yet even a hair possesses the great principles. In the functions of
   Supreme Heaven, there are no sounds or smells. It is "perfect."

   1. Confucius
    2. There is a pun here, since "humanity" is also pronounced jen.
   Thus, in Chinese, this phrase says "jen is jen."
    3. Used in I-Ching divination.
    4. An ancient method of divination where tortoise shells were heated
   over a fire until they cracked. The cracks were read according to
   their patterns to diagnose a situation.
    5. At this point in the text, one would expect a clear enumeration of
   three essential points. But following this are only a set of two,
   followed by a set of four. James Legge and Wing-tsit Chan, following
   Chu-hsi, say that these three essentials should be the ceremonies,
   regulations and formation of ideographs mentioned in the prior
   passage. This judgement may be questioned, since in Confucian texts,
   errors in rulership are generally shortcomings in the personal
   character or errors in judgement on moral issues.
    Since these are three essentials of rulership, we might look to the
   end of section 20 above, which says: "Loving study, you approach
   wisdom; loving energetic practice, you approach jen. Understanding
   shame, you approach courage. If you understand these three, you know
   how to polish your character; knowing how to polish your character,
   you know how to handle others; knowing how to handle others, you know
   how to govern a state or clan."
    6. This is another passage which seems to be deficient in the
   necessary contextual background for solid interpretation. But again, I
   must differ with Chu-hsi's interpretation which reads shang ( ) as
   "former times" and its antonym hsia ( ) as "low position." Since shang
   and hsia are so clearly contrasted here in consecutive sentences, it
   seems much more sensible and natural to read them antonymically.
   Furthermore, though to read shang as "formerly" or "antiquity" may be
   possible in Classical Chinese, we rarely see it used in that way in
   the Analects, Great Learning or Doctrine of the Mean. The two terms
   almost always mean "superior" or "above" and "inferior" or "below,"
   usually in terms of societal rank, or level of personal enlightenment.

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Southern Spirits: 19th and 20th century accounts of hoodoo, including slave narratives & interviews
Hoodoo in Theory and Practice by cat yronwode: an introduction to African-American rootwork
Lucky W Amulet Archive by cat yronwode: an online museum of worldwide talismans and charms
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Lucky Mojo Forum: practitioners answer queries on conjure; sponsored by the Lucky Mojo Curio Co.
Herb Magic: illustrated descriptions of magic herbs with free spells, recipes, and an ordering option
Association of Independent Readers and Rootworkers: ethical diviners and hoodoo spell-casters
Freemasonry for Women by cat yronwode: a history of mixed-gender Freemasonic lodges
Missionary Independent Spiritual Church: spirit-led, inter-faith, the Smallest Church in the World
Satan Service Org: an archive presenting the theory, practice, and history of Satanism and Satanists
Gospel of Satan: the story of Jesus and the angels, from the perspective of the God of this World
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Candles and Curios: essays and articles on traditional African American conjure and folk magic
Aleister Crowley Text Archive: a multitude of texts by an early 20th century ceremonial occultist
Spiritual Spells: lessons in folk magic and spell casting from an eclectic Wiccan perspective
The Mystic Tea Room: divination by reading tea-leaves, with a museum of antique fortune telling cups
Yronwode Institution for the Preservation and Popularization of Indigenous Ethnomagicology
Yronwode Home: personal pages of catherine yronwode and nagasiva yronwode, magical archivists
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