restricted access III. Selectionsfrom Hsun Yueh's Lun(Discourses)in the Han-chi
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III. Selections from Hsun Yueh's Lun (Discourses) in the Han-chi Xfe The Han-chi and the Shen-chien, written in A.D. 198-200 and 200-205 respectively, record the reflections of Hsiin Yiieh on history and on the issues of his time. Because the versions of the Han-chi that have been transmitted to us may contain passages that were originally part of the Shen-chien, as suggested by the discussion above, it is imperative to study the two works side by side so as to fully understand Hsiin Yueh's thought.1 An English translation of the entire Han-chi would fill several volumes, and the discourses (Iun) alone would constitute a book nearly double the size of the present one. Since most of the dis­ courses comment on events recorded in the Han-chi, they cannot be properly comprehended without extensive reference to the rest of the text. However, the selections presented here may be read as independent essaysin themselves. They comefrom some of the longer Iun in the Han-chi and deal with questions of his­ tory, cosmology, human nature, morality, and government policy. These excerpts complement the shorter and, in some cases, fragmentary passages on similar topics in the Shen-chien— providing an opportunity for comparison of the two works. The introduction preceding the translation of each Iun sum­ marizes its content and describes its context in the Han-chi. Words left out of the original are inserted in brackets within the text, and in parentheses are added remarks that clarify the 1For a comprehensive study of Hsun Yueh's life and thought, including a detailed discussion of his idea of history and the historiography of the Han-chi, see Hsiin Yiieh, INTRODUCTION meaning of passages or briefly explain historical allusions that would otherwise require lengthy and cumbersome footnotes. ON HISTORICAL SITUATIONS (SELECTION ONE) The first Iun in the Han-chi draws a lesson from the history of Liu Pang, founder of the Han dynasty, who participated in the rebellion that vanquished the Ch'in dynasty in 206 B.C.2 Emer­ ging as the King of Han, he turned to the struggle with Hsiang Yu (the King of Ch'u), another rebel leader.3 In 204 B.C., at the height of the battle between Hsiang and Liu, a Confucian scholar advised Liu to revive the six pre-Ch'in feudal states in order to gain additional allies.4 Liu Pang's Taoist advisor, Chang Liang, opposed the proposal and as a result the king rejected it.5 Hsiin Yiieh uses this example to discuss the complicated factors that affect the course of an event. He argues that times and conditions are ever-changing, and that no simple or fixed rule may be followed in all circumstances. Han-chi 2:12b-14a Hsiin Yiieh says: "The method of planning successful strategies consists of [ the comprehension of] three important factors: first, hsing )Υί (the general conditions); second,shih §§ (the specific situation); third, ch'ing trf (the conditions of men). Hsing means the overall favorable or unfavorable conditions; shih means that which is appropriate at the moment and makes a time propitious for 2Cf. Honshu 1A-B; Η. H. Dubs, History of the Former Han Dynasty, Vol. I , pp. 27-150. 3 Cf. Shih-chi (Po-na edition), 7; Burton Watson, Records of the Grand Historian of China, i, pp. 37-74. 4 The Confucian scholar is Li I-chi; cf. Watson, i, pp. 269-275. The advice is not recorded in his biography, but is mentioned in the biography of the Marquis of Liu (Chang Liang); see the following note. i Shih-Chi 55; Watson, i, pp. 134-151. I N T R O D U C T I O N advancing or retreating; Ming means the mind and the inten­ tion [of men], which may or may not be appropriate [for the task]. The same strategy adopted in similar tasks may produce different results. Why? [This is because in each case any of] the threefactors involved may be different. "Previous [to the episode of 204 B.C.], Chang Erh and Ch'en Yii (two Confucianists who supported Ch'en She's uprising against the Ch'in in 209 B.C.) had advised Ch'en She to revive the six feudal states in order to establish more allies.6 Now [the Confucian] Master Li advised the King of Han to do the same. Since the two sets of advice contained the same argument, why would...